Which are the Crabbet horses, and which are the Hanstead horses?
These are the Hanstead foals. Hanstead’s worldwide influence is out of all proportion to the relatively small number of foals—an average of just over four per year. The six foundation mares appear in all capital letters, with sire and dam noted in italics, then each foundation mare’s produce directly underneath. Any daughters with foals registered as bred by Hanstead have a line leading to a list of their own produce. Year of birth and whether colt or filly are also indicated.
Compiled by W. R. Brown
Published in The Arabian Stud Book [vol. 2], 1918
For the information of the public and the guidance of breeders, the following standard of conformation and type has been adopted by the Arabian Horse Club of America for the typical Arabian horse, being the concensus of opinion gathered from many travellers and investigators such as Palgrave, Niebuhr, Burckhart, Lawrence. Guarmani. Gen. Daumas, Major Tweedie, Col. Hamilton Smith, Major Upton, Sir Wilfred [sic] and Lady Anne Blunt, Ridgeway, Borden, Osborn and others. While no individual will, in probability, meet all the standards herein enumerated, the composite is made from the best instances observed.
The Arabian is a distinct subspecies, having characteristics differentiating it from other breeds and must not be judged by European standards. These differences appear in the skeleton, conformation and intelligence and stamp him wherever found. To be exact he is a highly specialized desert product and close descendant from the primitive bay stock of Africa. History records him as the immediate progenitor of many of the European breeds of today, through the admixture of his hot Southern blood with the cold Northern blood of other species, indigenous in the country to which he has been brought.
His skeleton, in comparison with other breeds, possesses a relative shortness of skull, a slenderness of lower jaw, larger size of brain case, less vertebrae in the back and tail, more horizontal position of the pelvic bone etc. The usual callosities of the hind legs are very small or absent, and are of small size on the fore legs. The ergots on the fetlocks are small and often indistinguishable.
The upper half of the head is larger in proportion to the whole size of the horse than seen elsewhere, especially in depth across the jowls. It has a triangular shape diminishing rapidly to a small and fine muzzle, giving the appearance more nearly that of the gazelle or deer. The muzzle is small, and may be enclosed in the palm of the hand. The lips thin and fine. The nostrils long, thin, delicately curled, running upward and projecting outward. When the animal is excited or in action the nostrils are capable of great dilation and, seen in profile, project beyond the outline of the muzzle, giving a bold, square, sharp and vigorous expression. The face slightly dished below the eyes. The cheek bones sharply cut. The eyes set far apart somewhat on the side of the head, are large, lustrous, kind and full of fire when aroused. The eyes are set more nearly in the middle of the head, with plenty of brain capacity above them. The distance from the top of the head to the top of the eyes is often within one inch of the distance from the lower eyelid to the top of the nostril. Added brain capacity is frequently given by a slight protrusion over the forehead and extending to just below the eyes, called the “Jibbah” by the Arabs and greatly prized. A ratio of two and one half to one between the circumference of the head around the jowls and the circumference directly above the nostrils is not uncommon. The cheek bones spread wide apart at the throat, often between five and six inches, enabling the muzzle to be drawn in without compressing the windpipe and the animal to breathe without distress when running.
The ears smaller in stallions and of good size in mares, pointed, set evenly together in an upright position and of great flexibility. In general, the head should be lean and full of fine drawing, showing intelligence, energy and unconquerable courage, combined with nobility and sagacity.
The neck long, arched, light, set on high and run well back into the withers. The throat particularly large and well developed, loose and pliant when at rest, and much detached from the rest of the head. The head set onto the neck at a slightly more oblique angle than in other breeds. The direct way in which the neck leaves the head for a slight distance before curving, is called the “Mitbah” by the Arabs and is greatly prized.
Measured at the withers from 14 to 15 hands, with occasional individuals exceeding this height. The croup slightly higher than the withers.
The withers high, set well back and heavily muscled on both sides beyond the usual European standard. Shoulders long, deep, broad at the base and powerful, but light at the points. The arm long, oblique and muscular. The forearm broad at the elbow, long and muscular. Knees large, square and deep. The cannon bone short, flat and clean, of not too great size but showing exceptionally strong heavy tendons. The fetlock joint exceptionally large and bold. The pasterns long, sloping, very elastic and strong. The hoof hard, large, round, wide and low at the heel. Legs should be set well together in front, straight and toe squarely ahead.
