Words are defined in one of two ways: the first is by long-standing and widely accepted dictionary definitions. The second is according to how a word is actually used in the living language. As a word’s new meaning gains wider and wider acceptance in first the spoken and finally the written language, dictionary writers must acknowledge at last what is happening in the real world, and amend their volumes. The meaning of many words has changed over time, reflecting changes in society at large.
For example, the word “access” has traditionally been a noun. We speak of the access to a highway or building, or of gaining access to information. The advent of computers has changed this word into a verb: “Will you hold please while I try to access that for you?” is something one hears over the phone these days, when calling to make inquiries. An “access” is no longer just something we can see or acquire; accessing is now a thing we can do.
There’s nothing new about words changing their meanings. The Old English word “dysig,” meant foolish or ignorant. Its modern descendant, “dizzy,” means unsteady or light-headed. To call a person “dizzy” and mean “scatterbrained” is a slang expression, ironically close to the word’s original meaning.
If there were a dictionary of words used in conjunction with Arabian horse breeding and showing, adding a new definition to the word “Crabbet” is something its writers would have to consider seriously. The way the word is used today in conversation, advertisements, and magazine articles tells us that its meaning has changed dramatically.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, Crabbet was the name of an English estate in Sussex. When Sarah Gale married Samuel Blunt in 1750, the Blunt family acquired from her several estates, including Crabbet Park. Samuel Blunt’s son, William, was the father of Francis Blunt, who was the father of two boys. The elder brother died in 1872, at which time the younger brother, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, became the owner of the Crabbet estate. Wilfrid Blunt was then age 31. Nearly three years before he had married Lady Anne Isabella Noel King-Noel. In November of 1877, Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt set out for Syria to buy a horse of the same blood from which the Darley Arabian had come. Before the year was out, they had hatched a plan to transplant specimens of the Arab breed to England and breed them there.
The first Arabians arrived at Crabbet Park in July of 1878. The spring of 1879 saw the first breeding season, and the first foal crop arrived in 1880. The official name of the horse breeding venture was “The Crabbet Arabian Stud.” In less formal parlance, the Blunts spoke of “the Crabbet Stud,” and among themselves of “the Stud.” Over the years they bred hundreds of Arabians at Crabbet, adding new bloodlines until approximately 1904.
Although for years catalogs had been issued with the name of the Crabbet Arabian Stud on the cover, it wasn’t until 1909 that the General Stud Book (GSB), the registration authority in England which handled the Blunt stock, published a stud book crediting foals to the “Crabbet Stud” as breeder. Prior to that time, they had been attributed either to “Mr. W.S. Blunt” or “Lady Anne Blunt.”
Lady Anne Blunt’s death in 1917 touched off a legal battle over the horses, fought between her husband and daughter, Lady Wentworth. In 1920, Lady Wentworth gained possession of the horses. She added new bloodlines, most notably the stallion Skowronek, and continued the operation of the stud until her death in 1957.
In 1924, Lady Wentworth issued a catalog under the name “Crabbet Arabian Stud.” Later she preferred to call her operation the “Crabbet Park Stud.” Breeder credits in the GSB reflect this change. Beginning with the 1949 edition, the credits read somewhat grandiosely, “The Wentworth, Crabbet Park and Burton Studs.” (Burton Park was the name of a Thoroughbred stud Lady Wentworth had bought during World War II.)
After Lady Wentworth’s death the horses passed to her stud manager, Cecil Covey. The horses he bred are credited in the GSB to the “Crabbet Arabian Stud.” He didn’t stable them at Crabbet itself, but rather at nearby Caxtons and Frogshole Farm. More than 1600 acres of the Crabbet estate, including Frogshole, was sold at auction in 1916. Lady Wentworth bought back Frogshole about 1929, and it was left to Mr. Covey, along with the horses. He also inherited Caxtons, a property “on the southern side of Crabbet Park, about half a mile from the house,” to quote Mrs. Archer in The Crabbet Arabian Stud, Its History and Influence. Mr. Covey’s breeding program was far smaller than that of the Blunts or Lady Wentworth. Highway construction forced the final dispersal of the stud in 1971.
Today, hardly a horse is now alive that was bred by the Crabbet Stud. If a “Crabbet Arabian” is one that was bred by the Crabbet Stud, there can be at best only a handful still living.
But Crabbet means much more than an Arabian horse bred by the Blunts, Lady Wentworth, or Cecil Covey. The name “Crabbet” has come to apply to an entire bloodline within the Arabian breed. Today some people specialize in breeding Arabians of ancestry tracing in every line back to the horses of the Crabbet Stud. A few people have horses bred only from the stock of the Blunts. Others choose to breed equally Crabbet horses making use of one or more of Lady Wentworth’s additions of foundation stock to the herd: Skowronek, Dafina, and/or *Mirage. Some expand their pool of Crabbet blood to include the descendants of Dargee, a horse with a pedigree showing only part of the Crabbet herd.
Horses from Crabbet were known as “Crabbet Arabians,” both to give credit to their breeder (and to acquire some of Crabbet’s luster), and to distinguish their bloodlines from those of other Arabians. The gene pool the Blunts assembled was unique. It is impossible to prove relationships between Blunt desert bred horses and anyone else’s desert bred horses. The Blunt stock is a distinct and self-contained part of the foundation of modern Arabian breeding. The horses the Blunts acquired in Egypt might have close pedigree ties to the horses of the various princes, but again exact relationships are for the most part impossible to prove. In this way, “Crabbet” is used as a handy term to identify a distinct group of bloodlines. (Skowronek’s pedigree does show that he was related to other Polish lines. Admirers of Crabbet and Poland will probably never resolve the question of to whom he really belongs.)
Miss Dillon and the Rev. F.F. Vidal were among the first Arabian breeders to make use of Arabians from Crabbet, for crossing with Arabians obtained from other sources. The horses from these crosses continued to be interbred with horses from Crabbet Park, sometimes for ten or more generations. This raises a sticky question: when, if ever, should a horse resulting from such crossing earn the title of “Crabbet Arabian”?
Many people have answered this question for themselves, by referring to any and every horse from the English Arabian breeding tradition as a “Crabbet horse.” British studs founded largely but not entirely on Crabbet blood (like Hanstead and Courthouse) produced an Arabian closely allied to those bred at Crabbet, but yet not exactly the same. For many, there is no reason not to blur the distinction.
North America has and always has had a particularly rich and diverse Arabian gene pool. Almost from the beginning, horses bred at Crabbet have been a part of it. *Raffles, *Raseyn, *Serafix, and *Rissletta are among the most famous of the many to have made significant contributions to American Arabian breeding. The Crabbet imports (and part-Crabbet imports) were combined with virtually everything else in our stud book. At one time the distinction between what had come from Crabbet and what had not was fairly easy to make. But time passed and these horses receded into the back lines of pedigrees, and finally dropped off entirely. What seems a subtle distinction is made less and less frequently. “Crabbet” has started to become a generic term to describe all of the older American breeding, much of which actually derives from the Crabbet Stud.
However, many of the older American lines of Arabian breeding have little or nothing to do with the Crabbet Stud. The Davenport and Hamidie imports, Huntington’s breeding, the lines to Mameluke, El Emir, Ishtar, and/or Kesia II behind some of the Borden imports and *Nuri Pasha, Maynesboro’s French mares, the Rihani horses, and individual animals like *Nejdran, *Lisa, and *Malouma are among the older American pedigree elements. When examined on a case by case basis, all of these are emphatically non-Crabbet. But when eight, ten or twelve generations back in a pedigree filled with significant Crabbet horses, it is temptingly convenient to blanket the whole thing with the label “Crabbet.” And in practice, many people do.
There is a further complication. Horses tracing back in all lines to Crabbet Park are today relatively scarce. In contrast, there is an abundance of predominantly Crabbet horses exhibiting many of the most admired traits traditionally associated with Crabbet stock. The World Symposium on Crabbet Breeding, held several years ago in Denver, issued a reference book containing pictures and pedigrees of some 180 horses owned by interested parties. Of these, fewer than 25 had pedigrees going back to Crabbet Park in all lines. Nevertheless, all 180 merit the label “Crabbet bred,” as the Symposium applied it to them.
“Crabbet,” as a term to describe the bloodlines from the Crabbet Stud, is not falling into disuse. Instead, the word is taking on an added meaning.
copyright 1995 from “Scholar’s Corner” in CMK Record, XI/3: page 8 & 24
(Preface: This paper [originally written to be read at the 1995 Annual Meeting of the Arabian Horse Historians Association] is confined to commentary on Western writers, since this author is not familiar enough with Eastern writers to include them.)
One problem facing writers interested in Arabian horse history — and I seldom hear it mentioned — is how to evaluate a source. Much of the time a source is simply taken at face value, but historical writers nearly all had motives of one kind or another, and not all of them were benevolent motives. There might even have been a few crackpots at the turn of the century.
Nearly all of the writers whose work we read had Arabian horses for sale, and if they didn’t, their friends did. When someone sent a letter to the editor of the Rider and Driver criticising the Arabian horse, and Spencer Borden and Homer Davenport rushed to the breed’s defense, it was partly because their feelings were hurt and the Arabian was being treated unfairly. How fortunate that their own horses — among others — could provide examples of the virtue of Arabians. To use Borden and Davenport again as examples, when Davenport produced a detailed catalogue of his stock, and Spencer Borden wrote a couple of books, it was only partly to record photographs and information for posterity. Lady Wentworth in her Authentic Arabian Horse dismisses Davenport’s book [My Quest of the Arabian Horse] as an “advertising stunt.” Undoubtedly that was one reason for the book, but My Quest was far more than just that, as you all know. And let us not forget that Authentic Arabians includes a whole chapter on the Crabbet Stud as it existed at publication time, with a long list of champions bred.
Both Borden and Davenport had a flair for publicity. Two very different flairs, to be sure, but they each had one, and I am glad they did. We would know far less about these men and their horses if they, like Peter Bradley of Hingham Stock Farm, had been the type to stay out of the public eye. We must keep in mind that the books, newspaper and magazine items, catalogues and letters were not written entirely for our benefit and enjoyment. Multiple motives were involved, and the items were aimed at multiple audiences. Entertaining a group of horse history buffs 90 years later was probably not the primary motive. This use of their material is often simply a byproduct of the intended use — a byproduct of which the writers may have been aware, but a byproduct all the same.
Other categories of writers provide their own set of problems. When a writer claims to know all about someone else’s horse, how much credibility is he or she to be given? Perhaps none. Perhaps full credibility. Or somewhere in between? Then there are the writers who left pages of invective. Dismissing it as the ravings of lunatics may be extreme, but personalities and motives must be taken into account in evaluating any of this material. If taken at face value, there is potential for it to do great harm.
Although it becomes less true as more examples of diaries, herd books and correspondence of early breeders become available, frequently what we are left to evaluate is only what was designed for public presentation. Slick catalogues, carefully written books, ads in periodicals and letters to the editor put a veneer on a historical person or program. All that material has its place — without it we might be hard put to understand how the breeders wanted their horses or themselves to be perceived. But it frequently leaves us scratching our heads and wondering what was happening on the inside.
Using published stud books is essential, but I have to credit Charles Craver for saying that to understand a breeding program fully, one must know what was attempted and failed as well as what succeeded. And knowing what happened to every foal is important. Was an animal sold as a youngster, or kicked at three months and subsequently put down? It makes a difference.
I will take a few examples from the breeding program of Alice Payne at the Asil Arabian Ranch. AFARA was an Asil Ranch foundation mare and dam of the important broodmares CELESTE, TRITY, DESTYNEE and ASIL LYRA. AFARA’s last three registered foals were all by RAFFERTY, in 1958, ’59 and ’61. Yet she was still at the Asil Ranch when Alice Payne died in 1969. Was she retired from breeding, did her foals die, or did she become a problem breeder as an older mare? If she was bred, did she go to RAFFERTY or to another stallion? Asil Ranch records show that AFARA aborted a colt in 1962 and was treated for infection off and on over the next several years, during which she was bred not to RAFFERTY but to his sons SYZYGY and ASIL ECLIPTIC.
Another question. From 1962 to 1969, were there any stallions used who have no foals registered to them, or does the stud book record accurately reflect the full extent of the Asil stallion battery? The answer is yes, it does, with the exception that ASIL HARB did cover one mare before he left for Connecticut.
Another crucial perspective is the context of when something was written and what was happening at the time. If Lady Wentworth or Musgrave Clark writes a letter to the editor regarding the height of Arabian horses, particularly in the show ring, perhaps a divine muse suddenly inspired them to expound on the subject, and we have an opportunity to learn from their selflessly expressed knowledge and opinions. Or maybe the letter dates from the period when a violent debate on the subject was taking place within the Arab Horse Society. Clark may have felt that his drive to limit the height of Arabian horses in the show ring served some lofty purpose — but might it also bar from the ring many successful show horses owned by his competition, even some owned by Lady Wentworth? Undoubtedly.
Aiding in the evaluation of a writer is intimate knowledge of the biography and personality. I will go out on a limb and say that to understand the motives behind, and properly evaluate, any written material, one cannot know too much about the writer. This knowledge is gained by reading — and re-reading — everything he or she ever wrote, reading everything written about them by people who knew them, by a study of what they did, and by reading scholarly biographies if available. Newspaper and magazine accounts also help. If the person in question was also a breeder of Arabian horses, much can be learned from published stud books.
Take nothing at face value, and evaluate it only in the context of everything else known about the person.
This photograph of a handsome grey Arabian at Hingham Stock Farm has resided for as long as I can remember in an antique cigar box of unidentified prints and negatives in the W.R.Brown collection. On my trip to Tucson for the 1992 Al-Marah Winter Forum I was able to take an extra day and go back to my breed-history roots in the Brown material at the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation. Given the obvious age of the print and the unmistakable Hingham background there were only a few candidates for its identity; after comparison with other known photos, I realized I was looking at the best *El Bulad image I’d ever seen. R.J.Cadranell and Jeanne Craver have since confirmed that diagnosis. A real puzzle by modern standards is why, with a photo like this one available, the others ever saw the printed light of day, but this is the way that story has evolved–almost every Davenport imported Arabian has come to be represented, in the last 20 years or so, by photos which show it in a more favorable light than any that were published near the time of the importation.
