by Aaron Dudley
Photos from Spide Rathbun Collection
from Western Horseman Mar 1952
Two great horses. Jadaan visits the statue of the immortal Seabiscuit at Southern California’s famous Santa Anita race track. A special platform was built in the midst of one of Santa Anita’s noted pansy beds for this occasion.
Probably no horse of modern time — including the favorite mounts of our current TV and movie cowboys — has enjoyed greater popularity or been viewed by more people than a proud little grey Arab named Jadaan.
That name probably means little to the average horseman, and certainly nothing to the millions of curious fans who have seen him, but when you say he’s “the horse that Rudolph Valentino rode” there’s an immediate reaction.
Rudolph Valentino and the stallion Jadaan in full desert regalia, ready for a dash over the sands for cameras recording “The Son of the Sheik.” This costume and the Jadaan trappings are still on display in the tackroom of the W.K.Kellogg ranch at Pomona.
Millions trekked to the famous W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse ranch at Pomona, Calif., upon the matinee idol’s death to see this horse and view trappings the dashing Latin used in his popular desert pictures of the 1920’s. And although the ranch had many fine horses, fully 90 per cent of the visitors who came wanted to see “the Valentino horse.” Women crowded around his box stall, wore the stable door smooth pressing for a better look at the sleek stallion. And they stood to silent near-reverence when Jadaan was led riderless into the arena carrying his former master’s colorful desert regalia.
Jadaan in later years, standing at the foot of the Valentino shrine in Hollywood. The old horse was trailered to hundreds of gatherings honoring Valentino, and was a top attraction at movieland parades.
This idolizing of a movie hero’s horse continued almost unabated for 19 years until the little horse died in 1945. And then avid Valentino zealots had his skeleton preserved and enshrined in the University of California’s School of Animal Husbandry.
Unfortunately, Jadaan was neither a top individual (from a horseman’s point of view) nor did he produce outstanding colts; this in spite of the fact his ancestry was the best of old-line Arabian stock. His granddam was the famous mare Waddudda, brought to America in 1906 and presented to Homer Davenport by Achmet Hefiz, who also reportedly sent along a desert tribesman to care for the mare.
Registry No. 196, Jadaan was foaled in April, 1916, at Hingham Stock Farm, Hingham, Massachusetts. His sire was the desert-bred Abbeian, imported by Homer Davenport in 1906. The dam was Amran by Deyr, No. 33, another Davenport importation.
Deyr, a very fine individual, was the only stallion of the original Davenport importation ever at the Kellogg Ranch. His skeleton, a classic example of the Arabian, is now on display at the Los Angeles Museum at Exposition Park.
But in spite of this royal Arab lineage, Jadaan had very poor front legs and his get tended to be even farther over in the knees than their sire.
Horsewomen Monaei Lindley dons Arabian garb and mounts Jadaan for a photo at the Kellogg Arabian Horse ranch entrance. Everything good and bad about the horse can be clearly seen in this photo. Miss Lindley, at the time this photograph was taken, was an active horse breeder of Cinnebar Hill, Reno, Nevada.
H. H. Reese, in charge of the Kellogg Ranch when Jadaan was at the height of his fame, complied to the public clamor for colts from “the Valentino horse” and produced a big crop of colts for several seasons. They sold fast, but failed to do anything in the shows, and when a noted judge finally complained about the uniform badness of Jadaan’s offspring, Reese retired the stud to the limelight of his fame as a movie and parade horse and withheld him from further activity in the stud.
This situation was made to order for Spide Rathbun, promotion manager for the Kellogg ranch and the man second only to Valentino in contribution to Jadaan’s fame. It was Rathbun who gave Jadaan the big build-up as Valentino’s horse, who made Jadaan THE Valentino horse, in spite of the fact Valentino had ridden Raseyn and other Jadaan stablemates in motion picture work.
So when Reese wrote finis to Jadaan’s career in the stud, Rathbun went to work with added enthusiasm. Jadaan’s picture began appearing in the Sunday supplements at a rapid rate. Struggling movie starlets begged for an opportunity to be photographed with him. He was a fixture at Hollywood parades, and even was placed on exhibit in a special stall right in the lobby of one of the town’s plushiest theaters. He led Pasadena’s famous Tournament of Roses parades, had half a dozen different authentic desert outfits and rivaled the famous Lady in Black in contributing to the fanatical Valentino memorabilia. People just wouldn’t forget Valentino nor anything that had been connected with him.
Spide Rathbun and Jadaan went along with them, and whatever the little horse lacked in conformation he made up in spirit and a strange human like response to parade music or camera lens.
Jadaan in his prime looks over the Kellogg ranch from a nearby hilltop, with Ken Maynard as Buffalo Bill Cody astride. Maynard was a frequent visitor at the Kellogg ranch and often rode Jadaan in parades.
“Jadaan had an extraordinary faculty for falling naturally into beautiful poses,” says Rathbun. And there are literally thousands of pictures to prove it.
Jadaan had natural beauty, poise, grace, and a vibrant personality. His head and shoulder poses were described by some of Hollywood’s top cameramen as the most impressive they had ever photographed.
There is no denying he was an impressive horse.
Valentino first saw him in Palm Springs. Jadaan was in his prime and in his element, the sandy desert. And he had the benefit of a masterful rider, a European horsemen named Carl Schmidt, known to thousands of Arabian breeders today as “Raswan.”
The pair made an impressive picture, and Valentino immediately was interested in the prancing stallion. The price was $3,000 at the time, according to Raswan. (Kellogg had paid $1,200 for him.) Carl and Valentino visited at length concerning Jadaan and his possibilities as a movie horse. This was in 1926 and Valentino was about to make another desert picture in which he hoped to use an outstanding mount.
Jadaan at this time was owned by W. K. Kellogg, the cereal king, having just been purchased from C. D. Clark, of Point Happy Ranch, Indio, along with nine others. Kellogg, however, left the horse in Clark’s care, with Schmidt in charge.
Jadaan was then 10 years old.
Valentino wanted Jadaan badly. Friends said he mentioned the horse often in the next few months, comparing the horse with famous statues he had seen in Italy, statuary of Garibaldi and Marco Polo, always mounted on rearing horses.
“I used to look at the great, metal Garibaldi in the little park,” friends quoted the actor saying. “I can see him now, seated firmly on his rearing horse. I always wanted to ride like that.”
This admiration for dashing horsemanship probably was responsible for much of the success of Valentino’s desert sheik pictures and, no doubt, led to his first interest in Jadaan. Jadaan commanded attention.
Unfortunately for Valentino and his backers, the actor did not give in to his urge to own Jadaan. Instead, it was decided to rent him from Kellogg for use in the upcoming movie.
This decision was an expensive one, for before they were through shooting, the aggregate cost of rental and insurance reached a reputed $12,000. And the movie makers had to furnish an expert attendant besides.
One day of retakes cost the film company $750 of insurance alone, and the backers were pretty sick of horse problems before they had the picture wrapped up.
And Valentino, in spite of the fact he was a far better than average horseman, was too valuable an asset to risk on a spirited horse for any length of time. As a consequence, the producer had to hire Carl “Raswan” Schmidt as his double. In the famous film “Son of the Sheik” Carl portrayed both the son and the father in all long shots and all those requiring fast or dangerous riding.
It was not long thereafter that Valentino died, and Jadaan, under the expert press agentry of Rathbun and thanks to an idolizing public, became the nation’s most famous living horse.
He was in such great demand that Kellogg Ranch officials had to maintain careful future booking records and exercise great caution in agreeing to public appearances for him. Idolizers of Valentino pulled hair from the horse’s tail and mane, asked for his shoes, and taxed the patience of attendants by filching jewels from the showy saddle, bridle and other elaborate trappings.
