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In-Breeding and Size

by Ben Hur
(Western Horseman Jul/Aug 1945)

Is size in the horse influenced by in-breeding? Have you had the impression that dire results would follow if horses (and other livestock) closely akin were mated? Have you believed that the offspring from closely related matings would be deformed, small, weak as well as vicious, or deficient in brain capacity? It seems that the most commonly accepted fallacy among horsemen is that the practice of consanguinity or in-breeding in horses will immediately affect size and that small inferior “runts” will result, if they are not actually so grotesquely deformed that the foal dies shortly after birth.

This misconception of the laws of nature, this widely if not universally accepted fallacy among livestock breeders and farmers in America, has persisted since colonial days, and it has resulted in practically all our breeds being imported from Europe. America has blazed the way for all the world in the sciences, in chemical, electrical and mechanical research and developments, but has strangely worshipped at the feet of breeders of livestock abroad and is to this day overawed by the magic word “imported.” Americans have persisting in importing livestock from foreign countries until imports were stopped during World War II. And strange as it may seem, extensive plans are already well under way to begin importing again just as soon as permission can be obtained by breeders of cattle, dogs, sheep and horses.

This is notably true of breeders of Jersey cattle, where certain groups are feverishly awaiting the “green light” or “go” signal to rush to the small island of Jersey (among the channel islands held by Germany during the war) where the most intensive in-breeding has been the rule, and from where they will start importing Jersey cattle again to America. Why this need for new imports from abroad, year after year? There can be but one answer and that is that American breeders have not followed the same rules in breeding and that deterioration has followed the American plan of breeding, which in the main has been a constant search for “new blood” and out-crossing, rather than following the time honored plan by which all breeds have been developed and maintained – that of line-breeding and in-breeding.

Regarding in-breeding or consanguinity. James A. Lawrence, founder and first president of The Arabian Horse Club of America and the Great Dane Club of America, wrote in 1908:

“I believe the natural laws controlling this phase of animal breeding are less understood than any other one feature that enters into the creation and regeneration of animal life. We are accustomed to seeing instances of degeneracy on account of consanguinity in the human race in America, and the conclusion, without further thought, is that in-breeding is forever prohibited by nature in all of her mammal kingdom.
“But on further reflection we are compelled to remember that the great Anazeh tribes of Bedouins of the Arabian desert have remained pure in one blood for ages. According to their own traditions and history they are the same in blood today as their progenitor, Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar. These very exclusive people maintain their own blood purity with the same care and precision with which they breed their horses, and certainly there is no question about them being an intensely in-bred race, in fact, the purest of all the human races. There is no sign of degeneracy among them in the physical sense, and they are pronounced by those in a position to know as the most highly moral race of people, in many respects, in the world.”

As proof of the value of consanguinity in the breeding of horses Mr. Lawrence wrote further:

“We know the Arabian horse is pure in one blood as we know the English Thoroughbred is not. We also know the Arabian blood is as pliable or plastic today as it was five hundred years ago, and we also know that the English Thoroughbred is not as pliable or plastic as he was one hundred years ago, to say nothing of other qualities he has lost in a degenerating tendency, which proves the value of pure and unmolested blood through consanguinity. The Arabian horse proves his purity in many ways, and in no particular is his excellenced and good breeding more evident than in his courage and perfection of disposition which the runner has lost, and courage is ever an unmistakable mark of purity of blood.”

It is a significant fact, as we have pointed out in earlier articles in this series, that the most successful breeders in America, of horses, cattle, sheep and dogs have been those who have ignored the American fear of in-breeding and have followed the custom of breeders abroad where breeds were made by the one and universal rule of in-breeding and line-breeding. It is nature’s way but as Mr. Lawrence prointed out,

“Man would bastard and lose it all by out-crossing, mongrelization. Nature breeds only purebreds in her infinite precision. Her animals are pure in the beginning and pure in the end. Through consanguinity nature maintains a vigor, uniformity, beauty and perfection forever.”

At no time in the history of this country has there been such an intense and wide-spread interest in light or hot-blooded horses as there is at the present time. From coast to coast much is being said and written, many attempts are being made to improve, solidify and make into one common mass certain types or colors of horses. This is notably true of those who are attempting to reproduce that which is representative and best in horses of Quarter Horse type, Palomino colored horses, the Pinto, or spotted or morocco, the Appaloosa, Walking Horse and the Albino. Serious attempts are being made in widely scattered sections of the country to capture and mould into the ideal of their dreams of the horse these breeders hope to produce in purity in the future. These ambitions and embryo breedmakers can take a page from the history of breedmaking in the past if they will discard their fears of degeneracy in size, type, vigor and mental capacity as well as disposition when consanguinity or in-breeding is practiced.

One common type or color cannot come from widely scattered sources. Purity must, as it always has, come from one source and from that one source or base the breeding program can be broadened within the family so that line-breeding can be followed and a line of horses result with one common ancestry that are uniform in type and reproductive breeding characteristics. Then and then only is the effort worthy of the name of a breed.

