Tag Archives: Wentworth

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.

*Mirage 790: Lady Wentworth’s Loss Was Roger Selby’s Gain

by Michael Bowling © 1989; used by permission

from The CMK Record VIII/3 1989

*MIRAGE at Crabbet in 1923 or ’24. Photo courtesy Rosemary Archer.

From the 1924 Crabbet Stud Catalogue:

“Mirage. Lady Wentworth has also at Crabbet a very fine white stallion imported by King Faisal of Irak from the Denednasha tribe, to whom he paid £500 for the horse through General Haddad Pasha, who identified the horse and his history in 1922. He is a Kehilan Ajuz of the Denednasha nejd strain, but will not be incorporated in the Crabbet Stud until King Faisal’s signature has been obtained.”

From The Crabbet Arabian Stud: its history and influence by Archer, Pearson and Covey: p. 108

“Mirage. A Seglawi Jedran Dalia. White stallion bred by the Anazeh tribe. Exact date of birth unknown….The Crabbet records indicate it was about 1916. Brought by King Faisal of Irak to France and presented to the Italian Ambassador Signor de Martino and brought by him to England. Bought at Tattersalls 1923. Sire: a Seglawi Jedran. Dam: a Seglawieh Dalia. Sold to the USA 1930.”

p. 182 “[Roger Selby’s] main purchase in 1930 was Mirage, an imported grey stallion of the Seglawi Jedran Dalia strain. Lady Wentworth described him as ‘a very showy good horse. Excellent legs, splendid quarters and fine front. Very good in saddle but too bouncing for English taste as he gets English riders off.’ But this was not the reason Mirage was sold. Weatherbys had by now closed their Stud Book to new imports and although Lady Wentworth tried to persuade them to accept Mirage, she was unsuccessful and therefore had no option but to sell him.”

p. 220 “Another stallion I [Cecil Covey] remember was Mirage, a very quiet horse to handle but as soon as you mounted him he became a different animal, full of fire and verve. When we were visited by King Fuad of Egypt, I was detailed to meet his convoy of cars at the gate of Crabbet Park and to escort them down the drive mounted on Mirage. We must have put on a spectacular display as Mirage hated combustion engines and gave me a most awkward ride. When ridden he carried his head and tail high and had a very short gait which took a while to get used to. But once mastered he was exhilarating.”

From Al Khamsa Arabians: p. 76

“Mirage. 1919 grey stallion, sire a Kuhaylan-Ajuz of the Anazah, dam a Saklawiyah-Jidraniyah of the Dal’al family, bred by the Saba, imported in 1921 to Iraq for King Faisal.” “*Mirage’s date of birth is given as 1909 in Vol IV of the Arabian Horse Registry stud books, but this is corrected in Vol V. … The Arabic document in *Mirage’s case is from the Royal Stables at Bagdad, sealed by El Mahasshami, Director. It confirms his strain, the strain of his sire, and his breeder.”

*MIRAGE could scarcely have been more highly esteemed in his day, and he played a central role in Selby breeding, perhaps the most influential single program in the breed’s post-World War II development in North America. *MIRAGE and his sons achieved the very highest regard as sires of mares for the all-conquering *Raffles horses. When styles changed and the Selby stock came to appear more often in the female lines of outcross pedigrees, *MIRAGE was increasingly diluted, although his name still appears with surprising frequency as an ancestor, whether of CMK Arabians or those of mixed sources. In recent years the *MIRAGE influence has entered a new phase and become increasingly prominent in tail male; his must now be the most internationally successful of all the pre-1960 North American sire lines–and one of very few of that vintage not only to hold its own against more recent imports but rapidly to increase its standing. Few sire lines in the breed can ever have equalled the explosive expansion experienced by that of *MIRAGE since 1980.

The beautifully produced 1936 Catalogue of the Selby Stud described *MIRAGE as a pure white 14:2-hand, 1000 pound “Seglawi Jedran of Dalia, the most prized of the Seglawi strains,” foaled in 1909, and indicated he was “three gaited, sound, most gentle and lovable.” According to this source *MIRAGE was champion at the 1926 Richmond Royal Show in England, and also champion at the 1934 National Arabian Show at Nashville, Tennessee. The Selby management clearly believed the 1909 foaling date to be correct, for much was made of the vigor of *MIRAGE, that “he shows none of the characteristics of advanced age” and that his 1934 championship “at the age of 25, [was] a most unique honor for a horse of such remarkable age.” Similar comments on *MIRAGE’s vigor for his age were made by Margaret Lindsley Warden in The Horse, Sept-Oct 1934, and reprinted in The Journal of the Arab Horse Society for 1935. Warden also called *MIRAGE “wonderful” and said he was

“now rated by many experts as the most perfect specimen of the ancient êlite or classic type in America…He stands a scant 14:2, a sturdy model with the characteristic refinements of the best of his breed. His head is a glory and his great eyes express high but gentle spirit and gracious personality.”

General Dickenson of Traveler’s Rest, contributing a review of US Arab horse activities to the 1936 number of the same British annual, wrote that

“Selby Stud has continued to breed very intensely from the imported foundation stock, using MIRAGE as a sire the past season, not only because of his fine type, but because he is past twenty-five years of age and at best they cannot hope to have him many more years.”

The Selby catalogue records that *MIRAGE was chosen from his desert breeder as “a young colt” for King Faisal of Iraq by a General Haddad, and that Chefik Bey Haddad, son of the General, visited the Stud to spend

“many hours in the corral with the Stallion, and Mirage seemed to recognize him, even though some time had elapsed since he had last seen him. The Bey stated that he had frequently visited the horse while in England, after he passed out of King Faisal’s possession.”

This seemingly direct connection with *MIRAGE’s early years make it somewhat difficult to understand how an error of ten years in the horse’s foaling date could have persisted. On the other hand, one could picture that while comment might be made to Chefik Bey Haddad that *MIRAGE “looks well for his age,” the question of precisely what that age was might not come up in so many words.

*MIRAGE was not registered in England; the General Stud Book was closed to new imports and Lady Wentworth at that period refused to recognize the authority of the Arab Horse Society. The Iraqi certificate of *MIRAGE’s origin, reproduced in the Selby catalogue, is dated 1927. It is interesting to note that at the time he won his 1926 Richmond Royal championship *MIRAGE apparently was not only unregistered but quite undocumented.

Either Chefik Bey Haddad or Carl Raswan might have provided that “most prized” designation for the unfamiliar Seglawi substrain of Dalia. It is well to remember that particular strains and substrains passed in and out of fashion according to the exploits of individual war mares, and that a “most prized” substrain in one tribe or region might be of no special note, or nonexistent, in another. Lady Wentworth, in that monumental tome Thoroughbred Racing Stock and its Ancestors, provides another reference to Seglawi Dalia. She records that

“Lady Anne Blunt made careful enquiries over a number of years [as to the origins of the Darley Arabian and that] Sheykh Mijuel … said mares had gone from Central Arabia at one time, and others later, and stallions from his own tribe. He had heard talk of a Managhieh mare and some colts of that strain, a grey and a bay, purchased by an Englishman at Aleppo. One colt, which was left apparently some time after purchase with the tribe, went by the name of the Managhi Daali (Darley’s Managhi)…before leaving the tribe the colt sired a well-known filly which was known as the ‘Daalieh’ or ‘Daralieh.’ Possibly the modern strain Dalia, still existing, may have some connection with this. There is a strain of Seglawi Dalia with the the Anazeh which may be descended from the Seglawieh mare with ‘Darley’ attached, according to custom.”

