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The Case of the Blunt-Davenport Correspondence

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Blunt-Davenport Correspondence

Copyright © 1991 by Debra L. and Jerald F. Dirks

Used by permission.

Originally published in the September 1991 Arabian Visions


Homer Davenport and Lady Anne Blunt were two major pioneering figures in early Arabian breeding in the Western world, both having taken the time and made the effort to secure horses directly from the Arabian desert. Lady Anne’s contributions to Arabian breeding were of major importance in both England (Crabbet Arabian Stud) and in Egypt (Sheykh Obeyd Garden), while Homer Davenport’s 1906 importation of 27 horses and mares from the desert of Arabia has left a giant imprint on subsequent Arabian breeding in North America.

Unfortunately, the early relationship between these two pioneering giants was uneasy, primarily because of the interference of Colonel Spencer Borden. Borden, an early American breeder of some renown, had based his breeding efforts largely on horses secured from the Blunts. Unknown to Lady Anne, Borden and Davenport’s relationship as two of the then preeminent breeders of Arabian horses in North America was somewhat bitter and antagonistic. She was not well-armed with caution when Borden communicated with Lady Anne by mail regarding the Davenport importation. Borden misrepresented the Davenport horses and the importation journey to Lady Anne, and had subsequently published out of context and in a distorted manner Lady Anne’s private comments and questions about Borden’s version of the Davenport importation. This put an early chill on subsequent Blunt and Davenport relationship. However, the early chill did thaw, as attested by three previously unpublished letters: two from Blunt to Davenport; and one from Davenport to Blunt. All three letters are published here in total for the first time.

(Editor’s note: the letters uncovered by our sleuths were not handwritten originals but rather typewritten transcripts made by U.S. Government personnel. Where their readings of the originals seem improbable, alternate readings are suggested in square brackets.)

Blunt to Davenport

Sheykh Obeyd Garden

December 28, 1906

Crabbet Arabian Stud

Crabbet Park

Three Bridges Sussex

Dear Sir:

“I must begin by thanking you for your interesting letter, which unavoidable business has prevented my answering sooner, and for the newspaper extracts, forwarded to me by W. Arthur Corfe Caffin, present Manager of the Crabbet Arabian Stud at Crabbet Park.

“In replying I will deal first with the assumption in one of the newspapers of a desire on the part of “the Blunts” to have a monopoly of importing the Arabian horse. This is sufficiently disproved by their book of travels, in which, as you remark, advice is given as to how to procure him. Further, as “the Blunts” have not ceased ever since to preach the cause of the Arabian horse, — alas how often to deaf ears in a land where such doctrine has been held to be unpatriotic, — surely it is abundantly evident that by them any bona fide efforts to follow in their track must be keenly appreciated. More than one such effort has been caused by their book, but on the part of Russian and other readers of it; none hitherto that I know of had been made by persons to be counted kith and kin from across the Atlantic. And that was after nearly thirty years such an expedition as yours has been carried out is particularly gratifying. You have my best wishes for the success of your importations.

“This may be the moment to remark how much I should deplore the continuance of that sort of antagonistic rivalry amongst advocates of the Arabian horse which has been started in the American press. It can but injure the true interests of the breed and its breeders with the general public. Emulation by all means, but not hostility.

“Therefore with regard to the un-authorized publication of passages from letters of mine it is peculiarly repellent to me that words of mine should have been quoted (some correctly and some incorrectly.) though doubtless unintentionally, in order to contribute to a controversy between persons desirous to breed Arabian horses. On hearing of this I wrote at once to remonstrate with my correspondent, and I am expecting the expression of his regret, which I am certain will be all the greater when he has received a letter I am now sending him setting forth that I have heard direct from you, and the views I am now expressing to you on the subject. As his name had not been given I leave it to him to come forward as he may think fit, and I have no doubt that on learning the facts about your expedition, he will be with me in congratulating you on it.

“As to my remarks in themselves, they were perfectly justified in respect of the absurd report about the new importations on which they were founded, the only one which had reached me, — no one could have read that report without amusement, and in the case of one having knowledge of Arabians, annoyance. The tone of it not only put the whole thing in a ridiculous light, but foreshadowed disappointment in the form of importations that could do no good to the reputation of the breed. But while freely criticising in private, I should have depreciated the publication of adverse views of mine on anyone else’s well meant efforts, however disappointing these might be, for in my position — regarding myself as one of the pioneers of Arab breeding in the West — I should count that as an ungenerous act.

“Speaking generally, I may remark that your own observations fully bear out all that I have ever said about the difficulty of getting at pure bred Arabian horses even on the borders of their native land, and about the risk of the desert. Most certainly such terms as “dangerous”, and even “inaccessible” to travelers, are applicable at the present moment to the Peninsula of Arabia — Bedouin dealers cannot penetrate it but have to go round by Bagdad and the Euphrates, — and from your account the former work [sic: probably “former word” was written, referring to “dangerous”] appears to be not inapplicable to its northern borders and to the neighborhood of Aleppo (emphatically the “coast Town”, but of the desert, not the sea), for it is clear that your having been able to visit those borders and to see there certain Anazeh tribes was through a fortunate combination of circumstances of which you had the energy and pluck to avail yourself, first the nearness of the tribes owing to the summer season, and secondly the efficient protection of a prominent tribesman duly authorized by the Turkish Government to act as an intermediary between it and those tribes which enabled you to go in safely, unhandicapped by an escort.

“Here I must observe, as to the claim of any single individual to be “Sheykh of Sheykhs” over all the Anazeh tribes, that the thing is in itself an impossibility. Imagine that vast wars of scattered tribes, several of them at chronic war with one another, some periodically in arms against the “Dowla”, others absolutely independent, never going near Ottoman territory; imagine these all accepting one chief? Moreover the mention of a camel tax restricts the reference to those Anazeh tribes within reach of Turkish authorities; such a tax is unheard of among the independent tribes. The “Dowla” may bestow what titles it likes on anyone it chooses, but it cannot confer on that person any authority outside its own districts. What it can and does do is from time to time to appoint as its agent a member of one of those tribes whose interests bring them within its grip, giving him the rank of “Bek”, — this as I have stated is no recommendation with any Bedouin (I am misquoted as saying “women”) but it establishes his official status as negotiator for the summer treaty. The present holder of such an official position in the Aleppo district is your friend Hashim Bek, his name correctly written is El Hakim Ibn Mehed (“Hashim” is a mispronounciation), he is a very well known personage, — only last night an Arab lately arrived from Aleppo was talking about him. I take it that by an interpreter’s exaggeration he has been made to claim the lordship over all the Anazeh tribes, instead of over a section of them, a quite sufficiently important position. In the Bagdad district a similar rank is held by Fahad Ibn Haddal, Sheykh of the Ibn Haddal Anazeh — these by the way are at hereditary warfare against the Sebaa group whom you visited. Fahad comes of very distinguished lineage and commands universal respect, but his authority extends only to those Anazeh and other tribes who come within the Bagdad district. Those tribes who need to be within Government boundaries have long been in the habit of making a treaty each year for that season with the Waly, at Aleppo, Damascus, or Bagdad as the case may be, thus securing for themselves free passage to and fro for the time being.

“Not to lengthen my letter unduly, I subjoin notes on the various minor points calling for remark.

“I write to my as yet unnamed correspondent to the same effect as to you. I should like to say to each what I say to the other, but in each case I beg that my letters may be treated as private communications, not that I mind their contents being repeated to friends, — and if need were I would stand in public by all I say in private, but I dislike publicity, expecially controversial, where needless, and here I could see no need whatever for my name to be brought forward in print.

“In conclusion, if the result of the unauthorized publication which has caused me so much annoyance should be not only a friendly correspondence with you, but through that correspondence the promotion of friendly instead of antagonistic rivalry amongst those on both sides of the Atlantic, who desire to preserve the Arabian breed in its purity, I shall cease to regret it. With renewed good wishes, I am

“Yours faithfully, A.W.Blunt[sic]

[Lady Anne often signed herself A.I.N.Blunt. When placed closely together, the “I.N.” could be mistaken for a “W” which apparently happened in this case.]


1. In the report that first reached me about the new importations, an average height was indicated of 15 hands, which would have been suspicious of a cross, as though tallness occurs now and then in the desert where the breed is kept pure, it is as an exception, as at this stud. When we came across it amongst Bedouins otherwise than as exceptional it was evidently the result of crossing; this was expecially the case in one of the Anazeh tribes where at first I was quite taken in by the beauty of the mares as well as their size; the cross does not necessarily show at once except in the increased height.

2. The word “chubby” puzzled me till I discovered that it was an attempt to render the Arabic verb “shabba”, signifying “is” or “would be used at the stud”, which of course does not imply a separate breed but only that in the individual referred to there is no admixture. It is a word often heard among the tribes that frequent the northern borders of the Arabian desert, who own so many horses of doubtful blood. The small percentage you quote of less than 600 of acknowledged pure blood to a presumed total of 6000, more than confirms anything said by me as to the need of caution in making purchases.

3. The Kehilan Heyfi strain is indeed an excellent one, but not superior to others you have.

4. Mr. (not “Sir Wilfred”) Blunt was aware of the death of Faris the Shammar Sheykh, as also of the death of another desert brother of his belonging to one of the Sebaa tribes.

5. As to Angora goats, what passed between Mr. Blunt and Mr. and Mrs. Sewell I do not exactly know, but I do know that amongst our acquaintance the circumstances that an exchange of goats for horses has been suggested, — I think by your representative — became a source of great amusement, for here no monetary value could make any sort of goat appear to be an appropriate equivalent for Arabian or other horses.

6. I do not know whence came the legend that “the Blunts cut communication with Mr. Davenport.” Any cutting of communication originated with you, who, after sending letters and cablegrams became suddenly silent, we now know why.

7. There has always existed a prohibition to export horses from Turkish territory, but of late I believe it has been made more stringent, and the permission given to you must have been due to great judgment and skill on the part of the American Ambassador. I doubt if at the present time any other diplomat would have had a like success.



“I have not yet seen the book you mention by Colonel Borden. He is a first rate judge of a horse, so it will be a great pity if, as you forecast, his work should turn out [not?] to be a good advertisement for all of us.

Davenport to Blunt

Morris Plains, N.J.,U.S.A.

20th February, 1907

Lady Anne Blunt,

Crabbet Arabian Stud

Crabbet Park

Three Bridges Sussex, Eng.

Your Ladyship: –

“Your very esteemed letter from Cairo came and threw an entirely new light again upon matters, only going to show that a misunderstanding on both sides had made us seem ridiculous in each other’s eyes.

“When Colonel quoted you against me, I could not believe that it was true, of course your letter explains matters, as you must have thought, from his explanation of my importation, that I was a very green fellow to have gone to the Desert and reported bringing out a new breed of Arab horses called “Chubby.” It was explained to me thoroughly by the Anezeh, that it simply meant, as you say: This, or that, which the Anezeh would breed from.

“Before going further I wish to apologize for buying one of your Seglawieh Jedranieh fillies through an agent, as I wanted some of your Seglawis Jedran blood very badly, to see how it compared, and taking it, that if the quotations Colonel Borden had made. “That you had cut me socially,” were true, I was afraid that possible you would not wish to sell me a horse. I have just seen the filly, [*Markisa] she arrived today on the steamer, a filly with bald face and four white feet [illegible] and a very beautiful little filly considering the cheap price.

“I was very, very sorry, that I was compelled to enter into this detestable warfare that has been raging between the Arab horse breeders of America, and when Mr. Sewell came to my house and wanted to arrange a fake exhibition, I told him that it would eventually kill the Arab horse if it was not stopped. Three years ago, when he had published an Article in all the daily papers at great length, that he had the only pure Arab blood in the Civilized World. I, at that time, told his people that was detrimental to the Arab horse. He, in that article, said that the Blunts were breeding a few, but they were ponies, none of the big horses; he also published that the Blunts sent mares annually to the Russian Gov’t. to breed to his stallions — this, of course, I knew was untrue, and again appealed to them.

“My interest in the Arab horse — as you will see by my book, which I will send you immediately it is published — dates from as early a time as any enthusiast; and your conclusion that my success was due to a combination of circumstances, is exactly right. Had I not asked a question in Aleppo of a Bedouin with big white chalky teeth, remembering what you had written about such a man, saying it was the first Anazeh man you ever saw, had I not remembered that, and asked the question, I would have been ignorant of meeting the Anazeh; but the next day would have started on to Deyr, and likely have made a failure, which did turn out a success.

“I would have been very happy to have had you see my Maneghi Sbeyel stallion, a brown horse from the Gomussa; also a bay two year old colt bred by the Gomussa of the Sebaa Anazeh. Like yourself, I found the tall Arab horses only as exceptions. I am strongly in accord with the belief of the Bedouins, that the 14 hands two or three inch horses are the best types. In my 27 horses and mares, I think I brought five that stand 15 hands high, or nearly so. Found the Hamdani Simris the scarcest in the Desert, and I could not have got a single mare, had it not been that Akmut Haffez owned one, a four year old, which he had recently got from the Shammar.

“I am enclosing you a copy of a letter I have just received from Ammen Zaytoun, a Broosh [Druse?], a very charming young man from the American Consulate at Beyrout, sent with us by order of the President.

“I do not think that you have exactly understood me yet, about Hasim Bek. I don’t mean that he was the one Ruling Sheykh of all the Desert tribes, being that he is the present Sheykh of the Anazeh, possibly of the biggest branch of the Fedaan, as we met many other Sheykhs of the smaller tribes; but I believe that the Government of Aleppo, in an interview, the details of which I am publishing in my book, giving me this Sheykh’s history, is correct. He is paid Twenty pounds a month by the Sultan to accept the title of Bey; and as the Governor, also Akmut Haffez, and Ameen, the interpreter, and everybody else, explained it to me, that being the Sheykh of supreme power in war, he was called by the other tribes, Sheykh of Sheykhs, as in matters of great importance all other Sheykhs — not hostile — obey his commands. He told me that he had been reigning as Sheykh of the Anazeh since he was twelve years old, and he is possibly now, 30 or 35.

“Of recent years the Turkish Government have persuaded the Anazeh — through Akmut Haffez — in Aleppo, to pay a Camel Tax, but such tax is taken on the Anazeh’s own count, and is collected annually through Akmut Haffez. The Governor of Aleppo told me, which I am also publishing, in my interview with him, that this tax amounts to about 10,000 annually (2,500 pounds from the Anazeh, 10,000 pounds from all tribes). I don’t believe that I was misled, or has [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 honour, and you can judge better of how I must have suffered in the Valley of the Euphrates from the heat in August, than most anyone I can think of.

“If my sales of horses are what they now seem to promise, this coming Spring I may be able to handle a number of your fillies and young stallions, as from the few Arab horses I have sold I have received much higher prices than you ask.

“I wish, before closing, to ask your permission to use your letter in my book, with the dignity it commands, as it is so friendly and eliminates any suspicion of further entanglement, and although you rightly objected in your letter to its being used in any further controversy, still using it in my book is altogether a different matter. I am publishing several photo’s of your horses and mares, many of which were taken by my cousin on his visit to your farm, and should deem it also a great favor to have your photograph, with Mr. Blunt’s, to publish also. The President has given me permission to use the letter he had written securing the Irade, together with his photo, and I have the photo’s of horses imported in 1845 by the late A. Keene Richards.

“May I kindly hear from you without delay relative to using your letter, as my book will very shortly be placed in the Publisher’s hands.

“Colonel Borden has not been to see me, he has written to a friend to write to another friend to suggest a meeting; that you have strongly recommended it. The Colonel is what we would call in regards to a Cayhuse — “Skittish.” However it is only a question of time when we all will be in One Arab Family.

“I am sending you my Catalogue under separate cover.

“Believe me. Your Ladyship’s servent

Blunt to Davenport

Sheykh Obeyd Garden

May 8, 1907

Crabbet Arabian Stud

Crabbet Park

Three Bridges Sussex

Dear Sir:

“I am shocked not to have thanked you sooner for a second interesting letter, dated Feb. 20, but some business which has kept me in Egypt has also hindered writing. Thank you also for the Stud Lists which I am much flattered to find modelled on the original Crabbet Arabian one. I think them extremely well got up in every way, paper, print, introduction and expecially illustrations which add an extra charm. In that respect I hope to follow your lead as I have long wished to illustrate my own Stud List, only I have been waiting till I could myself take photographs, and I have just begun. Of your portraits of horses I prefer “Haleb.”

“From your accounts and from other information I quite understand the immense change in the relations of the Ottoman Government with all the tribes it can get at, which has been brought about by H.I.M. the Sultan’s extraordinary sagacity, a benefit doubtless to the Empire. But I cannot help regretting it as it is evidently a principal cause, if not the sole cause of the greatly diminished percentage of purebred horses. This could not be otherwise, as deterioration is the inevitable result on nomads of contact with the governing posers of civilisation, and I have no doubt that 10 years hence there will be still fewer horses that [illegible]. So the good work of breeding pure Arabians elsewhere than in Northern Arabia becomes the more important.

“I am glad you bought Markisa and that you got her cheap as I do not think that the exceptional circumstances which allowed low prices are likely to recur. I shall not know till I get home exactly what there will [be] for sale there; here I have nothing I can part with except two mares at 200 gs each. They are of very particularly valuable and rare strains from the Abbas Pasha collection, but I shall sell them when their foals of this year are weaned as they are well represented. Both are believed to be in foal to the stallion “Jamil”, whose picture I sent you with a few other stud photographs including those of the two mares. There [These?] are my first photographic efforts; I hope to be better later on. I would with pleasure add my own portrait on a mare but the only existing one was taken by a visitor and I have not a copy. You ought however to be even more interested by the portrait of my Stud Manager at this place, as he is of the far-famed horse breeding tribe of Muteyr — to the S.E. of Nejd — the drawn sword does not show on the blue sky. I ought to have managed a dark background.

“There are several subjects referred to in [illegible] letter which might be talked over if I ever have the pleasure of meeting you, but writing takes too much time. Some day you may be coming to England, and then you must pay me a visit.

“I expect to be there by the end of the month; my address will be care of Mr. Arthur Caffin as I shall be first moving about

“Yours faithfully, Annebel Blunt

“P.S. — Perhaps you will tell me the proper mode of address in case the ordinary British formula of “Esquire” is not welcome, or perhaps not even admitted, in America?


Commentary on these three letters will appear next month’s column by Charles and Jeanne Craver.

Line-Breeding And In-Breeding

by BEN HUR (Western Horseman May/Jun’45)

[Ed. Note: Today Ibrahim is accepted as a Desert-Bred stallion. See footnote (1) below]

Aarah No. 1184, chestnut Arabian mare owned by Ben Hur Farms, and her filly foal, Aarafa No. 2870, by Champion Raffles. She and all in her pedigree, including the fourth generation, have the blood of the tap-root stallion, Zobeyni — a striking example of line-breeding.

What kind of a stallion would you select to mate to your mares to improve the quality of the foal? Would your first consideration be that the stallion and mares be unrelated? Or would you select the best stallion available, with the best breeding (pedigree) regardless of his relationship to the mares?

Do you study the pedigrees of prospective sires? Do you know their breeding, and do you have the pedigree of your mares? Marked improvement in your foals can be made regardless of the kind of mares you have. You may have Pintos, Palominos, Quarter Horses, Morgans, Albinos, Arabians or American Saddle horses or just plain Stock Horses. By selecting the right kind of stallion you can make improvements each generation. The better the breeding of your mares, the more nearly pure in blood, the greater improvement in the foals.

Line-breeding and in-breeding are the old and time-proven methods by which breed improvement has been made in the past. This is true in cattle, horses, sheep, poultry, dogs. All our present day breeds are the result of close line-breeding and often, intense in-breeding. There is no mystery where our finest horse, cattle, sheep and dogs came from. A study of their pedigrees will reveal the facts. Owners of pedigreed animals are well aware of the importance of line-breeding and in-breeding. However, you, too, with grade mares may, by a definite breeding program and the proper selection of a stallion, employ the same methods of improvement in the foals.

Let us study the breeding of Arabians. They are pure in blood and their pedigrees extend back many generations. Pedigrees of Thoroughbreds, Morgans, American Saddle horses, as well as Arabians, all reveal the same fact, i.e., that there have been certain outstanding males every so often that have dominated and influenced all succeeding generations. The male exerts a far greater influence in breed improvement than the female, due solely to the numerical supremacy of off-spring. A mare may have twenty foals in a lifetime, but a stallion may get fifty or one hundred foals a year for ten to twenty years.

Zobeyni, famous Arabian stallion more than 100 years ago, furnishes an interesting study. Pedigrees of Arabians back five or six generations seldom show his name. But his blood is the greatest influence today among Arabians in England, the United States, Egypt, Australia, South America or whenever there are pure Arabians. It is more difficult to find Arabians without his blood, than with it. Zobeyni was a grey Seglawi Jedran stallion of the strain of Ibn Sbeyni of the Mehed tribe of the Fedaan Anazeh Bedouins, bred in Arabia and imported to Egypt early in the 19th century where he became enormously important in the world-famous stud of Abbas Pacha I. He is the founder of the male line that has been most successful throughout the world the past century. His great grandson, Mesaoud, and great, great grandson, Skowronek(1), are each in turn contributing as much or more than their illustrious ancestors to the success of Arabians in the 20th century.