The Arabian horse again, because of its purity of breeding, furnishes us the example and pattern of what we may expect from in-breeding. The blood of the Arabian horse is the fountain from which flows all the various types and colors of light saddle type horses although all of them have more or less of the cold-blood or draft horse blood in them. To develop and improve, to capture and solidify certain types, colors or characteristics there can be no better rule to follow than that of using and moulding in as much of the Arabian blood as possible. There need be no fear of losing size if size is what is wanted. The Arabian does not lose size when in-bred, nor is vigor or vitality lost. When out-crossed the Arabian type and characteristics overshadow and predominate to a marked extent but size almost universally increases whether the cross be on a pony or larger type.

Nimr No. 252,
red chestnut Arabian stallion, 15-1 hands high. Imported from England by Randolph Huntington in 1891, Nimr was bred to his grand-dam, Naomi (15-2 hands) to produce Khaled (15-3 1/2). Picture by George Ford Morris.

Naomi No. 230,
red chestnut Arabian mare, 15-2 hands, foaled in 1877, bred by Rev. F. Vidal in England, was produced by a full brother-and-sister mating, by the desert-bred sire, Yataghan (15 hands) and the desert-bred dam Haidee (14-3 hands). Naomi, bred to her grandson Nimr, produced Khaled.

Khaled No. 5,
red chestnut Arabian stallion, foaled in 1895, bred by Randolph Huntington. Standing 15-3 1/2 hands, Khaled is an outstanding example of intense in-breeding. The picture was made for James A. Lawrence, first president of the Arabian Horse Club, by the well known artist and photographer of horses, George Ford Morris. Copyrighted in 1908, this picture and the one of Nimr is used by permission of Mr. Lawrence.

The Arabian horse, bred and raised for hundreds of years in desert country and on frugal if not actually scanty feed conditions responds immediately to good feed and care and the danger in this country is that the Arabian may grow a little bigger each generation and gradually lose its refined classic type and beauty. You need but look about you in your own family or the family of your friends to realize what better food, care and conditions have done for the human race in one or two generations in this country. It is not uncommon to see sons and daughters towering a head taller than their parents and it is commonly known that feet are universally larger in a single life-span.

Breeders of Shetland ponies and Bantam chickens find it a major breeding problem to keep the size down to the miniature type desired. The size increases with each generation, rather than diminishing, with modern feed and care and it is only by having the young come in the fall and subjecting them to scanty diet that size is held down. Growth is the one universal law of nature and increase in size under favorable sheltered conditions under the care of man seems to be a dominant factor in animals. The English Thoroughbred increased an average of one inch each 25 years, for the first 150 years from the original three Arabian sires which averaged little if any above 14 hands. The original Justin Morgan, founder of the Morgan Horse was about 14 hands. Cavalry experts have often proven that the weight carrying horse reaches his greatest efficiency when about 15 hands high. Yet new owners of Arabians are often immediately concerned about an increase in size and elated when a marked increase is shown, not knowing what the history of the breed and the weight carrying horse has amply demonstrated. Today, all too many who have only recently become interested in saddle horses set as their first goal an increase in size in breeding for Palomino color, Quarter Horse type or to improve the Pinto, Appaloosa, Walking Horse or Albino. Improvement and uniformity of type and characteristics can only come through in-breeding and line-breeding and the practice of consanguinity in horses does not decrease size.

A striking example of how size increased under the most intense in-breeding is furnished by the early Arabian stallion Khaled No. 5, bred by Randolph Huntington, world famous horse breeder of his day. Khaled was 15-3 1/2 hands high, his dam Naomi was 15-2, his sire Nimr 15 hands. Naomi’s sire and dam were the desert bred full brother and sister Yataghan and Haidee. [Yataghan and Haidee were later shown not to be brother and sister after all.] Yataghan was 15 hands, Haidee 14-3, yet the daughter raised in England increased in size to 15-2. Naomi, the result of a brother and sister mating, bred back to her grandson Nimr produced Khaled. Study the pedigree and try to recall if you have ever seen a more intense example of in-breeding. The blood of Khaled was the foundation for many early day Arabians in this country, none of which has suffered for lack of size.

Pedigree of an intensely in-bred Arabian —
Chestnut Arabian stallion; foaled 1895 — 15-3 1/2 hands
NIMR 15-1 hands Kismet, db 15 hands
Nazli 15-1 hands Maidan, db 15 hands
Naomi 15 hands Yataghan, db 15 hands
Haidee, db 14-3 hands
NAOMI 15-2 hands Yataghan, db 15 hands
Haidee, db 14-3 hands
db — Desert Bred. All the above Arabians were Red Chestnut.

Polish Arabians May Have Been Saved

by Ben Hur (Western Horseman Mar/Apr’44)

Raffles, by champion Skowronek, out of champion Rifala.

