by Michael Bowling
Copyright 1997 All rights reserved
*Nasik was foaled in 1908 in Wilfrid Blunt’s Newbuildings half of the partitioned Crabbet Stud. He was a son of Rijm (Mahruss x *Rose of Sharon) and Narghileh (Mesaoud x Nefisa); both his granddams were dynastic mares (pretty clearly, the two central mares of the Crabbet tradition) and daughters of Hadban, a desert stallion imported to India and then to England as a race horse, and then exported almost immediately to Australia; these two incomparably influential matrons are his only offspring in pedigrees.
*Nasik at Crabbet
*Nasik’s grandsires were the first two colts bought from Ali Pasha Sherif by the Blunts; Mahruss had only one foal at Crabbet, but he proved an important sire (Rijm, obviously); Mesaoud was the most used sire in the history of the Stud, the only Crabbet sire credited with oveer 100 registered progeny. *Nasik was full brother to another internationally influential sire, *Nureddin II, and to the mare Nessima who founded a widely branched family. Narghileh’s daughter *Narda II also produced the early-day endurance winners *Noam and *Crabbet by Rijm.
(I used to fantasize that, if I ever had access to time travel, I would go back and visit Crabbet in 1908, just to see Nefisa and her daughter Narghileh grazing together with their foals of that year, Nasra and *Nasik. Then I learned about the Partition, and realized that the pasture scene I envisioned could never have happened. After 1906 Narghileh did her grazing at Newbuildings and Nefisa was at Crabbet, although on the latter mare’s death Lady Anne worked another trade to bring Narghileh as her replacement.)
Lady Anne Blunt traded her husband another colt for *Nasik and he became one of her chief sires; when Lady Anne died he was one of the horses (along with *Berk) that Wilfrid Blunt declared surplus and worthless (he also “killed her chickens, plowed up her garden”). *Berk was sold to W.R.Brown but *Nasik was recovered by Lady Wentworth on the settlement of the lawsuit which had resulted from Blunt’s challenge of Lady Anne’s will.
*Nasik’s most important get sired in England were Ranya, Rafeef and *Rokhsa. In 1926 he was presented by Lady Wentworth to W.K. Kellogg, and became the head sire of the Kellogg program in Pomona, CA. *Nasik crossed particularly well with the Rasim daughters *Rifla and *Farasin, siring from the former Rifnas and the mares Shemseh and Kadah; and from the latter, a set of ten full siblings including Farana, Sikin, Nafara, Treyf, Farnasa and Nafara. *Nasik also got successful breeding horses from other mares in California, including the outcross progeny Valensik from Valencia and Najur from Sedjur (both Davenport-Hamidie) and Amla from Arak (straight Davenport).
“Old California” breeding is practically always “*Nasik linebreeding” if you carry pedigrees far enough back. He is less well represented in the modern straight Crabbet and GSB horses, but he is there too. His influence also is widespread in combined-source pedigrees behind such influential sires as Khemosabi and Huckleberry Bey.
The movement which has grown into the CMK program had its origins about 25 years ago as “The *Nasik Group” and CMK is still the tradition most closely identified with, and giving most recognition to, his influence.
*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
(number of foals/number with offspring) [“//” – no offspring]
Abu Farwa (Rabiyas x the Crabbet import *Rissletta by Naseem) foaled in 1940, photo 1964. Abu Farwa lived to age 32.
Aurab 12488 (Aulani by Rifnas x Rabna by Narzigh) Paine photo, age 20.
Ben Rabba++/ 24921 (Aurab x Rollicka by Sarolle) at age 21 with his last owner Jewel Cantrell.
HB Octavian 173260 (Mariner x HB Octavia) 1978 grey straight Davenport stallion bred by Frank or Trudy Hannesschlager. In retirement with Larry and Jennifer Flynn. 1997 photo.
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.
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.
(Additional pictures have been added to original article)
Randolph Huntington of Oyster Bay, NY was one of the earliest breeders of the Arabian horse in America. In 1888 Huntington imported the chestnut mare Naomi.
GENERAL BEALE or ABDUL HAMID II at 21 years of age. He was Leopard’s first get. His dam was MARY SHEPHERD in-bred to HENRY CLAY. This was one of Randolph Huntington’s planned Clay-Arab crosses.
ANAZEH 235 foaled 1890 by *Leopard out of *Naomi, bred by Randolph Huntington. This horse was 15 1/2 hands.
CLAY KISMET [at 4 years of age] by *NIMR 232 and out of a mare called GYPSY CLAY, six times in-bred to HENRY CLAY foaled 1895, photo taken 1899. This horse was sixteen and one quarter (16 1/4) hands. Bred, raised and owned by Randolph Huntington. This was the Clay-Arab cross that Mr. Huntington wished feature.
*Garaveen # 244, foaled 1892 sired by *Kismet and out of Kushdil [Kars x *Naomi] bred by F. Furse Vidal, England, imported by Huntington in 1893.
Khaled 5 15 2 1/2 hands 1160 lbs ch. s. foaled 1895 by *Nimr 232 and out of *Naomi 230, bred by Huntington.
Khaled No. 5, red chestnut Arabian stallion, foaled in 1895, bred by Randolph Huntington. Standing 15-3 1/2 hands, Khaled is an outstanding example of intense in-breeding. The picture was made for James A. Lawrence, first president of the Arabian Horse Club, by the well known artist and photographer of horses, George Ford Morris. Copyrighted in 1908, this picture and the one of Nimr is used by permission of Mr. Lawrence.
Khaletta 9 (age 15), (with Abu Bekr 304) ch m foaled Ap 13, 1903 by Khaled 5 and out of Nazlina 6, bred by Huntington.
*Kismet 253 foaled in 1877 15 hands.
Maidan, ch. s. foaled in 1869 Maneghi Hedruj. Desert bred
Naaman 116 ch. st. foaled 1896 by Anazeh and out of *Nazli, bred by Huntington.
Naomi No. 230, red chestnut Arabian mare, 15-2 hands, foaled in 1877, bred by Rev. F. Vidal in England, was produced by a full brother-and-sister mating, by the desert-bred sire, Yataghan (15 hands) and the desert-bred dam Haidee (14-3 hands). Naomi, bred to her grandson Nimr, produced Khaled.
*Nazli 231, 1895 photo. Foaled in 1888, 14-3 hands; by Maidan and out of *Naomi. Bred by F. Furse Vidal, England; imported by Randolph Huntington in 1893 (filly Naarah by Anazeh).
NIMR 232 foaled 1891 15-1 hands by KISMET and out of NAZLI. Bred by Rev. F. Furse Vidal; imported by Randolph Huntington in 1893.
Nimr No. 252, red chestnut Arabian stallion, 15-1 hands high. Imported from England by Randolph Huntington in 1891, Nimr was bred to his grand-dam, Naomi (15-2 hands) to produce Khaled (15-3 1/2). Picture by George Ford Morris.
Foaled in 1876, Naomi was the result of mating Yataghan and Haidee, two Arabs brought to England by Major Roger D. Upton. Major Upton selected these two Arabs himself from the Gomussa tribe. He had been commissioned by Albert G. Sandeman M.P. and Henry Chaplin M.P., to bring a group of horses from the desert. The cost of importing this group of horses was $62,000.00 in gold.
