Hanad’s Legacy Lives On in Davenport Breeding

by Robert J. Cadranell II
Used by Permission of RJ Cadranell II
all rights reserved

Among the most widely known of all Davenport stallions was Hanad, AHC #489. One of the highlights of the famous Sunday shows at the Kellogg Ranch, Hanad also appeared in motion pictures, merited awards in horse shows, and established himself as one of the more important early American sires.

Hanad, like so many other early Davenports, was bred at the renowned Hingham Stock Farm of Peter B. Bradley in Hingham, Mass. Bradley, owner of a profitable fertilizer firm, was able to afford whatever he wanted in horses.

His facilities were vast and housed trotters, polo ponies, Thoroughbreds, and mustangs, in addition to his Arabian collection.

Hanad’s sire, *Deyr, was Bradley‘s favorite from among the imported Davenport Arabians and enjoyed the heaviest use at Hingham of any Arabian stallion save *Hamrah, also represented in Hanad’s pedigree. Hanad traced in tail-female to *Wadduda, favorite war mare of the supreme Sheikh of the ‘Anazah tribes, Hakim Bey Ibn Mhayd.

This eminent Bedouin no doubt had many mares from which to choose, and his selection of *Wadduda is a testament to the mare’s agility, endurance, intelligence, soundness, and tractability. This latter quality helped to make Hanad famous, and it may well be that he inherited part of it from *Wadduda, along with some of her beauty.

*Wadduda is the victim of several unfortunate photographs, making her appear somewhat plain. Cameras more often than not distort their subjects, and modern breeders would do well to recall the number of attempts required to obtain even one representive photograph of their own horses. They also ought to recall how many photographs of themselves they either throw out or refuse to show.

Archie Geer, first cousin to Homer Davenport and a guest at the Davenport farm, knew *Wadduda and rode her there. He always spoke of her to his family as the most beautiful of all Davenport’s horses.

Modern writers who rave about the beauty of the Davenport mares *Urfah and *Abeyah while ignoring *Wadduda ought to take Geer’s statement into account. Stallions as stunningly magnificent as Antez, Hamwad, and Hanad do not stem from plain mares.

Although the Hingham Stock Farm bred Hanad, he was foaled elsewhere. His dam Sankirah went with a large consignment of Hingham Arabians to John G. Winant of Concord, N.H., in 1921.

This gentleman was U.S. ambassador to Great Britain during World War II, following a stint as the governor of New Hampshire. Mrs Winant retained a few of the Arabians for a number of years, but the bulk of the horses went in 1922 to Morton S. Hawkins of Portland, Ind., and it was in that state that Hanad was foaled.

Unfortunately for the horses, Hawkins soon went to federal prison. The animals were neglected and scattered, sold to those willing to pay their outstanding feed bills.

That winter Dr. Charles D. Pettigrew of Muncie bought Sankirah and her foal Hanad, debilitated to the point where he could not stand. He was strapped to a drag and pulled from the pasture.

Pedigrew owned Hanad for four years. Under his ownership Hanad had his start as a breeding stallion. Herbert V. Tormohlen of the respected Ben Hur farm brought him his first mares, and Pettigrew also used him at home.

Pettigrew sold Hanad in 1927 to Charles W. Jewett, a mayor of Indianapolis. At Jewett’s Arlington Farm, Hanad was ridden some and continued his career at stud, siring foals for Jewett, Tormohlen, and the early Midwestern breeder John A. George.

Hanad was not to remain long with Jewett, however. Arlington Farm was becoming surrounded with newly built houses, and Jewett decided to sell his Arabians in 1929. In July of that year W.K. Kellogg and his manager Herbert H. Reese inspected the Jewett Arabians.

They obviously liked what they saw, for Kellogg bought the entire lot of 11 head, four of which were 100 percent Davenport in pedigree. The balance were of mainly Davenport breeding.

Hanad arrived in Pomona on Aug. 19, having been shipped by rail. It was at the Kellogg Ranch that Hanad made his fame.

Manager Reese was quite complimentry, writing of him years later that

“his best points were a good shoulder and exceptionally beautiful, high carriage of tail, and his disposition was all that was ever claimed for the breed by its most enthusiastic admirers… Hanad proved to be adaptable to any sort of training of an unusual sort, such as “jumping rope” under saddle, doing the Spanish walk, standing on a pedestal, and so on.
“His calm disposition was never flustered by noise, crowds or strange surroundings, yet he was always spirited and full of “go,” making him ideal as an exhibition horse.
“He took part in practically all the shows, parades and motion picture work away from the ranch as well as doing his specialties in the Sunday exhibitions… Hanad played a noteworthy part in acquainting the public with the virtues of the Arabian breed, and he also contributed as a sire.”

Hanad also was trained as a five-gaited horse and for driving.

Hanad was judged champion stallion at the Los Angeles County Fair in 1929, 1930 and 1932. In 1930 his daughter Valencia received the champion mare award.

Hanad also appeared in numerous fairs as part of a traveling Kellogg show. These animals did not compete in the regular classes, but delighted audiences with their specialty acts. Hanad and the Kellogg string journeyed as far from their home base in Pomona as Tennessee and Washington state.

Hanad posed in publicity photographs with the 1930 Rose Queen and actress Laura LaPlante. In 1931 actress Marguerite Churchill presented him in a Sunday show. She later reminisced:

“I wanted to show horses and, eventually, I managed to get to the class where Kellogg Ranch invited me to ride Hanad. It was probably the greatest joy of my life (even now) to be mounted on that lovely stallion… He, unlike many Arabians, had been trained to the five gaits, and I was also able to do that.
“I went many times to the stables, training with a fine man, I believe called Smith, to show me the fine points of Hanad. It was not a small triumph to make the show on two Sundays showing Hanad. I hope well, and myself as well as I could… I recall the terrible heat there when coming out for my lessons, but, of course, when the “show” was on, I thought of how I was doing, well or poorly, and wanting so much to let everyone see that I was able to show Hanad at his best.
“I believe at that time he was valued at $25,000, and not just for that, but because he was so beautiful, I tried to be worthy of him.”

Actor John Davis Lodge appeared in The Scarlet Empress with Marlene Dietrich and Hanad. He also left notes attesting to Hanad’s qualities.

“It was my good fortune to ride Hanad in several of the scenes of the picture. It was my first experience riding an Arabian stallion.
“Having ridden a good deal and loving horses, I was greatly impressed by the beauty, strength, and agility of this stallion. He was well-trained and handled easily. I have never encountered a horse with his beautiful, restrained gallop.
“One day, when we were filming the scene in which I escort Marlene Dietrich to Moscow, the ground was heavily covered with cornflakes, simulating snow. The scene called for a fast gallop around the bend of the castle.
“It was wet and slippery underfoot. Hanad’s legs skidded right from under him and he landed on one side, pinning my legs to the ground; yet he sprang up so quickly that we were off again—in full gallop. I do believe that, with most horses, it might have been a dangerous accident.”

