Author Archives: ambar

Sidebar: The Hanstead Foals

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Hanstead Horses

Which are the Crabbet horses, and which are the Hanstead horses?

These are the Hanstead foals. Hanstead’s worldwide influence is out of all proportion to the relatively small number of foals—an average of just over four per year. The six foundation mares appear in all capital letters, with sire and dam noted in italics, then each foundation mare’s produce directly underneath. Any daughters with foals registered as bred by Hanstead have a line leading to a list of their own produce. Year of birth and whether colt or filly are also indicated.

NAXINA 1927 (Skowronek x Nessima)

  • Grey Owl 34 c (Raseem)
  • Naseel 36 c (Raftan)
  • Raxina 38 f (Raktha)
  • Samsie 40 f (Riffal)
    • Sharona 44 f (Rissalix)
    • General Grant 45 c (Raktha)
    • *Thorayya 49 f (Rissalix)
      • Grey Thora 55 f (Grey Owl)
      • *Thora Grant 56 f (General Grant)
      • Thor II 57 c (Rifaria)
    • Samarie 52 f (Rissalix)
    • Samson 54 c (*Count Dorsaz)
    • Samaveda 56 f (Blue Domino)

RAFEENA 1940 (Aluf x Ranya II)

  • *Reenexa 50 f (Irex)
    • Sylvatica 55 f (Grey Owl)
    • General Exe 56 c (General Grant)
  • Iridos 51 c (Irex)
  • Grantchester 52 c (General Grant)
  • Count Rapello 54 c (*Count Dorsaz)
  • *Blue Raffia 56 f (Blue Domino)
  • *The Count of Al-Marah 57 c (*Count Orlando)
  • Santa Rafeena 58 f (Count Manilla)

RAZINA 1922 (Rasim x Riyala)

  • Rasana 28 f (Almulid)
    • Tazee 32 f (Joseph)
    • Ghezala 34 f (Faris)
  • Halil Sherif 29 c (Nuri Sherif)
  • Nurschida 30 f (Nuri Sherif)
    • Sulka 34 f (Naseem)
      • Fallujah 41 f (Rissam)
      • Queen Zenobia 42 f (Radi)
        • Zocola 46 f (Rissalix)
        • La Comtesse 47 f (Rissalix)
        • Wawona 48 f (Grey Owl)
        • Kasala 49 f (Sala)
        • Bulandoola 50 f (Grey Owl)
        • *Zulima 52 f (Rissalix)
          • *Zorroe 58 c (General Grant)
      • Zena 53 f (Blue Domino)
      • *Princess Zia 54 f (*Count Dorsaz)
    • Nueyma 36 f (Faris)
    • Namilla 37 f (Algol)
      • Cyclone 41 c (Rissam)
      • *Iorana 42 f (Radi)
      • Kairouan 43 c (Radi)
      • Rusalka 44 c (Oran)
      • Umatella 45 f (Oran)
        • Oraya 50 f (Rissalix)
      • *Count Orlando 51 c (*Count Dorsaz)
      • Azella 52 f (*Count Dorsaz)
        • General Dorsaz 57 c (General Grant)
        • Azure Blue 60 f (Blue Domino)
      • *Grey Stella 53 f (Grey Owl)
        • Bona Blue 59 f (Blue Domino)
      • *Mihrima 46 f (Riffal)
        • *Senab 51 c (Grey Owl)
      • Ranchero 48 c (Riffal)
      • Mikeno 49 c (Rissalix)
      • Count Manilla 52 c (*Count Dorsaz)
      • Countess Nina 53 f (*Count Dorsaz)
      • *Blue Millet 54 f (Blue Domino)
    • Manzana 38 f (Naufal)
    • Rusa 39 c (Naufal)
    • Medina 40 c (Shihab)
    • Beauty Spot 41 f (Rissam)
    • Rikitea 42 f (Rissalix)
      • Garance 46 f (Grey Owl)
      • Diamond Dust 47 c (Grey Owl)
      • Chellala 49 f (Sala)
      • Chief Kasalo 50 c (General Grant)
      • Teresita 51 f (General Grant)
      • Rinessa 52 f (General Grant)
      • *Taheki 53 f (Grey Owl)
      • Rikki 55 c (Rifaria)
    • El Bahra 46 c (Grey Owl)
  • Wahine II 31 f (Joseph)
  • Kehelan 32 c (Akal)
  • Raktha 34 c (Naseem)
  • Riffal 36 c (Naufal)
  • Shamnar 39 f (Naziri)
    • Carlina 43 f (Rissam)
    • Pale Shadow 44 f (Rissalix)
    • *Count Dorsaz 45 c (Rissalix)
    • Asma 46 f (Grey Owl)
      • Colinda 51 f (Colorados)
      • Ambria 52 f (General Grant)
    • *Salinas 47 f (Grey Owl)
      • Yateemah 54 f (Blue Domino)
      • *Aliciaa 57 f (Iridos)
      • *Blue Sal 58 f (Blue Domino)
    • *Kabara 49 f (Rissalix)
      • *Little Owl 54 c (Grey Owl)
      • Khada 55 c (Iridos)
      • Kami 57 c (Iridos)
    • General Sherman 50 c (General Grant)
    • Lanisa 51 f (General Grant)
    • Colmar 52 c (Colorados)
    • Blue Grotto 53 c (Blue Domino)
  • Hama 40 f (Shihab)
    • Sala 44 c (Grey Owl)
    • Elvira 45 f (Rissalix)
      • Endora 50 f (General Grant)
      • Eloia 52 f (General Grant)
      • Oliviera 53 f (Grey Owl)
      • Grey Elf 54 f (Grey Owl)
    • Rhavi 48 c (Rissalix)
    • Kumara 50 f (Grey Owl)
  • Suvorov 42 c (Rissalix)
  • Grey Fairy 44 f (Grey Owl)

