Tag Archives: Kellogg

Skowronek with Lady Wentworth

Skowronek — Magic Progenitor

by Aaron Dudley
(Western Horseman Apr 1951)

It’s difficult to write about a famous horse, because so much has been said already. There is so much romanticism, mythology and legend spun around him that attempts at factual reporting are often misinterpreted as understatements.

Our conception of those who molded history (be they figures of equine significance or standouts in man’s progress through the ages) depends largely upon which history we read or what so-called authority we chose to accept.

So it is to some degree with the famed and fabled animal Skowronek, Arabian stallion credited with contributing more to the greatness of the modern Arab than any other individual of his breed. But, fortunately, Skowronek came onto the scene shortly after the turn of the century and for that reason his career is not so heavily veiled in mythology as many other immortals of the horse world.

Fortunate, too, is the fact that two of his sons are still alive today, a tribute to the great stamina and virility of his bloodline and proof of the magic-like quality with which he passed his much-sought characteristics to his progeny.

These two great sons of one of the greatest Arabians are Raseyn AHC 597 and Raffles AHC 952, and both are now grazing in green paddocks of the John V. Payne ranch in the hills south of Chino, California. Both are well past 20 years of age and sires of an astounding number of champions and are classic examples of Arabian perfection. Through these two sons and a few of his daughters the greatness of Skowronek has been preserved for breeders of today.

History, as recounted by some widely known chroniclers, spins the romantic story of the beautiful white stallion Skowronek being splattered with mud and smuggled out of Poland hitched to a lumbering cart during the Russian Revolution. We read, too, of the great horse’s dam being tortured by the Russians and hanged, with her aristocratic owners.

However, H. V. Musgrave Clark, of Sussex, England, who is one of the oldest Arab breeders in the British Empire, and a former owner of Skowronek, recently discredited this story.

Skowronek was in the Clark stud shortly after coming from Poland. “He was purchased in Poland by my friend, the late Walter Winans,” says Clark. “Winans sold him to me after he had used him as a model for various bronzes. Skowronek was actually in this country when the Russian Revolution was in full swing.”

Lady Wentworth of Crabbet Park stud subsequently acquired Skowronek and kept him until his death.

History shows that Skowronek was foaled in 1909. He was a grey Kehilan Ajuz imported into Poland from Egypt[1] [2] [3] by the Antoniny Stud of Count Joseph Potocki, which was founded before 1700. His sire was Ibrahim by Heijer out of Lafitte. The dam was Yaskoulka, a Kehilet Ajuz by Rymnik out of Epopea by Dervish out of Lyra.

Clark’s selection of Skowronek is understandable; for the wiry, intelligent and classically featured little horse had the quality of siring heavily-quartered, compact animals such as were much in demand at the turn of the century. However, they still retained other characteristic Arabian qualities.

Skowronek was to the Arabian what Pete McCue was to the Quarter Horse. And maybe their sons had something in common. At least, Skowronek’s owner knew something of the greatness of the Western cow horse; for as a New Mexico cattle rancher many years before, he had seen these “short horses” in action.

We aren’t trying to prove that Skowronek was a Western Quarter Horse; but it surely was not entirely coincidental that the former New Mexico cattleman Clark picked out a stud in England that subsequently was the grandsire of Arabians that are winning the money in open Stock Horse competition today.

Arabian breeder Clark is proud of the fact that 45 years ago he was a cattle rancher in the Pecos valley, just a short distance from Roswell.

“The West was a great place when I was there and I often wish I had never left it.” he says.

The J. V. Paynes are glad Clark liked the West and the Western type horse; for he was probably indirectly responsible for them being able to breed their type of Arabians, the Stock Horse type with an Arabian head and refinement.

An insatiable desire to develop such bloodlines led Mrs Payne a year ago (Oct. 1949) to buy the ailing old stallion Raffles, with no assurance that a broken leg had properly knitted or that he was in breeding condition.

Despite his extreme age and highly questionable virility, Raffles immediately interested Mrs. Payne when she heard he was to go on the block in a dispersal sale. She flew from California to the Roger A. Selby stud at Portsmouth, Ohio, to see him, bought him at competitive bidding and chartered an express car to bring him home. Today she feels repaid a thousandfold, for Raffles is breeding sound and feeling fine.

Raffles, although very small in stature, sires colts much larger than himself and with tremendous quarters. His get are famed in the show ring from Canada to South America. Raffles’ dam, Rifala, was a daughter of Skowronek. Rifala was bred back to her own sire, Skowronek, to get Raffles. Thus, Raffles is intensely inbred, being 75 per cent Skowronek, and an excellent example of the hybrid law at work when bred to unrelated mares. Likewise, he serves as a classic means of intensifying Skowronek bloodlines when used on mares carrying dominant Skowronek breeding.

Raffles, who is only 13-3 hands, was foaled in 1926 at Lady Wentworth’s Crabbet Park stud and imported to America by Roger Selby in 1932. Although the smallest Arabian registered in this country, he is a classic example of the old phrase, “a big little horse,” weighing 1010 when in his prime. Because of his diminutive size and the fact his owner was somewhat more interested in American saddlebreds at the time, he was not used in the stud extensively, except to sire show ponies from Welsh mares, and these were all winners.

It wasn’t until May 1938, when his first stud colt was foaled, that anyone started to pay him much attention. This colt was the famed Indraff AHC 1578, a champion from the start and now senior stallion at the Al-Marah Arabian farm of Mrs. Peter Miller, of Bethesda, Maryland.

Another of Raffles’ finest sons is Rasraff, a blocky 1050 pound chestnut stud out of Rasmina, a granddaughter of Skowronek. He has won several Stock Horse competitions and is expected to follow in the footsteps of his Payne ranch stablemate, Shereyn, the fast little stud that took top money in the light Stock Horse open competition at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in 1946. Shereyn, incidentally, surprised a lot of the Quarter Horse people and took no small amount of money away from them by winning the Cow Palace show.

Another Skowronek grandson that has the cowboys going back for a second look is Al-Marah farm’s gelding son of Raffles, Arraff.

In a sensational performance, he took top money in the National Stallion show open Stock Horse class at Waterloo, Iowa, in 1949, cleaned up at a number of local shows through the Midwest, then went on to the big American Royal at Kansas City and came off with third place, showing against the best Quarter Horses in the country.

Owner Mrs. Peter Miller is out to prove her Arabians can really get the cutting horse job done in a big way and has purchased a young Quarter Horse from the King ranch to haze for Arraff.

Raffles and his famous sire are just naturally putting that extra something into their progeny, especially as regards Stock Horse type Arabians. And the Arabian breeders are quick to grasp it. Mrs. Miller takes great pleasure in pointing to The Western Horseman article which enthusiastically said: “Arraff showed definite superiority in the Stock Horse contest, but we were particularly impressed with him in the cutting contest… he may be one of those naturals… this grey gelding’s efforts were certainly a credit to the breed.”

And Mrs. Miller assures us we haven’t heard the last of Arraff and her other “working Arabians.” She’s very strong on Skowronek bloodlines and agrees with the authority, James P. Dean, that “few studs put it on ’em like Raffles.” Dean, for 15 years with the Selby stud, is probably the nation’s top authority on Skowronek, whom he terms “the greatest contributing factor to Arabians in America.”

Another Arabian authority, H. H. Reese, manager for many years of the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse ranch, similarly praises Skowronek. Reese, on a world tour for Kellogg, visited Lady Wentworth’s Crabbet Park stud in 1928 and saw Skowronek.

“He was just about perfect,” says Reese, who is specializing in Skowronek out-crossing at his West Covina ranch in California. “He was very impressive, with gorgeous head and neck, high natural tail carriage, wonderful legs and straight action. He was, of course, very old when I saw him, but still a very superior animal. And he has bred along truer than any other line.”

Skowronek died a few years after Reese’s visit.

Lady Wentworth described Skowronek as an ideal specimen of the type which Abbas Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt, spent a fortune developing. “No more perfect specimen has ever been imported to England,” she wrote in one of her early works. “Lady Anne Blunt (her mother) spent the last 20 years of her life in a vain search for a horse of Skowronek’s type,” she said.

Lady Wentworth later termed Skowronek “the sole surviving line” of the original Polish blood. Whether she ever actually turned down the reported $250,000 offer for him has never been substantiated, but the figure is often quoted.

Arabian enthusiasts, too, point to the famed European endurance rides as proof of the kind of animals Skowronek’s breeder developed. A Prussian officer, Lt. W. von Gaffein, mounted on a Count Potocki Arabian, took the gold medal for finishing with his horse in best condition in a race from Vienna to Berlin. The distance was 425 miles. The riders started Monday morning and finished Thursday noon, that is, 71 of the 117 starters finished. Forty-two of the other horses died along the way.

That gold medal winner was the kind of blood Skowronek carried.

Only three of Skowronek’s sons ever came to the United States: Raswan, Raffles and Raseyn. Raswan, long-since dead, sired no foals here. Another son is believed to be in South America [Raktha was sold by Lady Wentworth to Mr. A. J. Botha of South Africa in 1951].

James Dean has a very keen personal interest in Skowronek’s son, Raffles, for he and Mrs. Dean never left the little horse’s side for 16 long weeks when the game old stud lay in a sling with a broken hind leg in January 1949. They nursed him through colic, cramps and skin eruptions as he stood helpless. They watched him waste away from top condition to emaciation, and waited fearfully when the cast was finally removed. So it’s understandable that they visit the Payne’s at every opportunity, correspond regularly regarding Raffles’ condition, and are happy that he staged a comeback and has such a good home.

“He has the greatest stamina and recuperative powers of any horse I’ve ever seen,” said Dean the other day as he visited at the Payne ranch. “And look at the beautiful, wide head, the deep jaw and that gay way about him, his long forearm and broad back. No wonder he has ability to sire horses with tremendous quarters.”

Dean is frankly unabashed at claiming Raffles is one of modern horsedom’s greatest personalities.

“And look at his daughters,” he adds. “Cassandra, bred by W. C. Shuey, of Ashville, N.C., and owned by R. B. Field, of Leavenworth, Wash., has won every class she was ever shown in, and that includes the Grand National mares class at Cheyenne, the Crabbet award and the Jane Llewellyn Ott perpetual trophy. She’s virtually unbeatable. Skowronek blood again.”