Heirs of Buffalo Bill Cody, after seeing photos of a movieland Buffalo Bill mounted on Jadaan, requested that upon the animal’s death his skin be sent them for mounting and placing in the museum at Cody, Wyoming. It was recalled that Buffalo Bill’s favorite mount was a white Arabian, Muson, a stallion loaned to him by his friend Homer Davenport. Cody always rode Muson in his appearances at Madison Square Garden; and it was on this animal he is mounted in the Rosa Bonheur painting.
Jadaan’s skin was preserved upon his death, but it apparently never reached its destined place of enshrinement at Cody.
The Jadaan-Valentino saddle is still much in evidence at the Kellogg ranch (now Southern California campus of California Polytechnic College). It looked for a while one day recently that future generations would not be afforded an opportunity of seeing this historic piece of Hollywood gear. As is the custom each Sunday, a riderless horse outfitted with the Valentino saddle, bridle, fringed martingale, and jeweled blanket is brought into the ring. The young Cal-Poly student who saddled the honored Arab on this particular day evidently saw no reason for cinching up the rig tightly, and the filly bearing it promptly bucked it loose midway in her appearance and proceeded to kick it pretty well to ribbons as it hung beneath her belly.
Harness maker Z. C. Ellis, of Pomona, came to the rescue, however, painstakingly piecing embroidery, dyed leather, and jewels back together again; and posterity can now see the saddle that Rudolph Valentino rode.
And parents can continue to scoff when youngsters look blank and inquire, “Who was he, anyway?”
From “Jadaan 196” by Carol W. Mulder in Arabian Horse World Dec. 1971
a broodmare for Dickinson 3 reg foals (from Dickenson’s Catalog(’47): “Height 15.1 weight 1025” “Markada is intelligent to a degree and has been well educated. She knows a number of tricks and has personality enough to make an ideal heroine for a ‘human’ horse story. She seems to take pride in giving one a good ride. Markada is above average size and well built up, especially in the forehand. She has deep shoulders, sloping nicely, and good withers. Her middle piece is well rounded and she carries herself well at both ends. This mare is close to desert breeding and strong in the blood of great producing dams.” “Used 1931-1934. Sold in Tennessee”
no recorded get
a broodmare for Jedel Ranch
died at 4 months
a sire for Gordon A. Dutt. 7 reg. foals
exp. to Mexico City, Mexico
4 reg foals
2 reg. daughters
Dam of12 offspring including the Davenport 2nd foundation mare, Asara. Damline of Fadjur’s favorite mare, Saki.
8 reg. foals
line has died out
at least 5 reg foals
Kellogg broodmare. at least 6 reg foals. Destroyed by Remount in ’44 at age 13. Lame.
5 reg foals
died at six months
did not breed on.
sire for Marie C. Scott’s Wyoming ranch. 20 reg. foals
a sire for Dr. Fred A. Glass
Fred E. Vanderhoof bred 3 mares to him in 1938 resulting in
at least 7 reg. foals.
at least 7 reg. foals.
From Mary Jane Parkinson’s The Kellogg Arabian Ranch: The First Fifty Years p. 277: “JADAAN, age 29, had outlived his usefulness. …was destroyed on May 28” by the U.S. Remount.↩
“(Buck-knees) While this is a very unsightly disfigurement, it is not by any means as serious as several other front leg flaws, and is, in fact, considered by many experts to be relatively harmless!” — Carol Mulder↩
From “Fasal 330” by Carol W. Mulder in Arabian Horse World Feb. 1976: “(Markada) dying in her prime.”↩
(This discussion is based on outline notes for the talk I gave at the 1994 Annual Meeting of the Arabian Horse Historians Association. The timeliness of the topic is underscored by a comment from the outgoing AHHA president, Carol Schulz, that at least 90% of the Arabian foals registered in the last several stud books are of generalized “show horse” lines, representing no particular breeding direction or identity. This does not say anything against the show horses, but makes it clear that all other aspects of the Arabian horse–and that includes straight Polish, Egyptian, Russian and Spanish–must be divided among less than 10% of current US breeding activity.)
AZZ (Ibn Nura x Bint Azz), shown here with Lady Anne Blunt, was the last of her line. Lady Anne sent the mare to England in the vain hope that more sophisticated veterinary care might preserve this branch of Dahman Shahwan. (NBGS)
What do we actually mean when we talk about “preserving” a genetic stock? The object of the exercise is not simply, or even chiefly, keeping names in pedigrees; pedigrees are merely a tool which may aid in evaluating the structure of a breeding group. It is obviously possible to breed in a preservationist sense with stocks that don’t even have recorded pedigrees. It is also perfectly possible to have a name present in pedigrees, while no modern representative carries a gene from the individual in question.
The goal of preservation breeding is to keep in the world the traits, characters, hereditary factors which make one aspect of a breed or species different from another–in short, to preserve genes for the future. Preservation breeding carries the unspoken assumption that the “preserved” genes will benefit a larger population in future; defined breeding groups have value and identity in their own right, but in another sense they are being maintained for future use.
This brings us inescapably into the realm of population genetics: the aspect of the science of heredity which considers the behavior of genes over time, as affected by particular mating systems. Population genetics is a mathematical and highly theoretical discipline–frankly in graduate school I found it the least compelling aspect of genetics–until you have a real problem to which it applies, when the charts and equations suddenly take on life and meaning.
Much of population genetics theory is derived for the special case of “random mating”–defined as a situation in which every individual in a population has equal probability of mating with every other individual of opposite sex. Clearly this is an imaginary construct to simplify the math. Real-life matings are constrained by geography, finance, fashion, etc., any of which will lead to wide use of some lines or individuals, and neglect of others, and so directly to loss of genetic diversity.
Any individual horse standing before us is the product of its genetic makeup interacting with all the environmental factors it has encountered. Nutrition, training, medical care–all these come under the heading of “environment,” not just weather and soil conditions. Genetic diversity buffers the population against the effect of environmental change; it is what gives a breed the potential to respond to new conditions. Diversity includes the physical and mental traits of the traditional Arabian; “new conditions” in our context may include things like an increased appreciation of the traditional using and companion Arabian horse.
A breed is the sum total of all its individual horses. Historically the genetics and veterinary literature has treated members of breeds as if they were interchangeable average mathematical units. Fortunately with the recognition of genetic diversity as a positive good, an alternative approach is gaining currency. Preservation breeding emphasizes that a breed must not be viewed as the average of all its “random mating” individuals–in order to preserve we must identify and try to understand the differing strands of its makeup.
I have referred before to that useful metaphor of “the tapestry you are preserving.” One may “preserve” almost anything, from a near-perfect wall hanging which just needs to be cleaned and protected from future damage, down to a scrap of authentic thread which may be very useful for repair or reinforcement of a more complete but related fragment.
A static image of conservation or preservation could be misleading (any metaphor however useful is a comparison, not a description). We do need to remember that in Arabian horse terms there are no perfect tapestries, and clarify one difference between preservation breeding and other kinds of conservation (working with animals even differs from preserving rare plant stocks): Genes (DNA molecules) are essentially unchanged over the generations; individual horses are transient, ephemeral, fleeting combinations of genes. The tapestry image works so long as we keep in mind that the process is analogous, but the object of the process is quite different.
What classes of fragments might we conserve? All will be arbitrary, defined in some historical terms–“species” at least in the ideal is a natural, biological classification, but we are not working at the species level. Fortunately we can describe any group in biological terms once we’ve defined it.
Large closed groups: this is certainly the easiest category if you have one.
Large groups, with fuzzy edges: this has practical advantages but must be defined.
Small closed groups: working with these is challenging but possible.
“Endangered species”: this is where we run the greatest danger of “keeping a name in a pedigree” without any associated biological reality; small fragments are meaningful only if maintained in some relevant larger context.