MINTA 1948 (Rasham x Wardi)

  • Blue Mint 54 c (Blue Domino)
  • Mintey 56 f (General Grant)
  • *Lucretia 57 f (*Count Orlando)
  • *Al-Marah Count Mint 58 c (*Count Dorsaz)

ASTRELLA 1929 (Raseem x Amida)

  • Sarab 34 c (Naseem)
  • Ariffa 36 f (Raftan)
  • Astrab 39 f (Radi)
  • Oran 40 c (Riffal)
  • Rayolanda 41 f (Rissam)
  • Rubiana 42 f (Riffal)
  • The Chief 43 c (Riffal)
  • Colorados 46 c (Radi)

NISEYRA 1935 (Rissam x Neraida)

  • Champurrado 40 c (Irex)
  • Quaker Girl 41 f (Riffal)
  • Kazarov 44 c (Riffal)
  • Kaba 45 c (Rissalix)
  • Tehoura 46 f (Radi)
  • Blue Domino 47 c (Rissalix)
  • *Radeyra 48 f (Radi)

Standard Conformation and Type (1918)

Compiled by W. R. Brown
Published in The Arabian Stud Book [vol. 2], 1918

For the information of the public and the guidance of breeders, the following standard of conformation and type has been adopted by the Arabian Horse Club of America for the typical Arabian horse, being the concensus of opinion gathered from many travellers and investigators such as Palgrave, Niebuhr, Burckhart, Lawrence. Guarmani. Gen. Daumas, Major Tweedie, Col. Hamilton Smith, Major Upton, Sir Wilfred [sic] and Lady Anne Blunt, Ridgeway, Borden, Osborn and others. While no individual will, in probability, meet all the standards herein enumerated, the composite is made from the best instances observed.


The Arabian is a distinct subspecies, having characteristics differentiating it from other breeds and must not be judged by European standards. These differences appear in the skeleton, conformation and intelligence and stamp him wherever found. To be exact he is a highly specialized desert product and close descendant from the primitive bay stock of Africa. History records him as the immediate progenitor of many of the European breeds of today, through the admixture of his hot Southern blood with the cold Northern blood of other species, indigenous in the country to which he has been brought.


His skeleton, in comparison with other breeds, possesses a relative shortness of skull, a slenderness of lower jaw, larger size of brain case, less vertebrae in the back and tail, more horizontal position of the pelvic bone etc. The usual callosities of the hind legs are very small or absent, and are of small size on the fore legs. The ergots on the fetlocks are small and often indistinguishable.


The upper half of the head is larger in proportion to the whole size of the horse than seen elsewhere, especially in depth across the jowls. It has a triangular shape diminishing rapidly to a small and fine muzzle, giving the appearance more nearly that of the gazelle or deer. The muzzle is small, and may be enclosed in the palm of the hand. The lips thin and fine. The nostrils long, thin, delicately curled, running upward and projecting outward. When the animal is excited or in action the nostrils are capable of great dilation and, seen in profile, project beyond the outline of the muzzle, giving a bold, square, sharp and vigorous expression. The face slightly dished below the eyes. The cheek bones sharply cut. The eyes set far apart somewhat on the side of the head, are large, lustrous, kind and full of fire when aroused. The eyes are set more nearly in the middle of the head, with plenty of brain capacity above them. The distance from the top of the head to the top of the eyes is often within one inch of the distance from the lower eyelid to the top of the nostril. Added brain capacity is frequently given by a slight protrusion over the forehead and extending to just below the eyes, called the “Jibbah” by the Arabs and greatly prized. A ratio of two and one half to one between the circumference of the head around the jowls and the circumference directly above the nostrils is not uncommon. The cheek bones spread wide apart at the throat, often between five and six inches, enabling the muzzle to be drawn in without compressing the windpipe and the animal to breathe without distress when running.

