Rick Synowski Copyright 1995
Used by permission of Rick Synowski
from Arabian Visions Mar/Apr 1995
Carleton Cummings holding the weanlings Antezeyn Skowronek and Abu Farwa’s Rawia, both by Abu Farwa. Rawia, called by Cummings “the Queen of Diamonds” for her three diamond star, strip and snip, carried two generations of children to show ring victories, the last at age 17 when she was named champion mare of the Pacific National Exposition in Vancouver, B.C., shown by an eight-year-old boy.
Like many kids looking for their first Arabian horse in the 1950’s and early 1960’s — kids perhaps from less than affluent families and looking to make their dreams of owning an Arabian horse come true — I first heard of Carleton Cummings after reading about his Skyline Trust Arabians. An article by H. H. Reese stated that Cummings had “developed his Arabian horse breeding program with the purpose of assisting boys and girls who like horses to secure good specimens of the breed on a partnership basis.” Reese’s article described Cummings’s “lend lease” program whereby youngsters could lease a mare, breed her and then, after the birth of the foal, return either the mare or the foal. To an imaginative 11-year-old, this sounded like just the ticket. I wrote a letter to Cummings. Having read H. H. Reese’s Kellogg Arabians a hundred times, I had pictured in my mind’s eye the Arabian horse I wanted to own. I described this horse to Cummings in the first letter. Cummings replied with a post card. He stated he had about 2500 letters on his desk from youngsters across the country. If I was still interested, I was to write him again. I wrote Cummings that very day and so began a correspondence of some two years which culminated in buying half interest in a weanling colt, Skowronek’s Antez, with my own savings in 1962. Cummings wrote the following spring that “few breeders ever get colts of this quality and even fewer ever offer them for sale.” Nevertheless, he was giving me the opportunity to buy out his interest in the now yearling colt. I took Cummings up on his offer. It was a purchase I was never to regret. Within a few weeks Cummings died of a heart attack.
Skowronek’s Antez (Antzeyn Skowronek x Raseynette). The author’s first Arabian and a wonderful companion for 28 years. He also proved a fine sire.
Cummings’s background outside the sphere of Arabian horses was in music. He had been an operatic tenor of some notoriety in the east. He later turned to teaching as professor of music at Wake Forest College and later as the head of the music department at the University of Idaho. Cummings’s wife, Theresa, had been a drama major in college where they met. After their marriage and graduation, they traveled to Army posts doing music and drama presentations during World War I.
Cummings’s background in music and theatre suited a personality that tended toward the theatrical, and a soul that was flamed by the same qualities in Arabian horses. His love for the dramatic carried over to the horses he purchased and bred and the ways he talked about them. However, his flowery descriptions were no means an exaggeration of the splendid group of horses he assembled.
His initial purchase in 1945 was the four-year-old Kellogg-bred Direyn (*Raseyn x Ferdirah). Cummings rode in a boxcar with Direyn the entire trip from Pomona, California to Moscow, Idaho. Cummings was to become part of “the Reese circle of breeders.” Reese, having left the Kellogg Ranch as manager by then, and with a ranch of his own, continued in an influential role in the early Arabian horse community. Cummings’s later purchases were from Reese himself, from that circle of cooperative breeders like the McKenna brothers, and from the Kellogg Ranch. Cummings’s notable purchase outside this circle was Rifala’s Lami (Geym x Maatiga, by Image) from Roger Selby in 1954. She was to become one of his most influential foundation mares.
Rifala’s Lami (Geym x Maatiga, by Image). Roger Selby wrote Cummings that she was as good a filly as he had ever bred.
In 1949, Cummings purchased the weanling Abu Farwa son Antezeyn Skowronek (x Sharifa, by Antez out of Ferdith, by Ferseyn). He became Cummings’s head sire. His progeny earned him a reputation as the third ranking son of Abu Farwa in the list of leading sires of show champions — with many fewer foals on the ground than the first two ranking Abu Farwa sons. Antezeyn Skowronek ranked first of the Abu Farwa sons on another of Gladys Brown Edwards’s lists: Abu Farwa sons whose own sons had sired show champions. Cummings himself claimed that for a three year period Antezeyn Skowronek had sired more ribbon winners than any sire of any breed. This was entirely possible since his progeny were in the hands of an army of horse-crazy, show-happy kids who would take their Skyline charges to every local show, weekend after weekend, entering dozens of classes in every division from halter to three-gaited to gymkhana events — and winning. These Antezeyn Skowronek offspring were notable not just for their quality and sheer beauty. And their successes were not limited to the competition of local shows. In 1958, the Pauley girls took their young Antezeyn Skowronek daughter, Khatum Tamarette, on the road, first to Estes Park, Colorado, to take 1959 U.S.Top Ten Mare; then to Yakima, Washington, to win Pacific Northwest Champion mare; and finally to Calgary to win a Top Ten at halter. These victories, which Cummings later described as no small feat of endurance for a young mare, earned her the Legion of Merit, one of the first mares to earn this award.
Antezeyn Skowronek, Skyline Trust head sire.
Cummings’s band of foundation mares numbered at 16. He selected these mares to complement Antezeyn Skowronek, but each was chosen on her own merits. Four of his mares were daughters of Ferseyn, taking Reese’s lead to cross Ferseyn daughters with Abu Farwa, and Abu Farwa daughters with Ferseyn, an idea which echoed Lady Wentworth’s earlier cross of Skowronek and Blunt lines. Cummings purchased the Farnasa daughter Anazeh’s Nijm from the Kellogg Ranch, in partnership with one of his protegées, Mary Hall. Anazeh’s Nijm was bred to Ferseyn prior to shipping her home. The resulting foal was the chestnut colt Ferseyn’s Rasim, whom Cummings traded Mary for full interest for his interest in the mare. Ferseyn’s Rasim became Cummings’s junior sire and proved himself an excellent cross on Antezeyn Skowronek daughters as well as on Skyline foundation mares. Two of Cummings’s foundation mares were daughters of the Antez son Gezan, a popular southern California sire of the early 1950’s. Antezeyn Skowronek himself was a grandson of Antez, a Kellogg sire of 100% Davenport breeding who ended an international career as a successful sire himself at the Reese ranch. The Davenport influence was an important presence in the Cummings breeding program.
Cummings was a somewhat controversial figure and outside his band of young, loyal protegées, he was not always well liked. He did not seem to care, and used to say “It doesn’t matter what people say as long as they keep talking about you.” This advice must have harkened back to the days when he performed on stage. Cummings was outspoken and did not mind stating his opinions while sitting in the stands at a horse show. If sitting on the same side of the arena as Cummings, everyone got to hear his opinions, which sometimes referred to the horses in the ring, whether they wanted to hear them or not. It was a little embarrassing for the youngster such as I who was sitting at his side. Cummings also made enemies of a few breeders who had horses for sale at fancy prices. Cummings’s kids sometimes beat these breeders in the show ring with horses leased from Cummings or sold by Cummings at bargain basement prices. And the parents of competing kids must have sitting in the stands bored stiff watching the Skyline horses entering, and often winning, class after class.
Wafa El Shammar (Cavalier x Shama, by Abu Farwa). When Cummings died everyone wanted this mare. Seven people lay claim to her. Wafa El Shammar produced a half-dozen champions. Five of her offspring produced national champions or top ten winners in halter and performance.
Abu’s Rissletta (Abu Farwa x Alleyna, by Alla Amarward), bred by and purchased from H.H.Reese. The rider is a young Bruce Clark, later well known as co-owner of Bru-Mar-Ba Stud. An important mare at that stud was Skyline-bred Rasim’s Ghazayat. Abu’s Rissletta was later purchased and shown by another youngster, Joyce Stockdale, who now with husband Ron Paelek owns Vantage Point Farm. When not carrying youngsters in the show ring, Abu’s Rissletta was having foals, including the important Risseyn for Berry’s Skyline Arabians in Iowa. Risseyn was trained and shown by daughter Lyn, now Lyn Freel of Crystal Castle Arabians.
Nadir (Gezan x Bint Sedjur). Maternal half-sister to Bint Sahara. Nadir produced Canadian Top Ten stallion Raseyn Gezan by Antezeyn Skowronek. Raseyn Gezan was leading sire of champions in Canada for years.
Cummings was not in the habit of getting things down on paper and sometimes made agreements or promises he did not remember. After his death, his daughter inherited his estate, which included the horses. I told her Cummings had promised Wafa El Shammar to me to breed to my colt. His daughter told me six other people had written to tell her Cummings had promised this mare to them. (I did get Wafa El Shammar, who became my foundation mare.)
Despite these discrepancies, Cummings was a real horseman and a genius as a breeder. The horses he selected and bred from were outstanding for their “tangible as well as intangible qualities.” Most of his horses were mounts and companions for youngsters. Few of the horses were ever trained or shown by professionals, but were remarkably successful nevertheless. As breeding horses, they were notable for their ability to consistently produce first rate stock. Cummings’s advertising slogan “Home of beautiful heads and great performance horses” was an accurate description of the Skyline Arabians, as was another of his slogans, “bred for and born with spectacular action.” Cummings admired the Crabbet-bred Naseem for his exceptional beauty above all other ancestor horses, and the Crabbet-bred *Berk for his spectacular action. He used to brag about the number of crosses his horses had to those icons of Arabian horse breeding. Cummings also admired *Raffles. He used to say he liked a “touch of *Raffles for beauty” in his horses. His statement no doubt reflected his delight with the foals of Rifala’s Lami, especially the Antezeyn Skowronek son Rifala’s Naseem. Cummings described Rifala’s Naseem as a “peacock of horses” and “well worth traveling 10,000 miles to see him.” From his pedigrees-in-a-name (another of Cummings’s idiosyncrasies) his pride in these particular ancestors of Rifala’s Naseem is obvious.
Perhaps most important of all, Cummings provided an opportunity for kids to have their dreams come true — not just to own an Arabian horse, but to own a good one. Cummings stressed hard work and responsibility to these youngsters, but his often heard advice was “to dream big.”
(Ad recreated from the one appearing with 1995 Skyline Trust article)
CMK PRESERVATION BREEDING
SILVER FELICITÉ 1993 fily (Jericho Cortez x Silver Joi)
Carlton Cummings would have raved about this filly and he would have recognized his own breeding in her — 4 crosses to Antezeyn Skowronek and tracing to 6 of his Skyline foundation mares. He too would have commented on her 6 crosses to NASEEM whose influence bred down in spades. We are honored to have bred and to own such a filly to carry forward the Skyline type and bloodlines into the 21st century.
RICK SYNOWSKI ARABIAN HORSES since 1962
200 SE Uglow #2
Dallas, OR 97338
For more information on CMK Arabian horses we carry the CMK HERITAGE CATALOGUES, vols. I, II, & III @ $10, each.
In Memoriam: Jericho Cortez 48007 (January 27, 1968 – March 8, 1995)One of the great Skyline stallions is gone.
(Ad recreated from the one appearing with 1995 Skyline Trust article)
Having owned Antezeyn Skowronek…
Robert Bruce photo, age 28
…there really isn’t much more one can say…
…except belatedly to thank his breeder, E.J.Boyer (and the guiding spirit H.H.Reese), his long-time owner, Carlton Cummings, who gave him opportunity with those brilliant mares in the Skyline program; the director of his later career, Rick Synowski; and the Illings of Twin Brook Farm who entrusted the old horse to us in Maryland.
Antezeyn left us just one representative, his lovely feminine daughter ENCHANTED GOLD, from the Lewisfield mare MOSTLY MAGIC. See the Skyline descendants’ photo feature for ENCHANTED and two of her offspring, CROWN OF GOLD by GALAN, making a good start as a sire at Hill House Arabians in Lincoln CA, and our own filly GOLD AND SPICES by ABU ZANZABAR. Both these youngsters are linebred Abu Farwa and CROWN traces in 50% of his pedigree to the classic Reese blend of Abu Farwa with ANTEZ.
MAGIC GOLD (Zadaran x Enchanted Gold) is one of the promising young geldings we currently offer for sale; he is rising four, has been ground worked and is ready to start.
Five CMK stallions at stud (shipped semen available; filly consideration on the Sweepstakes sires).
Neziah+ 85494 15 hh br 1972 (Galah x Nalysa by Ayf) book closed
Cantador 273930 15 hh ch 1983 (Kimfa x Auralu by Aurab)
*Seffer 318071 15 hh ch 1983 (Prince Saraph x Sa’lilah by Silver Flame) Sweepstakes
In an article reprinted in the Arabiana anthology, Lady Anne Lytton wrote: “Indian Magic was, I think, Lady Wentworth’s masterpiece…” Bred at Crabbet in 1944, INDIAN MAGIC became a legend in his own time. He was one of the most famous Arabians in England in the post war era, and an important sire for both Lady Wentworth and later Cecil Covey when he inherited the Crabbet Stud. INDIAN MAGIC was the last horse Cecil Covey retained when external influences forced him to give up the rest of the Crabbet Stud.
Pedigree of INDIAN MAGIC
gr s 1944
Nasra (Daoud x Nefisa)
Riyala (*Astraled x Ridaa)
Rim (*Astraled x Ridaa)
Pedigree extended to Crabbet Foundation Animals:
*ASTRALED by MESAOUD out of QUEEN OF SHEBA
DAOUD by MESAOUD out of BINT NURA
NARGHILEH by MESAOUD out of NEFISA
NASRA by DAOUD out of NEFISA
NEFISA by HADBAN out of DAJANIA
*Nureddin II by RIJM out of NARGHILEH
RASIM by FEYSUL out of RISALA
RIDAA by MERZUK out of *ROSE OF SHARON
RIJM by MAHRUSS out of *ROSE OF SHARON
RISALA by MESAOUD out of RIDAA
*ROSE OF SHARON by HADBAN out of RODANIA
Though no breeder can predict exactly where his or her great successes will come, INDIAN MAGIC did not happen by chance. Lady Wentworth did not buy an Arabian mare about which she knew little or nothing, take her to the nearest or most heavily advertised or most expensive champion she could find, and expect to produce a world beater. Rather, INDIAN MAGIC represented twenty-four years of Lady Wentworth’s own breeding, on top of a prior forty years of watching his ancestors breed for her parents. INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree shows eight generations of Arabian horses owned by the Crabbet Stud. With the exception of Skowronek’s antecedents and the possible exception of FEYSUL’s dam, EL ARGAA, Lady Wentworth knew first hand every single animal in INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree as far back as his great-great-great-grandparents, as she or her parents owned them all.