Looking from the front or rear, the ribs will be seen to bow out and protrude beyond the quarters. The ribs run to a great depth beneath the chest and give room for great heart and lung capacity. The ribs hold their size and are close coupled to the point of the hip bone. The back unusually short due to the absence of two of the usual vertebrae and the oblique angle of the shoulder. The body long below with a low belly, capable of holding feed. The transverse measurement of the thorax equal to, or a little greater than, vertical measurement.
The croup slightly higher than the withers; the loins broad; the haunch longer in proportion and quite horizontal; the tail set on high, arched and carried gaily in the air at the first motion of the animal. The quarters long, well-muscled and somewhat narrow with a fine line denoting speed. The hams well filled out. The hocks clean, well let down, of almost abnormal size and strength, giving great leverage to the tendons at the gaskins. The shank bone flat, clean and short, with large tendons. The pasterns long, sloping and muscular. The fetlock joint of exceptional size. The hoof hard, large, round, wide and low at the heel. The hind legs placed squarely under the hind quarters and parallel to the body.
Mane and tail long and very fine in texture. Coat thick, close, fine, soft and silky.
In Arabia, 35% are bays; 30% greys; 15% chestnuts of various shades and 20% browns of various shades and rarely a black. Stars, strips or blaze faces; snipe noses, and a white foot or more or white stockings are common markings. Solid white, while much prized, is comparatively rare. Duns, piebalds, yellows and roans are not seen; parti-colored horses are always crossbreds.
The Arabian should present the appearance of short coupling and great weight carrying capacity for his height, hold his head and tail high with alert bearing and arched neck, and show action with stability.
From 800 to 1,000 pounds, according to size.
His natural gait is the gallop, agreeable on account of the general length and springy character of the hind parts and long pasterns. Also a fast walk, the hind foot often overstepping the fore foot from one to three feet. While not his natural gait, he can develop a good trot with cultivation. Being trained to cover long distances, his natural action is long and low, sufficient to maintain a good footing and stride without undue pulling of the knees and hocks. He is a bold jumper and, in running, can outdistance anything of his size. Due to the length, strength and angular flexibility of the fore shoulder he can handle his fore feet with great dexterity and in playfulness strike at a bird or butterfly in mid-air or, while extended in the gallop divert his foot from an obstacle.
Lungs and chest finely developed. Broken wind and roaring is almost never known, due to the size and position of the windpipe. The stomach is of smaller size and the feed required to keep him in good condition is much less than in other breeds. For centuries he has become accustomed to subsist in a barren country and will require about one half the feed of the European horse for the weight carried.
The Arabian horse comes down to us from great antiquity from geographic origins about which there is dispute, but his presence in Arabia for twenty or more centuries has been well authenticated, during which time he has remained a product of that land practically unchanged. He reaches his best development in the natural pasture land of the interior deserts, particularly in the Provinces of Nejd and Mesopotamia, among the Bedouin tribes of the Anazeh, Shammar, Sebaa and Roala. From this favoring environment, he has been carried by war and conquest to practically every portion of the world, as the plastic foundation upon which the nations have developed their breeds. Statistics of the derivation of practically all breeds will clearly show this and is considered a highly prized heritage. He endures both extreme heat and cold with exceptional hardihood and becomes readily acclimated to every climate.
In history, the Arabian has figured as the horse of beauty, intelligence, courage, endurance and romance. Bred and reared in close contact with man from the earliest records and existing in mutual inter-dependence, he developed the keen brain of the primitive animal by such close human association,—as in the case of the dog,—and his intelligence has been celebrated in a thousand anecdotes. He is gentle, affectionate and familiar to the point of being troublesome. Colts have no fear of man and are indifferent to sounds or noises. The Arabian gentleness and tractability, while originally the effect of education, is now inherited and is observed in colts bred in foreign environment.