*El Bulad did not leave a direct sire line, which makes him easy to miss if one follows the conventional track of riding the top or bottom lines of pedigrees. His descent is all in common with other Davenport imports so several of his chief connections have been mentioned before, in the *AZRA feature, and in the RHUA, *HAMRAH and HANAD sections of the *URFAH story; another will come up in the SAAIDA chapter of our *HADBA treatment.
To begin with a brief summary from the Cravers’ Annotated Quest:
“*El Bulad 29 was a 1903 Jilfan Stam Al Bulad by a Kuhaylan-Ajuz stallion. Davenport wrote in his 1909-10 catalog: ‘…His well-formed body threatens to eclipse even that of Haleb. His lines are extremely pleasant and his bone is good and flat. He has shown great ability at the trot though a frictionless galloper. His mother was a war mare of much repute…Jilfans are noted for the peculiar slant of the shoulder and hip and this horse is a striking example of that peculiarity.'”
All statements about ownerships and dates of death which follow are based on information as provided through 1939 in The Arabian Stud Book and its supplements. This can be at best an approximation of the travels of *El Bulad and his descendants; the stud books and supplements presented information current at the time they were set in type. If a horse underwent two or more transfers between two publications, the reader has no way to catch the intervening owner(s) from the printed record, unless (and this would only readily apply to mares) it also had registered offspring in such an ownership. It also happened occasionally that a horse would be transferred to a distant owner, but stay at or near the home stud, whether to board there for breeding or simply because it was sold again before the new owner had a chance to move it. Thus ownership records may also imply travels which never took place.
(A word to the wise: The only way to trace an Arabian’s changes of address after 1939 has been through stud book breeding records, assuming the breeder of a foal to be the owner of its dam, and in the absence of evidence of the contrary, most foals to be sired by local stallions. This oversimplified picture became further removed from reality in the late 1980’s with the introduction of the “assigned breeder” designation, but its outlines had already been blurred a decade before when the microfiche stud book was produced. Horses whose breeders still were active at that time in the AHR computer files apparently were listed in the microfiche with their breeder’s most recent address, even though that might be unrelated to where the breeder [and so the horses] had lived at the time. The printed stud book remains a more reliable indicator of locality, even with all its limitations. As a rule of thumb, the more nearly contemporary a source is to the time a subject horse lived, the more seriously it must be considered.)
In the Arabian Horse Club’s original 1909 stud book *El Bulad was one of 23 entries “imported from Arabia in 1906” and “owned by the Davenport Desert Arabian Stud, Goshen, N.Y. and Hingham, Mass.” In 1913 his owner was Peter B. Bradley’s Hingham Stock Farm (Hingham, MA) and this was repeated in 1918. The supplement for 1923 shows *El Bulad transferred to Albert W. Harris, Chicago IL (though no doubt the horse spent most of his time at Harris’ Kemah Stud in Lake Geneva, WI); by 1927 he had been reported dead. Judging from the foaling record, *El Bulad was at Kemah by 1921 and probably died between the breeding seasons of 1924 and ’25. Of *El Bulad’s 15 progeny of record, he seems to have gotten two foals for Davenport, three bred by Hingham and ten credited to Harris.
Dahura (*El Bulad x Nanshan), age 24 with her last foal Aabella. Dahura would prove her sire’s most significant offspring and indeed one of the most influential mares bred at Hingham Stock Farm.
One observation I make repeatedly in these stories is that many horses could have died after siring a first crop, or first foal, and still left a major mark on the breed’s history. *El Bulad certainly comes in this category: his first registered foal was the great mare DAHURA, out of the Ramsdell mare NANSHAN (*Garaveen x *Nejdme). DAHURA became the dam of 17 registered foals and founded one of the most extensive branches of the important *NEJDME dam line; she had three non-trivial breeding sons as well.
DAHURA was a grey foaled in 1909; her original registration, in the 1913 stud book, had her owned by Hingham Stock Farm and bred by the Davenport Desert Arabian Stud. DAHURA was “bred and owned” by Hingham in the 1918 volume. Her dam NANSHAN apparently was in Davenport’s hands well before 1906 (to judge from a youthful photo published in that year and reprinted in The Annotated Quest) and was registered in the 1909 stud book in Homer Davenport’s ownership, not in the form “Davenport Desert Arabian Stud.” No horses had been listed in the 1909 book as owned by Hingham Stock Farm, although Bradley’s name did appear as First Vice President of the Arabian Horse Club and Bradley was breeder of record on some registered horses, foaled from 1896 through 1903, derived from the Hamidie Society’s 1893 World’s Fair imports. R.J.Cadranell reminds me that the 1906 importation had been financed by Bradley, and that “Davenport Desert Arabian Stud” was a joint venture of Davenport, Bradley and A.G.Hooley; its two addresses were Davenport’s and Bradley’s respectively. (But note: it was not the given owner of NANSHAN in 1909. The more one digs into the early stud books the more casual about assigning breeder designations the Arabian Horse Club appears to have been, and the more some appear to have been assigned “by guess and by gosh.”) At some point most of the Davenport Desert Arabians were transferred to Bradley’s sole ownership and went on as Hingham Stock Farm; this was probably before Homer Davenport died in 1912 (see the *HADBA story, IX/4, for the imports Davenport seems to have owned when he died.) Hingham Stock Farm did excellent work with the Davenport horses in any event, and DAHURA played a major role in the program.
DAHURA produced 10 foals bred by Hingham in as many seasons, from 1913 through 1922, and half of them remain in pedigrees. That proportion carries through on the eight full siblings by *HAMRAH; those with descent are the grey sisters DEHAHAH, of 1914; MORFDA, 1916; MERSHID, 1919 and AMHAM, 1920. Their stories have appeared in the *HAMRAH chapters (VI/4 and VII/1) under *URFAH, but to hit the high spots, MORFDA produced the important early sire STAMBUL; MERSHID and AMHAM founded extensively branched families. Both the M-named sisters were Kemah Stud matrons; Harris seemed to seek out multiple sources of any influence which worked particularly well in his terms. The lovely AMHAM was a favorite mare of W.K.Kellogg.
DAHURA’s final Massachusetts foal was her first bred son, the grey 1921 colt JOON by *AZRA, whose influence was summarized in his sire’s cover story (IV/4). His most frequently seen offspring in pedigrees probably is the Kellogg producer SHEHERZADE, dam of the familiar sire COURIER and a string of good mares. ROABERTA, OTHMANEE, RAMADI and JOONTAFA are other widespread JOON matrons.
R. J. Cadranell’s notes from documents at the Trust bridge a stud book gap: DAHURA was one of the Hingham Arabians sold in 1921 to J. G. Winant (For a note on the Winants see “HANAD 489, a short biography,” in VII/4); like them she and several of her offspring, including MORFDA, MERSHID and a 1922 filly, were owned in 1923 by Morton Hawkins of Portland, IN. JOON was then with Mrs Wikoff Smith of Bryn Mawr, PA. DAHURA must have been transferred quickly to the ownership of Parker Smith, also of Portland, IN, the breeder of her grey 1924 foal AH BEN, a full brother to JOON. The logistics of all this remain unclear: that 1923 supplement still had *Azra back in New England with Mrs. Winant, which remained unchanged in 1927. A simple guess is that DAHURA left the Winants in foal and was transferred twice before the 1924 colt arrived. AH BEN has one foal to his credit, but to no long-term effect.
DAHURA was reunited with that other former Hawkins horse, HANAD (story in VII/4). The 1926 sibling, the glamorous liver chestnut VALENCIA, was her sire’s first foal and became a well-regarded Kellogg producer. VALENCIA was first registered in 1927 as bred by Dr. C.D.Pettigrew of Muncie, IN; this was repeated in 1934 and ’37. For reasons not yet clear her breeder became H.V.Tormohlen in the more widely available Stud Book V of 1944, and this was how I presented it in VII/4. Briefly, again, AMEER ALI was the original sire for the Glass program in Oklahoma; AABANN’s most important offspring was the mare sire AABADAN; AABAB got the great matron AADAH.
AMEER ALI and all those “double A” names unequivocally mark the next chapter of DAHURA’s career; she appeared in H.V.Tormohlen’s ownership in 1927, as did AH BEN who ended up with the Remount. DAHURA produced two more registered foals after her HANAD quartet, and was still listed with Tormohlen in 1939 when she would have been 30. Tormohlen was the early writer “Ben Hur” who proselytized for the breed through the pages of Western Horseman in the 1940’s. H.V. and Blanche Tormohlen and their son Brooks also were Ben Hur Farms in Indiana, and developed a very highly regarded program based on the Maynesboro and Hingham dam lines of NADIRAT and DAHURA (NADIRAT belonged to Blanche). Ben Hur stock was entirely within the CMK founder sources, and provided important elements to many modern pedigrees; the Ben Hur horses were known for extreme breed type with brilliant action, bearing comparison with that of RABIYAT according to Gladys Brown Edwards. It’s surprising the Ben Hur story has not received an extensive treatment in these pages before now.
A Ben Hur Farms brochure from about 1959 credits DAHURA with producing 19 foals; it is not unreasonable that two out of so many might have died before registration, or indeed that she might have had a couple of foals by non-Arab sires. (Of course the caption also says DAHURA is shown “at 25 yrs.” with this “19th” foal AABELLA; by my reckoning DAHURA was 24 in 1933 when AABELLA was foaled, and the filly does not look to be a yearling, so a certain carelessness with numbers may be inferred. One finds owners can tack on a year or two or five, once horses get into the mid-20s.) DAHURA probably did not actually live beyond age 30 as I can’t picture old “Ben Hur” could have failed to make much of her passing such a landmark. The brochure also referred to VALENCIA as “foaled and raised here” which taken in conjunction with the stud book implies that DAHURA had come to Ben Hur Farms from Pettigrew in foal to HANAD. Remember that the owner of the dam either at the time of breeding or of foaling could be listed as breeder of a foal, in the early volumes; perhaps in this case they took turns.
DAHURA’s foals after HANAD left for California were three-quarters siblings to the HANAD set: AABAZEM, a bay 1931 colt, was by another *DEYR son, TABAB; AABELLA, by the HANAD son MAHOMET. This made AABAZEM and AADAH seven-eights related to each other, since TABAB and MAHOMET were themselves three-quarters brothers, by *DEYR and his son and both out of DOMOW. AABAZEM was sold to Donald Jones in California by 1934; he traveled the West Coast and got 15 foals, not counting his good partbreds, through 1957. His first son FARZEM (out of the straight Davenport FARHAN) and that horse’s daughter MEHANAZEM (out of a HANAD daughter) in particular have spread his influence widely. AABELLA made her best contribution as dam of AADAH; few mares have ever contributed anything equivalent. Her full career was summarized in the HANAD story (VII/4).
The 100% Hamidie Society mare FREDA produced a chestnut colt by *El Bulad in 1910. BUZLAD first appeared in the 1918 book, when he was owned in New York, and the stud book would have it he again was bred by Hingham Stock Farm. FREDA, like NANSHAN, was registered to Homer Davenport, not DDAS, in 1909 – note that both were mares Davenport had owned before the 1906 importation. BUZLAD was reported gelded in 1923 and transferred to a Massachusetts owner in 1927 who still had him in 1930; he was noted as dead in 1937. *El Bulad had two grey straight Davenport (a concept then almost certainly not invented) fillies in 1912 and ’13, from the important mares *RESHAN and *HAFFIA; they were reported dead by 1927 and 1930 respectively and neither left an offspring of record. The *HAFFIA daughter was one of 12 Arabians, mostly from Hingham, exported to Japan before 1918; two of DAHURA’s *HAMRAH offspring were also in the group.
Fartak (*El Bulad x *Farha): faded photo, willowy hocks and all, this is an impressive and important image of an early Davenport stallion. Photo: AHOF.
The 1913 colt FARTAK (*El Bulad x *Farha) did better for himself, though he too was dead by 1927. He gave his sire two grey straight Davenport granddaughters in the 1919 Hingham Stock Farm crop, PAULAN from *MELEKY and MEDINA from HASIKER. PAULAN too had died before 1927 without producing (one begins to suspect some sort of cataclysm or at least a run of pre-Depression very bad times). MEDINA survived her, traveled a bit and left three registered foals. The 1923 supplement showed MEDINA as one of the Hingham horses owned by F.E.Lewis II in Spadra, CA; in 1927 she was in Connecticut. MEDINA’s first recorded foal, a grey filly of 1929, was JEDRA by JOON and thus represents, with AADAH, the closest *El Bulad doubling in the stud book. JEDRA was bred by Robert Jemison Jr of Birmingham, AL but both MEDINA and the filly had been transferred to Albert W. Harris before 1930. MEDINA and JEDRA each produced two foals in Illinois; JEDRA’s were for a Harris cooperator breeder and neither of them bred on. MEDINA was dead by 1932, leaving a grey filly and gelding, both by NEJDRAN JR, with Harris. The daughter TEBUK produced 10 foals, giving her a well-branched modern family responsible for some familiar names.
*El Bulad had two foals in the 1922 Kemah crop, five in 1923, one in ’24 and two in ’25. Apparently Harris regretted not being able to use the horse more extensively, since he then bought the FARTAK daughter MEDINA and her double *El Bulad filly; he already had the DAHURA daughters MERSHID and MORFDA in 1927.
Abba (*El Bulad x Dawn) had one registered foal when she was 20. Clearly she was not idle in the years the stud book shows her unproductive.
