*El Bulad 29: The New Photo

Michael Bowling © 1994 (used by permission)

from The CMK Record X/4 Winter 1994

Photos: Record archives, as credited

This photograph of a handsome grey Arabian at Hingham Stock Farm has resided for as long as I can remember in an antique cigar box of unidentified prints and negatives in the W.R.Brown collection. On my trip to Tucson for the 1992 Al-Marah Winter Forum I was able to take an extra day and go back to my breed-history roots in the Brown material at the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation. Given the obvious age of the print and the unmistakable Hingham background there were only a few candidates for its identity; after comparison with other known photos, I realized I was looking at the best *El Bulad image I’d ever seen. R.J.Cadranell and Jeanne Craver have since confirmed that diagnosis. A real puzzle by modern standards is why, with a photo like this one available, the others ever saw the printed light of day, but this is the way that story has evolved–almost every Davenport imported Arabian has come to be represented, in the last 20 years or so, by photos which show it in a more favorable light than any that were published near the time of the importation.

*El Bulad did not leave a direct sire line, which makes him easy to miss if one follows the conventional track of riding the top or bottom lines of pedigrees. His descent is all in common with other Davenport imports so several of his chief connections have been mentioned before, in the *AZRA feature, and in the RHUA, *HAMRAH and HANAD sections of the *URFAH story; another will come up in the SAAIDA chapter of our *HADBA treatment.

To begin with a brief summary from the Cravers’ Annotated Quest:

“*El Bulad 29 was a 1903 Jilfan Stam Al Bulad by a Kuhaylan-Ajuz stallion. Davenport wrote in his 1909-10 catalog: ‘…His well-formed body threatens to eclipse even that of Haleb. His lines are extremely pleasant and his bone is good and flat. He has shown great ability at the trot though a frictionless galloper. His mother was a war mare of much repute…Jilfans are noted for the peculiar slant of the shoulder and hip and this horse is a striking example of that peculiarity.'”

All statements about ownerships and dates of death which follow are based on information as provided through 1939 in The Arabian Stud Book and its supplements. This can be at best an approximation of the travels of *El Bulad and his descendants; the stud books and supplements presented information current at the time they were set in type. If a horse underwent two or more transfers between two publications, the reader has no way to catch the intervening owner(s) from the printed record, unless (and this would only readily apply to mares) it also had registered offspring in such an ownership. It also happened occasionally that a horse would be transferred to a distant owner, but stay at or near the home stud, whether to board there for breeding or simply because it was sold again before the new owner had a chance to move it. Thus ownership records may also imply travels which never took place.

(A word to the wise: The only way to trace an Arabian’s changes of address after 1939 has been through stud book breeding records, assuming the breeder of a foal to be the owner of its dam, and in the absence of evidence of the contrary, most foals to be sired by local stallions. This oversimplified picture became further removed from reality in the late 1980’s with the introduction of the “assigned breeder” designation, but its outlines had already been blurred a decade before when the microfiche stud book was produced. Horses whose breeders still were active at that time in the AHR computer files apparently were listed in the microfiche with their breeder’s most recent address, even though that might be unrelated to where the breeder [and so the horses] had lived at the time. The printed stud book remains a more reliable indicator of locality, even with all its limitations. As a rule of thumb, the more nearly contemporary a source is to the time a subject horse lived, the more seriously it must be considered.)

In the Arabian Horse Club’s original 1909 stud book *El Bulad was one of 23 entries “imported from Arabia in 1906” and “owned by the Davenport Desert Arabian Stud, Goshen, N.Y. and Hingham, Mass.” In 1913 his owner was Peter B. Bradley’s Hingham Stock Farm (Hingham, MA) and this was repeated in 1918. The supplement for 1923 shows *El Bulad transferred to Albert W. Harris, Chicago IL (though no doubt the horse spent most of his time at Harris’ Kemah Stud in Lake Geneva, WI); by 1927 he had been reported dead. Judging from the foaling record, *El Bulad was at Kemah by 1921 and probably died between the breeding seasons of 1924 and ’25. Of *El Bulad’s 15 progeny of record, he seems to have gotten two foals for Davenport, three bred by Hingham and ten credited to Harris.