Hanad sired 23 Arabian foals during his time at Kelloggs, though one of these, Sanad, came from Arlington Farm in-utero. An article in the Journal of the Arab Horse Society, apparently written during his years as a sire at Kelloggs, stated that “Hanad is siring well-proportioned colts with a maximum of quality and natural style.”

The widely known author and artist Gladys Brown Edwards first became involved with Arabians through Hanad. In 1932 she bred her part-Thoroughbred mare to Hanad, and kept the foal at the Kellogg Ranch after it was born.

That she chose Hanad over the famous stallions *Raseyn, *Ferdin and *Nasik is a testament to Hanad’s type, quality, and the brillant beauty that he possessed.

She described him as “a stylish horse, and very trainable” while crediting him with 73 champions descending in the tail-male line.

Late in 1935 Kelloggs was requested to provide two horses to lead the procession into the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day. The ranch sent Hanad and *King John.

One of the spectators, W. C. Stroube, saw Hanad there and felt he must own him. Stoube, a Texas oil man, appeared at Kelloggs the next day, insistent on the purchase of Hanad. After some deliberation, Kelloggs decided that they had enough of his get and could train a young horse to replace him as a performer.

One wonders what Stroube paid to wrest Hanad from the Kellogg Ranch. A week after his visit he owned the stallion.

Stroube kept Hanad for seven years, during which time he got only four foals, all from mares that Stroube had purchased as yearlings from Kelloggs with Hanad. In 1943 William States Jacobs bought Hanad, retaining him until 1946. Hanad sired no foals under the ownership of Jacobs.

In 1946 Hanad, at the age of 24, found his last owner. John and Alice Payne drove to Texas to buy Hanad and bring him to their ranch in Whittier, Calif. They found that he had sustained a broken front leg at some point during his Texas sojourn. To buy him Alice Payne had to exercise her full powers of persuasion, but in the end she was successful.

Hanad was quite old by this time, having very few stud seasons left to him. Despite the handicap of age, he managed to sire as many foals during his second stay in California as he had during his first.

Hanad and *Nuri Pasha are the oldest animals with progeny in Volume VII of the studbook, yet *Nuri Pasha has only one foal to Hanad’s 13.

Hanad was not immune to time, but he still managed to impress those who saw him. Following is Mrs. Milton V. Thompson’s account of Hanad in old age:

“We traveled 5,000 miles to see old Hanad, *Raseyn and *Aziza at Payne’s…It was worth it.
“Hanad is a terrific, bombastic horse, 27 years old, who snorts fire and brimstone with every breath out of those beautiful “picture” nostrils of his. When Alice Payne brought this proud beauty out of the barn he was prancing high, wide and handsome, with that broken right front leg going just as high as the good legs. He is 14.2 – a rich, dark chestnut.
“One morning I got up at the crack of dawn to see Hanad. I looked at him for two-and-a-half hours straight, made some sketches of that wonderful head of his. He rolled over nine times.
“Where he broke his leg nobody seems to know. He was once one of the famous trick horses at Kelloggs, as the picture in the studbook shows him jumping rope.
“He was once sold for $10,000, years ago, and his history has been vague since. Right now Hanad is enjoying a wave of popularity in the West, rivaling anything he knew at his peak as a dressage horse. And no wonder.
“He is a very prepotent old guy—I picked out unknown colts as Hanad colts when they were his grandchildren. The Hanad colts are at a premium.
“In fact, we saw none for sale. Everyone wants one, including Milton and Virginia T., and his colts are spoken for when the mare is bred. People just seem to be waking up to what a great horse he is.”

Hanad died on Nov. 6, 1949, at the Payne Ranch. He was 27. He got a lifetime total of 57 foals, a respectable figure in a time when Arabians were something of a rarity.

Many of the Hanad sons became honored sires in their own right. Ameer Ali stood with Dr. Glass in Oklahoma.

Mahomet grew into a key sire for his breeder, J.A. George, while Aabab filled the same position for the Tormohlens. Sanad headed the small but influential program of Mr. and Mrs J.N. Clapp.

Cliff and Mollie Latimer of British Columbia, Canada, adored their Adounad, writing that it was “interesting to correspond with owners of other sons of Hanad and to find they were as pleased with their results as we have been.”

Hasab stood for years with Mrs. Beverly Young. Ibn Hanad created a veritable dynasty of champions for Margaret Shuey’s Sunny Acres program., and Hanrah’s son Ibn Hanrah did the same for Gerald Donoghue’s program. Tripoli headed the Craver breeding project until his death at 29, and all but a handful of the living 100 percent Davenport horses trace to him, and thus to Hanad.

The Hanad daughters were notable good producers. Show winnings are only one of many methods used to evaluate Arabian horses, yet they seem to be the method of choice for a great portion of today’s breeders.

For some years running, the Arabian Horse World has printed lists of mares who have produced four or more champions. Our current Class “A” show system is a relatively recent creation, and Hanad was rather an early sire to be expected to have daughters on this list.

His last three foal crops contained a combined total of but 10 fillies, yet two of them (20 percent) appear on this list of top-producing mares. Three Hanad granddaughters appear, again from Hanad progeny produced during his later years after he left the Kellogg Ranch.

To name a few individual daughters, Valencia, Rokhalda, Nadda, and Rifnada were all Kellogg broodmares. Raadah went to the W.R. Hearst stables.

John A. George had Dowhana and Chrallah, with Chrallah later going to Roger Selby. The Tormhhlens retained Aabann. Schiba became a significant foundation mare for Dr. Krausnick, while Charles Craver was able to secure Dhanad and Hantarah for his Davenport program after they had spent many years producing at the Sullivan Ranch in California.

The 75 percent Davenport Ganada, Hanad’s last foal, was a show horse and broodmare for John Rogers. Her full sister Hanida did the same for the Mekeels.

She was the first Reserve Pacific Coast Champion mare. Hanida produced five champions, while Ganada had six.

From the above, it will be seen that Hanad was most admired for his beauty, his ability under saddle, his amenable disposition, and the quality of his get, both as individuals and as breeding stock. This is especially noteworthy since Hanad was extremely close to desert horses in terms of generations of removal.

One often reads, and more often hears, that strictly desert-bred stock does not appeal to American tastes, and is not as attractive as the “big, bold, and beautiful” Arabian show horse of today. Hanad’s record, and the records of many other animals close to their Bedouin-bred origins, make such claims appear uninformed, if not ludicrous.

The Donoghue Arabians

Copyright 1997 by R.J. Cadranell.

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.”

Testimonials

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.

Reconstructing Domow

A persisting question in the breed’s North American history, since coat color inheritance first came to be widely understood, revolves around the identity and parentage of the mare Domow. Biology and history working together provide a start toward the puzzle’s solution. By Michael Bowling and Robert J. Cadranell II, Copyright © 2001. Initially published in CMK Heritage Catalogue IV. Used with permission.