In type as well as pedigree, INDIAN MAGIC represented the combination of Skowronek and *Nureddin II of which Mrs. Archer has written as a key to much of later Wentworth breeding. Miss Ott, writing in an article reprinted in Arabiana, characterized some of the animals representing this combination as being “a Nureddin Type with Skowronek details.”
Skowronek contributed a prettier head, arched neck, broad and level croup, high set and carried tail, and a certain ethereal beauty combined with good stout bone. *Nureddin II provided extra size, a loftier, more upright carriage, higher withers, better shoulders, and a lankier frame. Lady Wentworth began combining the two of them as soon as she had a *Nureddin daughter old enough to breed to Skowronek, but it was some years before any of the Skowronek daughters went to *Nureddin. Instead, Crabbet’s first foals from Skowronek daughters were inbred to Skowronek: *Raffles (Skowronek x *Rifala, Wright’s coefficient of inbreeding 25%) and *ROSE OF FRANCE (*Raswan x Jalila, inbred to Skowronek at 12.5%). (A third Skowronek daughter, SHELIFA, produced in the same year an Anglo-Arab colt named BLACK TOM, by CHEVALIER.) *Nureddin II later had a chance to sire his own “Raffles” when Lady Wentworth bred him to his daughter RISHNA, producing the filly RIFWA.
Most of Lady Wentworth’s more successful combinations of the two stallions came from breeding Skowronek-line sires to *Nureddin-line dams. This perhaps illustrates Carl Raswan’s oft-repeated tenet that the dam gives to her offspring size and frame, while the sire contributes muscling and detail. Anyone can name myriad exceptions to this rule, but animals like INDIAN MAGIC, GREY ROYAL, and *SERAFIX adhere to it.
Raktha (Naseem x Razina) photo from the Newbuildings collection.
The pedigree of INDIAN MAGIC’s sire RAKTHA is almost a mirror image of the pedigree of his dam INDIAN CROWN, but where one has Skowronek, the other has *Nureddin II. In the cases of both Skowronek and *Nureddin, the vessels carrying their blood to INDIAN MAGIC were NASRA foals. Lady Wentworth apparently recognized at an early point that of all the mares she had from her parents, NASRA would become one of the cornerstones of her breeding. NASRA’s *Nureddin II daughter NISREEN became the dam of the “Indian” family; her Skowronek son NASEEM was an important sire; her daughter NASHISHA was to produce SHARIMA, of great importance to post-war Crabbet breeding; while her son NAZIRI was perhaps Lady Wentworth’s favorite of all the Skowronek colts.
In INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree, both of the NASRA foals were crossed with horses “strain bred” to RIDAA before the final doubling to NASRA to produce INDIAN MAGIC. RAZINA and RASEEM were full siblings in blood, the result of Lady Wentworth’s breeding RASIM to mares that were three-quarter sisters to his own dam. RASEEM’s and RAZINA’s coefficient of inbreeding was 10.57%. (Lady Wentworth had also tried breeding RASIM back to his dam RISALA, but no foal resulted, apparently.) The cross of RASIM on RIM and RIYALA concentrated the blood of MESAOUD and RIDAA, while FEYSUL and QUEEN OF SHEBA functioned as outcrosses.
Quite different factions have maligned one or the other of the latter Crabbet foundation animals. Criticizing FEYSUL denigrates the judgment of Lady Anne Blunt, who used him at stud both in Egypt and in England. His foals RASIM, KARINA, IBN YASHMAK, and RAS EL HADD had a flair not seen in other lines of Crabbet breeding, though after his first few foal crops in England FEYSUL was used rather sparingly.
QUEEN OF SHEBA might not have matched Carl Raswan’s idea of the classic Arabian, but the mare contributed something to her descendants which must have pleased the Blunts immensely. They used two of her sons as sires, put into the mare band her only daughter to live to maturity, and by the end of the Blunt period of breeding they were using a double QUEEN OF SHEBA stallion at stud (SOTAMM) and producing triple QUEEN OF SHEBA foals (SILFA, by Rustem out of Selima). QUEEN OF SHEBA might have contributed any or all of the following: fire and presence, more wither, a good shoulder, a longer neck, the ability to move well, high tail carriage.
INDIAN CROWN (Raseem x Nisreen) photo by Lady Wentworth
Breeding the key ingredients (Skowronek and *Nureddin) to NASRA, crossing those foals with strain bred Crabbet “R” horses, and finally combining the two influences produced INDIAN MAGIC. Lady Wentworth must have realized she had discovered something special: the RAKTHA to INDIAN CROWN breeding she did more frequently than any other cross in her entire history as a breeder. INDIAN CROWN’s production record, extracted from the GSB, is a follows:
1939 ch f *CROWN OF INDIA, by Rix (sent to U.S.A.)
1940 barren to Radi
1941 gr c INDIAN GREY (died 1944), by Raktha
1942 gr c (destroyed) by Raktha
1943 barren to Raktha
1944 gr c INDIAN MAGIC, by Raktha
1945 ch c INDIAN GEM, by Raktha (sent to South Africa)
1946 barren to Oran
1947 gr f by Raktha
1948 ch c INDIAN CRESCENT, by Oran (sent to Brazil)
1949 gr c by Raktha
1950 barren to Raktha
1951 ch f by Grand Royal
1952 barren to Dargee
1953 ch f SILVER PARADISE, by Royal Diamond
1954 ch f INCORONETTA, by Dargee
1955 ch c SUMMER CROWN by Oran
1956 not covered in 55, sold, and put out of Stud
Once Lady Wentworth had discovered the successful “nick” with RAKTHA, she repeated it frequently, but not every year. In the same way the Skowronek-NASRA cross was very successful, but in between NASRA’s first foal by Skowronek (NASEEM) and her last (NASIEDA) she also produced to RAFEEF and NADIR. Had Lady Wentworth bred NASRA to Skowronek year after year, she could have had as many as eight offspring from the cross. But in creating them she would have limited severely the future possibilities for the use of NASRA blood. She would not have made the best use of one of her most important mares. Instead, she used in her breeding program NASRA foals by five different sires. This gave her a much broader range of options to continue breeding with the NASRA influence.
Lady Wentworth did not foresee INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree twenty-four years in advance and then create it. It took many years of trial and error, combining everything she had with everything else she had, taking note of which mare lines were producing her favorite horses, or her best breeding animals, and taking each step as it presented itself for taking. Before breeding INDIAN GREY, Lady Wentworth had experimented with many combinations of the horses which produced him and his famous full brother. She had tried Skowronek on NISREEN, producing NASIRIEH and *INCORONATA, both of which produced to RASEEM. *INCORONATA produced INDIAN GLORY to this cross, a favorite colt struck by lightning and killed as a yearling. With NASIRIEH Lady Wentworth tried doubling the *Nureddin influence by breeding her to *RAHAL and SHAREER. Lady Wentworth also tried combining Skowronek and *Nureddin while doubling NASRA by breeding NASEEM to NISREEN, producing INSILLA and INDIAN LIGHT. This combination lacked the perhaps crucial elements of RASIM and QUEEN OF SHEBA.
INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree contains more crosses to HADBAN than to MESAOUD, although people generally think of the latter as the more pervasive Crabbet foundation sire. All seven of INDIAN MAGIC’s Crabbet bred great grandparents were from HADBAN influenced mare lines. *Nureddin II was doubled to him. Lady Wentworth began to focus on the tail-female descendants of the HADBAN daughters, NEFISA and *ROSE OF SHARON, very early in her breeding. Lady Anne Blunt credited the HADBAN influence with producing animals of greater height, meaning well over 15 hands. Lady Wentworth made no excuses about her own preference for the taller sort of Arabian, although she also used and appreciated the smaller ones like RASIM, Skowronek, and DARGEE.
INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree is not sire dominated, except perhaps by MESAOUD and HADBAN. Instead, Lady Wentworth has done rather consistent line breeding to two successful mare families. NASRA and RIDAA have special prominence. Using Raswan’s system of strain analysis, INDIAN MAGIC is bred three generations in the Kuhaylan strain.
INDIAN MAGIC’s pedigree is not the result of outcross upon outcross, but is instead rather tightly linebred. The five different Crabbet bred great-grandparents were all closely related through MESAOUD and HADBAN, while RODANIA and DAJANIA were also key ancestors. From this point on the pedigree only gets tighter. From 1904 until the tenure of Lady Wentworth the Crabbet horses were bred as a closed herd. INDIAN MAGIC’s ancestry represents a very small sampling of that herd, augmented with one line to Skowronek, Lady Wentworth’s outcross of the 1920’s. RAKTHA and INDIAN CROWN were roughly three-quarter siblings in blood.
The Blunts saw in *ASTRALED, RIJM, *Nureddin II, DAOUD, and RASIM, as Lady Wentworth saw in NASEEM and RASEEM, colts they wanted to retain as future sires rather than sell. The Blunts decided to keep for breeding the fillies *ROSE OF SHARON, NEFISA, RIDAA, NASRA, NARGHILEH, RISALA, RIM, and RIYALA, as Lady Wentworth kept NISREEN and INDIAN CROWN. A farm which sells every foal it breeds, and then starts over with new foundation stock, is returning time and again to “square one.”
Other than the Crabbet foundation animals, all of INDIAN MAGIC’s ancestors tabulated in the pedigree above were bred by Crabbet except his sire, RAKTHA. RAKTHA illustrates another principle which successful livestock breeders have employed: the use of “satellite” farms. Place with another breeder some of your best stock, and it might be combined in ways which never would have occurred to you, eventually producing something which you might want to use. By buying ASTRELLA and RAZINA and bringing RAZINA back to Crabbet for breeding to NASEEM and NAUFAL (sire of RIFFAL), Lady Yule provided Lady Wentworth with two of Crabbet’s greatest post 1940 sires: RAKTHA and ORAN (Riffal x Astrella). (Like INDIAN MAGIC, ORAN was by a RAZINA son and out of a RASEEM daughter.) Lady Wentworth purchased both of these stallions as younger animals with an eye to using them at stud.
Lady Wentworth started using INDIAN MAGIC at stud when he was three, breeding him to NEZMA (Rafeef x Nasra). Thereafter she used him every year, but he does not seem to have covered more than six Crabbet mares in a single season. INDIAN MAGIC completed for mares with stallions like ORAN, DARGEE, RAKTHA, INDIAN GOLD, GRAND ROYAL, *ROYAL DIAMOND, and later *SILVER VANITY, ROYAL CRYSTAL, and *SILVER DRIFT. Lady Wentworth always maintained a large stallion battery. With a few years as exceptions, no one stallion dominated a foal crop. Again, this allowed her greater flexibility as a breeder than the alternative method of maintaining only one or two stallions and breeding all the mares to one or the other year after year.
Lady Wentworth bred INDIAN MAGIC very frequently to mares of the SHARIMA family, and also to INDIAN FLOWER (Irex x Nisreen) and her daughter *INDIAN DIAMOND (by Oran). SILVER FIRE (Naseem x Somra by Daoud) produced her last two foals by INDIAN MAGIC. The “R” family had already seen its greatest days at its parent stud by the time INDIAN MAGIC came into use, but he sired foals from ROSALINA (Indian Gold x Rissella) and her daughter ROSINELLA (by Oran).
INDIAN MAGIC’s foals for Lady Wentworth were all born during the last nine years of her life, making it difficult to discern which she might have used for breeding and how. The only one she appears to have used was the SILVER FIRE daughter SILVER MAGIC, dam of SILVADORIS (by Oran) before her exportation to Australia.
What INDIAN MAGIC’s long term impact on Lady Wentworth’s herd might have been we shall never know. However, he proved himself an outstanding sire and major influence on other breeding programs around the world.
The grandsires of INDIAN MAGIC, photos courtesy Rosemary Archer
BINT RANYA (Redif x Ranya), a RIYALA granddaughter, is one of two Leigh-bred Arabians still represented in pedigrees.
American Arabian breeders encounter the name of J. Hamilton Leigh infrequently. Nevertheless the name was connected to Crabbet Arabians in England for a period spanning nearly forty years. Despite the frequency with which one encounters his name in the AHS and GSB, the details of his personality remain enigmatic.
The earliest record of Leigh’s involvement with Crabbet Arabians seems to be in the Crabbet herdbook. Courtesy of Peter Upton’s Desert Heritage, we know that J. Hamilton Leigh Esq. of Brinnington Mount, Stockport bought from Crabbet on June 20, 1900 the stallion MAHRUSS. The Blunts had bought the 14.1 1/2 hand MAHRUSS from Ali Pasha Sherif and imported him to England in 1897. While at Crabbet MAHRUSS had been the sire of one foal, viz. a chestnut colt out of BADIA which broke its leg and was destroyed as a foal. When MAHRUSS left Crabbet five mares had been bred to him for 1901. Of these, ROSE DIAMOND, NARGHILEH, and SEFINA were returned as barren in GSB. *BUSHRA had been exported to America, where she produced *IBN MAHRUSS. That left ROSE OF SHARON to produce Crabbet’s only link to MAHRUSS: the nearly 16-hand favorite of both the Blunts, RIJM.