The Arabian is also celebrated for his soundness of limb, courage, endurance and ability to withstand hardships. It is reason sufficient to show that the life and welfare of his Arab owner, who constantly engaged in the “Ghazu”, a form of quick, mounted foray upon his neighbors, was often dependent upon these qualities in his horse. It is also the natural result of a good original stock, maintained in its purity by intensive breeding, in a favorable environment. As a racer he has shown no mean ability in India. Imported to England he became the progenitor of the English Thoroughbred and pure blooded Arabians have always remained registerable in Weatherby’s. In Russia his blood contributed largely to make the Orloff trotter; in France to make the Percheron; in America to make the Morgan and, through the English Thoroughbred, to make the Hackney, the Trotter and the American or Kentucky saddle horse. He has won practically all the long distance and endurance racing of the world. His blood has been and is being used by European army officers continually in various crosses to breed the best cavalry mounts. In him are all of the qualities of the desirable horse and, while excellence in individual accomplishments, such as running, trotting or saddle action, may enable certain breeds to excel the parent stock in their specialty, no other blood has the power of transmitting so many or all of these qualities to its offspring, and to create individuals possessing what is known as general utility. His blood is prepotent and plastic to a remarkable degree, dominating all the breeds to which it is introduced, and contributes to them, beauty, courage, speed, endurance and tractability.
by Count Joseph Potocki, The Arabian Horse News, February 1958:
“As to SKOWRONEK’s sire, IBRAHIM, he was purchased in 1907 in the following circumstances:
“My father, Count Joseph Potocki, Sr., who was at that time searching for a high class Arab stallion, received through his agents information that several Arabian horses had actually been obtained from the desert and were on their way via Constantinople, across the Black Sea to Odessa. He immediately sent an expert representative there and within a few days IBRAHIM was purchased with a few other stallions of lesser quality. In looks, IBRAHIM was perhaps even more striking than SKOWRONEK and also proved to be a great sire….
“Now there is one point which might seem puzzling with reference to IBRAHIM. Why was it that his sire, HEIJER, and dam LAFITTE, whose names were known, were inscribed in SKOWRONEK’s pedigree issued by me for the Arab Annex of Weatherby’s General Stud Book, England, in September 1919 and July 1920, while the official Polish Stud Books published at a later date do not contain those names? The fact that the sire or dam (or both) of a horse coming from the Arabian desert are known is not so unusual. Such horses, however, were always registered in our stud books as “Original Arab,” “Or.Ar.” This means in our Polish stud books “Arabian horse originally from the Arabian desert.” No further additions were given except the strain from which they came if that was certain. In the case of IBRAHIM, my father possessed the names of his sire and dam, HEIJER and LAFITTE, but inscribed him in our stud books in the above customery way. On the other hand, when the English owners of SKOWRONEK expressed the wish to have these names included in his pedigree, my father did not raise any objection. When, however, some years later the Polish Arab Horse Society published the official Polish Stud Books of Arab Horses, it was considered preferable to keep strictly to the wording of the Antoniny stud books in which IBRAHIM was defined as “Original Arab” without any additions. The Polish Arab Horse Society preferred to quote the exact wording of our stud books to which it had full and free access and this was all the more comprehensive since all additional papers pertaining to IBRAHIM had been lost in the business archives of Antoniny and could no longer be referred.
“The only authentic pedigree for IBRAHM’s son is the one issued in Antoniny in accordance with our stud books and which, acting for my father, I confirmed in London in 1919 and 1920. Any extension on IBRAHIM beyond his sire, HEIJER, and dam, LAFITTE, is not authentic.”
A copy of Count Joseph Potocki’s handwritten pedigree of Skowronek, written in 1919 is included in the same issue of The Arabian Horse News (and at the top of this page).
Another article in the February, 1958 issue of The Arabian Horse News was written by Count Roman Potocki (brother of Count Joseph, Jr.), “Ibrahim, Jaskoulka, Skowronek and the Antoniny Stud Books”:
“IBRAHIM was purchased by my father, Count Joseph Potocki, Sr., in 1907 from our agent horse dealer in Odessa who brought him by way of Constantinople from the Orient, not Egypt. IBRAHIM had a note pedigree with his age, his sire, HEIJER, and dam, LAFITTE, noted on it. My father liked the horse very much. There is no further extension to his pedigree.
“My father put him down in the Antoniny Sanguszko stud books as “Or. Ar.” “Or. Ar.” means in Polish stud books “Original or desert Arab from Arabia.” IBRAHIM was always written down as “Or. Ar.” in the Polish stud books without further ancestors. It was not customary to give the sires or dams of our desert importations in our stud books. They were always recorded as “Or. Ar.” The papers with his sire and dam, age, the business transaction, etc., were kept separately in our business files. About 1920 when my brother Joseph, then in England, wrote out the pedigree of SKOWRONEK for registration in the Arab Annex of Weatherby’s General Stud Book, he included the names of IBRAHIM’s sire and dam, HEIJER and LAFITTE.