Major Upton wrote “Newmarket and Arabia,” published in 1873, and “Gleanings from the Desert of Arabia“, published in 1881. When Major Upton died, Naomi went to Sandeman who sold the mare to the Rev. F. Furse Vidal. At the suggestion of Lady Anne Blunt and the Hon. Etheldred Dillon, Rev. Vidal, when he retired from the church, offered Naomi to Huntington. The Rev. Vidal later said that Wilfred S. Blunt had tried to get Naomi by trading another mare for her but Rev. Vidal did not feel that any one of three mares that Blunt offered in trade was at all equal to Naomi.
Huntington accepted the sale by cable at once—although the price was “strong” as he remarked. After Naomi was in America, Huntington was offered three times her purchase price for her return but he refused.
To go back a ways: in 1879, the Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid II, had given two purebred Arabian Stallions, *Leopard and *Linden Tree to General U.S. Grant. The stallions were later registered as Nos. 233 and 234 respectively, by the AH Registry of America. Since Grant had been president of the United States, it was not unusual that he be so honored by the gift.”
Having spent considerable time in trying to locate Seward’s two Arabians, with no results, Huntington was compiling a book about Old Henry Clay—at just the time the two Arab stallions given to Gen. Grant arrived in New York. Gen GE.F. Beale cared for the two Arabs at his place, “Ash Hill,” near Washington, D.C.
Huntington went to see *Leopard and *Linden Tree and was very impressed. He tells about these horses in his book, “General Grant’s Arabian Horses,” published in 1885. Later Huntington bred some mares to these two stallions.
While yet in England, the lovely Naomi was bred to Maidan by the Rev. Vidal, and produced a filly, Nazli, foaled May 17, 1888. It was later that year that Naomi came to the U.S. She was not bred in 1889, but in 1890, Huntington took her to the court of *Leopard, one of the Gen. Grant Arabians.
Huntington also bought the desert-bred racing stallion Kismet from the Rev. Vidal. Kismet was sent to the U.S. in 1891 but died very shortly after landing in New York [age 14]. This was a great tragedy to the Huntington breeding program.
Another book has come to our hands, “The Arab—the Horse of the Future,” by the Hon. Sir James Penn Boucaut, with a preface by Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart. The latter was the author of a great many books on horses. Sir James Boucaut lived in Adelaide, Australia. The book, published in 1905, tells of the many troubles that (this) advocate of the Arab horse had in trying to convince others that the Arab should be used as the foundation of all good horses. In this book, The Arab… we found some marginal notations that have made us ponder for a great while. Finally we have decided that those notations were made by Randolph Huntington—that at sometime he had this very book in his possession and so he made notations.
Page 206 has a paragraph that tells of the things that happened to Huntington just when he was finding that the Arab was gaining in popularity. The book says, quoting a reporter, Mr. Bruni, on Oct. 26, 1901:
“…after being neglected for many years, there was evidence that the Arab horse is again coming into favour, and he mentions that at the present sale of American Arabs in New York, bred by Mr. Huntington, an average of $1,840.000 (358 pounds) per head was obtained. Mr. Huntington is referred to in Mr. Speed’s article in the Century, as having fought single-handed for almost a quarter century against the prevailing opinion adverse to the value of the Arabian blood….”
The hand-written notation on the border of the above paragraph, in the hand of Randolph Huntington, says:
“The Century for Sept. 1903. I complied with his request for interviews because he (Mr. Speed) was a Kentucky gentleman in hard times after failure of Harpers Bros., on whose staff he had been.”
A few pages later:
“Mr. Speed proceeds to inform us that among the breeders of horses in America Mr. Randolph Huntington has been known for more than forty years, who had always held that blood influence was all-important in breeding, and that kindred blood, when pure, could not be too closely mingled. (Harkaway, with forty-four strains of the Godolphin, for example.) Mr. Speed says that Mr. Huntington, being a man acquainted with the history of the horse in the world as well as in America, held that the potent blood in every European type, a well as American type, was of Eastern origin; he therefore hailed the coming of the Grant stallins, and prepared to make use of them by securing some half-dozen virgin Clay mares, themselves rich in Arab blood. With General Grant’s consent, Mr. Huntington bred these mares to *Leopard and *Linden Tree, and in a little while had a small collection of the greatest possible interest. He persevered in this for fifteen years, and had developed what he called an American Arab or a Clay Arabian. They were splendid animals—large, shapely, strong, fast, and kindly. Unfortunately, according to Mr. Speed, Mr. Huntington had associated in the ownership of the horses with a New York lawyer—alas, a lawyer!—who proved, in 1893, to be one of the most noted defaulters the United States has known. Mr. Huntington was among the victims, and so his valuable and interesting collection had to be sold and dispersed….”
Again in the marginal notes of Huntington in the book we possess, he says:
“Francis H. Weeks, the defaulter and my treasurer robbed me of every dollar; left me penniless.”
In spite of all of this Huntington was able to start again. Evidently he had kept Naomi and he began after a brief delay, with his usual courage to open negotiations with the Rev. Vidal for the purpose of importing more of the same blood in a group of individuals comprising Nazli, daughter of Naomi; Garaveen, Naomi’s grandson; and Nazlis’ son, Nimr. The Rev. Vidal accompanied this group of horses to New York to insure their safe landing. This was in the spring of 1893.
Huntington apparently didn’t use Garaveen 224 at all, but must have sold him to J.A.P. Ramsdell of Newburgh, NY, as the stud books show Ramsdell as the breeder of eleven foals by *Garaveen; seven mares and four stallions. Ramsdell used only three mares to breed to *Garaveen: Seven times to *Nejdme 1, (desert bred); three times to Nonliker 3 (*Shahwan 241 x Nejdme 10); and once to *Rakusheh 242 (El Emir, G.S.B. x Raschida G.S.B.). The stallion *Shahwan and the mare *Rakusheh were imported by Ramsdell.
Randolph Huntington had wanted to start or develop a National horse for America. He argued that:
“England, Scotland,France and Russia each had a typical horse capable of reproducing its type with excellence in any land to which it may be exported. They are the Thoroughbred racehorse, the Clyde, and the Percheron draught-horses, and the Orloff trotting-horse. Every one of these types is a thoroughbred in its country, based upon the Arabian; and, exported to any land, will reproduce itself physically and instinctively, which our time-standard bred horses will do at present.” This from “General Grant’s Arabian Stallions.”
Things were not easy for Randolph Huntington and he comments on this in the General Grant book:
“Had I anticipated the abusive condemnation I was to draw upon myself, and the privatations suffered, resulting even in financial embarrassment; in the end, through a necessary holding of the stock for the purpose of just estimation of individual values before reproduction,—in fact, a thorough knowledge of the blood instinct, with constitutional fitness for reproduction in each individual case,—added to which was to be incessant physical and mental application, without one single day of rest, with now and then sporting-paper attacks upon an exceedingly sensitive nature, I hardly think my courage would have been equal to the undertaking; nor would it have been except through faith.”
Again from the same book he is very outspoken:
“I have abundantly shown that both the English race-horse and the French Percheron were created by man from God’s horse, or Arabian. It is no sacrilege to say God’s horse, for HE made the Arabian, from which man made the mongrels.”
Much credit is given to Count Orloff in this book by Huntington:
“Let us now go to Russia and inquire into their national horse. It is called the “Russian Orloff” trotting-horse. This horse should be an argument to the American people. Russia, like America, is a vast territory, and has use for general purpose horses such as have speed at the trotting gait and can endure for long distances. They, too, as a people, wanted what they had not got for work purposes, and particularly the road. They tried the English running-horse, only to prove to themselves, as have we, that he was no good except to run races.