Friends and students of Arabian horses will be deeply interested in the report that the castle and estate of Count Potocki in war-harassed Poland have been saved from destruction. A deep American interest in the Arabian horses of Poland arises from the fact that during the past ten years or so the bloodlines of some of the best Polish bred Arabian horses have proven extremely popular in this country. There was a time when very little, if any, contact was had with Arabian breeders of Poland, and little was known of their methods of breeding and the quality of their horses.

It will be recalled that Wilfred S. Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt, established the Crabbet Arabian Stud about 1880 with horses they imported from the desert and, later, others from Egypt. They became the most extensive breeders of Arabians in the British empire, and Arabians bred there were exported to the far corners of the world. Many importations have been made by breeders of the United States.

Commenting on the later work of Lady Wentworth and her Crabbet Arabian Stud, William R. Brown, former president of the Arabian Horse Club of America, said in his book, The Horse of the Desert (1936): “In recent years, a white stallion, Skowronek, bred at the stud of Count Potocki in Poland, has been introduced in order to freshen the blood.”

Skowronek, a few days after he was brought to the U.S. [sic] from Poland. The famous stallion later turned white.

Through the fact that Lady Wentworth deemed it necessary or expedient to freshen the blood of Crabbet Arabians by the importation of Skowronek from Poland shortly after the first world war, a deep interest in Polish Arabians was created in breeders in America. Arabian horses have been bred intensively in their desert purity in Poland for several hundred years. It has been the practice there of certain breeders to obtain a new desert bred stallion every five or ten years and this rule has been followed for many generations. The sire of Skowronek is Ibrahim, desert bred, and his dam is Jaskolka, on her dam’s side from a long line of Polish bred Arabians.

Skowronek’s blood has been disseminated to two continents. Several of his get were imported to the United States — the first possibly being the grey stallion, Raseyn No. 597, and the grey mare, Rossana No. 598, imported in 1926 by W. K. Kellogg. The grey mare Rifala No. 815, by Skowronek, was imported in 1928 by Roger Selby, followed by a double son, Champion Raffles No. 952, imported by Mr. Selby in 1932.

It is significant that the mare, Rifala, was bred back to her sire, Skowronek, and foaled Raffles while still in England. Raffles then is the in-bred son, the son and grand-son of Skowronek, and three quarters of the blood of his sire rather than the usual one-half.

Rifala and foal. Her blood is potent in passing on extremely desirable qualities to her offspring.

Possibly for this reason the blood of Raffles has been found unusually potent in passing on the extremely desirable qualities, from the Arabian breeders’ point of view, to the offspring. From these two sons and two daughters of Skowronek in the United States, in the relatively short period of about ten years, the get and bloodlines have gone to a surprisingly large number of Arabian breeders from coast to coast.

After the importations of the two sons and daughters of Skowronek from England to the United States, the interest in Arabian horses from Poland grew. J. M. Dickinson imported seven Arabians direct from Poland to the United States in 1937, the most prized mare possibly being Przepiorka No. 1309, her dam being Jaskolka II (no doubt a daughter of Jaskolka). In 1938 Mr. Dickinson imported eight more Arabians from Poland, while Henry Babson made a visit to Poland and personally selected five which he imported into the United States. Mr. Dickinson then imported still another in 1939 and Mr. Babson two more.

Dickinson had the honor and distinction of exporting in the meantime to Poland the American bred Arabian, Antez No. 448, a stallion representing some of the best blood lines of the Homer Davenport (1906) importation from the desert to this country. Later, Antez had the distinction of being imported back to the United States from Poland after being used successfully as a stud there.

These importations from Poland were from a number of different estates and breeders as well as the Polish State Stud. With the invasion of Poland by Germany early in World War II, most of these estates and studs were liquidated, the horses confiscated, some being taken to Germany and added to breeding establishments there. So it has been with deep sorrow that many breeders of Arabians in America have followed the ebb and flow of the war across Poland, realizing that the breeding of several hundred years had been wiped out.

Recently, however, more welcome news has come from Polish Vice Consul Jozef Staniewicz in Chicago who reports that despite the terrific destruction in Poland there is one estate which stands untouched, Lancut, the historic castle of the Potockis, fifty miles from Cracow. The ancient house, the only one in Europe remaining intact as it was in the Middle Ages, stands in the center of 150,000 acres of fields and forests.

At the time of the German invasion in 1939, members of the German general staff lost no time in getting to Lancut and making themselves comfortable under Count Potocki’s roof. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop and Reichs-marshal Herman Goering have engaged in boar hunting on the estate. The upshot of it was the famous castle and its historic properties and collections remained intact under the German high command. Other castles and country houses, universities and churches were sacked, but Lancut was saved.

This information from the Polish vice consul gives added assurance that the Arabian horses owned by Count Potocki were also saved and can be used as a nucleus for re-establishing the studs for which Poland has long been famous.

See also:

Skowronek — Magic Progenitor

General Ulysses S. Grant’s Arabians

by Ben Hur (Western Horseman May/Jun ’47)

General U. S. Grant of Civil War (U.S. 1861-65) fame and twice elected president of the United States, did not live to know that an Arabian stallion presented to him by Sultan of Turkey became many years later, the earliest Arabian stallion to be registered in the stud book of The Arabian Horse Club of America. It was one of those queer quirks of fate by which this stallion was the sire of one pure Arabian son whose blood will be found in many present day Arabians in this country.