Dahura (*El Bulad x Nanshan), age 24 with her last foal Aabella. Dahura would prove her sire’s most significant offspring and indeed one of the most influential mares bred at Hingham Stock Farm.

One observation I make repeatedly in these stories is that many horses could have died after siring a first crop, or first foal, and still left a major mark on the breed’s history. *El Bulad certainly comes in this category: his first registered foal was the great mare DAHURA, out of the Ramsdell mare NANSHAN (*Garaveen x *Nejdme). DAHURA became the dam of 17 registered foals and founded one of the most extensive branches of the important *NEJDME dam line; she had three non-trivial breeding sons as well.

DAHURA was a grey foaled in 1909; her original registration, in the 1913 stud book, had her owned by Hingham Stock Farm and bred by the Davenport Desert Arabian Stud. DAHURA was “bred and owned” by Hingham in the 1918 volume. Her dam NANSHAN apparently was in Davenport’s hands well before 1906 (to judge from a youthful photo published in that year and reprinted in The Annotated Quest) and was registered in the 1909 stud book in Homer Davenport’s ownership, not in the form “Davenport Desert Arabian Stud.” No horses had been listed in the 1909 book as owned by Hingham Stock Farm, although Bradley’s name did appear as First Vice President of the Arabian Horse Club and Bradley was breeder of record on some registered horses, foaled from 1896 through 1903, derived from the Hamidie Society’s 1893 World’s Fair imports. R.J.Cadranell reminds me that the 1906 importation had been financed by Bradley, and that “Davenport Desert Arabian Stud” was a joint venture of Davenport, Bradley and A.G.Hooley; its two addresses were Davenport’s and Bradley’s respectively. (But note: it was not the given owner of NANSHAN in 1909. The more one digs into the early stud books the more casual about assigning breeder designations the Arabian Horse Club appears to have been, and the more some appear to have been assigned “by guess and by gosh.”) At some point most of the Davenport Desert Arabians were transferred to Bradley’s sole ownership and went on as Hingham Stock Farm; this was probably before Homer Davenport died in 1912 (see the *HADBA story, IX/4, for the imports Davenport seems to have owned when he died.) Hingham Stock Farm did excellent work with the Davenport horses in any event, and DAHURA played a major role in the program.

DAHURA produced 10 foals bred by Hingham in as many seasons, from 1913 through 1922, and half of them remain in pedigrees. That proportion carries through on the eight full siblings by *HAMRAH; those with descent are the grey sisters DEHAHAH, of 1914; MORFDA, 1916; MERSHID, 1919 and AMHAM, 1920. Their stories have appeared in the *HAMRAH chapters (VI/4 and VII/1) under *URFAH, but to hit the high spots, MORFDA produced the important early sire STAMBUL; MERSHID and AMHAM founded extensively branched families. Both the M-named sisters were Kemah Stud matrons; Harris seemed to seek out multiple sources of any influence which worked particularly well in his terms. The lovely AMHAM was a favorite mare of W.K.Kellogg.

DAHURA’s final Massachusetts foal was her first bred son, the grey 1921 colt JOON by *AZRA, whose influence was summarized in his sire’s cover story (IV/4). His most frequently seen offspring in pedigrees probably is the Kellogg producer SHEHERZADE, dam of the familiar sire COURIER and a string of good mares. ROABERTA, OTHMANEE, RAMADI and JOONTAFA are other widespread JOON matrons.

R. J. Cadranell’s notes from documents at the Trust bridge a stud book gap: DAHURA was one of the Hingham Arabians sold in 1921 to J. G. Winant (For a note on the Winants see “HANAD 489, a short biography,” in VII/4); like them she and several of her offspring, including MORFDA, MERSHID and a 1922 filly, were owned in 1923 by Morton Hawkins of Portland, IN. JOON was then with Mrs Wikoff Smith of Bryn Mawr, PA. DAHURA must have been transferred quickly to the ownership of Parker Smith, also of Portland, IN, the breeder of her grey 1924 foal AH BEN, a full brother to JOON. The logistics of all this remain unclear: that 1923 supplement still had *Azra back in New England with Mrs. Winant, which remained unchanged in 1927. A simple guess is that DAHURA left the Winants in foal and was transferred twice before the 1924 colt arrived. AH BEN has one foal to his credit, but to no long-term effect.