“It seems unfortunate that individuals should be called upon to fight, single-handed, battles for important improvements through rediscovery or inventions, but that is God’s will.
“To Count Alexis Orloff is due the Russian trotting-horse bearing his name. The Count imported an Arabian stallion, and by him created a type, through in-and-in breeding after his first outcross. Do not understand by first outcross as one single get, but from selections from all the get of one horse out of differently bred mares. Thus, Count Orloff used Danish mares of low type and English mares, that blood being at the time strongly the affinity or Arabian blood.
“At the time of Count Orloff’s death he had a family of thoroughbred trotting-bred horses, which the people had learned to value so high that the government purchased the entire collection late in the forties, or in 1845.”
In going on to explain that Count Orloff refused to sell any stallions and how he sympathized with him, Huntington says:
“…Men knowing the burden I was financially carrying, and desiring to help me without putting their hands into their own pockets, would urge me to sell, bringing friends to buy the very choicest of my stock which had just reached an age for reproduction, and which being close bred to purification, were my life in the enterprise…”
To quote again from the Boucaut book:
“He (Huntington) started again, and his small collection was added to from England by Nazli, a pure-bred Muneghi-Hadruji Arabian mare, with which, and other accessions, he pursued a course similar to that previous to the dispersal of his collection, until now he has some forty head of horse, pure and half-bred Arabs, and which Mr. Speed states to be the most promising chance that the States have had in some forty years to establish an American type of high character.”
Following the breeding of Naomi to *Leopard 233, she produced a chestnut stud colt in 1890, named Anazeh 235, then her later foals were: Nejd 236, ch. st., foaled 1894 sired by Naomi’s own son, Anazeh. Khaled 5, ch. st., 1895 by Nimr 232, Naomi’s grandson, Naomi the II, 4, ch. mare, 1896 by Nimr., Narkeesa 7, ch. mare, 1897 by Nimr., Naressa 252, ch. mare, 1898, by Anazeh.
*Nazli 231, sired by Maidan and foaled in 1888 was imported in 1893 with her son Nimr 232, sired by Kismet 253. In 1895, she foaled a chestnut filly, Narrah 256, sired by Anazeh. Her other foals were: Naaman 116, ch. st., 1896 by Anazeh., Nazli 6, ch. mare, 1897, by Anazeh, Nazlita 8, ch. mare, 1899 by Khaled, and Nazlet, 161, ch. mare, 1900 by Khaled.
From the above listing, it will be noted that after coming to this country Naomi was bred once to Leopard, three times to her son Anazeh, and twice to her grandson Nimr. Her daughter, Nazli, after the one foal by Kismet, was bred to her half-brothers; three times to Anazeh and twice to Khaled.
We have already mentioned that Huntington believed that it was important to keep the blood closely mingled, so it was, evidently not by necessity that he did so much in-breeding. In a number of his letters, and in his advertising, he always stressed the fact that he had a group of horses “of one family blood” and it was his intention always to preserve a group whose blood was “intensified” by being inter-bred in the same family. It should be recalled that at that early date, little was known outside of Arabia about the different family strains and their special value so Huntington should be credited with great powers of observation in his pioneer breeding experiments.
Huntington’s hopes were not realized beyond a comparatively few years through no fault of his as he was soon faced with old age and a set of conditions which made it impossible to carry out his plans. Some of the descendants of the original foundation can be found in present day Arabian horses.
Probably the most in-bred of the Huntington horses was Khaletta 9, who has Naomi four times in her pedigree. She was sired by Khaled 5, who was out of Naomi by Nimr 232, a grandson of Naomi by Nimr 232, a grandson of Naomi. On the bottom line Khaletta was out of the granddaughter of Naomi, Nazlina 6, who was sired by Anazeh, Naomi’s son. We traced to some foals bred in our own time by the Leland McKeels and Ruth Owen Loge of California.
by Robert J. Cadranell II
Used by Permission of RJ Cadranell II
all rights reserved
Among the most widely known of all Davenport stallions was Hanad, AHC #489. One of the highlights of the famous Sunday shows at the Kellogg Ranch, Hanad also appeared in motion pictures, merited awards in horse shows, and established himself as one of the more important early American sires.
Hanad, like so many other early Davenports, was bred at the renowned Hingham Stock Farm of Peter B. Bradley in Hingham, Mass. Bradley, owner of a profitable fertilizer firm, was able to afford whatever he wanted in horses.
His facilities were vast and housed trotters, polo ponies, Thoroughbreds, and mustangs, in addition to his Arabian collection.
Hanad’s sire, *Deyr, was Bradley‘s favorite from among the imported Davenport Arabians and enjoyed the heaviest use at Hingham of any Arabian stallion save *Hamrah, also represented in Hanad’s pedigree. Hanad traced in tail-female to *Wadduda, favorite war mare of the supreme Sheikh of the ‘Anazah tribes, Hakim Bey Ibn Mhayd.
This eminent Bedouin no doubt had many mares from which to choose, and his selection of *Wadduda is a testament to the mare’s agility, endurance, intelligence, soundness, and tractability. This latter quality helped to make Hanad famous, and it may well be that he inherited part of it from *Wadduda, along with some of her beauty.
*Wadduda is the victim of several unfortunate photographs, making her appear somewhat plain. Cameras more often than not distort their subjects, and modern breeders would do well to recall the number of attempts required to obtain even one representive photograph of their own horses. They also ought to recall how many photographs of themselves they either throw out or refuse to show.
Archie Geer, first cousin to Homer Davenport and a guest at the Davenport farm, knew *Wadduda and rode her there. He always spoke of her to his family as the most beautiful of all Davenport’s horses.
Modern writers who rave about the beauty of the Davenport mares *Urfah and *Abeyah while ignoring *Wadduda ought to take Geer’s statement into account. Stallions as stunningly magnificent as Antez, Hamwad, and Hanad do not stem from plain mares.
Although the Hingham Stock Farm bred Hanad, he was foaled elsewhere. His dam Sankirah went with a large consignment of Hingham Arabians to John G. Winant of Concord, N.H., in 1921.
This gentleman was U.S. ambassador to Great Britain during World War II, following a stint as the governor of New Hampshire. Mrs Winant retained a few of the Arabians for a number of years, but the bulk of the horses went in 1922 to Morton S. Hawkins of Portland, Ind., and it was in that state that Hanad was foaled.
Unfortunately for the horses, Hawkins soon went to federal prison. The animals were neglected and scattered, sold to those willing to pay their outstanding feed bills.
That winter Dr. Charles D. Pettigrew of Muncie bought Sankirah and her foal Hanad, debilitated to the point where he could not stand. He was strapped to a drag and pulled from the pasture.
Pedigrew owned Hanad for four years. Under his ownership Hanad had his start as a breeding stallion. Herbert V. Tormohlen of the respected Ben Hur farm brought him his first mares, and Pettigrew also used him at home.
Pettigrew sold Hanad in 1927 to Charles W. Jewett, a mayor of Indianapolis. At Jewett’s Arlington Farm, Hanad was ridden some and continued his career at stud, siring foals for Jewett, Tormohlen, and the early Midwestern breeder John A. George.
Hanad was not to remain long with Jewett, however. Arlington Farm was becoming surrounded with newly built houses, and Jewett decided to sell his Arabians in 1929. In July of that year W.K. Kellogg and his manager Herbert H. Reese inspected the Jewett Arabians.