After leaving Crabbet, MAHRUSS sired two more registered Arabian foals and then dropped out of written record. In this MAHRUSS established for Leigh a pattern of buying key Crabbet individuals and holding them in a sort of twilight zone while he bred from them sparingly or not at all. Leigh is named as the breeder of fourteen foals born over a thirty year period, two of which are in modern pedigrees. What Leigh did with his Arabs is not now clear. Whether he rode them, used them for cross breeding, or enjoyed them as pets is a matter of speculation.
Leigh next acquired from Crabbet two mares, apparently in 1901 or 1902. GSB vol. XX lists “Mr. J. H. Leigh” as the breeder of 1902 fillies from SEFINA (Mesaoud x Safra) and RAYYANA (Ahmar x *Rose of Sharon). SEFINA’s (a chestnut by SEYAL) was registered dead. SEFINA was next bred to MAHRUSS and produced in 1903 an unnamed chestnut filly for Sir S. Pigott. After that she returned to Crabbet. RAYYANA’s 1902 filly was a chestnut by MESAOUD named RUYA. Leigh did not rebreed RAYYANA and sold her at about the same time he sold SEFINA. RUYA was also sold, and produced for a Mr. G. O. Pardoe a 1905 chestnut colt named RUSTUM (by MAHRUSS). This is the point at which MAHRUSS drops out of the record, and is also the end of the first phase of Leigh’s career as a breeder.
Leigh’s name does not appear again in Arabian stud books for nearly fifteen years. When it does reappear, it is as Capt. J. H. Leigh. Apparently in 1916, he went back to Crabbet for two more mares. This time he acquired ROKHAMA (*Astraled x Rabla) and FEJR (Rijm x Feluka). During this period he was also the owner of the Crabbet stallion REDIF (Daoud x Rosemary). ROKHAMA left at Crabbet her *NASIK daughter *ROKHSA. For Leigh she produced a 1918 REDIF colt and then died after foaling. This colt, HERMIT II, had no registered Arabian offspring. FEJR had left at Crabbet her IBN YASHMAK daughter *FELESTIN. She produced no foals for Leigh, although the GSB records Leigh put her to REDIF. In 1922 Lady Wentworth brought FEJR back to Crabbet, where she promptly produced FASILA, FARIS, FERHAN, and FAYAL.
The first stud book of Britain’s Arab Horse Society appeared in 1919. At this time Capt. J. Hamilton Leigh (Blindon House, Wellington, Somerset) was a member of the Society’s Council. In addition to the horses named above, he had also acquired, apparently from Musgrave Clark, the mare SIMHAN II, bred at the Government Stud in Bosnia. SIMHAN II produced for LEIGH a 1917 colt by Clark’s DAOUD and then one in 1918 by REDIF. Neither colt left any Arabian get. SIMHAN II herself died before foaling in 1919. As of this 1919 stud book, Leigh’s most recent acquisition seems to have been BELKIS (Seyal x Bereyda). BELKIS had spent the first part of her life as a riding and driving mare for Lady Anne Blunt and the Lyttons. She produced no registered foals for Leigh, although AHS vol. I does record a 1919 breeding to FANTASS, a full brother to *FERDA.
Leigh appears to have maintained good relations with Lady Wentworth, who assumed the helm of Crabbet in 1920. Acquired from Lady Wentworth in 1920 or 1921 was the mare RANYA. Leigh is the breeder of her 1921 filly MIRIAM (by Lady Wentworth’s stallion NADIR). MIRIAM was exported to Australia in 1925, where she became an important line foundress. Next Leigh bred RANYA to his stallion REDIF. The 1922 filly he entered in the AHS stud book as RANYA II (“Bint Ranya” in GSB). By 1926 Leigh had sold RANYA II to a J. W. Darwood. RANYA II began her illustrious career in 1932 with a foal for Miss Mary Russell. Through her, REDIF is the only DAOUD son in modern pedigrees. Within a year or two after producing the only Leigh-bred foals with any pedigree influence, RANYA herself became the property of Mr. C. W. Hough.
In 1922, Leigh got from Lady Wentworth the 21-year-old Crabbet matron AJRAMIEH (Mesaoud x Asfura). She had left a number of foals at Crabbet, the most important of which is AMIDA. Leigh is the breeder of AJRAMIEH’s 1922 filly named AJRAMIEH II (by NADIR). This filly died in 1924, and AJRAMIEH herself failed to produce another foal. Around this time Leigh also acquired from Lady Wentworth KESRATAIN (Ibn Yashmak x Kantara). She was Crabbet’s last foal of straight Ali Pasha Sherif breeding. Nothing further is known of her.
Leigh’s other two broodmares from Crabbet were RAYYA (Rustem x Riada) and RUDEYNA (Daoud x Rose of Hind). RUDEYNA produced for Leigh a 1922 RASIM colt (registered dead) and in 1923 a Skowronek colt named in GSB IRAM (registered as “Feith Dhomnuil” in AHS; later changed in AHS to *Iram”). Leigh did not breed from RUDEYNA again; three years later she was back at Crabbet. IRAM seems briefly to have taken the place of REDIF, destroyed in 1925, as Leigh’s stud stallion. Leigh took IRAM to the 1926 London Show, where he placed over the illustrious SAINFOIN. Other than two fillies out of *BATTLA and RAYYA, IRAM’s use at stud was of no consequence. The only other mares he seems to have covered were Lady Wentworth’s RIM and FEJR, whose sons RIX and FAYAL were among the Crabbet horses with an “or” sire. FAYAL and RIX generally are attributed to MIRAZE rather than IRAM. IRAM did spend some time at Crabbet; he was photographed there. Cecil Covey’s last booklet of photographs states that IRAM was exported to Egypt in 1929.
RAYYA appears not to have been sold to Leigh until after AHS vol. I was prepared. In April of 1920 she was at Crabbet, although she seems to have gone to Leigh’s that year; her production career begins with a 1921 REDIF filly named RADIYEH, born the property of Lady Wentworth. In 1922 RAYYA was barren to *Nureddin II and NADIR for Leigh. In 1923 RAYYA was back at Crabbet where she produced *RASEYN for Lady Wentworth. The next year she was barren to *Nureddin II for Lady Wentworth. By 1925 RAYYA had settled with Leigh, producing that year for him *RASEYN’s full sister ROTHA (died as a yearling), followed by a 1927 brother named FADLALLA. Leigh then bred from RAYYA a 1929 IRAM daughter named ZANAB and finely a 1931 filly named SAFARI (by the desert bred stallion OUTLAW). FADLALLA was gelded as a three-year-old. SAFARI was exported to the British West Indies. Lady Wentworth acquired ZANAB but she does not seem ever to have produced a foal.
By the time of the 1937 stud book, if Leigh had any Arabs left, they must have been limited to FADLALLA and ZANAB, although he was still a member of the Council. RAYYA had been given away in 1932, and SAFARI had a new owner.
Between 1922 and 1925 Leigh was promoted to Colonel. It might be that Leigh’s military career prevented him from deeper involvement with the horses. He might have been abroad during the period following his ownership of MAHRUSS. Leigh died between the publication of the 1937 and 1944 stud books.
Although RANYA II and MIRIAM are the only horses in pedigrees attributed to Leigh as breeder, many of his animals contributed to the CMK tradition before and/or after he had them. Plain bad luck seems to have followed Leigh’s horses as well, as the record drawn from the stud books illustrates. Perhaps a reader will be kind enough to write with details of Leigh’s life to add some substance to the framework as constructed from stud book records.
by R.J. Cadranell
from The CMK Record Summer 1989 VIII/I
In 1791, during the century which saw the writing of great compendiums of knowledge, including Dr. Johnson’s dictionary, James Weatherby published in England what was to become the preliminary volume of The General Stud Book, Containing Pedigrees of Race Horses, &c. &c. From the earliest Accounts… In 1808, after several revisions, appeared the version which has become standard. This documented the pedigrees of a breed of horse which later adopted the name of Thoroughbred. Mr. Weatherby’s stud book demonstrates the Thoroughbred’s descent from numerous Oriental sires and dams. The pedigree of the Thoroughbred stallion ECLIPSE (1764) lists the names of the DARLEY ARABIAN, the LEEDES ARABIAN, the OGLETHORPE ARABIAN, the LISTER TURK, the DARCY YELLOW TURK, the BYERLEY TURK, the GODOLPHIN ARABIAN or Barb, HUTTON’S GREY BARB, and the MOROCCO BARB as ancestors.
The American Stud Book, a.k.a. the Jockey Club Stud Book, first appeared in 1873. Its original complier was S.D. Bruce, and The American Stud Book (ASB) is still the registration authority for Thoroughbreds in this country. Volume I included a chapter for “Imported Arab, Barb and Spanish Horses and Mares.”
Weatherbys issued Volume XIII of the General Stud Book (GSB) in 1877. This volume included a new section, roughly one page in length, for Arabian stock recently imported to the U.K. It was the beginning of modern Arabian horse breeding in the English speaking world. In this volume are Arabians which Capt. Roger D. Upton and H.B.M. Consul at Aleppo, Mr. James H. Skene, were involved in importing for Messrs. Sandeman (including YATAGHAN and HAIDEE, the sire and dam of *Naomi) and Chaplin (including the mare KESIA). GSB Volume XIV (1881) registered the earliest of Mr. Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt’s importations for their Crabbet Arabian Stud. Skene had provided crucial assistance to the Blunts, too; Wilfrid Blunt later credited Skene with giving him and his wife the idea for the Crabbet Stud (see Archer et.al., The Crabbet Arabian Stud. p. 34). Skene is perhaps the founding father of Arabian horse breeding in the English speaking world. The preface to GSB Volume XIV expressed the hope that the newly imported Arabian stock might, in time, provide the Thoroughbred with a valuable cross back to the original blood from which it had come. This idea had also been behind the thinking of Upton and Skene.
The Blunts subscribed to this view too. The British racing authorities agreed to hold an Arab race at Newmarket in 1884; the outcome was inconclusive, but Blunt wrote that
“the ultimate result, however, was not I think, as far as Arab breeding in England was affected by it, wholly a misfortune. It convinced me that I was on wrong lines in breeding Arabs for speed, and not for those more valuable qualities in which their true excellence lies. Had I continued with my original purpose, I should have lost time and money, and probably have also spoiled my breed, producing stock taller perhaps and speedier, but with the same defects found in the English Thoroughbred.”(see Blunt, Gordon at Khartoum, 2nd ed., London 1912, p. 265)
Although the Blunts gave up the idea of rejuvenating the Thoroughbred with a fresh cross to Arab blood, they continued to register their horses in the Arab section of the GSB, as it was the sole registration authority for Arabian breeding stock in the U.K. GSB registration conferred on the Crabbet horses the advantages of prestige and the eligibility to enter many countries of the world duty free.
Volume IV of The American Stud Book (1884) continued to list Arabian horses imported to America. This volume included the 1879 import *Leopard, the first Arabian brought to America to leave Arabian descent here. The Arabian section in ASB VI (1894) included the imported horses (all from the GSB) of the early breeders Huntington and Ramsdell.
The mare *Nejdme was the first horse recorded in the Arabian Horse Registry of America Studbook. Foaled in Syria, she is pictured here in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair.
ASB VII (1898) listed in the Arab section Huntington and Ramsdell horses, with the addition of Ramsdell’s *SHAHWAN, newly imported from the Crabbet Stud, and his mare *NEJDME (spelled “Nedjme” in ASB) from the Hamidie Society’s exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair. Also included were a stallion from the deserts of Northern Arabia and two stallions imported from Russia for the Chicago World’s Fair. The pedigree information printed with one of the latter, a horse named BEKBOOLAT, states that his second dam was by an imported English Thoroughbred. His pedigree also includes an Orloff saddle mare. BEKBOOLAT’s inclusion in the Arabian section of the ASB demonstrates that at the time the Jockey Club had a rather loose working definition of the term “Arabian.”
ASB Volumes VIII (1902) and IX (1906) list in the Arabian section no newly imported horses other than those which were bred in England, either at Crabbet or by Miss Dillon or Lord Arthur Cecil, and which therefore arrived in this country with GSB certificates. All GSB registered Arabians were automatically eligible for the ASB.
In October of 1906 the S.S. Italia arrived in America carrying 27 Arabians which Homer Davenport had imported directly from the Anazah tribes in Arabia. The only registration authority for Arabian horses in America was the stud book of the American Jockey Club. Not all the Arab horses in America were listed in the Arab section of the ASB. Huntington appears to have ceased registering with the Jockey Club after 1895. The Crabbet bred *IBN MAHRUSS and his dam *BUSHRA appear not to have had ASB registration. Davenport applied for the registration of his new arrivals.
Details of the ensuing embroilment are exceedingly complex, and the full story has yet to come to light. According to testimony published in “That Arab Horse Tangle” (The Rider and Driver, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 11, June 5, 1909 and No. 12, June 12, 1909), the Jockey Club began by sending to Weatherbys for verification the Arabic certificates which had accompanied the Davenport horses. By 1899, “to counter the overt forgery of pedigrees by dealers… the General Stud Book now accepted only Consular Certificates issued in the port where a horse was exported“(James Fleming, writing in Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence, p. 407). After a favorable review from Weatherbys, the papers returned to Alexandretta and Aleppo for consular verification, which they obtained. It seemed as though the Jockey Club was ready to register the Davenport horses when negotiations broke down, and the Jockey Club denied the application. Davenport, whose vocation was the drawing of political cartoons, claimed his unflattering portrayal of Jockey Club chairman August Belmont was the cause of bias.