Domow is officially a 1913 (no month or day given) bay daughter of the two chestnuts, *Abu Zeyd and *Wadduda. That parentage is not compatible with established principles of coat color inheritance, if the colors of all three horses are correctly attributed. Domow produced the bay Tabab by a chestnut, and he sired bay foals out of chestnut mares. Enough of *Abu Zeyd’s hide is preserved at the American Museum of Natural History to eliminate any doubt that he was chestnut (Charles and Jeanne Craver, personal communication). No evidence from photos or contemporary descriptions, or from the balance of her breeding record, provides grounds to question that *Wadduda was chestnut; in fact some contemporary references make her “sorrel” which suggests, if anything, a light shade of chestnut. One reasonable explanation for Domow’s registration would be a switch of *Wadduda’s 1913 foal with another in the same ownership. The Arabian Horse Registry of America (AHRA) record shows Domow bred by Hingham Stock Farm (Peter B. Bradley). Although she was registered by Bradley, based on other information Domow clearly came out of the small personal Homer Davenport program, in Holmdel N.J. The original options there for exchange with Domow were Fahreddin, registered as the 1913 foal of the bay *Abeyah, and Sabot, the 1913 foal of the bay Sira, of the Basilisk family. Both were fillies registered as chestnuts, from matings capable of producing a bay foal (their sires were chestnuts, *Abu Zeyd and *Euphrates respectively). The foal switch question has now been addressed thanks to developments in DNA technology.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), in contrast to the nuclear chromosomes, is transmitted strictly through the egg cytoplasm and does not undergo meiotic recombination. Characteristic mtDNA sequences (haplotypes) of dam lines change only by rare mutations, and are stable over many generations. Questions of maternity can be addressed, within historical stud book time frames, by comparison of mtDNA sequences, if direct female-line descendants are available of the questioned individuals and of other representatives of the relevant dam lines, and so long as questions can be defined in an either-or sense. mtDNA haplotypes were derived (see Bowling, A.T., Del Valle, A. and Bowling, M., 1998. Verification of horse maternal lineage based on derived mitochondrial DNA sequence. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 115: 351-356) from tail-female descendants of Domow through her daughters Dowhana and Zenee; of *Wadduda through two daughters, Moliah and Aared; of *Abeyah through two daughters (Saba and Samit) of the only persisting source of this female line, her imported daughter *Haffia; and of Sabot through the line of her daughter Azreka. A matching Basilisk haplotype was derived through the independent branch from *Butheyna.

The Domow haplotype matched that of the *Wadduda family and was distinctly different from those of *Abeyah and Basilisk, which does not support a foal switch involving Fahreddin or Sabot. After these results were obtained, further research at the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation (AHOF) among the archived records of *Abu Zeyd’s and Fahreddin’s subsequent owner gave substantial support for Fahreddin’s having been foaled in 1912, rather than 1913, which would have ruled out from the start any easy scheme for exchanging the two. [Note added in 2007: the 1912 foaling date for Fahreddin proved to be an error.]

The Domow question has been complicated because *Abu Zeyd is credited in AHRA records with another bay foal out of a chestnut dam, the 1920 filly Radi. Correspondence in the same archives records a second owner’s request for assistance in having Radi’s registered color changed from chestnut to bay, which leaves room for the possibility of accidental or deliberate substitution. This example at least is not supported by documentation sufficient to question *Abu Zeyd’s genetic contribution in the absence of parentage verification, and in face of the genetic stability of the coat color alleles involved. Radi has no recorded offspring, so her color and parentage (or identity) are chiefly of academic interest, unlike those of the prolific and influential Domow. Radi’s case does underscore that the stud book record alone might not provide the whole story when addressing historical questions.

A further possible complication involves two of Domow’s granddaughters: Kirah (1925, by a chestnut Domow son and out of a bay mare) and Aatika (1926, by Domow’s bay son Tabab from a chestnut dam). In their original registration (the 1927 Arabian Stud Book) their color is abbreviated “s,” although “sorrel” is not listed as a color option in that book. In the 1937 volume both mares’ color has been changed to “b” but by 1944 it has become “ch;” both are given as “chestnut” in the current AHRA pedigree database.

Eye witness accounts confirm the bay color of both Aatika (Helene Asmis Clifford, personal communication) and Kirah, described in Reese and Edwards’ The Kellogg Arabians: their background and influence as “a dark rich bay.” Aatika produced the bay Lulu by the chestnut Asil, and Lulu produced the bay Lurif by Rifage, a grey who did not transmit black pigment (he got only a handful of bay foals, out of over 100 registered offspring, and none from chestnut dams). Kirah never produced a registered foal to a chestnut sire so no test mating results are available for her. Further inspection shows that Kirah’s and Aatika’s breeder also allowed to stand the prior registration of the well-known liver chestnut stallion Hanad as “b” and that he used “seal” as a color term, in correspondence available at the Trust. The chestnut error in the two mares’ registered color may reflect picking up the original “s” entry and mistaking it for “sorrel” during the preparation of the 1944 Stud Book, and could also be related to the correction of Hanad’s color in that volume.

All this coat color backing and forthing could be taken to support the ideas sometimes presented, that *Wadduda was a light bay, or alternatively that Domow was an off-shade chestnut. One can only say Domow and *Wadduda both were well-known mares in their lifetimes and nothing suggests either color assignment ever was questioned; the breeding record supports the bay color in all cases but Kirah’s (not tested). In the absence of color photography the images available of Domow, Tabab, Kirah and Aatika show them as bay, while *Wadduda does not look bay in her photos.

*Abu Zeyd, *Wadduda and Domow are extensively represented in modern Arabian pedigrees, through multiple offspring of each. In terms of gene frequency, anomalous color designations would be of regular occurrence had the Domow coat color incompatibility possessed a genetic basis separate from incorrect parentage. At this point the simpler explanation would have Aatika’s and Kirah’s breeder (who had no connection with the original registration of Domow) unfamiliar with standard horse coat color terms, or perhaps inexpert at recognizing ultimate coat color from foal coats. Some bay foals can have quite light-colored manes and extremities, and Mrs Clifford remembers that Aatika also sun-faded extensively in the summer.

If Domow was not switched with another filly and if her color and her dam’s were correctly recorded, it becomes necessary to seek the black pigment gene through a sire available to cover *Wadduda in 1912. Paternity, as opposed to maternity, can be addressed only on historical grounds: unlike the special case of mtDNA with dam lines, no biological tests of paternity can be applied at such a distance of time and generations and in the absence of physical samples from putative parents and offspring. In this particular case the relevant breeding records have not been located. A possibility must be acknowledged, that *Wadduda may have been covered accidentally, during the transitional period after Davenport’s death in 1912 and by a frankly unknown sire. Resolving that question suffers under the notorious difficulty of proving a negative, but it is not the only reasonable reconstruction.