They obviously liked what they saw, for Kellogg bought the entire lot of 11 head, four of which were 100 percent Davenport in pedigree. The balance were of mainly Davenport breeding.
Hanad arrived in Pomona on Aug. 19, having been shipped by rail. It was at the Kellogg Ranch that Hanad made his fame.
Manager Reese was quite complimentry, writing of him years later that
“his best points were a good shoulder and exceptionally beautiful, high carriage of tail, and his disposition was all that was ever claimed for the breed by its most enthusiastic admirers… Hanad proved to be adaptable to any sort of training of an unusual sort, such as “jumping rope” under saddle, doing the Spanish walk, standing on a pedestal, and so on.
“His calm disposition was never flustered by noise, crowds or strange surroundings, yet he was always spirited and full of “go,” making him ideal as an exhibition horse.
“He took part in practically all the shows, parades and motion picture work away from the ranch as well as doing his specialties in the Sunday exhibitions… Hanad played a noteworthy part in acquainting the public with the virtues of the Arabian breed, and he also contributed as a sire.”
Hanad also was trained as a five-gaited horse and for driving.
Hanad was judged champion stallion at the Los Angeles County Fair in 1929, 1930 and 1932. In 1930 his daughter Valencia received the champion mare award.
Hanad also appeared in numerous fairs as part of a traveling Kellogg show. These animals did not compete in the regular classes, but delighted audiences with their specialty acts. Hanad and the Kellogg string journeyed as far from their home base in Pomona as Tennessee and Washington state.
Hanad posed in publicity photographs with the 1930 Rose Queen and actress Laura LaPlante. In 1931 actress Marguerite Churchill presented him in a Sunday show. She later reminisced:
“I wanted to show horses and, eventually, I managed to get to the class where Kellogg Ranch invited me to ride Hanad. It was probably the greatest joy of my life (even now) to be mounted on that lovely stallion… He, unlike many Arabians, had been trained to the five gaits, and I was also able to do that.
“I went many times to the stables, training with a fine man, I believe called Smith, to show me the fine points of Hanad. It was not a small triumph to make the show on two Sundays showing Hanad. I hope well, and myself as well as I could… I recall the terrible heat there when coming out for my lessons, but, of course, when the “show” was on, I thought of how I was doing, well or poorly, and wanting so much to let everyone see that I was able to show Hanad at his best.
“I believe at that time he was valued at $25,000, and not just for that, but because he was so beautiful, I tried to be worthy of him.”
Actor John Davis Lodge appeared in The Scarlet Empress with Marlene Dietrich and Hanad. He also left notes attesting to Hanad’s qualities.
“It was my good fortune to ride Hanad in several of the scenes of the picture. It was my first experience riding an Arabian stallion.
“Having ridden a good deal and loving horses, I was greatly impressed by the beauty, strength, and agility of this stallion. He was well-trained and handled easily. I have never encountered a horse with his beautiful, restrained gallop.
“One day, when we were filming the scene in which I escort Marlene Dietrich to Moscow, the ground was heavily covered with cornflakes, simulating snow. The scene called for a fast gallop around the bend of the castle.
“It was wet and slippery underfoot. Hanad’s legs skidded right from under him and he landed on one side, pinning my legs to the ground; yet he sprang up so quickly that we were off again—in full gallop. I do believe that, with most horses, it might have been a dangerous accident.”
Hanad sired 23 Arabian foals during his time at Kelloggs, though one of these, Sanad, came from Arlington Farm in-utero. An article in the Journal of the Arab Horse Society, apparently written during his years as a sire at Kelloggs, stated that “Hanad is siring well-proportioned colts with a maximum of quality and natural style.”
The widely known author and artist Gladys Brown Edwards first became involved with Arabians through Hanad. In 1932 she bred her part-Thoroughbred mare to Hanad, and kept the foal at the Kellogg Ranch after it was born.
That she chose Hanad over the famous stallions *Raseyn, *Ferdin and *Nasik is a testament to Hanad’s type, quality, and the brillant beauty that he possessed.
She described him as “a stylish horse, and very trainable” while crediting him with 73 champions descending in the tail-male line.
Late in 1935 Kelloggs was requested to provide two horses to lead the procession into the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day. The ranch sent Hanad and *King John.
One of the spectators, W. C. Stroube, saw Hanad there and felt he must own him. Stoube, a Texas oil man, appeared at Kelloggs the next day, insistent on the purchase of Hanad. After some deliberation, Kelloggs decided that they had enough of his get and could train a young horse to replace him as a performer.
One wonders what Stroube paid to wrest Hanad from the Kellogg Ranch. A week after his visit he owned the stallion.
Stroube kept Hanad for seven years, during which time he got only four foals, all from mares that Stroube had purchased as yearlings from Kelloggs with Hanad. In 1943 William States Jacobs bought Hanad, retaining him until 1946. Hanad sired no foals under the ownership of Jacobs.
In 1946 Hanad, at the age of 24, found his last owner. John and Alice Payne drove to Texas to buy Hanad and bring him to their ranch in Whittier, Calif. They found that he had sustained a broken front leg at some point during his Texas sojourn. To buy him Alice Payne had to exercise her full powers of persuasion, but in the end she was successful.
Hanad was quite old by this time, having very few stud seasons left to him. Despite the handicap of age, he managed to sire as many foals during his second stay in California as he had during his first.
Hanad and *Nuri Pasha are the oldest animals with progeny in Volume VII of the studbook, yet *Nuri Pasha has only one foal to Hanad’s 13.
Hanad was not immune to time, but he still managed to impress those who saw him. Following is Mrs. Milton V. Thompson’s account of Hanad in old age:
“We traveled 5,000 miles to see old Hanad, *Raseyn and *Aziza at Payne’s…It was worth it.
“Hanad is a terrific, bombastic horse, 27 years old, who snorts fire and brimstone with every breath out of those beautiful “picture” nostrils of his. When Alice Payne brought this proud beauty out of the barn he was prancing high, wide and handsome, with that broken right front leg going just as high as the good legs. He is 14.2 – a rich, dark chestnut.
“One morning I got up at the crack of dawn to see Hanad. I looked at him for two-and-a-half hours straight, made some sketches of that wonderful head of his. He rolled over nine times.
“Where he broke his leg nobody seems to know. He was once one of the famous trick horses at Kelloggs, as the picture in the studbook shows him jumping rope.
“He was once sold for $10,000, years ago, and his history has been vague since. Right now Hanad is enjoying a wave of popularity in the West, rivaling anything he knew at his peak as a dressage horse. And no wonder.
“He is a very prepotent old guy—I picked out unknown colts as Hanad colts when they were his grandchildren. The Hanad colts are at a premium.
“In fact, we saw none for sale. Everyone wants one, including Milton and Virginia T., and his colts are spoken for when the mare is bred. People just seem to be waking up to what a great horse he is.”
Hanad died on Nov. 6, 1949, at the Payne Ranch. He was 27. He got a lifetime total of 57 foals, a respectable figure in a time when Arabians were something of a rarity.
Many of the Hanad sons became honored sires in their own right. Ameer Ali stood with Dr. Glass in Oklahoma.
Mahomet grew into a key sire for his breeder, J.A. George, while Aabab filled the same position for the Tormohlens. Sanad headed the small but influential program of Mr. and Mrs J.N. Clapp.