Skowronek, bred in Poland, was later used as leading stallion at Lady Wentworth’s Crabbet Stud in England, from where his blood has gone to all parts of the world where Arabians are bred.

Mesaoud, grandson of the tap-root stallion, Zobeyni. Bred in Egypt, he was taken to England, then to Russia.

Arab tribes in the desert followed the custom of giving the strain and family name of the mare to the foal, rather than the name of the sire. The custom, followed in this country for a number of years, led to confusion and misunderstanding. The foal, given the strain name of its dam, might be, and in nearly every instance was, from a number of other strains and with many more related bloodlines on the male side than the female. As a result of this confusion, The Arabian Horse Club of America several years ago discontinued the practice of giving strain names to Arabians registered with them.

A study of the pedigrees with this article illustrates the fallacy of blindly following and giving breeding value to the strain name of the dam. Champion Raffles, for example, has been referred to as Kehilan for four generations back. Had the custom been followed of giving the strain name of the sire to the foal it will be readily seen that Raffles would be a Seglawi Jedran, from his illustrious male line — Skowronek, Ibrahim, Heijer, Mahruss, Wazir and Zobeyni.

Champion Raffles, owned by Roger Selby, Portsmouth, Ohio, bred by Lady Wentworth in England. As son and grandson of Skowronek, he is an example of successful in-breeding and line-breeding from the Zobeyni line.

Aaraf, foaled in 1943, sired by *Raffles, out of Aarah. Note resemblance to Mesaoud, who appears nine times in pedigree.

To the student of pedigrees and breeding it will be apparent that there is vastly more involved than a custom in this instance. These pedigrees aptly illustrate the vastly greater importance and influence of the male line in most pedigrees. Raffles goes back to Zobeyni not once but twelve times, out of thirty-two ancestors in the sixth generation. Rose of Sharon, the great grand-dam of Raffles in the sixth generation, whose strain or family name of Kehilan has been arbitrarily given by those who still follow this custom, appears in his pedigree but once. We leave it to the reader to decide whether the male Zobeyni (Seglawi) line or the female Rose of Sharon (Kehilan) blood and influence is the stronger.

The questionable value placed on strain and family names of the dam is shown in the pedigree of Raffles in that there are seven different strain names out of thirty-two names in the sixth generation and nine names of unknown strain names.

Abu Zeyd, son of Mesaoud, was foaled in England, imported to United States in 1904 by Homer Davenport.

The pedigree of the Arabian mare, Aarah, pictured with this article, shows that she is bred along the same lines as Raffles, in fact, they are very much in line. Aarah, like Raffles, would be Kehilan from her dam’s side, but take time to count — 18 of her 32 ancestors in the sixth generation are sons and daughters of grandsons and daughters of the famous Zobeyni, a Seglawi. Mesaoud, illustrious great grandson of Zobeyni, and also a Seglawi through his dam, appears eight times in the pedigree of Aarah. Is there reason then for similarity of appearance of Aarah and Mesaoud?

Aaraf and Aarafa, out of Aarah and by Raffles, follow to a marked degree the type and markings of Mesaoud. The pedigree of Raffles shows Mesaoud twice which added to that of Aarah makes Mesaoud appear ten times in the pedigrees of Aaraf and Aarafa and numerical superiority is the answer. We must not assume that success in breeding is a mathematical problem of addition and multiplication. Breeders have universally found it safe to follow the rule of eliminating from the pedigree the undesirable and animals of doubtful value and to multiply as often as possible the highly desirable animals. The blood of Zobeyni, for example, appears in 12 out of 16 ancestors of Aarah in the fifth generation and Zobeyni is a common ancestor in eight out of eight ancestors of Aarah in the fifth generation and Zobeyni is a common ancestor in eight out of eight ancestors in the fourth generation, yet without direct, closeup in-breeding.

What is in-breeding? The commonly accepted definition is that of mating dam to son, as in the case of Rifala, daughter of Skowronek, back to Skowronek, or sire bred to daughter, the two most commonly practiced. There may be several other close variations of in-breeding, brother and sister, half-brother and sister, dam to grandson, sire to granddaughter.

In-breeding has been found to be most successful where there has been a previous successful outcross. Ibrahim, sire of Skowronek, it will be noted, is an example of the closest kind of line-breeding in that in the fourth generation Wazir, sired by Zobeyni, appears three times and his full sister Horra, once, mated to a grandson of Zobeyni. Eleven of 14 of Ibrahim’s ancestors in the first four generations are close up in the blood of Zobeyni. Ibrahim, taken to Poland from Egypt, and out-crossed on the Polish Arabian mare, Yaskoulka, not directly related, produced Skowronek, whose blood is found in Arabians around the world today. The blood of Skowronek was intensified in his get, Raffles, when he was bred to his daughter, Rifala, thus giving Raffles three-fourths of the blood of Skowronek, combined with the blood of Mesaoud of the same line of breeding.

The predominate blood of a female line is harder to find among pedigrees of horses of live stock, not because there are not highly desirable females but in the case of horses, because of the limit placed on reproduction in the mare as compared to the stallion.

*Raffles No 952

Grey Arabian Stallion —


Wazir * s


BF Saouda w



B Jamila*

Ghazieh s


Aziz * d

a Seg-Jed*

Horra * s

La Fitte*

Wazir *


M Kebira k















O Maciuk


Kreolka k



Mahruss * w

Heijer *

B Jamila s


a Seg-Jed

La Fitte*

Makbula * k











Mesaoud * s


Sobha * h


Ahmar a


Bozra s


Aziz * d


Yemameh s


Merzuk * k


R Sharon k

    * Asterisk after the name denotes those with the ancient, tap-root, desert-bred stallion, Zobeyni, as an ancestor, founder of the male line that has been most successful in England and the U.S. the past century.

    The small lettes after the names in the sixth generation denote the family strain names, k — Kehilan; s — Seglawi; a — Abeyan; b — Sh. Sba; d–D. Shahwan; h — Hamdani; w — W. Hursan.

    The capital letters before certain names are, R — Rose; M — Makbula; O — Obejan; B — Bint; F — Faras. ……


AARAH No. 1184 Chestnut Arabian Mare —

Mesaoud * s


Sobha * h






I Mahruss * s


R Sharon k


Mesaoud * s


Ridaa * k



Mesaoud * s


B Helwa * s


Hadban h

R Sharon

Rodania k


Sottam n

I Sherara

Sheara k


Aziz * d

B Helwa*

Helwa * s


Ibn Nura * d


El Argaa k

I Yashmak*

Shahwan * d


Yemama k


I Mahruss * s


R Sharon k


Mesaoud * s


Ridaa * k



Aziz * d


Yemameh s

Abu Zeyd*

Azrek s

R Diamond

R Jericho k


I Mahruss * s


R Sharon k


Rejeb * k

Narda II *

Narghileh * k

    * Asterisk after the name denotes those with the ancient, tap-root, desert-bred stallion, Zobeyni, as an ancestor, founder of the male line that has been most successful in England and the U.S. the past century.

    The small letters after the names in the sixth generation denote the family strain names: k — Kehilan; s — Seglawi; d — D Shahwan; h — Hamdani; a — Abeyan; n — D Nejib; h — H Enzeki.

    Capital letters before names denote R – Rose; I — Ibn; B — Bint.

The Arabian mare Rodania, celebrated mare of the desert, captured by the Gomussa tribe, sold to the Blunts, and taken to their Crabbet stud, England, in 1881, is the most striking example of the female influence. Note her daughters in these pedigrees and the number of times they appear — Rose of Sharon, Rose of Jericho, and her granddaughters Rose Diamond and Ridaa, and grandsons, Rijm, Rodan and Rejeb. The pedigrees of Raffles and Aarah in connection with this articles illustrate the concentration of blood of a male and female line of successful line-breeding and the more controversial in-breeding. You may apply the practical application of these results in breeding to your own horses, no matter what breed or type.

(1) Today Ibrahim is accepted as a desert-bred stallion. For more information see:



Potocki, Count Joseph (son of Skowronek’s breeder) “Skowronek’s Pedigree and the Antoniny Stud” The Arabian Horse News, Feb. ’58.




See also:

Skowronek — Magic Progenitor

Carlton Cummings and his Skyline Trust Arabians

Rick Synowski Copyright 1995
Used by permission of Rick Synowski
from Arabian Visions Mar/Apr 1995

Carleton Cummings holding the weanlings Antezeyn Skowronek and Abu Farwa’s Rawia, both by Abu Farwa. Rawia, called by Cummings “the Queen of Diamonds” for her three diamond star, strip and snip, carried two generations of children to show ring victories, the last at age 17 when she was named champion mare of the Pacific National Exposition in Vancouver, B.C., shown by an eight-year-old boy.

Like many kids looking for their first Arabian horse in the 1950’s and early 1960’s — kids perhaps from less than affluent families and looking to make their dreams of owning an Arabian horse come true — I first heard of Carleton Cummings after reading about his Skyline Trust Arabians. An article by H. H. Reese stated that Cummings had “developed his Arabian horse breeding program with the purpose of assisting boys and girls who like horses to secure good specimens of the breed on a partnership basis.” Reese’s article described Cummings’s “lend lease” program whereby youngsters could lease a mare, breed her and then, after the birth of the foal, return either the mare or the foal. To an imaginative 11-year-old, this sounded like just the ticket. I wrote a letter to Cummings. Having read H. H. Reese’s Kellogg Arabians a hundred times, I had pictured in my mind’s eye the Arabian horse I wanted to own. I described this horse to Cummings in the first letter. Cummings replied with a post card. He stated he had about 2500 letters on his desk from youngsters across the country. If I was still interested, I was to write him again. I wrote Cummings that very day and so began a correspondence of some two years which culminated in buying half interest in a weanling colt, Skowronek’s Antez, with my own savings in 1962. Cummings wrote the following spring that “few breeders ever get colts of this quality and even fewer ever offer them for sale.” Nevertheless, he was giving me the opportunity to buy out his interest in the now yearling colt. I took Cummings up on his offer. It was a purchase I was never to regret. Within a few weeks Cummings died of a heart attack.

Skowronek’s Antez (Antzeyn Skowronek x Raseynette).
The author’s first Arabian and a wonderful companion for 28 years.
He also proved a fine sire.

Cummings’s background outside the sphere of Arabian horses was in music. He had been an operatic tenor of some notoriety in the east. He later turned to teaching as professor of music at Wake Forest College and later as the head of the music department at the University of Idaho. Cummings’s wife, Theresa, had been a drama major in college where they met. After their marriage and graduation, they traveled to Army posts doing music and drama presentations during World War I.

Cummings’s background in music and theatre suited a personality that tended toward the theatrical, and a soul that was flamed by the same qualities in Arabian horses. His love for the dramatic carried over to the horses he purchased and bred and the ways he talked about them. However, his flowery descriptions were no means an exaggeration of the splendid group of horses he assembled.

His initial purchase in 1945 was the four-year-old Kellogg-bred Direyn (*Raseyn x Ferdirah). Cummings rode in a boxcar with Direyn the entire trip from Pomona, California to Moscow, Idaho. Cummings was to become part of “the Reese circle of breeders.” Reese, having left the Kellogg Ranch as manager by then, and with a ranch of his own, continued in an influential role in the early Arabian horse community. Cummings’s later purchases were from Reese himself, from that circle of cooperative breeders like the McKenna brothers, and from the Kellogg Ranch. Cummings’s notable purchase outside this circle was Rifala’s Lami (Geym x Maatiga, by Image) from Roger Selby in 1954. She was to become one of his most influential foundation mares.

Rifala’s Lami (Geym x Maatiga, by Image).
Roger Selby wrote Cummings that she was as good a filly as he had ever bred.

In 1949, Cummings purchased the weanling Abu Farwa son Antezeyn Skowronek (x Sharifa, by Antez out of Ferdith, by Ferseyn). He became Cummings’s head sire. His progeny earned him a reputation as the third ranking son of Abu Farwa in the list of leading sires of show champions — with many fewer foals on the ground than the first two ranking Abu Farwa sons. Antezeyn Skowronek ranked first of the Abu Farwa sons on another of Gladys Brown Edwards’s lists: Abu Farwa sons whose own sons had sired show champions. Cummings himself claimed that for a three year period Antezeyn Skowronek had sired more ribbon winners than any sire of any breed. This was entirely possible since his progeny were in the hands of an army of horse-crazy, show-happy kids who would take their Skyline charges to every local show, weekend after weekend, entering dozens of classes in every division from halter to three-gaited to gymkhana events — and winning. These Antezeyn Skowronek offspring were notable not just for their quality and sheer beauty. And their successes were not limited to the competition of local shows. In 1958, the Pauley girls took their young Antezeyn Skowronek daughter, Khatum Tamarette, on the road, first to Estes Park, Colorado, to take 1959 U.S.Top Ten Mare; then to Yakima, Washington, to win Pacific Northwest Champion mare; and finally to Calgary to win a Top Ten at halter. These victories, which Cummings later described as no small feat of endurance for a young mare, earned her the Legion of Merit, one of the first mares to earn this award.

Antezeyn Skowronek, Skyline Trust head sire.

Cummings’s band of foundation mares numbered at 16. He selected these mares to complement Antezeyn Skowronek, but each was chosen on her own merits. Four of his mares were daughters of Ferseyn, taking Reese’s lead to cross Ferseyn daughters with Abu Farwa, and Abu Farwa daughters with Ferseyn, an idea which echoed Lady Wentworth’s earlier cross of Skowronek and Blunt lines. Cummings purchased the Farnasa daughter Anazeh’s Nijm from the Kellogg Ranch, in partnership with one of his protegées, Mary Hall. Anazeh’s Nijm was bred to Ferseyn prior to shipping her home. The resulting foal was the chestnut colt Ferseyn’s Rasim, whom Cummings traded Mary for full interest for his interest in the mare. Ferseyn’s Rasim became Cummings’s junior sire and proved himself an excellent cross on Antezeyn Skowronek daughters as well as on Skyline foundation mares. Two of Cummings’s foundation mares were daughters of the Antez son Gezan, a popular southern California sire of the early 1950’s. Antezeyn Skowronek himself was a grandson of Antez, a Kellogg sire of 100% Davenport breeding who ended an international career as a successful sire himself at the Reese ranch. The Davenport influence was an important presence in the Cummings breeding program.

Cummings was a somewhat controversial figure and outside his band of young, loyal protegées, he was not always well liked. He did not seem to care, and used to say “It doesn’t matter what people say as long as they keep talking about you.” This advice must have harkened back to the days when he performed on stage. Cummings was outspoken and did not mind stating his opinions while sitting in the stands at a horse show. If sitting on the same side of the arena as Cummings, everyone got to hear his opinions, which sometimes referred to the horses in the ring, whether they wanted to hear them or not. It was a little embarrassing for the youngster such as I who was sitting at his side. Cummings also made enemies of a few breeders who had horses for sale at fancy prices. Cummings’s kids sometimes beat these breeders in the show ring with horses leased from Cummings or sold by Cummings at bargain basement prices. And the parents of competing kids must have sitting in the stands bored stiff watching the Skyline horses entering, and often winning, class after class.

Wafa El Shammar (Cavalier x Shama, by Abu Farwa). When Cummings died everyone wanted this mare. Seven people lay claim to her. Wafa El Shammar produced a half-dozen champions. Five of her offspring produced national champions or top ten winners in halter and performance.

Abu’s Rissletta (Abu Farwa x Alleyna, by Alla Amarward), bred by and purchased from H.H.Reese. The rider is a young Bruce Clark, later well known as co-owner of Bru-Mar-Ba Stud. An important mare at that stud was Skyline-bred Rasim’s Ghazayat. Abu’s Rissletta was later purchased and shown by another youngster, Joyce Stockdale, who now with husband Ron Paelek owns Vantage Point Farm. When not carrying youngsters in the show ring, Abu’s Rissletta was having foals, including the important Risseyn for Berry’s Skyline Arabians in Iowa. Risseyn was trained and shown by daughter Lyn, now Lyn Freel of Crystal Castle Arabians.

Nadir (Gezan x Bint Sedjur). Maternal half-sister to Bint Sahara. Nadir produced Canadian Top Ten stallion Raseyn Gezan by Antezeyn Skowronek. Raseyn Gezan was leading sire of champions in Canada for years.

Cummings was not in the habit of getting things down on paper and sometimes made agreements or promises he did not remember. After his death, his daughter inherited his estate, which included the horses. I told her Cummings had promised Wafa El Shammar to me to breed to my colt. His daughter told me six other people had written to tell her Cummings had promised this mare to them. (I did get Wafa El Shammar, who became my foundation mare.)

Despite these discrepancies, Cummings was a real horseman and a genius as a breeder. The horses he selected and bred from were outstanding for their “tangible as well as intangible qualities.” Most of his horses were mounts and companions for youngsters. Few of the horses were ever trained or shown by professionals, but were remarkably successful nevertheless. As breeding horses, they were notable for their ability to consistently produce first rate stock. Cummings’s advertising slogan “Home of beautiful heads and great performance horses” was an accurate description of the Skyline Arabians, as was another of his slogans, “bred for and born with spectacular action.” Cummings admired the Crabbet-bred Naseem for his exceptional beauty above all other ancestor horses, and the Crabbet-bred *Berk for his spectacular action. He used to brag about the number of crosses his horses had to those icons of Arabian horse breeding. Cummings also admired *Raffles. He used to say he liked a “touch of *Raffles for beauty” in his horses. His statement no doubt reflected his delight with the foals of Rifala’s Lami, especially the Antezeyn Skowronek son Rifala’s Naseem. Cummings described Rifala’s Naseem as a “peacock of horses” and “well worth traveling 10,000 miles to see him.” From his pedigrees-in-a-name (another of Cummings’s idiosyncrasies) his pride in these particular ancestors of Rifala’s Naseem is obvious.

Perhaps most important of all, Cummings provided an opportunity for kids to have their dreams come true — not just to own an Arabian horse, but to own a good one. Cummings stressed hard work and responsibility to these youngsters, but his often heard advice was “to dream big.”

See also:

Antezeyn Skowronek

(Ad recreated from the one appearing with 1995 Skyline Trust article)


SILVER FELICITÉ 1993 fily (Jericho Cortez x Silver Joi)

Carlton Cummings would have raved about this filly and he would have recognized his own breeding in her — 4 crosses to Antezeyn Skowronek and tracing to 6 of his Skyline foundation mares. He too would have commented on her 6 crosses to NASEEM whose influence bred down in spades. We are honored to have bred and to own such a filly to carry forward the Skyline type and bloodlines into the 21st century.

200 SE Uglow #2                                     
Dallas, OR 97338                                     
(503) 623-6726  
For more information on CMK Arabian horses we carry the CMK HERITAGE CATALOGUES, vols. I, II, & III @ $10, each.

In Memoriam: Jericho Cortez 48007 (January 27, 1968 – March 8, 1995) One of the great Skyline stallions is gone.

(Ad recreated from the one appearing with 1995 Skyline Trust article)

Having owned Antezeyn Skowronek…

Robert Bruce photo, age 28

…there really isn’t much more one can say…

…except belatedly to thank his breeder, E.J.Boyer (and the guiding spirit H.H.Reese), his long-time owner, Carlton Cummings, who gave him opportunity with those brilliant mares in the Skyline program; the director of his later career, Rick Synowski; and the Illings of Twin Brook Farm who entrusted the old horse to us in Maryland.

Antezeyn left us just one representative, his lovely feminine daughter ENCHANTED GOLD, from the Lewisfield mare MOSTLY MAGIC. See the Skyline descendants’ photo feature for ENCHANTED and two of her offspring, CROWN OF GOLD by GALAN, making a good start as a sire at Hill House Arabians in Lincoln CA, and our own filly GOLD AND SPICES by ABU ZANZABAR. Both these youngsters are linebred Abu Farwa and CROWN traces in 50% of his pedigree to the classic Reese blend of Abu Farwa with ANTEZ.

MAGIC GOLD (Zadaran x Enchanted Gold) is one of the promising young geldings we currently offer for sale; he is rising four, has been ground worked and is ready to start.

Five CMK stallions at stud (shipped semen available; filly consideration on the Sweepstakes sires).

Neziah+ 85494 15 hh br 1972 (Galah x Nalysa by Ayf) book closed

Cantador 273930 15 hh ch 1983 (Kimfa x Auralu by Aurab)

*Seffer 318071 15 hh ch 1983 (Prince Saraph x Sa’lilah by Silver Flame) Sweepstakes

Najih 337363 15:2 hh br 1985 (Ben Rabba ++/ x Narah bint Neziah) Sweepstakes

Zadaran 393353 14:2 hh b 1987 (Aurtal x Razya by Zadir)

Abu Zanzabar 437396 15 hh ch 1989 (Abu Malacar x Zanobiyah by Brendan)

Call or write for pedigrees and our stallion video, or come visit when things are a bit drier.

Michael, Ann and Lydia Bowling; Claire Bowen Trommershausen

The New Albion Stud   Crabbet-Maynesboro-Kellogg Preservation Breeding 24920 Road 96 Davis, CA 95616 (916)756-3911*   *The above area code has been changed, and the number is now (530)756-3911

Indian Magic: A Master Breeder’s Masterpiece?