While Raffles’ stablemate at the Payne ranch, Raseyn, is not active in the stud, he is a distinguished personage on the property and his bloodlines are being carried on there.

Imported by W. K. Kellogg in 1929 at the age of three, he is one of the most photographed horses in America, having posed with hundreds of movie stars and world figures during his prime at the famous Kellogg Arabian Horse ranch at Pomona, California. A stablemate of Jadaan, famed as the horse that Rudolph Valentino rode, he was one of the glamour boys of the Kellogg ranch. Both horses were used extensively in motion picture work, through the efforts of Arabian authority Spide Rathbun of the Kellogg Foundation.

Raseyn, by Skowronek out of the mare Rayya, was purchased from the Lady Wentworth stud, and was owned variously by the Kellogg Foundation, the University of California, the United States Army, and Department of Agriculture.

He was about to be destroyed at the age of 26 when Mrs. Payne obtained him. She nursed him back to health with a special diet, and today he is in exceptional good flesh and may return to breeding condition.

The Paynes had previously bought a son and two daughters of Raseyn in their efforts to obtain more direct Skowronek bloodlines. These included Rasmina, the dam of Rasraff and a granddaughter of Skowronek. She is now dead. However, Rasrah, a 20-year-old daughter of Raseyn and grand-daughter of Skowronek, is still alive. The former mount of actress Olivia de Havilland, she has foaled the Paynes’ three mares: one by a son of Raseyn, one by a son of Raffles and one by Raffles.

So it’s easy to see that the Paynes are not just making conversation when they speak so enthusiastically of their program of intensifying Skowronek bloodlines. They are doing it.

  1. [1]“(Skowronek) was foaled in 1909 at Antoniny Stud, owned by Count Joseph Potocki.” p. 45 “According to Lady Wentworth [see page 307 in the 1962 edition of Lady Wentworth’s The Authentic Arabian Horse, originally published in 1945] his ancestry went back to Abbas Pasha I’s Arabs, through his sire Ibrahim. [See Lady Wentworth’s illustrated Pedigree of Dafinetta, p. 63] Here she relied on the notes of her mother, which she made on a visit to Antoniny. In Poland no such assertion had ever been made, but simply that Ibrahim had been bought at Odessa in 1907. Dr Gustav Rau, the great German authority, reported his own visit to Antoniny in Sankt Georg and described the two stallions there exhaustively. They were Ibrahim and Massaud. He noted under the photograph of Ibrahim: ‘Seglawi stallion, imported Arab, born near Damascus’, and under Massaud, ‘Bred by Ali Pasha Sherif, Cairo'”. Erika Schile The Arab Horse in Europe 1967 First American edition, p. 45.
  2. [2]Skowronek’s Pedigree and the Antoniny Stud” by Count Joseph Potocki, son of Skowronek’s breeder, published in the Feb. ’58 issue of the Arabian Horse News.
  3. [3]Lady Anne Blunt: Journals and Correspondence, 1878-1917, Edited by Rosemary Archer and James Fleming, published in 1986.

Towards an Appreciation of CMK Identity

by Michael Bowling © Copyright 1997

CMK stands for “Crabbet-Maynesboro-Kellogg” and recognizes three programs which transmitted much of the central stock of what became North America’s historical Arab-breeding tradition. “CMK” is a registered US trademark; rather than discouraging others from using it, we urge them to do so, as long as such use is in keeping with the CMK definition. The CMK Record newsletter grew out of the general interest in these horses in 1981, without attempting to define specific pedigree limits for CMK but emphasizing North America’s historical using Arabian tradition. Rick Synowski, announcing the first CMK Heritage Catalogue in 1982, sent out a call for listing stallions which could trace

“in at least 75% of their pedigree to foundation stock of Crabbet Stud [including its Egyptian branch, the Sheykh Obeyd Stud], the Hamidie Society, Spencer Borden, Randolph Huntington, Homer Davenport, W.R. Brown and Kellogg.”

The definition was first modified during the preparation of that Catalogue to recognize the importance of the Selby and Hearst programs. The current definition, acknowledging a threat of genetic bottleneck in the trend to breed Arabians almost exclusively for narrowly focused show-ring applications, added a further qualification. A CMK Arabian must still carry a minimum 75% by pedigree of CMK founder ancestry as above. It must also trace in tail male to a CMK sire line, as summarized in the third CMK Heritage Catalogue of 1992, and in tail female to a family established in North America by 1950. A previously unstated assumption is now made explicit: CMK breeders will tend over time to increase the average founder percentage in their programs above the minimum 75%.

Note that the CMK movement exists to bring together the supporters of traditional Arabian breeding. Specialized aspects within the tradition, such as straight Crabbet, GSB, or Jockey Club, or programs based on preserving the influence of individual breeders or sires such as Never Die Farm or Gulastra, all fit under the CMK umbrella. Note too that we are committed, if the overall CMK pedigree definition should change in the future, that it can only go in a more inclusive direction.

The CMK Heritage is a working preservationist movement emphasizing the beautiful using and companion horses that earned the breed its reputation for versatility, adaptability and soundness. The vision which informs our activities traces originally to the travel writings and the imported horses of the Blunts and Homer Davenport–CMK Arabians are distinctive for their Blunt and Davenport character. Very strong elements descend from the two over-arching cooperator breeder circles of the 1950s and 1960s, founded by H.H. Reese (Old California breeding) and James P. Dean (the Midwest circle). At the same time we value, and seek to preserve, other CMK ancestral elements, including old sire lines from Maynesboro and other sources which were not well represented among the Reese and Dean programs, and consequently have become rare. One healthy undertone to the CMK approach is a respect for the regional flavor of traditional breeding; we emphasize working through local action groups to preserve genetic diversity, and oppose national and international trends toward genetic homogenization.

The Crabbet Arabian Stud was founded in1878 by Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt after their desert journeys. Foundation horses from the Bedouin tribes were blended with those descending from the legendary collection of Abbas Pasha I through that of Ali Pasha Sherif–the Egyptian “Pasha” breeding may be seen as an early influential cooperator circle. Although the Crabbet Stud no longer exists as a physical entity the Crabbet heritage prospers in the hands of dedicated breeders throughout the world. The influence exerted by the Blunts and their daughter Lady Wentworth through their writings is a further international unifying theme. Crabbet breeding was continued by Lady Wentworth, who added the Polish outcross Skowronek; and after her death from 1957 to 1971 by C.G. Covey. North America possesses a rich and diversified sampling of both the Blunt and Wentworth aspects of Crabbet breeding. Thanks are due to the early importers Spencer Borden, W. R. Brown, W. K. Kellogg (represented particularly strongly through the horses of the Old California Reese circle) and Roger Selby (especially through the Dean circle), and to farsighted breeders who have added important later Crabbet elements to North America’s gene pool. Virtually every Crabbet foundation animal still represented today in world pedigrees can be found in the background of North American Arabians. Maynesboro, the New Hampshire establishment of W. R. Brown, and the Pomona, California ranch of W. K. Kellogg, played key roles in transmitting the Crabbet heritage. At the same time, Brown and Kellogg like Lady Wentworth used Arabians from other sources compatible with the Blunt foundation. Their goal: combining Arabian quality and breed character with sound structure and performance ability.

The importance of Crabbet breeding must not leave one thinking “CMK” is somehow “the same as Crabbet” or, worse, a diluted form of Crabbet. Too many people outside the CMK ranks have the idea that “it’s all Crabbet” if they don’t know what else to call a pedigree element. In that mental fog the straight Crabbets, their subsets and their GSB and Crabbet-old English associates, lose their distinctiveness and are in genuine danger of losing their existence. A point that grows out of CMK’s recognition of the fine distinctions, is the appreciation of the specialty programs both in their own right and for combining with other CMK elements.

A major contribution to the uniqueness of North America’s Arab-breeding tradition was made by the 1906 desert importation of Homer Davenport–nearly all the Davenport influence in modern pedigrees comes via horses that passed through the Kellogg Ranch. Other direct Eastern sources have enhanced this development and contributed key individuals to the Reese and Dean circles. Likewise the 1947 Hearst horses from Syria and Lebanon blended beautifully with Kellogg and Maynesboro stock already at San Simeon, and their influence is valued in ever-widening circles.

The legacies of Donoghue and Lewisfield (Friendship and Al-Marah and Gainey; McCoy and Shalimar and Sunny Acres, Lodwick and Skyline those breeding programs which grew out of the Reese and Dean circles) are treasured within the CMK movement, even though CMK was defined after the fact. They transmitted the heritage and appreciated the vision of the Blunts and Davenport. They differed in accidentals, according to the horses they started out with and which mare lines happened to be more prolific or to suit a particular sire. They also came to differ more basically in terms of individual vision.

Some breeders have the “eye” for combining horses and some don’t, but even if two people are equally good at that, each will develop a personal preference–or they did in the days when we had breeding programs (cf Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, “we had faces then“). The nature of biology is variation–there never was a time (nor will be) when all horses of any set were/are identical and beyond criticism (and note that those ideas are not the same anyway). We all prefer the better individuals of any line to the worse, but common sense should tell us we can never reduce an aspect of the Arabian breed to one individual, and still maintain that distinctive kind of horse. Preservation means recognizing that you either have a particular genetic entity, or you don’t. It means breeding good individuals within a coherent biological reality.

Most importantly, the CMK Heritage aims to produce and to promote beautiful, companionable horses with real performance ability. This was the vision the Blunts and Davenport brought home from the desert; this was Brown’s reason for having the Maynesboro horses take part in the Army endurance competitions, retiring the Mounted Service Cup; this was what W.K. Kellogg had in mind when he presented his ranch and horses to the U. S. Remount. This is the central idea of the Crabbet/Maynesboro/Kellogg tradition; pedigrees are meaningful only to the extent that the modern horses reflect their ancestors. The horses represented at the Northwest CMK Symposium in 1994, at the 1996 Springfield, IL Preservation Breeding Symposium, and at other such exhibitions, clearly illustrate that the CMK concept is a practical success.

For an updated version of the CMK definition see: The Arabians of the CMK Heritage.

The Arabians of the CMK Heritage

4H quadrille team at Davis, California.

The CMK pedigree definition has become increasingly streamlined over the years; we now require 75% CMK founder ancestry, with a CMK sire line and a dam line established in North America by 1950. Our approach differs from that of some preservation or conservation breeding groups in the Arabian community, because we do not have a closed pedigree requirement. Not working with such narrowly defined pedigrees enables us to put more emphasis on practical concerns, although we do serve as a rallying point for some of the specialty closed pedigree groups that fall within our larger concept.