Large closed groups: These are easy to define once we decide how large is “large”? Bottlenecks are relative, the more numbers we work with the better our chance of keeping a major proportion of the genetic variation we’re trying to save. We can describe a general picture here, and the other situations can be treated as they vary from it. This is where we need to introduce some population genetics concepts:
“Gene frequency”: a thing, a number, which tells us something about a breeding group; don’t worry about how to develop the actual number. All traits are based on genes, and all genes exist at some frequency–it’s just harder to measure the interesting ones so we sometimes use “markers.”
“Effective population size”: another informative number, which takes into account the relative breeding contributions of males and females. An effective population of 10 can retain genes existing at frequency of 0.1 or higher; uncommon (below 0.1) and rare (below 0.05) variants will likely be lost. For our purposes, in a typical horse-breeding situation, “effective size 10” means some number much larger than 10. Note: it does not matter whether the population expands in numbers; expansion helps to keep in circulation the genes that you do have, but it does not do anything about ones that were lost when the founders were selected.
“The sire is half the herd”–we all know that maxim. In a preservation breeding context the point is precisely that we don’t want any one sire to dominate any program to the extent of half its genes. The more one narrows down the sire selection, the more, and the more diverse, mares must be kept in order to retain the original genetic variation. The most efficient way to maintain diversity is to use multiple sires on several small sets of mares, and rotate the sires. The idea, always of course influenced by real-world considerations, among them the phenotypic suitability of a particular combination, is to equalize breeding opportunity in order to maximize the proportion of genes retained.
Inbreeding and selection pressure are considerations in any breeding situation–they are not specialized aspects of the preservationist approach. Inbreeding, like random mating, simplifies the math, so is overly important in population genetics theory. Inbreeding can be a useful tool, and incidentally is a fact in any closed breeding group–inbreeding operates at the level of breeds, so long as they have closed stud books, not just within limited subsets of breeds. Inbreeding drives genes to fixation and can lead to the loss of alleles from the population, so one goal of presevationist planning should be to minimize the average degree of inbreeding. Inbreeding is not an end in itself.
Once we have a preservation group defined (say for now all the horses, or at least a representative sample, are in preservationist hands, though that is not a trivial assumption) and reproducing, the best way to retain maximum genetic diversity is to spread the horses among more than one program, and let subgroups happen. In theory we want a set of “cooperator breeders” working toward a shared vision. That calls to mind another non-trivial problem: preservation breeders as people will, by definition, be eccentric and… let’s say independent minded. Those independent visions are essential, each maintaining its own distinct sample of the horses in question; there still must be enough of the shared vision, and some sort of working definition, to retain the genetic identity of the preserved group.
Part II (CMK Record, XI/3 Fall, 1995)
(Continued from last issue — the “to be continued” text block was lost in production. Last time we outlined the basic notions of population genetics, in terms of preservation breeding with a large closed population. Further implications arise when other kinds of genetic entities are to be preserved.)
Large blurry groups will maximize the contribution from the founder animals. Generally, by the time any breeding group needs attention at the preservation level, the genetic influence of many founders will be lost among those descendants which qualify for inclusion in a closed group. Whether through attrition of numbers, or use in outcross programs, or most likely both, any set of “straight” pedigree horses carries only a fraction of the founders’ genes–compare, for example, the original Blunt or Davenport array, with the sample of those influences represented in modern straight Blunt or straight Davenport breeding.
Gene frequencies among the surviving descendants of anything reflect the action of mutation (negligible over human time scales), chance and selection. The gene frequencies of any modern closed group likely will be very different from the frequencies that would have been calculated among the founders. This effect is apt to be less exaggerated (simply because more of the founders are represented) if we define our modern population so that it descends “largely” (deliberately vague) from those founders. To follow up the previous example, there are Blunt and Davenport genes in modern CMK Arabians which have been lost from their straight Blunt or Davenport relatives.
Philosophically and historically the breeding group with blurry outlines is different from more traditional approaches but it is squarely based on an accurate biological view: species are naturally distinct biological entities with more or less firm barriers against crossing; breeds are artificially maintained subsets of a species. “Breed” is a historical (originally geographic) concept, and acquires biological reality only after the fact; this cannot be overstressed. “Breed” and “species” do not have equivalent implications, in terms of original or maintained genetic differences. In evolutionary terms, the genetic distance between pairs of species is measured by comparing their relative frequencies for marker genes–in making such measurements researchers do not expect to find complete non-overlap between related species. Obviously then this will not be expected between breeds, leave alone subsets of a breed.
Working with a blurry edged pedigree definition is not the same as maintaining a closed group, and not a substitute where the closed group still exists–the two approaches are complementary. In setting up a blurry group its organizers must neither claim that it is something else, nor allow it to be thought less than it is in its own right. There must be a working definition which sets off a biologically and phenotypically distinct entity from the breed at large.
Few (if any) absolute genetic differences exist between breeds. Still less can there be absolute differences between subsets of a breed, and there simply is no way to tell what caused such differences anyway–they are every bit as likely to have arisen through chance loss of genes from one set but not from the other, as they are to reflect an original difference. Given they were shown to represent an original difference, such still could represent accidents of sampling the original population (in our case the Bedouin horses, which ranged over a large area geographically and were more or less separated in terms of tribal origins).
Working with a blurry-edged definition gives tremendous possibilities in terms of developing subgroups: founder genes of different origin (in Arabian terms, different desert samples) will get together and produce new combinations not existing in the original animals. This may suit a particular breeder’s approach admirably, while it strikes another as highly undesirable. Neither response to this biological fact is “wrong,” but this does underline that one must be aware that gene combinations are not static, even in a closed group.
Preservation breeding of livestock is not like working with, say, historical rose varieties. Modern bushes of a rose bred in 1830 are biological clones of the same plant, with exactly the same gene combinations as the ancestor (barring rare mutations). Modern descendants of an individual Arabian horse which lived in 1830 need not actually carry any of its genes, and they certainly carry those genes in different combinations than did that ancestor. To give a simple coat color example from a more recent individual, Skowronek was homozygous for grey and heterozygous for the black and red pigment genes at extension locus. There are modern chestnut Arabians of intense Skowronek breeding–horses bred to maintain a high relationship to this ancestor have lost three (at least) of his detectable genes at these two easily defined loci.
Small closed groups make for the most difficult and challenging and certainly the most intellectually fascinating kind of project. We have already acknowledged that large groups will develop subgroups. Over time these may be selected or defined into their own distinct existence, so eventually the “small group” scenario becomes a concern in almost any preservation breeding context, regardless of your starting level. Keeping to our original examples, the Davenport program is developing an elaborate substructure, and within the English descended aspect of CMK there are a number of possible distinctions, including straight Blunt, Skowronek-Blunt, straight Crabbet, GSB-eligible, Crabbet-Old English, and CMK of high Crabbet percentage. Each of these may be maintained in its own distinctive form, while individuals of the more specialized groups may contribute genes to the more general ones.
The narrowly defined groups exist in their own right but they also serve as a resource of mental and conformation traits, soundness and performance ability, for use in other contexts. This is quite analogous to the position of preservation-bred stock relative to the breed at large. The drawback, at least in theory, to maintaining the maximum number of small sub-groups, is that inbreeding within each subgroup will increase more rapidly than it would if the entire set of horses had been crossed freely among themselves. The other side of the same coin is that crossing sub-groups will later provide a way to increase heterozygosity, and theoretically vigor and fertility, without going outside the original closed definition.
The notion to take home here is that maintaining population substructure is an efficient way to maintain genetic diversity; the modern Thoroughbred, with its history of international exchanges of sires and overall genetic homogenization, possesses far less genetic diversity than does the Arabian, with its history of breeding in national or smaller subgroups.