Since we are not told that the “Daalieh” was not a Seglawieh, it seems at least plausible that she herself may have founded the Dalia substrain of Seglawi Jedran; it is therefore within the realm of speculation that the Darley Arabian, renowned as a Thoroughbred foundation sire, might still have Arabian descent through *MIRAGE. Had Lady Wentworth been able to register the horse in GSB or chosen to use him at Crabbet as a single-registered sire she might herself have made more of this possibility, but at the time of this writing *MIRAGE was already in Ohio.

There is no record of British foals by *MIRAGE though it seems strange that he should have been seven years at Crabbet, presumably with the idea of providing a potential outcross to the existing lines of the Stud, without so much as being tried on a pony mare. [Note added in 2005: it is now clear that the breedings credited in GSB to “Miraze” actually reflect the use of *Mirage]. In the early years of the Selby Stud crossbred matings appear for some reason to have been done more often with the Arab mares than with the sires; at any rate despite those recorded efforts to make full use of *MIRAGE while he still was available, he got just 26 registered Arab foals from 1932 through 1940. He leaves descent through all but four of them, a remarkably high success rate for any sire, again indicating the regard in which he was held by breeders of his day. Three of the four nonstarters died young; according to Arlene Magid’s *MIRAGE feature in The Crabbet Influence (Nov-Dec ’89), one of them drowned and two were struck by lightning. The only *MIRAGE gelding was his 1935 son BATU and ever since learning that the original of that name was an heir of the rampageous Mongol leader Genghis Khan I’ve wondered what the young BATU’s disposition might have been like.

The 1932 *MIRAGE crop consisted of one grey filly PERAGA, out of the “old American” mare SLIPPER (Yima x Sabot) and bred by Selby. PERAGA produced in Tennessee, California and Missouri and has descent through six of her ten foals; her daughters TABITHA, KATINKA and MARAGA all founded substantial branches of the BASILISK family. PERAGA’s sister of 1933, PERA, produced 6 foals and has descent through 4 of them.

The other 1933 *MIRAGE foal of record proved the most important of them all, for he was the dynamic little dark chestnut IMAGE out of *RIFALA (Skowronek x Rissla), destined to succeed his sire at the head of the Selby Stud. IMAGE had his first foals in 1939 while he was still competing for mares with *MIRAGE; he might have stopped with those and still have left an important legacy, for they grew to be the elegant and dynastic chestnut matrons IMAGIDA, dam of RAFFI and IMARAFF and foundress of a superior mare line; and DEVA, the most influential mare at Never Die Farm in Maryland. In fact IMAGE was credited with 70 more foals over 20 seasons and 54 of them left descent. The word “credited” is used advisedly, because there were four grey foals registered to the chestnut IMAGE from non-grey mares. One of these, the 1940 colt NISIM, is not counted among the 72 for his sire of record was changed to *Raffles, but the other three remain recorded impossibly as grey products of matings without a grey parent. (One is certainly grey in her photos; both the others sired grey foals from chestnut mares.)

ARABI KABIR 2379 (Image x *Kareyma) photo courtesy Linda Paich

PENNE, KHYMAE, IMNA, TALEH, NABIMA, MAATIGA, NIMA, SEBBA, IMCHA, SANGE, PAMELA, EL HACENE, ALIMA, and IMABIMA are perhaps the most noted of the younger IMAGE daughters in pedigrees; the IMAGE influence through mares has been incalculable. As show horses and sires PHANTOM, SARAB AL SAHRA, SELMAGE, DEVACHON, ARABI KABIR, RAFLAGE, MIRAZ, DESMOIN, IMAGIN, SHARRAK, EL MOTELA, IMAGINATION, RAMINAGE, GEYIMAGE, GAGE and ZELIMAGE were among the IMAGE stallions to achieve note. *RIFALA’s inbred son PHANTOM was a sire of distinctive style whose elegant curve of neck still can be recognized in his descendants but there is no question that the most prominent branch of the direct *MIRAGE male line today springs from ARABI KABIR. That showy chestnut son of the China doll *KAREYMA (Naseem x Julnar by *Abu Zeyd) got 52 foals, stationed first in California but gaining renown in the Northwest when promoted to head sire of the Silva program. ARABI KABIR’s sons ERRABI and RABAAR sired the national champion stallion and mare BAY-ABI and RAHBANA, and his daughters including notably INEZ, ZABIRA, IRAYIS, ABARAYIS, WANDA and LADIRAH were champion producers or founded important families. BAY-ABI became the leading sire of the *MIRAGE line; the record of BAY-EL-BEY has latterly far surpassed that of the other BAY-ABI sons and he himself has been replaced in turn by his sons, most prominently BEY SHAH, BARBARY, and HUCKLEBERRY BAY (triple *MIRAGE and double *KAREYMA).

1934 brought *MIRAGE two lesser but worthy sons and a prominent daughter in the persons of NAMIR, INDRAGE and RAGALA, all out of imported Crabbet mares. Dr. Septimus Thompson took to Ontario the Selby imports *JERAMA and *NAMILLA, both of the rare MAKBULA family in which the Selby Stud had achieved a near-monopoly by importing the KIBLA descendants *NAMILLA (*Nureddin II x Nejmia), *KAREYMA, *KIYAMA (Rafeef x Julnar) and the latter mare’s filly *JERAMA by JERUAN. *NAMILLA went to Canada with her grey son NAMIR at side; NAMIR got 18 foals and bred on through half of them. The only Canadian descent from NAMIR was via his son NARAMA, from *JERAMA, sire of five foals. Later in Nebraska NAMIR did better for himself, getting the familiar matrons MIRZALNA, KOMIR (that beautiful chestnut *SULEJMAN stallion KOMSUL heads up her line), MIREEBAH and CYNKIR and the lightly-used sires NAJA and NARAH among his 15 foals from 1950-54.

INDRAGE 1088 (*Mirage x Indaia) photo courtesy Craver Farms

The RASEEM/NISREEN mare *INDAIA’s handsome bay son INDRAGE was to get 55 foals, mostly during his tenure as head sire for C.A.West in Pennsylvania. INDRAGE was another noted sire of mares, with the likes of WASEIDA, WAZVAND, WAFADI, KOREEN, WANDRA, REISINDE, MIRABA, RASEEMA, and KATAWBA (his last foaled when he was 21, though he lived to be 34) on his list. One INDRAGE son does not much stand out from another in terms of influence but WARAJE, the improbably named EL PASHA OF HIGHVIEW and KENTHELMARG’S SHEIK, RAHAGE, IFRIT ABYAD, and the reserve East Coast Champion MIRLINDRAFF are among those seen in pedigrees. INDRAGE get, including many of those above plus such as INDKERAGE and SKOWROMIR, made notable riding horses.

The first of the great *MIRAGE mares was IMAGE’s grey 1934 sister RAGALA, dam of 16 foals with descent through 11 of them. Hers was predominantly a mare-line influence; three of her sons were used for breeding but only one of those sources persisted. The 10 RAGALA daughters produced up to 18 foals apiece, averaging 11.4 even though one of them managed only three. *RIFALA’s only daughter amply furnished her branch of the RISSLA family. RAGALA was much the most important foundation mare for the famed Bear Claw Ranch program of Mrs. Jeannette Cox Morill in Wyoming; those RAGALA daughters, without extending the lines further, included such noted matrons as RAZIKA, MISTY MOON, BOIS DU ROSE, ARIANA, ADASTRA, NEFERTITI, BINT RAGALA, LAKSHMI and LALLA KADIJA.