That 1922 pair were three-quarters brother and sister, a grey filly MEDINAH from SULTANA (Nejdran Jr x Rhua) and “ch/gr” colt RUSTAM from RHUA herself; this straight Davenport mating was repeated again to produce BEN HUR in the following year. SULTANA and her sister DAWN produced four more of the *El Bulad foals, so seven of 10 were from the RHUA family. Harris’ other straight Davenport foundation mare SAAIDA outlived *El Bulad but did not produce to him; her NEJDRAN JR daughter GAMELIA did, twice. The other productive Kemah mating for *El Bulad was with the old Ramsdell mare NANDA, sister to NANSHAN, making the resulting filly ALOHA a younger blood-sister to DAHURA. ALOHA was one of the five Kemah *El Bulad offspring to die relatively young (before ages three through seven) without progeny, still apparently in Harris’ ownership. RUSTAM became a Remount sire and seems to have lived until some time between the 1937 stud book and the supplement of 1939. BEN HUR and MURAT (ex GAMELIA) were both listed as living in 1939, in California and Missouri respectively, as stallions, but neither had registered offspring. That left MEDINAH, ABBA (1923) grey filly from DAWN) and SHARAZAD (MURAT’s 1925 bay sister) to breed on from this chapter of the story. For the extensive family of MEDINAH and the thin line from ABBA see under RHUA in the *URFAH treatment (VI/3); SHAHRAZAD must wait until the SAAIDA chapter of *HADBA.
Five of *El Bulad’s 15 offspring still are in pedigrees; he had 33 registered grandchildren (over half through DAHURA) and several of the resulting lines are widespread at the backs of modern pedigrees. As part of the genetic history of the Davenport horses, note that five of *El Bulad’s 15 foals were straight Davenport but there were only two such in the second generation and none after that. *El Bulad maintains a moderately strong link to the Davenport importation in the general Arabian population, but is not represented in modern straight Davenport breeding.
by Michael Bowling (copyright)
originally appeared in the Oct. ’76 issue of the Arabian Horse World
Antezeyn Skowronek in May 1976 at age 27. He is by Abu Farwa (Rabiyas x *Rissletta by Nasem) and out of SHARIFA (Antez x Ferdith by Ferseyn).
Antezeyn Skowronek was foaled 21 April 1949, bred by E. J. Boyer of Puente, California. He was sired by the quite literally unforgettable Abu Farwa 1960, a horse that can’t be done justice in short space. Briefly, Abu Farwa is one of the most strongly positive breeding influences on the Arabian horse in this country. His get and descendants excel in quality and conformation, and they continue to compile an impressive record in all fields open to the breed, both in and out of the show ring. Abu Farwa was an early product of the famed program of W. K. Kellogg; his sire was the end result of years of breeding for quality and athletic ability by Randolph Huntington and W. R. Brown in this country with basically English stock, and his dam was one of the most elegant individuals ever imported from Crabbet Park. He had the quality and ability for which he was bred, and he passed it on with great success in breeding.
SHARIFA 2798, dam of Antezeyn Skowronek, was not famous as his sire was—in fact she had a rather short breeding career and is best known for this one son. His success as a breeding horse indicates she must have possessed considerable genetic merit, for no sire, not even one of the magnitude of Abu Farwa, can get breeding horses without some cooperation from the mares he is bred to. Pictures and eye-witness accounts of SHARIFA show a very smooth compact mare with a beautiful big-eyed head. She had a fine disposition and was a good riding horse, certainly traits to value in the dam of a prospective foundation sire.
SHARIFA’s pedigree is less consistently English than Abu Farwa’s; her sire was one of the famous early “straight Davenports” and was trained for the track, setting records in speed trials. He has proven one of the most valuable outcrosses to English blood in this country, Antezeyn Skowronek being just one of many successful results of this blend. SHARIFA’s dam FERDITH was the first foal of the former top sire FERSEYN, and remains one of his best achievements; she topped an early-day California production sale and went on to produce many outstanding Arabians, including a remarkable lineup by ABU FARWA. It will be most interesting to read Carol Mulder’s article on FERDITH and her produce when she gets to her numerically, as she knew this group of good horses well. FERDITH’s dam ARDITH founded a good family in the Northwest; she was a great-granddaughter of *ABU ZEYD, called by Lady Anne Lytton the most beautiful son of MESAOUD, so crossing back to the top of the pedigree.
[Note added in 1999: Ardith’s paternal granddam Domow is registered, impossibly, as the bay daughter of two chestnut parents. The latest investigations confirm that her dam line matches that of the chestnut *Wadduda, so this *Abu Zeyd connection is no longer supported by the evidence. The sire of Domow is being sought among the bay stallions in Homer Davenport’s possession in 1912. MB]
The rest of ARDITH’s background was again the Davenport desert group—so Antezeyn Skowronek’s pedigree represents English breeding outcrossed with two highly successful American lines of closer desert derivation.
This pedigree produced a remarkable horse who offers an illustration of the fact that the most worthwhile horses do not always get an opportunity to have brilliant show careers. Antezeyn Skowronek won his class at Pomona as a yearling and as far as I know never entered a show ring again. He has spent the rest of his life as a breeding stallion, although as a mature horse he was started under saddle and proved a willing and enjoyable mount for trail and pleasure riding in his spare time.
After winning that colt class he was purchased by Carleton Cummings and taken to Idaho where he stood several seasons, his first foals arriving in 1952. He was used on Mr. Cummings’ mares and on some Kellogg mares at the University of Idaho during this period. Some time after 1955 he was moved to Spokane, Washington where it seems he remained for the remainder of his owner’s life; it was at this time, the Arabian population of Washington being a bit higher than that of Idaho, that he stood to some outside mares. At Mr. Cummings’ death the horse went into retirement for a couple of years, returning to active duty in 1965 on lease to the Synowski Ranch in Oregon. He was purchased from the Cummings estate by Lois Selby Perry, spending one season on lease at Glenwood Farm in Iowa on the way to Connecticut and the Perry establishment.
Antezeyn Skowronek was not used to sharing his world with a number of stallions and did not thrive at Perrys’; he was made available to the Illings of Twin Brook Farm in New York, first on lease and eventually by sale. In January of 1975 he made what is expected to be his last move and change of ownership; he is now “alive and well in Waldorf, Maryland” and being used lightly at stud. He observed his 27th birthday quietly and shows every sign of planning on at least a few more.
Listing the Antezeyn Skowronek get and descendants of note is simply beyond me in the time at hand—besides, I don’t have the whole October issue to fill with their stories. Rather than offend some by mentioning others I will risk offending all by limiting myself to general statements. Antezeyn Skowronek and his sons have sired many winners in halter and performance in Arabian and open shows, Antezeyn Skowronek is on the Leading Sire list (he is accounted the third leading siring son of Abu Farwa) and has founded a strong male line, with many sons and tail male descendants represented every year by Class A winners. His get and descendants include regional and Legion of Merit champions and U.S. and Canadian Top Tens at halter and performance, and National Champions in performance. He is, simply, a fine sire and an influence for good on the breed.
The story of Antezeyn Skowronek has been 27 years in the telling (leaving out the years of prologue before his birth) and this short sketch is hardly an adequate summary.
NOTE: I sincerely thank all those who participated in this tribute, and apologize to those who would have taken part had they been notified, or notified sooner.
(Ad recreated from the one appearing with 1976 Antezeyn Skowronek article)
July 1976 at age 27 (with Martha Baines)
is alive and well
and living in
Visitors Welcome — Young Stock For Sale
Call weekends (AC 301) 645-5547
Frederick, Maryland 21701
and still siring foals like these:
May filly at 2 1/2 months ex Mostly Magic by *Touch of Magic.
March colt at 3 weeks ex Faranique by RST Kumait+ He is for sale at private treaty. Contact Intissar Arabians, 3510 Walnut St., Harrisburg, Pa. 17109
July colt at 2 days ex Ramnada by Damascus Ramnada is for sale. Contact Mrs. Richard P. Davis, Prly Hill Rd., Sanbornton, N.H.
(Ad recreated from one appearing in the Arabian Visions, Jan-Feb, 1993)
Abu Farwa 1960 (Rabiyas x *Rissletta by Naseem) working cattle at the Richardson Ranch, near Chico, CA in 1956. Photo courtesy the Wests of Green Acres Arabians.
A recurring theme at New Albion is reinforcing a valued influence through multiple pedigree samples; we do not believe that a single source of any desirable ancestor provides an adequate genetic sampling. Our connections to the great Abu Farwa illustrate this handily. Watch for our new series of ads featuring other major elements in our program.
Abu Farwa, foaled at Pomona, California in 1940, was bred by the W.K.Kellogg institute and has become one of the sires in CMK breeding (and he exemplifies the origin of CMK as a concept: bred at Kellogg’s from a Crabbet-imported mare, while his sire had come to Pomona en utero from Maynesboro). Abu Farwa found his niche in life as a sire for H. H. Reese, the former Kellogg Ranch manager around whom crystallized the Southern California Arabian breeding tradition of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Abu Farwa sired 235 registered foals and became a major force in show and performance breeding; he was selected a Living Legend and his influence still is highly prized where real using horses are valued.
At New Albion we have been fortunate in owning one of the greatest Abu Farwa sons and one of his youngest daughters, in breeding to several of his sons and in working with the Abu Farwa influence through more distant lines. New Albion history parallels that of the breed in general, as in the way we have accidentally lost sources we would rather have maintained (italicized below). We do not claim this to be the ultimate Abu Farwa sampling and it certainly is not meant to be a static thing — there are Abu Farwa sources we would like to add or reinforce. This is where our program stands right now, in terms of one particularly prized founder.
Abu Farwa sources at New Albion (dam and maternal grandsire in parentheses): Tamarlane (Rifanta by Rifnas); Faryn (Ferdith by Ferseyn); Aayisha (Nawari by Alla Amarward); Nirahbu (Nirah by *Ferdin); Shama (Shamrah by Balastra); Abu Baha (Surrab by *Latif); Antezeyn Skowronek (Sharifa by Antez); Awad (Shamrah by Balastra); Farlowa (Farlouma by Farana); Muhuli (Follyanna by Terhani); Shah-Loul(Pomona Avesta by Farana); Galan (Saadi by Rifnas); Miss Nateza (Nateza by *Witez II).
[Additional lines through ’99 include: Riehaba (Amrieh by Kasar), Ga’zi (Ghazna by Chepe Noyon), Rokkara (Sokkar by Rantez) and Lawsouma (Farlouma by Farana).]
Our stallions trace to Farowa, Muhuli, Shah-Loul and Tamarlane. We have retained breedings to the Galan line through a son (out of the youngest Antezeyn Skowronek daughter) and grandson.
When we talk about the “greatness” of something, we are usually referring to its impact over a number of years. In this sense of the word, “greatness” aptly defines the influence the old Ben Hur Farms of Portland, Indiana, has had on Arabian breeding in this country.
Mr. Herbert Tormohlen, owner of Ben Hur Farms, Portland, Indiana, at his turkey farm the Christmas before his death in July, 1968.
Ben Hur Farms was owned by Herbert and Blanche Tormohlen, both extremely knowledgeable breeders. Its program, which lasted for over 35 years, combined the breeding of two of the most successful programs existing at that time — that of the Davenport horses and Crabbet Stud in England.
The first registered foal from Ben Hur was the mare Valencia 587, foaled in 1926, by Hanad 489, and out of the prolific mare Dahura 90. Valencia and her full brother Ameer Ali 644 (foaled in 1927) were sold, along with Hanad, to the Kellogg Ranch in California. In 1930, Hanad and Valencia were named Champion Stallion and Mare at the Los Angeles County Fair and thus, according to an early Ben Hur brochure, they became the first champion Arabian stallion and mare in the United States.
The mare Dahura continued to produce steadily for Ben Hur. In 1929 and 1930, she produced Aabann 736 and Aabab 741, respectively, both by Hanad. Next she was bred to Hanad’s half-brother Tabab 441 (*Deyr 33 x Domow 267), and produced Aabazem 874 in 1931. Her last foal, Aabella 1014 by Mahomet 729 (Hanad x Domow) was foaled in 1933. Aabella, along with Aabann and Aabab, played an important part in the early Ben Hur program.
In 1935, at the first National Arabian Show, Aabann and Aabab won Champion and Reserve in three-gaited performance, now known as park, a feat which matched the record of their sister Valencia.
Besides Dahura, there were two other foundation mares at Ben Hur — Hayah 385 (Harara 122 x Dehahah), a Davenport mare, and Nadirat 619 (*Rizvan 381 x Nusara 371), a Crabbet mare.
Hayah possessed a rather erratic foaling record, with time lapses ranging from two to nine years. While at Ben Hur she produced three foals. The first, by Aabab, was Aahar 1734 in 1939, followed in 1943 by Aahmad 2747, sired by Aanad 1735 (Aabab x Nadirat), and finally, in 1944, Hayah produced her last, and according to some, her best foal, Aah Abu 3060, by Indraff 1575 (*Raffles 952 x *Indaia 813). Aah Abu, by the way, was her only grey foal. All the others were chestnuts.
Nadirat also played an important part throughout the entire Ben Hur program. She produced at least three foals there, beginning in 1938 with Aanad 1735, and Aalita 2746 in 1943, both by Aabab. She produced at least one other foal for the Tormohlens, the filly Aalastra 3716, foaled in 1946. Aalastra was one of two Gulastra 521 (*Astraled 238 x Gulnare 278) daughters at Ben Hur. The other was Aastra 3712, out of Aadraffa 2075 (Indraff x Aadah 1857). Both of these mares figured prominently in the Ben Hur program.
Herbert Tormohlen was a firm believer in Gulastra blood. He felt that although it wasn’t necessary to have a lot of this blood, it was important to have at least a little of it. A friend of Mr. Tormohlen, after seeing these mares, once asked why he was keeping them, as she felt they were only average. Tormohlen told the lady to take a closer look at their heads. When she did, she saw some of the most beautiful heads she had ever seen on a horse. Tormohlen then went on to explain that was the reason Gulastra blood was so important in a breeding program — incorporating even a small amount of this blood would add to the beauty and refinement of the heads on the horses produced.
Of the three early mares at the farm, only Dahura and Nadirat were to play a key role in its later program. Dahura is remembered most through her double granddaughter, Aadah 1857 (Aabab x Aabella), who later became one of Ben Hur’s two premier mares. She produced eleven foals in twelve years, ten of which were fillies. Nadirat became more influential through a daughter that was not bred at Ben Hur, the mare Aarah 1184.
Aarah, 1935 chestnut mare (Ghadaf x Nadirat)
Bred by C. P. Knight, Jr., of Providence, Rhode Island, and foaled in 1935, Aarah was by Ghadaf 694, a half-brother to Gulastra. Aarah was the only horse ever at Ben Hur to be given a formal burial and a commemorative monument on her grave. Her ten foals were directly responsible for some of the most illustrious champions and producers of her day.