The ears smaller in stallions and of good size in mares, pointed, set evenly together in an upright position and of great flexibility. In general, the head should be lean and full of fine drawing, showing intelligence, energy and unconquerable courage, combined with nobility and sagacity.


The neck long, arched, light, set on high and run well back into the withers. The throat particularly large and well developed, loose and pliant when at rest, and much detached from the rest of the head. The head set onto the neck at a slightly more oblique angle than in other breeds. The direct way in which the neck leaves the head for a slight distance before curving, is called the “Mitbah” by the Arabs and is greatly prized.


Measured at the withers from 14 to 15 hands, with occasional individuals exceeding this height. The croup slightly higher than the withers.


The withers high, set well back and heavily muscled on both sides beyond the usual European standard. Shoulders long, deep, broad at the base and powerful, but light at the points. The arm long, oblique and muscular. The forearm broad at the elbow, long and muscular. Knees large, square and deep. The cannon bone short, flat and clean, of not too great size but showing exceptionally strong heavy tendons. The fetlock joint exceptionally large and bold. The pasterns long, sloping, very elastic and strong. The hoof hard, large, round, wide and low at the heel. Legs should be set well together in front, straight and toe squarely ahead.


Looking from the front or rear, the ribs will be seen to bow out and protrude beyond the quarters. The ribs run to a great depth beneath the chest and give room for great heart and lung capacity. The ribs hold their size and are close coupled to the point of the hip bone. The back unusually short due to the absence of two of the usual vertebrae and the oblique angle of the shoulder. The body long below with a low belly, capable of holding feed. The transverse measurement of the thorax equal to, or a little greater than, vertical measurement.


The croup slightly higher than the withers; the loins broad; the haunch longer in proportion and quite horizontal; the tail set on high, arched and carried gaily in the air at the first motion of the animal. The quarters long, well-muscled and somewhat narrow with a fine line denoting speed. The hams well filled out. The hocks clean, well let down, of almost abnormal size and strength, giving great leverage to the tendons at the gaskins. The shank bone flat, clean and short, with large tendons. The pasterns long, sloping and muscular. The fetlock joint of exceptional size. The hoof hard, large, round, wide and low at the heel. The hind legs placed squarely under the hind quarters and parallel to the body.


Mane and tail long and very fine in texture. Coat thick, close, fine, soft and silky.


In Arabia, 35% are bays; 30% greys; 15% chestnuts of various shades and 20% browns of various shades and rarely a black. Stars, strips or blaze faces; snipe noses, and a white foot or more or white stockings are common markings. Solid white, while much prized, is comparatively rare. Duns, piebalds, yellows and roans are not seen; parti-colored horses are always crossbreds.


The Arabian should present the appearance of short coupling and great weight carrying capacity for his height, hold his head and tail high with alert bearing and arched neck, and show action with stability.


From 800 to 1,000 pounds, according to size.


His natural gait is the gallop, agreeable on account of the general length and springy character of the hind parts and long pasterns. Also a fast walk, the hind foot often overstepping the fore foot from one to three feet. While not his natural gait, he can develop a good trot with cultivation. Being trained to cover long distances, his natural action is long and low, sufficient to maintain a good footing and stride without undue pulling of the knees and hocks. He is a bold jumper and, in running, can outdistance anything of his size. Due to the length, strength and angular flexibility of the fore shoulder he can handle his fore feet with great dexterity and in playfulness strike at a bird or butterfly in mid-air or, while extended in the gallop divert his foot from an obstacle.


Lungs and chest finely developed. Broken wind and roaring is almost never known, due to the size and position of the windpipe. The stomach is of smaller size and the feed required to keep him in good condition is much less than in other breeds. For centuries he has become accustomed to subsist in a barren country and will require about one half the feed of the European horse for the weight carried.