Davenport reminded people that the Jockey Club already had registered several imported Arabians from the Middle East on the basis of documentation ranging from the flimsy to the non-existent. One such mare, belonging to Peter Bradley, was apparently either *ABBYA or *ZARIFFEY, both described as “Kehilan, sub-strain unknown” in the auction catalog from the Hamidie dispersal. Davenport pointed out that their description was useless for establishing purity of blood, and neither mare appears among the eventual registrations of the Arabian Horse Club. Davenport also publicized the Jockey Club’s acceptance of *BEAMING STAR, an unpedigreed animal which Davenport’s traveling companion Jack Thompson had bought on the dock in Beirut and shipped to America on a boat separate from the Davenport importation.
Though registered by the Jockey Club, none of the above animals appears in the Arabian section of the printed ASB volumes. Also conspicuously absent is one of W.R.Brown’s 1918 imports from Crabbet, *RAMLA. This is perhaps because the registrations of foals, and hence to a certain extent their parents, were based on the annual return of breeding records of mares, as were the registrations in the GSB. Since most Americans will not be acquainted with this format, a typical GSB entry is quoted from Volume XXII(1913), p.l 957:
MABRUKA (Bay), foaled in 1891, by Azrek, out of imp.
Meshura, continued from Vol. XXI, p. 896.
1909 b.f. Munira, by Daoud
1910 b.c. by Rijm (died in 1912)
1911 b.f. Marhaba, by Daoud
1912 barren to Ibn Yashmak
1913 not covered in 1912
MARHABA is familiar to American breeders as the dam of the Selby import *MIRZAM (by Rafeef).
Since the Jockey Club refused to cooperate, Davenport joined with other interested Arab horse enthusiasts and formed the Arabian Horse Club (AHC) in 1908. The next year the Arabian Horse Club issued its first stud book, and after certification by the Department of Agriculture, it became the official registration authority for Arabian horses in America. The original 1909 stud book registered 71 Arabians, of which twelve had also appeared in the Arab sections of the ASB volumes published to that date. These horses were therefore “double registered” Arabians.
One Arabian breeder was unimpressed. Though invited to register his horses, Spencer Borden felt no need to do so. His stock imported from England was in the GSB and ASB, the foals he had bred were also in the ASB, and he “did not care to enter them in any other place” (see The Rider and Driver, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 9, May 22, 1909, p. 4). At that point in time, Borden was almost the only one breeding ASB registered Arabians. The registration on the Huntington animals had lapsed, and many of the breeders working with Huntington bloodlines entered their horses in the new AHC stud book. Ramsdell produced an occasional ASB registered foal from one of his *NEJDME mares, but his period of greatest activity as an Arabian breeder had passed. Borden had an effective monopoly on the production of Jockey Club registered Arabians.
Borden’s ultimate goal as a breeder of Arabian horses was to convince the United States Army to use his horses as the basis for an American cavalry stud, producing part-Arab animals for military use. In 1909 he was the only person breeding a significant number of Arabians eligible to the same stud books as Thoroughbreds, and he no doubt saw this as a great advantage.
In 1917, apparently at the insistence of W. R. Brown, Borden relented and “double registered” his horses by entering them in the AHC stud book. Shortly after this, Brown bought out the Borden program, becoming the new monopolizer of double registered stock. In 1918 Brown made a substantial importation from the Crabbet Stud. At the time, Brown’s chief American rival as a breeder was Peter Bradley, whose Hingham Stock Farm had continued to breed the Davenport Arabians after the latter’s death in 1912, as well as horses of Hamidie and one or two other lines. However, Bradley did not breed double registered stock, and the last Arabian foal crop born in Hingham ownership came in 1921.
Brown’s Maynesboro Stud was to enjoy a number of years as the largest Arabian nursery on the continent. He had bought Crabbet bred horses imported by Ames, Borden, and Davenport. He had made his own large importation from that source, followed by a second and much smaller importation from England. He had bought the rest of the Borden herd, which included animals of Dillon, Ramsdell, and Huntington lines. Among the latter was the mare NAZLET, whom Borden had had to register with the Jockey Club himself. Brown also developed a network to keep himself informed of Arabian horses which became available for purchase. After the closeout of the Borden operation and before the 1926 Kellogg importation from Crabbet, Brown was almost the only breeder of double registered stock.
Among the horses Brown’s brother had acquired from the Davenport estate was the 1910 bay stallion JERRED, by the Davenport import *EUPHRATES and out of *NEJDME. Several writers have advanced the theory that JERREDE was not out of *NEDJME, but rather her granddaughter NEJDME III, claiming that Davenport never owned *NEJDME and that the AHC made a mistake in attributing the colt to her. Both Volume 1 (1913) of the AHC stud books and Volume XII of the ASB attribute *NEJDME’s ownership to Davenport, and state unequivocally that JERREDE was her son. Furthermore, as of 1909 NEJDME II (whose sire *OBEYRAN was single registered) was in the ownership of Eleanor Gates in California. Brown was using JERREDE at stud in a limited way, and by 1915 he had begun an effort to accomplish the Jockey Club registration of the Davenport imports *URFAH and her son *EUPHRATES, thus making JERREDE and his get eligible, too. Brown traced a copy of the Arabic document pertaining to *URFAH and *EUPHRATES, secured consular verification of it, and finally had Lady Anne Blunt vouch for its authenticity. The Jockey Club notified Brown of the completion of the registration in 1919. *URFAH and *EUPHRATES appear in ASB XII (1920), on p. 662. Since the credentials of the other Davenport imports were really no different from those of *URFAH and *EUPHRATES, the possibility of double registering them arose. Brown did not want to watch the rest of the Davenport horses ride into the ASB on the coat tails of *URFAH and *EUPHRATES. He insisted that should the Hingham management wish to pursue the matter, the Jockey Club ought to consider the Davenport imports on a case by case basis (see Charles C. Craver III, “At the Beginning,” Arabian Horse News, May, 1974, pp. 97-112). The management at Hingham evidently did not, and the other Davenport animals remained single registered, duly entered in The Arabian Stud Book, but not the Jockey Club Stud Book.
The JERREDE influence endured at Maynesboro only through his daughter DJEMELI (out of Nazlet), dam of MATIH. Other single registered lines from Maynesboro’s early days did not endure, producing their last foals for Brown in 1921. In 1921 and 1922 Brown imported Arabians registered in the French Stud Book, making the last additions to the double-registered gene pool which did not come from the GSB. Brown’s limitation of his breeding stock to double registered animals amounted to a self imposed restriction of his options. Looking from the broadest perspective, that of the development of the breed as a whole in America, Brown’s attitude meant that the separate breeding traditions which Davenport and Borden had established by and large remained separate for another generation. Brown’s horses amounted to a breed within a breed. Since double registration gave his animals an added selling point, Brown and others to follow had a not insignificant economic stake in the matter as well.
Brown made two further importations of Arabian stock to this country: the better known of these is his 1932 importation from Egypt, which included *NASR, *ZARIFE, *RODA, *AZIZA, *H. H. MOHAMED ALI’S HAMIDA, and *H.H.MOHAMED ALI’S HAMAMA. The latter two received their lengthy appellations to distinguish them from Brown’s 1923 import *HAMIDA (Daoud x Hilmyeh) and the mare HAMAMA (Harara x Freda) of Davenport and Hamidie lines. There is evidence to suggest that Carl Raswan helped to steer Brown in the direction of the Egyptian horses. None of the Brown’s 1932 imports appears in the Arab section of the ASB, apparently closed to new non-Thoroughbred registered stock by that time (see below), and since Brown began dispersing his herd shortly after their arrival, it is unclear what use he would have made of them. Brown bred single registered 1934 *NASR foals out of RAAB and BAZRAH. *AZIZA produced the 1935 colt AZKAR, by RAHAS.
Brown also made his own small importation from the desert in 1929. These horses were never registered with either the ASB or AHC. Some believe they never reached this country.
W. K. Kellogg’s importation from the Crabbet Stud in 1926 greatly expanded the base of double registered breeding stock, in terms of numbers and also bloodlines. By that time, the GSB had been closed to newly imported Arabians. The passage of the Jersey Act in 1913 had closed the GSB to Thoroughbreds from other countries, unless they could trace their pedigrees in all lines to animals entered in previous volumes. The 1921 decision did the same thing for Arabians, though one wonders if the death of Lady Anne Blunt in 1917 and the advanced age of her husband, leaving no equal authority, had been an additional factor, making Weatherbys leery of becoming involved in future controversies similar to the one which had surrounded the Davenport horses. Their principal business was the registration of Thoroughbreds, not the verification of the pedigrees of imported Arabians. GSB XXIV (entries through 1920) registered imp. Skowronek, and GSB XXV (through 1924) included imp. DWARKA, the last Arabian added to the GSB gene pool. DWARKA blood had reached America in 1924 in his daughter *ANA. Skowronek blood arrived in the Kellogg shipment of 1926. At about this time the ASB followed suit and ceased to consider imported Arabians not already in the GSB or another Thoroughbred stud book. This established the ASB Arabian gene pool as overlapping that of the GSB with the addition of *EUPHRATES, *NEJDME, and Brown’s French imports. The double registration of the line from *Leopard had not been maintained.
With the advent of manager Herbert Reese in 1927 and the influence of W. R. Brown’s opinions, the management at Kellogg’s came to believe in the importance of double registered stock. Letters in the Kellogg files between Reese and Kellogg indicate that the double registration factor had a major bearing on most aspects of management policy: planning matings, starting young stallions at stud, and the buying and selling of breeding stock. For instance, Reese admired the young sires *FERDIN and FARANA for their conformation, and reminded Kellogg that they had the added advantage of being double registered. Reese made the decision to buy LEILA (El Jafil x Narkeesa) in spite of her status as a single registered mare.
Looking at the Kellogg record from Reese’s arrival in 1927 through 1933, one sees that despite the higher priority attached to double registered stock, the first seven mares Reese purchased and then bred registered foals from had Davenport blood, and that Reese bred more than fifteen foals from double registered mares and single registered stallions. The reason for this is perhaps contained in correspondence between Reese and Kellogg among the Kellogg Ranch Papers. They mention the possibility of registering the ranch’s Davenport stock with the Jockey Club for $50 per head. This writer was unable to locate correspondence to and from the Jockey Club, or any letters explaining why the plan did not come to fruition. Whether Reese and Kellogg, or the Jockey Club, did not follow is not known, but by the summer of 1934 Reese was writing to Kellogg that “…we have eliminated a large percent of the single registered stock” (H.H. Reese to W.K. Kellogg, August 25, 1934). Reese’s last three single registered Kellogg foals out of double registered mares were the 1933 HANAD fillies out of *FERDISIA, *RIFDA, and RAAD. Thereafter, he put Jockey Club mares to Jockey Club stallions only. The fortunes of Davenport blood at the Kellogg Ranch declined as many, but by no means all, Davenport and part Davenport horses were sold. Well known double registered Arabians bred at the Kellogg Ranch include ABU FARWA, FERSEYN, SIKIN, RIFNAS, NATAF, RONEK, SUREYN, and ROSEYNA. Later writers had an unfair tendency to bolster the reputation of these horses at the expense of the ranch’s single registered stock.
As Maynesboro began to break up in the early 1930s, the greatest concentrations of Maynesboro stock accumulated at Kellogg’s, J. M. Dickinson’s, and W. R. Hearst’s. All three breeders continued to double register their horses. Together with the Selby Stud, which had acquired the bulk of its foundation stock from Crabbet, these studs were the principal breeders of double registered Arabians in the 1930’s, and among the largest breeders of Arabian horses in general.
The other major player was Albert Harris, who had bought his first Arabians from Davenport. His foundation sire NEJDRAN JR. and mares SAAIDA and RUHA were all single registered. Harris later added the Davenport import *EL BULAD, a stallion he had tried for years to buy from Bradley before he at last convinced him to sell, according to a letter from Harris among the Kellogg Ranch Papers. Other single registered Harris foundation mares included the Hingham bred MORFDA, MERSHID, and MEDINA. Most of the Harris Arabians were single registered, but he also bred from *ANA, a double registered mare he had imported from England, and a number of double registered mares from Maynesboro: OPHIR, NANDA, *SIMAWA, NIHT, NIYAF, BAZVAN, and MATIH. Harris imported the double registered stallion *NURI PASHA from England in 1924, and had his first ASB registered foals born the next year. With an occasional lapse, Harris proved amazingly conscientious about breeding his few double registered mares to double registered stallions. From 1925 through 1941, Harris bred 38 double registered foals, and only 5 foals from Jockey Club mares and single registered stallions. His Jockey Club mares almost always went to KATAR (Gulastra x *Simawa), *NURI PASHA, KEMAH (*Nuri Pasha x Nanda), KAABA, or KHALIL (both *Nuri Pasha x Ophir) rather than Harris’s single registered sires like NEJDRAN JR., ALCAZAR (Nejdran Jr. x Rhua), and *SUNSHINE. From 1925 through 1931, Harris distinguished his double registered foals by giving them names beginning with the letter “K,” among them the stallions named above. He later abandoned the system: three single registered foals of 1932 and 1934 also got “K” names, and beginning in 1935 virtually all Harris bred horses got names beginning with the letter “K.” In 1942 and 1943 (the last two years in which the Jockey Club registered Arabians as Thoroughbred horses), Harris-owned double registered mares produced five more foals, all by Jockey Club stallions. For some reason, these appear only in the AHC stud book, and not the ASB.
