Skowronek’s Pedigree and the Antoniny Stud

by Count Joseph Potocki, The Arabian Horse News, February 1958:

“As to SKOWRONEK’s sire, IBRAHIM, he was purchased in 1907 in the following circumstances:

“My father, Count Joseph Potocki, Sr., who was at that time searching for a high class Arab stallion, received through his agents information that several Arabian horses had actually been obtained from the desert and were on their way via Constantinople, across the Black Sea to Odessa. He immediately sent an expert representative there and within a few days IBRAHIM was purchased with a few other stallions of lesser quality. In looks, IBRAHIM was perhaps even more striking than SKOWRONEK and also proved to be a great sire….

“Now there is one point which might seem puzzling with reference to IBRAHIM. Why was it that his sire, HEIJER, and dam LAFITTE, whose names were known, were inscribed in SKOWRONEK’s pedigree issued by me for the Arab Annex of Weatherby’s General Stud Book, England, in September 1919 and July 1920, while the official Polish Stud Books published at a later date do not contain those names? The fact that the sire or dam (or both) of a horse coming from the Arabian desert are known is not so unusual. Such horses, however, were always registered in our stud books as “Original Arab,” “Or.Ar.” This means in our Polish stud books “Arabian horse originally from the Arabian desert.” No further additions were given except the strain from which they came if that was certain. In the case of IBRAHIM, my father possessed the names of his sire and dam, HEIJER and LAFITTE, but inscribed him in our stud books in the above customery way. On the other hand, when the English owners of SKOWRONEK expressed the wish to have these names included in his pedigree, my father did not raise any objection. When, however, some years later the Polish Arab Horse Society published the official Polish Stud Books of Arab Horses, it was considered preferable to keep strictly to the wording of the Antoniny stud books in which IBRAHIM was defined as “Original Arab” without any additions. The Polish Arab Horse Society preferred to quote the exact wording of our stud books to which it had full and free access and this was all the more comprehensive since all additional papers pertaining to IBRAHIM had been lost in the business archives of Antoniny and could no longer be referred.

“The only authentic pedigree for IBRAHM’s son is the one issued in Antoniny in accordance with our stud books and which, acting for my father, I confirmed in London in 1919 and 1920. Any extension on IBRAHIM beyond his sire, HEIJER, and dam, LAFITTE, is not authentic.”

A copy of Count Joseph Potocki’s handwritten pedigree of Skowronek, written in 1919 is included in the same issue of The Arabian Horse News.

Another article in the February, 1958 issue of The Arabian Horse News was written by Count Roman Potocki (brother of Count Joseph, Jr.), “Ibrahim, Jaskoulka, Skowronek and the Antoniny Stud Books”:

“IBRAHIM was purchased by my father, Count Joseph Potocki, Sr., in 1907 from our agent horse dealer in Odessa who brought him by way of Constantinople from the Orient, not Egypt. IBRAHIM had a note pedigree with his age, his sire, HEIJER, and dam, LAFITTE, noted on it. My father liked the horse very much. There is no further extension to his pedigree.

“My father put him down in the Antoniny Sanguszko stud books as “Or. Ar.” “Or. Ar.” means in Polish stud books “Original or desert Arab from Arabia.” IBRAHIM was always written down as “Or. Ar.” in the Polish stud books without further ancestors. It was not customary to give the sires or dams of our desert importations in our stud books. They were always recorded as “Or. Ar.” The papers with his sire and dam, age, the business transaction, etc., were kept separately in our business files. About 1920 when my brother Joseph, then in England, wrote out the pedigree of SKOWRONEK for registration in the Arab Annex of Weatherby’s General Stud Book, he included the names of IBRAHIM’s sire and dam, HEIJER and LAFITTE.

“During the Revolution, when most of the horses, though not all, perished, the original stud books were saved. I knew them well before and after the events of 1917-1920, and they were taken by us to Warsaw. The house at Antoniny and the stud, except for a part of the young stock, were destroyed in January-February of 1919. The Stud Books were kept in our Warsaw Library and destroyed by fire in 1944 during the Warsaw Insurrection against the Germans. All the records were previously checked by the Polish Arab Horse Society and specified in their publications.”

However, there is this sidebar in the same issue of The Arabian Horse News, on page 26, “Antoniny Stud Books Saved After World War I” by Count Joseph Potocki:

“The Antoniny Stud books were saved after World War I, and I had them in Warsaw until 1939.

“Some episodes in the early spring of 1918 gave us in the midst of destruction and material losses much reason for true and sincere satisfaction. The country all around Antoniny was by that time in a state of upheaval because of the Revolution, but the local population was not in the least hostile to us but continued to be friendly and make every effort to save and preserve. We owed to this attitude the saving of many objects from our country house and the possibility of taking them by various means to Warsaw. It was the local peasants who took some 56 cases of our books from Antoniny to a distant railroad station where they could be sent to Warsaw.

“Thus, our library was saved and with it two thick volumes in folio, the stud books, containing all the pedigrees of our horses, as well as the history of the stud written by Prince Roman Sanguszko about 1870. Later I completed his story with a detailed account of events in the stud during the first World War and its aftermath, the Russian Revolution. I wrote it myself and enumerated all the stud’s horses which were saved during that period.

“Before leaving my house in Warsaw, I put the stud books in what I considered a safe place. In 1944 the house was completely gutted by fire during the Warsaw Insurrection. Unless taken in previous looting, they are presumed destroyed by fire.”