Cliff and Mollie Latimer of British Columbia, Canada, adored their Adounad, writing that it was “interesting to correspond with owners of other sons of Hanad and to find they were as pleased with their results as we have been.”
Hasab stood for years with Mrs. Beverly Young. Ibn Hanad created a veritable dynasty of champions for Margaret Shuey’s Sunny Acres program., and Hanrah’s son Ibn Hanrah did the same for Gerald Donoghue’s program. Tripoli headed the Craver breeding project until his death at 29, and all but a handful of the living 100 percent Davenport horses trace to him, and thus to Hanad.
The Hanad daughters were notable good producers. Show winnings are only one of many methods used to evaluate Arabian horses, yet they seem to be the method of choice for a great portion of today’s breeders.
For some years running, the Arabian Horse World has printed lists of mares who have produced four or more champions. Our current Class “A” show system is a relatively recent creation, and Hanad was rather an early sire to be expected to have daughters on this list.
His last three foal crops contained a combined total of but 10 fillies, yet two of them (20 percent) appear on this list of top-producing mares. Three Hanad granddaughters appear, again from Hanad progeny produced during his later years after he left the Kellogg Ranch.
To name a few individual daughters, Valencia, Rokhalda, Nadda, and Rifnada were all Kellogg broodmares. Raadah went to the W.R. Hearst stables.
John A. George had Dowhana and Chrallah, with Chrallah later going to Roger Selby. The Tormhhlens retained Aabann. Schiba became a significant foundation mare for Dr. Krausnick, while Charles Craver was able to secure Dhanad and Hantarah for his Davenport program after they had spent many years producing at the Sullivan Ranch in California.
The 75 percent Davenport Ganada, Hanad’s last foal, was a show horse and broodmare for John Rogers. Her full sister Hanida did the same for the Mekeels.
She was the first Reserve Pacific Coast Champion mare. Hanida produced five champions, while Ganada had six.
From the above, it will be seen that Hanad was most admired for his beauty, his ability under saddle, his amenable disposition, and the quality of his get, both as individuals and as breeding stock. This is especially noteworthy since Hanad was extremely close to desert horses in terms of generations of removal.
One often reads, and more often hears, that strictly desert-bred stock does not appeal to American tastes, and is not as attractive as the “big, bold, and beautiful” Arabian show horse of today. Hanad’s record, and the records of many other animals close to their Bedouin-bred origins, make such claims appear uninformed, if not ludicrous.
Originally published in Arabian Visions Jul/Aug 1997, used by permission
The Donoghue Arabian Farm has been a mainstay of Arabian horse breeding in and out of Texas. Though not the first Arabian horse nursery in Texas, it was a relatively early establishment. And while Gerald and Louise Donoghue’s herd was probably not the largest ever assembled in Texas, it was plenty big enough to supply mounts and breeding stock to a wide variety of customers. As Louise Donoghue wrote in the introduction to the 1993 Donoghue Arabian Directory,
“Jerry’s ambition was to raise and sell horses which could be treated as family pets but could also win ribbons in the show ring. He urged that these horses be trained in different types of riding to exhibit their versatility and athletic ability. His Generations of Champions are widely noted for their friendly dispositions and classic Arabian looks. Nothing delighted him more than to receive a letter from the owner of one of his horses telling him how wonderful they were….”
The detailed story of the early years is best told in Gerald Donoghue’s own book, My Friend, The Arabian Horse. Following is a short synopsis of the story, often drawing on his own words, but kept brief to save room for photos and the reminiscences of friends.
We begin when Gerald Donoghue was working as a reporter and assistant editor for the Houston Chronicle. In 1943 the city editor sent him to do a story on the Arabian horses of R. J. Geimer. Donoghue had never seen Arabians before, but came away impressed by the disposition of Geimer’s stallion *Latif (Antez x *Lassa). After Mr. Geimer saw the story, he offered that Donoghue could breed his Palomino mare to *Latif. At about this time the Donoghues left Houston and moved to a ranch in Goliad, and there in 1944 their first Half-Arabian was born, a filly named Taffy. As she grew and came under saddle, Donoghue admired her so much he decided to get more Arabian blood.
The first purebred was purchased in 1949, a two-year-old grandson of *Latif named Watez. He came out of the J.E. Mowinckle herd, stabled at Alamo Downs in San Antonio. In 1950 Donoghue brought a filly named Yaquta (*Czubuthan x *Lassa). In 1951 Yaquta was bred to Watez. Also that year three females were purchased from the Lodwick farm in Ohio. These included Rafisca (by Rafisco) and her dam, the pregnant Freiha. Jerry and Louise Donoghue now had a small herd. In looking back he commented,
“I liked the group and I was fascinated by their pedigrees. Still, something was missing….I still had not found the type of Arabian I was looking for.”
In 1952 Jerry Donoghue discovered some of the Mowinckle mares were for sale in San Angelo. He found them in poor condition, but even so one bay mare and her bay colt had a “look that set [them] above” the others: “My search had ended.”
The mare was Ronara (Roayas x Narlet) with her son Ibn Hanrah. Ronara was back in foal to Hanrah (Hanad x Rahzawi), and would produce Rohanna in two months. Donoghue bought the whole package, later writing,
“Most of the Arabians I have owned since that time have been descendants of this one great mare.”
From her photos and Donoghue’s descriptions, Ronara seems to have been a mare of great quality. She, probably more than any other horse, appears to have set the type that distinguishes a Donoghue horse.
As for Rohanna,
“she was a complete beauty. No one ever passed Rohanna without taking a second look.”
Her foals included Carol Chapman’s dynamic chestnut stallion Pulque (by Skorage), multi-champion and Legion of Merit winner. Rohanna was also dam of Tondelayo (by Al-Marah Erka). Tondelayo was another successful show horse for the Donoghues, with a Legion of Merit and top tens in park, western and English pleasure.
Much space in My Friend is devoted to stories of criss-crossing the country on the way to show in the 1950’s, often with children Bill, Clare, and Timothy alone. Ibn Hanrah, Ronara, Rohanna, and the other horses represented the Donoghue Arabian Farm well in those early shows. My Friend offers as much chronicle of those days as it does wry commentary on how Arabian shows had changed by the time of the book’s publication in the 1980’s.
The Donoghues finally met Mr. Mowinckle, who told them about Walter (“Chappy”) and Carol Chapman. They caught up with the Chapmans later at a show. The Chapmans agreed to take some Donoghue horses for training. Jerry Donoghue later wrote,
“For the past thirty years, Chappy has trained generations of our horses and three generations of our family.”
Donoghue felt a larger mare band would be necessary to make a profit on the farm; his next addition came in 1953 from the Babson Farm in Illinois. She was Fay Ufa (Fay-el-Dine x *Maaroufa), bred from Mr. Babson’s 1932 Egyptian importation.
In 1954 Jerry Donoghue made his first visit to Al-Marah Arabians, then located in Washington, D.C. He met the farm’s owner, Bazy Tankersley, and her foundation sire, Indraff (*Raffles x *Indaia). Indraff was
“a beautiful gray stallion, almost pure white, who immediately noticed us and came charging up the hill, his neck arched and his tail almost curled over his back. It was a beautiful sight.”
It occurred to Donoghue that Ronara could be bred to Indraff, but he did not want to send her that far from home. Instead, it seemed more practical to bring Indraff daughters to Texas and breed them to Ibn Hanrah.