DAHURA was reunited with that other former Hawkins horse, HANAD (story in VII/4). The 1926 sibling, the glamorous liver chestnut VALENCIA, was her sire’s first foal and became a well-regarded Kellogg producer. VALENCIA was first registered in 1927 as bred by Dr. C.D.Pettigrew of Muncie, IN; this was repeated in 1934 and ’37. For reasons not yet clear her breeder became H.V.Tormohlen in the more widely available Stud Book V of 1944, and this was how I presented it in VII/4. Briefly, again, AMEER ALI was the original sire for the Glass program in Oklahoma; AABANN’s most important offspring was the mare sire AABADAN; AABAB got the great matron AADAH.

AMEER ALI and all those “double A” names unequivocally mark the next chapter of DAHURA’s career; she appeared in H.V.Tormohlen’s ownership in 1927, as did AH BEN who ended up with the Remount. DAHURA produced two more registered foals after her HANAD quartet, and was still listed with Tormohlen in 1939 when she would have been 30. Tormohlen was the early writer “Ben Hur” who proselytized for the breed through the pages of Western Horseman in the 1940’s. H.V. and Blanche Tormohlen and their son Brooks also were Ben Hur Farms in Indiana, and developed a very highly regarded program based on the Maynesboro and Hingham dam lines of NADIRAT and DAHURA (NADIRAT belonged to Blanche). Ben Hur stock was entirely within the CMK founder sources, and provided important elements to many modern pedigrees; the Ben Hur horses were known for extreme breed type with brilliant action, bearing comparison with that of RABIYAT according to Gladys Brown Edwards. It’s surprising the Ben Hur story has not received an extensive treatment in these pages before now.

A Ben Hur Farms brochure from about 1959 credits DAHURA with producing 19 foals; it is not unreasonable that two out of so many might have died before registration, or indeed that she might have had a couple of foals by non-Arab sires. (Of course the caption also says DAHURA is shown “at 25 yrs.” with this “19th” foal AABELLA; by my reckoning DAHURA was 24 in 1933 when AABELLA was foaled, and the filly does not look to be a yearling, so a certain carelessness with numbers may be inferred. One finds owners can tack on a year or two or five, once horses get into the mid-20s.) DAHURA probably did not actually live beyond age 30 as I can’t picture old “Ben Hur” could have failed to make much of her passing such a landmark. The brochure also referred to VALENCIA as “foaled and raised here” which taken in conjunction with the stud book implies that DAHURA had come to Ben Hur Farms from Pettigrew in foal to HANAD. Remember that the owner of the dam either at the time of breeding or of foaling could be listed as breeder of a foal, in the early volumes; perhaps in this case they took turns.

DAHURA’s foals after HANAD left for California were three-quarters siblings to the HANAD set: AABAZEM, a bay 1931 colt, was by another *DEYR son, TABAB; AABELLA, by the HANAD son MAHOMET. This made AABAZEM and AADAH seven-eights related to each other, since TABAB and MAHOMET were themselves three-quarters brothers, by *DEYR and his son and both out of DOMOW. AABAZEM was sold to Donald Jones in California by 1934; he traveled the West Coast and got 15 foals, not counting his good partbreds, through 1957. His first son FARZEM (out of the straight Davenport FARHAN) and that horse’s daughter MEHANAZEM (out of a HANAD daughter) in particular have spread his influence widely. AABELLA made her best contribution as dam of AADAH; few mares have ever contributed anything equivalent. Her full career was summarized in the HANAD story (VII/4).

The 100% Hamidie Society mare FREDA produced a chestnut colt by *El Bulad in 1910. BUZLAD first appeared in the 1918 book, when he was owned in New York, and the stud book would have it he again was bred by Hingham Stock Farm. FREDA, like NANSHAN, was registered to Homer Davenport, not DDAS, in 1909 – note that both were mares Davenport had owned before the 1906 importation. BUZLAD was reported gelded in 1923 and transferred to a Massachusetts owner in 1927 who still had him in 1930; he was noted as dead in 1937. *El Bulad had two grey straight Davenport (a concept then almost certainly not invented) fillies in 1912 and ’13, from the important mares *RESHAN and *HAFFIA; they were reported dead by 1927 and 1930 respectively and neither left an offspring of record. The *HAFFIA daughter was one of 12 Arabians, mostly from Hingham, exported to Japan before 1918; two of DAHURA’s *HAMRAH offspring were also in the group.