“CMK” itself commemorates three founder programs–Crabbet of Lady Wentworth in England, Maynesboro of W. R. Brown in New Hampshire, and the W. K. Kellogg program at Pomona in Southern California–whose historical and genetic contributions have proven our strongest links to the breeding and philosophical tradition of the desert travelers: Lady Wentworth’s parents Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt, and the American newspaperman Homer Davenport.

The most influential single contribution to the overall CMK breeding base has been made by the stock of England’s famed Crabbet Stud, founded by the Blunts in 1878. Crabbet breeding contributes to CMK through more recent lines as well as the earliest English imports which give CMK by far the most extensive sampling of the original Blunt founders of any breeding tradition in the world. CMK ancestry also includes unique lines based on horses imported direct to North America from the Middle East. Desert horses of the Davenport (1906) and Chicago World’s Fair (1893) importations are the most widely influential, and a later source was provided by the Hearst horses of 1947.

We also embrace a relatively small number of other Arabian ancestors which come in because of their use at Maynesboro or by Kellogg, or their later whole-hearted incorporation into the Midwest or Old California cooperator breeding circles of the 1940s and ’50s. An entire chapter could be written on the influence and interactions of the two breeder circles, and their spirit of community and cooperation is among the things we aim to keep current, right along with the genetic contributions of their horses.

The CMK concept developed to maintain the traditional using and companion horses that made the breed’s original reputation in this country, and these lines still are prized as examples of the Arabian as a “beautiful generalist” riding horse. Individual CMK Arabians continue to excel both in the show ring and in virtually every field of performance open to the breed; individual breeders working within the CMK Heritage may specialize in any performance area. Latterly CMK Arabians are increasingly valued in the endurance and sport horse disciplines. Recognizing our performance emphasis is not to say that CMK breeders are immune to the aspect of the breed which Lady Wentworth called its “genius for beauty;” rather, we prefer not to give up any of the traits historically recognized in the Arabian.

The CMK Heritage does not operate through a national organization, but rather our central committee attempts to facilitate communication between local CMK action groups. Activities on the local level include unrated shows and noncompetitive symposia or showcase events, with a historical and community emphasis.

CMK is a registered US trademark; we encourage its use to refer to CMK qualifying Arabians and to the CMK ancestral elements in combined-source pedigrees.

Hanad’s Legacy Lives On in Davenport Breeding

by Robert J. Cadranell II
Used by Permission of RJ Cadranell II
all rights reserved

Among the most widely known of all Davenport stallions was Hanad, AHC #489. One of the highlights of the famous Sunday shows at the Kellogg Ranch, Hanad also appeared in motion pictures, merited awards in horse shows, and established himself as one of the more important early American sires.

Hanad, like so many other early Davenports, was bred at the renowned Hingham Stock Farm of Peter B. Bradley in Hingham, Mass. Bradley, owner of a profitable fertilizer firm, was able to afford whatever he wanted in horses.

His facilities were vast and housed trotters, polo ponies, Thoroughbreds, and mustangs, in addition to his Arabian collection.

Hanad’s sire, *Deyr, was Bradley‘s favorite from among the imported Davenport Arabians and enjoyed the heaviest use at Hingham of any Arabian stallion save *Hamrah, also represented in Hanad’s pedigree. Hanad traced in tail-female to *Wadduda, favorite war mare of the supreme Sheikh of the ‘Anazah tribes, Hakim Bey Ibn Mhayd.

This eminent Bedouin no doubt had many mares from which to choose, and his selection of *Wadduda is a testament to the mare’s agility, endurance, intelligence, soundness, and tractability. This latter quality helped to make Hanad famous, and it may well be that he inherited part of it from *Wadduda, along with some of her beauty.

*Wadduda is the victim of several unfortunate photographs, making her appear somewhat plain. Cameras more often than not distort their subjects, and modern breeders would do well to recall the number of attempts required to obtain even one representive photograph of their own horses. They also ought to recall how many photographs of themselves they either throw out or refuse to show.

Archie Geer, first cousin to Homer Davenport and a guest at the Davenport farm, knew *Wadduda and rode her there. He always spoke of her to his family as the most beautiful of all Davenport’s horses.

Modern writers who rave about the beauty of the Davenport mares *Urfah and *Abeyah while ignoring *Wadduda ought to take Geer’s statement into account. Stallions as stunningly magnificent as Antez, Hamwad, and Hanad do not stem from plain mares.

Although the Hingham Stock Farm bred Hanad, he was foaled elsewhere. His dam Sankirah went with a large consignment of Hingham Arabians to John G. Winant of Concord, N.H., in 1921.

This gentleman was U.S. ambassador to Great Britain during World War II, following a stint as the governor of New Hampshire. Mrs Winant retained a few of the Arabians for a number of years, but the bulk of the horses went in 1922 to Morton S. Hawkins of Portland, Ind., and it was in that state that Hanad was foaled.

Unfortunately for the horses, Hawkins soon went to federal prison. The animals were neglected and scattered, sold to those willing to pay their outstanding feed bills.

That winter Dr. Charles D. Pettigrew of Muncie bought Sankirah and her foal Hanad, debilitated to the point where he could not stand. He was strapped to a drag and pulled from the pasture.

Pedigrew owned Hanad for four years. Under his ownership Hanad had his start as a breeding stallion. Herbert V. Tormohlen of the respected Ben Hur farm brought him his first mares, and Pettigrew also used him at home.

Pettigrew sold Hanad in 1927 to Charles W. Jewett, a mayor of Indianapolis. At Jewett’s Arlington Farm, Hanad was ridden some and continued his career at stud, siring foals for Jewett, Tormohlen, and the early Midwestern breeder John A. George.

Hanad was not to remain long with Jewett, however. Arlington Farm was becoming surrounded with newly built houses, and Jewett decided to sell his Arabians in 1929. In July of that year W.K. Kellogg and his manager Herbert H. Reese inspected the Jewett Arabians.

They obviously liked what they saw, for Kellogg bought the entire lot of 11 head, four of which were 100 percent Davenport in pedigree. The balance were of mainly Davenport breeding.

Hanad arrived in Pomona on Aug. 19, having been shipped by rail. It was at the Kellogg Ranch that Hanad made his fame.

Manager Reese was quite complimentry, writing of him years later that

“his best points were a good shoulder and exceptionally beautiful, high carriage of tail, and his disposition was all that was ever claimed for the breed by its most enthusiastic admirers… Hanad proved to be adaptable to any sort of training of an unusual sort, such as “jumping rope” under saddle, doing the Spanish walk, standing on a pedestal, and so on.
“His calm disposition was never flustered by noise, crowds or strange surroundings, yet he was always spirited and full of “go,” making him ideal as an exhibition horse.
“He took part in practically all the shows, parades and motion picture work away from the ranch as well as doing his specialties in the Sunday exhibitions… Hanad played a noteworthy part in acquainting the public with the virtues of the Arabian breed, and he also contributed as a sire.”

Hanad also was trained as a five-gaited horse and for driving.

Hanad was judged champion stallion at the Los Angeles County Fair in 1929, 1930 and 1932. In 1930 his daughter Valencia received the champion mare award.

Hanad also appeared in numerous fairs as part of a traveling Kellogg show. These animals did not compete in the regular classes, but delighted audiences with their specialty acts. Hanad and the Kellogg string journeyed as far from their home base in Pomona as Tennessee and Washington state.

Hanad posed in publicity photographs with the 1930 Rose Queen and actress Laura LaPlante. In 1931 actress Marguerite Churchill presented him in a Sunday show. She later reminisced:

“I wanted to show horses and, eventually, I managed to get to the class where Kellogg Ranch invited me to ride Hanad. It was probably the greatest joy of my life (even now) to be mounted on that lovely stallion… He, unlike many Arabians, had been trained to the five gaits, and I was also able to do that.
“I went many times to the stables, training with a fine man, I believe called Smith, to show me the fine points of Hanad. It was not a small triumph to make the show on two Sundays showing Hanad. I hope well, and myself as well as I could… I recall the terrible heat there when coming out for my lessons, but, of course, when the “show” was on, I thought of how I was doing, well or poorly, and wanting so much to let everyone see that I was able to show Hanad at his best.
“I believe at that time he was valued at $25,000, and not just for that, but because he was so beautiful, I tried to be worthy of him.”

Actor John Davis Lodge appeared in The Scarlet Empress with Marlene Dietrich and Hanad. He also left notes attesting to Hanad’s qualities.

“It was my good fortune to ride Hanad in several of the scenes of the picture. It was my first experience riding an Arabian stallion.
“Having ridden a good deal and loving horses, I was greatly impressed by the beauty, strength, and agility of this stallion. He was well-trained and handled easily. I have never encountered a horse with his beautiful, restrained gallop.
“One day, when we were filming the scene in which I escort Marlene Dietrich to Moscow, the ground was heavily covered with cornflakes, simulating snow. The scene called for a fast gallop around the bend of the castle.
“It was wet and slippery underfoot. Hanad’s legs skidded right from under him and he landed on one side, pinning my legs to the ground; yet he sprang up so quickly that we were off again—in full gallop. I do believe that, with most horses, it might have been a dangerous accident.”

Hanad sired 23 Arabian foals during his time at Kelloggs, though one of these, Sanad, came from Arlington Farm in-utero. An article in the Journal of the Arab Horse Society, apparently written during his years as a sire at Kelloggs, stated that “Hanad is siring well-proportioned colts with a maximum of quality and natural style.”

The widely known author and artist Gladys Brown Edwards first became involved with Arabians through Hanad. In 1932 she bred her part-Thoroughbred mare to Hanad, and kept the foal at the Kellogg Ranch after it was born.

That she chose Hanad over the famous stallions *Raseyn, *Ferdin and *Nasik is a testament to Hanad’s type, quality, and the brillant beauty that he possessed.

She described him as “a stylish horse, and very trainable” while crediting him with 73 champions descending in the tail-male line.

Late in 1935 Kelloggs was requested to provide two horses to lead the procession into the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day. The ranch sent Hanad and *King John.