SLIPPER’s gelding son BATU was the best *MIRAGE could do in 1935 but the ’36 crop brought five foals, again all from Crabbet mares; besides RAGIN, the ill-fated brother to INDRAGE, there were ROMIRA, RIFAGE, AGWE and RAGEYMA. The *ROSE OF FRANCE (*Raswan x Jalila) daughter ROMIRA produced four fillies, all “straight Selby” by pedigree though none were bred there, and all represented in pedigrees today. The *Raffles daughter RAFFIRA with 8 foals was the most prolific; her sister MIRAFF produced only one but that was the classy show horse NARZAD who also got a few foals, with successful individuals among them.

RIFAGE 1286 (*Mirage x *Rifala) photo courtesy Nyla Eshelman

The third of the *MIRAGE/*RIFALA siblings, the grey RIFAGE, went to Colorado as a youngster and lived into his 30s as the head sire of the Van Vleet program. RIFAGE left 102 registered foals including a wealth of daughters headed by the national champion mare ROMINNA and a particularly lovely early top ten winner SHIHADA. The most prominent RIFAGE son in pedigrees must be the Gainey sire GAYSAR who got the mare sire GALIMAR and the versatile show horses SKORAGE, double-*MIRAGE full brothers out of RAGEYMA. AGWE, the *MIRAGE son from the scopey arched-necked bay *HILWE (Najib x Hafra), sired just seven registered foals in his South Carolina career through age 16; five of the seven were from the Brown Egyptian import *RODA, and four of those still represent AGWE in pedigrees. The handsome eldest brother APOLLO got 36 foals and the imposing junior partner JASPRE sired 64, while their sister WEDA numbered such good mares as AZEDA by AZRAFF and RAFFWE by RAFFEY among her eight offspring. The success of these family members is only prologue to the story of RODETTA who was exported to Cuba but not before she had produced the Field and Al-Marah foundation mares CASSANDRA and ROSE MARIE, two of the most renowned and impressive of the *Raffles daughters.

The first *MIRAGE chestnut and the second of his great daughters was foaled by *KAREYMA: RAGEYMA, dam of 11 foals with descent through 10. She began with the grey colt GEYM; as the only *Raffles son out of a *MIRAGE daughter to reach maturity, GEYM was inevitably a head sire at the Selby Stud and then in the successor program of Friendship Farms in Illinois. GEYM lived into his 30s and sired 138 foals. At Selby’s as the IMAGE daughters came to maturity they went to the court of GEYM, and while IMAGE lived his grandaughers from this generation were crossed back to him. At Friendship GEYM encountered a somewhat wider set of mares and his daughters made the acquaintance of *NIZZAM. GEYM’s sister GAJALA was a key foundress in the Gainey program; their half-brothers GALIMAR and SKORAGE have been mentioned, and those two had a prolific full sister in GAGEYMA. FA-EL-GEMAR by *FADL, GARAK by AZRAK, GALLANT by PHANTOM, GAYFERRA by FERZON and VIA by GARAFF rounded out the RAGEYMA breeding roster.

RIFALA’S LAMI 8391 (Geym x Maatiga by Image) photo from the Cummings collection

RASAGE, RAGIA, GEYAMA and (in Canada) MIRILLA were the 1937 *MIRAGE offspring, once again all from Selby Crabbet mares. The chestnut RASAGE from *RASMINA (Shareer x Jalila) was another sold first to California but even more than ARABI KABIR found his niche in the Northwest, where he left such daughters as NIRAGE, AMORET, FILLAREE, RONDI, RASYL, RASAGE’S QUEEN OF SHEBA and RASAGE’S GARDEN OF EDEN. RASAGE was back in California to leave a last crop in 1961. His son DALLAL ABU RASAGE had a colorful career; shipped to Hawaii en utero he made an all-around performance horse, and DALLAL too returned to California to sire a few foals as an older stallion. RAGIA, the grey sister to INDRAGE, was one of the mares Roger Selby donated to the US Remount; she produced two fillies by KATAR and both have bred on, with her granddaughter AL-MARAH BINT AIGRETTE perhaps the most successful for the line. GEYAMA, a three-quarters sister to RAGEYMA out of *KIYAMA (Rafeef x Julnar), produced eight foals, most of them for Comar Arabians in Iowa. She bred on through her daughters AMULET, MIRAGETTE, MIRAGEY, all by IBN MIRAGE, and AL-MARAH GENNA by INDRAFF. AMULET and MIRAGEY produced by AL-MARAH IBN INDRAFF the blood-sisters ROSE OF MIRAGE and VEISHEA, dams by AZRAFF of the blood-brother show horses and sires COMAR BAY BEAU and CAMIRAFF.

Dr. Thompson’s (and *NAMILLA’s) second *MIRAGE foal, the filly MIRILLA, was to produce eight foals in Canada and Washington. One of her sons by the Maynesboro stallion GHASIK had two breeding daughters while her three daughters by ROYAL FEZ and one by ABU BAHA gave her 20 grandchildren. The least prolific of the ROYAL FEZ sisters, bred to ABU BAHA in her turn, produced FEZABBI to whose family belongs the glamourous show horse and sire SHABAOUD.

*KAREYMA and *KIYAMA produced again to *MIRAGE in 1938. *KAREYMA’s filly was one of those struck by lightning, but the *KIYAMA colt YAMAGE went to Florida where he sired five foals through 1949 and bred on through three of them. *MIRAGE had his biggest crop of seven foals in 1939, five of them from outside mares. W.C.Shuey sent the double *BERK granddaughter CURFA (Ribal x Nardina) and RIHANI (*Saoud x *Muha) from North Carolina to produce the grey colt ADONIS and bay filly JOHARAH. ADONIS was sold to Montana where he got 24 foals including such producing mares as NEJD BANOU, UR ARABAH, ABA-EL-RIEL, UM EL SURAB, BINT SABA, NEJD KAMIL, UR OKAI, NEJD KUSOF, NEJD BENAYA and NAMIRADA, and RAKKA who sired the important mare KHAMMA of Hillcrest Stud. ADONIS mares were producers for the early Kale and Lasma programs.

A very young JOHARAH (*Mirage x Rihani)

JOHARAH produced 11 foals, all but two of them for the Shueys at Sunny Acres, and is in pedigrees through six. JOHARAH’s first three were all by *Raffles; the colt SHUEYMAN died young and his sister MY GYPSY ROSE left no descent though she had three registered foals. This nick still is accounted one of the most successful in history, for the eldest sister was the elegant if oddly-named chestnut MY BONNIE NYLON, already mentioned under the IBN HANAD heading in the HANAD story (Record VII/4) and one of the key mares in the success of the Sunny Acres program. JOHARAH never produced another MY BONNIE NYLON (few mares manage one in that class) but she had good breeding offspring by GEYM, TUT ANKH AMEN and IBN HANAD at Sunny Acres, and also has descent through her last foal MALIK EL HAWA from her days in the less equable clime of Massachusetts.