The published record supports the interpretation that *Wadduda’s 1912 covering was actually part of a last phase of normal activities. *Wadduda foaled the filly Amran on 19 April, 1912; Homer Davenport fell ill on the evening of the 19th and died on 2 May. Only in the last few days of his illness was Davenport’s condition recognized to be life-threatening. While it is possible to picture that orders to breed *Wadduda might have been conveyed from the sickbed, it is less likely that an order to shut down the horse activities would have come under those circumstances; during the first week or more it would not have been thought necessary, and during the final few days, the horses might well have been the last thing on the minds of those in attendance. The agents in charge of Davenport’s horses in New Jersey would reasonably have carried on according to previously received instructions, which must have included at least general plans for mating the mares in 1912. The other foals registered from 1912 breedings to stallions owned by Davenport have known foaling dates, which were early in the 1913 season: Sabot and Omar in January, and Abeleyd in February. (The “1 January” 1913 foaling date of Domow in the AHRA database is a place holder, not a recorded birth date.)

*Wadduda was clearly an easy breeder and produced a registered foal every year from 1907 through 1913: she produced for Peter Bradley’s Hingham Stock Farm again in 1915 and ’16 (and died in time for her death to be noted by 1918). She had foaled a week later in 1908 than in 1907, 24 vs 17 July—but in 1908 through 1912 she foaled earlier each succeeding year, respectively on 24 July, 10 July, 10 June, 13 May and 19 April. Progeny records for others of the early Bradley and Davenport mares also support a policy of foal heat breeding (more likely than a high incidence of short gestations among that population). If it was normal practice to cover *Wadduda on her foal heat, and if such a policy had been followed in 1912, she would have been the last mare covered during Davenport’s life and according to his instructions.

*Wadduda’s 1912 covering sire was not, ex hypothesi, either of the chestnuts *Abu Zeyd or *Euphrates. The bay *Gomusa appears to have been among the horses in Davenport’s possession in New Jersey (his last recorded foal was in 1912). Davenport also had imported from England, in 1910 along with *Abu Zeyd, two Crabbet colts: *Berid, a 1908 grey with a chestnut sire, but whose dam could have provided black pigment—she produced all greys or bays out of her 12 foals—and *Jahil, a 1909 bay. Davenport bred two bay 1910 colts, Daghar and Jerrede; the last-named was sold from “the old Davenport place” in 1914 so likely was in residence through this whole period. Daghar was owned in Chicago by May 1915 but no date for his original sale has turned up.

*Jahil was transferred to H.J. Brown in January of 1912; Brown is his published owner in 1913 and used him in the spring of 1912, so he at least can safely be eliminated from consideration. This leaves all or some of *Gomusa, *Berid, Daghar and Jerrede in the running to provide a sire for Domow, and speculation has centered on an accidental or mis-recorded mating involving one of those four. There remains another possibility first raised based upon a fleeting reference to *Astraled in connection with Davenport, in Lady Anne Blunt’s published Journals and Correspondence.

F. Lothrop Ames of Easton, Mass. was a member of an established railroad and industrial family who was caught up in the early flurry of interest in Arabian horse breeding. He bought the yearling filly Rosa Rugosa from Spencer Borden in 1908 at a “four figure” price, and in 1909 went to Crabbet for the proven sire *Astraled along with two mares, *Shibine and *Narda [II]. Ames owned his Arabians for only a short time, and all his registrations were with the Jockey Club, so AHRA records do not touch on his activities. His grandson does not even remember any family tradition that Ames imported or owned Arabian horses, and nor does the son of Ames’ long-term horse trainer, who came on board just a few years later (Frederick Ames Cushing and John Hogan Jr, personal communication), although *Astraled and *Narda II would found two of the great sire and dam lines of the breed. *Narda’s son *Crabbet was gelded but he still is renowned as winner of the 1921 U.S. Mounted Service Cup (also known as the Army endurance test).

In May of 1912 Lady Anne commented, to Spencer Borden who had just written to inform her of Davenport’s death, that “he wrote to me about Astraled, full with enthusiasm. Do please secure Astraled. I always wished you to take him.” It is difficult not to read a great deal into this brief passage. Why would *Astraled be available for Borden to “secure,” immediately after Davenport’s death, if the horse had just been reported in some situation about which Davenport could be “full with enthusiasm”? Davenport’s enthusiasm must have been related to his own plans for the horse, for *Astraled to have become available as a direct consequence of Davenport’s death. Again in August of that year, Lady Anne pointed out that “if you took Astraled” Borden could breed a near relative to Riyala, who was not available for sale, from a related mare *Risalda he already owned.

Neither Davenport’s letter which mentioned *Astraled, nor Borden’s to Lady Anne notifying her of Davenport’s death, can presently be located. The following passage from the 1945 first edition of The Authentic Arabian Horse makes it clear that Lady Anne’s daughter Lady Wentworth was working from at least the Borden side of the exchange, if not Davenport’s letter as well:

“Mr. Ames bought the famous Crabbet stallion Astraled, and when Ames ‘fell down and quit’ as Borden put it, Davenport bought all the horses he had purchased from the Blunts except ‘Crabbet.’ Ames had offered Borden the seven head with his Rejeb mare [*Narda II], Rosa Rugosa [the filly Ames had bought from Borden some four years previously] and Shibine for 2,000 dollars; but they were in such bad condition that he did not purchase, intending to get them even cheaper in the spring. Meanwhile his old enemy Davenport secured them…”

Note even the coincidence of the verb “secure” which Lady Anne had used in her letter. The references to “poor condition” (exaggerating that would have been quite in Borden’s style, just as it was like Lady Wentworth to gloss over Borden’s 1909 report to Lady Anne that he and Davenport had resolved their prior disagreement) and waiting to buy the horses “in the spring” puts this exchange somewhere in mid-winter, which fits well with Homer Davenport’s published letter of February 1912 looking forward to better financial days because he had returned to W.R. Hearst’s employ. A February or March, 1912, date fits, too, with the likely timing of *Shibine’s breeding to *Euphrates (she foaled Abeleyd on 27 February, 1913). If Davenport believed all the horses he bought from Ames were “from the Blunts,” and if his successors transmitted that impression to the next owner, this could also explain the old puzzle of how Rosa Rugosa came to be registered as bred by Crabbet Stud and imported by Borden (her actual breeder).

No published stud book shows *Astraled in any other ownership between his importer Ames (American [Jockey Club] Stud Book, 1910) and the Rev. Thomas Sherman (Arabian Stud Book, 1918), who owned *Astraled in Washington State and would later donate him to the U.S. Remount. Spencer Borden did breed that *Astraled/*Risalda foal, a 1915 colt, and he also showed *Astraled at least once. Apparently Borden sold *Astraled to the Rev. Sherman; *Astraled’s registration, on file at the Trust, is noted “no certificate issued” which implies he had already left for the Northwest and was being put on the books to provide a registered sire for his two U.S. foals. Other registrations in the same numerical sequence were such posthumous ones as those of General Grant’s *Leopard and *Linden Tree.

The other substantial connection of *Astraled indirectly to Davenport is an original manuscript stud record preserved at AHOF, begun by H.J. Brown for his own short-lived Arabian program. The stallion section includes a page for *Astraled, with the undated notation “Sold to Borden.” Why should Brown have had occasion to devote a page to *Astraled and still less to mention the horse’s sale in his private records, unless he had been the owner and thus the seller? It is a matter of record that H.J. Brown bought Davenport’s stallion *Abu Zeyd, and the Ames imported mares, one of which produced a 1913 foal by Davenport’s *Euphrates. Taking all these facts together, the simplest reading has the Ames Arabians, including *Astraled, pass from Ames to Davenport to Brown. *Crabbet was registered later than the mares, which is consistent with his having been temporarily separated from them (if Davenport bought everything “except ‘Crabbet'”).