“Ronara’s Crabbet ancestry would be right in line with the Crabbet-Skowronek breeding of Indraff and Ibn Hanrah would bring the Davenport cross into the combination which should pep things up.” He continued, “Horses with a strong percentage of Davenport blood seem to have an extra spark that some other Arabian horses lack.”
Ronara had a Davenport line through Sherlet; through his sire, Ibn Hanrah was a grandson of the Davenport stallion Hanad, thus Ibn Hanrah had 31.25% Davenport blood.
In 1956 Jerry Donoghue traveled to the first Al-Marah production sale looking for something from the Skowronek line. Studying the catalog, he kept coming back to Egypt, by Ibn Hanad (Hanad x Gamil) and out of Star of Egypt (*Raffles x *Roda). Egypt came with a stud colt by the Indraff son Al-Marah El Hezzez, named Al-Marah Erka. When Donoghue saw Egypt, he admired her head, quality, and quiet disposition. Later, he was the successful bidder.
Egypt had been bred by Margaret Shuey of Sunny Acres in North Carolina. Donoghue wrote,
“Egypt [did] so well that, every time I had a chance, I had bought a Shuey-bred mare when it had the combination of Ibn Hanad, *Raffles and *Roda.”
In 1960 came Sunny Acres Serranita,
“not only an all-around show mare, but was chosen as one of the top ten halter champions at the Canadian Nationals. Her career as a brood mare was even more distinguished.”
Serranita was by Ibn Hanad and out of Joye (*Raffles x *Roda).
Another Star of Egypt daughter to come to Goliad was Sunny Acres Easter Star, in 1964. She was by Shalimar Teke, a son of Flaia. Flaia was a full sister to Indraff, and considered by several connoisseurs to be among the best of the many successful *Raffles x *Indaia foals. Shalimar Teke was a grandson of Ibn Hanad. Easter Star’s most notable son was probably Beau Ibn Hanrah, successful in park, western, English, halter and most classic. Pamela Long remembers him as “magnificent. To this day one of the most beautiful horses I’ve ever seen.” Another 1964 acquisition was Sunny Acres Geneviewe, a granddaughter of Ibn Hanad, *Aeniza, *Raffles, and *Roda.
Indraff daughters had also arrived in Goliad. Tasliya (x Temag, by Fay-el-Dine) came in 1959. She became Louise Donoghue’s personal riding horse, and won Reserve National Champion Mare in 1958. Her career also included the Legion of Merit and the King Saud Cup. In 1960 came Al-Marah Indraffa (x Roumana, by *Sulejman). there as also Indianna (Indraff x Ananda), bred by Louis G. Foye.
Another Indraff daughter to come to Goliad was Al-Marah Gazelle, out of the old R.B.Field broodmare Gisela (Akil x Shemseh), bringing in more Crabbet and Davenport blood. Al-Marah Gazelle was acquired in 1965, and became dam of Don Amistad (by Ibn Hanrah), a Legion of Merit winner. Pamela Long remembers,
“Al-Marah Gazelle, a chestnut mare, had an aversion to wearing a halter. So, Jerry respected her wishes and led her with a rope around her neck.”
Fersheba (Ferseyn x Rasheba, by Rasraff) also ranks among the important Donoghue foundation mares. Fersheba brought in a different line to *Raffles, and through her sire reinforced the more distant crosses to *Raseyn and *Ferda in Ronara’s pedigree. Fersheba was bred in California, and later owned at Al-Marah. Perhaps Fersheba’s biggest contribution was her son Don Fersheba (by Ibn Hanrah). He excelled in English, western, halter, and most classic classes, earned his Legion of Merit, and became a Donoghue sire.
Donoghue described the four Shuey mares, four Indraff daughters, five Ronara daughters, and Fersheba as the background of his breeding program, although other mares were occasionally brought in from outside through the 60s and 70s. The four younger sisters of Rohanna were her full sister La Bahia, Bint Ronara (by Al-Marah Erka), Rose of Ronara (by Al-Marah Erka), and Ronava. The latter was Al-Marah Cassanova’s first foal. Jerry Donoghue judged her
“a sensation. [She] became one of the sights to see on our farm. Her head was outstanding.”
Jerry Donoghue had decided an outcross sire was needed. At a horse management course at Al-Marah he noticed a
“colt was being used for amateurs to trot up and down. The colt seemed happy in his work and, the more I looked at him, the more I liked him.”
This was Al-Marah Cassanova (Rapture x Cassandra), then two. He had three close crosses to *Raffles and a female line to *Roda. A deal was struck, which included returning Erka to Al-Marah, and Cassanova was on his way to Texas. He left a good number of sons and daughters, and also won his Legion of Merit and a national top ten halter before he died young at age 12.
Donoghue-bred Cass Ole, the star of the motion picture The Black Stallion.
La Bahia was another national top ten and Legion of Merit winner. Bred to La Bahia, Al-Marah Cassanova sired Cass Ole, the star of the motion picture The Black Stallion. This pleased Jerry Donoghue:
“Because I’ve often wondered if I’ve ever done anything constructive in my life, 40 years of it spent with Arabian horses, it gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to know that, at least, I bred a horse that has brought entertainment and beauty to millions of people.”
Ibn Hanrah died from a twisted intestine in 1965, a huge loss. His wins in English and western pleasure, park, and halter (including 1959 U.S.Reserve National Champion Stallion and Canadian National Champion Stallion) and helped establish the reputation of the Donoghue horses. Since his first foals in 1955 he had proven an equally important sire. His sons Don Fersheba and Beau Ibn Hanrah succeeded him.
In 1980 the Donoghues decided it was time to cut down the size of the herd, and many horses were sold. Jerry Donoghue gave this summary of his breeding program in 1984:
“The old farm was sold in 1980 and we live in a remodeled stone house on the ranch. I limit myself to six brood mares, all being bred to Beau Ibn Hanrah, with an occasional outcross.”
By 1991 the Donoghues had bred over 250 foals and were standing Don Beau Max (Beau Ibn Hanrah x Donna Indraffa) and Don Boolad (Don Fersheba x Donna Ferona). In an interview with Sandy Rolland, Gerald Donoghue said he wanted to be remembered for his horses, and breeding a natural, ungimmicked Arabian. He died on August 5, 1992.
In reading My Friend, several aspects of Jerry Donoghue’s character emerge. His constant concern for the well-being of his charges runs all through the story. When he pulled a trailer, he drove so slowly that his son joked there was time to read the historical markers they passed. No one who made horses head-shy was allowed to handle the herd. Pamela Long recalls,
“As I walked around the farm with Jerry, I noticed he touched every horse—usually with the back of his hand. He told me he was freeze branded before he freeze branded any of the horses, ‘to make sure it didn’t hurt.’ He was extremely proud of them, loved them with a passion, and worried about them incessantly.”
Jerry and Louise seem to have complemented each other in evaluating their horses. He wrote,
“Louise and I look at horses differently. I want to know what they can produce; she wants to know how it feels to ride them.”
Speaking of the breed as a whole, he said,
“The basic appeal of the Arabian horse has been as a family horse and show horse combined.”
We end with Jerry Donoghue’s words about the right Arabian horse for him:
“to interest me, a horse had to look like an Arabian, regardless of his pedigree. He had to have a good head and good tail carriage with overall good balance. I always look at the head and into his eyes. To me, the personality of the horse is more important than his size or color. Size is away down on my list of desirable characteristics of the Arabian….