General Dickinson’s farm, Traveler’s Rest, also appears to have used double registration as a guide for making decisions. Most of Dickinson’s double registered horses had come from Brown. Dickinson bred 65 double registered foals born from 1931 through 1942. (Two additional foals, ISLAM and BINNI, were from double registered parents but do not appear in the Arab section of the ASB.) Only 17 Traveler’s Rest foals from the same period were by single registered stallions and out of Jockey Club mares. This seems to indicate that the consideration of double registration had a major effect on breeding decisions at Traveler’s Rest. Jockey Club registered mares were more likely to go to GULASTRA, RONEK, JEDRAN, KOLASTRA, or BAZLEYD than *NASR, *ZARIFE, or *CZUBUTHAN. The matter was of sufficient importance to Dickinson that his catalogs indicate which of his horses carried ASB registration. The consideration may have had a bearing on Dickinson’s decision to sell the Davenport stallion ANTEZ to Poland. Famous double registered Arabians bred by J. M. Dickinson include ROSE OF LUZON, NAHARIN, GINNYYA, CHEPE NOYON, HAWIJA, BRIDE ROSE, GYM-FARAS, and ALYF.
At Selby’s, aside from ten foals out of the single registered mares MURKA, SLIPPER, CHRALLAH, and ARSA, the exception was *MIRAGE. Lady Wentworth, daughter of the Blunts, had taken charge of Crabbet in 1920, and bought this desert bred stallion at Tattersalls in 1923. The 1924 Crabbet Catalog relates that Lady Wentworth was waiting for the completion of additional paperwork regarding his provenance before incorporating *MIRAGE into the Crabbet herd. The writer does not know the outcome of the paperwork, but in 1921 the GSB had closed to imported Arabians, as noted above. Weatherbys registration was of the utmost importance to Lady Wentworth, and unable to induce the GSB to reopen for *MIRAGE, she sold the horse to Roger Selby in 1930.
Britain’s Arab Horse Society (AHS) had formed in 1918 and issued its first stud book the following year; it stood ready to register imported Arabians after the closing of the GSB. However, Lady Wentworth had had a disagreement with the Arab Horse Society, and had ceased to register her horses in its stud book after the 1922 foals. Somewhat like Borden before her, she felt that GSB registration was all her horses needed. It was not until after the War that she rejoined the Society, so *MIRAGE does not appear among AHS registrations.
Selby’s showed little reluctance to breed *MIRAGE and his son IMAGE to double registered mares. The *MIRAGE daughters RAGEYMA and GEYAMA went into the Selby mare band. Of the 64 AHC registered Selby foals born to double registered mares from 1932 to 1943, 28 were by *MIRAGE or IMAGE. However, the management at Selby’s took double registration seriously enough that all eligible Selby foals appear in the Arabian section of the ASB, with the inexplicable exceptions of FRANZA (*Mirzam x *Rose of France) and RASMIAN (*Selmian x *Rasmina). Apparently ineligible was NISIM. NISIM was originally registered as the 1940 grey foal of two chestnuts, namely IMAGE and NISA. After the coat color incompatibility became apparent, the AHC changed the sire to *Raffles. The 1940 entry under NISA in the ASB reads, “covered previous year by an unregistered,” which was standard ASB notation for single registered Arabian stallions used on double registered mares. Famous double registered Arabians bred by Roger Selby include RASRAFF, RAFMIRZ, INDRAFF, SELFRA, and MIRZAIA.
The only Arabian sire getting registered Arabian foals in the first two crops of W. R. Hearst’s stud was the 75% Davenport stallion JOON. By 1935, when the third crop was on the ground, the program had expanded to include the Davenport stallion KASAR and the Crabbet import *FERDIN. The Hearst program was growing rapidly with purchases from the Kellogg Ranch and the disbanding Maynesboro Stud. All of the Maynesboro horses were double registered, but some of the Kellogg purchases were horses with Davenport pedigrees. The Hearst Sunical Land and Packing Corp. began producing double registered Arabian foals in 1936. From that year through 1943, it bred 56 double registered foals, and only five foals from Jockey Club mares and single registered stallions. The key Jockey Club sires at Hearst’s were RAHAS, GULASTRA, GHAZI, and REHAL, all bred at Maynesboro, and the homebred ROABRAH (Rahas x Roaba). Hearst’s also owned and used the Davenport stallions KASAR and his son ANSARLAH, but restricted them in large part to their single registered mares: ANLAH, SCHILAN, LADY ANNE (daughters of Antez), RAADAH (by Hanad), ALILATT (Saraband x Leila), RASOULMA (*Raseyn x *Malouma), and FERSABA (out of the Davenport mare Saba). The other single registered sire at Hearst’s was JOON, but after the management decided to use double registration as a criterion for planning the breeding schedule, apparently the only mare he ever saw was ANTAFA (Antez x *Rasafa). The Davenport influence at Hearst’s, as at Kellogg’s and Harris’s, would likely have been far greater had double registration not been an issue.
Other breeders double registering Arabian foals during the years 1934-1943 included Fred Vanderhoof (from *Ferda and *Bint), E. W. Hassan (from Ghazil), L. P. Sperry (from *Kola and Larkspur), Donald Jones (from Nejmat), C. A. West (from Bazvan), Ira Goheen (from Hurzab and Kokab), L. S. Van Vleet (from *Rishafieh, Raffieh, Selfra, Gutne, and Ishmia), and R. T. Wilson (from Matih). Their combined total of double registered foals was minor compared to the five farms discussed above, but it demonstrates that the concern with double registration and its effect on management policy were not confined to a select group of breeders. At Van Vleet’s, for instance, the Jockey Club mares were more likely to go to KABAR (Kaaba x *Raida) than *ZARIFE.
Until fairly recently, the Arabian Horse Club was inconsistent in assigning the breedership of foals to the owner of the dam at time of covering. Sometimes the breedership of a foal was attributed to the owner at time of foaling. The latter seems to have been the Jockey Club definition of “breeder,” and as a result the breeders of several familiar Arabians differ from ASB to AHC. RABIYAS, e.g., was bred by W. R. Brown according to The Arabian Stud Book and by the W. K. Kellogg Institute according to the ASB.
Some Arabians are in the ASB under a different name. Many of these amount to minor spelling variations, as in the case of HAWIJA (spelled “Hasijah” in ASB). Some take the form of the addition or subtraction of a prefix or suffix. DANAS is “Danas Maneghi” in the ASB, while *CRABBET SURA is “Sura.” Sometimes a numeral was added or subtracted. *Raffles is in the ASB as “*Raffles 2nd,” as there was apparently a Thoroughbred by that name. The mare *NARDA II is in the GSB and the 1906 Crabbet catalog as “Narda,” the numeral apparently added to distinguish her from an American Thoroughbred of the same name. In her case it carried over to her Arabian stud book registration. A few have entirely different names, e.g. RIFDA who is “Copper Cloud” in the Jockey Club Stud Book.
The last Arabians which the Jockey Club registered as Thoroughbred horses were 1943 foals. By the late 1950s, most newer breeders were not even aware that at one time there had been two categories of registered Arabians in America. Very few living Arabians in America show straight Jockey Club pedigrees; this writer estimates fewer than 1%. Among them one would have to include those horses bred from GSB registered Crabbet and Hanstead lines imported from the U.K. in recent decades. The GSB continued to register Arabians through the foals of 1964 and this function helped to a certain extent to hold the older English Arabian lines together as a breeding unit.
The issue of double registration had a controlling influence over the development of the Arabian breed in America. Until the early 1940s, all new breeders had to decide if Jockey Club Arabians were important to them, and if so, to what extent. The double registration factor goes a long way toward explaining why Davenport mare lines were more frequently top-crossed to Crabbet stallions than ASB mare lines were top-crossed to Davenport stallions. The double registration idea continued to influence after 1943, but one cannot know exactly how many breeders based decisions on the possibility of the Jockey Club reopening the ASB to Arabians. Readers are encouraged to examine the pedigrees of their own horses to find breedings selected possibly with double registration in mind.
[A final note regarding Jockey Club registered Arabians pertains to the use of the asterisk(*) to denote an Arabian horse imported to this country. Its first use as such in a printed stud book was in ASB Volume X (1910). The Jockey Club also used the symbol to denote imported Thoroughbreds. It was not until Volume IV (1939) that the Arabian registry adopted its use, though it has recently abandoned it. Arabians imported after June 1, 1983 no longer receive an asterisk as part of their registered names in this country. However, the symbol continues to delight advertisers and pedigree writers; there are no restrictions on its use in these contexts.]
The San Simeon Stallions, 1937: from left JOON, RAHAS, SABAB, GULASTRA, KASAR and GHAZI. Is it a coincidence that they were posed so that the single-registered horses alternated with double-registered ones? Photo courtesy Harriet Hallonquist.
by Michael Bowling
from The CMK Record VIII/4 Spring 1990 used by permission of Michael Bowling
RAFYK (Azrek x *Rose of Sharon) at Quambi Springs in 1903, age 13. (Photo by “The Critic”, courtesy Coralie Gordon; for the record, this is a screen of a copy photo of a photocopy of a 90-year-old newspaper cutting!)
RAFYK was a three-quarter brother to ROSE DIAMOND, featured in Record VIII/2; for information on RAFYK’s and ROSE DIAMOND’s wonderful sire AZREK see p. 20 of that issue. RAFYK was the first major stallion produced by what was to become the breed’s most internationally influential female line. The difference between the pedigrees of ROSE DIAMOND and RAFYK was the replacement of KARS with HADBAN as maternal grandsire of the latter. HADBAN was a bay imported from an Indian racing stable to Crabbet, partly with the idea that he should take part in a highly promoted Arab race. The race was not a notable success and the Arab cause was further embarrassed when its winner was soundly trounced by a moderate TB in a match race. Arab racing in England took a hundred years to recover from its fumbled start, but the 1884 race can claim an important contribution to breed history as it was the occasion for HADBAN’s coming to Crabbet.
HADBAN: the quintessential broodmare sire
Lady Anne Blunt’s manuscript stud book describes HADBAN as
“An imported bay horse, foaled in 1878, a Hadban Enzeyhi, bred by Jakin Ibn Aghil, Sheykh of the Daafini tribe of Oteybeh, from whom he was purchased by Ali Ibn Amr of Bussora and Bombay and exported to Bombay in the autumn of 1883. Purchased of Ali Ibn Amr soon after being landed at Bombay. Imported in 1884. A bright bay with three white feet, hind feet and near fore feet (mutlak al yemin) and star. Splendid head with prominent forehead (jebha), small muzzle, neck a trifle short but well placed, good shoulder, pasterns rather too long. Fine carriage of tail, fine trotter in harness, grand mover gallopping[sic]. Hadban was the sire of Nefisa, Rose of Sharon and Bitumen [this apparently written in 1885, before the arrival of the 1886 colt MAJID].”
He stood 14:2 and 1/2 and measured 7 and 3/4 inches below the knee, “rather over than under“- in other words measured just under 8 inches of bone.
“Hadban was sold in June 1885 to D. Mackay Esq(re) of New South Wales for 120 gs for exportation to Australia. In view of the excellence of the mares by Hadban, it is to be regretted there were so few of his stock.”
Wilfrid Blunt, quoted by Peter Upton, later made a stronger statement:
“Hadban is, next to Mesaoud, the most important sire we imported, being numerously represented in the Stud Book through Rose of Sharon and Nefisa, his two best daughters and our two most valuable brood mares.”
HADBAN got just four foals at Crabbet, MESAOUD had over 25 times as many; HADBAN must have been the better sire even without considering the inextricable contribution of the HADBAN daughters to the success of MESAOUD. Those incomparable matrons *ROSE OF SHARON and NEFISA produced 34 foals between them and numbered some of the breed’s great progenitors among their offspring, so it is little wonder the name of HADBAN is “numerously represented” in modern pedigrees.
The hazards of travel
Lady Anne Blunt described HADBAN in India as
“a splendid horse–magnificent head–has had an accident which caused near foreleg to swell and swelling went down but left lump on fetlock joint–doubts as to possibility of training so that price came within our reach. Horse not lame now–but might not stand gallopping[sic]. Defect stands slightly back [at knees] also bone lighter than some but quality of sinews appears wiry and shape and style show perfect blood. Mazbut in the tribe… we get him very cheap… hardly over £100.” The next day the Blunts “Saw our own Hadban mounted. W.[ilfrid] also got on him but found his mouth very awkward, he wants teaching, seems to have had only a reshmeh [bitless Arab bridle], looks like Jerboa when trotting but would not settle, would play. The lump on fetlock better. He has a fine temper.”
The Blunts purchased three stallions in India; the other two were RATAPLAN and PROXIMO and they were shipped to England along with two other entries for the Arab race.
“On Friday evening a queer accident happened to Hadban, he got his near hind leg over the sling and also tumbled down…[it developed that] the horse had a stoppage and was in violent pain, it was frightful to see the agony. They got a syringe and so I went away, but I heard that before they could do anything to relieve him he had in his plunges got his forelegs out one in front of the other through the side bar of the box and thus hanging on had purposely banged his head from side to side against the iron hoop above as if trying to kill himself. When got out he seemed to be dying and was indeed reported dead. However, they managed to relieve him and he pulled through and was better on Sunday…”
The mind boggles at the gap in the ranks of the modern breed which would have resulted had HADBAN succumbed to the rigors of 19th century horse transport (as RATAPLAN and the younger JEROBOAM were to do in 1887 on their way to Egypt). Incidentally, RATAPLAN’s purchase price in India had been £250; his slim contribution, to Crabbet and the breed, has not justified the difference over HADBAN.
KARS and HADBAN departed together for Australia in 1885; KARS commanded the higher price (£250). He was the original Crabbet sire and had been for years a major figure in Lady Anne’s life, she not unsurprisingly noted his loss more than HADBAN’s in her journal:
“The central figure of the stud has disappeared; the glory of it seems to be put out with Kars absence.” His companion received only the comment “Hadban going too.”