© R.J. Cadranell II from The CMK Record VIII/2 Fall 1989
used by permission of RJ Cadranell

Indian Magic

INDIAN MAGIC at age 26, with his long-time handler Fred Rice, in a Parade of Progeny and Personalities at the 1970 British Nationals. Note that one of the judges seated at left, the late Lady Anne Lytton, appears to be unable to keep her eyes off “the prince of horses.” Photo by Photonews, © Alexander Heriot & Co.

In an article reprinted in the Arabiana anthology, Lady Anne Lytton wrote: “Indian Magic was, I think, Lady Wentworth’s masterpiece…” Bred at Crabbet in 1944, INDIAN MAGIC became a legend in his own time. He was one of the most famous Arabians in England in the post war era, and an important sire for both Lady Wentworth and later Cecil Covey when he inherited the Crabbet Stud. INDIAN MAGIC was the last horse Cecil Covey retained when external influences forced him to give up the rest of the Crabbet Stud.

Pedigree of INDIAN MAGIC
gr s 1944
Raktha Naseem Skowronek
Nasra (Daoud x Nefisa)
Razina Rasim
Riyala (*Astraled x Ridaa)
Indian Crown Raseem Rasim
Rim (*Astraled x Ridaa)
Nisreen Nureddin II

Pedigree extended to Crabbet Foundation Animals:

  • NASRA by DAOUD out of NEFISA
  • *Nureddin II by RIJM out of NARGHILEH

Though no breeder can predict exactly where his or her great successes will come, INDIAN MAGIC did not happen by chance. Lady Wentworth did not buy an Arabian mare about which she knew little or nothing, take her to the nearest or most heavily advertised or most expensive champion she could find, and expect to produce a world beater. Rather, INDIAN MAGIC represented twenty-four years of Lady Wentworth’s own breeding, on top of a prior forty years of watching his ancestors breed for her parents. INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree shows eight generations of Arabian horses owned by the Crabbet Stud. With the exception of Skowronek’s antecedents and the possible exception of FEYSUL’s dam, EL ARGAA, Lady Wentworth knew first hand every single animal in INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree as far back as his great-great-great-grandparents, as she or her parents owned them all.

In type as well as pedigree, INDIAN MAGIC represented the combination of Skowronek and *Nureddin II of which Mrs. Archer has written as a key to much of later Wentworth breeding. Miss Ott, writing in an article reprinted in Arabiana, characterized some of the animals representing this combination as being “a Nureddin Type with Skowronek details.”

Skowronek contributed a prettier head, arched neck, broad and level croup, high set and carried tail, and a certain ethereal beauty combined with good stout bone. *Nureddin II provided extra size, a loftier, more upright carriage, higher withers, better shoulders, and a lankier frame. Lady Wentworth began combining the two of them as soon as she had a *Nureddin daughter old enough to breed to Skowronek, but it was some years before any of the Skowronek daughters went to *Nureddin. Instead, Crabbet’s first foals from Skowronek daughters were inbred to Skowronek: *Raffles (Skowronek x *Rifala, Wright’s coefficient of inbreeding 25%) and *ROSE OF FRANCE (*Raswan x Jalila, inbred to Skowronek at 12.5%). (A third Skowronek daughter, SHELIFA, produced in the same year an Anglo-Arab colt named BLACK TOM, by CHEVALIER.) *Nureddin II later had a chance to sire his own “Raffles” when Lady Wentworth bred him to his daughter RISHNA, producing the filly RIFWA.

Most of Lady Wentworth’s more successful combinations of the two stallions came from breeding Skowronek-line sires to *Nureddin-line dams. This perhaps illustrates Carl Raswan’s oft-repeated tenet that the dam gives to her offspring size and frame, while the sire contributes muscling and detail. Anyone can name myriad exceptions to this rule, but animals like INDIAN MAGIC, GREY ROYAL, and *SERAFIX adhere to it.

Raktha (Naseem x Razina) photo from the Newbuildings collection.

The pedigree of INDIAN MAGIC’s sire RAKTHA is almost a mirror image of the pedigree of his dam INDIAN CROWN, but where one has Skowronek, the other has *Nureddin II. In the cases of both Skowronek and *Nureddin, the vessels carrying their blood to INDIAN MAGIC were NASRA foals. Lady Wentworth apparently recognized at an early point that of all the mares she had from her parents, NASRA would become one of the cornerstones of her breeding. NASRA’s *Nureddin II daughter NISREEN became the dam of the “Indian” family; her Skowronek son NASEEM was an important sire; her daughter NASHISHA was to produce SHARIMA, of great importance to post-war Crabbet breeding; while her son NAZIRI was perhaps Lady Wentworth’s favorite of all the Skowronek colts.

In INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree, both of the NASRA foals were crossed with horses “strain bred” to RIDAA before the final doubling to NASRA to produce INDIAN MAGIC. RAZINA and RASEEM were full siblings in blood, the result of Lady Wentworth’s breeding RASIM to mares that were three-quarter sisters to his own dam. RASEEM’s and RAZINA’s coefficient of inbreeding was 10.57%. (Lady Wentworth had also tried breeding RASIM back to his dam RISALA, but no foal resulted, apparently.) The cross of RASIM on RIM and RIYALA concentrated the blood of MESAOUD and RIDAA, while FEYSUL and QUEEN OF SHEBA functioned as outcrosses.

Quite different factions have maligned one or the other of the latter Crabbet foundation animals. Criticizing FEYSUL denigrates the judgment of Lady Anne Blunt, who used him at stud both in Egypt and in England. His foals RASIM, KARINA, IBN YASHMAK, and RAS EL HADD had a flair not seen in other lines of Crabbet breeding, though after his first few foal crops in England FEYSUL was used rather sparingly.

QUEEN OF SHEBA might not have matched Carl Raswan’s idea of the classic Arabian, but the mare contributed something to her descendants which must have pleased the Blunts immensely. They used two of her sons as sires, put into the mare band her only daughter to live to maturity, and by the end of the Blunt period of breeding they were using a double QUEEN OF SHEBA stallion at stud (SOTAMM) and producing triple QUEEN OF SHEBA foals (SILFA, by Rustem out of Selima). QUEEN OF SHEBA might have contributed any or all of the following: fire and presence, more wither, a good shoulder, a longer neck, the ability to move well, high tail carriage.

INDIAN CROWN (Raseem x Nisreen) photo by Lady Wentworth

Breeding the key ingredients (Skowronek and *Nureddin) to NASRA, crossing those foals with strain bred Crabbet “R” horses, and finally combining the two influences produced INDIAN MAGIC. Lady Wentworth must have realized she had discovered something special: the RAKTHA to INDIAN CROWN breeding she did more frequently than any other cross in her entire history as a breeder. INDIAN CROWN’s production record, extracted from the GSB, is a follows:

  • 1939 ch f *CROWN OF INDIA, by Rix (sent to U.S.A.)
  • 1940 barren to Radi
  • 1941 gr c INDIAN GREY (died 1944), by Raktha
  • 1942 gr c (destroyed) by Raktha
  • 1943 barren to Raktha
  • 1944 gr c INDIAN MAGIC, by Raktha
  • 1945 ch c INDIAN GEM, by Raktha (sent to South Africa)
  • 1946 barren to Oran
  • 1947 gr f by Raktha
  • 1948 ch c INDIAN CRESCENT, by Oran (sent to Brazil)
  • 1949 gr c by Raktha
  • 1950 barren to Raktha
  • 1951 ch f by Grand Royal
  • 1952 barren to Dargee
  • 1953 ch f SILVER PARADISE, by Royal Diamond
  • 1954 ch f INCORONETTA, by Dargee
  • 1955 ch c SUMMER CROWN by Oran
  • 1956 not covered in 55, sold, and put out of Stud

Once Lady Wentworth had discovered the successful “nick” with RAKTHA, she repeated it frequently, but not every year. In the same way the Skowronek-NASRA cross was very successful, but in between NASRA’s first foal by Skowronek (NASEEM) and her last (NASIEDA) she also produced to RAFEEF and NADIR. Had Lady Wentworth bred NASRA to Skowronek year after year, she could have had as many as eight offspring from the cross. But in creating them she would have limited severely the future possibilities for the use of NASRA blood. She would not have made the best use of one of her most important mares. Instead, she used in her breeding program NASRA foals by five different sires. This gave her a much broader range of options to continue breeding with the NASRA influence.

Lady Wentworth did not foresee INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree twenty-four years in advance and then create it. It took many years of trial and error, combining everything she had with everything else she had, taking note of which mare lines were producing her favorite horses, or her best breeding animals, and taking each step as it presented itself for taking. Before breeding INDIAN GREY, Lady Wentworth had experimented with many combinations of the horses which produced him and his famous full brother. She had tried Skowronek on NISREEN, producing NASIRIEH and *INCORONATA, both of which produced to RASEEM. *INCORONATA produced INDIAN GLORY to this cross, a favorite colt struck by lightning and killed as a yearling. With NASIRIEH Lady Wentworth tried doubling the *Nureddin influence by breeding her to *RAHAL and SHAREER. Lady Wentworth also tried combining Skowronek and *Nureddin while doubling NASRA by breeding NASEEM to NISREEN, producing INSILLA and INDIAN LIGHT. This combination lacked the perhaps crucial elements of RASIM and QUEEN OF SHEBA.

INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree contains more crosses to HADBAN than to MESAOUD, although people generally think of the latter as the more pervasive Crabbet foundation sire. All seven of INDIAN MAGIC’s Crabbet bred great grandparents were from HADBAN influenced mare lines. *Nureddin II was doubled to him. Lady Wentworth began to focus on the tail-female descendants of the HADBAN daughters, NEFISA and *ROSE OF SHARON, very early in her breeding. Lady Anne Blunt credited the HADBAN influence with producing animals of greater height, meaning well over 15 hands. Lady Wentworth made no excuses about her own preference for the taller sort of Arabian, although she also used and appreciated the smaller ones like RASIM, Skowronek, and DARGEE.

INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree is not sire dominated, except perhaps by MESAOUD and HADBAN. Instead, Lady Wentworth has done rather consistent line breeding to two successful mare families. NASRA and RIDAA have special prominence. Using Raswan’s system of strain analysis, INDIAN MAGIC is bred three generations in the Kuhaylan strain.

INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree is not the result of outcross upon outcross, but is instead rather tightly linebred. The five different Crabbet bred great-grandparents were all closely related through MESAOUD and HADBAN, while RODANIA and DAJANIA were also key ancestors. From this point on the pedigree only gets tighter. From 1904 until the tenure of Lady Wentworth the Crabbet horses were bred as a closed herd. INDIAN MAGIC’s ancestry represents a very small sampling of that herd, augmented with one line to Skowronek, Lady Wentworth’s outcross of the 1920’s. RAKTHA and INDIAN CROWN were roughly three-quarter siblings in blood.

The Blunts saw in *ASTRALED, RIJM, *Nureddin II, DAOUD, and RASIM, as Lady Wentworth saw in NASEEM and RASEEM, colts they wanted to retain as future sires rather than sell. The Blunts decided to keep for breeding the fillies *ROSE OF SHARON, NEFISA, RIDAA, NASRA, NARGHILEH, RISALA, RIM, and RIYALA, as Lady Wentworth kept NISREEN and INDIAN CROWN. A farm which sells every foal it breeds, and then starts over with new foundation stock, is returning time and again to “square one.”

Other than the Crabbet foundation animals, all of INDIAN MAGIC’s ancestors tabulated in the pedigree above were bred by Crabbet except his sire, RAKTHA. RAKTHA illustrates another principle which successful livestock breeders have employed: the use of “satellite” farms. Place with another breeder some of your best stock, and it might be combined in ways which never would have occurred to you, eventually producing something which you might want to use. By buying ASTRELLA and RAZINA and bringing RAZINA back to Crabbet for breeding to NASEEM and NAUFAL (sire of RIFFAL), Lady Yule provided Lady Wentworth with two of Crabbet’s greatest post 1940 sires: RAKTHA and ORAN (Riffal x Astrella). (Like INDIAN MAGIC, ORAN was by a RAZINA son and out of a RASEEM daughter.) Lady Wentworth purchased both of these stallions as younger animals with an eye to using them at stud.

Lady Wentworth started using INDIAN MAGIC at stud when he was three, breeding him to NEZMA (Rafeef x Nasra). Thereafter she used him every year, but he does not seem to have covered more than six Crabbet mares in a single season. INDIAN MAGIC completed for mares with stallions like ORAN, DARGEE, RAKTHA, INDIAN GOLD, GRAND ROYAL, *ROYAL DIAMOND, and later *SILVER VANITY, ROYAL CRYSTAL, and *SILVER DRIFT. Lady Wentworth always maintained a large stallion battery. With a few years as exceptions, no one stallion dominated a foal crop. Again, this allowed her greater flexibility as a breeder than the alternative method of maintaining only one or two stallions and breeding all the mares to one or the other year after year.

Lady Wentworth bred INDIAN MAGIC very frequently to mares of the SHARIMA family, and also to INDIAN FLOWER (Irex x Nisreen) and her daughter *INDIAN DIAMOND (by Oran). SILVER FIRE (Naseem x Somra by Daoud) produced her last two foals by INDIAN MAGIC. The “R” family had already seen its greatest days at its parent stud by the time INDIAN MAGIC came into use, but he sired foals from ROSALINA (Indian Gold x Rissella) and her daughter ROSINELLA (by Oran).

INDIAN MAGIC’s foals for Lady Wentworth were all born during the last nine years of her life, making it difficult to discern which she might have used for breeding and how. The only one she appears to have used was the SILVER FIRE daughter SILVER MAGIC, dam of SILVADORIS (by Oran) before her exportation to Australia.

What INDIAN MAGIC’s long term impact on Lady Wentworth’s herd might have been we shall never know. However, he proved himself an outstanding sire and major influence on other breeding programs around the world.

The grandsires of INDIAN MAGIC, photos courtesy Rosemary Archer

From Needham Market to Oyster Bay Part I

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Needham Market

by Thornton Chard

from The Horse May-Jun 1942

Such horses are
The jewels of the horsemen’s hand and thighs,
They go by the word and hardly need the rein

John Brown’s Body, Book v.

Kismet, Garaveen, Maidan. The mention of these horse notables in Mr. Albert W. Harris’ timely article, “Arabs for the Remount,” in the November-December The Horse, where he describes the Remount’s plan of a separate stud for breeding pure-bred Arabs, prompts this review of the circumstances of the arrival of the descendants of some of these particular individuals, and of some of their kin, in the United States. For it is owing, in part, to them that the Remount is able to carry out its plan so important to the future horse stock of the Western Hemisphere; and possibly of Europe too.

In 1875 the late Major Roger D. Upton, author of Newmarket and Arabia [1] and of Gleanings from the Desert of Arabia,[2] having been commissioned by Albert G. Sandemen, M.P., and Henry Chaplin, M.P., brought from the Desert to England, among other horses, four individuals: a chestnut colt, the horse Yataghan and the mares Zulieka and Haidee. The cost of his importation was $62,000 in gold.[3]

“Upton himself selected [these horses] from the Gomussa with the assistance of their Chief who was the greatest man and the greatest authority on horses among the Bedouins. The Gomussa breed none but pure horses.”[4]

As a result of the mating of Haidee and Yataghan, the chestnut filly Naomi was born in England in 1876. And, with her importation to the United States, in 1888, by Randolph Huntington, the first opportunity, since Keene Richards’ time, to breed pure Arabs, in a serious and intelligent way, was made use of by Huntington who, convinced of the necessity of the Arab “yeast,” saw his chance by reason of the previous arrival of General Grant’s two Eastern horses Leopard and Linden Tree.

In the following letter Huntington tells how he acquired Naomi:

“It was by accident that I got the mare Naomi. Capt. Upton died; then the Rev. Vidal got her, (5) and as Vidal was about to be retired from his living, it was proposed by Lady Anne Blunt and the Hon Etheldred Dillon that he let me have her. Immediately he offered her to me (it is true the price was strong) I accepted her by cable. After I got her over I was offered three prices for her return. I even had offers for her from Algiers; but I did not buy her to sell but to breed….” (6)

That Naomi’s value was known in England is shown by a letter to Vidal from W.S.Blunt who wrote:

“I think the idea of changing a mare is a good one and I should like to send someone down to see Naomi. I have two mares that I shall be willing to part with this year, and perhaps a third…. I hope if you are coming this way you will pay us another visit at Crabbet this summer and in the meantime if we can come to an arrangement for exchanging I shall be very glad as I know the breeding of your mare must be correct.” (7)

Vidal sent to Huntington a copy of Blunt’s letter on which Vidal wrote: “The exchange did not come off because I did not consider either of the three [Blunt] mares as equal to Naomi.”

As already mentioned, Naomi arrived in America (Rochester, N.Y.) in 1888. She was not bred in 1889, but in 1890 Huntington made use of General Grant’s horse Leopard by whom she produced the chestnut colt Anazeh. (7a) He was her fifth foal, as she had already produced four in England, the fourth having been the chestnut filly Nazli by the desert-bred steeple-chase Arab Maidan.

At this point a slight digression is necessary in order to show how some of Naomi’s offspring in England were bred to a famous desert-bred Arab sire and how his and some of Naomi’s descendants got to the United States; and a few other things.

The “cloth” (8) has contributed more sportsmen to England than to America, so, it is not surprising to learn that the famous desert-bred racing Arab Kismet was owned by the rector of Creeting St. Mary, the Rev. F. Furse Vidal, through whose good offices he was rented to and imported by Huntington to die a few hours after landing in New York. (9)

This tragedy in the horse world temporarily delayed the important and patriotic plans of Huntington who not only intended to breed pure Arabs, but, by uniting the bloods of Arab and Clay, sought to give the United States a national horse built on blood as good if not better than that from which the English thoroughbred was created. (10) However, the delay was brief, for, with typical courage he at once opened negotiations again with Vidal for the purchase and importation of more of the same blood in a group of individuals comprising Nazli, daughter of Naomi, Garaveen, Naomi’s grandson and Nazli’s son Nimr. (11)

As both Garaveen and Nimr were sons of Kismet his loss, though tragic in its dramatic suddenness and because of his remarkable turf career, was not irreparable, for, luckily these sons were living and available; and, under the devoted personal supervision of Vidal the group landed safely, in New York, the spring of 1893 (12)

So, in the year 1893 the United States could boast of the blood of the desert-bred Yataghan in his daughter Naomi, in his granddaughter Nazli and in his great grandsons Nimr and Garaveen; and of the blood of the desert-bred Kismet in his sons Nimr and Garaveen; and of Naomi herself and her blood in her daughter Nazli and in her grandsons Nimr and Garaveen. Besides the blood mentioned there was that of Blunt’s highly prized Saqlawi Jidrani horse Kars in Garaveen and of Miss Dillon’s desert-bred Muniqi-Hadruj horse Maidan in Nazli and Nimr. All in all a closely related group mostly of the Muniqi-Hadruj strain of which Carl Raswan says:

“The Miniqi-Hadruj of the Kismet, Maidan, Naomi, Khaled, Nimr, Yataghan, Haidee blood lines are the most important in America as far as speed, size and bigger bone are concerned.” (13)

Vidal’s opinion of the blood value of the group of horses that Huntington imported and his regret at having to part with them was frankly expressed in a letter to Huntington in which he wrote:

“Since getting your letter which concluded our bargain [the purchase of Nazli, Nimr and Garaveen] I have received an offer of LB 2,000 for Nimr; and had there been time I perhaps should have asked you to let me off. But, on consideration, I feel satisfied that it is as well as it is—(tho’, of course, the difference in price is a serious consideration to me) I am happy to think he will be in the hands of such a thorough believer in the value of blood, as you—than that he should be lost in the general crowd.

“Dear Mr. Huntington, you are now receiving the fruits of 35 years of careful study, expenditure and experience. Alas! Alas! that it should come to this. One soweth but another reapeth. You will have the finest strain of blood that has ever come out of the desert and it should be your task to preserve it pure for the use of future generations.” (14)

Huntington in his letters and in his stud bills always stressed the fact that he had a group of horses “of one family blood” and it was his intention always to preserve a group whose blood was “intensified” by being interbred in the same family. And, when it is recalled that at this date little was known, outside of Arabia, about the different strains and their special values, Huntington should be credited with close observation in his pioneer breeding experiments, for, besides the Muniqi strain he had individuals of other strains whose characteristics, he noted, differed from those of the Muniqi. His close study of the offspring of the few strains that he had the opportunity to observe led him to declare that the Arabian horse was in different families with different instincts.


Images and Footnotes:



(5) Vidal bought Naomi from Albert G. Sandeman.

(6) Huntington to C.V. Bouthillier, Dec. 17, 1890.

(7) Blunt to Vidal, Feb 2, 1885.

(7a) Foaled May 10, 1890; bred and owned by Huntington who in a letter to the press, May 25, 1890, wrote:

“That Naomi should be brought from the Desert [in her dam] to England, and there produce a son [ Gomussa, sold to the Chilean government] to an Arab horse [Kouch] presented by the Sultan of Turkey, Murad V, to the Princess of Wales, and then come to America and produce another son [Anazeh] to the credit of an Arab [Leopard] presented to a representative of the American people [General Grant], by a second Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid II, is singular, if not phenomenal.”