As invariably happens after every war, a hero emerges who captures popular acclaim. As a result, Grant was elected and re-elected president. His fame, in fact, was worldwide. He made a trip to Europe and the Orient. He visited Constantinople as the guest of Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, and a great admirer of Grant, in March 1878. The Sultan personally escorted the General through his stables, noted for their many fine Arabian and Oriental horses.

Leopard No. 233, Arabian stallion also presented by the Sultan of Turkey to Gen. U. s. Grant. He was the earliest imported (1879) Arabian registered with The Arabian Horse Club of America. Of the Seglawi-Jedran family, he was 14.3 hands high.

Grant had campaigned through the entire Civil War on horseback and was a superb rider and judge of horses. He expressed great admiration for a young dapple-grey Arabian stallion and the Sultan promptly presented the General with this very fine stallion, foaled in 1873, named Leopard. The Sultan, not to be outdone as a judge of horses thereupon selected another which he, (the Sultan) admired and presented it also to the General. This stallion, also a dapple grey, a year younger, was named Linden Tree.

Historians will recall that Turkey was a major power on the Mediterranean whose authority was accepted as supreme throughout most of Asia Minor and most of the Arabian tribes in and around the Arabian desert. These tribes, ever on the move, often at war with one another and often revolting against the Turks, were a constant source of annoyance to the military authorities of Turkey. The shotgun was passing out as a weapon of warfare among civilized nations and the spear and long lance were passing out as weapons among the Arabian tribes.

There was more than admiration and generosity behind the gift of the two Arabian stallions to General Grant by the Sultan, as can be interpreted by the fact they arrived in the United States aboard the steamer Norman Monarch, at New Haven, Conn., May 31, 1879, which was chartered to bring back to Turkey rifles, cartridges and ammunition from the famous Winchester Arms Company of that city. The Sultan was killing two birds with one stone!

The two stallions were taken by boat to New York, then to Philadelphia, where they were shown at Suffolk Park, then at fairs at Dover, Del., Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Va., Cumberland, W. Va., and Doylestown Pa. They were then delivered to Gen. E. F. Beale at his place near Washington, where they were permanently stabled.

General Grant was too busy, it seems, to give any personal attention to his gift horses and it remained for the renowned horseman of his day, Randolph Huntington of Long Island, New York, to become the champion admirer and mentor for the Grant Arabians. Mr. Huntington was a breeder of harness horses of note and specialized in the Clay family, (close up in Arabian breeding) with a theory that a breed of horses should be developed in the United States adapted to the needs of the country. His observations and theory of arriving at a suitable American-made horse included the use of the blood of the Arabian largely and to accomplish this he advocated and followed the old breeders’ rule of “out-cross once and breed back by three closely related sources.”

Huntington lost no time in sending some of his choice virgin Clay mares to the stables of General Beale in the spring of 1880 to be bred to General Grant’s stallions. His breeding program proved sound over the next few years and he was about to realize his ambition to produce an American-made breed of horses patterned somewhat after the horses of Count Orloff of Russia, which had been proven so valuable that they were taken over by the Russian government and sponsored as a national breed.

Mr. Huntington had spent a lifetime and a fortune developing and proving his theory of horse breeding when his trusted secretary absconded with nearly $100,000. As a result he was compelled to hold a public auction and dispose of the major portion of his life’s work. The fact that these horses brought high prices in part vindicated his theories of breeding, but the American-made breed was dissipated to the four winds.

During this time, after the importation of the Grant Arabians, Mr. Huntington made an intense search and study of what had become of earlier importations of Arabians in this country, especially those presented to Secretary Seward of Lincoln’s cabinet, President James K. Polk, A. Keene Richards and others. He found that within 15 years or less this Arabian blood had been so dissipated that little authentic breeding evidence was available. He thereupon determined to import one or more Arabian mares and begin where A. Keene Richards had been compelled to leave off because of the Civil War. He imported from England in 1888 the Arabian mare, Naomi, whose sire Yataghan and dam, Haidee, had both been brought from the desert in 1875 to England by Major Roger D. Upton. Naomi was bred to Leopard (1889) and foaled the chestnut stallion, Anazeh, at Mr. Huntington’s place at Oyster Bay, Long Island, in 1890. This lone pure Arabian son of Leopard was the sire of eight pure Arabian foals, four of which — Naarah, Nazlina, Naaman and Narkeesa — went on to produced and are in many pedigrees today.

The Arabian Horse Club of America was founded in 1908. Other Arabians were registered earlier, but to Randolph Huntington belongs the credit and honor of sponsoring Leopard, for proving him up for registration and for having imported the earliest Arabian mare to find her way into the stud book.