Still Lady Anne came greatly to regret the sale of HADBAN after just two seasons and four foals, as reflected in later journal entries:
“This [Ashgar offered to Count Potocki by Wilfrid for £150] would be the third horse parted with in too great haste–Pharaoh, Hadban and now Ashgar.” “Perhaps Mahruss [sold to J. Hamilton Leigh] will be more valued now he is out of reach. It was so with Hadban and Merzuk, the losing of both of which–or rather the wanton throwing away of them–was a great misfortune, judging from the produce, alas too few, we did get of theirs.”
[MERZUK and MAHRUSS GSB each left one breeding foal at Crabbet–both proved influential beyond all expectation and both were out of HADBAN’s daughter *ROSE OF SHARON; we will encounter RIDAA and RIJM in later chapters of her saga.]
The foundation of Australian Arabian breeding
Australia proved an important early market for the Blunts; unfortunately Australian purebred breeding was not ready for such potential foundation animals–the Australian Arabian registry was not founded until 1956, any horses which were registered up to that time being recorded in England with the Arab Horse Society. FRANCOLIN and PURPLE STOCK, KARS and HADBAN, NEJRAN (Azrek x Nefisa) and ROSE OF JERICHO were among the Crabbet Arabs to leave no descent Down Under. Dwelling on might-have-beens is generally a waste of space; fortunately there is a positive Australian breeding tradition from these early years to be recorded. Sir James Penn Boucaut maintained a flourishing stud at Quambi Springs, near Mt. Barker in South Australia, from 1891 to 1908 and publicized the breed through his writings. When the Boucaut horses were dispersed two successor programs took over, adding new Crabbet sires and bringing the influences of RAFYK and other Quambi founders (save ROSE OF JERICHO) down to the edge of modern times. Their names, in every possible permutation and combination, are at the back of most modern Australian pedigrees.
The Quambi Springs program was founded in 1891, when Sir James bought through his London agents the yearling RAFYK and the broodmares DAHNA and ROSE OF JERICHO. Lady Anne Blunt had noted, on returning from Egypt in 1891, her pleasure with AZREK’s sons, “the beautiful colt Ahmar who exceeds my expectations. The Rose of Sharon one too. Rafyk has grown well.” The Boucaut sale was recognized as a particularly important one, and every effort was made to present the best available prospects: “Rafyk…is really far the best…I still much prefer Rafyk to represent the Stud.”
Ten years later Boucaut added another top young stallion, FARAOUN, a MESAOUD son who was to be the only representative in modern pedigrees of the Ali Pasha Sherif mare FULANA; and two mares perhaps of lesser distinction: NAMUSA and EL LAHR. NARGHILEH’s first foal NAMUSA by Ahmar, described by Lady Anne as “small but lovely mover,” had been less charitably used by Wilfrid to illustrate his thesis that first foals were undesirable compared to a mare’s later produce; Lady Anne thought this an unwarranted generalization. Whatever NAMUSA’s excuse was for standing just 13.3–and perhaps she was less distinguished than such later NARGHILEH offspring as *NASIK and *Nureddin II–she bred on in keeping with her brilliant pedigree. Small size did not stop her from founding one of the most noted families in Australia, which has achieved international recognition and still produces “lovely movers.”
EL LAHR was a granddaughter of the earlier Boucaut purchased DAHNA and possessed a complicated biography. DAHNA’s Crabbet daughter DINARZADE by RATAPLAN had changed hands several times in England, returning at last to Crabbet with this filly by Miss Dillon’s *IMAMZADA. DINARZADE was then sold to Russia, which was to prove an even more effective sink for early Blunt breeding than Australia. Lady Anne recorded in her stud book
“Note: Miss Dillon sent with the mare a filly foal by her horse ‘Imamzade‘
[sic; this spelling has persisted in the Australian stud book. Lady Anne seems to have had a mental block about the names of the Dillon horses, referring to El Emir consistently as Amir and to Jamrood as Jamrud]
which foal I should much prefer not to have had, as it will have to be got rid of whatever good qualities it may possess, for these could not make up for its being half of a strain one cannot vouch for; moreover, if sold from this Stud, it will be counted as of our breeding, no matter what precautions be taken to contradict statements to that effect. A.I.N.B.”
As if to illustrate the perversity of things in general, Lady Anne records in her journal a
“Discussion with W.S.B. about blunder I find in the catalogue [of the 1901 sale] where ‘Dinarzade filly’ is described as by Himyarite whereas Miss Dillon stated that the sire was her horse Imamzada. [In 1895 JERUD had been repurchased from Miss Dillon in foal to HIMYARITE, perhaps this had caused the confusion.] I wish the filly was not in the actual list at all but might be lead in at the end of sale (as was Barakat last year) but as it is W.S.B. now thinks our best — indeed only — course is to draw a red pen stroke through ‘Himyarite’ and write above it ‘Imamzada’.”
EL LAHR overcame her early vicissitudes to fund a major line in Australia–indeed traditional Australian breeding is unique in the world Arabian community for its preponderance of the Dahman strain, owed to the DAHNA family, which includes extensive EL LAHR descent.
Quambi Springs: an eyewitness account
The balance of this RAFYK feature is based largely upon information generously supplied by Coralie Gordon. In July 1903, “The Critic,” in The Advertiser, an Adelaide, South Australia newspaper, wrote:
“At Quambi Springs, near Mt. Barker, is located the famous stud of Arabian horses belonging to His Honor Sir J.P. Boucaut. In former years there were importations of Arab stallions into Australia, but these all came from India with at least a shadow of suspicion as to their purity of origin. So enthusiastic was Sir J.P. Boucaut’s admiration of the Arabian horse that importation of Arab stallions for grade raising purposes did not by any means satisfy his ambition, and he determined to establish the pure breed in Australia. For this purpose he took the greatest precautions to secure none but animals of the purest race, and his importations were from the world known stud of Mr. Wilfred [sic] Blunt, of Crabbet Park, England [see Lady Anne’s prophetic comments above about EL LAHR’s identification with Crabbet].”
“The Critic” quoted some colorful and fairly imaginative difficulties associated with the importation of purebred Arabians from the desert: of greater interest are his wonderful photo of RAFYK and the circumstantial commentary on the Quambi Springs horses as individuals.
“The handsome Rafyk” was “a beautiful blood-red bay, he stands 14 3/4 hands high, girths 5 ft. 9 in., measures 8 1/2 in. below the knee, 20 in. on forearm, and 21 in. from pin to pin across his loin.” FARAOUN was “dark brown and a different type to Rafyk. His beautiful wither could not be excelled by the best English Thoroughbred. Height 14 3/4 hands, girth 5 ft. 7 in., forearm 19 in., bone below knee 8 in., and 21 in. loin pin to pin. He is a magnificent horse.”
“With him were imported the two handsome mares, Elzaba [sic] and Namusa. The dimensions of the latter are 13 3/4 hands high, 52 in. girth, 14 1/2 in. forearm, 6 1/2 in. below the knee, and 18 in. loin. Both are handsome bays and are now heavy in foal. Great interest is centered around the two matrons, Rose of Jericho and Dahna. The former, a rich blood bay…shows quality combined with substance to a marked degree…Dahna is a beautiful brown…Both are admirable specimens of brood mares. The other noteworthy Australian mares are Sherifa, Keheilet, Labadah and Sadde [sic]. Sherifa is a beautiful molded mare by Rafyk from Dahna. Twice she has been to Mr. Austin’s imported stallions, Maboab [sic], and also to his latest import, Magistrate. The progeny of the latter mating is now a beautiful [mare in] foal to Faraoum [sic]. Owing to the mares being heavy in foal and in a condition more in keeping with good sense than show yard purposes, The Critic refrains for the present from presenting its readers with the photos of the female portion of the stud. When surroundings are calculated to establish and maintain constitution the beneficial course does not show out stock that run all winter with the sleekness of stable-fed animals.”
Another observer, the cattle-dealer A.H. Morris, wrote in a 1904 letter that “the Purebred Arab mares are a nice lot, but Rose of Jericho is quality all over.”
RAFYK in pedigrees
Plainly, “Elzaba” was EL LAHR and “Faraoum,” FARAOUN; no doubt “Sadde” and “Maboab” were the SAADE (Magistrate x Sherifa) and MAHBOUB (imp. India) listed as foundation animals in the Australian stud book. SAADE was bred to her grandsire RAFYK to produce MECCA; she did not leave a female line but MECCA’s son KHAMASIN and grandson ZARAFA made important contributions. KEHEILET was one of ROSE OF JERICHO’s lost daughters, but LABADAH (Mahboub x Sherifa) founded an extensively branched Australian line through her granddaughter DERYABAR, responsible for SENABRA, MINIFER, MUTRIF, TOU-FAIL and ELECTRIMEL, to name just a few branch founders. (Coralie Gordon writes “I am currently doing a story on a mare named DERYABAR, a great-great-granddaughter of Dahna and a very influential Australian mare, for the Australian Arabian Yearbook. The computer printout of her progeny is an inch thick!”)
EL LAHR and NAMUSA from the second importation also bred on with distinction through the nick with RAFYK; AL CASWA (Rafyk x El Lahr) had two fillies by KHAMASIN and both founded most extensively branched lines. This is the family of the classically-named New South Wales Department of Agriculture horses including CALISTO, CALLIOPE, MEDEA, PROMETHEUS and PSYCHE. NAMUSA’s daughters were AYESHA, RABI and SEKH; the first produced the important early sire RAISULI and the other two founded major families to which belong such mares as BARADA II, HAMMAMET, MOTALGA, TARNEY, ATALANTA, YENBO, RUHEYM, YUSUF and TAFILEH, not to mention any of the distinguished sires that might be named here.
SAMPLE PEDIGREE — DERYABAR, a major line foundress of the DAHNA family, typifying Boucaut sources from the Winter Cooke program in Victoria
Rijm: Mahruss II x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Feluka: Mesaoud x Ferida
Rafyk: Azrek x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Sadde: Magistrate x Sherifa by Rafyk
Mesaoud: Aziz x Yemameh by Zobeyni
Fulana: Ibn Nura x Bint Fereyha by Aziz
Sherifa: Rafyk x Dahna
Back to The Critic:
“Sir J.P. Boucaut is justly termed the high priest of the Arabian cult. So far he has been the only one who has made a practical attempt to establish the breed of the Arab horse in Australia. That they are becoming exceedingly valuable to the Australian horse breeders is shown by the fact that in the two years of its existence the Quambi stud has made a name for itself for which it ought to be as justly proud as it is conspicuously famous. In producing the photographs, The Critic has departed from the stiff strained attitude generally depicted in illustrations, and adopted the free, easy, ordinary pose that is always more appreciated by true lovers of the Arab horse [emphasis added]. As a reward for his labors, Sir J.P. Boucaut will have the good wishes of every horse lover and every horse breeder throughout Australia.”
RAFYK had already left England when the question of selling AZREK arose; Lady Anne summarized the state of the AZREK sire line and had a good word for RAFYK’s grey brother who was to be named RASHAM:
“I am sorry to lose Azrek (if we do lose him) before next year, still as Shah will represent him well–having greatly improved and having quite equal style to Azrek–I do not object to selling him now. There are several colts, the Bozra one and the Dinarzade are the best at present and besides them there are the bay Nefisa colt and the Rose of Sharon and Sherifa ones, not to mention the one of last year, Ahmar–so that of Azrek we have Shah, Ahmar, and two first rate of this year besides three others and probably some colts will appear in 1892.”
Still, Lady Anne recorded in her stud book when AZREK went to Cecil Rhodes in Africa.
“it is impossible not to feel a pang of regret at the departure of a horse such as Azrek, whose stock are so satisfactory, while the Stud remains with yet untried sires. There should be a good many worthy sires to represent him, but they are still young, the oldest a two year old.”
In fact the AZREK male line was to vanish from Crabbet and from the breed; AZREK has only four sons (AHMAR, RAFYK, BEN AZREK and NEJRAN) in modern pedigrees and they bred only through daughters.
The absence of a male line of course does not imply the absence of genetic influence, particularly when you note the degree of AZREK linebreeding in some of the foundation Australian pedigrees. RAFYK did have distinguished male representatives, among them the handsome BADAWEEN, whose stud card (again thanks to Coralie Gordon) denotes him
“Grand Champion of the Commonwealth of Australia 1913-4-6-7” and further notes that he was “described by the Hon. Sir Jas. P. Boucaut, K.C.M.G, as ‘one of the best horses I ever bred.‘” BADAWEEN was “a very handsome horse, just in his prime, 14.3 hands, bright golden bay, standing on a magnificent set of legs, with good flat bone of exceptional quality, and is possessed of a massive, well-coupled frame. In movement, he displays his Arabian origin by that well-known carriage of head and tail, so peculiar to the breed, and, in his build, gives abundant evidence of quality, speed and endurance. His temper is all which could be desired; and, whilst he is full of life and activity, is remarkably gentle and docile.”