(8) It may not be known generally that John Wesley, the renowned English evangelist, was a great horseman and cross-country rider. On his tours about the country he rode above 100,000 miles with slack rein. He wrote a sermon on the horse prophesying that at the last days horses would enjoy a state of exalted happiness. (The Horse (English) vol. VIII, No. 31, p. 199).

(9) For a detailed account of Kismet’s remarkable career, see The Horse (Washington, D.C. )vol. 19, No. 1, Jan. -Feb., 1938.

(10) In Bruce’s American Stud Book (vol. VI, 1894, pp. 1165-1168 inclusive) are registered 51 Americo-Arabs; most of them bred and owned by Randolph Huntington.

(11) Besides these three Vidal brought over on the same ship a bay Arab, Ibex, by Miss Dillon’s El Emir, for Fullerton Phillips of Philadelphia. Ibex did not enter into the breeding project here described.

(12) Shortly after his arrival Vidal went to the Chicago Exposition to judge Arab and other classes.

(13) Western Horseman. Jan. – Feb., 1942. p. 14.

It was claimed that the Darley Arabian was a Muniqi. “Later discovery of his pedigree in the files of the Darley family proved him to be a Muniqi Hadraji….From him descended Flying Childers.” (W.R.Brown. The Horse of the Desert. New York, 1929, p. 126.)

(14) Vidal to Huntington, May 20, 1893.



image of Rectory:


Reproduced from a photograph through the courtesy of Mrs. H.A. Fleetwood, wife of the present (1936) rector who succeeded the Rev. Vidal.


Image of church:


The late Rev. F. Furse Vidal, who owned “Kismet,” “Naomi,” “Nazli,” “Nimr” and “Garaveen” and bred the last three and from whom the late Randolph Huntington bought the last four, was at the time and for many years the rector of this church. In one of his letters he wrote: “I have been much occupied of late with various Parish matters … I have had five sermons to preach in the last week — this means a good deal of time and thought.” (1) For recreation he indulged in a small breeding stud and with his sons and daughters was active in the hunting field.

St. Mary’s stands on the top of a hill [near Needham Market], surrounded by trees, and is a building of flint and stone in a variety of styles …. The registers date from 1681.” (2)

Reproduced from a photograph through the courtesy of Mrs. H. A. Fleetwood, wife of the present (1936) rector, who succeeded the Rev. Vidal.

(1) Vidal to Huntington, Xmas day, 1903.

(2) “County Churches — Suffold.” T. Hugh Bryant. London. 1912.


Photo of 2 handwritten pages

Pages 1 and 5 of Vidal’s letter to Huntington quoting Upton’s Note about His Importation of Valuable Arabian Stock. the letter in full follows:

Mrs. Upton cannot remember the date of the arrival — but she thinks it must have been in March or April 1875 or 1876. the latter date would tally with ‘Naomi’s’ age and with what Mr. Sandeman told me.”

“In a note he, Upton, says: ‘I have tried to get a Managhi Hedrudj of the family of Ibn Sbeyel of the Gomussa tribe of Sebaa Anezeh which I hold to be the best breed in the Desert. I have succeeded and one of them is now in my stable. I had enquired at the same time about about the mares; and two have come of the same family. The four are as follows: No. 1. Chestnut stallion, 4 yrs. old. 14.2. His dam a Keheilet Jeabeh taken from the Heissa Anezeh, and his sire the famous Keheilan Hellawi of the Shammar tribe. No. 2. Pearl Grey stallion with black mane and black tail, tipped with white, 4 years old 14.2 His dam “Managhi Hedrudj” of Ibn Sbeyel family of Gomussa anezeh, and his sire of the same breed, now in the stud of the King of Italy. No. 3. Bay mare 5 years old 14.1 1/2. Same breed as No. 2, but dam and sire not the same. No. 4. Chestnut mare 4 years old 14.3. Same breed as No. 2 and 3, but dam and sire not the same. Noted for speed and bottom’.”

” ‘The Keheilan Hellawi, sire of the chestnut colt, is preferred to any Seglawi Jedraan stallion for covering mares, on account of the constant success of his progeny — colts got by him are always sought after. All horses bear the name of the breed of the dams and this Keheilan jeeban is therefore considered first class, as that is on of the best varieties of the Keheilan Adjooz breed. The Hellawi strain is also a branch of the Keheilan Adjooz — but not in general so much thought of as the sire of this chestnut colt is in particular. The Managhi Hedruj is highly esteemed as a breed — and those of the family of Ibn Sbeyel of the Gomussa tribe are known as the best strain of that blood though not always so handsome as some other breeds.’

” ‘The name means “long necked.” Jeeban is the “proved” and Hellawi “the sweet“.’

“I also send you a facsimile of a translation made by Upton of the delivery note and description of my old mare Zulieka (the No. 3, I presume) — the others have been lost.

“I think these notes of Uptons which have only just been unearthed, will go far to confirm you in what I have always told you, that Naomi’s blood is the finest and best that could possibly be.

“P.S. You will note that the Shiek Suleyman ibn Mirschid is the famous chief of the Gomussa spoken of by Upton in [and] Lady A. Blunt in their books.”

Photographed from a letter found among the letters and papers of the late Randolph Huntington.


Image of a facsimile

“Fac Simile of a translation [from the Arabic] made by Roger D. Upton of the delivery note and description of my old mare “Zulieka” (the No. 3 I presume) — the others [translations for other horses] have been lost.” (Excerpt from a letter, Jan. 15, 1896, of F.F.Vidal to Randolph Huntington.)

“The No. 3” refers to a quotation by Vidal of Upton’s description of the Arabian horses and mares imported to England by him.

No. 1 in the same letter refers to Chestnut colt.

No. 2 in the same letter refers to “Yataghan.”

No. 4 in the same letter refers to “Haidee.”

“Yataghan” and “Haidee” were sire and dam of “Naomi.”

“Zulieka” was half-sister “Haidee.” All these horses were registered in the G.S.B.

Reproduced from a photograph of the original found among the letters and papers of the late Randolph Huntington.


Photo of “Naomi”

“Naomi,” a chestnut sorrel, of the Munigi-Hadraji strain, 15 1/2 hands high, was imported to England in 1875, in her dam “Haidee,” from the Euphrates Valley, by Captain Roger D. Upton of the 9th Lancers. Her sire, “Yataghan,” and her dam “were full brother and sister.” (1)

Foaled in 1876, the photograph shows her at nineteen years of age with her ninth foal, the colt “Khaled,” thirteen days old. Up to 1898, the year she died, she had produced twelve foals as follows:

1884, bay colt “Gomussa,” by Princess of Wales’ Saqlwai-Jidrani Arab “Kouch.”

1885, not bred.

1886, chestnut filly “Kushdil,” by S.W.Blunt’s Saqlwai-Jidrani Arab “Kars.”

1887, bay filly “Naama,” by Hon. Miss Dillon’s Shammar Arab “El Emir.”

1888, chestnut filly “Nazli,” by Hon. Miss Dillon’s Muniqi-Hadraji Arab “Maidan.”

1889. not bred.

1890, chestnut colt “Anazeh,” by Gen. Grant’s Saqlwai-Jidrani Arab “Leopard.”

1891, seal brown filly “Ruth Clay,” by the Americo-Arab “Young Jack Shepard.”

1892, bay colt “Boaz Clay,” by “Young Jack Shepard.”

1894, chestnut colt Nejd, by Arab “Anazeh.”

1895, chestnut colt “Khaled,” by Arab “Nimr.”

1896, chestnut filly “Naomi II,” by Arab “Nimr.”

1897, chestnut filly “Narkeesa,” by Arab “Anazeh.”

1898, chestnut filly “Naressa,” by Arab “Anazeh.”

Reproduced from a photograph found among the letters and papers of the late Randolph Huntington.

(1) While this is the oft repeated statement, Vidal quotes Upton that they were of the same family but of different parentage.


Photo of “Nazli”

(G.S.B. Vol, XVI, p. 655

By “Maidan” [G.S.B. Vol. XVI, p. 657] out of “Naomi”; height 14h. 3 in., without shoes. Measures under knee 7 7/8 in. chestnut mare (same color as “Naomi”) white star on forehead. Splended shoulders; clean flat legs and good feet– hocks good — but not quite so fine as “Kushdil’s.” Was quiet to ride last year but has been turned out October as she is believed to be in foal to “Mesauod” (Lady A. Blunt’s horse). Stands true. Action like her Mother’s. This mare is considered to be the handsomest Arab mare in England. Carries her tail high and straight. Plenty of good strong hair on fetlocks. (1)

“Nazli” and “Nimr” are beauties of the first water. (1)

“Nazli” was foaled in England in 1888. She was 7 years old as shown here, held by Mr. Huntington, with her second foal, “Naarah.” She had produced, when 3 years old, “Nimr” in England. Up to 1904 she had produced one foal in England and nine in America, as follows:

1891, “Nimr” chestnut colt by “Kismet.”

1895, “Naarah” chestnut filly by “Anazeh.”

1896, “Naaman” chestnut colt by “Anazeh.”

1897 “Nazlina” chestnut filly by “Anazeh.”

1898 “Nadab” chestnut colt by “Anazeh.”

1899, “Nazlita” chestnut filly by “Khaled.”

1900, “Nazlet” chestnut filly by “Khaled.”

1901, “Nejdran” chestnut colt by “Anazeh.”

1903. “Nahor” chestnut colt by “Anazeh.”

1904, “…….” chestnut filly by “Anazeh.”

Reproduced from a photograph found among the letters and papers of the late Randoph Huntington.

(1) Vidal to Huntington March 31, 1893.

  1. [1]London, 1873
  2. [2]London, 1881
  3. [3]Included in the Upton importation were the following colts and mares, the portion of the Hon. Henry Chaplin ex-British Minister of Agriculture and breeder of Hermit and other Derby winners: Jocktan, bay colt 3 1/2 years old; Ishmael, dark bay colt 2 years old; Kesia bay mare 10 years old; Keren-Happuch, chestnut mare 8 or 9 years old. (The Arab Horse Stud Book, Vol. 1, No. 4). As the Chaplin lot were not kept as a pure-Arab Stud and as their descendants, so far as is known, never came to America, they do not concern this review.
  4. [4]Excerpt from a letter of F. F. Vidal, Dec. 24, 1895, to Randolph Huntington.

J. Hamilton Leigh: Piercing the Veil

by Robert J. Cadranell II ©1991 from The CMK Record IX/2 Winter, 1991
used by permission of Robert J. Cadranell II

BINT RANYA (Redif x Ranya), a RIYALA granddaughter, is one of two Leigh-bred Arabians still represented in pedigrees.

American Arabian breeders encounter the name of J. Hamilton Leigh infrequently. Nevertheless the name was connected to Crabbet Arabians in England for a period spanning nearly forty years. Despite the frequency with which one encounters his name in the AHS and GSB, the details of his personality remain enigmatic.

The earliest record of Leigh’s involvement with Crabbet Arabians seems to be in the Crabbet herdbook. Courtesy of Peter Upton’s Desert Heritage, we know that J. Hamilton Leigh Esq. of Brinnington Mount, Stockport bought from Crabbet on June 20, 1900 the stallion MAHRUSS. The Blunts had bought the 14.1 1/2 hand MAHRUSS from Ali Pasha Sherif and imported him to England in 1897. While at Crabbet MAHRUSS had been the sire of one foal, viz. a chestnut colt out of BADIA which broke its leg and was destroyed as a foal. When MAHRUSS left Crabbet five mares had been bred to him for 1901. Of these, ROSE DIAMOND, NARGHILEH, and SEFINA were returned as barren in GSB. *BUSHRA had been exported to America, where she produced *IBN MAHRUSS. That left ROSE OF SHARON to produce Crabbet’s only link to MAHRUSS: the nearly 16-hand favorite of both the Blunts, RIJM.

After leaving Crabbet, MAHRUSS sired two more registered Arabian foals and then dropped out of written record. In this MAHRUSS established for Leigh a pattern of buying key Crabbet individuals and holding them in a sort of twilight zone while he bred from them sparingly or not at all. Leigh is named as the breeder of fourteen foals born over a thirty year period, two of which are in modern pedigrees. What Leigh did with his Arabs is not now clear. Whether he rode them, used them for cross breeding, or enjoyed them as pets is a matter of speculation.

Leigh next acquired from Crabbet two mares, apparently in 1901 or 1902. GSB vol. XX lists “Mr. J. H. Leigh” as the breeder of 1902 fillies from SEFINA (Mesaoud x Safra) and RAYYANA (Ahmar x *Rose of Sharon). SEFINA’s (a chestnut by SEYAL) was registered dead. SEFINA was next bred to MAHRUSS and produced in 1903 an unnamed chestnut filly for Sir S. Pigott. After that she returned to Crabbet. RAYYANA’s 1902 filly was a chestnut by MESAOUD named RUYA. Leigh did not rebreed RAYYANA and sold her at about the same time he sold SEFINA. RUYA was also sold, and produced for a Mr. G. O. Pardoe a 1905 chestnut colt named RUSTUM (by MAHRUSS). This is the point at which MAHRUSS drops out of the record, and is also the end of the first phase of Leigh’s career as a breeder.

Leigh’s name does not appear again in Arabian stud books for nearly fifteen years. When it does reappear, it is as Capt. J. H. Leigh. Apparently in 1916, he went back to Crabbet for two more mares. This time he acquired ROKHAMA (*Astraled x Rabla) and FEJR (Rijm x Feluka). During this period he was also the owner of the Crabbet stallion REDIF (Daoud x Rosemary). ROKHAMA left at Crabbet her *NASIK daughter *ROKHSA. For Leigh she produced a 1918 REDIF colt and then died after foaling. This colt, HERMIT II, had no registered Arabian offspring. FEJR had left at Crabbet her IBN YASHMAK daughter *FELESTIN. She produced no foals for Leigh, although the GSB records Leigh put her to REDIF. In 1922 Lady Wentworth brought FEJR back to Crabbet, where she promptly produced FASILA, FARIS, FERHAN, and FAYAL.

The first stud book of Britain’s Arab Horse Society appeared in 1919. At this time Capt. J. Hamilton Leigh (Blindon House, Wellington, Somerset) was a member of the Society’s Council. In addition to the horses named above, he had also acquired, apparently from Musgrave Clark, the mare SIMHAN II, bred at the Government Stud in Bosnia. SIMHAN II produced for LEIGH a 1917 colt by Clark’s DAOUD and then one in 1918 by REDIF. Neither colt left any Arabian get. SIMHAN II herself died before foaling in 1919. As of this 1919 stud book, Leigh’s most recent acquisition seems to have been BELKIS (Seyal x Bereyda). BELKIS had spent the first part of her life as a riding and driving mare for Lady Anne Blunt and the Lyttons. She produced no registered foals for Leigh, although AHS vol. I does record a 1919 breeding to FANTASS, a full brother to *FERDA.

Leigh appears to have maintained good relations with Lady Wentworth, who assumed the helm of Crabbet in 1920. Acquired from Lady Wentworth in 1920 or 1921 was the mare RANYA. Leigh is the breeder of her 1921 filly MIRIAM (by Lady Wentworth’s stallion NADIR). MIRIAM was exported to Australia in 1925, where she became an important line foundress. Next Leigh bred RANYA to his stallion REDIF. The 1922 filly he entered in the AHS stud book as RANYA II (“Bint Ranya” in GSB). By 1926 Leigh had sold RANYA II to a J. W. Darwood. RANYA II began her illustrious career in 1932 with a foal for Miss Mary Russell. Through her, REDIF is the only DAOUD son in modern pedigrees. Within a year or two after producing the only Leigh-bred foals with any pedigree influence, RANYA herself became the property of Mr. C. W. Hough.

In 1922, Leigh got from Lady Wentworth the 21-year-old Crabbet matron AJRAMIEH (Mesaoud x Asfura). She had left a number of foals at Crabbet, the most important of which is AMIDA. Leigh is the breeder of AJRAMIEH’s 1922 filly named AJRAMIEH II (by NADIR). This filly died in 1924, and AJRAMIEH herself failed to produce another foal. Around this time Leigh also acquired from Lady Wentworth KESRATAIN (Ibn Yashmak x Kantara). She was Crabbet’s last foal of straight Ali Pasha Sherif breeding. Nothing further is known of her.

Leigh’s other two broodmares from Crabbet were RAYYA (Rustem x Riada) and RUDEYNA (Daoud x Rose of Hind). RUDEYNA produced for Leigh a 1922 RASIM colt (registered dead) and in 1923 a Skowronek colt named in GSB IRAM (registered as “Feith Dhomnuil” in AHS; later changed in AHS to *Iram”). Leigh did not breed from RUDEYNA again; three years later she was back at Crabbet. IRAM seems briefly to have taken the place of REDIF, destroyed in 1925, as Leigh’s stud stallion. Leigh took IRAM to the 1926 London Show, where he placed over the illustrious SAINFOIN. Other than two fillies out of *BATTLA and RAYYA, IRAM’s use at stud was of no consequence. The only other mares he seems to have covered were Lady Wentworth’s RIM and FEJR, whose sons RIX and FAYAL were among the Crabbet horses with an “or” sire. FAYAL and RIX generally are attributed to MIRAZE rather than IRAM. IRAM did spend some time at Crabbet; he was photographed there. Cecil Covey’s last booklet of photographs states that IRAM was exported to Egypt in 1929.

RAYYA appears not to have been sold to Leigh until after AHS vol. I was prepared. In April of 1920 she was at Crabbet, although she seems to have gone to Leigh’s that year; her production career begins with a 1921 REDIF filly named RADIYEH, born the property of Lady Wentworth. In 1922 RAYYA was barren to *Nureddin II and NADIR for Leigh. In 1923 RAYYA was back at Crabbet where she produced *RASEYN for Lady Wentworth. The next year she was barren to *Nureddin II for Lady Wentworth. By 1925 RAYYA had settled with Leigh, producing that year for him *RASEYN’s full sister ROTHA (died as a yearling), followed by a 1927 brother named FADLALLA. Leigh then bred from RAYYA a 1929 IRAM daughter named ZANAB and finely a 1931 filly named SAFARI (by the desert bred stallion OUTLAW). FADLALLA was gelded as a three-year-old. SAFARI was exported to the British West Indies. Lady Wentworth acquired ZANAB but she does not seem ever to have produced a foal.

By the time of the 1937 stud book, if Leigh had any Arabs left, they must have been limited to FADLALLA and ZANAB, although he was still a member of the Council. RAYYA had been given away in 1932, and SAFARI had a new owner.

Between 1922 and 1925 Leigh was promoted to Colonel. It might be that Leigh’s military career prevented him from deeper involvement with the horses. He might have been abroad during the period following his ownership of MAHRUSS. Leigh died between the publication of the 1937 and 1944 stud books.

Although RANYA II and MIRIAM are the only horses in pedigrees attributed to Leigh as breeder, many of his animals contributed to the CMK tradition before and/or after he had them. Plain bad luck seems to have followed Leigh’s horses as well, as the record drawn from the stud books illustrates. Perhaps a reader will be kind enough to write with details of Leigh’s life to add some substance to the framework as constructed from stud book records.

The Double Registered Arabians

by R.J. Cadranell
from The CMK Record Summer 1989 VIII/I
copyright 1989

In 1791, during the century which saw the writing of great compendiums of knowledge, including Dr. Johnson’s dictionary, James Weatherby published in England what was to become the preliminary volume of The General Stud Book, Containing Pedigrees of Race Horses, &c. &c. From the earliest Accounts… In 1808, after several revisions, appeared the version which has become standard. This documented the pedigrees of a breed of horse which later adopted the name of Thoroughbred. Mr. Weatherby’s stud book demonstrates the Thoroughbred’s descent from numerous Oriental sires and dams. The pedigree of the Thoroughbred stallion ECLIPSE (1764) lists the names of the DARLEY ARABIAN, the LEEDES ARABIAN, the OGLETHORPE ARABIAN, the LISTER TURK, the DARCY YELLOW TURK, the BYERLEY TURK, the GODOLPHIN ARABIAN or Barb, HUTTON’S GREY BARB, and the MOROCCO BARB as ancestors.

The American Stud Book, a.k.a. the Jockey Club Stud Book, first appeared in 1873. Its original complier was S.D. Bruce, and The American Stud Book (ASB) is still the registration authority for Thoroughbreds in this country. Volume I included a chapter for “Imported Arab, Barb and Spanish Horses and Mares.

Weatherbys issued Volume XIII of the General Stud Book (GSB) in 1877. This volume included a new section, roughly one page in length, for Arabian stock recently imported to the U.K. It was the beginning of modern Arabian horse breeding in the English speaking world. In this volume are Arabians which Capt. Roger D. Upton and H.B.M. Consul at Aleppo, Mr. James H. Skene, were involved in importing for Messrs. Sandeman (including YATAGHAN and HAIDEE, the sire and dam of *Naomi) and Chaplin (including the mare KESIA). GSB Volume XIV (1881) registered the earliest of Mr. Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt’s importations for their Crabbet Arabian Stud. Skene had provided crucial assistance to the Blunts, too; Wilfrid Blunt later credited Skene with giving him and his wife the idea for the Crabbet Stud (see Archer et.al., The Crabbet Arabian Stud. p. 34). Skene is perhaps the founding father of Arabian horse breeding in the English speaking world. The preface to GSB Volume XIV expressed the hope that the newly imported Arabian stock might, in time, provide the Thoroughbred with a valuable cross back to the original blood from which it had come. This idea had also been behind the thinking of Upton and Skene.