So great was the admiration of Mr. Huntington for General Grant’s Arabians and so certain was he of their historical importance that he commissioned the young artist, H. S. Kittredge, to make drawings of the two stallions during 1880. He had him make pictures of various others of his Henry Clay family of horses. This was before the day of the modern camera and present day methods of reproduction on paper. The pictures made by Mr. Kittredge, while very definite in detail, lack animation and are impersonal, reminding one of the large wooden horses formerly found in every harness shop on which to display their harness and saddles.

Linden Tree No. 234, a stallion presented by Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, to Gen. U. S. Grant. Registered as an Arabian of “unknown” family, he was declared by Randolph Huntington and Maj. C. A. Benton “to be a Barb.” He left no registered foals.

Nevertheless, Mr. Huntington was so enthusiastic about the General Grant Arabians and their pictures that he wrote a book entitled General Grant’s Arabian Horses, published in 1885, in which he expounded at length his theories of breeding and pedigrees of his American made horses. One of these rare books is in possession of the writer, inscribed “Presented by the Author, Randolph Huntington.” Under the picture of Leopard in Mr. Huntington’s handwriting is written: “Proved a Seglawi-Jedran.” Under the picture of Linden Tree is written “Proved a pure Barb.” Fortunately for the future of Arabians in the United States, Linden Tree, registered in the Arabian stud book was never bred to a pure Arabian mare in this country.

How Linden Tree could have been a Barb and yet presented by the Sultan to General Grant as a pure Arabian was related to us prior to 1930 by the late Major C. A. Benton, Civil War veteran, who devoted his life to horses related to military action. Major Benton was personally familiar with each and every Arabian in this country in the formative period of the stud book and club. A few years after the Grant importation he was sent on a military mission which took him to Constantinople, among other foreign ports. The Major related to us on several occasions how he sought out the keeper of the Sultan’s stables and questioned him about the Grant stallions. It developed that on the day before the horses were to be loaded on shipboard the stallion selected by the Sultan as a gift to General Grant had sprained a leg and was lame. Rather than report the accident to the Sultan and possibly lose his position, he selected another horse in the stable as near like him as possible. The horse was a Barb. We have, then, from two early authorities that Linden Tree was a Barb. It is significant that in all the early editions of the stud book when family names were given to all registered, the word “Unknown” is given after the word “Family” in Linden Tree’s registration.

It is a singular coincidence that at the time General Grant was in Turkey receiving the gift of the two stallions from the Sultan, the Blunts, Sir Wilfrid and Lady Ann, from England, were making their first journey among the northern Arabian tribes and acquiring their first Arabian horses. Events were transpiring to transplant the breeding of pure Arabian horses on two continents at the same time. Arabian horses had been brought from the desert to England and America for more than a hundred years by way of India, Turkey and Egypt, but almost invariably stallions, always with the thought of crossing them on native stock; in England to make and improve the Thoroughbred, in America to make the Quarter horse, American Saddle-bred and improve the Thoroughbred.

When Grant’s stallions arrived in America the Blunts were on their second journey to the desert, this time by the southern route. They were seeing Arabian horses on these journeys with the eyes of Englishmen trained to Thoroughbreds, but they were being fast won over to the idea of breeding Arabians in their purity.

England already had the Major Upton Arabians. With the Blunt importations, Arabians were now available in England for a real start. In America events for a real start were not so propitious. Randolph Huntington’s imagination and ambition were fired anew when he saw the Grant stallions, but he saw them through the eyes of one trained to Clay fast harness horses. He was so enthused he wrote a book about them and his theories of making a new breed. Lady Anne’s books of their journeys — Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates and Pilgrimage to Nejd, published 1879-80 — came to the attention of Mr. Huntington. He too, became a convert to the idea of breeding pure Arabian horses in America. He imported from England the filly, Naomi, from the original Major Upton desert-bred pair imported to England in 1875 to mate with Leopard.

Thus, English and American-bred pure Arabians had almost the same start at almost the same time. Many other importations from England since have strengthened the tie of almost common, if not identical, parentage of an ever increasing large number of Arabians on both continents.

Arabs At Chicago, 1893

by Ben Hur (Western Horseman May 1950)

Chicago’s World Fair, 1893, officially known as the World’s Columbian Exposition, was the focal point from which interest in the Arabian horse was created, which eventually culminated in the formation of the Arabian Horse Club of America, 1908. From the importation of 1893 for the exposition, a mare, *Nejdme, and a

Hadji Hassan, renowned expert on Arabian horses, with *Nejdme. Employed by the Hippodrome Co., at the demand of the Turkish government, he went to the desert and purchased the 11 pure Arabians of the World’s Fair importation.

stallion, *Obeyran, became the No. 1 and 2 Arabians of the official registry stud book. Two other mares and a stallion, several years later, were registered as having come from this importation, although the fact is generally over-looked. They were the mares *Galfia 255 and *Pride 321 and the stallion *Mannaky 294. Offspring of all these have been registered, and they in turn have had offspring until today there is scarcely a breeder who has not had one or more Arabian horses with one of these as ancestor. This tap root, foundation blood, is an important part of the Arabian horses in the United States.