An almost immediate reaction by older breeders to the “double A”-named horses is to think that they trace back to Aarah, and to a certain extent they are right. Aarah was acquired by Ben Hur in the early 1940’s, and she foaled her first for them in 1942, a colt named Aaronek 2249 by Indraff. That year she was bred back to *Raffles 952 (Skowronek x *Rifala 815), and the following year she produced the beautiful chestnut colt, Aaraf 2748.
Had Aarah produced only this foal, her place in Arabian history would have been assured, for Aaraf sired over 125 foals in his lifetime. That may be a small number by today’s standards, but considering the times then, and the fact that many of these foals became champions and went on to produce champions, the record is impressive.
Aaraf was not, however, Aarah’s last foal. In 1944 she produced the mare Aarafa 2872, followed by Aaraq 3371 in 1945, Aarief 3717 in 1946, and Aarafla 4344 in 1947, all by *Raffles. Aaraq was the only one of these five to be sold — as a colt he went to Tom Sheppard of Colorado. There are still many foals by him in the Midwest. The other four *Raffles/Aarah foals were retained by Ben Hur and used heavily in their program — in fact Aaraf, Aarafa, and Aarafla were three of Mr. Tormohlen’s favorite horses. He felt that they were three of the finest Arabs in the country at that time, and that was quite an honor, considering Tormohlen’s fine eye for horses.
Aaraf, 1943 chestnut stallion, (*Raffles x Aarah). Sired 125 purebreds.
Aarief, 1946 grey stallion, full brother to Aaraf above.
*Raffles was not the only stallion to which Aarah was bred. She also produced several outstanding foals by Azkar 1109.
Azkar was by Rahas 651 (Gulastra x Raad 474) and out of the imported Egyptian mare *Aziza 888 (Jamil x Negma). At one time, *Aziza was considered to be the most beautiful mare to come from Egypt and was of what is now referred to as Old Egyptian breeding (bred very closely to the Babson Egyptians). This cross to *Aziza blended well with the *Raffles/Aarah horses. *Aziza herself was a half-sister to *Roda 886, who crossed extremely well with *Raffles (producing Tut Ankh Amen 3830 and Star Of Egypt 4167, among others).
The cross to Rahas brought in another line to Gulastra, of which Mr. Tormohlen was so fond, while the cross to Raad (Sidi 223 x *Rijma 346) brought in yet another vital line. While *Rijma, who was imported from the Crabbet Stud, possessed a pedigree which read like a “Who’s Who” of Arabian horses from the studs of Abbas Pasha I and Ali Pasha Sherif, as well as from the Crabbet desert imports, Sidi’s pedigree represented some of the finest individuals of the early domestic programs.
Azkar sired many foals for Ben Hur, including Aazrar 10429, Aazhar 6145, and Aazkara 4879, out of Aarah; Aalzar 7984, out of Aahlwe 3403 (Khaleb 1168 x *Hilwe 810); Karada, out of Aadelfa 7983 (Aaraf x Aadah); Aaziza and Aazalia, both out of Aarafa; Aazdura 6146, out of Aadura 2744 (Indraff x Aadah); and Aazfar 13627, out of Aarafla. Many of these horses can still be found in modern pedigrees.
Produce of the *Raffles/Aarah cross became the mainstay of the Ben Hur program. Aaraf was head stallion, siring foals from mares who were daughters and granddaughters of their original foundation mares. The first Aaraf foals were born in 1946. Aakafa 3713 (x Aakala) was Aaraf’s first foal, followed by Aalurah 3714 (x Aadah) and finally Aarita 3715 out of Aalita 2746 (Aabab x Nadirat). Aaraf also blended well with the Azkar daughters, in particular Aazkara. Aaraf sired four sons and six daughters from Aazkara, and four sons and one daughter from Aazdura. Aaraf sired three foals from his full sister Aarafa — Aarafaa 10426, foaled in 1955, Lewisfield Sun God 21194 in 1962, and Lewisfield Sun Gal 27582 in 1964. From his full sister, Aarafla, Aaraf sired one daughter — Aafala 15522 in 1959.
Aarafa was one of the loveliest mares to come from Ben Hur, and another of Tormohlen’s favorites. She was a strong show horse, and won numerous championships. She also produced many champions, including U.S. National Reserve Champion Stallion, Lewisfield Bold Hawk by Aalzar; Lewisfield Nizrif 41760 by *Nizzam; Aaziza and Aazalia, by Azkar; Lewisfield Lovely by Lewisfield Nizzamo; as well as the three Aaraf foals, and many others.
Aarafla was also a consistent show champion and added many awards to the Ben Hur collection, most in what we now refer to as Park. In Tormohlen’s opinion, she exemplified what the “ideal” Arabian should be, as she possessed “the natural, uninhibited gaits and action of the exquisite beauty of the ancient or classic type of Arabian.” Carl Raswan was quick to verify this, and photos of Aarafla were added to his already famous collection. Aarafla, unfortunately, produced only two foals. The first was Aazfar 13627, by Azkar, who followed in his mother’s footsteps and won many park championships. Not only was Aazfar Aarafla’s only son, but he was Azkar’s youngest son as well. The second of Aarafla’s foals was Aafala, by Aaraf. Aafala was Aarafla’s only daughter, and at 21 years of age is still producing.
While Aaraf, Aarafa, and Aarafla were winning at shows in the East, Aarief was making an equally impressive name for himself on the west coast, while he was on lease to Lasma Arabians. While there he sired many foals, including Aadrief 12380 and Aalrief 14233, a National Top Ten horse. Aarief also played an important part in the breeding program at McCoy Arabians. He sired The Real McCoy, out of Fersara (dam of Ferzon), who influenced the breeding program at Lewisfield Arabians during the Sixties. Photos of Aarief were also added to the Raswan collection.
Ben Hur Farms acquired quite an impressive collection of trophies over the years, including numerous halter and park awards. The most prestigious, however, was the Egyptian Challenge Trophy, donated by King Farouk of Egypt. In order to retire the trophy permanently, Ben Hur had to win it three times at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, in Harrisburg. The winners were selected for “perfection of breed type, and performance.” The first horse ever to win this trophy, and the first horse to win it for Ben Hur, was Aarafa in 1950. Later the trophy was awarded to Aalzar, and finally, in 1963, it was won by Raffarana 12401, by Handeyraff 3940 (*Raffles x Hanadin 2575), out of Yatana 1232 (Farana 708 x Ghazayat 584).
Ben Hur Farms produced a number of other excellent horses during its existence, many of whom were not only champions themselves, but also the sires and dams of champions, including Aadeara 10823 (Aaraf x Aadura), Aalurah 3714 (Aaraf x Aadah), Aabona 12277 (Aaraf x Aaba) and Aahfour 10820 (Aaraf x Aastra 3712).
*Raffles, 1926 gray stallion (Skowronek x *Rifala)
Around 1960 the bulk of Ben Hur stock, some 40 horses, was sold to James F. Lewis, Jr., to become part of the foundation for his Lewisfield Arabians. Lewis had also imported a large number of horses from Lady Wentworth’s Crabbet Stud in England, and had purchased several horses of the *Raseyn/*Raffles cross. Lewisfield’s main stallion was *Nizzam 16070, and Ben Hur mares, when bred to him, consistently produced exquisite foals — perhaps his finest. Numbered among the champions from this cross are Lewisfield Nizziza, Lewisfield Nizzarafa, Lewisfield Nizzaza, Lewisfield Nizzara, Lewisfield Nizzoro, Lewisfield Nizzamo, Lewisfield Nizrif, and Lewisfield Legacy.
Lewisfield also bred a few “straight Ben Hur” horses, most of whom were sired by Aaraf. Most noted among these are Lewisfield Serenade 13633 (also called Aadaia) and Rafhanna formerly Lewisfield Dixie), out of Aadah; Lewisfield Royal Flush 21195, Lewisfield Caress 23656, and Lewisfield Bahama 27580, out of Aazkara; and Lewisfield Sun God 21194 and Lewisfield Sun Gal out of Aarafa. Aarafa’s son Lewisfield Bold Hawk (by Aalzar) was also “straight Ben Hur.”
When Lewisfield was dispersed in 1973, these Ben Hur horses were sold to various farms throughout the country, where they were incorporated into already existing programs. Gradually the percentage of Ben Hur blood decreased and appeared farther back in the pedigrees. However, no matter in what type of program these horses were used, they always helped to improve it, thus proving their versatility as breeding stock by mixing well with various bloodlines and becoming ideal outcrosses.
Today there are a number of dedicated breeders throughout the country, mostly in the central part, who maintain small herds of Ben Hur-bred horses, including Mary Manor Farm in Troy, Ohio; Phara Farm in Hartford, Wisconsin; and Marcy Arabians in Dyersville, Iowa. The quality of the horses at these farms and many others is comparable to that of the horses produced ten years ago at Lewisfield, and twenty or thirty years ago at Ben Hur Farms. The stallion B.H. Bold Decision 71851 (Lewisfield Bold Hawk x Burr-Hill Gindara), owned by Judy Williams of Nobelsville, Indiana, bears a strong likeness to his great-grandfather, Aaraf, and especially to his father’s half-brother, Lewisfield Sun God, as well as a striking resemblance to his distant cousins Sun God Reflection and The Midnight Sun, both owned by Annette Patti of Phara Farm.
The quality of these horses has remained constant, yet the prices have stayed relatively low. Still, it’s nice to know that in these days when so many people are determined to latch onto the latest imported fad, there are still a few breeders following a proven domestic program, like that of Ben Hur Farms, which has rightfully earned the title, “American-Bred.”
Back in the mid 1980’s, the proportion of Al Khamsa horses in my herd was not so high as it is today. I started horse-breeding in the early 1970’s, with Welsh Ponies, and bought my first Arabian mare in 1975 with the royalties from my first novel. She was a dandy animal with much good blood in her, despite the non-Al Khamsa elements in her pedigree; she was a Saklawi descended from Bint Helwa the Broken-legged mare, and her sire, Zumirz, was a Kuhaylan-Haifi tracing to the Davenport mare, *Reshan. I treasure her blood still.
My first pure Al Khamsa horse was the 1960 Tripoli-Dharebah Davenport stallion, Janan Abinoam, who joined my family in 1978, and runs the farm to this day. One might say he opened the floodgates, since now at Upland Farm there are 41 Al Khamsa horses. 36 of whom are Davenports. The other five owe their presence to the influence of Ibn Tirf.
It must have been back around 1984, when I was trying to place my stallion, HMR Phario, in a new home, that I first heard of Tirf. Phario was one of those lovely dark bay horses bred by Howard Marks, who combined the blood of Gulustra and Hallany Mistanny with non-Al Khamsa elements, such as Tobruk. Phario had sired some nice foals for me, but I really wanted to find an Al Khamsa horse that would have, like him, a marked Saklawi appearance and that expressive “Gulastra” look. One afternoon, a lady called me from Virginia to discuss Phario’s availability, record and price; at the end of the conversation, in a very casual way, she said, “You know, we’ve got one of those ‘Doyle’ stallions down here.”
That lady never did buy anything from me, but I owe her a debt of gratitude, because she gave me the name and telephone number of the lady in West Virginia with “that Doyle stallion”. When she told me that his name was Ibn Tirf, I was able to look him up in the 1983 Al Khamsa directory, and my interest immediately blossomed.
In the 1983 Directory of Al Khamsa Arabians, Ibn Tirf was listed as ‘whereabouts unknown’. For my purposes, he was better than a straight “Doyle”, since his sire, bred by Charles Craver, was Sultan (a cross of the noted Egypt/Blunt stallion, Subani, on the beautiful Davenport Antez daughter, Antan). His dam was one of the great straight Egypt/Blunt brood-matrons bred by Dr. Doyle, Shillala, by Gulson out of Gulnara. I immediately asked his owner for pictures and in due course, I received a few fuzzy shots of a tough-looking chestnut stallion, with cute little ears and a wary expression. He had that Gulastra neck, however, the smooth curve from wither to throatlatch was accented by the typically heavy straight fall of silky mane.
I bought Tirf sight unseen and arranged for his pick up. His owner was gracious, but if a buyer had suddenly appeared from outer space, I do not think she could have been more amazed. She did inform me that the horse had received very little handling in his 12 years, and suffered from heaves. He lived outside year-round, and mares were put in with him for breeding.
At this same time I was buying a Davenport mare in Virginia, a young Oberon daughter, so I arranged with a good friend to use my brand-new truck to collect the two new acquisitions. My trailer was a step-up aluminum 2-horse, on which the first of 48 monthly payments had just been made. It was expensive and certainly looked well made.
Tirf was picked up first, and it was soon clear that his knowledge of handling was minimal. He couldn’t, or wouldn’t be touched on his sides. Brushing against the trailer partitions made him squeal and kick. By the time we had reached Richmond, the back door on his side was bowed out enough so that one could slip a few fingers between it and the jamb. But it still held.
Katja, the filly, was somewhat alarmed by her traveling companion (as well she might be), but they settled in well for the drive home. Tirf’s emphysema had caught up with him by the time we arrived; he practically fell out of the trailer onto his knees, coughing up heavy green mucus. My vet was not impressed by his condition. In fact, she advised me that he might not survive.
It took Tirf about a year to settle in and adjust to his new hayless diet of bran mash and alfalfa cubes. His breathing became regular and he put on weight; his coat slowly achieved the gloss it has never lost, a deeply burnished dark copper with discrete dapples. As his health returned, his vitality increased, and soon he was one of the stallions on every visitor’s ‘must see’ list.
I should point out that standing in his stall he is not especially impressive, curvy, muscular and usually wearing an expression of extreme disgust. (He lives in a row with ten stallions, none of whom are the least bit taken in by his posturing. Two, in fact, are considerably older than he and flaunt their seniority by virtually ignoring his rude remarks.) Tirf has exeptionally large nostrils, and his favorite way of looking annoyed is to draw them up so they seem to reach just below his eyes. This expression, coupled with flattened ears, gives him an “heraldic dragon” sort of look. The effort is ruined, however, when one of us grabs his strong little ears, levers them forward, pushes his nostrils back into shape and tells him to be nice.