One of the spectators, W. C. Stroube, saw Hanad there and felt he must own him. Stoube, a Texas oil man, appeared at Kelloggs the next day, insistent on the purchase of Hanad. After some deliberation, Kelloggs decided that they had enough of his get and could train a young horse to replace him as a performer.

One wonders what Stroube paid to wrest Hanad from the Kellogg Ranch. A week after his visit he owned the stallion.

Stroube kept Hanad for seven years, during which time he got only four foals, all from mares that Stroube had purchased as yearlings from Kelloggs with Hanad. In 1943 William States Jacobs bought Hanad, retaining him until 1946. Hanad sired no foals under the ownership of Jacobs.

In 1946 Hanad, at the age of 24, found his last owner. John and Alice Payne drove to Texas to buy Hanad and bring him to their ranch in Whittier, Calif. They found that he had sustained a broken front leg at some point during his Texas sojourn. To buy him Alice Payne had to exercise her full powers of persuasion, but in the end she was successful.

Hanad was quite old by this time, having very few stud seasons left to him. Despite the handicap of age, he managed to sire as many foals during his second stay in California as he had during his first.

Hanad and *Nuri Pasha are the oldest animals with progeny in Volume VII of the studbook, yet *Nuri Pasha has only one foal to Hanad’s 13.

Hanad was not immune to time, but he still managed to impress those who saw him. Following is Mrs. Milton V. Thompson’s account of Hanad in old age:

“We traveled 5,000 miles to see old Hanad, *Raseyn and *Aziza at Payne’s…It was worth it.
“Hanad is a terrific, bombastic horse, 27 years old, who snorts fire and brimstone with every breath out of those beautiful “picture” nostrils of his. When Alice Payne brought this proud beauty out of the barn he was prancing high, wide and handsome, with that broken right front leg going just as high as the good legs. He is 14.2 – a rich, dark chestnut.
“One morning I got up at the crack of dawn to see Hanad. I looked at him for two-and-a-half hours straight, made some sketches of that wonderful head of his. He rolled over nine times.
“Where he broke his leg nobody seems to know. He was once one of the famous trick horses at Kelloggs, as the picture in the studbook shows him jumping rope.
“He was once sold for $10,000, years ago, and his history has been vague since. Right now Hanad is enjoying a wave of popularity in the West, rivaling anything he knew at his peak as a dressage horse. And no wonder.
“He is a very prepotent old guy—I picked out unknown colts as Hanad colts when they were his grandchildren. The Hanad colts are at a premium.
“In fact, we saw none for sale. Everyone wants one, including Milton and Virginia T., and his colts are spoken for when the mare is bred. People just seem to be waking up to what a great horse he is.”

Hanad died on Nov. 6, 1949, at the Payne Ranch. He was 27. He got a lifetime total of 57 foals, a respectable figure in a time when Arabians were something of a rarity.

Many of the Hanad sons became honored sires in their own right. Ameer Ali stood with Dr. Glass in Oklahoma.

Mahomet grew into a key sire for his breeder, J.A. George, while Aabab filled the same position for the Tormohlens. Sanad headed the small but influential program of Mr. and Mrs J.N. Clapp.

Cliff and Mollie Latimer of British Columbia, Canada, adored their Adounad, writing that it was “interesting to correspond with owners of other sons of Hanad and to find they were as pleased with their results as we have been.”

Hasab stood for years with Mrs. Beverly Young. Ibn Hanad created a veritable dynasty of champions for Margaret Shuey’s Sunny Acres program., and Hanrah’s son Ibn Hanrah did the same for Gerald Donoghue’s program. Tripoli headed the Craver breeding project until his death at 29, and all but a handful of the living 100 percent Davenport horses trace to him, and thus to Hanad.

The Hanad daughters were notable good producers. Show winnings are only one of many methods used to evaluate Arabian horses, yet they seem to be the method of choice for a great portion of today’s breeders.

For some years running, the Arabian Horse World has printed lists of mares who have produced four or more champions. Our current Class “A” show system is a relatively recent creation, and Hanad was rather an early sire to be expected to have daughters on this list.

His last three foal crops contained a combined total of but 10 fillies, yet two of them (20 percent) appear on this list of top-producing mares. Three Hanad granddaughters appear, again from Hanad progeny produced during his later years after he left the Kellogg Ranch.

To name a few individual daughters, Valencia, Rokhalda, Nadda, and Rifnada were all Kellogg broodmares. Raadah went to the W.R. Hearst stables.

John A. George had Dowhana and Chrallah, with Chrallah later going to Roger Selby. The Tormhhlens retained Aabann. Schiba became a significant foundation mare for Dr. Krausnick, while Charles Craver was able to secure Dhanad and Hantarah for his Davenport program after they had spent many years producing at the Sullivan Ranch in California.

The 75 percent Davenport Ganada, Hanad’s last foal, was a show horse and broodmare for John Rogers. Her full sister Hanida did the same for the Mekeels.

She was the first Reserve Pacific Coast Champion mare. Hanida produced five champions, while Ganada had six.

From the above, it will be seen that Hanad was most admired for his beauty, his ability under saddle, his amenable disposition, and the quality of his get, both as individuals and as breeding stock. This is especially noteworthy since Hanad was extremely close to desert horses in terms of generations of removal.

One often reads, and more often hears, that strictly desert-bred stock does not appeal to American tastes, and is not as attractive as the “big, bold, and beautiful” Arabian show horse of today. Hanad’s record, and the records of many other animals close to their Bedouin-bred origins, make such claims appear uninformed, if not ludicrous.

Reconstructing Domow

A persisting question in the breed’s North American history, since coat color inheritance first came to be widely understood, revolves around the identity and parentage of the mare Domow. Biology and history working together provide a start toward the puzzle’s solution. By Michael Bowling and Robert J. Cadranell II, Copyright © 2001. Initially published in CMK Heritage Catalogue IV. Used with permission.

Domow is officially a 1913 (no month or day given) bay daughter of the two chestnuts, *Abu Zeyd and *Wadduda. That parentage is not compatible with established principles of coat color inheritance, if the colors of all three horses are correctly attributed. Domow produced the bay Tabab by a chestnut, and he sired bay foals out of chestnut mares. Enough of *Abu Zeyd’s hide is preserved at the American Museum of Natural History to eliminate any doubt that he was chestnut (Charles and Jeanne Craver, personal communication). No evidence from photos or contemporary descriptions, or from the balance of her breeding record, provides grounds to question that *Wadduda was chestnut; in fact some contemporary references make her “sorrel” which suggests, if anything, a light shade of chestnut. One reasonable explanation for Domow’s registration would be a switch of *Wadduda’s 1913 foal with another in the same ownership. The Arabian Horse Registry of America (AHRA) record shows Domow bred by Hingham Stock Farm (Peter B. Bradley). Although she was registered by Bradley, based on other information Domow clearly came out of the small personal Homer Davenport program, in Holmdel N.J. The original options there for exchange with Domow were Fahreddin, registered as the 1913 foal of the bay *Abeyah, and Sabot, the 1913 foal of the bay Sira, of the Basilisk family. Both were fillies registered as chestnuts, from matings capable of producing a bay foal (their sires were chestnuts, *Abu Zeyd and *Euphrates respectively). The foal switch question has now been addressed thanks to developments in DNA technology.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), in contrast to the nuclear chromosomes, is transmitted strictly through the egg cytoplasm and does not undergo meiotic recombination. Characteristic mtDNA sequences (haplotypes) of dam lines change only by rare mutations, and are stable over many generations. Questions of maternity can be addressed, within historical stud book time frames, by comparison of mtDNA sequences, if direct female-line descendants are available of the questioned individuals and of other representatives of the relevant dam lines, and so long as questions can be defined in an either-or sense. mtDNA haplotypes were derived (see Bowling, A.T., Del Valle, A. and Bowling, M., 1998. Verification of horse maternal lineage based on derived mitochondrial DNA sequence. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 115: 351-356) from tail-female descendants of Domow through her daughters Dowhana and Zenee; of *Wadduda through two daughters, Moliah and Aared; of *Abeyah through two daughters (Saba and Samit) of the only persisting source of this female line, her imported daughter *Haffia; and of Sabot through the line of her daughter Azreka. A matching Basilisk haplotype was derived through the independent branch from *Butheyna.

The Domow haplotype matched that of the *Wadduda family and was distinctly different from those of *Abeyah and Basilisk, which does not support a foal switch involving Fahreddin or Sabot. After these results were obtained, further research at the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation (AHOF) among the archived records of *Abu Zeyd’s and Fahreddin’s subsequent owner gave substantial support for Fahreddin’s having been foaled in 1912, rather than 1913, which would have ruled out from the start any easy scheme for exchanging the two. [Note added in 2007: the 1912 foaling date for Fahreddin proved to be an error.]

The Domow question has been complicated because *Abu Zeyd is credited in AHRA records with another bay foal out of a chestnut dam, the 1920 filly Radi. Correspondence in the same archives records a second owner’s request for assistance in having Radi’s registered color changed from chestnut to bay, which leaves room for the possibility of accidental or deliberate substitution. This example at least is not supported by documentation sufficient to question *Abu Zeyd’s genetic contribution in the absence of parentage verification, and in face of the genetic stability of the coat color alleles involved. Radi has no recorded offspring, so her color and parentage (or identity) are chiefly of academic interest, unlike those of the prolific and influential Domow. Radi’s case does underscore that the stud book record alone might not provide the whole story when addressing historical questions.

A further possible complication involves two of Domow’s granddaughters: Kirah (1925, by a chestnut Domow son and out of a bay mare) and Aatika (1926, by Domow’s bay son Tabab from a chestnut dam). In their original registration (the 1927 Arabian Stud Book) their color is abbreviated “s,” although “sorrel” is not listed as a color option in that book. In the 1937 volume both mares’ color has been changed to “b” but by 1944 it has become “ch;” both are given as “chestnut” in the current AHRA pedigree database.

Eye witness accounts confirm the bay color of both Aatika (Helene Asmis Clifford, personal communication) and Kirah, described in Reese and Edwards’ The Kellogg Arabians: their background and influence as “a dark rich bay.” Aatika produced the bay Lulu by the chestnut Asil, and Lulu produced the bay Lurif by Rifage, a grey who did not transmit black pigment (he got only a handful of bay foals, out of over 100 registered offspring, and none from chestnut dams). Kirah never produced a registered foal to a chestnut sire so no test mating results are available for her. Further inspection shows that Kirah’s and Aatika’s breeder also allowed to stand the prior registration of the well-known liver chestnut stallion Hanad as “b” and that he used “seal” as a color term, in correspondence available at the Trust. The chestnut error in the two mares’ registered color may reflect picking up the original “s” entry and mistaking it for “sorrel” during the preparation of the 1944 Stud Book, and could also be related to the correction of Hanad’s color in that volume.