We all learned long ago that “inbreeding creates uniformity.” If you take nothing else away from this discussion, at least cross that off your list of life’s basic concepts. Inbreeding drives genes to homozygosity and thereby shows up underlying genetic variance. Inbreeding actually creates phenotypic variability. Selection among the results of inbreeding may give rise to uniformity. Is this what you want?
A program cannot possibly maintain the full range of genetic diversity, and is not likely to maintain representative frequencies, of any founder population, through a bottleneck of two or three or five individuals. “Rare” genes are defined to exist below 0.05 frequency–nothing in a group of five horses (among them possessing a theoretical maximum total of 10 genes at any locus, and in practice there will be fewer) can exist below 0.10. If a “rare” gene from the original population, of which these five horses are a sample, is by chance present, it automatically has gone above its original frequency; if it’s not in there it never can come back, so long as the group is bred closed. This effect is not automatically either good or bad, but is simply what happens, and it illustrates that “preservation” operates at different levels. Clearly one can only “preserve” what is still in the world to be worked with, but just as clearly, the more extensive the sample with which one starts breeding now, the more correctly the desired population will be reflected in future generations.
A program cannot achieve flat phenotypic “uniformity” without losing genes; selection for a totally uniform true-breeding group is in fact the opposite of genetic preservation (besides being a highly theoretical construct–biological reality is quite different). A program, or a group of cooperator programs, can maintain or reproduce something closer to the original population by crossing derived lines back together. Sublines will automatically develop when more than one breeder is directing the course of selection, and so far from being disadvantageous, these can be highly useful from many viewpoints. (I am deliberately running this idea into the ground–it is one of the most important things of which preservation breeders must be aware.)
Endangered Species: At this level (“threads and fragments” in our tapestry analogy) a real genetic presence can readily be reduced to “a name in a pedigree” unless the line is maintained in some appropriate biological context. When a breed is evolving rapidly, saving descendants of an uncommon element means nothing, unless the breeder interested in preserving that element is working with some semblance of the breeding background to which it belongs historically and genetically. This point is missed by many people who breed horses–perhaps especially Arabian horses–who boast they have a line to Mare X or Great Sire Y but haven’t noticed (or alternatively may be quite proud of) how often the descendant bears little resemblance to the ancestor. No one would try to deny that such resemblances can persist across a breed–but the point of preservation is precisely that more such resemblances may be more predictably maintained if breeders don’t depend simply on chance to bring them forward. Chance will tend to swamp the real genetic influence of rare lines, by simple force of numbers, outside the preservation context. [See Ann T. Bowling’s “Questioning breeding myths in light of genetics“]
Sire lines tend to be the most rapidly evolving aspect of any breed of any species, except where a closed stud book has been essentially taken over by a line or two and there’s no more room for change. The Y chromosome is a biological entity and is only handed on from sire to son. It is possible to measure genetic distance by sequencing yDNA. Probably more important for our discussion, old and traditional sire lines are more likely to be maintained in old and traditional breeding contexts; the persistence of a no longer fashionable sire line is an obvious marker for the program directed by a breeder who appreciates the traditional stock. Emphasis on sire lines works both ways then–it definitely helps us to find genes of diminishing frequency, and it theoretically carries them physically (but remember few genes on the Y are known, except those directly relating to male fertility). [NB: to date (2007), while Y chromosome variation is easily found in most species tested, none has been detected in the horse.]
Dam lines tend to be biologically conservative. Rare and uncommon genes tend to be carried through the bottom of the pedigree–simply because so many more mares than stallions breed actively in each generation. By simple chance, more carriers of any uncommon gene will be used on the female side than on the male. Occasionally a mare will hand a rare gene on to one or more influential stallion sons and a breed experiences a major change in gene frequency. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is associated with the cytoplasm, not the cell nucleus, and thus transmitted almost entirely through the egg, essentially only through the female line. Very little mtDNA is carried by sperm (though such transmission has proven detectable in carefully designed mouse experiments). [See M. Bowling’s 1998 article “What’s in a Name“] [NB: it has been shown since this writing that sperm transmission of mtDNA does not occur under normal conditions.]
mtDNA carries important genes which interact with nuclear genes; also, like yDNA [which has not proven to be informative in the horse], it can be a tracer for historical and biological change and the interrelationships of lines. Generally populations have more dam than sire lines so mtDNA theoretically is more useful than yDNA; it has also proven more variable in practice. This area is only beginning to be investigated in the horse but it carries exciting potential.
“Middle of the pedigree” elements may readily be overlooked. Historically breeders have thought in terms of sire (west) or dam (east) lines–we often study published charts of sire and dam lines as a shorthand way of handling pedigrees. Sire and dam lines in fact reflect the smallest portion of any pedigree, and certainly of gene transmission–only the Y chromosome and cytoplasmic mtDNA respectively are guaranteed to run along the top or bottom of a pedigree. Except in terms of those two elements, and thus for the vast majority of genetic material, position in the pedigree has nothing to do with potential genetic influence; important horses, still visibly influential, may not have left direct sire or dam lines. Davenport’s *Haleb and the Blunt’s Bint Nura GSB come readily to mind as examples.
This opens an enormous area for discussion or consideration, and space forbids addressing it in more than this very elementary fashion. The underlying reality is that any ancestor in any pedigree may have contributed genes to any modern descendant–but at the same time any ancestor’s genes, once we get back a few generations, may have been lost completely. There is no way to tell by looking at the list of names which is a pedigree, the ancestors that actually are genetically important in the horse to which that list belongs. We must look at the horses and learn as much as possible about the ancestors, in order to make rational judgments on this point.
Mid-pedigree names may become important in developing subgroups. Simply as a fact–with neither negative nor positive associations–breeders may use any name as a marker to define a group (and it may be used by its presence or absence). The bigger and more influential the “name,” in fact, the more useful it may be, in terms of future genetic balance, to reserve some lines for crossing back to it–within the large group however defined.
What are we trying to preserve? Genetic diversity buffers the breed against change; genetic diversity interacts with environment to provide the basis for all variation within a breed. Preservationist breeders have one underlying goal: to promote the maintenance of genetic diversity. It should not be necessary to state that the preservationist approach grows out of having observed negative changes in the breed. We are preserving the genes which influence major traits, including disposition, soundness and endurance, which are not necessarily addressed in the show ring.
Different preservationist groups have more in common than they do dividing them; it is to all our benefits to make common cause for a generally different approach to breeding the Arabian horse. A listing of preservationist group contacts would be a very useful practical tool in advancing this goal, and the members of the Arabian Horse Historians Association, assembled at their 1994 Annual Meeting, agreed that serving as the clearing house for such information was a valid role for AHHA. Preservation breeders may themselves become an endangered species–no one has any choice without a vigorous preservationist movement.
(GMB–We’ve edited Deborah’s letter because as we understand her point it’s not so much to comment on other preservationist activities, as to caution CMK breeders about mistakes they might be in danger of making. Of course we suspect, too, Deborah would agree if we pointed out that there are many registered Arabians which are not preservationist-bred in any sense, but which also “should not be bred on” for their lacks with regard to conformation, soundness, disposition or breed character. Overall we certainly second her warning and are glad to see such thinking in the CMK ranks: this movement absolutely would lose its identity, its purpose and its point if it did not continue to turn out the beautiful, traditional using Arabian that brought all of us into the CMK circle. Fortunately it is clear that CMK pedigrees continue to produce just that kind of Arabian. We have thought about this quite a lot, over the years, and it strikes us that CMK breeders in particular are not so much in danger of full-blown “preservationist syndrome” as may be the followers of some other lines of breeding. It is easy to be caught up in enthusiasm over the rarity of a particular individual, and obviously we all have our own preferences for some style of horse as opposed to another. That said, very few of us began in CMK Arabians with the idea first and looked for the horses later; a more typical CMK story is learning to appreciate a particular kind of Arabian–we would say practically always starting from a using, riding horse orientation–and then finding that “our kind of horse” belongs with the CMK Heritage. Other major advantages to CMK as a preservation scheme are its avoiding a closed definition and the great genetic diversity it maintains. Large-sense CMK breeders have much more room to operate than do the people working with other narrow closed preservation groups; specialized narrower groups within CMK may be crossed with other CMK lines without losing their CMK identity.