The sires of CURFA and RIHANI each had an Ohio-owned daughter producing by *MIRAGE in 1939. ADONIS’s three-quarters sister was the grey KAE out of KETURAH (Ribal x Aatika), bred by L.N.Brutus; KAE produced first for R.J.Geimer of California and Texas and then became an early Al-Marah matron, giving six INDRAFF foals beginning with the great cutting mare AL-MARAH ZAIBAQ, dam of 11 foals including OVERLOOK FARWA by Abu Farwa. The next sister FAE died foaling in 1960, leaving six registered foals, but these included IBN JULEP, FAESAN and LA FAESANA. AL-MARAH KETIR also produced 11 foals including the lovely if hiccup-like about the name HHIK. SHIRIK was a noted show horse who rather surprisingly got only 30 foals but numbers good producing mares among them; AL-MARAH KAIDAR was less lucky as he sired two foals but neither of them bred. The youngest sister TRAKILA produced 10 foals. KAE ended her career in South Carolina and left two breeding double-*MIRAGE offspring by AGWE’s son APOLLO.

RASMIR 3071 (*Mirage x Rasasah) in old age photo courtesy Linda Paich

RASMIR was a grey three-quarters brother to JOHARAH, out of L.P.Bailey’s RASASAH (*Saoud x Aatika) who was to cross so successfully with *Raffles. RASMIR was not registered until he was five years old; he became a working stock horse in Texas, owned at the end of his life by the Kuhlmans of Rancho Llano Grande. RASMIR sired three colts; his first son, the bay KARAGE, made a great using gelding after he sired two fillies from the beautiful ANTEZ granddaughter TEZEYNA. One of the KARAGE daughters produced 15 foals and carried on the RASMIR influence. Her name was KAREYN and she numbered among her produce some of the top show horses of the ’70s including MINDY KAR by IZKAR and a string of notables by KIMFA. The KAREYN family includes halter show horses, top performers and breeding animals but unquestionably is headed by the sheerly beautiful KIMFA daughter KIMEYN, a great show mare of her day and now an international pedigree influence. The fifth outside mare to produce by *MIRAGE in 1939 was C.J.Brukner’s Davenport plus Domow chestnut CHARMAIN (Abu-Selim x Aatika) who produced the grey filly KYMIR, dam of one foal. This was the bay double *MIRAGE grandson MERJAN by IMAGE, sire of 14 Arab foals but probably more noted as a sire of partbreds. (Another AATIKA daughter played a major role in developing the *MIRAGE legacy: AL-MAATIKA by *AL-MASHOOR produced the important IMAGE mares MAATIGA and ALIMA.)

Two Selby Crabbet mares produced grey *MIRAGE colts in 1939. IDOL out of *SELMNAB got 40 foals through 1965, of which the striking chestnut action champion LIDOL must be the most noted. IDOL’s sons FAYZ and SHAHZADOL also are encountered in pedigrees. IBN MIRAGE, full brother to RAGEYMA, replaced RAGIN at Comar Arabians in Iowa and got 54 foals, playing a central role in linebreeding *MIRAGE and the JULNAR influence and then providing mares to cross with AZRAFF. IBN MIRAGE and his double *KAREYMA son MIRFEY are still recognizable sources of the KAREYMA stamp in modern Arabians, and an earlier son HIMALAYA is a widespread influence.

*MIRAGE died in 1939, leaving *KAREYMA in foal once again for 1940. She produced the grey filly KARAGA who with her older sister KAREYGA was struck by lightning and killed in 1941. Given the success of their full siblings RAGEYMA and IBN MIRAGE, that lightning bolt might have halved this story.

Descent table *MIRAGE 790: registered offspring
name reg# color sex year foaled (dam) breeder state (number of foals/number with offspring) [“//” – no offspring]
Peraga 910 gr f 32 (Slipper 442) Selby OH (10/6)
Pera 1107 gr f 33 (Slipper) same (6/4)
Image 1008 ch c 33 (*Rifala 815) same (72/54)
Namir 1056 gr c 34 (*Namilla 855) same (18/9)
Indrage 1088 b c 34 (*Indaia 813) same (55)
Ragala 1091 gr f 34 (*Rifala) same (16/11)
Batu 1116 b/gr g 35 (Slipper) same //
Ragin 1284 gr c 36 (*Indaia) same //
Romira 1285 gr f 36 (*Rose of France 857) same (4/4)
Rifage 1286 gr c 36 (*Rifala) same (102)
Agwe 1287 ch/gr c 36 (*Hilwe 810) same (7/4)
Rageyma 1289 ch f 36 (*Kareyma 811) same (11/10)
Rasage 1374 ch c 37 (*Rasmina 856) same (40/26)
Ragia 1375 gr f 37 (*Indaia) same (2/2)
Geyama 1376 ch f 37 (*Kiyama 809) same (8/4)
Mirilla 1437 gr f 37 (*Namilla) Thompson Ontario (8/5)
Kareyga 1579 gr f 38 (*Kareyma) Selby OH //
Yamage 1581 gr c 38 (*Kiyama) same (5/3)
Adonis 1619 ch/gr c 39 (Curfa 1019) Shuey NC (24)
Joharah 1620 b/gr f 39 (Rihani 1015) Shuey NC (11/6)
Kae 1748 gr/rn f 39 (Keturah 945) Brutus OH (10/7)
Idol 1762 gr c 39 (*Selmnab 812) Selby OH (40)
Ibn Mirage 1763 gr c 39 (*Kareyma) same (54)
Kymir 2455 gr f 39 (Charmain 860) Brukner OH (1/1)
Rasmir 3071 gr c 39 (Rasasah 1141) Bailey OH (3/1)
Karaga 1943 gr/w f 40 (*Kareyma) Selby OH //

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.

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.

Van Vleet’s Arabian Laboratory

by Bob O’Shaughnessy

(Western Horseman Mar/Apr’44)

High in the Rockies near Boulder, Colorado—8,600 feet up, to be exact—Lynn W. Van Vleet has established a Stock Horse “laboratory” that has drawn the interest and admiration of horse breeders everywhere.

Feeling the need for better Stock Horses—horses with the necessary stamina for working the range at high attitudes, Van Vleet turned to the horse whose courage and powers of endurance have been on record for more than four thousand years, the Arabian.

There are no pampered equine prima donnas in the Van Vleet Arabian stud at the Lazy VV Ranch. On the rough, rocky trails of this gigantic western “spread,” cowboys astride purebred, registered Arabians drive cattle to the highlands.

Transplanted from the hot and dry deserts of Arabia to the cool, glacier-scarred slopes of the Rockies, Van Vleet’s Arabians outshine the western horse of frontier fame, on his own roping grounds.

“And why not?” asks Van Vleet. “The Arabian horse is a tough, hardy, close-coupled horse who can adapt himself to any condition and any situation. It was the Arabian, you know, who was the ancestor of the western cow pony. America had no horses until the Spaniards and the Mexicans brought them here, and they were mostly of Arabian blood. Those horses which escaped from these early expeditions, into the wilderness of the great unexplored New World, founded the Indian pony herds. And those herds, in turn, produced some of our greatest cowponies.”

Van Vleet started in 1938 stocking his Hereford cattle ranch with a pool of some of the finest Arabian blood obtainable. He had studied the Arabian and was intrigued by its history. It was not long after the first of these horses arrived in their new mountain home that he decided there were to be no pampered darlings among them.