The Blunts subscribed to this view too. The British racing authorities agreed to hold an Arab race at Newmarket in 1884; the outcome was inconclusive, but Blunt wrote that

“the ultimate result, however, was not I think, as far as Arab breeding in England was affected by it, wholly a misfortune. It convinced me that I was on wrong lines in breeding Arabs for speed, and not for those more valuable qualities in which their true excellence lies. Had I continued with my original purpose, I should have lost time and money, and probably have also spoiled my breed, producing stock taller perhaps and speedier, but with the same defects found in the English Thoroughbred.”(see Blunt, Gordon at Khartoum, 2nd ed., London 1912, p. 265)

Although the Blunts gave up the idea of rejuvenating the Thoroughbred with a fresh cross to Arab blood, they continued to register their horses in the Arab section of the GSB, as it was the sole registration authority for Arabian breeding stock in the U.K. GSB registration conferred on the Crabbet horses the advantages of prestige and the eligibility to enter many countries of the world duty free.

Volume IV of The American Stud Book (1884) continued to list Arabian horses imported to America. This volume included the 1879 import *Leopard, the first Arabian brought to America to leave Arabian descent here. The Arabian section in ASB VI (1894) included the imported horses (all from the GSB) of the early breeders Huntington and Ramsdell.

The mare *Nejdme was the first horse recorded in the Arabian Horse Registry of America Studbook. Foaled in Syria, she is pictured here in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair.

ASB VII (1898) listed in the Arab section Huntington and Ramsdell horses, with the addition of Ramsdell’s *SHAHWAN, newly imported from the Crabbet Stud, and his mare *NEJDME (spelled “Nedjme” in ASB) from the Hamidie Society’s exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair. Also included were a stallion from the deserts of Northern Arabia and two stallions imported from Russia for the Chicago World’s Fair. The pedigree information printed with one of the latter, a horse named BEKBOOLAT, states that his second dam was by an imported English Thoroughbred. His pedigree also includes an Orloff saddle mare. BEKBOOLAT’s inclusion in the Arabian section of the ASB demonstrates that at the time the Jockey Club had a rather loose working definition of the term “Arabian.”

ASB Volumes VIII (1902) and IX (1906) list in the Arabian section no newly imported horses other than those which were bred in England, either at Crabbet or by Miss Dillon or Lord Arthur Cecil, and which therefore arrived in this country with GSB certificates. All GSB registered Arabians were automatically eligible for the ASB.

In October of 1906 the S.S. Italia arrived in America carrying 27 Arabians which Homer Davenport had imported directly from the Anazah tribes in Arabia. The only registration authority for Arabian horses in America was the stud book of the American Jockey Club. Not all the Arab horses in America were listed in the Arab section of the ASB. Huntington appears to have ceased registering with the Jockey Club after 1895. The Crabbet bred *IBN MAHRUSS and his dam *BUSHRA appear not to have had ASB registration. Davenport applied for the registration of his new arrivals.

Details of the ensuing embroilment are exceedingly complex, and the full story has yet to come to light. According to testimony published in “That Arab Horse Tangle” (The Rider and Driver, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 11, June 5, 1909 and No. 12, June 12, 1909), the Jockey Club began by sending to Weatherbys for verification the Arabic certificates which had accompanied the Davenport horses. By 1899, “to counter the overt forgery of pedigrees by dealers… the General Stud Book now accepted only Consular Certificates issued in the port where a horse was exported“(James Fleming, writing in Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence, p. 407). After a favorable review from Weatherbys, the papers returned to Alexandretta and Aleppo for consular verification, which they obtained. It seemed as though the Jockey Club was ready to register the Davenport horses when negotiations broke down, and the Jockey Club denied the application. Davenport, whose vocation was the drawing of political cartoons, claimed his unflattering portrayal of Jockey Club chairman August Belmont was the cause of bias.

Davenport reminded people that the Jockey Club already had registered several imported Arabians from the Middle East on the basis of documentation ranging from the flimsy to the non-existent. One such mare, belonging to Peter Bradley, was apparently either *ABBYA or *ZARIFFEY, both described as “Kehilan, sub-strain unknown” in the auction catalog from the Hamidie dispersal. Davenport pointed out that their description was useless for establishing purity of blood, and neither mare appears among the eventual registrations of the Arabian Horse Club. Davenport also publicized the Jockey Club’s acceptance of *BEAMING STAR, an unpedigreed animal which Davenport’s traveling companion Jack Thompson had bought on the dock in Beirut and shipped to America on a boat separate from the Davenport importation.

Though registered by the Jockey Club, none of the above animals appears in the Arabian section of the printed ASB volumes. Also conspicuously absent is one of W.R.Brown’s 1918 imports from Crabbet, *RAMLA. This is perhaps because the registrations of foals, and hence to a certain extent their parents, were based on the annual return of breeding records of mares, as were the registrations in the GSB. Since most Americans will not be acquainted with this format, a typical GSB entry is quoted from Volume XXII(1913), p.l 957:

MABRUKA (Bay), foaled in 1891, by Azrek, out of imp.
Meshura, continued from Vol. XXI, p. 896.
1909 b.f. Munira, by Daoud Crabbet Stud
1910 b.c. by Rijm (died in 1912)
1911 b.f. Marhaba, by Daoud
1912 barren to Ibn Yashmak
1913 not covered in 1912

MARHABA is familiar to American breeders as the dam of the Selby import *MIRZAM (by Rafeef).

Since the Jockey Club refused to cooperate, Davenport joined with other interested Arab horse enthusiasts and formed the Arabian Horse Club (AHC) in 1908. The next year the Arabian Horse Club issued its first stud book, and after certification by the Department of Agriculture, it became the official registration authority for Arabian horses in America. The original 1909 stud book registered 71 Arabians, of which twelve had also appeared in the Arab sections of the ASB volumes published to that date. These horses were therefore “double registered” Arabians.

One Arabian breeder was unimpressed. Though invited to register his horses, Spencer Borden felt no need to do so. His stock imported from England was in the GSB and ASB, the foals he had bred were also in the ASB, and he “did not care to enter them in any other place” (see The Rider and Driver, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 9, May 22, 1909, p. 4). At that point in time, Borden was almost the only one breeding ASB registered Arabians. The registration on the Huntington animals had lapsed, and many of the breeders working with Huntington bloodlines entered their horses in the new AHC stud book. Ramsdell produced an occasional ASB registered foal from one of his *NEJDME mares, but his period of greatest activity as an Arabian breeder had passed. Borden had an effective monopoly on the production of Jockey Club registered Arabians.

Borden’s ultimate goal as a breeder of Arabian horses was to convince the United States Army to use his horses as the basis for an American cavalry stud, producing part-Arab animals for military use. In 1909 he was the only person breeding a significant number of Arabians eligible to the same stud books as Thoroughbreds, and he no doubt saw this as a great advantage.

In 1917, apparently at the insistence of W. R. Brown, Borden relented and “double registered” his horses by entering them in the AHC stud book. Shortly after this, Brown bought out the Borden program, becoming the new monopolizer of double registered stock. In 1918 Brown made a substantial importation from the Crabbet Stud. At the time, Brown’s chief American rival as a breeder was Peter Bradley, whose Hingham Stock Farm had continued to breed the Davenport Arabians after the latter’s death in 1912, as well as horses of Hamidie and one or two other lines. However, Bradley did not breed double registered stock, and the last Arabian foal crop born in Hingham ownership came in 1921.

Brown’s Maynesboro Stud was to enjoy a number of years as the largest Arabian nursery on the continent. He had bought Crabbet bred horses imported by Ames, Borden, and Davenport. He had made his own large importation from that source, followed by a second and much smaller importation from England. He had bought the rest of the Borden herd, which included animals of Dillon, Ramsdell, and Huntington lines. Among the latter was the mare NAZLET, whom Borden had had to register with the Jockey Club himself. Brown also developed a network to keep himself informed of Arabian horses which became available for purchase. After the closeout of the Borden operation and before the 1926 Kellogg importation from Crabbet, Brown was almost the only breeder of double registered stock.

Among the horses Brown’s brother had acquired from the Davenport estate was the 1910 bay stallion JERRED, by the Davenport import *EUPHRATES and out of *NEJDME. Several writers have advanced the theory that JERREDE was not out of *NEDJME, but rather her granddaughter NEJDME III, claiming that Davenport never owned *NEJDME and that the AHC made a mistake in attributing the colt to her. Both Volume 1 (1913) of the AHC stud books and Volume XII of the ASB attribute *NEJDME’s ownership to Davenport, and state unequivocally that JERREDE was her son. Furthermore, as of 1909 NEJDME II (whose sire *OBEYRAN was single registered) was in the ownership of Eleanor Gates in California. Brown was using JERREDE at stud in a limited way, and by 1915 he had begun an effort to accomplish the Jockey Club registration of the Davenport imports *URFAH and her son *EUPHRATES, thus making JERREDE and his get eligible, too. Brown traced a copy of the Arabic document pertaining to *URFAH and *EUPHRATES, secured consular verification of it, and finally had Lady Anne Blunt vouch for its authenticity. The Jockey Club notified Brown of the completion of the registration in 1919. *URFAH and *EUPHRATES appear in ASB XII (1920), on p. 662. Since the credentials of the other Davenport imports were really no different from those of *URFAH and *EUPHRATES, the possibility of double registering them arose. Brown did not want to watch the rest of the Davenport horses ride into the ASB on the coat tails of *URFAH and *EUPHRATES. He insisted that should the Hingham management wish to pursue the matter, the Jockey Club ought to consider the Davenport imports on a case by case basis (see Charles C. Craver III, “At the Beginning,” Arabian Horse News, May, 1974, pp. 97-112). The management at Hingham evidently did not, and the other Davenport animals remained single registered, duly entered in The Arabian Stud Book, but not the Jockey Club Stud Book.

The JERREDE influence endured at Maynesboro only through his daughter DJEMELI (out of Nazlet), dam of MATIH. Other single registered lines from Maynesboro’s early days did not endure, producing their last foals for Brown in 1921. In 1921 and 1922 Brown imported Arabians registered in the French Stud Book, making the last additions to the double-registered gene pool which did not come from the GSB. Brown’s limitation of his breeding stock to double registered animals amounted to a self imposed restriction of his options. Looking from the broadest perspective, that of the development of the breed as a whole in America, Brown’s attitude meant that the separate breeding traditions which Davenport and Borden had established by and large remained separate for another generation. Brown’s horses amounted to a breed within a breed. Since double registration gave his animals an added selling point, Brown and others to follow had a not insignificant economic stake in the matter as well.

Brown made two further importations of Arabian stock to this country: the better known of these is his 1932 importation from Egypt, which included *NASR, *ZARIFE, *RODA, *AZIZA, *H. H. MOHAMED ALI’S HAMIDA, and *H.H.MOHAMED ALI’S HAMAMA. The latter two received their lengthy appellations to distinguish them from Brown’s 1923 import *HAMIDA (Daoud x Hilmyeh) and the mare HAMAMA (Harara x Freda) of Davenport and Hamidie lines. There is evidence to suggest that Carl Raswan helped to steer Brown in the direction of the Egyptian horses. None of the Brown’s 1932 imports appears in the Arab section of the ASB, apparently closed to new non-Thoroughbred registered stock by that time (see below), and since Brown began dispersing his herd shortly after their arrival, it is unclear what use he would have made of them. Brown bred single registered 1934 *NASR foals out of RAAB and BAZRAH. *AZIZA produced the 1935 colt AZKAR, by RAHAS.

Brown also made his own small importation from the desert in 1929. These horses were never registered with either the ASB or AHC. Some believe they never reached this country.

W. K. Kellogg’s importation from the Crabbet Stud in 1926 greatly expanded the base of double registered breeding stock, in terms of numbers and also bloodlines. By that time, the GSB had been closed to newly imported Arabians. The passage of the Jersey Act in 1913 had closed the GSB to Thoroughbreds from other countries, unless they could trace their pedigrees in all lines to animals entered in previous volumes. The 1921 decision did the same thing for Arabians, though one wonders if the death of Lady Anne Blunt in 1917 and the advanced age of her husband, leaving no equal authority, had been an additional factor, making Weatherbys leery of becoming involved in future controversies similar to the one which had surrounded the Davenport horses. Their principal business was the registration of Thoroughbreds, not the verification of the pedigrees of imported Arabians. GSB XXIV (entries through 1920) registered imp. Skowronek, and GSB XXV (through 1924) included imp. DWARKA, the last Arabian added to the GSB gene pool. DWARKA blood had reached America in 1924 in his daughter *ANA. Skowronek blood arrived in the Kellogg shipment of 1926. At about this time the ASB followed suit and ceased to consider imported Arabians not already in the GSB or another Thoroughbred stud book. This established the ASB Arabian gene pool as overlapping that of the GSB with the addition of *EUPHRATES, *NEJDME, and Brown’s French imports. The double registration of the line from *Leopard had not been maintained.

With the advent of manager Herbert Reese in 1927 and the influence of W. R. Brown’s opinions, the management at Kellogg’s came to believe in the importance of double registered stock. Letters in the Kellogg files between Reese and Kellogg indicate that the double registration factor had a major bearing on most aspects of management policy: planning matings, starting young stallions at stud, and the buying and selling of breeding stock. For instance, Reese admired the young sires *FERDIN and FARANA for their conformation, and reminded Kellogg that they had the added advantage of being double registered. Reese made the decision to buy LEILA (El Jafil x Narkeesa) in spite of her status as a single registered mare.

Looking at the Kellogg record from Reese’s arrival in 1927 through 1933, one sees that despite the higher priority attached to double registered stock, the first seven mares Reese purchased and then bred registered foals from had Davenport blood, and that Reese bred more than fifteen foals from double registered mares and single registered stallions. The reason for this is perhaps contained in correspondence between Reese and Kellogg among the Kellogg Ranch Papers. They mention the possibility of registering the ranch’s Davenport stock with the Jockey Club for $50 per head. This writer was unable to locate correspondence to and from the Jockey Club, or any letters explaining why the plan did not come to fruition. Whether Reese and Kellogg, or the Jockey Club, did not follow is not known, but by the summer of 1934 Reese was writing to Kellogg that “…we have eliminated a large percent of the single registered stock” (H.H. Reese to W.K. Kellogg, August 25, 1934). Reese’s last three single registered Kellogg foals out of double registered mares were the 1933 HANAD fillies out of *FERDISIA, *RIFDA, and RAAD. Thereafter, he put Jockey Club mares to Jockey Club stallions only. The fortunes of Davenport blood at the Kellogg Ranch declined as many, but by no means all, Davenport and part Davenport horses were sold. Well known double registered Arabians bred at the Kellogg Ranch include ABU FARWA, FERSEYN, SIKIN, RIFNAS, NATAF, RONEK, SUREYN, and ROSEYNA. Later writers had an unfair tendency to bolster the reputation of these horses at the expense of the ranch’s single registered stock.

As Maynesboro began to break up in the early 1930s, the greatest concentrations of Maynesboro stock accumulated at Kellogg’s, J. M. Dickinson’s, and W. R. Hearst’s. All three breeders continued to double register their horses. Together with the Selby Stud, which had acquired the bulk of its foundation stock from Crabbet, these studs were the principal breeders of double registered Arabians in the 1930’s, and among the largest breeders of Arabian horses in general.

The other major player was Albert Harris, who had bought his first Arabians from Davenport. His foundation sire NEJDRAN JR. and mares SAAIDA and RUHA were all single registered. Harris later added the Davenport import *EL BULAD, a stallion he had tried for years to buy from Bradley before he at last convinced him to sell, according to a letter from Harris among the Kellogg Ranch Papers. Other single registered Harris foundation mares included the Hingham bred MORFDA, MERSHID, and MEDINA. Most of the Harris Arabians were single registered, but he also bred from *ANA, a double registered mare he had imported from England, and a number of double registered mares from Maynesboro: OPHIR, NANDA, *SIMAWA, NIHT, NIYAF, BAZVAN, and MATIH. Harris imported the double registered stallion *NURI PASHA from England in 1924, and had his first ASB registered foals born the next year. With an occasional lapse, Harris proved amazingly conscientious about breeding his few double registered mares to double registered stallions. From 1925 through 1941, Harris bred 38 double registered foals, and only 5 foals from Jockey Club mares and single registered stallions. His Jockey Club mares almost always went to KATAR (Gulastra x *Simawa), *NURI PASHA, KEMAH (*Nuri Pasha x Nanda), KAABA, or KHALIL (both *Nuri Pasha x Ophir) rather than Harris’s single registered sires like NEJDRAN JR., ALCAZAR (Nejdran Jr. x Rhua), and *SUNSHINE. From 1925 through 1931, Harris distinguished his double registered foals by giving them names beginning with the letter “K,” among them the stallions named above. He later abandoned the system: three single registered foals of 1932 and 1934 also got “K” names, and beginning in 1935 virtually all Harris bred horses got names beginning with the letter “K.” In 1942 and 1943 (the last two years in which the Jockey Club registered Arabians as Thoroughbred horses), Harris-owned double registered mares produced five more foals, all by Jockey Club stallions. For some reason, these appear only in the AHC stud book, and not the ASB.

General Dickinson’s farm, Traveler’s Rest, also appears to have used double registration as a guide for making decisions. Most of Dickinson’s double registered horses had come from Brown. Dickinson bred 65 double registered foals born from 1931 through 1942. (Two additional foals, ISLAM and BINNI, were from double registered parents but do not appear in the Arab section of the ASB.) Only 17 Traveler’s Rest foals from the same period were by single registered stallions and out of Jockey Club mares. This seems to indicate that the consideration of double registration had a major effect on breeding decisions at Traveler’s Rest. Jockey Club registered mares were more likely to go to GULASTRA, RONEK, JEDRAN, KOLASTRA, or BAZLEYD than *NASR, *ZARIFE, or *CZUBUTHAN. The matter was of sufficient importance to Dickinson that his catalogs indicate which of his horses carried ASB registration. The consideration may have had a bearing on Dickinson’s decision to sell the Davenport stallion ANTEZ to Poland. Famous double registered Arabians bred by J. M. Dickinson include ROSE OF LUZON, NAHARIN, GINNYYA, CHEPE NOYON, HAWIJA, BRIDE ROSE, GYM-FARAS, and ALYF.

At Selby’s, aside from ten foals out of the single registered mares MURKA, SLIPPER, CHRALLAH, and ARSA, the exception was *MIRAGE. Lady Wentworth, daughter of the Blunts, had taken charge of Crabbet in 1920, and bought this desert bred stallion at Tattersalls in 1923. The 1924 Crabbet Catalog relates that Lady Wentworth was waiting for the completion of additional paperwork regarding his provenance before incorporating *MIRAGE into the Crabbet herd. The writer does not know the outcome of the paperwork, but in 1921 the GSB had closed to imported Arabians, as noted above. Weatherbys registration was of the utmost importance to Lady Wentworth, and unable to induce the GSB to reopen for *MIRAGE, she sold the horse to Roger Selby in 1930.

Britain’s Arab Horse Society (AHS) had formed in 1918 and issued its first stud book the following year; it stood ready to register imported Arabians after the closing of the GSB. However, Lady Wentworth had had a disagreement with the Arab Horse Society, and had ceased to register her horses in its stud book after the 1922 foals. Somewhat like Borden before her, she felt that GSB registration was all her horses needed. It was not until after the War that she rejoined the Society, so *MIRAGE does not appear among AHS registrations.

Selby’s showed little reluctance to breed *MIRAGE and his son IMAGE to double registered mares. The *MIRAGE daughters RAGEYMA and GEYAMA went into the Selby mare band. Of the 64 AHC registered Selby foals born to double registered mares from 1932 to 1943, 28 were by *MIRAGE or IMAGE. However, the management at Selby’s took double registration seriously enough that all eligible Selby foals appear in the Arabian section of the ASB, with the inexplicable exceptions of FRANZA (*Mirzam x *Rose of France) and RASMIAN (*Selmian x *Rasmina). Apparently ineligible was NISIM. NISIM was originally registered as the 1940 grey foal of two chestnuts, namely IMAGE and NISA. After the coat color incompatibility became apparent, the AHC changed the sire to *Raffles. The 1940 entry under NISA in the ASB reads, “covered previous year by an unregistered,” which was standard ASB notation for single registered Arabian stallions used on double registered mares. Famous double registered Arabians bred by Roger Selby include RASRAFF, RAFMIRZ, INDRAFF, SELFRA, and MIRZAIA.