“During the Revolution, when most of the horses, though not all, perished, the original stud books were saved. I knew them well before and after the events of 1917-1920, and they were taken by us to Warsaw. The house at Antoniny and the stud, except for a part of the young stock, were destroyed in January-February of 1919. The Stud Books were kept in our Warsaw Library and destroyed by fire in 1944 during the Warsaw Insurrection against the Germans. All the records were previously checked by the Polish Arab Horse Society and specified in their publications.”
Also, there is this sidebar in the same issue of The Arabian Horse News, on page 26, “Antoniny Stud Books Saved After World War I” by Count Joseph Potocki:
“The Antoniny Stud books were saved after World War I, and I had them in Warsaw until 1939.
“Some episodes in the early spring of 1918 gave us in the midst of destruction and material losses much reason for true and sincere satisfaction. The country all around Antoniny was by that time in a state of upheaval because of the Revolution, but the local population was not in the least hostile to us but continued to be friendly and make every effort to save and preserve. We owed to this attitude the saving of many objects from our country house and the possibility of taking them by various means to Warsaw. It was the local peasants who took some 56 cases of our books from Antoniny to a distant railroad station where they could be sent to Warsaw.
“Thus, our library was saved and with it two thick volumes in folio, the stud books, containing all the pedigrees of our horses, as well as the history of the stud written by Prince Roman Sanguszko about 1870. Later I completed his story with a detailed account of events in the stud during the first World War and its aftermath, the Russian Revolution. I wrote it myself and enumerated all the stud’s horses which were saved during that period.
“Before leaving my house in Warsaw, I put the stud books in what I considered a safe place. In 1944 the house was completely gutted by fire during the Warsaw Insurrection. Unless taken in previous looting, they are presumed destroyed by fire.”
(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.
BINT YAMAMA produced three foals which bred on: the full sisters NEGMA and AROUSSA by DAHMAN AL AZRAK and their three-quarters brother *NASR by DAHMAN’s son RABDAN AL AZRAK.
It is not certain whether NEGMA was bred by the Khedive Abbas Hilmi or by Prince Mohammed Ali; Lady Anne Blunt records BINT YAMAMA as “expecting a foal” in December 1908 and with “a nice filly foal” at foot in January 1911, and it is tempting to suggest these were NEGMA and AROUSSA. On the other hand Prince Mohammed Ali’s letters in the 1930s, while they are not entirely consistent on the impression they give of NEGMA’s age, may be read to imply that she was foaled as early as 1906, which would make Abbas Hilmi her breeder.
NEGMA is represented in modern pedigrees by her sons KAFIFAN and JASIR, and daughters MAHROUSSA, ZAHRA, *AZIZA and *RODA. There are thin lines to AROUSSA and ZAHRA through EAO breeding, and all of MAHROUSSA’s known progeny came to Brown or Babson; besides the two “HHMA”- named mares they include the likes of the Van Vleet sire *ZARIFE, and those two major Babson influences *FADL and *MAAROUFA.
*AZIZA produced the influential sires AZKAR and JULEP and also left a substantial female influence through her daughters by KENUR, *CZUBUTHAN and *Raffles. *RODA was the dam of sons including HALLANY MISTANNY, JASPRE and TUT ANKH AMEN; her dam line is more extensive than that of *AZIZA, through two daughters each by AGWE, *Raffles and IBN HANAD.
*NASR was a respected sire at Traveler’s Rest, influential today through numerous daughters and his prominent son SIRECHO. Traveler’s Rest is responsible, too, for the only surviving (at least within registered Arabians) descent from KAFIFAN: his line persists only through *MATTARIA. JASIR was for many years the head sire at the Marbach Stud and his name is widespread today in international pedigrees.
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.
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.”
The Chevalier D’Arvieux’s Travels In Arabia the Desert
Originally published London, 1718
CHAPTER XI Of the Arab Horses
from the KHAMSAT Volume 2 Number 1 January 1985
The Khamsat introduction:
This is a most amusing reprint from a very long time ago (1718) in a form
of English seldom seen or read in many years. We have reprinted it without
modifying any of the phrases or spellings so it will read somewhat differently
than we are used to but it provides some interesting insights into bedouin
life with their horses as observed nearly 300 years ago. We thank Dr. Sherman
Stinson for submitting it to us.