All this coat color backing and forthing could be taken to support the ideas sometimes presented, that *Wadduda was a light bay, or alternatively that Domow was an off-shade chestnut. One can only say Domow and *Wadduda both were well-known mares in their lifetimes and nothing suggests either color assignment ever was questioned; the breeding record supports the bay color in all cases but Kirah’s (not tested). In the absence of color photography the images available of Domow, Tabab, Kirah and Aatika show them as bay, while *Wadduda does not look bay in her photos.

*Abu Zeyd, *Wadduda and Domow are extensively represented in modern Arabian pedigrees, through multiple offspring of each. In terms of gene frequency, anomalous color designations would be of regular occurrence had the Domow coat color incompatibility possessed a genetic basis separate from incorrect parentage. At this point the simpler explanation would have Aatika’s and Kirah’s breeder (who had no connection with the original registration of Domow) unfamiliar with standard horse coat color terms, or perhaps inexpert at recognizing ultimate coat color from foal coats. Some bay foals can have quite light-colored manes and extremities, and Mrs Clifford remembers that Aatika also sun-faded extensively in the summer.

If Domow was not switched with another filly and if her color and her dam’s were correctly recorded, it becomes necessary to seek the black pigment gene through a sire available to cover *Wadduda in 1912. Paternity, as opposed to maternity, can be addressed only on historical grounds: unlike the special case of mtDNA with dam lines, no biological tests of paternity can be applied at such a distance of time and generations and in the absence of physical samples from putative parents and offspring. In this particular case the relevant breeding records have not been located. A possibility must be acknowledged, that *Wadduda may have been covered accidentally, during the transitional period after Davenport’s death in 1912 and by a frankly unknown sire. Resolving that question suffers under the notorious difficulty of proving a negative, but it is not the only reasonable reconstruction.

The published record supports the interpretation that *Wadduda’s 1912 covering was actually part of a last phase of normal activities. *Wadduda foaled the filly Amran on 19 April, 1912; Homer Davenport fell ill on the evening of the 19th and died on 2 May. Only in the last few days of his illness was Davenport’s condition recognized to be life-threatening. While it is possible to picture that orders to breed *Wadduda might have been conveyed from the sickbed, it is less likely that an order to shut down the horse activities would have come under those circumstances; during the first week or more it would not have been thought necessary, and during the final few days, the horses might well have been the last thing on the minds of those in attendance. The agents in charge of Davenport’s horses in New Jersey would reasonably have carried on according to previously received instructions, which must have included at least general plans for mating the mares in 1912. The other foals registered from 1912 breedings to stallions owned by Davenport have known foaling dates, which were early in the 1913 season: Sabot and Omar in January, and Abeleyd in February. (The “1 January” 1913 foaling date of Domow in the AHRA database is a place holder, not a recorded birth date.)

*Wadduda was clearly an easy breeder and produced a registered foal every year from 1907 through 1913: she produced for Peter Bradley’s Hingham Stock Farm again in 1915 and ’16 (and died in time for her death to be noted by 1918). She had foaled a week later in 1908 than in 1907, 24 vs 17 July—but in 1908 through 1912 she foaled earlier each succeeding year, respectively on 24 July, 10 July, 10 June, 13 May and 19 April. Progeny records for others of the early Bradley and Davenport mares also support a policy of foal heat breeding (more likely than a high incidence of short gestations among that population). If it was normal practice to cover *Wadduda on her foal heat, and if such a policy had been followed in 1912, she would have been the last mare covered during Davenport’s life and according to his instructions.

*Wadduda’s 1912 covering sire was not, ex hypothesi, either of the chestnuts *Abu Zeyd or *Euphrates. The bay *Gomusa appears to have been among the horses in Davenport’s possession in New Jersey (his last recorded foal was in 1912). Davenport also had imported from England, in 1910 along with *Abu Zeyd, two Crabbet colts: *Berid, a 1908 grey with a chestnut sire, but whose dam could have provided black pigment—she produced all greys or bays out of her 12 foals—and *Jahil, a 1909 bay. Davenport bred two bay 1910 colts, Daghar and Jerrede; the last-named was sold from “the old Davenport place” in 1914 so likely was in residence through this whole period. Daghar was owned in Chicago by May 1915 but no date for his original sale has turned up.

*Jahil was transferred to H.J. Brown in January of 1912; Brown is his published owner in 1913 and used him in the spring of 1912, so he at least can safely be eliminated from consideration. This leaves all or some of *Gomusa, *Berid, Daghar and Jerrede in the running to provide a sire for Domow, and speculation has centered on an accidental or mis-recorded mating involving one of those four. There remains another possibility first raised based upon a fleeting reference to *Astraled in connection with Davenport, in Lady Anne Blunt’s published Journals and Correspondence.

F. Lothrop Ames of Easton, Mass. was a member of an established railroad and industrial family who was caught up in the early flurry of interest in Arabian horse breeding. He bought the yearling filly Rosa Rugosa from Spencer Borden in 1908 at a “four figure” price, and in 1909 went to Crabbet for the proven sire *Astraled along with two mares, *Shibine and *Narda [II]. Ames owned his Arabians for only a short time, and all his registrations were with the Jockey Club, so AHRA records do not touch on his activities. His grandson does not even remember any family tradition that Ames imported or owned Arabian horses, and nor does the son of Ames’ long-term horse trainer, who came on board just a few years later (Frederick Ames Cushing and John Hogan Jr, personal communication), although *Astraled and *Narda II would found two of the great sire and dam lines of the breed. *Narda’s son *Crabbet was gelded but he still is renowned as winner of the 1921 U.S. Mounted Service Cup (also known as the Army endurance test).

In May of 1912 Lady Anne commented, to Spencer Borden who had just written to inform her of Davenport’s death, that “he wrote to me about Astraled, full with enthusiasm. Do please secure Astraled. I always wished you to take him.” It is difficult not to read a great deal into this brief passage. Why would *Astraled be available for Borden to “secure,” immediately after Davenport’s death, if the horse had just been reported in some situation about which Davenport could be “full with enthusiasm”? Davenport’s enthusiasm must have been related to his own plans for the horse, for *Astraled to have become available as a direct consequence of Davenport’s death. Again in August of that year, Lady Anne pointed out that “if you took Astraled” Borden could breed a near relative to Riyala, who was not available for sale, from a related mare *Risalda he already owned.

Neither Davenport’s letter which mentioned *Astraled, nor Borden’s to Lady Anne notifying her of Davenport’s death, can presently be located. The following passage from the 1945 first edition of The Authentic Arabian Horse makes it clear that Lady Anne’s daughter Lady Wentworth was working from at least the Borden side of the exchange, if not Davenport’s letter as well:

“Mr. Ames bought the famous Crabbet stallion Astraled, and when Ames ‘fell down and quit’ as Borden put it, Davenport bought all the horses he had purchased from the Blunts except ‘Crabbet.’ Ames had offered Borden the seven head with his Rejeb mare [*Narda II], Rosa Rugosa [the filly Ames had bought from Borden some four years previously] and Shibine for 2,000 dollars; but they were in such bad condition that he did not purchase, intending to get them even cheaper in the spring. Meanwhile his old enemy Davenport secured them…”

Note even the coincidence of the verb “secure” which Lady Anne had used in her letter. The references to “poor condition” (exaggerating that would have been quite in Borden’s style, just as it was like Lady Wentworth to gloss over Borden’s 1909 report to Lady Anne that he and Davenport had resolved their prior disagreement) and waiting to buy the horses “in the spring” puts this exchange somewhere in mid-winter, which fits well with Homer Davenport’s published letter of February 1912 looking forward to better financial days because he had returned to W.R. Hearst’s employ. A February or March, 1912, date fits, too, with the likely timing of *Shibine’s breeding to *Euphrates (she foaled Abeleyd on 27 February, 1913). If Davenport believed all the horses he bought from Ames were “from the Blunts,” and if his successors transmitted that impression to the next owner, this could also explain the old puzzle of how Rosa Rugosa came to be registered as bred by Crabbet Stud and imported by Borden (her actual breeder).

No published stud book shows *Astraled in any other ownership between his importer Ames (American [Jockey Club] Stud Book, 1910) and the Rev. Thomas Sherman (Arabian Stud Book, 1918), who owned *Astraled in Washington State and would later donate him to the U.S. Remount. Spencer Borden did breed that *Astraled/*Risalda foal, a 1915 colt, and he also showed *Astraled at least once. Apparently Borden sold *Astraled to the Rev. Sherman; *Astraled’s registration, on file at the Trust, is noted “no certificate issued” which implies he had already left for the Northwest and was being put on the books to provide a registered sire for his two U.S. foals. Other registrations in the same numerical sequence were such posthumous ones as those of General Grant’s *Leopard and *Linden Tree.

The other substantial connection of *Astraled indirectly to Davenport is an original manuscript stud record preserved at AHOF, begun by H.J. Brown for his own short-lived Arabian program. The stallion section includes a page for *Astraled, with the undated notation “Sold to Borden.” Why should Brown have had occasion to devote a page to *Astraled and still less to mention the horse’s sale in his private records, unless he had been the owner and thus the seller? It is a matter of record that H.J. Brown bought Davenport’s stallion *Abu Zeyd, and the Ames imported mares, one of which produced a 1913 foal by Davenport’s *Euphrates. Taking all these facts together, the simplest reading has the Ames Arabians, including *Astraled, pass from Ames to Davenport to Brown. *Crabbet was registered later than the mares, which is consistent with his having been temporarily separated from them (if Davenport bought everything “except ‘Crabbet'”).