Domow herself was not registered until she was five, by which time not only her exact foaling date, but Davenport’s connection with the Ames Arabians (certainly *Shibine, if not more of them) seems to have been forgotten. Domow’s markings of a blaze and three stockings could have been taken as evidence that her sire must have been the flashily marked *Abu Zeyd, even had *Astraled (whose only marking was a faint snip) been named, the more so given the apparent lack of a paper trail connecting Davenport with the Ames Arabians. The fact that the bay-chestnut coat color difference is simply inherited while markings are highly unpredictable may well have been unknown to the Hingham management; the science of genetics still was in its infancy, even though Hurst’s 1906 study of Thoroughbred coat colors was the first illustration of a Mendelian character operating in a mammal. Even today one encounters otherwise sophisticated horse breeders who are unclear on the details of coat color transmission genetics.

Domow was highly regarded as an individual and produced 11 registered foals in five ownerships. Her immediate descendants included significant horses in several important foundation breeding programs, including those of W.K. Kellogg and Roger Selby, and she figures in the pedigrees of preservation-bred Arabians and of such influential sires as Bey Shah and Khemosabi. Among 100 animals in a random sample of AHRA registrations (mostly 1993 foals), Domow appears in 69, or roughly 70% of the pedigrees.

Again, given the difficulty of proving a negative, one cannot expect to show that it was impossible for any stallion to have jumped the fence during what must have been an unsettled period, after Davenport’s death. *Wadduda’s previous production record is consistent with a deliberate foal heat breeding, which in turn supports the idea that the mating took place while Homer Davenport was alive. If *Astraled really was in Davenport’s possession along with *Abu Zeyd—and the odds do favor that reading—the confusion of these two imported senior stallions, both Mesaoud sons and both sold to H.J. Brown, is easier to picture than any other simple scenario involving a mistake in reporting the sire involved in a deliberate breeding. Much of our reconstruction remains strictly unproven, but we see a strong case for Homer Davenport’s having owned *Astraled, in time to make that horse a serious candidate to have sired Domow.

Note added in 2007: Since this writing research in New Jersey court records has confirmed that *Astraled definitely was in Homer Davenport’s possession at the time of his death.

To expand on the previous note, in 2008: The court records not only confirm Lady Wentworth’s report that the Ames horses, except for *Crabbet, were in Davenport’s possession in 1912; they put most of the J.A.P. Ramsdell horses in his hands as well; and document that *Abu Zeyd and *Astraled were accounted the head sires of Davenport’s Holmdel Stud. In light of this further research *Astraled remains the most likely alternative covering sire for *Wadduda in 1912, if the breeding was not an accident.

Further, W.R. Brown correspondence at AHOF indicates that Fahreddin most likely was foaled in New Jersey, and that she was apparently never in Peter Bradley’s possession. If Domow were also foaled in New Jersey and went to Bradley at her dam’s side, it would explain why Bradley had no foaling date for her.

Van Vleet’s Arabian Laboratory

by Bob O’Shaughnessy

(Western Horseman Mar/Apr’44)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does this sort of treatment of purebred Arabians sound fantastic?

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

Excerpted from THE ARAB HORSE, HIS COUNTRY AND PEOPLE

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.”

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Travels In Arabia the Desert by the Chevalier D’Arvieux (1718)

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 Family.

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 him again.

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.

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I would have written sooner, but… Further in the Case of the Blunt-Davenport Correspondence

by R.J. Cadranell

Arabian Visions, July/August 1993

used by permission of R.J. Cadranell

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

Dear Sir:

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.[1]

I am glad that Bushra and her Mahruss colt are in your hands and you were fortunate to get them.[2] 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.[3] 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,[4] 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.[5] He was a Dahman Shahwan of the strain in the Abbas Pasha[6] 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.

  1. [1]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.
  2. [2]*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.
  3. [3]*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.
  4. [4]Nejd is a region in the north central part of the Arabian peninsula.
  5. [5]*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.
  6. [6]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.

The Case of the Blunt-Davenport Correspondence Part II: A Shoddy Affair

Copyright 1991 by Charles Craver

published in the Sept 1991 Arabian Visions

Used by permission of Charles Craver

In the August issue, the “Baker Street” series contained an article by Debra and Jerald Dirks presenting an exchange of three letters dating from 1906 and 1907 between Lady Anne Blunt of England and Homer Davenport of the U.S. Commentary on these letters was reserved to the present writer for this issue of Arabian Visions.

In these letters, as in others, communications between Lady Anne Blunt and Homer Davenport were cordial and provided a reasoning exchange of thought. Lady Anne starts in an apologetic mode because the fact is that in prior correspondence with Spencer Borden, and before she knew anything on the subject other than gossip and hearsay, she had made some comments about the Davenport importation. These comments were not in themselves so bad, but they were used selectively by Borden to create a red hot controversy in the American Arabian horse community.

In a letter which we do not have, Davenport obviously had contacted her on the subject directly, and her reply to him begins this series of correspondence.

The differences between Lady Anne Blunt and Homer Davenport were really misunderstandings, and rather easily resolved. Beyond that there were considerable shared observations about the Arabian horse and experiences in Arabian travel. Lady Anne observed that Davenport’s travel experience confirmed her observation of the difficulty of travel in Arabia, and she commented on Davenport’s good fortune in having the sponsorship of the Turkish government, personal pluck, and a favorable season for desert travel, in that the Anazah were relatively accessible to contact by travelers in the heat of the summer. Lady Anne and Davenport discuss the role of a prominent sheikh, “Hashem Bey,” in Arabian desert politics. It is observed by Lady Anne that Davenport’s use of the word “chubby” corresponds to what she gives as the Arabic word “shabba,” meaning suitable to breed from.

Lady Anne points out that Davenport’s report that only 600 of the 6000 horses he was told of in the desert were in the “chubby” or “shabba” category confirms her observation of the need for caution in making purchased of horses in the desert. Lady Anne indicates her suspicion of Arabs as big as fifteen hands, and indicates that this height is an exception in the desert and in her own stud. Davenport confirms her observation, saying that among the Arabs, the best horses are from 14:2 to 14:3 hands high.

A number of other letters have been preserved from Lady Anne concerning Homer Davenport. Her tone is invariably polite and positive. The final item of action from her on the subject occurred when she translated and authenticated the pedigree of Davenport’s mare *Urfah 40, so that this mare and her son, *Euphrates 36, would be acceptable to the Jockey Club for registration in its stud book.