“When an Arabian horse has a good head, it is hard for me to take my eyes away from the head to look at anything else. I assume the horse has four legs.
“I do not belittle the importance of a horse having good, straight, sound legs. However, if all I wanted in a horse was straight legs and powerful muscles I would not go to the expense of raising purebred Arabian horses, straight legs and big muscles can be found in many cross-bred grade horses.”
Dr. James P. Entrekin, Grey Eagle Arabian Farm, Algoa/Alvin TX: Fayhan (x Fay Ufa), from the first foal crop of Ibn Hanrah, was the first Donoghue horse I met. Most of my horses stem from Fayhan and his offspring. My personal mare Faylene is pure Donoghue and perhaps a perfect example of the delightful Donoghue disposition and personality. She is best when ridden without bridle or bit. She goes through a repertoire that includes kneeling, lying down, rolling over, sitting up, shaking hands, side pass, two track, et al., all at liberty. Donoghue Arabians perhaps best personify those three criteria that one must never compromise and they are 1. Disposition, 2. Disposition, and 3. Disposition. Donoghue Arabians are living examples of back to the basics desert bred type, conformation, disposition, and predictability.
Pamela J. Long, Mai-Zel Dragonwicke Arabians, Dragoon AZ: My college graduation present from my parents was a trip to Goliad to the Donoghue production sale in April 1969. I bought the grey yearling Don Zel (Don Fersheba x Al-Marah Gazelle). I realized after I won the bid that I didn’t have any money or transportation. Mr. Donoghue allowed me to make payments for a year. Fifteen of the 16 horses I now own carry Donoghue breeding. All 15 are Don Zel’s descendants. The Donoghue horses have fine typey heads — not extreme, but immediately recognizable — large, intelligent, inquiring, and frienddly eyes, and always smiles. They are short coupled, with good — not extreme — toplines. With very rare exceptions, Donoghue legs are as perfect as they come. They move freely, with balance and poise, always proud. Their strength and balance is incredible. Don Zel could rear and raise and lower himself again and again, never touching the ground. They turn on a dime — co-ordinated and athletic. Donoghue horses are people horses, gentle and kind, very intelligent, learn quickly. I ride them everywhere, over mountains, through streams, down hills. They are sure footed and never hesitate.
Shar Smith, Conroe TX: Butch and I purchased Donna Egypt (Don Fersheba x Bint Egypt, by Al-Marah Cassanova) from Jamil Ferreira of Richmond, Texas, in June of 1993. We had no idea who Jerry and Louise Donoghue were, and knew nothing of the great Donoghue tradition. Donna Egypt was 18, and we knew only that she was beautiful and a dream to ride. On a whim, I took her to a fine local trainer, Jim Maddox. He stoked our imaginations with stories of Walter and Carol Chapman, and how Gerald and Louise represented the best. He referred me to Gerald’s book, which I tried to locate, without success. The following March, Butch and I made the trip to Goliad. We were fascinated by Louise. she totally charmed us. She autographed a copy of Gerald’s book for me, which I proudly took home. We have four offspring of Donna Egypt. Each one is brilliant of intelligence, brilliant of beauty and motion. Perhaps the most notable characteristic is their intense desire to interact with people.
Martha Craig, Fredericksburg Tx: I have many marvelous memories of Louise and Jerry — their excitement and delight in each horse, the way he could give a complete history of every one of the horses for generations — what a joy just to be around those two! My Don Beauzel (Beau Ibn Hanrah x Donna Gazelle, by Don Fersheba) is 16. I have enjoyed him since he was just under three. My Beau was shown as a three year old — did well in western pleasure — then I began using him on our ranch in Colorado. He loved moving cattle and the long rides. We moved to Fredericksburg in 1989 and trail ride in the hills now with friends and he is super for that. He is calm, willing, loves people. His head is gorgeous, wide between the eyes, large soft eyes, nice dish, small ears.
Lynn Weber, Friendswood TX: I didn’t know Jerry Donoghue and I have never met Louise, but I can tell you they have given us a true gift in his line of Arabians. I own four horses, which includes my favorite, a 13 year old black gelding, Don Grito (Don Beau Pronto x Bint Donna Sheba). He is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. He learns tricks eagerly, but his most admirable trait is his kindness. He’s gentle with everything and everyone.
Sally L. Quick, Spring Creek Arabian Farm, Lufkin TX: In the early 1970’s I moved from southern California to south Texas. My first goal was to visit the Donoghues as I had seen their ads for years. Our first visit was a trip to paradise. Over the years we visited the farm many times, and in 1976 moved to Goliad. I was happy to be close to so many great horses. I would simply call Mr. D. and tell him I’d like to walk through the pastures; he would always agree. My children loved to visit and Mrs. D. would have cookies for them. The Donoghue horses possessed a look that was easily recognizable: the beautiful heads with large eyes and bodies with substance are much admired. All Donoghue horses have great personalities and can be real clowns. Through the generosity and special consideration of Mr. D., I bought my first purebred colt from the farm in 1976. Don Ibn Gazelle (Cass Grito x Al-Marah Gazelle) was delivered to us as a weanling, and our dream of owning an Arabian horse became a reality. He won many halter ribbons and was Reserve Grand Champion Stallion at the State Fair Show. Mr. and Mrs Donoghue were the most gracious hosts ever. Each year they had a spring open barn and barbecue. It was the social event for all Arabian people in the area. Recently I was in the market for a younger horse. Of course I was looking for Donoghue breeding. I purchased a Half-Arabian by a Quarter Horse out of Donna Talhanna. He is typical Donoghue, with a great personality, easy going nature, and sound good conformation. The joy these horses have brought to my life is a gift. Mr. and Mrs. Donoghue were gracious and kind to all who knew them.
Dana Kirk, Kenda Arabian Ranch, Cleburne TX: Of our own horses, Don Halawi and Donna Halawi (both Don Fergen x Bint Halawi) have the biggest part of my heart. Donna is elegant and feminine with the largest eyes and one of the most beautiful, refined heads I have ever seen. Her willingness to please and her love of people are her first qualities. Don is best known for his love affair with our daughter, Loren. At the CMK showcase in Glen Rose, Texas, Loren rode Don bareback with nothing but a satin ribbon for a bridle. They were both loving every minute of it. Don was so good at so many disciplines. Whatever Loren asked of him he lovingly gave his all. Donna Halawi, age 24 and crippled now by laminitis, never hesitates to jump into a trailer onto sore front feet. I’m getting teary-eyed over this. I know she won’t be with us much longer and I can’t bear to say good-bye.
Jack & Val Nevilles, Ja-Val Arabians, Pittsburg TX: I purchased a part-Arab gelding, Sabra, in 1977 from Lynn Edge in Tivoli, Texas. His sire was Don Almas, and his dam was a Half-Arabian mare by Fayhan. Sabra was my dream horse. He was shown some in the late 70s and never out of the ribbons either as a performance or a halter horse. Having a Donoghue horse was in a way a dream come true. I first saw Donoghue horses in the show ring at the Nationals in 1962. I had read about them and was impressed by their beauty and conformation. My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting the Donoghues on two or three occasions. What a lovely couple they were — never too busy to talk about their horses, or share some iced tea. The thing I remember most was the substance and willing attitude of each horse.