Fartak (*El Bulad x *Farha): faded photo, willowy hocks and all, this is an impressive and important image of an early Davenport stallion. Photo: AHOF.

The 1913 colt FARTAK (*El Bulad x *Farha) did better for himself, though he too was dead by 1927. He gave his sire two grey straight Davenport granddaughters in the 1919 Hingham Stock Farm crop, PAULAN from *MELEKY and MEDINA from HASIKER. PAULAN too had died before 1927 without producing (one begins to suspect some sort of cataclysm or at least a run of pre-Depression very bad times). MEDINA survived her, traveled a bit and left three registered foals. The 1923 supplement showed MEDINA as one of the Hingham horses owned by F.E.Lewis II in Spadra, CA; in 1927 she was in Connecticut. MEDINA’s first recorded foal, a grey filly of 1929, was JEDRA by JOON and thus represents, with AADAH, the closest *El Bulad doubling in the stud book. JEDRA was bred by Robert Jemison Jr of Birmingham, AL but both MEDINA and the filly had been transferred to Albert W. Harris before 1930. MEDINA and JEDRA each produced two foals in Illinois; JEDRA’s were for a Harris cooperator breeder and neither of them bred on. MEDINA was dead by 1932, leaving a grey filly and gelding, both by NEJDRAN JR, with Harris. The daughter TEBUK produced 10 foals, giving her a well-branched modern family responsible for some familiar names.

*El Bulad had two foals in the 1922 Kemah crop, five in 1923, one in ’24 and two in ’25. Apparently Harris regretted not being able to use the horse more extensively, since he then bought the FARTAK daughter MEDINA and her double *El Bulad filly; he already had the DAHURA daughters MERSHID and MORFDA in 1927.

Abba (*El Bulad x Dawn) had one registered foal when she was 20. Clearly she was not idle in the years the stud book shows her unproductive.

That 1922 pair were three-quarters brother and sister, a grey filly MEDINAH from SULTANA (Nejdran Jr x Rhua) and “ch/gr” colt RUSTAM from RHUA herself; this straight Davenport mating was repeated again to produce BEN HUR in the following year. SULTANA and her sister DAWN produced four more of the *El Bulad foals, so seven of 10 were from the RHUA family. Harris’ other straight Davenport foundation mare SAAIDA outlived *El Bulad but did not produce to him; her NEJDRAN JR daughter GAMELIA did, twice. The other productive Kemah mating for *El Bulad was with the old Ramsdell mare NANDA, sister to NANSHAN, making the resulting filly ALOHA a younger blood-sister to DAHURA. ALOHA was one of the five Kemah *El Bulad offspring to die relatively young (before ages three through seven) without progeny, still apparently in Harris’ ownership. RUSTAM became a Remount sire and seems to have lived until some time between the 1937 stud book and the supplement of 1939. BEN HUR and MURAT (ex GAMELIA) were both listed as living in 1939, in California and Missouri respectively, as stallions, but neither had registered offspring. That left MEDINAH, ABBA (1923) grey filly from DAWN) and SHARAZAD (MURAT’s 1925 bay sister) to breed on from this chapter of the story. For the extensive family of MEDINAH and the thin line from ABBA see under RHUA in the *URFAH treatment (VI/3); SHAHRAZAD must wait until the SAAIDA chapter of *HADBA.

Five of *El Bulad’s 15 offspring still are in pedigrees; he had 33 registered grandchildren (over half through DAHURA) and several of the resulting lines are widespread at the backs of modern pedigrees. As part of the genetic history of the Davenport horses, note that five of *El Bulad’s 15 foals were straight Davenport but there were only two such in the second generation and none after that. *El Bulad maintains a moderately strong link to the Davenport importation in the general Arabian population, but is not represented in modern straight Davenport breeding.