As the CMK preservation movement explores more kinds of promotional efforts, we can expect to hear from more people who actually do set out to see what these CMK horses are about, with no preconceived idea of what kind of horse they’re going to find. That is precisely why we need to go cautiously on the promotion front: we must be sure we are attracting people who can understand and appreciate this kind of horse, rather than those who may latch on to the name yet expect to modify the horses to suit some other set of criteria.
Deborah may not have had this next point in mind but many horse activities pursued these days do not place very high priority on the well-being of the horse, whether physical or psychological [the two are very closely intertwined]. [See Rick Synowski’s article “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder In Arabian Horses“.] No thinking breeder would care to see any horse exposed to such dangers, but we are convinced the CMK Arabian in particular is ill served by certain aspects of modern training and presentation [and statements by show trainers bear this out]. The CMK Heritage will place more emphasis in future on the actual physical “preservation” of individual horses in this day-to-day safety sense. This must include, almost by definition, the encouragement of alternative systems of use and presentation which do maintain horsemanlike values and do emphasize the well-being of the animal.
We find, too, we can’t close without attempting to give a slightly different slant on “preservationist syndrome.” The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy distinguishes conservation–the simple maintenance of a stock in existence, without changing it–from improvement, breeding with selection toward any set of visual and functional standards. ALBC advises conservation of very primitive breeding groups, whose raison d’etre is to serve as a reservoir of basic genes for health and soundness which may be at risk for loss in high-performance domestic lines. By contrast selection for continued improvement is accounted appropriate in traditional “improved” stocks whose history includes a performance standard.
The using Arabians of the Reese and Dean circles, whose breeders provided the background for the CMK movement, certainly were highly selected. So were those of the Crabbet Stud. The breeders of the CMK Heritage can call on the genetic strength resulting from that selection; at the same time we have, as Deborah pointed out, a grave responsibility to maintain the standards which were achieved by those past breeders. The problem in modern Arabian horse circles, of course, is to recognize “improvement” when one sees it. There certainly are Arabian breeders who see any change that has come about since the horses left the Bedouin tribes as change for the worse, and who think in ALBC’s conservationist terms, of maintaining a comparatively primitive stock as little different as may be from the desert war mare. There are many more of us who are not impressed with the way the show horses have changed in this country over the past two decades [the wink of an eye compared to the breed’s history in the west, leave alone its prior existence]. There is a place for all of us, but it is essential that we understand the implications of our positions.
Do remember that many of the preservationist programs are operating with minuscule numbers of horses — all recognizable activity with an identity other than “mixed source show horse” amounts to little more than 10% of the breed combined. We address this not in terms of what level of selection a given program may have room to impose, if they are to breed any horses at all; but of the simple fact that their horses have relatively little impact on the 400,000+ living Arabians in North America. They cannot change the breed’s nature, and if such horses fill a place in their owners’ lives, that is really all that need be asked of them. There is nothing wrong with conservation breeding, in the ALBC sense, so long as one recognizes one is doing it, and does not make impossible claims for the results.
It’s a completely separate subject, of course, but we have never been comfortable with those overarching schemes one occasionally sees put forward, whereby some party or official entity is meant to “certify” breeding stock–not because we approve of breeding from poor horses, but because we cannot picture how any breed-wide selection scheme could be at once effective, in the sense of doing anything in particular, and sufficiently inclusive to recognize all the range of variation which the breed includes and which must be maintained for future reference.
As to the other-bashing of “preservationist syndrome,” we do consider it basic to be civil to one’s neighbors. In fact we always think it’s a pity when anyone with a preservationist slant doesn’t recognize that we are each other’s natural allies.)
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Amin Zaher
by Dr. Amin Zaher Photos from the Zaher collection (Western Horseman Jul/Aug ’48)
The Van Vleet Arabs on their high altitude ranch, not far from Denver, Colorado.
While I was in Egypt, I read much about the American-bred Arabs. When I had the opportunity to come to this country to study, it was my honor to be asked by the Egyptian government to make a tour and to inspect these Arabians in America.
After making some preliminary inquiries, I learned that a great many of these Arabs were in California, so I planned to begin with the Western breeders. I wrote to them before leaving Lansing by train and reached San Francisco after about three days.
On a foggy day, I started out to see my first lot of American Arabs on the Jedel ranch of J. E. Draper. No, I was not dreaming; Arabs were before my eyes in the pasture. More than ten thousand miles from Egypt, and I was awakened by the smell of Arabs, after having missed them for months.
While in San Francisco I met another Arab breeder, a young man, “not rich enough to have Arabs,” as he said; yet right in the heart of San Francisco he had a few. He is not a rancher, but he likes Arabs. In the hotel we talked about them, and I was surprised at the excellent information he was able to give me about the Arabs of America. His wife was also very interested in them.
The next morning I saw his horses. I said, “Mr. Smith, which are your first purchases and which the last?” When he showed me it indicated what happens to almost all Arabian lovers in this country. Their first purchases are not the best type, and the last bought more closely resemble the ideal type. This is a good sign.
The day next took the train down the Pacific coast to Santa Barbara, to the home of “The Dean.” I call General J. M. Dickinson the dean of Arab breeders in this country because I knew even while I was still in Egypt, that he had spent most of his life taking care of Arabs. He has imported horses from almost every country to his large stud. The General is a man who has written about them in a fair and authoritative manner. I spent an enjoyable day at his ranch.
I then proceeded to Los Angeles to attend the meeting of the Arabian Breeders Association of California to which I had been invited. There I was suddenly asked to speak. Although it was the first time I had given a public address in a foreign language before a large group of people, I enjoyed a very pleasant evening. In Los Angeles I also saw the Kellogg Institute, and, under the guidance of Mrs. Phillips, the secretary of the society, I had the opportunity to inspect many fine Arabs and to talk to breeders about their horses.
Sartez and Dr. Zaher at the Raswan Ranch at Cedar Crest, New Mexico.
Cedar Crest, N.M., was my next stop, to see the enthusiastic Carl Raswan and his Maniquiat. He is happy on his 8000-foot mountain among his few, well-selected Arabs, and his many books. It was most pleasant to sit on Arabian carpets and “talk horse” until three o’clock in the morning!
Although I had been looking at horses for thirty days, when I returned to Lansing I was soon “horse sick” and started out to see more.
In Peru, Ill., a young lady, Mrs. Bazy Miller, has established her Arab stud. Mrs. Miller was busy with her horses when I saw her. That night we talked horses, and, although her husband pretended to know nothing about them, he joined the talk, and expressed ideas that many horsemen would do well to learn and follow.
My most thrilling visit was to Van Vleet in Colorado where Arabs are kept at a very high altitudes. Mr. Wayne was kind enough to tell me how the Arabs are trained here and how they react to the climate. I shall never forget the horror of going up the winding road through the mountains, where one can see the great city of Denver, so small, moving with every turn. This was my first acquaintance with high mountains.
Azkar. Ben Hur Farm, Portland, Indiana.
A drive to Portland, Ind., gave me the pleasure of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Tormohlen of the Ben Hur farm and seeing their horses. On their farm they live with their Arabs, feeding them, talking to them, and writing about their ancestors. I was impressed by their broad knowledge of the Arab.