“Primarily, the Arab is valuable because of his blood,” says Van Vleet. “The reason this blood is so desirable is because it is hardy, rugged, courageous blood. It was prized in Arabia above gold and diamonds. A man’s true wealth was calculated on the basis of the number and quality of horses he owned.

“Bedouins fought for them—emperors and queens connived for them—and the world’s horsemen now are attempting to perpetuate them. All this is not only because the Arabian is a beautiful horse. Primarily, it is because the Arabian blood is the fountain from which the world’s great horses have come.”

So Van Vleet decided there would be no glass-barred stalls, no tasseled trainers, no formal riding rings, no jewel boxes on his ranch.

“Instead,” he said, “I wanted to bring out all the hardy, battle-born characteristics for which the Arab horse has been noted since the time of Christ. I wanted to transplant this horse into totally different surroundings and revive, even intensify, the traits of courage, intelligence, resourcefulness, and endurance which necessity and the experience of thousands of years of adversity in desert hardships bred into him.

“I wanted to bring the Arab into this mountain setting, which is as much the opposite of the desert as daylight is to dark, and substitute the rich diet of plentiful mountain meadows for the scarcity of desert lands; to substitute cooling, soothing mountain breezes for the hot winds of the desert.”

All this was done. Where the Arab had existed on a handful of dates, camel’s milk and a few drops of water, he now roams mountain meadows filled with wild flowers, and hay which is noted throughout the land for its nutritional values, and streams that trickle downward from the ancient glacier of nearby Arapahoe peak. In addition, these Arabs—whose ancestors the Bedouins considered privileged members of their families, and entitled to sleep in the tribal tents—were given human companionship. The cowboys, the farm hands, members of the Van Vleet family, and even visitors were encouraged to cultivate friendships with the horses.

Despite the human understanding that is extended to them—despite the plentifulness of their pastures—these Arabs still lead a life that is as rugged, in other ways, as the adversities of an Arabian desert.

In winter the stallions are kept at the Nederland ranch, where the barn is 8,600 feet in altitude. The mares and colts are taken to a pasture near Boulder, Colorado, about twenty miles away, where they are more accessible. Although they have shelter, the blizzards which sweep down the snow-capped Arapahoe Peak are bitter cold on the Arabs.

In summer the entire cavvy, which now numbers 69 purebreds, roams the ranch. It’s a many thousand acre spread. Cattle production is its primary business. There are more than 500 head of Whitefaces to be driven each spring from the winter pastures below Boulder to the branding pens on the Sulphide pasture.

That’s a cowpony’s paradise. For two days the herd is trailed up Boulder canyon. The overnight stop is midway up the canyon. The next day the herd is pushed again, upward, into the home ranch pastures. It’s a trip of about 25 miles, a long two-day trail drive in these days of fast cattle trucks and trains.

At the Sulphide, the Arab stallions—Kabar (grandson of fabled Skowronek, for whom Lady Wentworth of England declined $250,000 offered by the Russian government) and Zarife (the classic beauty)—vie with Red Wing and Little Red, two of the best western-bred cow-ponies for corral honors. Either stallion can cut a calf from the herd and its bawling mother, and into the branding pen, as precisely and as quickly as Red Wing or any of his cowpony ancestors.

The Arabian learns quickly,” says Bob Pack, foreman of the cattle crews. “They neckrein more gracefully than most western horses—they are as fast as a Quarter Horse. Kabar, for instance, whirls on his hind feet, raising his front ones. Not one horse in a thousand learns that trick, but it is an invaluable one in driving and cutting cattle. He’s as fast as a panther.”

Barek, another Arab stallion, foaled on the ranch in 1938, also is a favorite “cowpony.” He was ridden not only in the round-up last spring, but was used on cattle trails throughout most of the summer by Pack. The way Bob cocks his ten-gallon hat each time he sits astride Barek is a signal of the pleasure and pride he has in this young son of the desert. He, personally, trained Barek as a roping horse. And Bob(sic) also has the distinction of being the tallest Arabian ever recorded. Standing 16 hands, one quarter inch, he “shades” the previous record-holder, Nureddin, owned by Lady Wentworth of England.

In addition to their cowpony chores, the purebred Arabs are used as mountain trail horses by the Van Vleets. A westerner can appreciate the meaning of that phrase. In the West, only the hardiest of cowponies and rangebred animals are used for that purpose. Many mountain horses are awkward, heavy, plowhorse type animals, because the fancier breeds do not have the endurance, the legs, or the hoofs to survive mountain trails of the kind to be found on the Lazy V V.

One of these trails meanders through the hay meadows—up Boulder Creek, past the Bluebird tungsten mine, on past Arapahoe Falls where deer scamper away, and above the green-watered lakes of the Boulder water system. Then this trail leads straight upward 2,000 feet and more—across timberline and the tundra of Arapahoe Peak, 13,000 feet in the air.

It’s a full day’s ride to Arapahoe, and slightly beyond to Hell’s Hole—a favorite overnight camp ground that is little sheltered in the lee of nearby Sawtooth range. A cowpony, carrying rider and equipment, has to be conditioned to make that ride safely. It’s across jagged, hard-granite rocks that cut unprotected hoofs to shreds. It’s along trails that weave back and forth over the face of almost perpendicular mountainsides.

Rifage, small, but with the ruggedness and grace of tens of hundreds of generations of pure Arabian breeding behind him, picks his way along with the other larger Arabs over that trail each summer. Rifage weighs 850 pounds. Frequently, his rider and equipment will weigh 250 or 275 pounds, or one-third of gallant Rifage’s own poundage. He doesn’t falter—he doesn’t stumble on that trail. When the pack train stops to “blow” in the rare air, Rifage disdains the opportunity to catch his breath. He’s more interested in snorting and pawing the Alpine flowers to demonstrate his affection for his friends, the mares, who also of an occasion make the trip.

The close association with human beings likewise has sharpened the Arab’s natural affection. Guests who visit the huge mare pastures have but to whistle to bring the entire cavvy—twenty or thirty strong—meandering slowly toward them. Frequently, the mares are permitted to roam the lawns in front of the ranch houses and there, too, they come casually to greet both the friend and the stranger who appears on the lawn.

No special protective fences of wood enclose these mare pastures. Instead, the mares are confined by common wire that may, on occasion, cut a horse’s hoof as if it had been sliced away by a surgeon’s knife.

Does this sort of treatment of purebred Arabians sound fantastic?

Well,” says boss Van Vleet, “we don’t believe it is fantastic. Arabs love this sort of life. They thrive upon it. They are intelligent. They learn, more quickly than a cowpony, to stay away from barb wire fences. Seldom is one cut. A mountain lion killed one of our colts in the mare pasture on a summer’s night, but that is the only tragedy that has occurred. I believe that the natural way in which we have handled these horses has improved their stamina, their size, and their intelligence. That’s what we want.

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

The Banat Nura of Ali Pasha Sherif

Copyright © 1995 R.J. Cadranell II
originally published in The CMK Record Spring 1995 XI/2
used by permission

BINT NURA GSB a chestnut foaled about 1885 and bred by Ali Pasha Sherif, is widely influential through her sons KAUKAB, DAOUD and MAHRUSS GSB. This mare’s great elegance still is reflected in her modern descendants. (NBGS)

“Zeyd… offered 100 and 150, whereupon Ali Pasha exclaimed, ‘Ho, ho, ho! one hoof of the bint Nura is worth 100 pounds.'” — Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence

Horses from the family of NURA consistently attracted Lady Anne Blunt’s attention, from her earliest visit to the Cairo stables of Ali Pasha Sherif. As Mr. Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt began to acquire more and more of Ali Pasha Sherif’s horses for their own studs at Crabbet and Sheykh Obeyd, the NURA line was frequently in the pedigrees.