The letter in this series from Homer Davenport to Lady Anne Blunt is typical of his attitude towards her. In this letter and in other commentary of record, he obviously felt great respect for her as a person and as a breeder of Arabian horses. He quietly addresses several points upon which he feels there are misunderstandings, and makes a comment which can be used as explanation for much of the success of his trip to Arabia:

“I don’t believe that I was misled, or had misrepresentations made to me by any of the men around me, as owing to the Irade from the Sultan, and the three strong personal letters which I carried from President Roosevelt, they accorded me every honor…”

If these two people could have kept their exchanges of thought to each other they would have gotten along fine, and Arabian history of the era would have been more simple. Both of them from time to time said things to other people which would have been better unsaid. Lady Anne was jealous of her reputation as an unique expert on the Arabian horse, and she appeared to have had an underlying conviction later shared by her daughter, Judith, that no horses but her horses were real Arabians. Homer Davenport had foibles, too. He was an old-fashioned newspaperman who painted his thoughts with a broad brush, and there was decidedly a bit of P.T. Barnum in his soul. He was inclined to speak of his own horses in superlatives. Most of what he said was factual, but there was a measure of what we consider to be hype. All this came out in a series of interviews published in the New York Times about his importation of horses. Anne Noel Blunt’s lady-like teeth were obviously set on edge.

Several other pioneer American breeders of the time took the occasion to stake out their individual territory in the Arabian horse scene. They each had their own horses to promote: The Randolph Huntington group, who wanted to breed larger, Mu’niqi-type horses, felt that theirs were the only worthwhile kind of Arabians, and they had a further ax to grind with Davenport, probably based on personal conflict between him and Randolph Huntington. Davenport had adversely caricatured Huntington’s relative and benefactor, Collis P. Huntington, in public newspaper cartoons, and had published an article which was unfavorable towards the Huntington horses.

Another breeder, Spencer Borden, was a major customer of Lady Anne and Wilfrid Blunt, from whose Crabbet stud he had imported most of his horses. Borden was an “establishment” sort of person who appears to have felt that he had bought his Arabians from the best Arabian stud in the world, and he did not take kindly to the notion that some newspaperman could go to Arabia and come back with real Arabian horses that were competitive with what he had bought in England. Typically, Borden remained in the background of controversy, but he was a strong and persistent influence against the establishment of the Davenport bloodlines in America.

With this explosive combination of personalities, American Arabian breeding became complicated. There were newspaper exchanges, challenges for competition, horse-show disputes, bitter letters. The Jockey Club and even the USDA and Congress became involved.

Final resolution began with the establishment of the Arabian Horse Club of America, but the influence of the controversy between those early breeders has continued over time, although, of course, weakened, which is appropriate for something of no substance to begin with.

Some of the arguments from those early days still turn up now and then, usually as snide remarks from one side or another. Thus Raswan published an article called “Blunt vs. Davenport Arabians.” Lady Wentworth (Judith Blunt Lytton) makes disparaging remarks about the Davenport horses. Even now, one of Lady Anne Blunt’s current biographers cannot write about the Davenport importation without negative asides that are contrary to her own written remarks to Davenport and others. Some breeding programs are even influenced on the basis of the arguments that started in 1906 and followed the continuity from Spencer Borden through W.R. Brown, Judith Lytton, H.H. Reese, and Reese’s ideological heirs.

Too bad. Homer Davenport and Lady Anne Blunt got along fine, and they seemed to be in good agreement about horses. Without “friends” to stir up trouble between them and between them and and others, they each had a contribution to make a beautiful breed of horse. This occurred despite all the unnecessary help. Many feel that both the Blunt and Davenport Arabian bloodlines reach their peak expressions of Arabian beauty when combined with each other, and the fact is that much of the best of the Blunt heritage is found primarily in combination with the bloodlines that Homer Davenport brought from Arabia in 1906.

That Nura Style

by Rick Synowski © 1995

from The CMK Record Spring 1995 XI/2: page 15

used by permission of Rick Synowski

That air of distinction which characterizes the ‘Crabbet type’ cannot easily be explained. Lady Anne Blunt called it ‘that indefinable thing style’, and Wilfrid Blunt spoke of the ‘almost electric thrill’ he experienced when he saw a really first-class horse.“(1)

GHAZIEH (Ibn Nura x Bint Horra) (Note: an Ali Pasha Sherif mare, not the Abbas Pasha desert import who founded the family to which belonged Helwa and Yemameh.) Not a brilliant photo, still this exemplifies the remarkable style of this breeding (NBGS)

The influence of the Ali Pasha Sherif line of NURA(2) has been obscured, not only by the passage of time, but by the fact that her name appears only in the middle of pedigrees. Mares which did not leave enduring dam lines, at least from a historical perspective, are less easily celebrated. A horse’s genetic influence is not necessarily less, because its name does not appear in the direct sire or dam line. NURA was an important mare to the Blunts, though it is not clear whether they ever saw her; there was something in her descendants which caught their eye. Ali Pasha Sherif too recognized the special quality of these horses as attested by the “one hoof of the Bint Nura” quote at the head of the lead article. NURA’s early descendants were notable for their style, bearing and finish — traits which have bred down in the two lines carried on from this mare at Crabbet.

IBN NURA was an aged stallion when purchased by the Blunts. He was described as a “magnificent horse…and style perfection.” Although in his 20s, he was much used at Sheykh Obeyd, until his son FEYSUL replaced him as head sire. Of FEYSUL’s sons IBN YASHMAK notably displayed the regal elegance of the line, though as a sire he would be outdone by FEYSUL’s British son RASIM, sire of RASEEM, RAZINA, *RIFLA, *FARASIN, NASHISHA and FASILA — all of importance for breeding on the NURA attributes.

BINT BINT NURA ES SHAKRA [BINT NURA GSB] was the sole NURA daughter purchased by the Blunts. Existing photos of the mare show beauty and great bearing. BINT NURA bred two important sons: MAHRUSS GSB by MAHRUSS, bred by Ali Pasha Sherif; and DAOUD by MESAOUD, bred by the Blunts.

DAOUD’s value was a point of controversy between the Blunts; his contribution was to be through his daughters. Of these NASRA would be come a grande dame of Crabbet, perhaps rivaled only by RISSLA. NASRA exuded finish and elegance, in photos reminiscent of her granddam BINT NURA. Unquestionably NASRA passed on the NURA style to her later Crabbet stamp. By this time Crabbet horses carried multiple crosses to NURA; such as INDIAN GOLD and FARIS were double BINT NURA, the first combining DAOUD with RIJM and the second a double grandson of the latter.

MAHRUSS left only one breeding son at Crabbet, RIJM; he also sired the American en utero import *IBN MAHRUSS. Lady Anne Blunt in her Journals regretted the lack of opportunity given MAHRUSS. The same source records how Wilfrid Blunt “remarked over and over again of RIJM,’that is a real show horse’.” Years later Lady Wentworth described the RIJM son *NASIK as “a magnificent horse…having style and quality in a superlative degree.” H.H.Reese, after *NASIK’s importation, called him a “made-to-order show horse.” *NASIK was used sparingly in England, perhaps overshadowed by his full brother *Nureddin II. *NASIK did sire the notable RAFEEF, whom Lady Wentworth credited with “magnificent style. Neck arched, tail in the air. Everyone wanted this horse.”