Domow herself was not registered until she was five, by which time not only her exact foaling date, but Davenport’s connection with the Ames Arabians (certainly *Shibine, if not more of them) seems to have been forgotten. Domow’s markings of a blaze and three stockings could have been taken as evidence that her sire must have been the flashily marked *Abu Zeyd, even had *Astraled (whose only marking was a faint snip) been named, the more so given the apparent lack of a paper trail connecting Davenport with the Ames Arabians. The fact that the bay-chestnut coat color difference is simply inherited while markings are highly unpredictable may well have been unknown to the Hingham management; the science of genetics still was in its infancy, even though Hurst’s 1906 study of Thoroughbred coat colors was the first illustration of a Mendelian character operating in a mammal. Even today one encounters otherwise sophisticated horse breeders who are unclear on the details of coat color transmission genetics.

Domow was highly regarded as an individual and produced 11 registered foals in five ownerships. Her immediate descendants included significant horses in several important foundation breeding programs, including those of W.K. Kellogg and Roger Selby, and she figures in the pedigrees of preservation-bred Arabians and of such influential sires as Bey Shah and Khemosabi. Among 100 animals in a random sample of AHRA registrations (mostly 1993 foals), Domow appears in 69, or roughly 70% of the pedigrees.

Again, given the difficulty of proving a negative, one cannot expect to show that it was impossible for any stallion to have jumped the fence during what must have been an unsettled period, after Davenport’s death. *Wadduda’s previous production record is consistent with a deliberate foal heat breeding, which in turn supports the idea that the mating took place while Homer Davenport was alive. If *Astraled really was in Davenport’s possession along with *Abu Zeyd—and the odds do favor that reading—the confusion of these two imported senior stallions, both Mesaoud sons and both sold to H.J. Brown, is easier to picture than any other simple scenario involving a mistake in reporting the sire involved in a deliberate breeding. Much of our reconstruction remains strictly unproven, but we see a strong case for Homer Davenport’s having owned *Astraled, in time to make that horse a serious candidate to have sired Domow.

Note added in 2007: Since this writing research in New Jersey court records has confirmed that *Astraled definitely was in Homer Davenport’s possession at the time of his death.

To expand on the previous note, in 2008: The court records not only confirm Lady Wentworth’s report that the Ames horses, except for *Crabbet, were in Davenport’s possession in 1912; they put most of the J.A.P. Ramsdell horses in his hands as well; and document that *Abu Zeyd and *Astraled were accounted the head sires of Davenport’s Holmdel Stud. In light of this further research *Astraled remains the most likely alternative covering sire for *Wadduda in 1912, if the breeding was not an accident.

Further, W.R. Brown correspondence at AHOF indicates that Fahreddin most likely was foaled in New Jersey, and that she was apparently never in Peter Bradley’s possession. If Domow were also foaled in New Jersey and went to Bradley at her dam’s side, it would explain why Bradley had no foaling date for her.

The Case of the Blunt-Davenport Correspondence Part II: A Shoddy Affair

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Blunt-Davenport Correspondence

Copyright 1991 by Charles Craver

published in the Sept 1991 Arabian Visions

Used by permission of Charles Craver

In the August issue, the “Baker Street” series contained an article by Debra and Jerald Dirks presenting an exchange of three letters dating from 1906 and 1907 between Lady Anne Blunt of England and Homer Davenport of the U.S. Commentary on these letters was reserved to the present writer for this issue of Arabian Visions.

In these letters, as in others, communications between Lady Anne Blunt and Homer Davenport were cordial and provided a reasoning exchange of thought. Lady Anne starts in an apologetic mode because the fact is that in prior correspondence with Spencer Borden, and before she knew anything on the subject other than gossip and hearsay, she had made some comments about the Davenport importation. These comments were not in themselves so bad, but they were used selectively by Borden to create a red hot controversy in the American Arabian horse community.

In a letter which we do not have, Davenport obviously had contacted her on the subject directly, and her reply to him begins this series of correspondence.

The differences between Lady Anne Blunt and Homer Davenport were really misunderstandings, and rather easily resolved. Beyond that there were considerable shared observations about the Arabian horse and experiences in Arabian travel. Lady Anne observed that Davenport’s travel experience confirmed her observation of the difficulty of travel in Arabia, and she commented on Davenport’s good fortune in having the sponsorship of the Turkish government, personal pluck, and a favorable season for desert travel, in that the Anazah were relatively accessible to contact by travelers in the heat of the summer. Lady Anne and Davenport discuss the role of a prominent sheikh, “Hashem Bey,” in Arabian desert politics. It is observed by Lady Anne that Davenport’s use of the word “chubby” corresponds to what she gives as the Arabic word “shabba,” meaning suitable to breed from.

Lady Anne points out that Davenport’s report that only 600 of the 6000 horses he was told of in the desert were in the “chubby” or “shabba” category confirms her observation of the need for caution in making purchased of horses in the desert. Lady Anne indicates her suspicion of Arabs as big as fifteen hands, and indicates that this height is an exception in the desert and in her own stud. Davenport confirms her observation, saying that among the Arabs, the best horses are from 14:2 to 14:3 hands high.

A number of other letters have been preserved from Lady Anne concerning Homer Davenport. Her tone is invariably polite and positive. The final item of action from her on the subject occurred when she translated and authenticated the pedigree of Davenport’s mare *Urfah 40, so that this mare and her son, *Euphrates 36, would be acceptable to the Jockey Club for registration in its stud book.

The letter in this series from Homer Davenport to Lady Anne Blunt is typical of his attitude towards her. In this letter and in other commentary of record, he obviously felt great respect for her as a person and as a breeder of Arabian horses. He quietly addresses several points upon which he feels there are misunderstandings, and makes a comment which can be used as explanation for much of the success of his trip to Arabia:

“I don’t believe that I was misled, or had misrepresentations made to me by any of the men around me, as owing to the Irade from the Sultan, and the three strong personal letters which I carried from President Roosevelt, they accorded me every honor…”

If these two people could have kept their exchanges of thought to each other they would have gotten along fine, and Arabian history of the era would have been more simple. Both of them from time to time said things to other people which would have been better unsaid. Lady Anne was jealous of her reputation as an unique expert on the Arabian horse, and she appeared to have had an underlying conviction later shared by her daughter, Judith, that no horses but her horses were real Arabians. Homer Davenport had foibles, too. He was an old-fashioned newspaperman who painted his thoughts with a broad brush, and there was decidedly a bit of P.T. Barnum in his soul. He was inclined to speak of his own horses in superlatives. Most of what he said was factual, but there was a measure of what we consider to be hype. All this came out in a series of interviews published in the New York Times about his importation of horses. Anne Noel Blunt’s lady-like teeth were obviously set on edge.

Several other pioneer American breeders of the time took the occasion to stake out their individual territory in the Arabian horse scene. They each had their own horses to promote: The Randolph Huntington group, who wanted to breed larger, Mu’niqi-type horses, felt that theirs were the only worthwhile kind of Arabians, and they had a further ax to grind with Davenport, probably based on personal conflict between him and Randolph Huntington. Davenport had adversely caricatured Huntington’s relative and benefactor, Collis P. Huntington, in public newspaper cartoons, and had published an article which was unfavorable towards the Huntington horses.

Another breeder, Spencer Borden, was a major customer of Lady Anne and Wilfrid Blunt, from whose Crabbet stud he had imported most of his horses. Borden was an “establishment” sort of person who appears to have felt that he had bought his Arabians from the best Arabian stud in the world, and he did not take kindly to the notion that some newspaperman could go to Arabia and come back with real Arabian horses that were competitive with what he had bought in England. Typically, Borden remained in the background of controversy, but he was a strong and persistent influence against the establishment of the Davenport bloodlines in America.

With this explosive combination of personalities, American Arabian breeding became complicated. There were newspaper exchanges, challenges for competition, horse-show disputes, bitter letters. The Jockey Club and even the USDA and Congress became involved.

Final resolution began with the establishment of the Arabian Horse Club of America, but the influence of the controversy between those early breeders has continued over time, although, of course, weakened, which is appropriate for something of no substance to begin with.

Some of the arguments from those early days still turn up now and then, usually as snide remarks from one side or another. Thus Raswan published an article called “Blunt vs. Davenport Arabians.” Lady Wentworth (Judith Blunt Lytton) makes disparaging remarks about the Davenport horses. Even now, one of Lady Anne Blunt’s current biographers cannot write about the Davenport importation without negative asides that are contrary to her own written remarks to Davenport and others. Some breeding programs are even influenced on the basis of the arguments that started in 1906 and followed the continuity from Spencer Borden through W.R. Brown, Judith Lytton, H.H. Reese, and Reese’s ideological heirs.

Too bad. Homer Davenport and Lady Anne Blunt got along fine, and they seemed to be in good agreement about horses. Without “friends” to stir up trouble between them and between them and and others, they each had a contribution to make a beautiful breed of horse. This occurred despite all the unnecessary help. Many feel that both the Blunt and Davenport Arabian bloodlines reach their peak expressions of Arabian beauty when combined with each other, and the fact is that much of the best of the Blunt heritage is found primarily in combination with the bloodlines that Homer Davenport brought from Arabia in 1906.

That Nura Style

by Rick Synowski © 1995

from The CMK Record Spring 1995 XI/2: page 15

used by permission of Rick Synowski

That air of distinction which characterizes the ‘Crabbet type’ cannot easily be explained. Lady Anne Blunt called it ‘that indefinable thing style’, and Wilfrid Blunt spoke of the ‘almost electric thrill’ he experienced when he saw a really first-class horse.“(1)

GHAZIEH (Ibn Nura x Bint Horra) (Note: an Ali Pasha Sherif mare, not the Abbas Pasha desert import who founded the family to which belonged Helwa and Yemameh.) Not a brilliant photo, still this exemplifies the remarkable style of this breeding (NBGS)

The influence of the Ali Pasha Sherif line of NURA(2) has been obscured, not only by the passage of time, but by the fact that her name appears only in the middle of pedigrees. Mares which did not leave enduring dam lines, at least from a historical perspective, are less easily celebrated. A horse’s genetic influence is not necessarily less, because its name does not appear in the direct sire or dam line. NURA was an important mare to the Blunts, though it is not clear whether they ever saw her; there was something in her descendants which caught their eye. Ali Pasha Sherif too recognized the special quality of these horses as attested by the “one hoof of the Bint Nura” quote at the head of the lead article. NURA’s early descendants were notable for their style, bearing and finish — traits which have bred down in the two lines carried on from this mare at Crabbet.