Lady Anne Blunt first saw the Ali Pasha Sherif horses in 1880. Among them were two “banat Nura” (daughters of NURA in the usage that daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters are all “daughters” of an original mare):

…we saw 2 bay Doheymeh Nejib mares difficult to choose between. The more interesting at first is a 5 year old, bright full bay (like Kars) with 2 white hind feet and small star. Her crest, wither and shoulder exaggerated like the portraits of the Godolphin Arabian. She is a picture and at a little distance very like Kars. The other mare was darker bay and altogether I think the best. Legs stouter and more muscle. She is 6 or 7 – a daughter of a celebrated D.N. mare called Nurah who died of the disease when this mare was 2 yrs. old [i.e. in about 1875-6]. The first bay is a grand-daughter of Nurah. Both of these are daughters of Vizir [Wazir]. The younger one has a head like Jasmine [Dajania] and Kars. 25 Nov: 1880.

On the occasion of another visit, she commented on three banat Nura:

The three daughters of Nura the Doheymeh Najib, have two of them got foals within the last fortnight. The beautiful bay I admire more than ever. [If this mare is the bay with the Godolphin crest – and the markings described, the comparison to Kars, and “I admire more than ever” comment indicate that she is – Lady Anne was apparently incorrect in 1880 when she recorded her as a granddaughter of Nura.] Her colt foal is 8 days old, a bay with no white by Shueyman. She has a narrow white mark on the forehead and two white hind feet to above fetlock and the finest head I ever saw. Her sire Vizir [Wizir]. The brown mare her half sister (daughter to Shueyman) [ if this is the same “darker bay” Nura mare described in 1880, Lady Anne was apparently incorrect when she recorded her as a daughter of Wazir] has a colt by the Dahman horse [ Aziz}…. there is a third daughter of Nura, a white mare, but I did not care for her so much as the other two. If we could ever get the bay it would be the glory of the stud. She is exactly the color of Kars (though less black points). 3 Dec: 1881.

Just a few months later, Lady Anne wanted to know whether Ali Pasha Sherif would sell either of the bay NURA mares. She sent an emissary to inquire surreptitiously.

Zeyd…went to Ali Pasha Sherif to inquire, as we supposed, privately, whether his Excellency would be disposed to sell one or both of the bay daughters of Nura (Doheymeh Nejib). But Zeyd was no match for the Pasha, let the cat out of the bag at the first question and then offered 100 and 150, whereupon Ali Pasha exclaimed “Ho, ho, ho! one hoof of the bint Nura is worth 100 pounds.” … I told Zeyd he had no business to tell Ali Pasha who had asked him to enquire about the mares, it would be time for that if the Pasha wished to sell. 15 Feb:1882.

During this trip to Egypt the Blunts apparently made their last visit to Ali Pasha’s stables before they were barred from entering Egypt in 1883. In 1887 they were able to return to Egypt, but do not appear to have visited Ali Pasha’s stables. In December of 1888 the Blunts were again in Egypt, and saw the Ali Pasha Sherif horses for the first time in about seven years. The NURA family had grown:

There was a bay black points – if white on feet very little, can’t remember, something like Kars but rather small hocks….He had a star. They said he was five years old. I suppose 6 next spring which would make it fit with his being the foal of the bay Doheymeh Nejib saw in 1882….we found he was by Aziz. I thought hocks small but no defect. Head very fine, carriage of tail also, remarkably good feet. Then No. 2 a brother of the above, also bay – 2 years I think. Perfect head better than proceeding. Legs look as if they would be stouter.

…a grey Dahman with very beautiful head and good legs, back, not quite so strong in back….really lovely little horse [Probably IBN NURA, who would have been about 12 and whose head Lady Anne consistently admired.]

a brown…with star, I forget if any other white. Her last year’s foal same color also star – very rough coat – foal by…Aziz….The mare I understood to be the daughter of the brown Dahmeh (or Doheymeh) Nejib we saw in 1882 – her dam I was told is dead.

…the bay Doheymeh..with a last year’s foal a chestnut of course the Dahman’s. This mare I think called Nura. She is a wreck of her former self, the crest like the Godolphin Arabian has gone, nothing but the immensely high wither remains – light of bone, nevertheless I should not mind having her!

This Doheymeh Nejib must be about 12 years old….a lovely chestnut mare also Doheymeh Nejib, daughter of the white D.N. we saw (now dead). She is very fine. 19 Dec: 1888.

IBN NURA, shown here as an old horse with the young Judith Blunt, was a sire for Ali Pasha Sherif and for the Blunts at Sheykh Obeyd. His most influential offspring was FEYSUL. (NBGS)

The Blunts were to acquire the blood of the NURA family through a mare they registered in Weatherby’s General Stud Book as “BINT NURA” and a stallion they entered in Sheykh Obeyd records as “IBN NURA.” In addition to BINT NURA and IBN NURA themselves, the Blunts also purchased two sons of BINT NURA, four daughters and a son of IBN NURA, and a grandson of both.

From published sources, the pedigree connections are not entirely clear between the IBN NURA and BINT NURA owned by the Blunts and the mares Lady Anne enthusiastically described on her early visits to Ali Pasha’s stud. A photograph of a Blunt herdbook entry[1] describes IBN NURA as “a fleabitten White Dahman Nejib his dam Bint Nura a bay Dahmeh Nejiba by [illegible in reproduction] out of Nura a grey Dahmeh Nejiba….” Lady Anne consistently dated the bright bay mare with the Godolphin crest to approximately 1875 or 1876 – too young to have been the dam of her IBN NURA, whom she also dated to about 1876. Ali Pasha’s “darker bay” BINT NURA mare (apparently by Shueyman) would have been old enough to have produced IBN NURA as her first foal – especially if she was 7 and not 6 in 1880, and if IBN NURA was foaled closer to 1877 than 1876. But pedigree information Upton took from Blunt notes [DH p. 48) describes the dam of IBN NURA as BINT NURA, a bay mare by ZOBEYNI and out of NURA. A mare of this description does not seem to have been recorded in the Journals — although it is possible she had been sold or died before Lady Anne first visited Ali Pasha.

Upton (DH p. 108), working from Blunt records, gives the dam of BINT NURA (GSB) as a bay mare by ZOBEYNI and out of NURA. The tables in Arabian Horse Families of Egypt (p. xxxi), also compiled from Blunt notes, list IBN NURA and BINT NURA (GSB) as both out of the same bay BINT NURA, by ZOBEYNI x NURA.