My last trip before writing this was to see Arabs of my country, not in Egypt, but on the farm of Babson in Grand Detour, Illinois. They were the first Arabs I wanted to see when I came to America, but the last I got to visit. I saw them on a rainy, snowy day. What a difference between Egypt and America in almost everything — on weather, in pasture. But the horses have become quite adapted, as is the case with Arabs.
In September, 1947, I had the honor of being invited by the Arabian Breeders Association of California to judge their third annual show in Devonshire, Los Angeles. I drove to California with two of my Arab Lebanon friends who are very interested in Arabs. They were glad to see Arabs again after having missed them for so long. Through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Long of Tazana, I spent my happiest days in this country. The inspection of 250 pure-bred Arabs at the show, all in their best condition, was both thrilling and pleasant.
Shortly after my return to Lansing, I was invited to visit Mr. Kellogg in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was anxious to have me visit him, but so many people had told me that the old man could not stand long conferences that I expected to speak with him no more than five minutes. The greatest Arabian horse fancier in America, however, did almost all the talking about Arabs, and, to my surprise, for fifty-five minutes. The breakfast food king still maintains a great interest in the Arab horse.
In this my last article in this series, I want to try to answer some of the many questions I have been asked about American Arabs. Questions such as: What do you think of our Arabians, where do the best importations come from, and many other similar questions.
I know from experience that ideas about Arabs differ, and that looks, especially among horses, have a wide range. The importations to this country have also varied widely. There were several importations which were decidedly off-type. But what can the American breeder do when the importer says he is sending the best type of Arab? He has to take it for granted.
Importations were made from almost every country in the world that had Arabians — from Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Spain, France, Germany, England, South America, and other countries, average ones, and off-type animals. Every importer claimed his were best, no doubt.
The Arabian Horse Club of America had no classification requirement for registration, and it may have been logical not to make any requirements so that importations would not be discouraged.
In many instances I have been asked to judge horses, and for my opinion of horses that were off-type. They may have been pure Arabs, but certainly Arabs that good Arabian breeders do not like. The owner, (not being thoroughly acquainted with the type) believed that he had the best, and spread the blood that he had to others who knew no more than himself. On the other hand there are cases where some breeders have typical horses, but neglect them. Occasionally some breeder who knows Arabs will get ahold of them and use them as the principal stallion in their stud. Some of those so secured have been twenty years old, and never used for breeding purposes before.
I was not well acquainted with the pedigree of the Arab of this country when I judged the Los Angeles show and heard the announcer say that Ramah and Skolma, (whom I had judged to be the champions of the show) were related. This indicates that importations do have something to do with the type of animals we see.
I then examined the pedigrees of most of the registered Arab horses in this country, paying greater attention to those I liked best and comparing them with the pedigrees of the animals I saw on my trip. It interested me very much to find out that the majority were closely related to Raseyn or Skowronek; some were related to such outstanding sires as Mirage, and a few other studs, who, I found out afterwards, are great favorites with the American breeders. Almost all stallions or mares that had the blood of the famous Ali Pasha Sherif of Egypt were also outstanding animals.
Some California breeders are making a mistake, I believe, in trying to increase the height and weight of the Arab. All of us know that the Arab is not a big horse. If you see a horse that is sixteen hands high, you should hesitate to classify him as an Arab. There may be Arabs which are comparatively tall, but they still maintain the majority of the typical Arab characteristics. If you have a sixteen- hand Arab which has a big head, drooping hind quarters, and long legs, would you like him? This kind of animal is surely an off-type and should not be used for breeding.
What do you want a big Arab for? Some people say for a Stock Horse. I know stock men. They have found from experience that tall, big horses tire easily, and smaller horses get the job done better. A Stock Horse does not need to be over 15 hands.
The Arab is still a foreigner in this country. Because he is a warm-blooded horse, I have heard that cowboys do not like him. Either he has been misrepresented to them, or their experience has been with a few exceptional horses. They have not tried him enough to know what abilities he has. The Arab has worked with stock since the dawn of history.
Which is the best Arab horse in America? This is always a very hard question to answer. It is a well-known fact that no animal on earth is perfect. At the same time, there are some better than others. To my mind, the best stallion for you is the one that adds desirable points to your mares.
Your stallion may have only one defect, but if the mares may have it too, you are going to fix this defect in all your animals for ages. I have seen this in some studs in America.
The United States is a big country and breeders do not usually have the opportunity to choose stallions that fit their individual mares. They cannot afford either to keep many stallions in one stud, or to send their mares a long way for a stallion in another state. This problem can be solved in one of two ways: either through exchange of stallions, or through averaging the defects of the mares and securing a stallion that can correct most of them. The smart choice of Gharris for Draper’s mares and Azkar for Ben Hur mares are examples. It is a sound principle to pay great attention to the pedigree (italics) and the progeny (end) of the stallion to be used.
Mares on the Kellogg Army Remount Station of Pomona, California.
When I tell the breeders these things, they still are not satisfied. They still want to know my opinion of the stallions I have seen. They want names. To answer this I can say: Gharris at Jedel, Ferseyn at Reese, Ramah at Scheele, Roayas at Phillips, one or two imported Polish Arabs at Pomona (Kellogg’s), Zarif [*Zarife] at Van Vleet, Sartez at Raswan, Azkar at Ben Hur, Fa-Eldin [Fay-el-Dine] at Babson, and Indraff at Bazy Miller. These are good stallions. Although each lacks a little that another may have, they are all good specimens of Arabs. Again I repeat, although they are good stallions, watch your step. Choose the stallion that can correct your mare’s defects.
I can see now that American breeders are the people who can and will gain new knowledge about the Arab. Very little scientific work has been done with the Arab. The American breeders, by keeping photographs, and filing full descriptions of their animals, can provide the colleges with rich material that can form the basis of future work on the Arab.
The horse of the desert is now running loose on your rich pastures in almost all your states. He will give you greater service than you expect, but do not go too far in trying for big animals. If you do you will not have Arabs, or service.
As an owner and breeder of Arabian horses for the past several years, I recall very vividly some early attempts made by us to buy certain desirable Arabian horses. Many owners of Arabian horses, particularly “the Arabian horse,” value their horses above money, and strange as it may seem have no desire to sell them. In other words, without any pretense of rudeness, some of these breeders and owners apparently never hear the question when you ask them whether one of their favorite Arabs is for sale. Their conversation is oftentimes not interrupted at all, and your question goes unheard and unanswered.
In an effort to inform the reader as to the Arabian horse owner’s attachment to his horse, we have selected several tributes which we believe will impress the reader with the fact that the Arabian horse is really different from any other breed known to man.
The first quotation for your consideration is taken from Volume II of Wallace’s Monthly, which was the leading horse paper published in the United States between 1875 and 1893. The quotation is as follows:
“In the tents of the Arabs, the mares with their foals, and their masters with their families, dwell together, and the utmost confidence exists between them. The Arabian horse, the most intelligent of the equine family, is easily controlled when kindly treated, and ever ready to show resistance when abused. The Arab fully understands the fact; hence his success in training or educating vicious horses, and teaching them many amusing tricks. In handling colts, perhaps he has no superior on the face of the globe. He shows his love for his horse by frequently caressing him, feeding and cleaning him, he talks and sings to him, is always happy in his company, a mutual feeling of respect and love is prominent in all their acts; herein lies the secret of his success, and not, as many persons suppose, brought about by some mysterious or secret art of charming.”
Photo by McClasky
Aaraf, a son of Raffles and grandson of Skowronek, was first prize Arabian stallion, saddle class, at the National Stallion show in both 1949 and 1950. He is owned by the Ben Hur farm in Indiana.