The circumstances under which this importation was made and the many things that happened to it after arrival in this country have remained obscured and unknown to owners of registered Arabians 50 years later. The profound effect and influence which the importation of 1893 had upon certain individuals who obtained some of these horses, imported others and later formed the registry club, is a fascinating story. The story, with the simple trust of the Bedouins, the deception, greed and duplicity of its promoters, avarice of the quick acting Chicago loan sharks, dire want and hunger, fires, theft, abandonment and final breakdown of the entire enterprise and the sale at auction of the remaining horses, would make a movie scenario for today of triple A rating.

This account will raise a doubt in the minds of many of the the correctness of the foaling dates of *Nejdme and *Obeyran in the

*Obeyran No. 2, grey stallion, came into the possession of Homer Davenport, who took this picture and under it, in his booklet, 1908, titled him “The best horse in America at 28 years old.” Was Davenport mistaken about his age?

stud book and to which of the mares the name Pride (apparently a stable name) really belonged, since this account and the auction sale listed no such mare named Pride. As in a modern mystery story, the reader may draw on his powers of deduction, but arrive at two entirely plausible, conclusions, and in the end the purity of breeding of none, regardless of names, has been challenged, although the original desert family strain may remain in doubt.

The Arabian registry stud book lists the foaling date of *Nejdme No. 1 as 1881 (in the desert), of *Obeyran No.2 as 1879 (in the desert). The same stud book credits *Nejdme with 13 foals registered, the last foaled in 1913, Seriha No. 320, when she would have been 32 years old, if the stud book foaling date is correct, a most unusual, late date for a mare to give birth to a foal. The Turkish member of the World’s Fair commission, who is authority for this account, lists *Nejdme as having been foaled in 1887, a more plausible date, but he contradicts this date. What are the facts?

Invitations had been sent to every country on the globe to participate in the exposition, to build a building and show products from their country. The coming fair was the topic of conversation everywhere. A Syrian in the employ of the ministry of agriculture of Turkey conceived the idea and, through the influence of the first chamberlain to the Sultan, received a concession from the Turkish government to take a troupe of Bedouin horsemen to Chicago. (Syria, Lebanon, Arabia, the Holy Land, were all protectorates of Turkey.) The request was at first refused, but the Sultan was made to believe that the proposed enterprise was intended more as an exhibition of pure bred horses than as a show, and on this belief the concession was ordered granted under strict conditions:

  1. None but the purest bred, pedigreed horses should be taken;
  2. All the horses to be returned back to the desert;
  3. The riders to be the best horsemen from the several friendly Bedouin tribes;
  4. Two cavalry officers to accompany the troupe to supervise everything and see that the contract, which contained 52 such conditions as the above four, was complied with.

The granting of the concession made a great sensation in Constantinople, and in less than two days the money asked for—25,000 Turkish liras ($112,000)—to carry on the enterprise was subscribed exclusively by Syrian capitalists in Constantinople, Beirut, Paris and Egypt. Raji Effendi, promoter and holder of the contact, was offered $15,000 spot cash, a free trip to Chicago and back, all his personal expenses for six months, which he indignantly refused. He remained in the company and, in the end, penniless, the Turkish government paid his passage back home.

The company was made up of men who might have been shrewd business men in dealing with the simple and confiding Bedouins of the desert, but who had no idea of American business methods, much less Chicago methods at the time of the fair. They thought 25,000 liras ample. They chartered a Cunard steamer and with 120 men, women and boys, 45 horses, 12 camels, donkeys, fat-tailed sheep, Oriental cracked wheat, oil, butter, cheese, flour, an immense quantity of barley, half a ton of horseshoes and boxes containing 1 1/2 million $1 admission tickets, set sail for America. Among the men were all the stockholders, each having one or more servants, riders, donkey boys, camel riders, seven cooks, five horseshoers, 15 clerks and ticket sellers—everybody who begged to be taken over was put on board.

They arrived in Chicago penniless. They had hardly settled and pitched their tents at the baseball grounds before one Chicago load shark loaned them money at an exorbitant rate of interest and took a mortgage on all they had, horses, donkeys, camels, tents and wearing apparel. Another individual had himself hired as manager of the show at an enormous salary with an iron-clad contract. Still another made a contract to become attorney of the corporation at $600 a month salary. All this happened within the short space of 30 hours after their arrival.

They moved to Garfield Park: Chicago creditors were upon them like hungry vultures. A fire, certainly of incendiary origin, drove them back to 35th street. In this fire they lost seven horses, some of the camels and 15 trunks of clothing. Finally they moved to the Midway at the fair and gave their first performance on the Fourth of July, 1893. The show was widely advertised as the $3 million Hamidieh Hippodrome Co., named after the Sultan of Turkey.

To the fair came people from all parts of the world. The Bedouin show with the beautiful horses attracted wide attention. From England came Rev. F. Vidal, Arabian breeder and authority, in company with Randolph Huntington, Oyster Bay, L.I., N. Y., who had purchased and imported *Garaveen, bred by Rev. Vidal, and later *Kismet, sire of *Garaveen.