The truth, of course, is that he is nice, easy to handle and is a gentleman to breed. It’s just that he wants so desperately to be considered wild and tough. Turned out, he puts on the best show on the place, standing up absolutely vertical, then launching into a powerful springy trot with the curve of his neck and that of his tail in exact harmony with each other. He is breathtaking.
Before Ibn Tirf came to live at Upland, he had sired one registered foal and several part-breds. I was told (but have not received confirmation of the fact), that one of his West Virginia babies is a winning Endurance horse. Given his bloodlines and personal vitality, I do not find this at all unlikely. The first mare Tirf bred at Upland, was Fred Mimmack‘s lovely Saklawi Davenport, Mae West (Kamil Ibn Salan x Maefah). His 1987 filly, Daisy Mae UF, is therefore bred in the Saklawi strain more than five generations.
Ibn Tirf had two more daughters born in 1989, the Al Khamsa filly, Iolanthe UF (x CH Fairy Flight, a Kuhaylan Davenport of pronounced Saklawi characteristics), and the CMK filly, Araba Chimera, (whose dam Kataali, one of my first and most beloved mares, is a non-Al Khamsa mare bred Saklawi in the strain; her sire Aalzar tracing to Bint Helwa and her dam Tsarou to Basilisk). Iolanthe greatly resembles Daisy Mae, like her a bold, strapping chestnut; wheras Chimera is a petite and winsome bay.
While my first loyalty is to my Davenport program, Ibn Tirf has had influence on my buying as well as on my breeding. The Saqlawi al-Abd (*Wadduda) filly, Jadiba (Dib x Jabinta), was bought for his future harem; an Al Khamsa filly combining “Doyle” Egypt/Blunt, Davenport and Hamidie Society bloodlines.
Tirf’s biggest adventure recently has been learning to be a riding horse. Because of his age, heaves, and lack of handling, I had not thought it worthwhile to bother him with training; but one of the girls who works for me fell in love with Tirf and began giving him special attention. After a few weeks she threw on an old western saddle, and started riding him around in a halter with reins attached. He was absolutely delighted. Now he has learned to carry a bit too, but even with just the halter he was perfectly obedient (if a little bouncy), when ridden in company with other stallions and mares.
It is hard to say what the future holds for Ibn Tirf. Physically, he is a springy, handsome 18-year-old stallion, green broke to ride with a few lovely fillies to his credit. In strain and pedigree he is a felicitous example of the complementary blend inherent in “Doyle” Egypt/Blunt and Davenport lines, a combination suggested by Carl Raswan both in The Arab and His Horse, and in The Index. His problem is that he lives on a farm filled with Davenport horses and dedicated to their breeding. In short, there is too much competition for Ibn Tirf to be showcased in the way he deserves.
Still, at Upland we are all grateful for his presence. His beauty and nobility have won many new friends for the Al Khamsa horse, and in the years to come the “Doyle” Egypt/Blunt component in our breeding, as it slowly increases, will be Ibn Tirf’s ultimate legacy.
Despite any past or present offices held in Al Khamsa, Inc., by the authors, the views expressed in this article are the personal views of the present authors, and do not represent any offical policy of Al Khamsa, Inc..
by Charles Craver
All rights reserved
(Copied to this web page by permission of Charles Craver)
Letan (*Muson x *Jedah) Foaled 1909. Bred by the Davenport Desert Arabian Stud. Both sire and dam were original imports.
Hanad (*Deyr x Sankirah) Foaled 1922. Bred by the Hingham Stock Farm. The most influential Davenport at the Kellogg Ranch.
*Wadduda, a famed war mare, imported by Homer Davenport in 1906, founded one of the greatest mare lines of the twentieth century. She was indeed the Queen Mother from whom many of the best Arabians of today descend. (from the back inside cover of the CMK Heritage Catalogue 1982)
*Hamrah, a desert-bred stallion and major progenitor of the Davenport legacy.
Lysander (Sir x Dhalana), foaled 1966. Bred by Charles C Craver III. A straight Davenport Arabian stallion still gracing Craver Farms with his presence in 1997.
By long-standing usage in the United States, the term “Davenport,” as applied to Arabian horses, is used to describe the horses registered by the Arabian Horse Registry of this country as having been imported in 1906 from the Arabian desert by Homer Davenport. By extension, the term is also applied to those horses which are entirely descended from those horses. The original importation consisted of twenty-seven head, of which twenty-five were registered. When they arrived in the United States, there were few other Arabian horses here. As the years went by, crosses were made with other bloodlines as they were imported. At present, almost all Arabians having several generations of American breeding trace to the Davenports to the extent that probably 90 percent of Arabian horses in the U.S. have in the neighborhood of 10 percent Davenport ancestry.
At the same time as this dissemination of Davenport bloodlines has gone on, a few Arabians have continued to be bred exclusively within the bloodlines of the Davenport importation. These horses are almost entirely of breeding stock which passed through the Kellogg Ranch. There are presently (1982) about 325 living Arabian horses of this sort in the ownership of about 75 individuals. This group of horses is one of the oldest breeding groups of Arabians anywhere to have been maintained on a closed pedigree basis: that is, without outcrossing to other bloodlines. As a group, their major distinctive feature is the similarity in type which they bear to the pictures and descriptions which we have of their imported, desert-bred ancestors of 1906. A few of them even bear marked resemblance to specific individuals in the importation. This is particularly noticeable in some descendants of *Muson #27, but people who know these bloodlines are also able to recognize features from others of the imported horses such as *Abeyah #39, *Deyr #33, *Farha #42, and *Hamrah #28.
The horses registered as imported by Davenport were as follows: *Haleb #25, *Houran #26, *Muson #27, *Hamrah #28, *El Bulad #29, *Wadduda #30, *Gomusa #31, *Azra #32, *Deyr # 33, *Mowarda #34, *Kusof #35, *Euphrates #36, *Antar # 37, *Reshan #38, *Abeyah #39, *Urfah #40, *Werdi #41, *Farha #42, *Hadba #43, *Jedah #44, *Haffia #45, *Enzahi #46, *Moharra #47, *Masoud #64, *Abbeian #111. All of these horses, having living descendants, are represented in pedigrees from Maynesboro (*Euphrates #36) or the Kellogg Ranch. The “Davenport” Arabians were personally obtained by Davenport through direct purchase from their bedouin owners who were required to establish their purebred status by oath taken before their sheikhs and fellow tribesmen. Davenport was proud that these horses were representative of the animals which were used in daily bedouin life.
The Davenport influence came into the CMK context with the stallion Jerrede #84 who was out of the Hamidie mare *Nejdme #1 and by the Davenport stallion *Euphrates #36. W. R. Brown was interested in using this horse as a sire at Maynesboro, but initially he was disinclined to do so because the sire, *Euphrates, like the other Davenports, was not registered with the Jockey Club, although he was, of course, registered with the Arabian Horse Club of America. Brown was able to arrange acceptance of *Euphrates by the Jockey Club through statements by Lady Anne Blunt of the Crabbet Arabian Stud authenticating his pedigree. This opened the way for registration by the Jockey Club of Jerrede and for use of that horse at Maynesboro by W. R. Brown. Jerrede’s role there is minor, and it is difficult to evaluate how successful he was as a sire.
In living CMK horses, practically all Davenport influence derives from the extensive use of Davenport related breeding stock at the Kellogg Ranch, where in early years, the Davenport bloodlines were very strongly represented.
Among the Davenports which were especially known as Kellogg breeding stock were the stallions Hanad #489, Antez #448, Letan #86, Jadaan #196, and *Deyr #33. Well-known mares were Adouba #270, Babe Azab #567, Fasal #330, Hasiker #268, Poka #438, Saba #437, Sankirah #149, Sherlet #339, and Schilla #419.
The Kellogg Ranch bred a few horses which were entirely Davenport in pedigree. The more frequent utilizations of the bloodlines, however, were in combination with horses of other background. Quite a number of these crosses were of foundation quality and provided the bases from which some of the most popular current American Arabians derive. Horses such as Khemosabi, Ferzon, The Judge, Fame, Ibn Hanrah, Fadjur, Galan, Garaff, and Saki all have strong Davenport elements in their pedigrees and would not be the same if there were to be replacement by ancestors of a different background.
When their numerical representation at the Kellogg Ranch was substantial, the Davenport bloodlines appear to have been well appreciated. From pictures of public record, foals produced by them were of excellent quality and helped to establish the reputation of the ranch as an Arabian horse nursery. In presentations at the Kellogg exhibitions, the Davenports were among the noted performers, with Hanad doing a trick and dressage routine he had learned as an older horse, Pep performing as a trick horse, and Jadaan being exhibited in costume. They were used successfully in a number of movies. In competition at public horse shows, they did well against other Arabians in California, including some of the most attractive and highly publicized of the Kellogg Crabbet imports.
As time has passed, a certain amount of partisanship had developed both towards and against the Kellogg Davenport bloodlines. From a distance in time it is difficult to understand the reasons for this, but partly, they may have had origins in the fact that the Davenports sometimes represented a different tradition in Arabian breeding from some of the other Kellogg bloodlines. These traditions were and still are reflected in the horses themselves. The Davenports were close to their desert origins. *Deyr #33 was actually a desert import. Others were only one or two generations removed. Such horses represented Bedouin values in Arabian breeding. Other fine bloodlines at Kellogg’s were quite different in their origins, some of them descending from long lines of Arabian breeding in Europe, England, and Egypt: perhaps these bloodlines tended to show the influences of the countries which had served as intermediate hosts for the several generations which transited the distance from Arabia to the Kellogg Ranch.
Actually, there was no good reason why one bloodline should be valued and another ignored among the Kellogg Ranch bloodlines, of which the Davenports were one. There was sufficient good in each that a lover of horses could be grateful they had been brought into a juxtaposition of some harmony and then passed on to private breeders as a contribution to the development of the Arabian horse in America.
The question naturally comes up as to what Davenport bloodlines added to CMK breeding. The answer breaks down into two parts, the first concerning those horses which are entirely Davenport in origin. This is a group of horses which is still quite representative of the desert imports of 1906. They tend to be of moderate size, athletic inclination, fine-skinned, large of eye, and wide between the jaws. Dispositions are comparatively quiet, and they adapt well to the owner who wants to give plenty of personal attention to his horse. Out of the small number which have been shown in recent years, there have been good successes in dressage, distance riding, halter, pleasure, costume, and park exhibition. One of the interesting things about this group of horses is that certain of them preserve the identity in type and strain of two of the major bedouin strains among the horses imported by Davenport, which were the Seglawi and the Kuhaylan. In recent years, the effort has been made to intensify this aspect of their breeding.
The other aspect of the contribution of Davenport bloodlines to CMK breeding has to do with how they have blended with bloodlines other than their own. For the most part, Davenport elements in CMK pedigrees are significant but certainly not overwhelming in terms of the percentage of total ancestry represented. In many instances their main contribution is probably in the form of background influences which facilitate the expression of desirable characteristics from other, more immediate pedigree sources. Where the percentage of Davenport ancestry becomes higher, of course, the influence of specific Davenport horses becomes more recognizable, and the vitality and muscularity of Letan, the long, upright neck of Hanad, the fine coat of Hasiker and the other identifiable characteristics can sometimes be picked out. Some years ago a study was done of the pedigrees of horses competing at our national show. It turned out that the more successful horses being exhibited in performance categories tended to have higher percentages of Davenport ancestry than the average horse winning at that show in halter classes. A frequent comment of trainers is that their horses having higher percentages of Davenport blood tend to be more easily trained. Usually the overall influence of Davenport blood in a horse is towards a smoother, more harmoniously built individual. This may be traceable to *Hamrah #28 who was a great brood mare sire and whose blood was very strongly present in the Kellogg Davenports.
The CMK movement offers an opportunity for increased appreciation of some of the older values in Arabian breeding. Davenport bloodlines have contributed very strongly to the expression of these values.
The subject of sire lines is an interesting one. In a sense they can be taken as canaries in the genetic coal mine–where traditional sire lines persist, it usually (though not always) means someone is selecting for a traditional stamp of horse, or at least paying attention to something other than the dictates of current fashion. The historical trend in most breeds is for the overall population to be grafted over to fashionable new male lines every few years.
There are surprisingly few sire lines in the Arabian breed, and the pre-1950 North American ones almost all trace ultimately to Ibrahim (Skowronek) or Zobeyni (Mesaoud, whose strongest branch is *Astraled to Gulastra; and Mahruss to Rijm). Among the Davenport lines, *Deyr and *Muson are pretty solid; all straight Davenports now trace to one or the other, and they also have representatives in combined-source breeding. I am not sure *Muson persists except through Kimfa, outside the modern straight Davenports and a few of their close derivatives. The lines of Las Trad and Ibn Hanrah for example descend from *Deyr.
Most of the other long-term survivors have to be classed as “trace” sire lines, and if any of these is to continue in existence, still less to prosper, someone has to make an effort to find the horses and get them used. The Old English *Kismet line is still available, and potentially so is the Davenport one of *Abbeian through Ralf. Davenport also brought in, before his own desert importation, *Nejdran DB who may be hanging on as well.
The old Midwest sire lines from *Saoud and *Al-Mashoor are getting very thin on the ground, I do not expect them to carry on. Ironically the other sire in this category, *Mirage, who was fading out a few years ago, illustrates how these things can be turned around: this is now a candidate for the world’s most widespread sire line, thanks to Bay-Abi and especially to his grandsons Bey Shah, Huckleberry Bey and Barbary. Those horses are not generally operating in the context of CMK breeding (Bey Shah is over half Polish, and Barbary over 75%), and the *Mirage sire line outside this branch still needs some attention.
Our other Old English sire line is that of *Aldebar to Dwarka, and although this line has died out in England it’s experienced a resurgence lately here: *Aldebar’s grandson Bezatal was widely used by endurance breeders, so his branch looks like remaining a strong one for a while. There are other branches of the *Aldebar line which were fairly widespread a few years ago and may still be available.
The other CMK sire lines which are potentially active are *Mounwer and *Zamal of the Hearst importation (the line of *Ghamil has just died out); these horses have grandsons active but again, there needs to be some attention paid to the sire lines if they are to hang on.