The NURA style breeds on notably from *Nureddin II through his son FARIS, remembered as “very showy” by Cecil Covey. FARIS sired RISSALIX and this showy quality was evident in the great RISSALIX sons MIKENO, BLUE DOMINO and *COUNT DORSAZ. The latter was described by a British sporting journalist as “that prince of dandies.”

We have come most to identify the founder influences in Crabbet pedigrees with MESAOUD, RODANIA, NEFISA; to a lesser extent QUEEN OF SHEBA and later, Skowronek. Yet horses like Abu Farwa, *SERAFIX, INDIAN MAGIC and Aurab would not have been what they were had NURA not been a presence in the middle of their pedigrees. This reminds us to seek out the less immediately obvious.

References

(1) Archer, Pearson & Covey. The Crabbet Arabian Stud, its history and influence. p. 225.

(2) “Nura” is used to refer to the Ali Pasha Sherif mare BINT NURA, daughter of the original Abbas Pasha NURA. The Ali Pasha Sherif BINT NURA is the dam of IBN NURA and of BINT BINT [Es Shakra], registered as BINT NURA GSB.

See also: The Banat Nura of Ali Pasha Sherif

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Arabian Horses

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Arabian Horses

Used by permission of Rick Synowski

Copyright by Rick Synowski 1994

from ARABIAN VISIONS July/August ’94

Reprinted from The CMK Record

used by permission of Rick Synowski

The community of Arabian horse owners — “the Industry” as we have come to call ourselves collectively — has yet to face the far-reaching consequences in any genuine way of our treatment of the Arabian horse.

In the recent article “Observations” by David Murdoch, (Arabian Visions, January-Febuary 1994), the author makes the statement that

“Abuse messes up the mind. That is the reason that wonderful young horse you sent off to be trained — the one you foaled out in your arms and watched grow up — comes back to you like a maniac.”

Murdoch’s statement strikes a chord. As an Arabian horse breeder and as a professional in the mental health field who has treated many human victims of abuse, I have been disturbed in particular by the long-term, even permanent psychological damage suffered by horses which have been traumatized in the course of training, competing, and by general mismanagement.

My 20 years experience in the mental health field includes treatment of children and adults who suffer from Post-traumatic Stress disorder, the debilitating disruption of the emotions, mental functions, and behavior which is a delayed or residual reaction to some prior catastrophic event. My observation of behavior in horses which had undergone extreme trauma, whether of human or natural cause, and the observation of other horse owners relating their experiences, indicates that horses have responses to traumatic experiences parallel to responses of people.

The disorder was earlier identified as shell shock in returning combat veterans of the two World Wars and the Korean conflict. The term Post-traumatic Stress began to be widely used as it was applied to returning Vietnam veterans who were found to have serious problems readjusting to civilian life and who suffered emotional disturbances, mental problems, and problems with their behavior which continued for an indefinite period after their return. The disorder was also identified in both children and adults who had suffered prior physical and sexual abuse. These people were often misdiagnosed and sometimes locked up in back mental wards because they were thought to have major mental illnesses, their symptoms being so severe at times.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM), published and revised periodically by the American Psychiatric Association, is the diagnostic bible for the mental health field. The DSM IV, the latest edition, gives the most complete and definitive description of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to date. The following is an excerpt:

The essential feature of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or other threat to one’s physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury or threat to the physical integrity of another person. The person’s response to the event must involve intense fear, helplessness or horror. The characteristic symptoms resulting from the exposure to the extreme trauma include persistent reexperiencing of the traumatic event, persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, and numbing of general responsiveness, and persistent symptoms of increased arousal. The full symptom picture must be present for more than one month and the disturbance must cause clinically significant distress or impairment to important areas of functioning. Intense psychological distress or physiological reactivity often occurs when the person is exposed to triggering events that resemble or symbolize an aspect of the traumatic event. In rare instances the person experiences dissociative states that last from a few seconds to several hours, or even days, during which the components of the event are relived, and the person behaves as though experiencing the event at that moment (page 424.)

The lastly described reliving of the traumatic event or “flashback” is often reported by patients to be more painful or otherwise distressing than the actual event had been for them.

A personal horse-related incident which comes to mind as illustrative of a simple example of PTSD involves a situation brought about by a rider’s misjudgment. My horse, as you will see, did not experience the trauma himself but merely witnessed the event.

During the 1970s when I was living in Marin County north of San Francisco, I spent many quiet relaxing hours riding my stallion on the miles of wooded, mountain trails and back roads. One particular Sunday afternoon we had passed two young women trail riding their horses. They left the main road to take a narrow side trail which circled around the other side of a nearby lake. It had not been long when I heard shouting from that general direction and turning found one of the riders galloping toward me. The other horse and rider had apparently slipped from a particularly treacherous part of the trail high above the lake. Luckily the rider had been able to jump free but the poor mare had slid further down the embankment and was caught under a downed log about fifty feet above the lake. We turned back to find the mare thrashing wildly to free herself. Just as we were about to reach her she struggled free only to go crashing end over end down into the deep water below. Once in the water the mare struggled for what seemed an eternity. At times she would appear to tire and then sink out of sight. Horrified, we stood helplessly on the bank: the two riders, myself, and my stallion. Eventually she was able to make her way close enough to the bank to touch bottom. At that point we were able to wade into the water and slip a rope over her head and pull her to the shore. She was able to get up on her own legs and staggered out of the water, the heavy, waterlogged stock saddle still on her back. Amazingly she had escaped serious physical injury. My stallion stood trembling, his attention riveted to the mare during the entire ordeal. When she emerged from the lake I had allowed him to sniff her, as a mare will do with a foal which has become upset or separated. On the ride home however, he seemed spooked and fretted all the way. After that day he would take to shying when I attempted to ride him near the edge of a lake, even on trails which were familiar to him and which had not posed a previous problem. His behavior did not generalize to fording streams or crossing bridges over streams, which he did with little fuss.

A horse’s response to real or perceived danger is either “fight or flight.” This is an instinctive survival response, as it is in people. Like people, horses will, when not physically able to fight or escape, attempt to leave the situation psychologically, and will dissociate. Horses dissociate in response to immediate trauma (this is sometimes associated with and symptom of shock), but I have seen them dissociate in response to a triggering stimulus associated with prior trauma. A horse in a dissociative state will seem to take leave of his senses. He may seem to be in another world and unaware of his immediate surroundings. If highly aroused he may be dangerous, to others or to himself. I had acquired another stallion who I had found in a starved, emaciated state. I was told he had been beaten. He was a gentle soul but when he became distressed he would weave with a vengeance and at times appear to go into a trance-like state, eyes glazed over. This behavior diminished in time but never disappeared.