There’s not the sorriest Arab but has his Horses. The Arabs had
rather be without the most necessary Things in the World, than want a Nag to
go about their Affairs, to seek their Fortunes upon the High-ways, and to make
their Escape from their Enemies with.
They usually ride upon Mares, as properest for their Business; Experience
has taught ’em that they bear Fatigue, Hunger and Thirst better than Horses;
they are gentler, less vicious, and bring ’em every Year a Colt, which they
presently sell, or keep it if it be a fine one and of a good Stock to make
Money of it when ’tis fit for Backing: Their Mares never neigh; which is very
convenient for ’em in their Ambuscades to surprise Passengers; and they accustom
’em so well to be together, that they will sometimes stand a whole Day, and
in great Numbers, without incommoding one another.
The Turks on the contrary, don’t love Mares: The Arabs sell
them their Horses which they won’t keep for Stallions, because of the Inconvenience
to ’em in their Troops. They are never fix’d in any one Place’ they are all
People that go and come just where their Service calls ’em: Their’s are Stone-horses,
and it would be impossible to govern ’em if they smelt any mares amongst ’em.
An Arab would not be reckon’d an honest Man if he had not a Mare to
bestride. They call her Serras, which is a general Name for Horses;
and they call a Horse Hhussan, which signifies only Curry’d or
a Curriable Creature. The Turks, on the contrary, think it a
Dishonour to mount a Mare, saying, that there is nothing so noble as a Horse;
that a Cavalier, who is to make all the World his Country, ought not to embarrass
himself with any sort of Female, nor any thing that may look like a kind of
I told you, that the common Arabs ne’er mind their own Genealogy; if
they do but know the fathers and Grandsires ’tis enough; They are usually unacquainted
with the very Name of the Predecessors or their Families; but they are very
curious about the Extraction of their Horses. There are some which they call Kehhilan,
that are noble; others Aatiq, that are of ancient Race, but match’d
below themselves; after those come the last Kind call’d Guidich, as
much as to say, a Pack-horse, or by way of contempt, a Jade, these are very
cheap’ the second are dearer, they are sold however at a venture, without proving
their Descent. They that understand ’em well, find as beautiful and good one’s
among them, as among the first sort, and set no less Value on ’em. They never
let the Mares of the first Rank be Cover’d but by a Stallion of the same Quality.
They know by long Custom the Race of all the Horses they or their Neighbours
have; they knowe the Name, the Surname, the Coat, and Marks of every Horse
and Mare in particular; and when they have no noble Horses of their own, they
borrow some of their Neighbours, paying so much Money, to Cover their Mares,
and that before Witness, who attest it under their Hand and Seal before the Emir’s Secretary,
or some other public Person, where the whole Generation, together with the
Names of the Creatures, is set down in Form. Witnesses are likewise call’d
when the Mare has Foal’d; and another Certificate is made; where they put down
the Sex, the Shape, the Coat, the Makes of the colt, and the time of its Birth,
which they give to the Party that buys it. Those Tickets determine the Price
of Horses; And they sell ’em dear the least are worth Five hundred Crowns in
ready Money, or in Exchange against other Cattle, according as they bargain.
The Emir Turabeye had a Mare that he would not part with for Five thousand
Crowns, because she had travell’d three Days and three Nights without drawing
Bit, and by that means got him clear off from those that pursued him. Nothing
indeed was handsomer than that Mare, as well for her Size, her sharp, her Coat,
and her Marks, as for her Gentleness, her Strength, and her Swiftness. They
never tied her up when she was not bridled and saddled: She went into all the
Tents with a little colt of her’s, and so visited every body that us’d to kiss
her, make much of her, and give her anything. She would often go over a heap
of Children that were lying at the Bottom of the Tents, and would be a long
time looking where to step, as she came in or out, not to hurt ’em.
There are few of that Price, but abundance of a Thousand, Twelve hundred,
Sixteen hundred, and Two thousand Crowns a-piece; and as there is a great deal
of Profit to be made of their Colts, their Owners join with other Arabs,
deducting their Share of the Sum she was agreed to be consider’d at, after
the Rate of Three, Four, or Five hundred Crowns a Leg, (that’s their way of
Bargaining.) Those who have none of the Value, join two, three, or four of
’em together, and buy one: He that keeps her and makes use of her, is oblig’d
to maintain her; and when she has Foal’d, and the Colt is fit for Sale, they
sell it, and part the Money amongst ’em.