MAHRUSS GSB (Mahruss x Bint Nura GSB), sire of the influential RIJM and the American *IBN MAHRUSS 22 from his very few opportunities at stud (NBGS)

Listed in order of acquisition, the NURA descendants the Blunts purchased were:

  1. MAHRUSS, purchased from Ali Pasha Sherif on January 7, 1896. He was a son of the BINT NURA Lady Anne was to acquire in 1897. MAHRUSS arrived in England in May of 1897. His breeding opportunity, as seen in GSB, was limited. In 1898 MAHRUSS covered four mares. All were barren except BADIA, whose 1899 colt broke a leg and was destroyed as a foal. MAHRUSS does not appear to have been used at all in 1899. In 1900 he covered five mares and was then sold from Crabbet. Three of these last five mares were barren, one was sent to the United States carrying a colt (registered as *IBN MAHRUSS 22, and an influence in American pedigrees), and one produced a 1901 colt named RIJM. “It would be well to have more of Mahruss’s stock,” Lady Anne commented, but RIJM was to be his sole representative at Crabbet. RIJM was a favorite of all the Blunts, and started his breeding career in 1905. His get include the sires *NASIK and *Nureddin II, and the broodmares NESSIMA, *RIJMA, FEJR, JAWI-JAWI, and BELKA. In Australia his son FAKREDDIN has pedigree influence.

    FULANA and her daughters produced at Crabbet but in the long run she has remained in pedigrees only via her very handsome MESAOUD son FARAOUN, brother to the filly shown. He sired important mares in Australia. (NBGS)

  2. FULANA (Bint Bint Fereyha el Saghira) and
  3. ABU KHASHEB were purchased from Ali Pasha Sherif on December 14, 1896. ABU KHASHEB, full brother to MAHRUSS, was imported to England in 1898, but does not appear to have been used at stud prior to his sale to India in 1901. FULANA was a daughter of IBN NURA, and imported to England in 1897. Her family bred at Crabbet until 1911, but the only modern pedigree connection is through her son FARAOUN (by MESAOUD), a widespread influence in Australia.
  4. IBN NURA was purchased at auction January 15, 1897 when he was about 21 years of age. “Magnificent horse, head splendid and splendidly set on; neck shoulder and style perfection.” IBN NURA was apparently the only sire used at Sheykh Obeyd (except on his own daughters and BINT NURA) during the 1897, 98, and 99 breeding seasons, whether a mare was on her way to England or to remain in Egypt.
    Of the 11 or more foals that could have been expected, there were but two born: MAKBULA foaled a grey IBN NURA colt at Newbuildings (in 1899 according to GSB) in what must have been one of those ordeals every breeder fears: “Foal dead, mare nearly dead,” Lady Anne recorded in herdbook records. The other IBN NURA foal was born at Sheykh Obeyd: an 1898 grey filly named WUJRA, out of BINT FEREYHA, and thus a full sister to FULANA. WUJRA was dam of a colt that died at ten months, and then on February 1st of 1904 a stillborn filly. A week later WUJRA herself was dead, apparently of complications related to foaling. It was a “great loss. She is the youngest daughter of Ibn Nura, she was also perfect to ride…And her temper was of the best.”
    During the 1900 breeding season at Sheykh Obeyd IBN NURA covered only one mare, WUJRA’s dam, but once again it was a barren breeding. The other three mares bred in 1900 all went to FEYSUL. Thereafter IBN NURA was a pensioner at Sheykh Obeyd, where he died in the spring of 1903.
  5. BINT NURA (Bint Bint Nura es Shakra) and
  6. GHAZIEH (Bint Bint Horra) were purchased at auction March 26, 1897. BINT NURA was sent to England in May that year. For Ali Pasha Sherif she had produced MAHRUSS and ABU KHASHEB, as well as one of two colts by IBN SHERARA (one of these, an 1890 grey, was bred to JOHARAH). At Crabbet BINT NURA promptly produced three more colts. DEM-DEM (1900) and DURRAJ (1902) were sold, but DAOUD (1899) was a favorite of Lady Anne’s and a sire for her. In 1903 BINT NURA, along with NEFISA and ROSE OF SHARON, became one of Crabbet’s three oldest mares; BOZRA had died and JOHARA and BADIA were given away in 1903. Like some older mares, BINT NURA became a problem breeder. She produced just one more foal — a 1906 filly by HARB, which died. Among her barren breedings was one to her grandson RIJM. She was put down in 1912. DAOUD and RIJM were BINT NURA’s only breeding ties to later Crabbet pedigrees. DAOUD’s get included NASRA, SOMRA, NADIMA (exported to Argentina), MARHABA, SARAMA (dam of *SIMAWA), RUDEYNA and *RASIMA.
    GHAZIEH, an IBN NURA daughter bred by Ali Pasha Sherif, remained at Sheykh Obeyd where she became a broodmare. Her son GHAREB was used for breeding there, was were her daughters GHAZWA and FEYDA. After Lady Anne Blunt died, FEYDA found her way to the stud of Prince Kamel el Dine. He bred her son IBN FAYDA (by IBN RABDAN), a sire at the Inshass Stud. Through IBN FAYDA, GHAZIEH has a presence in “New Egyptian” pedigrees.

    JELLABIEH, daughter of IBN NURA, was closely related to FEYSUL – some references would have them full brother and sister. She produced in England but the line did not persist. This photo carries its own story. It was published in Lady Wentworth’s Thoroughbred Racing Stock, specifically as an individual bred by Ali Pasha Sherif and of the Jellabieh strain. The background is English. The Blunts imported only two grey Jellabiehs. The other MAKBULA, was always referred to as “white” and clearly appears so in her one photo, taken two years after importation. This mare still showing grey on her legs would by process of elimination, be JELLABIEH. (This also appears to be the photo on which Peter Upton modeled his painting of that mare.)

  7. JELLABIEH, an IBN NURA daughter bred by Ali Pasha Sherif, was purchased December 10, 1897 from Ayub Bey. She was imported to Crabbet in 1898. JELLABIEH produced four foals at Crabbet from 1899 to 1902 (none of which carriedc her family into another generation), and then spent some time in the ownership of Lady Anne’s brother Ralph, Lord Lovelace. When Lord Lovelace died in 1906, JELLABIEH returned to Crabbet. She produced *BERK fillies in 1908 and 1910 for Lady Anne and was sold to Musgrave Clark in 1912 carrying a third *BERK filly, JERAWA (1908) produced at least one foal (which died) before she was exported. JASK (1910) was sold by Lady Anne Blunt and repurchased by her daughter, Lady Wentworth, in 1918 or 1919, carrying JELLAL, by RIYAL. Lady Wentworth sold both JASK and her son JELLAL abroad. According to Colin Pearson, JASK may have left a line in South American pedigrees.

    FEYSUL sired such important individuals as GHADIA at Sheykh Obeyd and RASIM at Crabbet. (NBGS; thanks to Betty Finke for custom print work.)