The only Arabian sire getting registered Arabian foals in the first two crops of W. R. Hearst’s stud was the 75% Davenport stallion JOON. By 1935, when the third crop was on the ground, the program had expanded to include the Davenport stallion KASAR and the Crabbet import *FERDIN. The Hearst program was growing rapidly with purchases from the Kellogg Ranch and the disbanding Maynesboro Stud. All of the Maynesboro horses were double registered, but some of the Kellogg purchases were horses with Davenport pedigrees. The Hearst Sunical Land and Packing Corp. began producing double registered Arabian foals in 1936. From that year through 1943, it bred 56 double registered foals, and only five foals from Jockey Club mares and single registered stallions. The key Jockey Club sires at Hearst’s were RAHAS, GULASTRA, GHAZI, and REHAL, all bred at Maynesboro, and the homebred ROABRAH (Rahas x Roaba). Hearst’s also owned and used the Davenport stallions KASAR and his son ANSARLAH, but restricted them in large part to their single registered mares: ANLAH, SCHILAN, LADY ANNE (daughters of Antez), RAADAH (by Hanad), ALILATT (Saraband x Leila), RASOULMA (*Raseyn x *Malouma), and FERSABA (out of the Davenport mare Saba). The other single registered sire at Hearst’s was JOON, but after the management decided to use double registration as a criterion for planning the breeding schedule, apparently the only mare he ever saw was ANTAFA (Antez x *Rasafa). The Davenport influence at Hearst’s, as at Kellogg’s and Harris’s, would likely have been far greater had double registration not been an issue.

Other breeders double registering Arabian foals during the years 1934-1943 included Fred Vanderhoof (from *Ferda and *Bint), E. W. Hassan (from Ghazil), L. P. Sperry (from *Kola and Larkspur), Donald Jones (from Nejmat), C. A. West (from Bazvan), Ira Goheen (from Hurzab and Kokab), L. S. Van Vleet (from *Rishafieh, Raffieh, Selfra, Gutne, and Ishmia), and R. T. Wilson (from Matih). Their combined total of double registered foals was minor compared to the five farms discussed above, but it demonstrates that the concern with double registration and its effect on management policy were not confined to a select group of breeders. At Van Vleet’s, for instance, the Jockey Club mares were more likely to go to KABAR (Kaaba x *Raida) than *ZARIFE.

Until fairly recently, the Arabian Horse Club was inconsistent in assigning the breedership of foals to the owner of the dam at time of covering. Sometimes the breedership of a foal was attributed to the owner at time of foaling. The latter seems to have been the Jockey Club definition of “breeder,” and as a result the breeders of several familiar Arabians differ from ASB to AHC. RABIYAS, e.g., was bred by W. R. Brown according to The Arabian Stud Book and by the W. K. Kellogg Institute according to the ASB.

Some Arabians are in the ASB under a different name. Many of these amount to minor spelling variations, as in the case of HAWIJA (spelled “Hasijah” in ASB). Some take the form of the addition or subtraction of a prefix or suffix. DANAS is “Danas Maneghi” in the ASB, while *CRABBET SURA is “Sura.” Sometimes a numeral was added or subtracted. *Raffles is in the ASB as “*Raffles 2nd,” as there was apparently a Thoroughbred by that name. The mare *NARDA II is in the GSB and the 1906 Crabbet catalog as “Narda,” the numeral apparently added to distinguish her from an American Thoroughbred of the same name. In her case it carried over to her Arabian stud book registration. A few have entirely different names, e.g. RIFDA who is “Copper Cloud” in the Jockey Club Stud Book.

The last Arabians which the Jockey Club registered as Thoroughbred horses were 1943 foals. By the late 1950s, most newer breeders were not even aware that at one time there had been two categories of registered Arabians in America. Very few living Arabians in America show straight Jockey Club pedigrees; this writer estimates fewer than 1%. Among them one would have to include those horses bred from GSB registered Crabbet and Hanstead lines imported from the U.K. in recent decades. The GSB continued to register Arabians through the foals of 1964 and this function helped to a certain extent to hold the older English Arabian lines together as a breeding unit.

The issue of double registration had a controlling influence over the development of the Arabian breed in America. Until the early 1940s, all new breeders had to decide if Jockey Club Arabians were important to them, and if so, to what extent. The double registration factor goes a long way toward explaining why Davenport mare lines were more frequently top-crossed to Crabbet stallions than ASB mare lines were top-crossed to Davenport stallions. The double registration idea continued to influence after 1943, but one cannot know exactly how many breeders based decisions on the possibility of the Jockey Club reopening the ASB to Arabians. Readers are encouraged to examine the pedigrees of their own horses to find breedings selected possibly with double registration in mind.

[A final note regarding Jockey Club registered Arabians pertains to the use of the asterisk(*) to denote an Arabian horse imported to this country. Its first use as such in a printed stud book was in ASB Volume X (1910). The Jockey Club also used the symbol to denote imported Thoroughbreds. It was not until Volume IV (1939) that the Arabian registry adopted its use, though it has recently abandoned it. Arabians imported after June 1, 1983 no longer receive an asterisk as part of their registered names in this country. However, the symbol continues to delight advertisers and pedigree writers; there are no restrictions on its use in these contexts.]

The San Simeon Stallions, 1937: from left JOON, RAHAS, SABAB, GULASTRA, KASAR and GHAZI. Is it a coincidence that they were posed so that the single-registered horses alternated with double-registered ones?
Photo courtesy Harriet Hallonquist.

Rafyk and Sir James Penn Boucaut: The Arabian Foundations in Australia

by Michael Bowling
from The CMK Record VIII/4 Spring 1990 used by permission of Michael Bowling

RAFYK (Azrek x *Rose of Sharon) at Quambi Springs in 1903, age 13. (Photo by “The Critic”, courtesy Coralie Gordon; for the record, this is a screen of a copy photo of a photocopy of a 90-year-old newspaper cutting!)

RAFYK was a three-quarter brother to ROSE DIAMOND, featured in Record VIII/2; for information on RAFYK’s and ROSE DIAMOND’s wonderful sire AZREK see p. 20 of that issue. RAFYK was the first major stallion produced by what was to become the breed’s most internationally influential female line. The difference between the pedigrees of ROSE DIAMOND and RAFYK was the replacement of KARS with HADBAN as maternal grandsire of the latter. HADBAN was a bay imported from an Indian racing stable to Crabbet, partly with the idea that he should take part in a highly promoted Arab race. The race was not a notable success and the Arab cause was further embarrassed when its winner was soundly trounced by a moderate TB in a match race. Arab racing in England took a hundred years to recover from its fumbled start, but the 1884 race can claim an important contribution to breed history as it was the occasion for HADBAN’s coming to Crabbet.

HADBAN: the quintessential broodmare sire

Lady Anne Blunt’s manuscript stud book describes HADBAN as

An imported bay horse, foaled in 1878, a Hadban Enzeyhi, bred by Jakin Ibn Aghil, Sheykh of the Daafini tribe of Oteybeh, from whom he was purchased by Ali Ibn Amr of Bussora and Bombay and exported to Bombay in the autumn of 1883. Purchased of Ali Ibn Amr soon after being landed at Bombay. Imported in 1884. A bright bay with three white feet, hind feet and near fore feet (mutlak al yemin) and star. Splendid head with prominent forehead (jebha), small muzzle, neck a trifle short but well placed, good shoulder, pasterns rather too long. Fine carriage of tail, fine trotter in harness, grand mover gallopping[sic]. Hadban was the sire of Nefisa, Rose of Sharon and Bitumen [this apparently written in 1885, before the arrival of the 1886 colt MAJID].”

He stood 14:2 and 1/2 and measured 7 and 3/4 inches below the knee, “rather over than under“- in other words measured just under 8 inches of bone.

Hadban was sold in June 1885 to D. Mackay Esq(re) of New South Wales for 120 gs for exportation to Australia. In view of the excellence of the mares by Hadban, it is to be regretted there were so few of his stock.”

Wilfrid Blunt, quoted by Peter Upton, later made a stronger statement:

Hadban is, next to Mesaoud, the most important sire we imported, being numerously represented in the Stud Book through Rose of Sharon and Nefisa, his two best daughters and our two most valuable brood mares.”

HADBAN got just four foals at Crabbet, MESAOUD had over 25 times as many; HADBAN must have been the better sire even without considering the inextricable contribution of the HADBAN daughters to the success of MESAOUD. Those incomparable matrons *ROSE OF SHARON and NEFISA produced 34 foals between them and numbered some of the breed’s great progenitors among their offspring, so it is little wonder the name of HADBAN is “numerously represented” in modern pedigrees.

The hazards of travel

Lady Anne Blunt described HADBAN in India as

a splendid horse–magnificent head–has had an accident which caused near foreleg to swell and swelling went down but left lump on fetlock joint–doubts as to possibility of training so that price came within our reach. Horse not lame now–but might not stand gallopping[sic]. Defect stands slightly back [at knees] also bone lighter than some but quality of sinews appears wiry and shape and style show perfect blood. Mazbut in the tribe… we get him very cheap… hardly over £100.” The next day the Blunts “Saw our own Hadban mounted. W.[ilfrid] also got on him but found his mouth very awkward, he wants teaching, seems to have had only a reshmeh [bitless Arab bridle], looks like Jerboa when trotting but would not settle, would play. The lump on fetlock better. He has a fine temper.”

The Blunts purchased three stallions in India; the other two were RATAPLAN and PROXIMO and they were shipped to England along with two other entries for the Arab race.

On Friday evening a queer accident happened to Hadban, he got his near hind leg over the sling and also tumbled down…[it developed that] the horse had a stoppage and was in violent pain, it was frightful to see the agony. They got a syringe and so I went away, but I heard that before they could do anything to relieve him he had in his plunges got his forelegs out one in front of the other through the side bar of the box and thus hanging on had purposely banged his head from side to side against the iron hoop above as if trying to kill himself. When got out he seemed to be dying and was indeed reported dead. However, they managed to relieve him and he pulled through and was better on Sunday…”

The mind boggles at the gap in the ranks of the modern breed which would have resulted had HADBAN succumbed to the rigors of 19th century horse transport (as RATAPLAN and the younger JEROBOAM were to do in 1887 on their way to Egypt). Incidentally, RATAPLAN’s purchase price in India had been £250; his slim contribution, to Crabbet and the breed, has not justified the difference over HADBAN.

KARS and HADBAN departed together for Australia in 1885; KARS commanded the higher price (£250). He was the original Crabbet sire and had been for years a major figure in Lady Anne’s life, she not unsurprisingly noted his loss more than HADBAN’s in her journal:

The central figure of the stud has disappeared; the glory of it seems to be put out with Kars absence.” His companion received only the comment “Hadban going too.”

Still Lady Anne came greatly to regret the sale of HADBAN after just two seasons and four foals, as reflected in later journal entries:

This [Ashgar offered to Count Potocki by Wilfrid for £150] would be the third horse parted with in too great haste–Pharaoh, Hadban and now Ashgar.” “Perhaps Mahruss [sold to J. Hamilton Leigh] will be more valued now he is out of reach. It was so with Hadban and Merzuk, the losing of both of which–or rather the wanton throwing away of them–was a great misfortune, judging from the produce, alas too few, we did get of theirs.”

[MERZUK and MAHRUSS GSB each left one breeding foal at Crabbet–both proved influential beyond all expectation and both were out of HADBAN’s daughter *ROSE OF SHARON; we will encounter RIDAA and RIJM in later chapters of her saga.]

The foundation of Australian Arabian breeding

Australia proved an important early market for the Blunts; unfortunately Australian purebred breeding was not ready for such potential foundation animals–the Australian Arabian registry was not founded until 1956, any horses which were registered up to that time being recorded in England with the Arab Horse Society. FRANCOLIN and PURPLE STOCK, KARS and HADBAN, NEJRAN (Azrek x Nefisa) and ROSE OF JERICHO were among the Crabbet Arabs to leave no descent Down Under. Dwelling on might-have-beens is generally a waste of space; fortunately there is a positive Australian breeding tradition from these early years to be recorded. Sir James Penn Boucaut maintained a flourishing stud at Quambi Springs, near Mt. Barker in South Australia, from 1891 to 1908 and publicized the breed through his writings. When the Boucaut horses were dispersed two successor programs took over, adding new Crabbet sires and bringing the influences of RAFYK and other Quambi founders (save ROSE OF JERICHO) down to the edge of modern times. Their names, in every possible permutation and combination, are at the back of most modern Australian pedigrees.

The Quambi Springs program was founded in 1891, when Sir James bought through his London agents the yearling RAFYK and the broodmares DAHNA and ROSE OF JERICHO. Lady Anne Blunt had noted, on returning from Egypt in 1891, her pleasure with AZREK’s sons, “the beautiful colt Ahmar who exceeds my expectations. The Rose of Sharon one too. Rafyk has grown well.” The Boucaut sale was recognized as a particularly important one, and every effort was made to present the best available prospects: “Rafyk…is really far the best…I still much prefer Rafyk to represent the Stud.”

Ten years later Boucaut added another top young stallion, FARAOUN, a MESAOUD son who was to be the only representative in modern pedigrees of the Ali Pasha Sherif mare FULANA; and two mares perhaps of lesser distinction: NAMUSA and EL LAHR. NARGHILEH’s first foal NAMUSA by Ahmar, described by Lady Anne as “small but lovely mover,” had been less charitably used by Wilfrid to illustrate his thesis that first foals were undesirable compared to a mare’s later produce; Lady Anne thought this an unwarranted generalization. Whatever NAMUSA’s excuse was for standing just 13.3–and perhaps she was less distinguished than such later NARGHILEH offspring as *NASIK and *Nureddin II–she bred on in keeping with her brilliant pedigree. Small size did not stop her from founding one of the most noted families in Australia, which has achieved international recognition and still produces “lovely movers.”

EL LAHR was a granddaughter of the earlier Boucaut purchased DAHNA and possessed a complicated biography. DAHNA’s Crabbet daughter DINARZADE by RATAPLAN had changed hands several times in England, returning at last to Crabbet with this filly by Miss Dillon’s *IMAMZADA. DINARZADE was then sold to Russia, which was to prove an even more effective sink for early Blunt breeding than Australia. Lady Anne recorded in her stud book

Note: Miss Dillon sent with the mare a filly foal by her horse ‘Imamzade

[sic; this spelling has persisted in the Australian stud book. Lady Anne seems to have had a mental block about the names of the Dillon horses, referring to El Emir consistently as Amir and to Jamrood as Jamrud]

which foal I should much prefer not to have had, as it will have to be got rid of whatever good qualities it may possess, for these could not make up for its being half of a strain one cannot vouch for; moreover, if sold from this Stud, it will be counted as of our breeding, no matter what precautions be taken to contradict statements to that effect. A.I.N.B.

As if to illustrate the perversity of things in general, Lady Anne records in her journal a

Discussion with W.S.B. about blunder I find in the catalogue [of the 1901 sale] where ‘Dinarzade filly’ is described as by Himyarite whereas Miss Dillon stated that the sire was her horse Imamzada. [In 1895 JERUD had been repurchased from Miss Dillon in foal to HIMYARITE, perhaps this had caused the confusion.] I wish the filly was not in the actual list at all but might be lead in at the end of sale (as was Barakat last year) but as it is W.S.B. now thinks our best — indeed only — course is to draw a red pen stroke through ‘Himyarite’ and write above it ‘Imamzada’.

EL LAHR overcame her early vicissitudes to fund a major line in Australia–indeed traditional Australian breeding is unique in the world Arabian community for its preponderance of the Dahman strain, owed to the DAHNA family, which includes extensive EL LAHR descent.

Quambi Springs: an eyewitness account

The balance of this RAFYK feature is based largely upon information generously supplied by Coralie Gordon. In July 1903, “The Critic,” in The Advertiser, an Adelaide, South Australia newspaper, wrote:

At Quambi Springs, near Mt. Barker, is located the famous stud of Arabian horses belonging to His Honor Sir J.P. Boucaut. In former years there were importations of Arab stallions into Australia, but these all came from India with at least a shadow of suspicion as to their purity of origin. So enthusiastic was Sir J.P. Boucaut’s admiration of the Arabian horse that importation of Arab stallions for grade raising purposes did not by any means satisfy his ambition, and he determined to establish the pure breed in Australia. For this purpose he took the greatest precautions to secure none but animals of the purest race, and his importations were from the world known stud of Mr. Wilfred [sic] Blunt, of Crabbet Park, England [see Lady Anne’s prophetic comments above about EL LAHR’s identification with Crabbet].

“The Critic” quoted some colorful and fairly imaginative difficulties associated with the importation of purebred Arabians from the desert: of greater interest are his wonderful photo of RAFYK and the circumstantial commentary on the Quambi Springs horses as individuals.

The handsome Rafyk” was “a beautiful blood-red bay, he stands 14 3/4 hands high, girths 5 ft. 9 in., measures 8 1/2 in. below the knee, 20 in. on forearm, and 21 in. from pin to pin across his loin.” FARAOUN was “dark brown and a different type to Rafyk. His beautiful wither could not be excelled by the best English Thoroughbred. Height 14 3/4 hands, girth 5 ft. 7 in., forearm 19 in., bone below knee 8 in., and 21 in. loin pin to pin. He is a magnificent horse.”

With him were imported the two handsome mares, Elzaba [sic] and Namusa. The dimensions of the latter are 13 3/4 hands high, 52 in. girth, 14 1/2 in. forearm, 6 1/2 in. below the knee, and 18 in. loin. Both are handsome bays and are now heavy in foal. Great interest is centered around the two matrons, Rose of Jericho and Dahna. The former, a rich blood bay…shows quality combined with substance to a marked degree…Dahna is a beautiful brown…Both are admirable specimens of brood mares. The other noteworthy Australian mares are Sherifa, Keheilet, Labadah and Sadde [sic]. Sherifa is a beautiful molded mare by Rafyk from Dahna. Twice she has been to Mr. Austin’s imported stallions, Maboab [sic], and also to his latest import, Magistrate. The progeny of the latter mating is now a beautiful [mare in] foal to Faraoum [sic]. Owing to the mares being heavy in foal and in a condition more in keeping with good sense than show yard purposes, The Critic refrains for the present from presenting its readers with the photos of the female portion of the stud. When surroundings are calculated to establish and maintain constitution the beneficial course does not show out stock that run all winter with the sleekness of stable-fed animals.

Another observer, the cattle-dealer A.H. Morris, wrote in a 1904 letter that “the Purebred Arab mares are a nice lot, but Rose of Jericho is quality all over.”

RAFYK in pedigrees

Plainly, “Elzaba” was EL LAHR and “Faraoum,” FARAOUN; no doubt “Sadde” and “Maboab” were the SAADE (Magistrate x Sherifa) and MAHBOUB (imp. India) listed as foundation animals in the Australian stud book. SAADE was bred to her grandsire RAFYK to produce MECCA; she did not leave a female line but MECCA’s son KHAMASIN and grandson ZARAFA made important contributions. KEHEILET was one of ROSE OF JERICHO’s lost daughters, but LABADAH (Mahboub x Sherifa) founded an extensively branched Australian line through her granddaughter DERYABAR, responsible for SENABRA, MINIFER, MUTRIF, TOU-FAIL and ELECTRIMEL, to name just a few branch founders. (Coralie Gordon writes “I am currently doing a story on a mare named DERYABAR, a great-great-granddaughter of Dahna and a very influential Australian mare, for the Australian Arabian Yearbook. The computer printout of her progeny is an inch thick!”)

EL LAHR and NAMUSA from the second importation also bred on with distinction through the nick with RAFYK; AL CASWA (Rafyk x El Lahr) had two fillies by KHAMASIN and both founded most extensively branched lines. This is the family of the classically-named New South Wales Department of Agriculture horses including CALISTO, CALLIOPE, MEDEA, PROMETHEUS and PSYCHE. NAMUSA’s daughters were AYESHA, RABI and SEKH; the first produced the important early sire RAISULI and the other two founded major families to which belong such mares as BARADA II, HAMMAMET, MOTALGA, TARNEY, ATALANTA, YENBO, RUHEYM, YUSUF and TAFILEH, not to mention any of the distinguished sires that might be named here.

SAMPLE PEDIGREE — DERYABAR, a major line foundress of the DAHNA family, typifying Boucaut sources from the Winter Cooke program in Victoria
DERYABAR Khamasin Fakreddin Rijm: Mahruss II x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Feluka: Mesaoud x Ferida
Mecca Rafyk: Azrek x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Sadde: Magistrate x Sherifa by Rafyk
Khadjad Faraoun Mesaoud: Aziz x Yemameh by Zobeyni
Fulana: Ibn Nura x Bint Fereyha by Aziz
Labadah Mahboub
Sherifa: Rafyk x Dahna

Back to The Critic:

Sir J.P. Boucaut is justly termed the high priest of the Arabian cult. So far he has been the only one who has made a practical attempt to establish the breed of the Arab horse in Australia. That they are becoming exceedingly valuable to the Australian horse breeders is shown by the fact that in the two years of its existence the Quambi stud has made a name for itself for which it ought to be as justly proud as it is conspicuously famous. In producing the photographs, The Critic has departed from the stiff strained attitude generally depicted in illustrations, and adopted the free, easy, ordinary pose that is always more appreciated by true lovers of the Arab horse [emphasis added]. As a reward for his labors, Sir J.P. Boucaut will have the good wishes of every horse lover and every horse breeder throughout Australia.”