A Marseilles Merchant that liv’d at Rama, was Part’ner so in
a Mare with an Arab whose Name was Abrahim Abou Vouasses: This
Mare, whose name was Touysse, besides her Beauty, her Youngness, and
her Price of Twelve hundred Crowns, was of that first noble Race. That Merchant
had her whole Genealogy, with her Descent both of the Sire’s and Mother’s side,
up to Five hundred Years of antiquity, all from public Records, and in the
Form I spoke of, Abrahim made frequent Journies to Rama to enquire
News of that Mare which he lov’d extremely. I have many a time had the Pleasure
to see him cry with Tenderness, whilst he was kissing and caressing her; he
would embrace her, would wipe her Eyes with his Handkerchief, would rub her
with his Shirt-Sleeves, would give her a thousand Blessings during whole Hours
that he would be talking to her: My Eyes, would he say to her, my
Soul, my Heart, must I be so Unfortunate as to have thee sold to so many Masters,
and not keep thee my self: I am yours, my Antelope : You know well enough,
my Honey, I have brought thee up like my Child’s; I never beat nor chid thee;
I made as much of thee as ever I could for my Life: God preserve thee, my Dearest;
thou art pretty, thou art sweet, thou are lovely; God defend thee from the
Looks of the Envious; and thousand such Things as these. He then embrac’d
her, kiss’d her Eyes, and went backward, bidding her the most tender Adieu’s.
This puts me in mind of an Arab of Tunis, whither I was sent to execute
a Treaty of Peace, who would not deliverer us a Mare which we had bought for
the King’s Stud. When he had put the Money in the Bag, he look’d wishfully
upon his Mare and begun to weep; Shall it be possible, said he, that
after having bred thee up in my House with so much Care, and had so much Service
from thee, I should be delivering thee up in Slavery to the Franks for
thy Reward? No, I will never do it, my-Dear; and with that he threw down
the Money upon the Table, embraced and kissed his Mare, and took her Home with
As the Arabs have only a Tent for their Horse, it serves ’em too for
a Stable; the Mare, the Colt, the Man, the Wife, and the Children retire
thither and all pig together. There you’ll see little Children asleep upon
the Mare’s Belly, upon her’s and the Colt’s Neck, without the least harm from
those Creatures. ‘Tis said they durst not stir for fear of hurting ’em. Those
mares are so us’d to live in that familiarity, that they bear any kind of Toying
with. The Arabs ne’er beat ’em, they make much of ’em, talk and reason
with ’em; and take the greatest Care imaginable of ’em; they always let ’em
pace, and never spur ’em without necessity; but as soon as ever they feel their
Belly tickled with the Corner of the Stirrop, they fly with such Swiftness
that the Rider had need have a good Head not to be stunn’d with it, as well
as with the Wind they raise in his Ears by the violent Agitation of the Air.
Those Mares leap Rivulets and Ditches as nimbly as Stags, and if the Rider
happens to fall whilst they are leaping or upon full speed, they instantly
stop and give him time to get up and mount.
All the Arabs Horses are Middle-siz’d, of a free, easy Shape, and rather
Lean than Fat. They dress ’em very carefully Morning and Night; They have large
Curry-combs, which they use with both Hands; they afterwards rub ’em with a
Wisp of Straw and Woollen Brush as long as there’s the least Soil upon the
Skin; they wash their Legs, Mane, and Tail, which they leave at its full length,
and but seldom comb it, not to break the Hair. They eat nothing all the Day,
in which time they give ’em Drink twice or thrice, and every Evening half a
Bushel of very clean Barley in a Bag which they hang about their Head like
a Halter: They feed in the Night, and keep the Bag ’till the Morrow Morning,
when they eat up what is left. They litter ’em every Evening with their own
Dung, when it has been dry’d in the Sun, and bruis’d between their Hands. They
think that the Dung dries away the ill Humours, and preserves ’em from the Farcy;
they heap it up in the Morning, and in the height of Summer sprinkle it with
fresh Water, to keep it from overheating and breeding Corruption.
They turn their Horses out a grazing in March, when the Grass is pretty well
grown: Then it is that they get their Mares Cover’d; and they eat neither Grass
nor Hay anymore the whole Year. They never give ’em any Straw but to heat ’em
when they have been some time without an Inclination to drink; Barley alone
is all their Feeding.