Sire lines are markers for breed history but they also have a biological reality: recall that the Y chromosome is transmitted only from sire to son, and if a sire line dies out, a particular Y chromosome is gone. Genetic variation has been demonstrated in the Y chromosomes of other species (including humans) so there is no reason to think it does not exist in the horse as well.
Used by permission of Rick Synowski. First published in the CMK Heritage Catalogue Volume III
This treatment reflects the CMK dam line picture before the 1993 revision of the CMK Definition. — MB
While CMK Arabian horses have come to represent a minority breeding group today, CMK foundation mare lines hold fast to their international domination of lists of leading dams of champions. Their production records, some accomplished by mares now deceased, may never be equalled. The character, type and breeding of such celebrated mares must inevitably be diminished and disappear when outcrossing to stallions of other breeding groups predominates.
Veteran horsewoman Faye Thompson, whose father Claude Thompson introduced the Arabian horse into Oregon nearly 60 years ago, observes that “modern Arabian horses are good horses, but they’ve lost that classic, desert look that used to excite me so. Modern horses don’t get me excited the way the old ones did” [CMK Record, Spring 1989].
It is to be hoped the classic desert look which so excited the observer does not disappear, but may be perpetuated on some scale as CMK mares produce within the CMK breeding group. Perhaps the realization of the unique history behind these mares will contribute to this end.
Imported in 1888: *Naomi
THE FIRST ARABIAN MARE TO come to North America and leave modern descent, and the oldest mare in the Arabian Horse Registry of America, is *Naomi, foaled in England in 1877. Her sire and dam YATAGHAN and HAIDEE were brought from the desert by Capt. Roger Upton. Randolph Huntington, America’s earliest breeder of Arabian horses still represented in modern lines, imported *Naomi in 1888. In 1890 *Naomi foaled the fine chestnut colt ANAZEH, the first Arabian bred and born on American soil to leave modern descent. ANAZEH was sired by *Leopard, the grey Arabian stallion presented by Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey to General U.S. Grant in 1878.
A mare with many firsts to her credit, though perhaps not of the show ring variety, *Naomi was photographed here at age 18, standing behind the strapping 13-day-old Khaled, her eighth of ten foals. As an individual *Naomi must have pleased Randolph Huntington, who by this time was enjoying no small recognition as one of America’s leading breeders of light horses. Huntington would build his entire Arabian program around this single mare, and thus *Naomi would make a far-reaching contribution to the development of a North American Arabian gene pool via her high-quality descendants.
Perhaps the most important of *Naomi’s tail-female descendants was to be the Manion-bred IMAGIDA, dam of the illustrious *Raffles daughters GIDA and RAFGIDA and two sons also by *Raffles, IMARAFF and RAFFI. Another distinguished female line was founded by the straight Maynesboro MADAHA. *Naomi’s descent from both sons and daughters also included the likes of RAHAS, GHAZI, RABIYAT, GHAZAYAT, Abu Farwa, ALLA AMARWARD and Aurab, just to name a few of the famous ones. *Naomi’s sons and daughters were among the finest horses of their time, and their descendants continue to be so regarded.
1893: *GALFIA and *NEJDME
IN 1893, BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT with Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, 45 Arabian horses were brought from Syria for exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair. The Hamidie horses, so named for the Hamidie Hippodrome Company which sponsored the exhibition, were beset by a series of disasters. Financial ruin of the company and a fire left 28 horses to be auctioned off.
Only three mares of the entire group would be given the opportunity to breed on. In 1894 Peter Bradley purchased the mares *GALFIA and *PRIDE. The third mare, *NEJDME, was purchased by J.A.P. Ramsdell. *GALFIA would be the first of the three to produce with her 1895 colt, MANNAKY JR. by the Hamidie stallion *MANNAKY. The following year *GALFIA again foaled to *MANNAKY and the filly ZITRA was to establish *GALFIA’s tail female line into modern descent.
In 1898 *NEJDME established the third American mare line with the birth of NONLIKER, sired by Ramsdell’s Ali Pasha Sherif stallion *SHAHWAN. Unfortunately NONLIKER was the only foal of the magnificent *SHAHWAN to breed on in America. That *SHAHWAN left scant descent at Crabbet prior to his importation was to be regretted by the Blunts as well, given the breeding performance of his daughter YASHMAK. NONLIKER was joined by younger half-sisters NANSHAN (1902) and NANDA (1905); the *NEJDME lines of DAHURA and LARKSPUR came to be particularly highly prized.
The third Hamidie mare bred on but not in tail female. *PRIDE produced just one registered foal, the 1902 mare SHEBA sired by MANNAKY JR. SHEBA would leave an important mark on the breeding program of Albert W. Harris in her sons NEJDRAN JR (by *NEJDRAN) and EL JAFIL (by *IBN MAHRUSS), sire of Harris’ noteworthy EL SABOK.
Much of the identifying information on the Hamidie horses, including the original authentication, has been lost, presumably in the fire. Bits and pieces of information from letters and newspaper articles have surfaced over the years. Some of the information coming down is conflicting regarding strains and birthdates, if not the outright identities of some of the horses. What we do know is that the horses which bred on did so extremely well.
IN 1900 THE FIRST CRABBET MARE came to America in the person of the BASILISK granddaughter *BUSHRA. She is registered as imported from the Crabbet Stud by “Mr. Eustis” but almost certainly went directly to Randolph Huntington’s ownership and produced her American offspring for Homer Davenport.
Wilfrid Blunt considered the family of BASILISK to be one of the best of their early desert importations. Later, the American breeder Spencer Borden noted the BASILISK mare line as the “best blood in the world.” The BASILISK family would be well represented among the early imports. *BUTHEYNA, *BARAZA and *BATTLA followed *BUSHRA.
The BASILISK female line died out at Crabbet, though it continued to England from the line established by BELKA at the Courthouse Stud. In America the line flourished notably from the Maynesboro mare BAZRAH.
1905: WILD THYME and RODANIA
SPENCER BORDEN CAME UPON the scene at the turn of the century. His contribution to the Arabian horse in America as an importer, breeder and author during these early days was to be monumental. In 1898 Borden had imported *SHABAKA from England, a mare by the desertbred MAMELUKE and out of KESIA II, imported en utero from the desert. *SHABAKA was not to establish a female line but her influence was realized in a highly valued son, SEGARIO. The KESIA mare line would in fact never become established here, but was represented again in Borden’s 1905 import, *SHABAKA’s half-brother *IMAMZADA, and in the 1924 Harris import *NURI PASHA [ex RUTH KESIA].
In 1905 Borden imported two fillies from the Hon. Miss Ethelred Dillon and introduced the WILD THYME mare line to breed on in America. Borden’s yearling *MAHAL and weanling *NESSA were both daughters of the Crabbet mare RASCHIDA (Kars x Wild Thyme). Like BASILISK’s, WILD THYME’s family died out early at Crabbet, but it was ably perpetuated by both *MAHAL and *NESSA in this country.
It was a stroke of genius that, also in 1905, Borden introduced the RODANIA female line to America with his importation of the dowager queen mother of Crabbet, *ROSE OF SHARON. Borden’s coup in obtaining the most celebrated of Crabbet’s early matrons must be considered in light of her unparalleled international influence.
The RODANIA daughters spread the influence of Crabbet breeding to virtually every other Arabian horse breeding base in the world. *ROSE OF SHARON’s mare line would carry forward in American breeding by her tail female descendants imported later from Crabbet. Her uniquely American contributions to the breed came via her son *RODAN and daughter ROSA RUGOSA, dam of the important Maynesboro sire SIDI.
The two remaining branches of RODANIA’s family were brought to America later and also became firmly established here. The RODANIA daughter ROSEMARY is represented by *ROKHSA, imported in 1918 by W.R.Brown, *RAIDA, imported in 1926 by Kellogg, *RISHAFIEH, imported in 1932 by Selby, and *KADIRA, imported 1939 by J.M. Dickinson. The ROSE OF JERICHO branch was established by the 1926 Kellogg imports *ROSSANA, *RASIMA and *RASAFA, and the 1930 Selby ones *RASMINA and *ROSE OF FRANCE.
IN 1906 HOMER DAVENPORT imported 27 Arabian horses directly from the desert. This importation would be the largest genetic contribution unique to American Arabian horse breeding. Six of Davenport’s desert mares would establish mare lines, and each would be represented on the leading dams of champions lists. For many years the leading dam of champions, BINT SAHARA, and her runner-up daughter FERSARA, are of *WADDUDA’s line. SAKI, whose champion produce record would come to equal BINT SAHARA’s, was of *WERDI’s family.
As in the case of each of these mares, Davenport breeding blended wonderfully well with that of other early CMK sourcess, the result being realized in some of the best representatives of the breed in history. Interestingly, some of Davenport’s desert sources were the same breeders from whom the Blunts had purchased foundation stock nearly 30 years earlier. The success Davenport, and later W.R.Brown, Harris, Kellogg, Hearst and Selby realized in combining Davenport and Crabbet breeding represented in some cases a recombining of lines derived from the same desert sources.
Davenport mare lines survive both in straight Davenport breeding programs and inextricably within the larger CMK breeding group. Their contribution of classic desert type and quality can still readily be identified.
1909: BINT HELWA
APART FROM HOMER DAVENPORT, there was no one to compare to the spirited patronage of Spencer Borden for the Arabian horse in America at the turn of the century. Borden’s visits to the Crabbet Stud and his lively correspondence with Lady Anne Blunt were to gain him respect and favor in securing some of the best individuals of that Stud. And so in 1909 Borden would again bring a grande dame of Crabbet to American shores, the Ali Pasha Sherif bred *GHAZALA, daughter of the Crabbet family foundress BINT HELWA.
BINT HELWA’s line was a third to take hold in America but die out at Crabbet. And take hold it did in the two illustrious *GHAZALA daughters, GULNARE and GUEMURA. Two other branches of the BINT HELWA family would later provide foundation mares to American CMK breeding in *HAMIDA, *HAZNA and *HILWE.
1910: DAJANIA and *LISA
THE NEXT YEAR A FIFTH Crabbet family line would reach America in the DAJANIA mare *NARDA II, imported by F. Lothrop Ames. *NARDA II, a daughter of NARGHILEH, was purchased in foal to RIJM and the next year foaled *NOAM, a three-quarters sister to *NASIK, *Nureddin II and NESSIMA.
The DAJANIA family would be greatly distinguished at Crabbet and in America as producers of some of the greatest sires in the history of the breed: the aforementioned *NASIK and *Nureddin II, and NASEEM, INDIAN GOLD, *NIZZAM, INDIAN MAGIC, *SERAFIX, ELECTRIC SILVER and *SILVER DRIFT. In America the DAJANIA line sires included INDRAFF, RAPTURE and AARAF.
Later *INDAIA was imported by Roger Selby and *INCORONATA by Kellogg, bringing the imported family of DAJANIA mares to just four.
Also in 1910, the mare *LISA was imported by C.P.Hatch. She was listed as having been “bred in the desert” and registered as black. *LISA’s family line survives via one daughter, ALIXE by *HAURAN. ALIXE’s breeder was Warren Delano of Barrytown, NY. ALIXE in turn produced three daughters by JERREDE (*Euphrates x *Nejdme), and of these JERAL and NARADA bred on.
1918: FERIDA and SOBHA
THE MAYNESBORO STUD IN Berlin, NH was founded in 1912 by William Robinson Brown. Brown’s foundation stock was acquired in the beginning from other American breeders. It was, in fact, via Maynesboro that key links with some of the earliest CMK bloodlines were to be carried forward.
In 1918 Brown made an importation of 17 horses from the Crabbet Stud. Brown’s purchase would be a timely one for CMK breeding in that advantage was taken, purposely or not, of the legal feud between Lady Wentworth and her father Wilfrid Blunt, after Lady Anne Blunt’s death. Certain Crabbet horses were acquired by Brown which might otherwise never have left the Stud. This was especially true of the phenomenal *BERK.
The 1918 Maynesboro importation introduced the FERIDA family to North America in the two-yr-old chestnut filly *FELESTIN. *FELESTIN’s dam FEJR (Rijm x Feluka) also produced the stallions FARIS and FERHAN, sires in turn of the important English breeding horses RISSALIX and INDIAN GOLD.
A second, more prolific, branch of the FERIDA family was established eight years later with the importation of the celebrated FELUKA daughter, *FERDA, by W.K.Kellogg. Ten years after her importation, half the horses at the Kellogg Ranch would be descended from *FERDA, such was the value of this FERIDA line mare.
The 1918 Maynesboro importation also brought a seventh Crabbet family to America in the SOBHA representative, *SIMAWA, a mare who would later become important to the breeding program of Albert Harris. Selby and Kellogg would each make astute importations of SOBHA line mares in *SELMNAB (imported 1930) and *CRABBET SURA (imported 1936).
The most acclaimed branch of the SOBHA family did not reach America until the 1950s. This was the line of Lady Wentworth’s unforgettable SILVER FIRE.
1921 and 1922: *BALKIS II and *KOLA
W.R. BROWN WAS A U.S. ARMY Remount agent, and it was a major purpose of his breeding program that Arabians be bred as suitable mounts for cavalry. It was probably with this in mind that in 1921 and ’22 he imported Arabian horses from France, a country long esteemed for breeding cavalry horses.
Brown’s French importation was in keeping with the tradition of Huntington, Borden, Bradley and Davenport, who touted the utilitarian supremacy of the Arabian horse, promoting the Arabian for American cavalry use.
Two of the French mares would establish mare lines at Maynesboro. The *BALKIS II granddaughter FOLLYAT and the *KOLA daughters FADIH and FATH were broodmatrons which especially earned respect for the contribution of French breeding to the CMK foundation.
1924: QUEEN OF SHEBA
THE SOLE REPRESENTATIVE of the Crabbet family of QUEEN OF SHEBA to breed on in CMK founder lines was *ANA (Dwarka x Amida), imported to America in 1924. *ANA would produce two daughters for her importer Albert Harris. She was later sold to Philip Wrigley for whom she was to produce four more daughters including the notable ADIBIYEH.