IBN NURA was an aged stallion when purchased by the Blunts. He was described as a “magnificent horse…and style perfection.” Although in his 20s, he was much used at Sheykh Obeyd, until his son FEYSUL replaced him as head sire. Of FEYSUL’s sons IBN YASHMAK notably displayed the regal elegance of the line, though as a sire he would be outdone by FEYSUL’s British son RASIM, sire of RASEEM, RAZINA, *RIFLA, *FARASIN, NASHISHA and FASILA — all of importance for breeding on the NURA attributes.

BINT BINT NURA ES SHAKRA [BINT NURA GSB] was the sole NURA daughter purchased by the Blunts. Existing photos of the mare show beauty and great bearing. BINT NURA bred two important sons: MAHRUSS GSB by MAHRUSS, bred by Ali Pasha Sherif; and DAOUD by MESAOUD, bred by the Blunts.

DAOUD’s value was a point of controversy between the Blunts; his contribution was to be through his daughters. Of these NASRA would be come a grande dame of Crabbet, perhaps rivaled only by RISSLA. NASRA exuded finish and elegance, in photos reminiscent of her granddam BINT NURA. Unquestionably NASRA passed on the NURA style to her later Crabbet stamp. By this time Crabbet horses carried multiple crosses to NURA; such as INDIAN GOLD and FARIS were double BINT NURA, the first combining DAOUD with RIJM and the second a double grandson of the latter.

MAHRUSS left only one breeding son at Crabbet, RIJM; he also sired the American en utero import *IBN MAHRUSS. Lady Anne Blunt in her Journals regretted the lack of opportunity given MAHRUSS. The same source records how Wilfrid Blunt “remarked over and over again of RIJM,’that is a real show horse’.” Years later Lady Wentworth described the RIJM son *NASIK as “a magnificent horse…having style and quality in a superlative degree.” H.H.Reese, after *NASIK’s importation, called him a “made-to-order show horse.” *NASIK was used sparingly in England, perhaps overshadowed by his full brother *Nureddin II. *NASIK did sire the notable RAFEEF, whom Lady Wentworth credited with “magnificent style. Neck arched, tail in the air. Everyone wanted this horse.”

The NURA style breeds on notably from *Nureddin II through his son FARIS, remembered as “very showy” by Cecil Covey. FARIS sired RISSALIX and this showy quality was evident in the great RISSALIX sons MIKENO, BLUE DOMINO and *COUNT DORSAZ. The latter was described by a British sporting journalist as “that prince of dandies.”

We have come most to identify the founder influences in Crabbet pedigrees with MESAOUD, RODANIA, NEFISA; to a lesser extent QUEEN OF SHEBA and later, Skowronek. Yet horses like Abu Farwa, *SERAFIX, INDIAN MAGIC and Aurab would not have been what they were had NURA not been a presence in the middle of their pedigrees. This reminds us to seek out the less immediately obvious.


(1) Archer, Pearson & Covey. The Crabbet Arabian Stud, its history and influence. p. 225.

(2) “Nura” is used to refer to the Ali Pasha Sherif mare BINT NURA, daughter of the original Abbas Pasha NURA. The Ali Pasha Sherif BINT NURA is the dam of IBN NURA and of BINT BINT [Es Shakra], registered as BINT NURA GSB.

See also: The Banat Nura of Ali Pasha Sherif

Some Thoughts on Training and Showing Your Own Halter Horses

Some Thoughts on Training and Showing Your Own Halter Horses

Copyright by Rick Synowski 1993

from ARABIAN VISIONS May/Jun ’93

used by permission of Rick Synowski

I am among the multitude longing to see the return of the days when the majority of handlers in halter classes were owners rather than trainers. That is the way it was when I first started showing halter in 1962. Trainers would not necessarily be out of a job, but rather their role would change. It has always seemed to me odd that trainers themselves compete in horse shows whereas in other competitive sports trainers coach the competitors. What we now have, at least in the world of Class “A” shows, is a trainers’ competition, not a horse competition, especially in halter classes. Horsemanship has been replaced by “De Sade” methods of tormenting horses in order to achieve the petrified look which wins in today’s American show ring. The horses themselves are prepared by grooming and other methods to appear bizarre, even macabre. Sadly, it is amateurs too who mimic these “it’s-how-it’s-done” practices where insensitivity, if not outright abuse, is inflicted by their own hand on their own horses.

One either marches to a different drummer and sometimes lets the chips fall where they may in terms of winning, or one conforms. It is my experience you can win without conforming provided 1) your horse is very good and is expertly fitted and presented, 2) you have consistently put in long hours and meticulous care over months and years in fitting and training, and 3) you have done your homework in selecting a judge who will rate your horse knowledgeably and without prejudice. One insults one’s own horse to show under a poor or corrupt judge.

As an amateur-owner halter competitor, I believe showing can still be fun for you and for the horse. And you can facilitate a thrilling performance by the horse for the audience, whether the judge appears to appreciate it or not.

In my experience, certain horses demonstrate a natural halter attitude. These are the born show-offs. They tend to be “hot” and display an extra style and brilliance. Such a horse was *Nasik, imported to the Kellogg Ranch from Crabbet Stud, whom H.H.Reese described as “a real peacock” and “a made-to-order show horse.” These horses love to perform in front of an audience and they tend to be extroverts. This natural attitude is to be built upon and rewarded in halter training. Then one appeals not to the horse’s fear but to his vanity. I tend to select these kinds of horses to show at halter. Probably my prettiest mare is the most annoyed by halter training and showing. It was a real burden for her and not fun. But from the day she was born she never cared a whit about impressing anyone.

I begin halter training with a young horse by working a more experienced horse in the aisle in front of his stall. Horses, especially youngsters, do learn a lot by imitation. I have been amazed at how much a horse picks up this way. Normally I work my horses in front of their comrades, appealing again to the horse’s desire to show off or be shown off. Praise for ever-so-small right responses is loud and exaggerated; one might say I use applause as a reward. Sessions are brief — less than five minutes. Remember horses, like kids, have a low tolerance for tedious tasks. Bad days are allowed for without penalty or chastisement. I do not use a halter chain during training. I think this tends to sour horses. I prefer a short riding whip as a cue and sometimes as a reminder to pay attention. Some horses sour quickly with a whip, even lightly applied, and do best without it. If you are using the whip to discipline your horse during each session you are doing something very wrong and the whip is only making it worse. Likewise with the incessant jerking I see too often.

I train with the horse on firm ground rather than using the soft arena footing so the horse is not working against an uneven surface while he is learning. Lesson number one must be “whoa.” You cannot proceed until your horse has learned this. I let my young horses free-exercise prior to a halter session. It is much easier for them to focus and pay attention then. Concentration is hard work for youngsters, horse or human. Another cardinal rule: never back your horse into position. You may back him and then have him step forward into position. Also, I tend to be a visual thinker and it is natural for me to visualize what I am asking the horse to do. I know there is something to this in training horses. As far as positioning your horse’s legs, neck, and head: have someone evaluating your horse’s most flattering position, standing alongside your horse while you are at the front. Learn this position and train your horse toward it.

Equally important to training is conditioning. I do not believe there are shortcuts to the months of consistent, regular exercise program and proper horse management such as feeding, foot care, worming, and grooming to achieve a properly fit halter horse. In showing a youngster, one must also evaluate that individual’s stage of growth. If a young horse is slow to mature, small, or at an awkward stage, it is best to wait until he can be shown without the temporary handicap which time will change. I believe it is better to scratch and forfeit the entry fees than show when a horse cannot be at his best.

Training with these tips in mind, your horse should display a natural brilliance and sparkle in his eyes in contrast to the zombie expressions and contrived posturing which has become the norm. You may or may not win but you will be proud of your horse’s “good show” and there will be people in the audience who appreciate what they see.

  Web cmkarabians.com

Delightful as Companion and to Ride

Delightful as Companion and to Ride

 Copyright by Rick Synowski 1995

from ARABIAN VISIONS Sept/Oct ’95

used by permission of Rick Synowski

“The perfect union between horse and rider” is a state of being for which the true horseperson strives, and achieves momentarily, perhaps. Exhilarating moments difficult to describe unless you have been there. In these moments, described by someone as like having a wire between your brain and that of your horse, you are aware of your mount’s keen ability to know and understand you. You are aware of his delight to function in harmony with your thoughts, your will, and your emotions.

Perhaps beyond his other attributes, this is the unique quality possessed by the Arabian horse which has been passed on in varying degrees as the progenitor of light horse breeds. This attribute was valued above all others by the Bedouins.

In his article: “The Arabian Horse as Your Friend and Companion” (Western Horseman, November-December 1942), Carl Raswan writes in his inimitable style, “The gift of an intelligent spirit was bestowed upon the mare of Ishmael and an intuitive soul to dwell within her beautiful, strong and symmetrical body. Psychic powers of her animal spirit were gifts of God, but her conscious mind developed through her intimate human association.” Though Raswan’s poetic description seems archaic to contemporary readers, he did faithfully reflect the Bedouin sentiment.

Do we believe this about the Arabian horse, or do we account it as another one of many myths which have come to us from the desert? Do we believe the “scientific articles” appearing in various horse magazines and recently in U.S. News and World Report which ascribe only rudimentary intelligence to horses beyond unconscious responses to basic, instinctive drives? What we believe is critical because it determines how we train, handle, and manage our horses, and what we experience of them. It even determines how our horses respond to us, or maybe more accurately how they do not respond.

It may be an inconvenience to perceive the Arabian horse as a complex thinking, feeling creature with a capacity to experience in some way similar to our own, because it begs the question how our horses experience the circumstances we force on them. One would define abuse in terms of how one understands this mental capacity as well.

Like other traits, the Arabian’s mental/emotional capacity exists in various degrees and with differences which are specific to families and to individuals, and this based largely on inheritance. Within the breed one finds a wide range of personalities and intelligence. One should expect that different horses respond differently to various kinds of handling, training, and management. Perhaps this is why certain bloodlines are more popular than others with professional trainers given the methods of training, managing, and showing horses which have become the norm. Horses which possess the greater mental/emotional capacities may adapt less satisfactorily to these methods.

“[D]elightful as companion and to ride” was penned in her journals by Lady Anne Blunt following a June 4, 1891 ride on Sobha. This was one of several references she made to the intelligence of the Sobha line. Riding and companionship of her horses was doubtless to provide respite for Lady Anne Blunt from her life made tumultuous by conflict with and eventual estrangement from her family. What she noted was the capacity of these horses to provide for her that which people no longer did.