They cut their Colts Manes as soon as ever they are a Year or Eighteen Months
old, to make ’em grow handsomer; and they back ’em at two Years, or two Years
and a half at most. They never tie ’em up ’till then; after which they stand
bridled and saddled from Morning ’till Night at the Tent Door. They accustom
’em so much to see the Lance, that when once it is fix’d upon the Ground, and
they are placed near it, they ne’er budge from it without any fast’ning; they
walk quite round without losing sight of it.
These Horses are not often sick; The Arabs are all good Horsemen, and
know their Distempers, and every thing that is necessary to cure and manage
’em; so that they have no manner of occasion for Farriers but only to make
their Shoes; Those Shoes are of a soft flexible Iron, hammer’d cold, and always
two Fingers shorter than the Horn of the Foot; They pare off before all that
is over, that nothing may hinder their Running.
The Arabs and Turks have a great Faith in certain superstitious Writings
and Pray’rs which preserve, according to them, from several Accidents. They
fold these Talismans in a Paper made Triangular, put ’em in a leather
Purse of the same Figure, and so hang ’em about their Horses Necks; It is,
besides, to hinder the Effect of Envious Eyes. I express my self so, because
I can meet with no Terms in our Language that render literally those of the Arabs:
The Provence People’s Ceouclami is exactly what they mean. They
hang likewise about their Necks a couple of Boar’s -Tusks, join’d by the root
with a Silver Ring, that makes ’em a very agreeable Half-Moon; and this is
to keep ’em from the Facy. The Turks keep too upon that account
your young wild boars or He-goats in their Stables to attract, as they say,
all the bad Air.
I have seen some Arab Horses so extremely fond of smelling the Smoak
of Tobacco, that they would run after Folks they saw lighting their Pipes;
They took so great a pleasure in having it puffed into their Noses, that they
would rise up and End after it, and shew their Teeth, as they usually do when
they have smelt the Stale of some Mare. One should see Water at the same time
drop from their Eyes and Nostrils. I don’t know whether, considering the Instinct
that leads ’em to seek that Smoak, one may believe it does ’em good. There
are some Horses that are continually shaking their Heads when they are tied
up in the Day-time; the Mahometans think that they are reading when
they make that Motion; and that these Creatures being noble, generous, and
proper for the Progress of their Religion, the Prophet Mahomet has obtain’d
for ’em the Blessing of God, and an occult Capacity to read or repeat tacitly
every Day some chapter of the Alcoran. These are the Whims of devout
Persons in that Religion, who thus contrive Mysteries from every thing they
see and don’t know how to assign a Reason for. As soon as ever the Horse has
Cover’d the Mare, they immediately throw some cold Water upon her Buttocks;
and at the same time a Fellow takes the Stallion by the Halter, and makes him
frisk two or three Turns round the Mare, to fill her with the Image of the
Horse at the Moment of Conception, having the same Notions as we have about
the Causes of Likeness.
Their Saddles are of Wood, cover’d with Spanish Leather; they have no Panels
as ours. Instead of that they make use of a stitch’d Felt that goes cleverly
betwixt the Saddle and the Horses back, standing out about half a foot upon
the Crupper. The Stirrops are very short, so that a man fits a Horseback as
in a Chair, when he gallops he lifts himself above Saddle, and bears upon the
Stirrops, to strike with the greater Vigor. The Bottom of those Stirrops is
flat, large, and square; their Corners are pointed, and sharp: They use ’em
instead of Spurs to prick their Horses with. This cuts their Skin, which makes
the horses so tender, that if they are tickled ever so little in that Part,
they manage ’em as they please.
In the August, 1991 edition of the “Baker Street” column, Debra and Jerald Dirks presented three letters from the correspondence between Homer Davenport and Lady Anne Blunt, both pioneer Arabian horse breeders. Together with her husband Wilfrid Blunt, Lady Anne had founded England’s Crabbet Arabian Stud in 1878. Crabbet’s earliest foundation stock, including the key mare Dajania, was acquired in and around Aleppo in what is today Syria. In 1906 Davenport, an American political cartoonist, had made his own Arabian horse buying expedition to that region and returned to the U.S. with 27 head. Davenport and Lady Anne made enormous contributions through the horses they imported and bred, but also through their influence on the way people in England and America think about Arabian horses. Their correspondence provides an intimate look at the dialogue between these two foundation breeders.