*ANA was full sister to *ALDEBAR, bred by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales and imported by Henry Babson.
1928: *NOURA and MAKBULA
AMEEN RIHANI OF NEW YORK imported three Arabians from the desert in 1928, a stallion *SAOUD and two mares, *NOURA and her daughter *MUHA. A thin but well-regarded line was to come from these mares. *NOURA’s family would be famously represented by Margaret Shuey’s elegant matron MY BONNIE NYLON.
Roger Selby’s Crabbet importation of 1928 introduced the MAKBULA family to America in the small-statured, exquiste *KAREYMA. *KAREYMA would prove to be one of Selby’s best purchases from Crabbet, judging by the excellence of her produce. Selby would bring three more representatives of the MAKBULA line to Ohio in 1930 with the importation of *KIYAMA, *JERAMA and *NAMILLA.
IN 1929 HERMAN FRANK of Los Angeles imported *MALOUMA, the first of two Egyptian lines to be incorporated into the foundation of CMK breeding. *MALOUMA was purchased by Kellogg for whom she produced the four daughters which carry on her line.
1931: *LA TISA
IN 1931 THE CHICAGO INDUSTRIALIST and philanthropist Charles Crane made a trip to the Middle East and came back with some Arabian horses, gifts from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz, who had not met an American before Crane. Crane dispatched a geologist engineer to Arabia in search of oil and water.
This exchange of favors between Crane and the Saudi ruler resulted in ARAMCO’s being established as Saudi Arabia’s petroleum exploration and development partner–a partnership which only too obviously has shaped American foreign policy to this day.
Crane’s two fillies, *LA TISA and *MAHSUDHA, reportedly were of quality and beauty in keeping with the rest of his venture. *LA TISA would establish a family which has carried forward into CMK breeding.
1932: BINT YAMAMA
W.R.BROWN INTRODUCED A second Egyptian mare line to CMK breeding with the 1932 importation of seven Arabians bred by Prince Mohammed Ali of Cairo. All were of the BINT YAMAMA family line, which was perpetuated by the four mares: *RODA and *AZIZA, daughters of NEGMA; *H.H. MOHAMMED ALI’S HAMAMA and *H.H. MOHAMMED ALI’S HAMIDA, both out of the famed NEGMA daughter MAHROUSSA. The Maynesboro Egyptian importation had been made at the same time as Henry Babson’s importation of six horses also from Egypt.
Interestingly, the origins of the Egyptian horses can be traced back in part to Abbas Pasha/Ali Pasha Sherif stock of the Blunt’s day. The exact origin of BINT YAMAMA and her relationship to early Blunt horses is a mystery yet to be solved.
IN 1934, JIM AND EDNA Draper of Richmond, California brought home five Arabians from Spain. Four of the five were mares, and all of the same female line, that of the Spanish ZULIMA through SIRIA. The elegant grey *NAKKLA was purchased by Kellogg’s and incorporated into that breeding program. The Drapers retained the SIRIA daughters *MECA and *MENFIS (dam of *NAKKLA) and *MECA’s daughter *BARAKAT, breeding them to CMK stallions.
The Draper Spanish mares produced admirably, gaining a place of pride within the CMK tradition. Edna Draper holds the distinction of being the last importer of CMK foundation stock still living.
THE LAST DESERT CONTRIBUTION considered a part of CMK foundation breeding was the Hearst importation of 1947. This was the largest group of Arabians brought directly from the Arabian desert countries since that of Homer Davenport.
The Hearst Ranch had been established with the purchase of Maynesboro stock upon that farm’s dispersal, which included the Maynesboro sires RAHAS, REHAL, GHAZI and GULASTRA. Hearst had also purchased Kellogg stock, bring about a parallel breeding program to that Stud’s.
The Hearst importation included eight mares (*RAJWA was accompanied by her daughter *BINT RAJWA), all but one of which contributed to the CMK breeding tradition.
HAGAR, THE “JOURNEY MARE,” was the Blunts’ second acquisition in the desert, but it took 75 years before her female line reached America to stay. HAGAR was purchased to carry Wilfrid Blunt from Aleppo to Baghdad and back to Damascus on the Blunts’ 1878 journey. She proved admirably up to the task and earned praise from Lady Anne in her journals.
HAGAR was sent to England as part of the foundation of the Crabbet Stud. She was sold to the Hon. Ethelred Dillon for whose Puddlicote Stud HAGAR proved a foundress. The first HAGAR breeding reached America in 1905 via the important Dillon-bred *NESSA’s sire *HAURAN and another HAGAR son, HAIL.
There was still no HAGAR female line in America when hers became another family lost to Crabbet. The line persisted through Miss Dillon’s ZEM ZEM and through HOWA, foundation mare of the Harwood Stud. ZEM ZEM and her daughter ZOBEIDE were left to Borden by Miss Dillon’s will, but left no further registered progeny.
It was not until 1953 that the HAGAR family would reach American shores and be carried on into CMK breeding. This came about when seven mares from Holland’s Rodania Stud (Dr. H.C.E.M. Houtappel) were imported to New York by T. Cremer. The mares were *CHADIGA, *FAIKA, *LATIFAA, *FATIMAA, *RITLA, *LEILA NAKHLA and *MISHKA.
With HAGAR’s line, American breeders had 10 mare families to carry on the Crabbet breeding base.
THESE, THEN, ARE THE ORIGINAL CMK MARE FAMILIES. They have been combined in American horse breeding history to form one genetic legacy uniquely American–CMK. The timeless quality of CMK mares should be obvious to all fanciers of the Arabian horse, but it would appear to fall to a few to recognize that an effort must be made to conserve the identity of these irreplaceable lines for posterity.
This treatment reflected the CMK dam line picture before the 1993 revision of the CMK Definition. — MB
The author, in Australia at 73 years old on his beloved stallion Rafyk (1890) by Azrek x Rose of Sharon.
Ed. note: While this book is very old and hard to find, it is much enjoyed by those who have the opportunity to own it. It primarily focuses on the value of Arabian blood within the equine species. It was published in 1905 (before the founding of the Royal Agricultural Society and before the Davenport importation) and sounds a call of alarm to the Western and European world regarding the importance of preserving the qualities of the Arab horse – the war-horse qualities, the athletic ability, the intelligence, the disposition, and the hardiness, and so forth. I have always enjoyed this book and thought it best to share this chapter with you as it gives numerous accounts from many varied sources regarding what was most valued about these war horses of the desert. Mr. Boucaut was prime minister of South Austrialia and owned and imported some of the first Arabians to come to Australia (1891) among which was the 100% Blunt stallion Rafyk (1890) by Azrek x Rose of Sharon. He was a great admirer of the Arab and shares some useful information here with us. The scope of this chapter is rather broad in that is also includes mention of other middle eastern Arab derivatives such as Barb and Turkoman, but most often he distinguishes. The important point of his chapter is to illustrate what a magnificent horse was created by the Arab culture and to remind us in Al Khamsa what oriental qualities we are obliged to preserve.
SUNDRY ENCOMIUMS ON THE ARAB TAKEN AT RANDOM, AND INSTANCES OF THE LOVE OF THE ARAB BY GREAT SOLDIERS
BISHOP HEBER, in his “Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India,” says:
‘My horse is a nice quiet, good-tempered little Arab, who is so fearless that he goes without starting close up to an elephant, and so gentle and so docile that he eats bread out of my hand, and has almost as much attachment and as coaxing ways as a dog.’ My guests frequently notice the strange coaxing ways of my stallions, and my unbroken mares love to be petted, coming up around you for that purpose in the paddock. although unbroken, and only handled when being weaned, they eat thistles out of the hands of the children of one of my men.’
Captain Shakespeare, in his “Wild Sport in India,” says that the Arab is the very best horse under the saddle that can be had in India for all general purposes.
Mr. H. Chichester Hart, in ‘Scripture Natural History,’ writes of the Syrian horses of to-day, that, no matter what the nature of the country, nothing comes amiss to them, and there is probably in the world no more sure-footed beast of burden to be found; that they are docile and spirited and willing to the last extremity. Certainly these are Eastern horses, truly Arabs, though not the very best of Arabs, not being of the pure desert breed. They are often spoken of as Syrian Arabs.
Mr. Sydney Galvayne, in his article ‘War-Horses, Present and Future,’ says of Arab ponies that there was not a very large number of these valuable ponies sent from India to Africa, but what were sent made a great name for themselves and fully maintained their reputation for endurance and strength.
The Rev. E.J.Davis, in his ‘Life in Asiatic Turkey,’ writes that even hard work and starvation cannot tame his spirited little horse, which, in spite of being in bad condition owning to hard work and insufficient food, has never once stumbled, never been sick, and has borne the longest and most difficult marches with the utmost fire and spirit.
Mr. A.G. Hulme-Bearman, in his ‘Twenty Years in the Near East,’ refers again and again to the excellence of the Syrian pony upon which he crossed Lebanon, 8,000 feet, through snow up to the girths, then Anti-Lebanon, 6,000 feet, and after a few days’ rest the pony took him back just as readily. A writer on the retreat from Moscow speaks of the Cossack pony (Eastern) as living on what it could get by scraping the snow with its feet, in pursuit ‘indomitable, not to be fatigued, relentless.’
Mr. Adye writes that it was, of course, the Arab descent of the little animal so much in vogue in India which accounts for its excellence; and truly wonderful were the capabilities of the little hunters (some of them only 13.2) on which the redoubtable sportsman Major Shakespeare speared hog, bear, and even leopards, over broken and rocky ground intersected by nullahs and other obstacles, which render pigsticking in certain parts of India the most difficult and exciting of all forms of hunting from the horseman’s point of view. This corroborates what General Tweedie says, as above mentioned, in referring to which I have mentioned other instances of this wonderful capacity of turning and twisting, which alone could render such sport safe and possible. Mr. Ker, in his book ‘On the road to Khiva,’ says that the Khirgiz, with Eastern horses, sit motionless on their saddles, aligned ‘as if on parade.’ Suddenly the foremost darts off at full gallop, and then, wheeling in mid-career, comes like a thunderbolt, all in one mad whirl of flight and pursuit.
‘Bruni,’ in the Astralasian (September 6, 1902), testifies that the (Indian records abound in proofs of the marvellous services rendered by the small horse, and notably by the Arab, and that on every hand the evidence was strongly in favour of the Arab and Arab cross for army purposes, and that of the value of the Arab cross we have had ample proof in Australia, because for endurance they had no equal.
Dean C. Worcester, of Michigan, U.S.A., writes of the Philippine ponies as having originated from the Andalusian horse or Barb, and, being well formed, sure-footed, and remarkable tough, making excellent saddle-horses.
Mr. George Flemming writes of the wonderful endurance of the Tartar pony; he gives one instance of the Russian courier, who used to ride from Pekin to Kiakta — 500 miles — in twelve days, rest two days, and return in fifteen, and quotes a book by the Emperor Kienloong, published in Paris in 1770, translated by a Jesuit Father, alluding to those for racing as having a swiftness beyond comprarison. These Tartar horses have been crossed again and again with Arabs.
Mr. Adye says that General Walker, Military Attache to Berlin some years ago, when probably English cavalry were better mounted than now, was much exercised to account for the superior endurance of the Prussian troop-horses over the English. He was given as the chief reason the nearer affinity to pure Arab blood. He says that, when favouring the Arab, he was asked, Why go to the Arab when the English thoroughbred was a perfected Arab? To which he replied that the Arab was much hardier, that the thoroughbred was a more useful animal a hundred years ago than he is now, and he expressed his regret that the Arab was not properly appreciated in England; and then he prophetically added:
‘Some day, perhaps in some future campaign, in which he happens to be brought into direct comparison with our present trooper, and is found to be going on for months after the latter is hopelessly done up or dead, we may have our eyes opened to his extraordinary merits.’
This was written before the Boer War. Alas that he should have been so accurate! To say that the English thoroughbred is a perfected Arab is nonsense, the jargon of the bookmakers; he is an Arab deteriorated — deteriorated by his being bred for sprinting, and spoiled by base blood.
In the Leisure Hour (May, 1902), W.J.Gordon, in ‘The Horse-Supply of the World‘ writes that in the Napoleonic wars the Russian horse (an Eastern horse), lived while the French horse died; that the only others that stood it were the little Arabs from the islands of the Levant. And he says that in the Austrian army much of the quality of their horses was due to careful breeding, especially in those from Hungary, which had a strong infusion of the Arab. And he shows the excellence of the Arab as a sire by the fact that the small Burmese tat, sturdy and sound, is, since the introduction of Arab stallions, developing into that useful but larger breed, the Indo-Burmese. And he adds that the riding-horses of Persia and Syria (allied races to the Arab, if not pure Arab, for the Arabs conquered all those countries) are better in quality than even the rough customers like Burnaby’s wonderful Arab, which he bought for 5 Lbs.
Chamber’s Journal (September, 1901, p. 609) says that the Connemara ponies are geatly indebted to the infusion of Arab blood, as also are the Orloff trotters and the Achil pony.
Mr. Wilfred Blunt stated to his purchasers at his sale at Crabbet Park, in July, 1901, that the British Government had at last entered its name on the list of his customers, that the Scotch Breeding Commission had taken three of his best stallions to improve the ponies of the western Highlands, and that the Government of India had decided on reorganizing its military studs, and true Arab stallions were to be used.
The Register (August 14, 1901) states that at this sale the Dutch Jockey Club of Java bought some Arab stallions.
Mr. C.B.Fisher states that he believes that the Arab and Timor are the only two pure breeds there are. Where comes in the purity of the boasted thoroughbred if this belief of one of the most experienced and respected breeders of horses in Australia is well founded?
The Australasian (July 6, 1901) states that the breed of ponies which originally existed in Basutoland are supposed by the settlers to have been brought thither by Arabs from the northern regions of Africa, which is corroborated by a writer in the South Australian Register of June 10, 1901 on the Boer ponies, who says that, ‘as most of them are descendants of Arab stock, they are unrivalled for hard usage‘; and ‘Bruni’ writes (September 6, 1903) that ‘Boer ponies are said to be half-bred Arabs.’