  8. FEYSUL, an IBN NURA son bred by Ali Pasha Sherif, was acquired December 7, 1898. By 1900 it was becoming clear that old IBN NURA had a chronic fertility problem, and FEYSUL was promoted to head sire at Sheykh Obeyd, a position he held until he was sent to Crabbet in 1904 with his son IBN YASHMAK. FEYSUL’s sons FERID, GHADIR, and GHAREB were all, used for breeding at Sheykh Obeyd (although just briefly), as were his daughters GHAZWA and GHADIA, and GHADIA’s daughter ZARIFA. Lady Anne presented GHADIA to the Royal Agricultural Society in 1917, where she was listed as RADIA, and influenced Egyptian pedigrees enormously through her daughter BINT RADIA (dam of SHAHLOUL, ZAMZAM, SAMIRA and HAMDAN). ZARIFA was another who went to Prince Kemal el Dine after Lady Anne died. The Prince bred a daughter of hers who went to the Inshass Stud and founded a large family there.
    At Crabbet FEYSUL and IBN YASHMAK were both used for breeding. Among FEYSUL’s get in England were RASIM (a sire at Crabbet) and AAJMAN (a sire in South America). IBN YASHMAK was part of the Newbuildings Half, where breeding opportunity was more limited than in the Crabbet Half. His get included AMIDA, AJJAM, *NAFIA, *FELESTIN, *RIZVAN and RAZIEH (BINT RISSALA in Egypt).
  9. AZZ was an IBN NURA daughter bred by Ali Pasha Sherif. Lady Anne Blunt purchased her in May of 1906 from Ali Pasha’s son, Osman Bey Sherif, but it was not until November, 1909 that she found out “Osman Bey swindled us as he knew that the mare had been hurt at last foaling.” Lady Anne sent AZZ to Crabbet in 1910, but she never produced another foal and was put down in 1916.
  10. SAHAB was a son of KAUKAB and AZZ bred by Osman Bey Sherif and foaled in 1903. Lady Anne Blunt bought him from Timur Bey in November, 1909, at about the same time she learned of the foaling accident of his dam. SAHAB was out of a daughter of IBN NURA and by a son of BINT NURA — apparently the BINT NURA owned by Lady Anne. When she saw KAUKAB she noted in her journal for February 20, 1914: “what style, the quarter splendid (I wish Sahab had inherited that)…Kaukab is son of B.Nura, and there is in him much to recall her – a perfect head.” SAHAB was used as a sire at Sheykh Obeyd from shortly after his arrival until Lady Anne’s death in 1917. He has Egyptian descent through his daughter ZARIFA (out of FEYSUL’s daughter GHADIA, thus with three NURA lines), his daughter SERRA (out of JEMLA, and dam of *BINT SERRA I and RASALA), and his daughter JAZIA (out of JAUZA and dam of GHANDOUR).
  1. [1]Desert Heritage: An Artist’s Collection of Blunt’s Original Arab Horses, p. 8

Lady Anne Blunt in the London Times

Lady Anne Blunt in the London Times

Copyright 1992 by R.J.CADRANELL

from Arabian Visions December 1992

Used by permission of RJCadranell

Readers are probably familiar with the name of Lady Anne Blunt, who founded England’s Crabbet Arabian Stud with her husband Wilfrid Blunt in 1878. Most articles written about Crabbet focus on the horses with little more than a glimpse of the woman behind them.

Lady Anne Blunt died in Egypt on December 15, 1917. Two weeks later, on December 29, her obituary ran in the London Times. It offers a summary of her life and accomplishments outside of her horse breeding interests:

Byron’s Granddaughter

The Late Baroness Wentworth

A correspondent writes:–

A distinguished and well-beloved personality has just passed away in the person of Baroness Wentworth — better known as Lady Anne Blunt. It is now half a century since she and her brother Lord Wentworth (afterwards second Earl of Lovelace), attracted much interest in London society as grandchildren of the poet Byron. A few still remember her charm as a girl. Her face, with its exquisitely delicate features, dark brown eyes, and expression of high intelligence and warmth of heart, was attractive at all ages. Her figure was small but beautifully made, and though simple and unassuming as a child, she had a gentle, old-fashioned dignity of manner which was all her own. An additional charm was the softness of her voice in speaking. It will be remembered that this attraction is recorded of her famous grandfather.

She learnt drawing from Ruskin. Her gift for sketching was unequaled, especially as regards horses, and the rapidity of her pen-and-ink drawings could never have been guessed from their minute perfection. An architectural drawing done by her at the age of 12 was hung in the Royal Academy. The beautiful house at Crabbet Park was designed by her. That her artistic and literary gifts are not better known to the world at large is due to her retiring nature and love of self-effacement; she always preferred to enjoy the triumphs of her friends. She was a first-class chess player, mathematician, and linguist, being a most distinguished Arabic scholar. She had much knowledge of music, and had been a friend of Joachim. She was a remarkable long-distance runner until she dislocated her knee on one of her desert journeys. Medical help not being at hand, she continued to ride for weeks with her swollen and useless leg supported by the foot in a rope tied to her waist. At the age of 77, she could still vault on to a horse unassisted, and while in the prime of her strength habitually rode a buck-jumper, which afterwards “put down” the crack Australian roughrider of that day. Perhaps this was her proudest achievement.

To her stoical endurance of pain and hardship, her asceticism and self-sacrifice, she joined a light-hearted gaiety, a delightful humour and lavish generosity and loyalty of nature, together with fathomless sympathy for the sufferings and weakness of others.

In 1869 she married Mr. Wilfred Blunt [sic], of Crabbet Park, Sussex, who survives her (then in the diplomatic service and not yet known as a poet), and for years moved in the best literary and general society of her day, always holding her own and distinguished among the best of company. But her heart was not in drawing-rooms. She worshipped the sun and the wind and the hills and the freedom of outdoor life, happiest always in the saddle, or caring for the welfare of her numerous family of Arab horses, so well-known to all her visitors both at Crabbet and at her Egyptian home at Sheykh Obeyd, near Cairo. Her perfect horsemanship, her absolute fearlessness, and the extremely abstemious habits which she inherited from a very remarkable father (the first Earl of Lovelace) made her singularly well fitted for the adventurous journeys which she undertook in the seventies and eighties of the last century. She rode (the only woman in the cavalcade) with her husband through the wildest parts of the Mesopotamian and Arabian deserts, penetrating to jealously guarded fastnesses and often in no slight peril. She crossed the Tigris, Euphrates, and Kherkha rivers, either on a goatskin raft or clinging to a swimming horse. Knowing the formidable nature of these rivers, she foretold the military difficulties in those regions. To the end of her life the romance and delight of these wild journeys were never far from her memory.

Her last years were mainly lived in Egypt, whence since 1915 she had been unable to return at all. She spent her time dispensing kindness to all about her, and especially to the soldiers, wounded and unwounded, who now surrounded her. It was within a few weeks of her 80th birthday that she simultaneously finished a book (her History of the Arabian Horse), which it is believed is likely to become a classic, and inherited the ancient barony that had descended to her through her grandmother, Lady Byron. About a month later she fell ill, and the strength that had up till then seemed extraordinary for her age at last failed her. For those whom she has left here it is a tragedy. For herself, no. She lies for ever under the Eastern sun, in the land of her heart, and her memory will not soon fade. To the end of her life she had the heart of a child, the brain of a scholar, and the soul of a saint.


Who was the correspondent who wrote to the Times about the passing of Lady Anne Blunt? It was someone familiar with her entire life, from her ancestry to her debut in London society to her marriage and desert journeys. The writer knew Lady Anne had designed the house at Crabbet and about her knee injury. Wilfrid Blunt’s name was spelled incorrectly, but that could have been done in typesetting at the Times.

It is probably safe to guess that the writer was Lady Anne’s daughter, Lady Wentworth. Mention is made of Lady Anne’s completion of a book on the Arabian horse. This manuscript she willed to her daughter. The tone and phrasing of the piece are strikingly similar to Lady Wentworth’s discussions of her mother in her own book, The Authentic Arabian Horse. The “my mother was a saint” theme runs throughout Lady Wentworth’s written commentary on her mother’s life. Whoever the writer was, he or she has left a moving portrait of a foundation Arabian breeder.

  Web cmkarabians.com