Carolyn Crowley, East Greenwich NY: My mare was purchased as a youngster by a Navy woman and brought up the coast to Newport, Rhode Island. I met her there, and showed her for her owner until I was able to purchase her for my own. Her name was Donnaliya (Don Fersheba x Tasliya). After living with and loving Donnaliya for 18 years, I can certainly identify with Louise’s affection from Tasilya. In my eyes and in my heart Donnaliya was the most beautiful mare of my life. It was her huge heart — game for anything with the kindness of a saint. Correct conformation — she was a knockout in a halter class, blue after blue after blue. Classic head. Her eye, a form of communication. She was shown halter, hunt seat, and western pleasure. We did trail riding, pace events, and later in life she was broken to harness. Babies toddled beneath her as I groomed and tacked her up. She was careful and safe with my 11 year old son when he started showing her. She tirelessly gave “pony rides” to school children on field trips to the farm. My “Liya-love” is now deceased, buried in a nook of the woods adjacent to the ring. I’ll always love her so.
Linda M. Gremore, D&L Arabians, Boyd TX: The memories I have of Donoghue Arabian horses go back about 45 years. When I was eight years old I began writing to the “Ibn Hanrah Fan Club.” I dreamed of breeding my mare to Ibn Hanrah. Later, I lived in Austin, Texas, and was able to see Cass Ole at a horse show in San Antonio when he was two. My dream of owning a Donoghue Arabian horses did not materialize until 1978. My husband, Virgil, and I purchased two mares (not Donoghue) and after much discussion decided to take one to breed to Beau Ibn Hanrah. Before we even stopped the trailer, my husband spotted a beautiful grey stallion whose hair shimmered in the sun like fish scales. Before I knew what had happened to Virgil, he was in the lot with Don Fersheba. We brought the other mare back to breed to Don Fersheba. Beau Ibn Hanrah had the presence to stand out in a crowd of horses no mater how beautiful the others. Virgil and I made several trips to Goliad and were always given the grand tour. Mr. Donoghue had a stall area with each stall opening onto a grassy courtyard. He would bring each mare and foal out and recite their pedigrees. He had a tremendous program we are trying to continue. Mr. and Mrs. Donoghue were always gracious. In 1980 Mr. Donoghue told us he was cutting down his herd and had several stallion in which we might be interested. I did not believe we could afford a stallion, but my husband insisted we take the trailer. We chose Don Beau Pronto (Beau Ibn Hanrah x Cassa Arriba). We prayed Mr. Donoghue would have the right figures the next morning so we would be able to purchase Pronto. He did! He also let us take Sunny Acres Genevieve home. Everyone always stopped to look at her. Pronto has won numerous blue ribbons in halter and many championships in western pleasure both pro and amateur. In 1984 Pronto was Region 9 Reserve Western Pleasure Stallion. We will always be grateful to Walter Chapman and Brad Bunio for Pronto’s training and showing. Virgil and I have taken dressage lessons on two of our Don Fersheba daughters. To the best of our knowledge, we have the largest herd of pure Donoghue horses.
Ana Carolina Gomez-Simmons, Temple TX: Gran Cicque Kalim is beautiful, graceful, intelligent, loyal, loving. He is my dream come true and it would take me more than all the words in the world to describe him. I love him with all my heart and soul.
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.
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.
The Arabian stallion, Rifage, with L.W.Van Vleet up.
A brief “time out” at the cattle branding for the Arabian stallion Kabar. Wayne Van Vleet is up.
The Continental Divide provides a rugged background for this unusual picture of five Van Vleet Arabian stallions up 12,500 feet. The stallions are, left to right: Zarife, Sahar, Kabar, Barek and Rifage.
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.“
Excerpted from THE ARAB HORSE, HIS COUNTRY AND PEOPLE
Chapter II- FOREIGN ESTIMATES OF THE ARABIAN
Major General W. Tweedie, 1894 England
from the Khamsat Volume Seven Number Two Apr/June 199?
“up to this point we have been chiefly occupied with the Arabian Horse in countries where he is regarded as the work and gift of Allah, which neither needs nor admits of improvement. But the time has arrived to consider another series of facts. The same breed commands almost an equal degree of admiration wherever it is known. The horse of nations with whom the world, if ever it was young, still is so, and for whom the “long results of time” are traditional and unwritten, is sought out by the most civilized Government for the improvement of their studs and the expansion of their empire and resources. Several of the greatest generals of modern Europe have shown a strong preference for Arab horses as chargers. In the courtly circles of Persia and India, this is the horse which is prized above all others. The point is, what do these familiar facts imply? Is the Arabian abroad a genuine good thing or an illusion? Is it is merits that have thus distinguished him, or chiefly his oriental associations, and he the circumstance that no one knows exactly where he comes from? Such are the questions which next await us; but first, it may be well to notice what has been said by others, both in favour of the Arabian breed and in depreciation of it.
The praises of Arabians by their owners which occur in popular books require to be received with abatement. Not only does admiration come more naturally than fault-finding, but the authors of Such passages have frequently been literary persons, without any very wide experience of horses. This applies to one of the prettiest and most frequently quoted references of the class alluded to — that in which, in his Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India in 1824-5, the amiable Bishop Heber commended his Arab riding-horse.
No ancient or modern Church can bear comparison with the Church of England in the power of producing excellent preachers and parsons, who are also horsemen; but the author of “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” represented a different phase of clerical life. There can be no question that, for one whose seat is not well down into the saddle, the Arabian is the pleasantest and the safest of all the chevaux de luxe of the world. No one can be called a coachmen who has never handled rougher teams than gentlemen’s ones, — never worked a coach, stage after stage, and grappled with them as they came — bolters, bo-kickers, and all sorts of reprobates. And neither should one whose equestrian experiences have been confined to Arabs make too sure that he is a horseman. While noting this, we would not be thought to suggest that the clientéle of the Arabian is in any considerable degree, formed of men who are not exactly centaurs. A far larger class of his admirers, in which are many of the strongest riders in the world, consists of those who, when they are in the saddle, have other things to think of than horsebreaking. An adjutant-general or an aide de-camp, whose charger is given to “sticking up,” as it is called, under saddle cannot perform his duty. We know as well as any one that Arabs also are sometimes difficult to ride. Even the gentlest have their little ways, especially with the timid; and we have known a few which would give any man an uneasy half hour, when it was inconvenient to treat them to all that they required to sober them — a right good gallop. But, as a rule, horses of this breed, when asked to go in one direction, do not insist on going in another direction, or fix themselves on their forelegs and curl up like hedgehogs. Their worst tantrums, compared, for example, with the sullen humours of the Australian buckjumper, remind us of the “Amaryllidis Iras.” If one or two of the many splendid Arabs which the late Emperor of the French collected had been preserved for his ill-starred son, the Prince Imperial, the fateful moment in Zululand would not have found him struggling with his charger.
It should also be remembered that, ever since Great Britain took charge of India, the Arabian horse has enjoyed extraordinary opportunities of shining in the public service. India has been surveyed and settled, not by the Englishman alone, but by the Englishman and his horse. Important divisions of its cavalry armament — notably the Lancers of the Nizam’s country and the Central India Horse — obtain a large number of remounts from the Arab horse-marts of Bombay. In the brief but difficult campaign of 1856 in Persia, the straight swords and Arab horses of the Bombay Light Calvary demoralized the Shah’s forces. Chargers from the Euphrates have carried our soldiers to Candahar and Cabul, to Pekin and to Magdala. More recently, in Burma, where it is extremely difficult to keep foreign horses healthy, the cavalry of the Hyderabad Contingent added to the high reputation which it inherits.”