RAFYK had already left England when the question of selling AZREK arose; Lady Anne summarized the state of the AZREK sire line and had a good word for RAFYK’s grey brother who was to be named RASHAM:

I am sorry to lose Azrek (if we do lose him) before next year, still as Shah will represent him well–having greatly improved and having quite equal style to Azrek–I do not object to selling him now. There are several colts, the Bozra one and the Dinarzade are the best at present and besides them there are the bay Nefisa colt and the Rose of Sharon and Sherifa ones, not to mention the one of last year, Ahmar–so that of Azrek we have Shah, Ahmar, and two first rate of this year besides three others and probably some colts will appear in 1892.”

Still, Lady Anne recorded in her stud book when AZREK went to Cecil Rhodes in Africa.

it is impossible not to feel a pang of regret at the departure of a horse such as Azrek, whose stock are so satisfactory, while the Stud remains with yet untried sires. There should be a good many worthy sires to represent him, but they are still young, the oldest a two year old.”

In fact the AZREK male line was to vanish from Crabbet and from the breed; AZREK has only four sons (AHMAR, RAFYK, BEN AZREK and NEJRAN) in modern pedigrees and they bred only through daughters.

The absence of a male line of course does not imply the absence of genetic influence, particularly when you note the degree of AZREK linebreeding in some of the foundation Australian pedigrees. RAFYK did have distinguished male representatives, among them the handsome BADAWEEN, whose stud card (again thanks to Coralie Gordon) denotes him

Grand Champion of the Commonwealth of Australia 1913-4-6-7” and further notes that he was “described by the Hon. Sir Jas. P. Boucaut, K.C.M.G, as ‘one of the best horses I ever bred.‘” BADAWEEN was “a very handsome horse, just in his prime, 14.3 hands, bright golden bay, standing on a magnificent set of legs, with good flat bone of exceptional quality, and is possessed of a massive, well-coupled frame. In movement, he displays his Arabian origin by that well-known carriage of head and tail, so peculiar to the breed, and, in his build, gives abundant evidence of quality, speed and endurance. His temper is all which could be desired; and, whilst he is full of life and activity, is remarkably gentle and docile.”

SAMPLE PEDIGREE–BARADA II, a key mare of the NAMUSA family, illustrating Boucaut influence through the Brown program in New South Wales
BARADA II Raisuli Rief Sotamm: *Astraled x Selma by Ahmar
Ridaa: Merzuk x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Ayesha Rafyk: Azrek x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Namusa: Ahmar x Narghileh by Mesaoud
Gadara Harir Berk: Seyal x Bukra by Ahmar
Hamasa: Mesaoud x Bint Helwa by Aziz
Zarif Faraoun: Mesaoud x Fulana by Ibn Nura
Rabi: Rafyk x Namusa by Ahmar Z

MINARET: unsolved mystery

One might-have-been which I can’t resist noting involves the mystery horse MINARET, a double RAFYK grandson listed in the 1924 Crabbet Stud Catalogue with a photo, 1916 foaling date and pedigree but no breeder or other provenance. Plainly, Lady Wentworth hoped at this transitional period to reintroduce the AZREK male line at Crabbet, but there seems to be no record of what happened to the horse. Coralie Gordon writes in two letters:

Now, MINARET. We’ve all sat and pondered on this one from time to time. Now, luckily Sir James Boucaut was a prolific writer who produced all kinds of printed matter on his Stud. I am photocopying for you a page from his 1903 Stud Brochure which quotes an unknown buyer of [MINARET’s sire] the stallion Zubier (Rafyk/Rose of Jericho) a full-brother to the well-known Badaween, quoted in The Authentic Arabian as being ‘Champion of Australia.’ I believe this ‘horse-breeder of Northern Australia‘ was probably Mr. A.E. Morrow who returned to Sir James’ Stud in 1908 for the dispersal auction and bought the mares Sherifa, Labadah, Keheilet, Kaaba and Abdul. Abdul (Rafyk/Dahna) was the dam of Minaret, so Minaret was probably bred by Mr. Morrow, if he was indeed bred in 1916. Mr. Morrow appears not to have registered any horses, though I haven’t the time to pursue this at the moment. So how did he get to England, if he did get there? The reports of Sir James’ 1908 Sale give Mr. Morrow’s address as “Wyanda,’ Tolga, New South Wales — but the only Tolga I can find is in Far North Queensland, which is very tropical. This fits with the ‘Northern Australia’ vague address given for the buyer of Zubeir. In the 1924 Crabbet Catalogue, the landscape in the background of the photo is not like anything you’d find in North Queensland. It does look like England, or perhaps something you’d find in Central New South Wales or Victoria. Many early horses were lost because their buyers did not register any progeny in England. In Minaret’s case, there must have been a correspondence between Morrow and Crabbet. He wouldn’t have just suddenly ‘appeared’ in the 1924 Catalogue. I doubt if I’ve helped much, but perhaps I’ve managed to fill in a little of the background.”

Since I wrote to you I had reason to be looking through my copy of Sir James Boucaut’s book, “The Arab Horse of the Future, published in 1905, and find that it was not Mr. Morrow who purchased Zubeir. At least not originally, anyway. The relevant passage occurs on p. 245 of the book and reads as follows — ‘Mr. Warburton, a horse-breeder in Northern Australia, who purchased Zubeir, writes:

Will you allow me to congratulate you on being the owner of such a horse as Rafyk? I can only say that words fail me to express my admiration for him. I could have spent hours looking at him. There is not such another horse in Australia; he is perfect in every way.” Again in May 1904: “Zubeir is growing very like Rafyk, and is in good trim. He has not had an ounce of stable feed since he has been up here. He is doing good work, and it would take a big cheque to buy him.

The more I look at MINARET’s photo the more its background looks like England, if not Crabbet. I wonder whether MINARET was not taken to England more or less incidently by a returning traveler and found by Lady Wentworth–as were Skowronek and *MIRAGE at the same period–but for one reason or another never got registered. Perhaps it was as difficult then as now to figure out who bred him, in the absence of an Australian Arabian stud book.

The little more which is known of the Quambi Stud is summarized in the following quote from Colin Pearson.

Shortly before his death in 1908, Boucaut sold his entire stud except for two mares. He was then aged 77 and unable to cope any longer with the management. ‘I miss dear old Rafyk very much.’ he wrote to Blunt, ‘he was more kindly in his nature and much more sensible than many Christians.’ Boucaut had not been wholly successful in upgrading local stock with his Arabian blood. ‘You may more satisfactorily preach to a horse box than a farmer.’ he wrote–although some of Rafyk’s get were making people think, ‘or rather I should say, beginning to think.’ Rafyk’s influence on the pure Arabian stock in Australia has been considerable…but it has been somewhat overshadowed by the importance of the Boucaut mares Dahna and Namusa [at least in terms of reading charted descent tables; in fact RAFYK has six offspring in pedigrees while DAHNA has two and NAMUSA three] … Among the buyers at the Quambi sale were the Hon. Samuel Winter Cooke of Murndal, Victoria and Mr. C. Leonard Brown of Gurlargambone, N.S.W. In 1911 Cooke imported from Crabbet the Rijm son Fakreddin [ex Feluka] and two years later Brown bought Berk’s son Harir [ex Hamasa}. Another Crabbet importation of this period was the stallion Rief [Sotamm x Ridaa].”

The Boucaut influence

The Boucaut mares with those three Crabbet sires provided the basis for an active tradition which lasted into the 1920’s and provided one important element of modern Australian breeding. The Tehama Stud of A.J.Macdonald and sons played an important role in maintaining these lines.

The next phase came in 1925 when the 25% Crabbet stallion SHAHZADA (Mootrub x Ruth Kesia by Ben Azrak), with the mares NEJDMIEH DB, her en utero daughter NEJD SHERIFA (48% Crabbet by NURI SHERIF, another BEN AZREK grandson) and the straight Crabbet MIRIAM (Nadir x Ranya by *Nasik), were imported to New South Wales by A. E. Grace. These horses were bred among themselves and blended with the Winter Cooke, Brown and Tehama breeding to produce what came to be known as the Colonial Australian or Crabbet-Colonial Arabians. They will be the subject of a future Australian Record treatment, and then the background will be in place for the story of “The Lady Wentworth of Australia,” the late Mrs. A. D. D. Maclean of the Fenwick Stud in Victoria–this seems the best way to organize the series though in fact her first Crabbet imports had come on the scene a year before the Grace horses. Fenwick breeding pervades the Australian Crabbet tradition, and Fenwick is still active in the hands of the Maclean family. A fourth Australian chapter will summarize the influence of non-Fenwick later imports which were of Crabbet breeding in whole or in major part. ***


    • Notes from Lady Anne Blunt’s manuscript stud book

Lady Anne Blunt Journals and Correspondence

    • edited by Archer and Fleming

The Crabbet Arabian Stud its History and Influence

    • by Archer, Pearson and Covey

The Arab Horse

    • by Peter Upton Letters and photocopied material from Coralie Gordon

The Arabian Horse in Australian

    published by the Arab Horse Society of Australia The Australasian Arabian Horse Stud Book

Descent Table: RAFYK Sources in Pedigrees

It may seem strange conceptually but this charts tail-female descent from RAFYK daughters (names in bold); colts as they appear in the female line are in ALL CAPS

    Sherifa (Dahna)

      • Labadah (Mahboub)

        • Khadijad (Faraoun)

          • Alcouza (Khamasin) Deryabar(Khamasin)

    Saade (Magistrate)

      • Mecca (Rafyk)

        • KHAMASIN (Fakreddin) Zem Zem (Fakreddin)

          • ZARAFA (Indian Light)

Al Caswa (El Lahr)

      • Kufara (Khamasin)

          • WALAD (Raseel) Melika (Ishmael)

            • DIOMEDES (Prometheus) FEISAL (Sirdar) Aphrodite (Sala) Iris (Sala) Mira (Kataf) Tarfa II (Sirdar) Venus (Sala) Hebe (Sala) THESSALY (Razaz)

        Sir Aatika (Sirdar)

            • ALADDIN (Kataf) Rufeiya II (Kataf) DEISHA (Kataf) ATLAS (Sala) Juno (Sala) Hera (Sala) Iona (Sala)

        Mishal (Sirdar)

          • CASABLANCA (Razaz) Aurora (Sala) Nemesis (Sala)

    Mecca II (Khamasin)

        • SIR AKID (Sirdar) Caswa (Sirdar)

          • GHEYZUL (Sirdar) Semna (Kataf) Kassie (Kataf) Darani (Darinth)

      Cazada (Sirdar)

          • CENTAUR (Genghis Khan) ARGUS (Sala) Fuewasa (Kataf) Alada (Aladdin) BERRY JERRY ZENDI (Aladdin) Sibyl (Genghis Khan) Hemera (Sala)

      Salome (Ishmael)

        • Gypsy Maid (Sirdar) Buraida (Sirdar) Fara (Kataf)

Ayesha (Namusa)

    • RAISULI (Rief)

Rabi (Namusa)

    • Zarif (Faraoun)

      • Gadara (Harir)

        • Barada II (Raisuli) MAMALUKE (Raisuli) Dhofar (Prince Nejd) Sabiya (Prince Nejd)

Sekh (Namusa)

      • ANCHOR (Harir) Sa-id (Harir)

          • Arabette (Raisuli)

            • ANOUK (Rakib)

        Tatima (Shahzada)

            • Zazouri (Mameluke) Motalga (Indian Light) ZATIM (Zarafa) Tazar(Zarafa) Tarney (Zarney)

        Hilwa (Prince Nejd)

    Salaam (Harir)

        • Ruala (Raisuli)

          • Shaniya (Prince Nejd) Rashidiya (Prince Nejd) Ruheym (Rakib) Ralla (Rakib) INDIAN MOONLIGHT (*SMoonlight)

      Salama (Raisuli)

          • JEDRAN (Prince Nejd) Sayif (Prince Nejd) ZADLAM (Zadaran) SALARAN (Zadaran) ZADOLPHIN (Zadaran) Atalanta (Zadaran) SARACEN (Zadaran)

      Yenbo (Raisuli)

          • Lohaya(Prince Nejd) Yenbo II (Prince Nejd) ZADARAN (Prince Nejd) Jeddah (Prince Nejd) Zuweida (Prince Nejd)

      Yussef (Raisuli)

        • Neyussef (Prince Nejd) Tafileh (Yazid) (Rakib) YARAL (Rakib) Yusuf (Rakib)

The chart shows descent from six RAFYK daughters. LABADAH and SAADE are out of SHERIFA; MECCA had a son KHAMASIN and a daughter ZEM ZEM. KUFARA and MECCA II are out of AL CASWA; RAISULI is a son of AYESHA; RABI has one daughter, ZARIF. SEKH has a son ANCHOR and two daughters, SA-ID and SALAAM.

Preservation Breeding and Population Genetics

by Michael Bowling © 1995
from CMK Record XI/2 Spring ’95

(This discussion is based on outline notes for the talk I gave at the 1994 Annual Meeting of the Arabian Horse Historians Association. The timeliness of the topic is underscored by a comment from the outgoing AHHA president, Carol Schulz, that at least 90% of the Arabian foals registered in the last several stud books are of generalized “show horse” lines, representing no particular breeding direction or identity. This does not say anything against the show horses, but makes it clear that all other aspects of the Arabian horse–and that includes straight Polish, Egyptian, Russian and Spanish–must be divided among less than 10% of current US breeding activity.)

AZZ (Ibn Nura x Bint Azz), shown here with Lady Anne Blunt, was the last of her line. Lady Anne sent the mare to England in the vain hope that more sophisticated veterinary care might preserve this branch of Dahman Shahwan. (NBGS)

What do we actually mean when we talk about “preserving” a genetic stock? The object of the exercise is not simply, or even chiefly, keeping names in pedigrees; pedigrees are merely a tool which may aid in evaluating the structure of a breeding group. It is obviously possible to breed in a preservationist sense with stocks that don’t even have recorded pedigrees. It is also perfectly possible to have a name present in pedigrees, while no modern representative carries a gene from the individual in question.

The goal of preservation breeding is to keep in the world the traits, characters, hereditary factors which make one aspect of a breed or species different from another–in short, to preserve genes for the future. Preservation breeding carries the unspoken assumption that the “preserved” genes will benefit a larger population in future; defined breeding groups have value and identity in their own right, but in another sense they are being maintained for future use.

This brings us inescapably into the realm of population genetics: the aspect of the science of heredity which considers the behavior of genes over time, as affected by particular mating systems. Population genetics is a mathematical and highly theoretical discipline–frankly in graduate school I found it the least compelling aspect of genetics–until you have a real problem to which it applies, when the charts and equations suddenly take on life and meaning.

Much of population genetics theory is derived for the special case of “random mating”–defined as a situation in which every individual in a population has equal probability of mating with every other individual of opposite sex. Clearly this is an imaginary construct to simplify the math. Real-life matings are constrained by geography, finance, fashion, etc., any of which will lead to wide use of some lines or individuals, and neglect of others, and so directly to loss of genetic diversity.

Any individual horse standing before us is the product of its genetic makeup interacting with all the environmental factors it has encountered. Nutrition, training, medical care–all these come under the heading of “environment,” not just weather and soil conditions. Genetic diversity buffers the population against the effect of environmental change; it is what gives a breed the potential to respond to new conditions. Diversity includes the physical and mental traits of the traditional Arabian; “new conditions” in our context may include things like an increased appreciation of the traditional using and companion Arabian horse.

A breed is the sum total of all its individual horses. Historically the genetics and veterinary literature has treated members of breeds as if they were interchangeable average mathematical units. Fortunately with the recognition of genetic diversity as a positive good, an alternative approach is gaining currency. Preservation breeding emphasizes that a breed must not be viewed as the average of all its “random mating” individuals–in order to preserve we must identify and try to understand the differing strands of its makeup.

I have referred before to that useful metaphor of “the tapestry you are preserving.” One may “preserve” almost anything, from a near-perfect wall hanging which just needs to be cleaned and protected from future damage, down to a scrap of authentic thread which may be very useful for repair or reinforcement of a more complete but related fragment.

A static image of conservation or preservation could be misleading (any metaphor however useful is a comparison, not a description). We do need to remember that in Arabian horse terms there are no perfect tapestries, and clarify one difference between preservation breeding and other kinds of conservation (working with animals even differs from preserving rare plant stocks): Genes (DNA molecules) are essentially unchanged over the generations; individual horses are transient, ephemeral, fleeting combinations of genes. The tapestry image works so long as we keep in mind that the process is analogous, but the object of the process is quite different.

What classes of fragments might we conserve? All will be arbitrary, defined in some historical terms–“species” at least in the ideal is a natural, biological classification, but we are not working at the species level. Fortunately we can describe any group in biological terms once we’ve defined it.

  • Large closed groups: this is certainly the easiest category if you have one.
  • Large groups, with fuzzy edges: this has practical advantages but must be defined.
  • Small closed groups: working with these is challenging but possible.
  • “Endangered species”: this is where we run the greatest danger of “keeping a name in a pedigree” without any associated biological reality; small fragments are meaningful only if maintained in some relevant larger context.

Large closed groups: These are easy to define once we decide how large is “large”? Bottlenecks are relative, the more numbers we work with the better our chance of keeping a major proportion of the genetic variation we’re trying to save. We can describe a general picture here, and the other situations can be treated as they vary from it. This is where we need to introduce some population genetics concepts:

“Gene frequency”: a thing, a number, which tells us something about a breeding group; don’t worry about how to develop the actual number. All traits are based on genes, and all genes exist at some frequency–it’s just harder to measure the interesting ones so we sometimes use “markers.”

“Effective population size”: another informative number, which takes into account the relative breeding contributions of males and females. An effective population of 10 can retain genes existing at frequency of 0.1 or higher; uncommon (below 0.1) and rare (below 0.05) variants will likely be lost. For our purposes, in a typical horse-breeding situation, “effective size 10” means some number much larger than 10. Note: it does not matter whether the population expands in numbers; expansion helps to keep in circulation the genes that you do have, but it does not do anything about ones that were lost when the founders were selected.

“The sire is half the herd”–we all know that maxim. In a preservation breeding context the point is precisely that we don’t want any one sire to dominate any program to the extent of half its genes. The more one narrows down the sire selection, the more, and the more diverse, mares must be kept in order to retain the original genetic variation. The most efficient way to maintain diversity is to use multiple sires on several small sets of mares, and rotate the sires. The idea, always of course influenced by real-world considerations, among them the phenotypic suitability of a particular combination, is to equalize breeding opportunity in order to maximize the proportion of genes retained.

Inbreeding and selection pressure are considerations in any breeding situation–they are not specialized aspects of the preservationist approach. Inbreeding, like random mating, simplifies the math, so is overly important in population genetics theory. Inbreeding can be a useful tool, and incidentally is a fact in any closed breeding group–inbreeding operates at the level of breeds, so long as they have closed stud books, not just within limited subsets of breeds. Inbreeding drives genes to fixation and can lead to the loss of alleles from the population, so one goal of presevationist planning should be to minimize the average degree of inbreeding. Inbreeding is not an end in itself.

Once we have a preservation group defined (say for now all the horses, or at least a representative sample, are in preservationist hands, though that is not a trivial assumption) and reproducing, the best way to retain maximum genetic diversity is to spread the horses among more than one program, and let subgroups happen. In theory we want a set of “cooperator breeders” working toward a shared vision. That calls to mind another non-trivial problem: preservation breeders as people will, by definition, be eccentric and… let’s say independent minded. Those independent visions are essential, each maintaining its own distinct sample of the horses in question; there still must be enough of the shared vision, and some sort of working definition, to retain the genetic identity of the preserved group.

Part II (CMK Record, XI/3 Fall, 1995)

(Continued from last issue — the “to be continued” text block was lost in production. Last time we outlined the basic notions of population genetics, in terms of preservation breeding with a large closed population. Further implications arise when other kinds of genetic entities are to be preserved.)

Large blurry groups will maximize the contribution from the founder animals. Generally, by the time any breeding group needs attention at the preservation level, the genetic influence of many founders will be lost among those descendants which qualify for inclusion in a closed group. Whether through attrition of numbers, or use in outcross programs, or most likely both, any set of “straight” pedigree horses carries only a fraction of the founders’ genes–compare, for example, the original Blunt or Davenport array, with the sample of those influences represented in modern straight Blunt or straight Davenport breeding.

Gene frequencies among the surviving descendants of anything reflect the action of mutation (negligible over human time scales), chance and selection. The gene frequencies of any modern closed group likely will be very different from the frequencies that would have been calculated among the founders. This effect is apt to be less exaggerated (simply because more of the founders are represented) if we define our modern population so that it descends “largely” (deliberately vague) from those founders. To follow up the previous example, there are Blunt and Davenport genes in modern CMK Arabians which have been lost from their straight Blunt or Davenport relatives.

Philosophically and historically the breeding group with blurry outlines is different from more traditional approaches but it is squarely based on an accurate biological view: species are naturally distinct biological entities with more or less firm barriers against crossing; breeds are artificially maintained subsets of a species. “Breed” is a historical (originally geographic) concept, and acquires biological reality only after the fact; this cannot be overstressed. “Breed” and “species” do not have equivalent implications, in terms of original or maintained genetic differences. In evolutionary terms, the genetic distance between pairs of species is measured by comparing their relative frequencies for marker genes–in making such measurements researchers do not expect to find complete non-overlap between related species. Obviously then this will not be expected between breeds, leave alone subsets of a breed.