It is difficult to imagine any quality more valuable than that which Lady Anne Blunt describes in the Arabian horse. In the Selby Stud Catalogue published 1937, Roger Selby quotes, “But it is his fine disposition coupled with his great intelligence that have made the Arabian ‘a horse you can chum with, a real trustworthy pal, one that adapts himself to the moods and whims of his riders.” Yet today one can thumb through any of the breed journals without finding a single reference to these qualities. You can be left only with the conclusion that at least in “the industry” these qualities are passe’.

The Davenport desert import *Wadduda, noted by Davenport as having been “the favorite war mare of Hashem Bey” (Sheik of the Bishr Anazah Bedouins) was extolled for her “almost human brains” and like Sobha she passed this trait to her descendants. Her grandson Antez was credited by W.K. Kellogg for saving his life by staying “cool in a crisis.” Kellogg later returned the favor by making sure Antez had a permanent home to live out his last years. Pep, a great-grandson of *Wadduda, was trained as a trick horse for the Kellogg Sunday Shows. Pep apparently got bored with the routine and discovered his calling as a stand-up comedian muffing his cues and exasperating his trainer, sending his audience into hysterics. It was reported that after the performances when he was taken ’round the barn to be corrected he did his routine without a hitch.

I remember the surprising cleverness of my own first Arabian, a double great-grandson of Antez, which he displayed from the first day we brought him home. He was six months old and just off his mother when my father and I brought him home in the back of our pick-up truck. About halfway home the canvas cover, which was lashed over the side-panels, tore loose and began flapping violently in the wind, collapsing over the colt. I don’t know how far we drove before we noticed, but the colt stood calmly while we stopped and pulled the canvas off him.

The next year there were more incidents. One day our hired man came to the house to tell us how the colt was helping him put up a new fence. He explained that the colt would carry nails in his mouth from a keg near the barn over to where the man was nailing up rails. That year we took him to his first show. We had arrived the evening before our class and left our now yearling colt in a stall in the race barns at the fairgrounds. It was his first night away from home since we got him. When we returned several hours later “Antez,” which we called him, was missing from his stall. Unable to find him we found friends who had been there the whole evening. They took us to where Antez was now stalled and recounted his evening of mischief and adventure. Apparently he unlocked his door and let himself out of his stall. He then proceeded to go down the barn aisle and free other horses. Surprised in the act by the night watchman, Antez ran into an empty stall, standing as if totally innocent, amidst the melee of loose horses.

Fortunately, Antez outgrew his mischievousness and matured to become a fine riding horse and wonderful companion for 28 years. Maintaining a mind of his own, he was never one to be forced to do anything. But working together as a team he was willing and eager to put himself into any task from trail horse to English pleasure, dressage, jumping, and even herding cattle. Each thing he did with eye-catching style.

One hopes we can get beyond our Arabian-as-living-art phase. His physical beauty is just one dimension to be understood and valued. It was this physical beauty which caught the eyes of Westerners perhaps, but it was the beauty beyond the physical for which he was valued by the Bedouin. His conversable personality and companionable nature may be the finest assets he brings to the horsepersons of this day and age.

  Web cmkarabians.com

The “Mares at Grass:” A Photo of *Raseyn’s Second Dam

Copyright 1990 by MICHAEL BOWLING

used by permission of Michael Bowling

published in Arabian Visions Oct 1990

(left to right) RIADA, ROSE OF HIND, KIBLA, RISALA and KASIDA at Crabbet in 1913. (Photo from the Brown collection, courtesy Arabian Horse Owners’ Foundation.)

Those of us who study the historical Arabians are always looking to expand the range of knowledge: for foundation stock there’s documentation of origin to pursue; one always hopes they and their progeny might have been the subject of a contemporary photograph or written comment which has been preserved. Some of us particularly value photos as an aid to making the old horses more “real,” even though we are well aware that interpreting such photos may be fraught with danger. As frustrating a situation as we can find ourselves in, is having an old photo of Arabian horses in which individuals are not identified. Fortunately, when a photo’s provenance is clearly established, there are sources of information with which to compare its images.

There are many such photos to work with, within the Crabbet canon alone; this discussion will center on one which Lady Wentworth used on page 27 of her 1924 Crabbet Stud Catalogue, and captioned, “Mares at Grass.” As luck would have it, there is an original Rouch print of this photo in the Brown collection at the Arabian Horse Owner’s Foundation, presumably one of the items W.R. Brown recieved from Spencer Borden when he bought out Borden’s Interlachen Stud. The Brown print is labeled “Arab mares at Crabbet – 1913” in what appears to be Lady Anne Blunt’s handwriting: Spencer Borden corresponded extensively with Lady Anne. This original print is of course much clearer and sharper than the reproduction in the Catalogue. The photo, which accompanies this article, shows five mares without foals; one group of four is in the foreground, two of them facing the camera and two looking away; a fifth is some distance behind them to the right.

One obvious resource for identifying horses in old photos, is to ask someone who might have been there at the time. I had the good fortune to be present nearly 13 years ago, when the late Lady Anne Lytton identified the foreground mares as Riada, Rose of Hind, Kibla and Risala. Either Lady Anne did not identify the mare on the right, or I did not remember the identification long enough to make a note of it.

The mares are in slick coat and at least four of them are in high condition; they are swishing flies, the trees are in full leaf and the pasture fairly short, all suggesting mid to late summer as the time the photo was taken. The foreground mares all appear to be in the prime of life, while the mare at the right is down in the back, has a big left knee and, under magnification, shows possible scars on her left cheek and point of hip. The mark on the cheek is ambiguous and may be a flaw in the negative, though it seems a lot to ask that such a flaw should accidentally fall in this position.

This photo clearly seems to show a group of dry mares on pasture in the summer of 1913; none of the mares named by Lady Anne Lytton has a 1913 foal in The General Stud Book (GSB). Known photos of Rose of Hind and Risala are consistent with the markings visible on the two mares facing away from the camera, and this pose of head and neck seems to be characteristic of Risala in other pictures. It is more difficult to be certain about a grey mare; Balis, Belkis and Bukra all were Crabbet (as opposed to Newbuildings) mares of the appropriate vintage, and all were barren in 1913. As a first approximation, I see no reason not to think Lady Anne had it right, and a photo of Kibla as a yearling seems consistent with this judgement, in terms of the general shape of her face and the distinctive cut of her nostrils.

The most interesting identification, from a historical standpoint, is that of the mare on the left as Riada. That 1904 brown daughter of Mesaoud and Rosemary had been Lady Anne Lytton’s favorite riding horse as a girl at Crabbet; the mare died of twisted gut in 1920 at age 16, and bred on into modern pedigrees through just one offspring, but that was Rayya by Rustem. Riada, in other words, was second dam of the internationally influential Kellogg sire *Raseyn, and this is her only known photo. Lady Anne certainly should have been able to recognize her favorite mare; if any confirmation be needed, Riada’s markings as recorded in Lady Anne Blunt’s manuscript studbook are, “near fore foot, narrow blaze like prolonged star, & spot between nostrils.” That fits this dark mare to a “T.”

That leaves the mare in the background. Comparing the original print with the version in the Catalogue suggests that, for publication, Lady Wentworth retouched the scarred cheek to show a white marking running up from under the mare’s chin. This apparent marking confuses the issue, as it calls to mind the distinctive face marking of Amida, and suggests that this mare might have been her dam Ajramieh, described by Lady Anne Blunt as having a “blaze all over muzzle.” Ajramieh would have been at Newbuildings in 1913 (this was during the partition phase of the Crabbet story), and furthermore possessed leg markings which should have been visible here. Peter Upton recently published a photo of Ajramieh (Arab Horse Society News. Winter 1989), which shows a different mare from this one, and confirms her leg markings.

I listed the Crabbet Stud’s producing mares in GSB between 1906-1916, just to get a base to start from; GSB does not distinguish between Crabbet and Newbuildings, but one can judge which half a mare was in by the sires to which she was bred. One way and another (the other candidates died, were sold, or disappeared from GSB before 1913; or their known markings don’t fit), the choices narrowed down to Abla, Betina, Kantara, Kasida, and Rahma. Abla, Kantara and Kasida all qualify on markings; the other two I can’t find markings on. All but one of these were producing to Newbuildings sires around this time, so were unlikely to have been photographed at Crabbet. Betina and Rahma were a generation or so younger than the rest of our group; Kantara and Abla would have been 12 and 14 in 1913, which would have made them roughly the same age as Kibla and Risala, while our subject is clearly an older mare. Further, Kantara has a 1913 foal in GSB, so would not have been running out with the dry mares even if she had been at Crabbet.

Kasida was definitely a Crabbet mare, and in fact was one of Lady Anne Blunt’s personal favorites. She would have been 20 when photographed here, and according to Peter Upton (The Arab Horse, p. 147) “aged before her time… was shot September 12, 1913.” There is a look of other Kasida photos in this mare, about the eyes and in the awkward conformation. I sent an enlarged copy photo to the Baker Street Irregular, R. J. Cadranell, who pointed out the “pale mane” referred to in Kasida’s published description and visible in her other photos. Based on this and other resemblances to known Kasida photos, and on his reconstruction of Crabbet history, he wrote “I’ve convinced myself that the mare in the photo you sent could not be other then Kasida.”

Thus it is possible, by combining sources, to go from “Mares at Grass” to a photographic record of Riada (Mesaoud x Rosemary), age 9; Rose of Hind (Rejeb x Rose Diamond), age 11; Kibla (Mesaoud x Makbula II) and Risala (Mesaoud x Ridaa), both 13; and Kasida (Nasr I x Makbula II), age 20. All five of these mares are widely represented in modern pedigrees and their photo should be of great interest to many students of the breed.


  1. Crabbet Stud Catalogue, 1924.
  2. W.R.Brown photo collection, in possession of the Arabian Horse Owners’ Foundation
  3. Personal communication from Lady Anne Lytton, daughter of Lady Wentworth, and granddaughter of Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt.
  4. Notes from Lady Anne Blunt’s manuscript studbook.
  5. Breeding records published in The General Stud Book (GSB)
  6. “‘Worth a King’s Ransom’ — Queen of Sheba,” by Peter Upton (Arab Horse Society News No. 73, Winter 1989).
  7. The Arab Horse, by Peter Upton (Crowood Press 1989).