Horses by nature are highly social, gregarious animals. The species evolved to live within a social group as its primary means of survival. Separation from the group often meant death from predators or from lack of experience in coping with other threats in its environment. The Bedouins bred horses these past thousands of years which were purposefully developed to generalize their social needs and responses to people. This resulted in the characteristic horse to human bond for which the Arabian would become a legend. Separation from horse or human companions can be stressful and traumatic. Separation and forced readjustment to unfamiliar, alien surroundings occurs as a matter of course to most horses, especially those shuffled from one owner to the next.

Such was the story of the great *Serafix, imported from the Crabbet Stud in England to California by John Rogers. The young *Serafix became so homesick after his arrival that he refused to eat. It was thought he would die, the situation was so serious. Finally, Rogers himself moved into *Serafix’s stall to provide round the clock companionship to bring the horse out of his nearly fatal slump. Happily most horses do not experience adjustment problems as severe, but it is not uncommon that horses are never able to completely adjust. Many develop abnormal behaviors such as stable vices or other irksome or even dangerous habits — coping mechanisms used to adapt to the fallout of traumas we owners seldom even notice, which includes isolation from familiar companions and adjustments to unfamiliar surroundings.

Human caused trauma seems far more debilitating to people than is trauma from natural events such as floods, fires and earthquakes (DSM IV, p. 424). Arabian horses, with their strong natural affinity for people, are especially vulnerable to the devastation of human-perpetrated abuses. Deliberately inflicted trauma, usually meted out as corporal punishment, is the most frequent cause of PTSD in horses — especially horses trained for competitive events. In Arabians, it is most commonly associated with halter training and showing, but it occurs on some level in all kinds of competition. We certainly are not talking about reasonable discipline or correction here — with alarming frequency we go over that line of discipline to outright abuse, and perhaps some of us do not even know when we have crossed that line. Where trauma does not involve punishment, it occurs in horses which are in physical pain and continue to be worked. Sometimes the horse does not even protest. Too often they are anesthetized and continue to reinjure themselves or worsen present injuries. Such practices result in suffering extending beyond the reach of painkillers and which often develops in chronic ailment. Working lame horses is cruel and inhumane, but far more insidious and even more common is the forced work of horses with musculoskeletal pain arising from trauma to the spine. These injuries result from the forced collection of young horses for prolonged periods and are aggravated by use of mechanical devices such as martingales, tie-downs, and draw reins. These appliances may actually be misused to correct horses which are already hurting from spinal problems, shown by resisting collection and going above the bit. We add more pain to an already hurting horse without a clue as to what we are doing. Little wonder these horses develop bad attitudes and other evasive or even violent behaviors which continue long after the pain itself may have subsided.

Whip abuse is the most often decried of the abuses to which the Arabian is almost universally subjected, owing to the high arousal state in which the Arabian is forced to be shown. People who believe the decline of whip abuse seen at the shows reflects that abuse is on the decline are gravely deceived and have little understanding of the use of the whip as a trigger to call up past abuse. One does not even have to use a whip as a trigger — the response may be elicited by a hand signal or gesture of the upright arm, or a verbal cue like the “shush” or clicking one hears in the ring. Just like the salivation of Pavlov’s dogs when the bell rang, halter horses are conditioned to become highly aroused and to exhibit the fight or flight behaviors given the threat of harm — or the memory of harm.

These responses include the tightening of muscles and exaggerated posturing and movement common to many other species when confronted with danger. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is not merely an effect of halter training; it has become the method itself, employed deliberately to elicit the response we demand in the show ring. Since the abuse need not occur at the time the response is triggered, it need not be repeated in the ring or even at the show. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that holding horses in paddocks at shows to be observed and inspected by stewards is little more than a charade.

The effects of conditioning by pain or fear of pain result in a variety of responses which may become long-term or permanent and usually generalize to other people, including their bewildered owners. I have heard more than one sad story from an injured owner who was attacked by their own horse they got back from the trainer — the horse they raised and thought they knew. One never knows what will trigger an aggressive reaction in what seem like otherwise gentle, sensible horses. And, one learns never to put one’s own guard down with them. These behaviors may subside in time but one cannot predict whether they will ever go away entirely.

Depression is another effect of abuse. These horses seem to suffer mental breakdowns. They become listless and withdrawn and non-responsive to their surroundings. We see this so often in show horses that I doubt we pay much attention to this kind of response. Once returned to hearth and home and to familiar companions these symptoms seem to subside in about six months to a year.

Of course, horses suffer a variety of physical ailments due to the effects of PTSD, just like humans do. Immune systems become depressed. These horses are much more prone to colic and other digestive upsets. This is not news to the insurance industry which has limited liability, raised premiums, or even refused to insure horses where abuse of one kind or another has become commonplace.

A bizarre and little understood response to abuse is the perverse kind of loyalty, and in extreme cases, affection the victim occasionally develops toward the perpetrator. This had been first observed in some victims who had been interned and tortured as POWs. I can remember my own bewilderment and frustration years ago working with a woman who had been repeatedly beaten by her husband, but who remained loyal to him, even to the point of raising his bail when he was jailed for sending her to the local emergency room with injuries.

Charles Craver brought to my attention his observations of horses which, having suffered abuse, seemed to develop the same kind of bond to their abuser. Craver’s observation brings to mind my visit to an Arabian breeding establishment some years ago and watching the trainer bring out one of the much publicized stallions. The horse was agitated and repeatedly lunged at the trainer, mouth open and ears flat back. It was obvious the stallion regarded the trainer with hatred and the trainer displayed no little skill to dodge the attacks while presenting the horse to guests. Imagine my shock when I learned years later of the special rapport these two were touted to have.

When a handler gives a horse a loving pat and the horse appears to respond, it is no guarantee that the handler hasn’t abused that horse to within an inch of its life back at the barn to earn that pat. I witnessed such an incident in the show ring one year. When it was announced that a particularly lovely young mare was chosen as the champion, her handler jubilantly threw his arms around her neck as though she were the love of his life. The mare was dazed, seemingly disoriented, and confused as she stood trembling to receive her accolades.

In his article, Murdoch cites owners as coresponsible with trainers for abuse, as we have the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of our own horses. Owners may plead ignorance and may well indeed be unaware of the abuses their horses suffer when under the care of someone else, or which they themselves inflict unwittingly. But the causes of ignorance are less the lack of accurate information than the lack of genuine concern which comes from the heart and conscience rather than that to which one pays lip service only. It really comes down to not putting the horses first.

GLOSSARY OF TERMINOLOGY

Dissociative States: Any mental state in which an individual seems to lose contact with his immediate surroundings. Day-dreaming is a common and normally harmless dissociative state most of us experience at one time or another. In more severe instances, an individual may suffer amnesia (blackouts), confusion, disorientation or even psychosis.

Generalized Response: Any response which is learned in one context or situation and is repeated in a similar context or in response to a similar stimulus.

Increased Arousal State: Psychologically any state of intensified emotion (anger, fear, anxiety, excitement) and awareness (hypervigilance). Physiologically, increased arousal states are characterized by rapid heart beat and respirations, increased adrenaline release, and other indicators of increased metabolism.

Trigger: An event, circumstance, or object which resembles, or is symbolic of a previous traumatic event and which causes the victim to respond as if he were reliving the event.