Also to the fair came J.A.P. Ramsdell, Newburgh, N.Y., who later succeeded in obtaining *Nejdme. Peter Bradley, Bostonian industrialist, Hingham, Mass., was another deeply interested visitor to the Midway Bedouin show, who from that time on began his attempts to acquire Arabian horses. Probably the most far-reaching effect of the Chicago World’s Fair importation, however, was made on a newspaper cartoonist, who stood on State Street, Chicago, and saw the Bedouins and their steeds parade by. From then on, it became a life ambition for the newspaper cartoonist, Homer Davenport, to go to the desert and bring back Arabian horses. He achieved his ambition with the financial assistance of Peter Bradley as a partner with his importation of 1906.

During the fair it was hinted by informed observers of the horses that a number of them did not show the true characteristics of the pure Arabian horse. A cloud of uncertainty and mystery gathered about the hoses with the passing days. Finally in 1897, after the remaining horses and effects had been sold at auction and the last deluded, miserable Bedouin had been sent home, a member of the Turkish World’s Fair commission was prevailed upon to make a written, public report on the entire enterprise. A copy of this report was printed in The Horsemen, Chicago, June 15 and 22, 1897, and a copy was sent to Peter Bradley.

More than 30 years later, in a visit with him, he recalled the report and gave the copy and other data to the writer. In the report, the author, A. G. Asdikian, wrote:

I came in daily contact with these men, fed them at the expense of the commission when they were hungry, helped them who were now and then driven out of the camp for fighting, a frequent occurrence. I knew every man, woman and boy by name, and there was no question that they would not answer for me as to the origin and history of the horses.

Among them was Hadji Hassan, pure Anazeh Bedouin, who all his life had been a horse dealer among the desert tribes. He was at several times employed by the Turkish government to purchase cavalry horses. From Aleppo to Egypt and Yemen he was known as the best judge of Arab horses in the country. The Hippodrome Co. hired him at the demand of the governor of Beirut in order that the horses purchased should be of purest blood. The company sent him among the Anazeh tribes, and 11 horses of the 45 brought to Chicago, were all that Hadji Hassan bought. These 11 had the customary written pedigrees, which I saw, read and took note of. I will say that these 11 horses were among the purest bred Arabs that ever went out of the desert.

When the troop landed in New York the U. S. Customs authorities levied a duty of $30 on each horse, the supposition being that the horses did not belong to any of the five pure, desert families, as stipulated and exempted in the McKinley tariff law. After their arrival in Chicago I learned of the 11 horses with pedigrees and suggested to the commissioner general to make application for refund. They could not be persuaded to forward the pedigrees to Washington without security.

Advice being to no avail, we threatened to sue them and secure the pedigrees. They promised to deliver them the next day. I went to Garfield Park to get the documents as agreed, and to my surprise could find none of the directors in the camp, but knowing the Bedouin in whose care the papers were left, I demanded them. The poor old man, with tears in his eyes, begged me not to take them from him, as the directors had told him they would turn him out of the camp if he ever parted with his trust. In order not to embarrass him, I promised not to take them from him if he would show them to me. He produced a batch of 10 pedigrees from his trunk, and I read every one of them by the assistance of one of the clerks who could speak Turkish, and wrote down as much of them as would enable me to prepare an application to be forwarded to Washington. When I had finished this work, I had this man and Hadji Hassan show me the pedigreed horses. From this time on I knew which of the horses were pure Arabs. I never again saw these documents, the claim being made that they were destroyed in the fire together with 34 other pedigrees which I did not see, as they did not exist. Against the accusation of the commission that they did not live up to their contract, these shrewd Syrians claimed that the documents were lost in the fire, an absolutely false claim, which we were powerless to contradict.

To make themselves more secure they showed us a voluminous document signed by the governor of Beirut, who certified that the men had been faithful to the conditions of their contract. Of course we knew how this certificate was procured—by bribery and trickery. The trick was this: It appears that at the start they brought from the desert to Beirut these 11 horses, some camels, donkeys, fattailed sheep and Syrian goats. They represented they were going to make a livestock exhibit at Chicago. The pedigrees of the horses were submitted to the governor to convince the authorities that the troupe would be organized in compliance with all the conditions of the concession. After securing the governor’s signature they purchased such mongrel horses as would the best answer the purposes of the proposed show. The horses were finally sold at auction at the Chicago Tattersalls, January 4, 1894. I prepared this descriptive list from a notebook which I kept for the special purpose of writing down all I learned and heard about the horses.