SAMPLE PEDIGREE–BARADA II, a key mare of the NAMUSA family, illustrating Boucaut influence through the Brown program in New South Wales
Sotamm: *Astraled x Selma by Ahmar
Ridaa: Merzuk x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Rafyk: Azrek x *Rose of Sharon by Hadban
Namusa: Ahmar x Narghileh by Mesaoud
Berk: Seyal x Bukra by Ahmar
Hamasa: Mesaoud x Bint Helwa by Aziz
Faraoun: Mesaoud x Fulana by Ibn Nura
Rabi: Rafyk x Namusa by Ahmar Z
MINARET: unsolved mystery
One might-have-been which I can’t resist noting involves the mystery horse MINARET, a double RAFYK grandson listed in the 1924 Crabbet Stud Catalogue with a photo, 1916 foaling date and pedigree but no breeder or other provenance. Plainly, Lady Wentworth hoped at this transitional period to reintroduce the AZREK male line at Crabbet, but there seems to be no record of what happened to the horse. Coralie Gordon writes in two letters:
“Now, MINARET. We’ve all sat and pondered on this one from time to time. Now, luckily Sir James Boucaut was a prolific writer who produced all kinds of printed matter on his Stud. I am photocopying for you a page from his 1903 Stud Brochure which quotes an unknown buyer of [MINARET’s sire] the stallion Zubier (Rafyk/Rose of Jericho) a full-brother to the well-known Badaween, quoted in The Authentic Arabian as being ‘Champion of Australia.’ I believe this ‘horse-breeder of Northern Australia‘ was probably Mr. A.E. Morrow who returned to Sir James’ Stud in 1908 for the dispersal auction and bought the mares Sherifa, Labadah, Keheilet, Kaaba and Abdul. Abdul (Rafyk/Dahna) was the dam of Minaret, so Minaret was probably bred by Mr. Morrow, if he was indeed bred in 1916. Mr. Morrow appears not to have registered any horses, though I haven’t the time to pursue this at the moment. So how did he get to England, if he did get there? The reports of Sir James’ 1908 Sale give Mr. Morrow’s address as “Wyanda,’ Tolga, New South Wales — but the only Tolga I can find is in Far North Queensland, which is very tropical. This fits with the ‘Northern Australia’ vague address given for the buyer of Zubeir. In the 1924 Crabbet Catalogue, the landscape in the background of the photo is not like anything you’d find in North Queensland. It does look like England, or perhaps something you’d find in Central New South Wales or Victoria. Many early horses were lost because their buyers did not register any progeny in England. In Minaret’s case, there must have been a correspondence between Morrow and Crabbet. He wouldn’t have just suddenly ‘appeared’ in the 1924 Catalogue. I doubt if I’ve helped much, but perhaps I’ve managed to fill in a little of the background.”
“Since I wrote to you I had reason to be looking through my copy of Sir James Boucaut’s book, “The Arab Horse of the Future, published in 1905, and find that it was not Mr. Morrow who purchased Zubeir. At least not originally, anyway. The relevant passage occurs on p. 245 of the book and reads as follows — ‘Mr. Warburton, a horse-breeder in Northern Australia, who purchased Zubeir, writes:
“Will you allow me to congratulate you on being the owner of such a horse as Rafyk? I can only say that words fail me to express my admiration for him. I could have spent hours looking at him. There is not such another horse in Australia; he is perfect in every way.” Again in May 1904: “Zubeir is growing very like Rafyk, and is in good trim. He has not had an ounce of stable feed since he has been up here. He is doing good work, and it would take a big cheque to buy him.”
The more I look at MINARET’s photo the more its background looks like England, if not Crabbet. I wonder whether MINARET was not taken to England more or less incidently by a returning traveler and found by Lady Wentworth–as were Skowronek and *MIRAGE at the same period–but for one reason or another never got registered. Perhaps it was as difficult then as now to figure out who bred him, in the absence of an Australian Arabian stud book.
The little more which is known of the Quambi Stud is summarized in the following quote from Colin Pearson.
“Shortly before his death in 1908, Boucaut sold his entire stud except for two mares. He was then aged 77 and unable to cope any longer with the management. ‘I miss dear old Rafyk very much.’ he wrote to Blunt, ‘he was more kindly in his nature and much more sensible than many Christians.’ Boucaut had not been wholly successful in upgrading local stock with his Arabian blood. ‘You may more satisfactorily preach to a horse box than a farmer.’ he wrote–although some of Rafyk’s get were making people think, ‘or rather I should say, beginning to think.’ Rafyk’s influence on the pure Arabian stock in Australia has been considerable…but it has been somewhat overshadowed by the importance of the Boucaut mares Dahna and Namusa [at least in terms of reading charted descent tables; in fact RAFYK has six offspring in pedigrees while DAHNA has two and NAMUSA three] … Among the buyers at the Quambi sale were the Hon. Samuel Winter Cooke of Murndal, Victoria and Mr. C. Leonard Brown of Gurlargambone, N.S.W. In 1911 Cooke imported from Crabbet the Rijm son Fakreddin [ex Feluka] and two years later Brown bought Berk’s son Harir [ex Hamasa}. Another Crabbet importation of this period was the stallion Rief [Sotamm x Ridaa].”
The Boucaut influence
The Boucaut mares with those three Crabbet sires provided the basis for an active tradition which lasted into the 1920’s and provided one important element of modern Australian breeding. The Tehama Stud of A.J.Macdonald and sons played an important role in maintaining these lines.
The next phase came in 1925 when the 25% Crabbet stallion SHAHZADA (Mootrub x Ruth Kesia by Ben Azrak), with the mares NEJDMIEH DB, her en utero daughter NEJD SHERIFA (48% Crabbet by NURI SHERIF, another BEN AZREK grandson) and the straight Crabbet MIRIAM (Nadir x Ranya by *Nasik), were imported to New South Wales by A. E. Grace. These horses were bred among themselves and blended with the Winter Cooke, Brown and Tehama breeding to produce what came to be known as the Colonial Australian or Crabbet-Colonial Arabians. They will be the subject of a future Australian Record treatment, and then the background will be in place for the story of “The Lady Wentworth of Australia,” the late Mrs. A. D. D. Maclean of the Fenwick Stud in Victoria–this seems the best way to organize the series though in fact her first Crabbet imports had come on the scene a year before the Grace horses. Fenwick breeding pervades the Australian Crabbet tradition, and Fenwick is still active in the hands of the Maclean family. A fourth Australian chapter will summarize the influence of non-Fenwick later imports which were of Crabbet breeding in whole or in major part. ***
Notes from Lady Anne Blunt’s manuscript stud book
Lady Anne Blunt Journals and Correspondence
edited by Archer and Fleming
The Crabbet Arabian Stud its History and Influence
by Archer, Pearson and Covey
The Arab Horse
by Peter Upton Letters and photocopied material from Coralie Gordon
The Arabian Horse in Australian
published by the Arab Horse Society of Australia The Australasian Arabian Horse Stud Book
Descent Table: RAFYK Sources in Pedigrees
It may seem strange conceptually but this charts tail-female descent from RAFYK daughters (names in bold); colts as they appear in the female line are in ALL CAPS
Alcouza (Khamasin) Deryabar(Khamasin)
KHAMASIN (Fakreddin) Zem Zem (Fakreddin)
ZARAFA (Indian Light)
Al Caswa (El Lahr)
WALAD (Raseel) Melika (Ishmael)
DIOMEDES (Prometheus) FEISAL (Sirdar) Aphrodite (Sala) Iris (Sala) Mira (Kataf) Tarfa II (Sirdar) Venus (Sala) Hebe (Sala) THESSALY (Razaz)
Neyussef (Prince Nejd) Tafileh (Yazid) (Rakib) YARAL (Rakib) Yusuf (Rakib)
The chart shows descent from six RAFYK daughters. LABADAH and SAADE are out of SHERIFA; MECCA had a son KHAMASIN and a daughter ZEM ZEM. KUFARA and MECCA II are out of AL CASWA; RAISULI is a son of AYESHA; RABI has one daughter, ZARIF. SEKH has a son ANCHOR and two daughters, SA-ID and SALAAM.
221 Baker Street:“The Arabian Horse In
Motion…An Anthology Of Glimpses”Compiled by Robert J. Cadranellfrom ARABIAN VISIONS Jan ’91used by permission of RJ Cadranell
are some descriptions of the Arab horse in motion written by people
who knew the breed well and who also happened to publish books about
it. These statements were made prior to 1945. The advantage to the
early dates, is that all of the writers were familiar with foundation
stock of Arabian breeding in the English speaking world and can tell
us about those horses. The disadvantage is that some of the statements
are likely to be out of date and might not apply to our modern Arabians.
Additionally, the writers were more or less limited to those Arabians
of which they have personal knowledge, what they say might not reflect
the breed as a whole. Nonetheless, a reader gets the impression of
graceful, agile horses, which one hopes Arabians will always be.
Arabian in his purity is a horse… with elastic and graceful movement.” (1)
other breed has such harmony of motion, giving the rider a delightful
sense of riding over the ground on wings and springs.” (11)
natural Kehilan gallops easily and trots with the freest shoulder
and hock action. Knee action, however, is not a characteristic of
the breed nor should it be sought for.” (8)
(W.S.Blunt quoted, page 225)
action, the Arabian gives the impression of daintiness in the handling
of his feet, — a certain dwelling of the feet just before being
placed on the ground, with a light and airy tread,” (7)
the walk, the powerful hindquarters come prominently into play, sending
this small horse along at a great pace, far beyond expectation, the
hind foot often overstepping the fore foot from two to three feet,
and giving him a speed of close to five miles an hour. It is considered
a point of breeding among the Arabs that a horse should look about
him to right and left as he walks… ” (7)
(page 78). ”…Queen
of Shea made a sudden rush, tail curved over back and neck arched,
snorting proudly.” (9) (page
shoulder… should have… the freest possible action, and there
is no better test of quality than to turn a colt loose in a paddock
and take note of how he moves his shoulders and forearms. There should
be little high knee-action, but the whole limb should be thrown forward
and the hoof ‘dwell’ a second in the air before it is put down. This,
with corresponding action behind, like that of a deer trotting through
fern, is most important in a sire and a great test of quality.” (5)
(W.S.Blunt quoted, page 221).
action was beautiful in the extreme; she had a long sweeping stride,
and great reach; her movements were most springy and elastic, and
full of force, power, and energy.” (4)
action should be from the shoulder and not from the knee, and he
should bend his hocks like a deer.” (5)
(WSBlunt quoted, page 226).
the men rode up four or five at a time in line, and it was a pleasant
sight to watch their mares coming towards us, with their long striding
walk and the slightly swinging motion of their hindquarters and tails,
their graceful necks bent as they turned their heads to look from
side to side, their riders sitting easily on them, swinging in their
hand the end of the halter rope, until, as not infrequently happened,
one mare would make a snatch at her neighbour’s neck or shoulder,
causing the other to spring to one side from the aggressor, when
the men would rate them with a peculiar sound, which ‘Yach–k!’ might
express to some extent, but indifferently; and we were constantly
reminded of the Arab description, that mares resemble well-formed
and beautiful women, distinguished by their swinging walk, and looking
from side to side at objects as they pass.” (4)
[mounted] on Siwa who goes up and down hill with catlike agility.” (9)
Barb is held to have more knee action than the pure Arabian, who
has shoulder action. The Arabian gait is pendulous, forward and ahead,
and he dwells without much bending or lifting of the knee.” (7)
(page 121). ”Trotting
is discouraged by the Bedouin colt-breakers, who, riding on an almost
impossible pad, and without stirrups, find that pace inconvenient;
but with a little patience the deficiency can be remedied, and good
shoulder action given. No purebred Arabian, however, is a high stepper.” (5)
action should be smart and free and darting from the shoulders, the
forefeet dwelling a moment before touching the ground with a semi-floating
dancing movement, which suggests treading on air and springs and
recalls a deer trotting in fern. The hock action powerful, and the
hocks well lifted and brought forwards with a swinging stride…
The knee action is rather higher perhaps than that of the Thoroughbred,
but it is the shoulder action which matters.” (2)
the strange mare that we might be able to see her properly. One glance
was enough, her going was heavy, as Mutlak said adding ‘but galloping
is of the Arab horses,’ as saying she was not of them.” (9)
Arab… is an easy horse to sit on. His gaits are so smooth and elastic
one does not grow fatigued. This, no doubt, is accounted for by the
fact that he does not lift his feet high or pound the ground. He
is a good walking horse and has a nice trot, at which he merely lifts
his feet high enough to clear the ground, and his canter, or gallop,
is low, but smooth and graceful.
trot is smooth and easy to sit, as are all his gaits, but he is not
a fast trotting horse, nor a high stepper” (6)
to the action of the Arabian, it is very well described by the writer
of an able article who signed himself ‘Picador.’ ‘Sit easily and
flexibly on him, put your hands down, and set him going, and then
you will experience a sensation delightful to the man who really
can ride; he will bound along with you with a stride and movement
that gives you the idea of riding over India-rubber.” (10)
Abbreviations refer to the following works:
1) Arab Horse, by Homer Davenport. (Article
appeared in the Cyclopedia of American Agriculture).
2) The Authentic Arabian Horse, by Lady Wentworth.
3) The Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates, by
4) Gleanings from the Desert of Arabia, by
5) Greely, Arabian Exodus, 2nd ed.
6) The Arabian Horse, by Albert Harris. (Reprinted
in volume V of The Arabian Stud Book).
7) The Horse of the Desert, by W.R.Brown,
8) The Crabbet Arabian Stud, Its History and Influence,
by Archer, Pearson, and Covey
9) Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence,
edited by Archer and Fleming.
Copyright 1997 by R.J. CADRANELL
from Arabian Visions Sept/Oct 1997
Used by permission of RJ Cadranell
221b Baker Street: “We met next day and inspected the rooms at 221b Baker Street and at once entered into possession.” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet
Fifteen or more years ago I acquired a reprint of the 1917 catalog of England’s Crabbet Arabian Stud. The catalog for the 1917 season gives details of the Crabbet Stud as it was at the end of 1916. It lists all of the broodmares, stallions, and young stock — 81 horses in all.
Back in 1906, the Crabbet Stud’s founders, Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt, had separated. They divided the stud, after which Wilfrid Blunt managed his “Newbuildings Half” apart from Lady Anne’s “Crabbet Half.”
The 1917 catalog seemed to list both halves of the stud. But I noticed a glaring omission: where was Rustem? Lady Anne Lytton remembered Rustem as “a very favorite stallion” of her grandfather Wilfrid Blunt, and Rustem had been one of the Crabbet Arabian Stud’s chief sires from the time he was three.