Working with a blurry edged pedigree definition is not the same as maintaining a closed group, and not a substitute where the closed group still exists–the two approaches are complementary. In setting up a blurry group its organizers must neither claim that it is something else, nor allow it to be thought less than it is in its own right. There must be a working definition which sets off a biologically and phenotypically distinct entity from the breed at large.

Few (if any) absolute genetic differences exist between breeds. Still less can there be absolute differences between subsets of a breed, and there simply is no way to tell what caused such differences anyway–they are every bit as likely to have arisen through chance loss of genes from one set but not from the other, as they are to reflect an original difference. Given they were shown to represent an original difference, such still could represent accidents of sampling the original population (in our case the Bedouin horses, which ranged over a large area geographically and were more or less separated in terms of tribal origins).

Working with a blurry-edged definition gives tremendous possibilities in terms of developing subgroups: founder genes of different origin (in Arabian terms, different desert samples) will get together and produce new combinations not existing in the original animals. This may suit a particular breeder’s approach admirably, while it strikes another as highly undesirable. Neither response to this biological fact is “wrong,” but this does underline that one must be aware that gene combinations are not static, even in a closed group.

Preservation breeding of livestock is not like working with, say, historical rose varieties. Modern bushes of a rose bred in 1830 are biological clones of the same plant, with exactly the same gene combinations as the ancestor (barring rare mutations). Modern descendants of an individual Arabian horse which lived in 1830 need not actually carry any of its genes, and they certainly carry those genes in different combinations than did that ancestor. To give a simple coat color example from a more recent individual, Skowronek was homozygous for grey and heterozygous for the black and red pigment genes at extension locus. There are modern chestnut Arabians of intense Skowronek breeding–horses bred to maintain a high relationship to this ancestor have lost three (at least) of his detectable genes at these two easily defined loci.

Small closed groups make for the most difficult and challenging and certainly the most intellectually fascinating kind of project. We have already acknowledged that large groups will develop subgroups. Over time these may be selected or defined into their own distinct existence, so eventually the “small group” scenario becomes a concern in almost any preservation breeding context, regardless of your starting level. Keeping to our original examples, the Davenport program is developing an elaborate substructure, and within the English descended aspect of CMK there are a number of possible distinctions, including straight Blunt, Skowronek-Blunt, straight Crabbet, GSB-eligible, Crabbet-Old English, and CMK of high Crabbet percentage. Each of these may be maintained in its own distinctive form, while individuals of the more specialized groups may contribute genes to the more general ones.

The narrowly defined groups exist in their own right but they also serve as a resource of mental and conformation traits, soundness and performance ability, for use in other contexts. This is quite analogous to the position of preservation-bred stock relative to the breed at large. The drawback, at least in theory, to maintaining the maximum number of small sub-groups, is that inbreeding within each subgroup will increase more rapidly than it would if the entire set of horses had been crossed freely among themselves. The other side of the same coin is that crossing sub-groups will later provide a way to increase heterozygosity, and theoretically vigor and fertility, without going outside the original closed definition.

The notion to take home here is that maintaining population substructure is an efficient way to maintain genetic diversity; the modern Thoroughbred, with its history of international exchanges of sires and overall genetic homogenization, possesses far less genetic diversity than does the Arabian, with its history of breeding in national or smaller subgroups.

We all learned long ago that “inbreeding creates uniformity.” If you take nothing else away from this discussion, at least cross that off your list of life’s basic concepts. Inbreeding drives genes to homozygosity and thereby shows up underlying genetic variance. Inbreeding actually creates phenotypic variability. Selection among the results of inbreeding may give rise to uniformity. Is this what you want?

A program cannot possibly maintain the full range of genetic diversity, and is not likely to maintain representative frequencies, of any founder population, through a bottleneck of two or three or five individuals. “Rare” genes are defined to exist below 0.05 frequency–nothing in a group of five horses (among them possessing a theoretical maximum total of 10 genes at any locus, and in practice there will be fewer) can exist below 0.10. If a “rare” gene from the original population, of which these five horses are a sample, is by chance present, it automatically has gone above its original frequency; if it’s not in there it never can come back, so long as the group is bred closed. This effect is not automatically either good or bad, but is simply what happens, and it illustrates that “preservation” operates at different levels. Clearly one can only “preserve” what is still in the world to be worked with, but just as clearly, the more extensive the sample with which one starts breeding now, the more correctly the desired population will be reflected in future generations.

A program cannot achieve flat phenotypic “uniformity” without losing genes; selection for a totally uniform true-breeding group is in fact the opposite of genetic preservation (besides being a highly theoretical construct–biological reality is quite different). A program, or a group of cooperator programs, can maintain or reproduce something closer to the original population by crossing derived lines back together. Sublines will automatically develop when more than one breeder is directing the course of selection, and so far from being disadvantageous, these can be highly useful from many viewpoints. (I am deliberately running this idea into the ground–it is one of the most important things of which preservation breeders must be aware.)

Endangered Species: At this level (“threads and fragments” in our tapestry analogy) a real genetic presence can readily be reduced to “a name in a pedigree” unless the line is maintained in some appropriate biological context. When a breed is evolving rapidly, saving descendants of an uncommon element means nothing, unless the breeder interested in preserving that element is working with some semblance of the breeding background to which it belongs historically and genetically. This point is missed by many people who breed horses–perhaps especially Arabian horses–who boast they have a line to Mare X or Great Sire Y but haven’t noticed (or alternatively may be quite proud of) how often the descendant bears little resemblance to the ancestor. No one would try to deny that such resemblances can persist across a breed–but the point of preservation is precisely that more such resemblances may be more predictably maintained if breeders don’t depend simply on chance to bring them forward. Chance will tend to swamp the real genetic influence of rare lines, by simple force of numbers, outside the preservation context. [See Ann T. Bowling’s “Questioning breeding myths in light of genetics“]

Sire lines tend to be the most rapidly evolving aspect of any breed of any species, except where a closed stud book has been essentially taken over by a line or two and there’s no more room for change. The Y chromosome is a biological entity and is only handed on from sire to son. It is possible to measure genetic distance by sequencing yDNA. Probably more important for our discussion, old and traditional sire lines are more likely to be maintained in old and traditional breeding contexts; the persistence of a no longer fashionable sire line is an obvious marker for the program directed by a breeder who appreciates the traditional stock. Emphasis on sire lines works both ways then–it definitely helps us to find genes of diminishing frequency, and it theoretically carries them physically (but remember few genes on the Y are known, except those directly relating to male fertility). [NB: to date (2007), while Y chromosome variation is easily found in most species tested, none has been detected in the horse.]

Dam lines tend to be biologically conservative. Rare and uncommon genes tend to be carried through the bottom of the pedigree–simply because so many more mares than stallions breed actively in each generation. By simple chance, more carriers of any uncommon gene will be used on the female side than on the male. Occasionally a mare will hand a rare gene on to one or more influential stallion sons and a breed experiences a major change in gene frequency. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is associated with the cytoplasm, not the cell nucleus, and thus transmitted almost entirely through the egg, essentially only through the female line. Very little mtDNA is carried by sperm (though such transmission has proven detectable in carefully designed mouse experiments). [See M. Bowling’s 1998 article “What’s in a Name“] [NB: it has been shown since this writing that sperm transmission of mtDNA does not occur under normal conditions.]

mtDNA carries important genes which interact with nuclear genes; also, like yDNA [which has not proven to be informative in the horse], it can be a tracer for historical and biological change and the interrelationships of lines. Generally populations have more dam than sire lines so mtDNA theoretically is more useful than yDNA; it has also proven more variable in practice. This area is only beginning to be investigated in the horse but it carries exciting potential.

“Middle of the pedigree” elements may readily be overlooked. Historically breeders have thought in terms of sire (west) or dam (east) lines–we often study published charts of sire and dam lines as a shorthand way of handling pedigrees. Sire and dam lines in fact reflect the smallest portion of any pedigree, and certainly of gene transmission–only the Y chromosome and cytoplasmic mtDNA respectively are guaranteed to run along the top or bottom of a pedigree. Except in terms of those two elements, and thus for the vast majority of genetic material, position in the pedigree has nothing to do with potential genetic influence; important horses, still visibly influential, may not have left direct sire or dam lines. Davenport’s *Haleb and the Blunt’s Bint Nura GSB come readily to mind as examples.

This opens an enormous area for discussion or consideration, and space forbids addressing it in more than this very elementary fashion. The underlying reality is that any ancestor in any pedigree may have contributed genes to any modern descendant–but at the same time any ancestor’s genes, once we get back a few generations, may have been lost completely. There is no way to tell by looking at the list of names which is a pedigree, the ancestors that actually are genetically important in the horse to which that list belongs. We must look at the horses and learn as much as possible about the ancestors, in order to make rational judgments on this point.

Mid-pedigree names may become important in developing subgroups. Simply as a fact–with neither negative nor positive associations–breeders may use any name as a marker to define a group (and it may be used by its presence or absence). The bigger and more influential the “name,” in fact, the more useful it may be, in terms of future genetic balance, to reserve some lines for crossing back to it–within the large group however defined.

What are we trying to preserve? Genetic diversity buffers the breed against change; genetic diversity interacts with environment to provide the basis for all variation within a breed. Preservationist breeders have one underlying goal: to promote the maintenance of genetic diversity. It should not be necessary to state that the preservationist approach grows out of having observed negative changes in the breed. We are preserving the genes which influence major traits, including disposition, soundness and endurance, which are not necessarily addressed in the show ring.

Different preservationist groups have more in common than they do dividing them; it is to all our benefits to make common cause for a generally different approach to breeding the Arabian horse. A listing of preservationist group contacts would be a very useful practical tool in advancing this goal, and the members of the Arabian Horse Historians Association, assembled at their 1994 Annual Meeting, agreed that serving as the clearing house for such information was a valid role for AHHA. Preservation breeders may themselves become an endangered species–no one has any choice without a vigorous preservationist movement.

from: “For the Record” CMK Record, XI/3: page 10/12 Fall, 1995

(GMB–We’ve edited Deborah’s letter because as we understand her point it’s not so much to comment on other preservationist activities, as to caution CMK breeders about mistakes they might be in danger of making. Of course we suspect, too, Deborah would agree if we pointed out that there are many registered Arabians which are not preservationist-bred in any sense, but which also “should not be bred on” for their lacks with regard to conformation, soundness, disposition or breed character. Overall we certainly second her warning and are glad to see such thinking in the CMK ranks: this movement absolutely would lose its identity, its purpose and its point if it did not continue to turn out the beautiful, traditional using Arabian that brought all of us into the CMK circle. Fortunately it is clear that CMK pedigrees continue to produce just that kind of Arabian. We have thought about this quite a lot, over the years, and it strikes us that CMK breeders in particular are not so much in danger of full-blown “preservationist syndrome” as may be the followers of some other lines of breeding. It is easy to be caught up in enthusiasm over the rarity of a particular individual, and obviously we all have our own preferences for some style of horse as opposed to another. That said, very few of us began in CMK Arabians with the idea first and looked for the horses later; a more typical CMK story is learning to appreciate a particular kind of Arabian–we would say practically always starting from a using, riding horse orientation–and then finding that “our kind of horse” belongs with the CMK Heritage. Other major advantages to CMK as a preservation scheme are its avoiding a closed definition and the great genetic diversity it maintains. Large-sense CMK breeders have much more room to operate than do the people working with other narrow closed preservation groups; specialized narrower groups within CMK may be crossed with other CMK lines without losing their CMK identity.

As the CMK preservation movement explores more kinds of promotional efforts, we can expect to hear from more people who actually do set out to see what these CMK horses are about, with no preconceived idea of what kind of horse they’re going to find. That is precisely why we need to go cautiously on the promotion front: we must be sure we are attracting people who can understand and appreciate this kind of horse, rather than those who may latch on to the name yet expect to modify the horses to suit some other set of criteria.

Deborah may not have had this next point in mind but many horse activities pursued these days do not place very high priority on the well-being of the horse, whether physical or psychological [the two are very closely intertwined]. [See Rick Synowski’s article “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder In Arabian Horses“.] No thinking breeder would care to see any horse exposed to such dangers, but we are convinced the CMK Arabian in particular is ill served by certain aspects of modern training and presentation [and statements by show trainers bear this out]. The CMK Heritage will place more emphasis in future on the actual physical “preservation” of individual horses in this day-to-day safety sense. This must include, almost by definition, the encouragement of alternative systems of use and presentation which do maintain horsemanlike values and do emphasize the well-being of the animal.

We find, too, we can’t close without attempting to give a slightly different slant on “preservationist syndrome.” The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy distinguishes conservation–the simple maintenance of a stock in existence, without changing it–from improvement, breeding with selection toward any set of visual and functional standards. ALBC advises conservation of very primitive breeding groups, whose raison d’etre is to serve as a reservoir of basic genes for health and soundness which may be at risk for loss in high-performance domestic lines. By contrast selection for continued improvement is accounted appropriate in traditional “improved” stocks whose history includes a performance standard.

The using Arabians of the Reese and Dean circles, whose breeders provided the background for the CMK movement, certainly were highly selected. So were those of the Crabbet Stud. The breeders of the CMK Heritage can call on the genetic strength resulting from that selection; at the same time we have, as Deborah pointed out, a grave responsibility to maintain the standards which were achieved by those past breeders. The problem in modern Arabian horse circles, of course, is to recognize “improvement” when one sees it. There certainly are Arabian breeders who see any change that has come about since the horses left the Bedouin tribes as change for the worse, and who think in ALBC’s conservationist terms, of maintaining a comparatively primitive stock as little different as may be from the desert war mare. There are many more of us who are not impressed with the way the show horses have changed in this country over the past two decades [the wink of an eye compared to the breed’s history in the west, leave alone its prior existence]. There is a place for all of us, but it is essential that we understand the implications of our positions.

Do remember that many of the preservationist programs are operating with minuscule numbers of horses — all recognizable activity with an identity other than “mixed source show horse” amounts to little more than 10% of the breed combined. We address this not in terms of what level of selection a given program may have room to impose, if they are to breed any horses at all; but of the simple fact that their horses have relatively little impact on the 400,000+ living Arabians in North America. They cannot change the breed’s nature, and if such horses fill a place in their owners’ lives, that is really all that need be asked of them. There is nothing wrong with conservation breeding, in the ALBC sense, so long as one recognizes one is doing it, and does not make impossible claims for the results.

It’s a completely separate subject, of course, but we have never been comfortable with those overarching schemes one occasionally sees put forward, whereby some party or official entity is meant to “certify” breeding stock–not because we approve of breeding from poor horses, but because we cannot picture how any breed-wide selection scheme could be at once effective, in the sense of doing anything in particular, and sufficiently inclusive to recognize all the range of variation which the breed includes and which must be maintained for future reference.

As to the other-bashing of “preservationist syndrome,” we do consider it basic to be civil to one’s neighbors. In fact we always think it’s a pity when anyone with a preservationist slant doesn’t recognize that we are each other’s natural allies.)

[For more thoughts on this subject, see M.Bowling’s 1997 article “Preservation and Improvement.”]

See also:

The Arabian Horse in Motion… An Anthology of Glimpses

221 Baker Street: “The Arabian Horse In Motion… An Anthology Of Glimpses”   Compiled by Robert J. Cadranell from ARABIAN VISIONS Jan ’91 used by permission of RJ Cadranell  

        Below are some descriptions of the Arab horse in motion written by people who knew the breed well and who also happened to publish books about it. These statements were made prior to 1945. The advantage to the early dates, is that all of the writers were familiar with foundation stock of Arabian breeding in the English speaking world and can tell us about those horses. The disadvantage is that some of the statements are likely to be out of date and might not apply to our modern Arabians. Additionally, the writers were more or less limited to those Arabians of which they have personal knowledge, what they say might not reflect the breed as a whole. Nonetheless, a reader gets the impression of graceful, agile horses, which one hopes Arabians will always be.

        ”The Arabian in his purity is a horse… with elastic and graceful movement.” (1) [page 446]

        ”No other breed has such harmony of motion, giving the rider a delightful sense of riding over the ground on wings and springs.” (11) [page 27]

        ”The natural Kehilan gallops easily and trots with the freest shoulder and hock action. Knee action, however, is not a characteristic of the breed nor should it be sought for.” (8) (W.S.Blunt quoted, page 225)

        ”In action, the Arabian gives the impression of daintiness in the handling of his feet, — a certain dwelling of the feet just before being placed on the ground, with a light and airy tread,” (7) (page 59).

        ”At the walk, the powerful hindquarters come prominently into play, sending this small horse along at a great pace, far beyond expectation, the hind foot often overstepping the fore foot from two to three feet, and giving him a speed of close to five miles an hour. It is considered a point of breeding among the Arabs that a horse should look about him to right and left as he walks… ” (7) (page 78).           ”…Queen of Shea made a sudden rush, tail curved over back and neck arched, snorting proudly.” (9) (page 203)

        ”The shoulder… should have… the freest possible action, and there is no better test of quality than to turn a colt loose in a paddock and take note of how he moves his shoulders and forearms. There should be little high knee-action, but the whole limb should be thrown forward and the hoof ‘dwell’ a second in the air before it is put down. This, with corresponding action behind, like that of a deer trotting through fern, is most important in a sire and a great test of quality.” (5) (W.S.Blunt quoted, page 221).

        ”…her action was beautiful in the extreme; she had a long sweeping stride, and great reach; her movements were most springy and elastic, and full of force, power, and energy.” (4) (page 346)

        ”His action should be from the shoulder and not from the knee, and he should bend his hocks like a deer.” (5) (WSBlunt quoted, page 226).

        ”Generally the men rode up four or five at a time in line, and it was a pleasant sight to watch their mares coming towards us, with their long striding walk and the slightly swinging motion of their hindquarters and tails, their graceful necks bent as they turned their heads to look from side to side, their riders sitting easily on them, swinging in their hand the end of the halter rope, until, as not infrequently happened, one mare would make a snatch at her neighbour’s neck or shoulder, causing the other to spring to one side from the aggressor, when the men would rate them with a peculiar sound, which ‘Yach–k!’ might express to some extent, but indifferently; and we were constantly reminded of the Arab description, that mares resemble well-formed and beautiful women, distinguished by their swinging walk, and looking from side to side at objects as they pass.” (4) (page 260)

        ”Myself [mounted] on Siwa who goes up and down hill with catlike agility.” (9) (page 282)

        ”The Barb is held to have more knee action than the pure Arabian, who has shoulder action. The Arabian gait is pendulous, forward and ahead, and he dwells without much bending or lifting of the knee.” (7) (page 121).           ”Trotting is discouraged by the Bedouin colt-breakers, who, riding on an almost impossible pad, and without stirrups, find that pace inconvenient; but with a little patience the deficiency can be remedied, and good shoulder action given. No purebred Arabian, however, is a high stepper.” (5) (page 422).

        ”Trotting action should be smart and free and darting from the shoulders, the forefeet dwelling a moment before touching the ground with a semi-floating dancing movement, which suggests treading on air and springs and recalls a deer trotting in fern. The hock action powerful, and the hocks well lifted and brought forwards with a swinging stride… The knee action is rather higher perhaps than that of the Thoroughbred, but it is the shoulder action which matters.” (2) (page 227).

        ”…Mutlak[rode] the strange mare that we might be able to see her properly. One glance was enough, her going was heavy, as Mutlak said adding ‘but galloping is of the Arab horses,’ as saying she was not of them.” (9) (page 216)

        ”The Arab… is an easy horse to sit on. His gaits are so smooth and elastic one does not grow fatigued. This, no doubt, is accounted for by the fact that he does not lift his feet high or pound the ground. He is a good walking horse and has a nice trot, at which he merely lifts his feet high enough to clear the ground, and his canter, or gallop, is low, but smooth and graceful.

        ”…His trot is smooth and easy to sit, as are all his gaits, but he is not a fast trotting horse, nor a high stepper” (6)

        ”As to the action of the Arabian, it is very well described by the writer of an able article who signed himself ‘Picador.’ ‘Sit easily and flexibly on him, put your hands down, and set him going, and then you will experience a sensation delightful to the man who really can ride; he will bound along with you with a stride and movement that gives you the idea of riding over India-rubber.” (10) (page 151).

Abbreviations refer to the following works:

1) Arab Horse, by Homer Davenport. (Article appeared in the Cyclopedia of American Agriculture).

2) The Authentic Arabian Horse, by Lady Wentworth.

3) The Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates, by the Blunts.

4) Gleanings from the Desert of Arabia, by R.D.Upton.

5) Greely, Arabian Exodus, 2nd ed.

6) The Arabian Horse, by Albert Harris. (Reprinted in volume V of The Arabian Stud Book).

7) The Horse of the Desert, by W.R.Brown, 2nd ed.

8) The Crabbet Arabian Stud, Its History and Influence, by Archer, Pearson, and Covey

9) Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence, edited by Archer and Fleming.

10) Newmarket & Arabia, by R.D.Upton.

11) Arabian Type and Standard, by Lady Wentworth.