These newspapers might have been more positive as to the Arab blood in these celebrated ponies, for Professor Wallace of Edinburgh, in his book on ‘The Farming Industries of South Africa,’ published 1896, after his official visit on the invitation of the Cape Government to report upon and advises as to those industries, show that these wonderful South African horses are for the most part of Arab blood. He states that the first horses at the Cape were imported, soon after 1650, by the Dutch East India Company, and consisted of Arabs and Gulf Arabs. Note that he distinguishes between Arabs of the pure breed, like Mr. Wilfrid Blunt’s, and the inferior breeds of the Gulf, such as are occasionally palmed off on India. Then he continues that, when inbreeding led to deterioration, the same company introduced Persian Arabs about 1688, that these became crossed with other stock, including Spanish horses (which, as I have shown, have a good sprinkling of Barb blood), and that recently the breed has been improved by crossing with Arab stallions.
On October 11, 1902, ‘Bruni’ writes:
‘Since I wrote on the Arab as a sire, I have received several letters from horsemen in widely different parts of Australia, bearing testimony to the value of the Arab as a sire calculated to improve the value of the Arab as a sire calculated to improve the stamina of our horse stock. The most interesting of these letters is one received from Mr. R.R.Hogarth, a resident of the north-west coast of Tasmania. He gives the following instance of the poweres of endurance of the high-class Arab:
“In December, 1900, my brother, weighing about 10 stone 7 pounds, rode a pony standing 12.2 hands from this place to Evandale Junction in one day. The distance is ninety-two miles. He left here at 4 a.m., and arrived at Evandale Junction at 8 p.m. He stayed an hour at Latrobe for breakfast, and another hour at Dunorlan for dinner, leaving the main-road a maile to call on Mr. W. Wyatt.”
To show that the pony was not injured by his long journey Mr. Hogarth rode him into Launceston and back — a distance of twenty-two miles — the next day. The road Mr. Hogarth describes as macadamized, and exceptionally hilly in parts. The pony was taken out of a grass paddock the day before he did the journey, having been running there for some time. The pony was by Dagobeirt, imported from New South Wales from a three-quarter-Arab mare by Maharajah, an Arab horse well known in the Evan dale district. The feat performed by this pony far exceeds the European military race of seventy miles, in which no less than thirteen of the competitors were killed. Of the pony himself Mr. Hogarth says:
“His walk and canter were perfect, while as to his trot — well, it was indescribable.”
An article in the South Australian Register, September 9, 1898, after quoting various favorable opinions, observes that in Febuary, 1862, at Calcutta, the Arab Hermit, though defeated, gave Voltigeur’s daughter such a stretching that the following day the mare had to be kept home, and the Arab proved the winner. Their hardiness was such that many an Arab has continued year after year to add to his laurels in spite of a thickened suspensory ligament.
Mr. De Vere Hunt cites with approval an authority which asserts that none but a people long possessed of numerous and well-trained chargers could have planted the victorious banners of Islam on the Pyrenees as well as on the banks of the Ganges. He might have added — ‘and carried them to China.’ He then sets out a letter from Lord Gifford, who was for twenty years a master of foxhounds, wherein the writer says that his little Arab was worth fifty of the gray, he rode him cub-hunting with Mr. Greaves, and he was active as a cat, and could put a leg anywhere. The horse was apparently not? an Arab.
In the South Australian Advertiser. it was lately stated that the Arabian horse has been used in developing the military horses of all the European countries, and that the thoroughbred had deteriorated to a mere shadow, while the Arab had remained the same and was increasing in popularity in Grat Britain.
‘Cecil,’ whom I have mentioned above, while supporting Mr. Day in supposing that the Arab could not improve the racehorse — as a racehorse — admits that: ‘For riding-horses, however, it is another affair.’ For the army and the general public that is the whole question.
Major Arthur Griffiths, in an article in the Fortnightly, September, 1898, writes that another great merit in the Egyptian cavalry is their horse-flesh, sturdy little Syrian Arabs which have done an immense amount of hard work, and, although small for their loads, are so strong and full of spirit that they have never been sick or sorry all the year.
At the Battle of Omdurman the Egyptian cavalry, mostly Arabs and Arab crosses, were out all day on September 1 from daybreak on August 31, and not in till 3 p.m., and on September 2 they were heavily engaged wih the Dervishes for several hours. They then advanced on Omdurman, and were sent in pursuit of the Khalifa; and the writer adds that it is really wonderful wht the Arab pony will do.
The passage from Mr. G.W. Steevens’ book above quoted as to the cavalry march to Omdurman shows the weight-carrying power of the Arab horse; for the ‘little Syrian’ is three-parts Arab — often, indeed, called Arab. This little horse with a light rider carried 18 stone on his back; with a heavy rider he carried 20 stone. I also cited the passage because it shows to demonstrat the utter inferiority of the English horse, ‘which had to be left behind at Cairo.’ Mr. Stevens was only describing what he saw. He does not appear to have had any idea of lauding the Arab. It does not appear that he knew how nearly Arab the little Syrian is, nor does it appear that he had any idea of disparaging the English horse. He was describing a picturesque scene, and the reference to the English horse seems to have been quite an aside. ‘Their own big, hungry chargers had to be left behind at Cairo!’
Dinah Sharp, in the New York Times, November 14, 1891, shows that the Arab has not deteriorated. She relates that Omar (who afterwards belonged to the late Empress of Austria, the finest horsewoman in Europe), travelled three days and nights over the hot and barren plains of the Arabian desert, with but 2 quarts of barley for food, and an occasional tuft of Sahara clover.
Miss Ella Sykes, in her recent work ‘Through Persia on a Side-saddle,’ writes that the horses they usually had were wiry little Arabs, about 14 hands high, plucky, enduring, and very easy to manage by their riders.
The Vienna correspondent of the Mail, recently wrote that the Hungarian horse had special qualities of endurance, which he attributed to his dash of the Arab blood, and that it was a great matter to have a certain strain of Arab blood in the troop-horse; for the Arab horse and the horse with the Arab blood will feed on indifferent forage which the English horse will not look at, and would retain condition when the latter was reduced to a bag of bones. The Hungarian horse had extremely hard bone, like the Arab, and consequently was seldom troubled with spavin, which was but too common among our own horses, whose bones are softer.
The Windsor Magazine, January, 1903, has it that the horses which are common to Hungary and Roumania are famous for their extraordinary strength, pluck, and sure-footedness. They both have a strong Arab dash.
In the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica‘ art. ‘Arabia,’ it is said that trained European racers would easily distance a thoroughbred Arab on any ordinary course, but for perfection of form, symmetry of limbs, cleanness of muscle, beauty of appearance, for endurance of fatigue, for docility, and for speed maintained for distances so long as to appear incredible, the Nedjie horse acknowledges no equal.
Mr. Harold Leeney, M.R.C.V.S., in the Live Stock Journal Almanack for 1898, writing a scientific article on the castration of horses, showing its desirablity, says that if exception — i.e., noncastration — could be made to any particular breed, he would say that the Arab was the one with fewest objections as an entire. No other reference is made to the Arab in the article, and this incidental reference of course testifies in an unusual manner to his docility. It is said that if they have never been at the stud they are perfectly quiet; and I believe that they are not usually gelded in Egypt. I often show off the docility of the breed to my guests by mounting — I ought to say, at seventy-three, by climbing on to — my old sire, now twelve years old, in the paddock, without either saddle or bridle, and I have done this though close to him on the other side of the fence was another stallion. I have riden him in great crowds and tents and shows and sports at Glenelg on Commemoration Day, and when he has got excited I have only had to speak to him to calm him down. This after several years at the stud.
Mr. W.G.Palgrave says that it is well known that in Arabia horses are much less frequently vicious or refractory than in Europe. Why, that is in the breed! Then he adds that this was the reason why geldings there were so rare. Miss Sara Linard, in her recent book on the horse, 1902, quotes a horse – parade described in the Daily Graphic of October, 1896, where four young ladies rode four Arab stallions, which, she says, before going to the stud are entirely safe, and which she also says is the case with Arabs only, ‘who know how to behave themselves as gentlemen.’ Many young ladies, visitors at my farm, from six or seven up, love to give my stallions sugar. But they are pure-bred. They are ‘gentlemen.‘
I have read that the docility and the cleverness of the breed are such that, in Arabia, they lead the animal to bite and keep in the path those which stray. Now, it so happened that, when the grass began to spring, the horses, working bullocks, and cows, at Kingsford, where I used to be stockkeeping in the forties, used to wander — there were no paddocks — and it was my duty to go out in the morning and bring them home, sometimes a distance of three or four or more miles. There was always a tendency in cattle and horses under these circumstances to edge off from a man on foot, and so surely as any of the other horses, or any of the cows or bullocks, did this, my old stock-horse, half Arab, as I have said, was as prompt as a cattle-dog to rush out and bring them back by a nip. I often used to wonder how he acquired the habit. This was, of course, when he ‘wasn’t on‘ himself for a gallop. Occasionally some of those uncanny creatures which entered the Gadarene swine possessed him, and at such times he was the ringleader. that was when the ‘old Adam‘ came out; but he would not ordinarily allow any of the others to lead or to depart from the right path.
In Dr. Liddon’s ‘Tour in Egypt and Palestine in 1886,’ a description is given of a Bedouin Sheikh, a worthy descendant of Sir Walter Scott’s Saladin. When he struck his spear into the ground, his horse stood and watched him like a dog. When he returned after his rounds, his horse lay down and gave a low whinny, then the Sheikh lay down by his side, making a pillow of the horse, and they both slept, apparently, for half an hour. The Sheikh again went his rounds, and the horse, finding his master had no further intentions of going to bed, got up and stood by the spear all night. My groom often lies down between the legs of my stallions, which then walk round him inquiringly and caressingly, apparently pleased at his confidence.
Mr. R. Fitzroy Cote, a considerable author, in his ‘Peruvians at Home,’ says that at the Lima bullfights all the horses permitted to enter the arena must be of pure Arab blood, and owing to their sagacity and the agility of their riders they seldom fail to escape the bull’s horns. Mr. Cote was not writing up the Arab horse, and only mentions him incidentlally; but doubtless the Peruvians had discovered his wonderful powers of twisting and turning, which have been illustrated in his boar-hunting in India.
The great traveller J.S.Buckingham, who at one time commanded a ship which made a long stay at each of the great marts of trade in the Persian Gulf, in giving an account of the trade there to India, and explaining the easy mode in which horses might thence be shipped, says that it was the usual thing for Arab horses to sleep standing, and to do so for years in succession, without ever lying down except when sick.
‘Bruni’ points out, on the authority of Mr. W.G. Hughes of Texas, that the foundation stock of the celebrated Mexican mustangs was the Moorish horses (Barbs) turned loose by Cortes. Desiring to breed from these mustangs, Mr. Hughes travelled over a large part of the United States, and finally found the horse he wanted in Nimrod, by a pure Arab sire, Nimr.
As showing the growing favour of the Arab, the racing gentlemen notwithstanding, the Ladies’ Field, October 28, 1902, has an advertisement that ‘a perfectly-shaped child’s pony 11.3 hands, rising five, like a miniature Arab, jumps high,’ was for sale. A racing man would probably laugh at this, but even supposing the man or woman who inserted this advertisement had been impressed by some drawing-room or fashionable novel, none the less does it show that the present general trend of opinion towards the Arab which ‘Bruni’ testifies to. It shows a belief that Arab blood is a recommendation, that there is a growing recognition of the excellence of the breed, a belief that it is the best that can be obtained in horse-flesh, and breeders who want to sell will be wise if they note it. If it be only a straw, it is the sort of straw which shows the way the wind is blowing. It demonstrates, in fact, that belief in the Arab is ‘sinking in.’ Can anyone wonder at it when he reads the facts collected in this little book?
‘Faneargh,’ in the Sidney Mail, writes that the old stockhorse of the overlanders of the early forties and fifties were largely bred from Arabs, that these old horses were of wonderful stamina, and their staying powers were marvellous.
The Register, September 7, 1901, reminds the public that the Arab horse stands cold as well as heat, and will eat anything that is given to him; that on half-rations or less his brave heart carries him through almost all imaginable difficulties; that it is difficult to overweight him, and he has always been more appreciated by foreigners than by Englishman — of course because of sprinting.
Professor Watson writes that the African horses were smaller and shorter in the body than those bred in Australia, and, as most of them were descendants of the Arab stock, they are unrivalled for hard usage.
At Waterloo the Emperor Napoleon was mounted on Marengo, a beautiful little Arab, only 14.2 hands, and when wounded Napoleon mounted his white Arab mare Marie; and in another sketch of Napoleon it is stated that Marengo was brought by Napoleon from Egypt in 199 (sic), and riden by him at Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram, in the Russian Campaign, and at Waterloo, and that his skeleton was still in the Royal United Service Institution.
The German Emperor at the army manoeuvres in 1902 led the cavalry ‘mounted on his Arab charger.‘ He may be a poet, but he is no dreamy simpleton. He is probably the hardest-headed man in Europe.
Lord Roberts at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was mounted on ‘his celebrated Arab.’ Lord Roberts is not a drawing-room General, but, as stated by Lieutenant-Colonel Maude in Macmillan, May 1, 1902, ‘a perfect horseman– one of the best in India — a man of the widest experience as to what hores can do in the field.’ Colonel Maude states that General Roberts rode his Arab all through the Candahar forced march — ‘a type of the highest class of Arab.’ By special permission of Queen Victoria, this horse, Voronel, wears an Afghan medal with four clasps, and the Cabul-Candahar star.
Abdur Rahman, late Amir of Afghanistan, writes in his autobiography (one of the most remarkable books of the day, 1900):
‘At the end of our march both men and hroses were well-nigh exhausted. I myself cooked some meat and distributed it among the men, who were almost fainting; the horses meantime lay down, unable to rise again. Only one horse, my own Arab, remained standing.’
Abdur Rahman was fighting for his life, and, like the Bedouin, had to rely on his horse for his preservation. The odds on the Cup and the Stud book were nothing to him. A racing sprinter would have been destruction to him. He wanted fact, not fancy; solid work, not delicate prettiness; and it can be hardly suggested that the German Emperor did not know a good horse. Why did they ride Arabs when the pick of the whole world was at their service?