In another another article in Wallace’s Monthly in 1877 we find a quotation from Col. George E. Waring, Jr., from his article, “The Saddle Horse — Thoroughbred and Arabians,” and the quotation follows:
The following statements are collated from Daumas’ Horses of Sahara, an accepted authority, and believed to be entirely reliable. The love of the horse, he says, has passed into the blood of the Arab. The cherished animal is the companion in arms and the friend of the chief.
“Said an Arab to him:
“‘You cannot understand, you Christians, that horses are our wealth, our joy, our life and our religion. Has not the prophet said: “The goods of this world, until the day of the last judgment, shall hang at the forelocks of your horses”? You will find this in the Koran, which is the voice of God, and in the conversation of our Lord Mahomet. When God wished to create the mare he said to the wind: “I will cause to be born from thee a being which shall carry my adorers, which shall be cherished by all my slaves, and which shall be the despair of those who do not follow my laws.”‘
“Abd-el-Kader, when at the height of his power, pittilessly punished with death every believer convicted of having sold a horse to a Christian.”
From a book published in 1841 entitled The Natural History of Horses, by Lt. Col. Chas. Hamilton Smith, a book which took us many years to obtain, we take the following quotation which is further proof of the attachment of the Bedouin or the Arabian horse owner for his horse. The quotation is as follows:
“Habitually in company with mankind, all the Arabian breeds become exceedingly gentle and intelligent; a look or gesture is sufficient to make them stop, take up with their teeth the rider’s jereed or any other object he may have dropped, stand by him if he has fallen off their backs, come to his call, and fight resolutely in his defense; even if he be sleeping, they will rouse him in cases of danger. Kindness and forbearance towards animals is inculcated by the Koran and practiced by all Musselmen, to the shame of Christians, who often do not think this a part of human duty; and as a Moor well known in London sneeringly remarked to ourselves, ‘It is not in your Book!'”
The Bedouin’s principal source of wealth consists of his ownership of one or more Arabians. As a general thing, the Bedouin who owns but one mare is very fortunate and has riches well beyond most others of his kind. That you may understand the attachment of the wandering Arab or the Bedouin for his horse, we quote from a book entitled The Horse, by H.D. Richardson. This book has no date, but we presume from the nature of the material it contains that it must be more than 100 years of age. The quotation is as follows:
“To the wandering Arab the horse is of the greatest value. The poorest Bedouin has his domesticated steed, which shares with him and his wife and children the shelter of his humble tent, his caresses, and his scanty fare. Oft may the traveler in the desert behold, on entering within the folds of a tent, the interesting spectacle of a magnificent animal, usually a mare, extended upon the ground, and some half dozen dark-skinned, naked urchins scrambling across her body, or reclining in sleep, some upon her neck, some on her carcass, and others pillowed upon her heels. Nor do the children ever experience injury from their gentle playmate. She recognizes them as the family of her friend, her patron; and towards them all the natural sweetness of her disposition leans, even to overflowing. The Arabs invariable keep mares in preference to horses. They find they better endure fatigue and the privations necessarily consequent upon a journey over the desert. A number of them can also be kept together without danger of their quarrelling or injuring each other. On this account it is very difficult to induce an Arab to sell his mare.”
In the Arabian desert or the land of the Bedouins; the Arabian horse owner is a constant companion to his horses, and by this we generally mean his Arabian mare. The Arabian mare is his source of wealth and she is stabled in the tent with him and his family. This accounts for the great attachment that the Arab or Bedouin has for his mare, which is in nearly every instance much greater than he has for stallions. From the book, The Wonders of the Horse, by Jos. Taylor, published in 1828, we take the following quotation from Mr. Buffon:
“So strong is the attachment that the Arab sometimes forms for his horse, that death alone can separate them. The whole property of a native of the desert consisted of a beautiful mare, which the French consul, it is said, wished to purchase for his master, Louis XIV. The Arab, pressed by want, long hesitated, but at length he consented to part with her for a very high price, which he named. The Consul, receiving authority to close with the terms, immediately informed the owner. The Arab, who had scarcely a rag to cover him, arrived, mounted on his mare. He alighted, and looking first at the gold, and then at his faithful and much valued servant, heaved a deep sigh. “To whom is it,’ exclaimed he in an agony, ‘that I am going to yield thee up? To Europeans, who will tie thee close, who will beat thee, who will render thee miserable! Return with me, my beauty! my jewel! and rejoice the hearts of my children!’ With these words, he sprang on her back, and was out of sight almost in a moment.
“So tender is the Arab of his horse, that he will seldom beat or spur him; and in consequence of this humane treatment, the animal considers itself as one of the family, and will allow the children to play round it, and to fondle it like a dog.”
Photo by Tallant
Ferseyn, son of Raseyn and grandson of Skowronek, sired the champion mare and grand champion of the show at the all Arabian show held in Pomona. He is owned by H. H. Reese.
For a period of 50 years until his death about three years ago, John L. Hervey, who wrote under the name of Salvator, was the most widely known and the best informed writer on the light horse in America. Mr. Hervey has produced some of the greatest books on the Thoroughbred, the Standardbred and on American racing, that have ever been written up to this time. As far as I know, Mr. Hervey never had any practical experience with an Arabian horse through ownership or use, but he evidently appreciated the Arabian horse, probably largely through his association with the Standardbred and Thoroughbred horse, which are of Arabian origin. On March 27, 1942, Mr. Hervey made an address before the Town and County Equestrian association of Chicago, and we quote the last paragraph of this address as follows:
“For the dominant quality of Arab blood is its eternal, its immortal persistence. Wherever, as the horseman of today looks about him and among these horses, observes beauty, speed, grace, fire, activity, docility and fineness yet toughness of fibre, he sees that eternity, that immortality, incarnated. It has triumphed over everything mundane, thousands of years, hap and circumstances, time and tide, incredible hardships and immemorial adversities, misuse, and abuse, the exigencies of mankind’s daily life and the flame and blood of the battlefield, unconquerable, indestructible and victorious. Everything worth while in the shape of a horse in the world today partakes of it. The Greeks believed it Godlike, and verily they made no mistake.”
Surely, the above quotations from a widely scattered source extending back for several hundred years, must impress upon the reader the fact that the Arabian horse is and always has been vastly different than any other breed of horse that is now or ever has been known to man.
Author not Given
from “The Horse Lover” Apr/May ’51
A brief history of the progenitor of the Antez line; his sons and daughters are carrying on their great sire’s reputation in the show ring, on the track.
The above photo of Antez was taken in Poland and is reproduced through thecourtesy of Count Alexander Dzieduszyeki, President of the Arabian Horse Breeding Society of Poland. Antez was foaled in California in 1921 from stock tracing entirely to the horses brought from the Arabian desert by Homer Davenport in 1906. His sire HARARA and his dam Moliah had been bred at the Hingham Stock Farm in Massachusetts by Mr. Peter B. Bradley.
Later Antez was acquired by Mr. W.K.Kellogg [1925 – Antez was 4] at whose Pomona California Ranch the horse was featured as one of the “tops”of that famous “Romance of Pomona” ranch and for several years he was many times a champion at shows on the West coast in halter classes as well as being first on several occasions at five gaits under saddle.
In 1933 at age of 12 years he was purchased by General J. M. Dickinson of Tenn.
He was used at Dickinson’s Travelers Rest Arabian Stud Farm for breeding purposes and in the 1933 National Arabian show he stood 3rd in the Mature Stallion championships and his daughter Fayadan won the championship over about a dozen other fine weanlings. Since then his sons and daughters have gone on to win many honors in the show rings of America.
Antez today stands undisputed as one of best sires in America as to passing on his strong breed character to his get and they in turn are passing it on to their produce.
In Tennessee he was used as a saddle mount by the 13-year-old Miss Peggy Dickinson and he made an ideal young girl’s mount, lamb-like in gentleness, yet full of life and beautiful enough to fit any horseman’s dream.