The Arabian horse comes down to us from great antiquity from geographic origins about which there is dispute, but his presence in Arabia for twenty or more centuries has been well authenticated, during which time he has remained a product of that land practically unchanged. He reaches his best development in the natural pasture land of the interior deserts, particularly in the Provinces of Nejd and Mesopotamia, among the Bedouin tribes of the Anazeh, Shammar, Sebaa and Roala. From this favoring environment, he has been carried by war and conquest to practically every portion of the world, as the plastic foundation upon which the nations have developed their breeds. Statistics of the derivation of practically all breeds will clearly show this and is considered a highly prized heritage. He endures both extreme heat and cold with exceptional hardihood and becomes readily acclimated to every climate.


In history, the Arabian has figured as the horse of beauty, intelligence, courage, endurance and romance. Bred and reared in close contact with man from the earliest records and existing in mutual inter-dependence, he developed the keen brain of the primitive animal by such close human association,—as in the case of the dog,—and his intelligence has been celebrated in a thousand anecdotes. He is gentle, affectionate and familiar to the point of being troublesome. Colts have no fear of man and are indifferent to sounds or noises. The Arabian gentleness and tractability, while originally the effect of education, is now inherited and is observed in colts bred in foreign environment.

The Arabian is also celebrated for his soundness of limb, courage, endurance and ability to withstand hardships. It is reason sufficient to show that the life and welfare of his Arab owner, who constantly engaged in the “Ghazu”, a form of quick, mounted foray upon his neighbors, was often dependent upon these qualities in his horse. It is also the natural result of a good original stock, maintained in its purity by intensive breeding, in a favorable environment. As a racer he has shown no mean ability in India. Imported to England he became the progenitor of the English Thoroughbred and pure blooded Arabians have always remained registerable in Weatherby’s. In Russia his blood contributed largely to make the Orloff trotter; in France to make the Percheron; in America to make the Morgan and, through the English Thoroughbred, to make the Hackney, the Trotter and the American or Kentucky saddle horse. He has won practically all the long distance and endurance racing of the world. His blood has been and is being used by European army officers continually in various crosses to breed the best cavalry mounts. In him are all of the qualities of the desirable horse and, while excellence in individual accomplishments, such as running, trotting or saddle action, may enable certain breeds to excel the parent stock in their specialty, no other blood has the power of transmitting so many or all of these qualities to its offspring, and to create individuals possessing what is known as general utility. His blood is prepotent and plastic to a remarkable degree, dominating all the breeds to which it is introduced, and contributes to them, beauty, courage, speed, endurance and tractability.

Skowronek’s Pedigree and the Antoniny Stud

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

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

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

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

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

A copy of Count Joseph Potocki’s handwritten pedigree of Skowronek, written in 1919 is included in the same issue of The Arabian Horse News (and at the top of this page).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The BINT YAMAMA Influence Summarized

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series What's In A Name?

(originally published as a sidebar to “What’s In A Name?”)

BINT YAMAMA produced three foals which bred on: the full sisters NEGMA and AROUSSA by DAHMAN AL AZRAK and their three-quarters brother *NASR by DAHMAN’s son RABDAN AL AZRAK.

It is not certain whether NEGMA was bred by the Khedive Abbas Hilmi or by Prince Mohammed Ali; Lady Anne Blunt records BINT YAMAMA as “expecting a foal” in December 1908 and with “a nice filly foal” at foot in January 1911, and it is tempting to suggest these were NEGMA and AROUSSA. On the other hand Prince Mohammed Ali’s letters in the 1930s, while they are not entirely consistent on the impression they give of NEGMA’s age, may be read to imply that she was foaled as early as 1906, which would make Abbas Hilmi her breeder.

NEGMA is represented in modern pedigrees by her sons KAFIFAN and JASIR, and daughters MAHROUSSA, ZAHRA, *AZIZA and *RODA. There are thin lines to AROUSSA and ZAHRA through EAO breeding, and all of MAHROUSSA’s known progeny came to Brown or Babson; besides the two “HHMA”- named mares they include the likes of the Van Vleet sire *ZARIFE, and those two major Babson influences *FADL and *MAAROUFA.

*AZIZA produced the influential sires AZKAR and JULEP and also left a substantial female influence through her daughters by KENUR, *CZUBUTHAN and *Raffles. *RODA was the dam of sons including HALLANY MISTANNY, JASPRE and TUT ANKH AMEN; her dam line is more extensive than that of *AZIZA, through two daughters each by AGWE, *Raffles and IBN HANAD.

*NASR was a respected sire at Traveler’s Rest, influential today through numerous daughters and his prominent son SIRECHO. Traveler’s Rest is responsible, too, for the only surviving (at least within registered Arabians) descent from KAFIFAN: his line persists only through *MATTARIA. JASIR was for many years the head sire at the Marbach Stud and his name is widespread today in international pedigrees.

See also: "*Aziza & *Roda" by R.J.Cadranell