At the Chicago Tattersalls sale, 28 remaining horses were numbered, listed and catalogued by number. (From this list of 28 in the Asdikian report we omit all but the pure Arabian.) There were 7 pure Arabian, as follows:

No.1 Nejdme, grey mare; 14 3/4 hands, foaled 1887; breed         Kehilan-Ajuz

2. Kibaby, grey stallion; 14 3/4 hands, foaled 1885,        Seglawi-Sheyfi

7. Obeyran, iron grey; 14 1/2 hands, foaled 1889,      Seglawi-Obeyran

13. Halool, bay stallion; 15 1/4 hands, foaled 1886,       Kehilan-Ras Fedawi

24. Hassna, dark bay mare; 14 3/4 hands, foaled 1889,       Managhi-Hedrij.

26. Galfea, sorrel mare; 14 1/2 hands, foaled 1887,        Hamdani-Simri

28. Manakey, sorrel stallion; 14 3/4 hands, foaled 1888,        Managhi-Slaji

I can say that the choicest of the lot in this sale went to Boston, purchased by H. A. Souther, who was commissioned by a Boston gentleman to buy some of the horses at any price. By purchasing the stallions 7, 13; 28, this gentleman (Mr. Bradley) secured the plums of the lot, except the magnificent stallion, Kibaby, No. 2.

Among the mares the grey Nejdme took the palm. For a long time her pedigree was kept by Hassan, and after the old man left Chicago it passed into the hands of one of the clerks, who refused to return it until his wages were paid. Scores of times I saw this document and read it. She was “a pure Kehilan of the purest and belonged to the Ajuz sub-strain.” For many months it was a puzzle to me why this magnificent pure bred mare was ever sold to go out of the desert. Was she stolen? Hassan said “No,” because he got her from her owner at 900 Turkish liras ($4,200). Whenever I asked this question Hassan was as mute as a clam. “If you people know anything about horses, watch and find out,” was all he would say. I did watch day and evening for over six months but could see nothing wrong with her. She was as sound as a “new milled dollar.” About three weeks after the fair, while the men were still lingering around. I noticed that Nejdme was in heat. I called my old friend Hassan and asked if I was correct. He said, “Yes, that mare has been coming in heat for five years.” It was plain now. When three years old she had one colt but she could not be settled in foal again. At that time she was eight years old. This was the reason Nejdme was sold to be taken to this country. The first offer for her was $3,500 but the directors refused to sell. The mare had attracted so much attention that the price put on her was $10,000. The second offer made in late October was $2,700, which was also turned down. Finally I purchased the mare for a New York gentleman (Mr. Ramsdell), paying $450 down, but before I could take possession she passed into the hands of the sheriff and I was out $450, as I could neither find the men to whom I paid the money nor could I get the mare. At the auction she was purchased by the receiver, who sold her afterwards for $800 to the same gentleman for whom I had bought her previously. After being told the mare could not be settled in foal I still bought her for my friend because I believed that she could be settled if intelligent methods were used and the mare properly cared for, That she had foals since shows that I was not mistaken in my judgement.

The registry of 13 foals out of *Nejdme in the stud book here, amply supported the judgment of Mr. Asdikian, that with intelligent methods and proper care she would raise foals. His notes and the Tattersalls sales list her as foaled 1887. Yet he states she was eight years old at the time of the fair, 1893, a discrepancy of two years. It would be easy to mistake an old-fashioned 7 for 1 and vice-versa. All the evidence would indicate 1887 the correct date rather than 1881 as her foaling year. Her last foal in 1913 would be at the age of 26, rather than 32.

Dahura No. 90, important and prolific early Arabian mare, granddaughter of *Nejdme. Dahura raised her 19th foal at Ben Hur farms when 25 years old, died at 29.

It will be noted that the name Pride did not appear in the notebook kept by Mr. Asdikian nor does he report the name in the Tattersall sales. Where did the name originate and to what mare of the importation did it belong (as a stable name). All will agree this English word was not the original name of one of the desert-bred, 1893 importation. The original application for registry gives little light on the subject. Date of foaling of Pride 321 and Galfia 255 are listed in the stud book as “unknown.” The 1918 volume of the stud book records Homer Davenport as owner of both Galfia and Pride. He had died in 1912, which may account for the meager registry data on these mares which should have been recorded among the first in 1908 with Nejdme and Obeyran. Mr. Asdikian describes Galfia as a “sorrel mare, one fore and both hind feet white; Hamdani-Simri,” Pride is also recorded as a chestnut or sorrel), but a Managhi-Slaji. If she was a chestnut, then Galfia and Pride were one and the same mare. If she was a Managhi and a dark bay she could have been the No. 24 mare Hassna noted in the sales list as a Managhi-Hedrij. The conclusion would be obvious that it would be harder to mistake identity between a chestnut and bay than it would be to become confused and mistaken with desert strain names. Thus, owners of Arabians can form their own conclusions of the correctness and value of some of the early strain names in some of their present day Arabians.

The Tattersalls sale list, as reported by Mr. Asdikian, gives the foaling date of *Obeyran as 1889, while the stud book lists him as foaled 1879. By what authority was Davenport led to believe him 28 when he took the picture? Or was he really 10 years younger? Finally, would Hadji Hassan, the expert on Arabian horses, buy for this strenuous trip and exhibition a 14-year-old stallion or a four-year-old; a 12-year-old mare or a six-year-old?