He was used and shown considerably in the driving or vehicle classes where he moved out brilliantly in the harness.
At Travelers Rest he was ridden 12 hours a day for five consecutive days in an endurance test carrying full weights where he finished perfectly sound, normal temperature and pulse — still looking for more distance to conquer.
Though featured on the Pacific Coast where he won wide popularity, Antez’s ability to race was unnoticed and the same held true for some years after his coming to Tennessee though he gave the seemingly blind folks with whom he had been associated all his life, evidence and opportunity to see what his heart must have yearned for and so it was almost by an accident he was given his chance — and this isn’t the first accident in horse history as witness the story of the Godolphin. Antez’ chance came in the spring of 1933 when as a sporting gesture Mr. Dickinson decided to run an Arabian in the flat mile race for Thoroughbreds on Overton Downs and the logical candidate was the game, hardy, handsome little chestnut, Antez, he unhesitatingly selected, though little dreaming of the startling results that would develop.
His first speed test came on his twelfth birthday, May 1, 1933, when he ran a respectable race against track trained Thoroughbreds at Overton Downs, coming in a good third behind horses that stood six and seven inches taller, weighed in racing condition two hundred pounds more — and carrying the identical weight of 150 pounds.
After showing this speed at Overton Downs, Mr. Dickinson decided to try him for a record, which was arranged by courtesy of the late John Early, southwestern governor of the national Trotting Association, and after public advertisement and on fixed days, regardless of weather, Antez made official records at fourth, half and three-quarter mile and the short European race distance of 1200 meters. He equalled the known Arabian records for the quarter and half mile, 14 1/2 and 51 seconds (though there is a tradition that a horse travelled the quarter one-half second faster over ninety years ago); equalled an eighty-year-old Arabian record for the half mile, and ran the quarter, half and six furlongs faster than any American-bred Arab on record. Quite a performance for a twelve-year-old stallion that had never been run until his twelfth year!
Shortly after his speed records General Dickinson sold and exported Antez to Poland and during the stud season of 1935 he stood at the Count Potocki Stud — and in 1936 at the Count Rostwordwski Stud.
Later an Arizona breeder of Arabians bought Antez from the Arabian Horse Breeding Society in Poland at a fabulous price and brought him back to America. [’37 or ’38]
Still later, Mr. Kellogg acquired him from Arizona  and put him in the hands of the capable Mr. H.A.Reese where he spent the balance of his illustrious life.
Thus after travelling over half the earth he lies buried only a few miles from his birthplace.
To Antez, who (notice the pronoun) made such a fine record to exemplify the versatility of the Arabian — the horse lovers of America pay homage to you.
ANTEZ traces in every line to the horses brought from the Arabian desert by Homer Davenport in 1906. His pedigree is shown below:
Homer Davenport writes interestingly about his trip to the deserts of Arabia and how he secured these horses and others in his book “My Quest of the Arab Horse.”
ANKAR, a son of Antez, prize winning Arabian stallion owned by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Mekeel of Whittier, Calif. While still a young stallion, his first four colts have also been prizewinners. The strong Antez blood shows marked influence in the offspring and many breeders proudly boast of horses of the Antez line.
POTIF, grandson of Antez and grandson of Ronek. The sire of Potif is *Latif, a son of Antez. Here again the blood of Antez breeds on, carrying Antez versatility and quality. Potif is owned by Dr. and Mrs. Palmer of Portland Ore. This horse has made some notable wins in the show rings of the Northwest. Observers feel that the blood of Skowronek through Ronek complements the Antez line of horses.
Sartez, son of Antez, reputed world’s fastest Arabian.
AT STUD – TEZEYN A.H.C. #3375 Bay Son of ANTEZ, A.H.C. #448Out of ARABRAB #2518Ht. 14.2 Wt 950
WM. M. BRIGGSPioneer Bldg, Ashland, Oregon(The Horse Lover Apr./May ’51)
BARQ AHC 4138 (Photo by John Williamson) (Abu Farwa X Antana) foaled May 1, 1947 fFirst Annual All-Arabian Spring ShowPalm Springs, March 24-25Winner Class 17, Hackamore Horses, Joe Towle, President of Arabian Horse Assn. of So. Calif., Presenting the Trophy.Trained, Fitted and Shown by Ora C. Rhodes, Artesia Stock Farm.
Highland Farms :: Arabian HorsesMr. and Mrs. A. E. Cameron, OwnersPhone: San Bernardino 5-3200Rt. 2, HighlandDel Rosa, California(The Horse Lover Apr./May ’51)
Some Additional Notes:
From The Journal of The Arab Horse Society 1935 – 1938
The Arab Horse in California
“Mr. R. Riddlesbarger had brought the great Antez 448 back from Poland especially to cross on Palomino mares in an effort to increase the quality and keep the golden color.”
Notes from Mary Jane Parkinson’s
The Kellogg Arabian Ranch, the First Fifty Years.
Soon after Reese left on the inspection trip, L.V.Roberson wrote to Mr. Kellogg that he had received a wire from Reese from Nashville, Tennessee where he had just called on General Dickenson of Travelers Rest Stud and had sold him ANTEZ for $5,000. Mr. Robertson commented, “I suppose it is a very good business deal, but all of us at the ranch do hate to see him leave.”
ANTEZ was sent off to Travelors Rest early in November. Margaret Dickinson Fleming (General Dickinson’s daughter (who still operates Travelers Rest at Columbia, Tennessee, has described ANTEZ’ trip:
Antez was supplied with hay, it being too dangerous to furnish grain as someone might have overfed him. I don’t think he lost over 175 pounds, but that was a lot for him when you consider that he never weighed over 925 soaking wet! Daddy let me have him for my personal mount and he was truly a delight, a real eye-catcher.
Chapter 1942: p. 259
But there was some good news, the return of an old and dear friend. Late in July, Rufus Riddlesbarger of the Lanteen Arabian Foundation advised Mr. Kellogg that ANTEZ [at 21] was available for purchase. It cost the Foundation a little over $1500 to secure ANTEZ [at 16 or 17 years of age] and return him from Poland ( where he had been exported by Travelors Rest in 1934), but ANTEZ’s book value was now $400, and he was offered to Mr. Kellogg for that amount.
Kellogg quickly sought the advice of his former ranch manager, H. H. Reese, who expressed a desire to have ANTEZ on his California ranch. Mr. Reese had been working with Mr. Riddles- barger in disposing of his stock, was planning to send a truck to bring more horses for sale, and offered to bring ANTEZ along on the next trip. So Mr. Kellogg immediately sent a $50 deposit to Mr. Riddlesbarger who responded with a brief description of ANTEZ:
On August 5 he weighed 889 pounds. He is just as virile and on high spirited as a youngster, sound, and in good condition. Though I hate to part with this lovable fellow, I am entirely satisfied and happy to have him in your hands, as I am sure that you must love him the same as we do.
On August 11, Mr. Kellogg wrote to Albert W. Harris, rejoicing in his repurchase of ANTEZ: he recalled that ANTEZ had saved his life on one occasion and said that he wanted to be assured that ANTEZ “will have a good home for the rest of his life.” ANTEZ was to be Mr. Kellogg’s gift to W.H.Vanderploeg, the President of the Kellogg Company. On August 31, H.H.Reese wired Mr. Kellogg that ANTEZ had arrived at the Reese ranch in good condition, but later Mr. Reese felt ANTEZ could probably not stand a trip to Michigan, so Mr. Vanderploeg gave him up, and Kellogg presented the old stallion to Mr. Reese.
ANTEZ lived out his years on H.H.Reese’s ranch in Covina. See Chapter 1942. He died in 1944. [23 year of age] He has 53 registered foals in the American stud book.