To Homer Davenport Sheykh Obeyd Garden
21 December 1907 Ain Shaems, Egypt
Thank you for your letter of Nov. 25 which followed me to Egypt, and for the previous one and the photographs. I would have written sooner to say this but could not find time before I left England.
I am glad that Bushra and her Mahruss colt are in your hands and you were fortunate to get them. And you see how right are the Arabs to attach a peculiar importance to particular strains. In the center and south of Arabia they have remained much more exclusive in that respect than in the North. Moreover they apply the term “Shemalieh” (Northerner) to the horses of the northern tribes as indicative of the suspicion with which they regard all such, excepting only those bred by certain known families amongst whom Ibn Sbeyni, Ibn ed Derri and others you will have heard of.
It is a pleasure to have good news of Markisa. I trust she will do credit to her ancestry. She is, you know, like Bushra, a Seglawieh Jedranieh of Ibn ed Derr’s strain.
I do not, at present, see my way to selling any of my few mares of the Hamdani Simri strain. I am afraid that these precious strains are becoming so very rare owing to the destruction of mares through the use of fire-arms in the war now raging in Nejd, that very great caution will be more than ever necessary in parting with representatives of them. Apart from this new reason for caution, I want to guard against a recurrence of mistakes formerly made more than once at the Stud in not securing a sufficient number of representatives before parting with a mare or horse. Shahwan, whom you mention, is a case in point. He was a Dahman Shahwan of the strain in the Abbas Pasha collection, and is quite inadequately represented, as accidents happened unfortunately to almost all of his stock. N.B.—they were too few when the horse was gone.
Bushra’s dam, Bozra, was by imported Pharoah, a Seglawi Jedran of Ibn ed Derri’s strain and her sire imported Azrek being of the same strain, she is altogether of that blood. Mahruss was a descendant of Abbas Pasha collection—the strain, Dahman Nejib, existing with the Beni Hajar and Ajman tribes southeast of Nejd. Abbas Pasha got that and Dahman Shahwan and Kehilan Jellibi through Ibn Saoud, the powerful prince of Riad of those days. As an instance of the prices the Viceroy would pay, I may mention that I had it on high authority that he gave lbs 7000 for the original Kehileh Jellabieh brought to him!
I am delighted to hear of the excellent support your stud is having in the large order for half-Arab cavalry remounts. That is something like support—and your government is wise to give it.
I shall always be interested whenever you care to report further progress.
Believe me to be yours faithfully,
Anne N. Blunt
Thanks to the generosity of the Arabian Horse Trust in making its files available to members of the Arabian Horse Historians Association during the AHHA annual meeting.
Lady Anne wintered in Egypt at her home near Cairo, Sheykh Obeyd Garden. According to her published Journals and Correspondence in 1907 she left England on November 19 and arrived at Sheykh Obeyd by November 26.↩
*Bushra (Azrek X Bozra) was a bay mare bred at Crabbet and foaled in 1889. She was sold at the 1900 Crabbet sale and imported that year to the United States, carrying a colt by the Crabbet sire Mahruss. This colt was foaled in 1901 and eventually registered as *Ibn Mahruss. Davenport acquired *Bushra and *Ibn Mahruss several years after they arrived in America.↩
*Markisa (Narkise X Maisuna) was a 1905 bay filly bred at Crabbet. Davenport had purchased her from Crabbet and she had arrived in the United States in February of 1907.↩
Nejd is a region in the north central part of the Arabian peninsula.↩
*Shahwan was a grey stallion foaled in Egypt in 187. The Blunts had purchased him in January of 1892, used him at stud in Egypt briefly, and imported him to England that spring. The Blunts used him for breeding at Crabbet in 1892, 93, and 94, then sold him in September of 1895 to Mr. J.A.P. Ramsdell for export to America. By the time of this letter, apparently *Shahwan’s only representatives at the Crabbet Stud were Shibine (out of his daughter Shohba) and Ibn Yashmak. Ibn Yashmak’s dam, Yashmak (by *Shahwan), was still owned at Sheykh Obeyd in 1907.↩
Abbas Pasha was Viceroy of Egypt from 1848 to 1854. His collection of Arabian horses provided foundation stock for the stud of Ali Pasha Sherif, from whom Lady Anne began acquiring horses in 1889.↩