Then I noticed another gap: where was Abla? Rosemary Archer had written in The Crabbet Arabian Stud, Its History and Influence: “Abla became Wilfrid Blunt’s favorite riding mare.” The catalog included Abla’s 1915 filly Arusa, but Abla herself was absent.
A pattern was emerging: both missing animals were favorites of Wilfrid Blunt’s. But all the rest of the Newbuildings horses–among them Ibn Yashmak and *Nureddin II–seemed to be included.
Years later I had a chance to study additional Crabbet Stud catalogs from the Partition years. The available catalogs–for 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1914, 1915, and 1916–list just the horses in Lady Anne’s Crabbet Half. There is also a 1913 catalog, with a slightly modified format, listing just the Newbuildings Half. Comparing these to the 1917 catalog indicates that the two halves were united during 1916, with Wilfrid Blunt retaining his two favorites, Rustem and Abla.
But a reunited Crabbet Stud ran counter to what I had always understood of its history. Hadn’t Wilfrid and Lady Anne failed to reach an agreement on the future of the stud when they met in 1915? Didn’t Blunt manage his portion separately right until Lady Anne died at the end of 1917? Didn’t the existence of two halves at the time of Lady Anne’s death fuel the lawsuit fought between Blunt and his daughter Judith (Lady Wentworth) over the ownership of the horses? I decided to scan Rosemary Archer’s book again, looking for clues, and found the following passage:
On October 13th , Lady Anne signed the “new stud agreement which makes me sole owner” of the Crabbet Arabian Stud. Blunt, however, refused to sign it, alleging that it contained a “dangerous” clause… He nevertheless appears to have acquiesced in the new arrangement; five months later, in March, 1916, he and Caffin [agent for both the Crabbet and Newbuildings estates] were planning the removal to Crookhorn [a farm Blunt owned near Newbuildings] of what remained of the Newbuildings section of the Stud, on the following Saturday “which is Lady Day when my separate ownership of it comes to a final end” (p. 150).
Later in 1916 when Lady Anne prepared the Crabbet Stud catalog for the 1917 season, she added 23 Newbuildings horses (see sidebar) to what she had owned the year before. This bolsters Lady Wentworth’s claim in her Authentic Arabian Horse that “in 1915 the whole remaining stock was repurchased by, or made over to, Crabbet Park.”
These horses afford a look at a decade of selection by Wilfrid Blunt, apart from Lady Anne. Even though each party had the right to use the other’s stallions without fee, these horses show a high concentration of the Newbuildings sires: Rijm and *Astraled from the years immediately after the Partition; Ibn Yashmak and Rustem later on. The stallions Lady Anne used during the Partition — in particular Daoud and *Berk — are scarcely represented at all.
Many bloodlines were duplicated, of course: Newbuildings had *Nureddin II and Nessima, while the Crabbet Half had their full brother *Nasik. Crabbet had Feysul, and Newbuildings had his son Ibn Yashmak. Crabbet had Rustem’s full sisters Rim and Riyala. Newbuildings had Selima, while Crabbet had her full brother Sotamm.
Other bloodlines were unique to one half or the other. Lady Anne had lost the Queen of Sheba family in tail-female, for example. Newbuildings also had the stud’s only remaining descendants of the imported mares Ferida and Meshura. And Lady Anne had bloodlines Wilfrid lacked, for example the lines from Basilisk, Bint Helwa, and Rosemary.
Anyone could be proud of the record of several of the Newbuildings-bred horses Wilfrid Blunt turned over to Lady Anne in 1916. *Nureddin II became an influential sire under Lady Wentworth’s ownership of the stud. *Ferda left a daughter in England, then was sold to California’s Kellogg Ranch in 1926, where she was arguably that program’s single most important foundation mare. *Nafia and *Felestin were imported to the U.S. in 1918, where they left descent. Fejr, Nessima, and Selima became broodmares for Lady Wentworth. Fejr’s sons became important in England, but she also had a daughter sent to Poland, where she produced *Sulejman. Selima had foals exported to Russia (Star of the Hills), Poland (Sardhana), and the U.S. (*Selmian) — all became influential.
The Newbuildings Half
Horses from Wilfrid Blunt appearing in the 1917 Crabbet catalog
stallions & colts
mares & fillies
foals of 1916
Lady Anne Lytton quoted in Mary Jane Parkingon’s The Kellogg Arabian Ranch, the First Fifty Years, p. 67.↩
221b Baker Street: Lady Wentworth in the London Times
Copyright 1993 by R.J.CADRANELL from Arabian Visions Mar/Apr 1993 Used by permission of RJ Cadranell
Founded in 1878 by Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt, from 1920 to 1957 the Crabbet Arabian Stud was under the firm hand of their daughter Judith Blunt-Lytton, also known as Lady Wentworth. Lady Wentworth added the stallion Skowronek to the stud, picked and chose from among the “Blunt mares,” bought back horses her parents had sold, sold some they had kept, and set about breeding Arabian horses to suit her own ideals and tastes. The Depression and Second World War put a crimp on her breeding activities, but after 1945 she expanded her program and Crabbet was going full blast when Lady Wentworth died in August of 1957. She left behind a herd of about 75 head.
Lady Wentworth continued her parents’ practice of selling horses all over the world. All of today’s major breed subdivisions benefited from Crabbet breeding. In 1936 Lady Wentworth sold a large draft to Russia’s Tersk Stud, including the key animals Naseem, Rissalma, and Rixalina. Her sale to Egypt in 1920 included the stallions Kasmeyn, Sotamm, and Hamran as well as the mares Bint Riyala and Bint Rissala. Five Skowronek daughters were among the horses she sold to Spain’s Duke of Veragua, and of these Reyna founded a particularly strong dam line. To Poland she sold the stallion Rasim and the mare Sardhana; in more recent decades horses from Tersk have brought additional Crabbet lines to the Polish state studs. To America she sent such key breeding animals as *Serafix, *Raffles, *Raseyn, *Rissletta, *Nasik, and *Ferda.
Lady Wentworth’s obituary in the London Times ran on August 10, 1957. The headline read “Lady Wentworth, Breeder of Arab Horses” and a surprising amount of the text was devoted to the Crabbet Arabians:
Baroness Wentworth died in hospital at Crawley, Sussex, on Thursday night at the age of 84.
As a leading breeder of Arab horses and as a writer of books on breeding, Lady Wentworth carried on the tradition of the Crabbet stud which had been built up by her father and mother. In her independence of mind, her eccentricities, her artistic pursuits, and her stormy domestic relations she reflected her ancestry — both her father, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, the traveler and poet, and her maternal great-grandfather, Lord Byron.
Judith Anne Dorothea Blunt-Lytton, Baroness Wentworth, as sixteenth holder of the peerage, was the only daughter of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt and Lady Anne King-Noel, who as a child of the Earl of Lovelace was a granddaughter of Lord Byron, the poet. In youth she was a society beauty and her appearance made a strong impression on Burne-Jones, for some of whose last studies she sat. “She gives me the impression,” he said, “of perfect beauty combined with the speed and lightness of foot of some wild creature.” The second part of this tribute was not merely fanciful, for Lady Wentworth was a fine athlete. She became a champion royal tennis player, a game that is not generally regarded as suitable for women, and she built her own court at Crabbet. She was also a good squash player and went on playing the game until late in life.
In 1899 she married Neville Stephen Lytton, son of the second [actually first] Earl of Lytton. The marriage took place in Cairo. The bride was given away by Lord Cromer, the Resident, who to the Queen’s inquiry about the ceremony sent the laconic reply, “Marriage duly performed.” She later became estranged first from her father with whom she had differences of opinion about the management of the Crabbet estates, and afterwards from her husband, from whom she was divorced in 1923. Her mother succeeded to the Barony of Wentworth a few months before her death in 1917, when it devolved by special remainder on Judith Blunt-Lytton. The new Lady Wentworth lived for the rest of her life at Crabbet Park in the grounds of which her father was buried.
She inherited from her parents the love of the desert and of the horse of the desert, the Arabian, and the “feeling for the desert” never left her. After her mother’s death she took over the Crabbet stud which the unfortunate quarrels of her parents had allowed to reach a very low level, and gradually built it up to the dominating position which undoubtedly it holds to-day. There is hardly a stud in this country or abroad which does not owe its existence to one or other of the Crabbet stock. As a breeder she probably had few equals; she combined a voluminous knowledge of pedigree with a keen eye for a horse and with the means to breed on a big scale, and she had a certain flair or instinct which transcends scientific calculations. She was also a competent horse trainer and brought the business of preparing horses for the show ring to a fine art. The foundation of the modern Crabbet stud was undoubtedly the almost legendary Skowronek, a pure bred Arab foaled in Poland, whose sire was hanged in the market place by the revolutionaries of 1917; he was saved from a like fate by being bought for Mr. Walter Winans just before the First World War, after which Lady Wentworth acquired him. From this foundation has flowed the long line of champion Arab sires and mares which have dominated the show ring for many years in almost every country of the world.
A character as strong as Lady Wentworth’s could hardly keep out of controversy; indeed, like the Biblical warhorse which she loved so much, she probably “smelled the battle from afar” and she was a doughty opponent. Just after the war she became involved in a violent controversy within the Arab Horse Society over the height and size of Arab horses in England. After much acrimony she won her point that there should be no limiting the size of the Arab horses in English shows.
At Crabbet she used also to breed dogs and her toy spaniels won innumerable championships. In later years she gave an increasing share of her time to her painting and her poetry. Among her books are two major works: Thoroughbred Racing Stock and its Ancestors (1938), and The Authentic Arabian Horse and His Descendants (1945).
She is survived by her son, the fourth Earl of Lytton, to whom the [Wentworth] title descends, and by her two daughters.
A Requiem Mass was celebrated on August 14 at the Franciscan Friary in Crawley. The burial took place afterwards. According to the London Times of August 15, among those present were:
The Earl and Countess of Lytton (son and daughter-in-law), Lady Anne Lytton and Lady Winifrid Tryon (daughters), Viscount Knebworth, the Hon. Roland Lytton and Lady Caroline Lytton (grandchildren).
The Hon. Mrs. R.E.L. Vaughan-Williams, Colonel Sir Henry Abel Smith, Mr. Gordon Blunt, Mr. Ronald Armstrong-Jones, Q.C., Mr. K.W. Cumming (president) and Colonel D.R. Hewitt (representing Arab Horse Society), Mr. Geoffrey Cross (representing Royal Windsor Horse Show Club), Miss C. Draper (librarian St. Anne’s College, Oxford), Mrs. H.V. Musgrave Clark, Mr. Nigel Napier, Mr. R.W.F. Staveacre, Mrs M. Odell, Mr. R.S. Summerhays (representing National Pony Society), Dr. R.A. Matthews, Mr. and Mrs Cecil Covey, Mr. Gladstone Moore.
Lady May Abel Smith and Sir John and Lady Blunt were among those unable to attend.
Wilfrid Blunt was buried in the woods behind his house Newbuildings Place, about sixteen miles away from Crabbet.↩
In a February, 1958 Arabian Horse News article, Count Joseph Potocki presented a different account of Skowronek’s sire Ibrahim: “Some communist soldiers led him out of his box stall during the Revolution as other horses were being taken. Whereupon, that generally quiet and kindly horse began to react violently and would not be taken away. The troopers, in their irritation, killed him on the spot with their swords. The incident is described in a well known book ‘Pozoga’ by Zofia Kossak Szcyucka, who was there at the time.”↩
Copyright 1990 by R.J. CADRANELL from Arabian Visions March 1990
Used by permission of RJ Cadranell
Judith Blunt was five years old when the first Arabians arrived at Crabbet Park in 1878. By the time she died in 1957, she had spent 79 years with the breed, and the Crabbet Stud had owned or bred more than a thousand horses. Her position was unique. Modern Arabian horse breeding in the English-speaking world dates from 1874. Lady Wentworth was a part of it, originally as an observer and later as a dominant force, almost from the beginning. Many Americans became involved with the Arabian horse during the 1940s and 1950s, when the breed was moving out of the realm of rare breeds and into the equestrian mainstream. These people owned and bred their horses in Lady Wentworth’s shadow. This titled aristocrat had been involved with the breeding of Arabian horses longer than most of them had been alive. She had bred some of the most cherished ancestors in the pedigrees of their horses: *Raffles, *Raseyn, and *Rissletta (dam of Abu Farwa). She lived on a fabled estate almost none of them had ever seen. Her death brought with it the awe and dismay which accompanies the demise of hallowed institutions expected to last forever.
Lady Wentworth kept her distance, secluding herself at Crabbet. Her many books loudly praise Crabbet horses and inadvertently give us glimpses of her eccentric personality, but it is impossible to look at her or her breeding program through them alone. Other sources aid our understanding of this key figure.
Lady Anne Blunt’s published Journals and Correspondence indicate that Judith’s interest in the stud was never desultory. Nonetheless, Lady Anne Blunt often expressed disappointment at her daughter’s apparent lack of interest in continuing the stud when she herself would be gone. After Lady Anne Blunt died and Judith inherited from her the title of Lady Wentworth, there was no doubt about her desire to control the Crabbet Stud
Lady Anne Blunt died at the end of 1917. Beginning in 1918, Wilfrid Blunt had been removing horses by night from the Crabbet stables and stockpiling them at his estate at Newbuildings. Lady Wentworth learned to lock her paddock gates. During the ensuing lawsuit, perhaps in anticipation of the court coming down on her father’s side, Lady Wentworth began gathering scattered Crabbet animals. She repurchased the stallion Nadir from George Ruxton. She also repurchased the mares Jask, Amida, and Kibla. Her son-in-law lent her Rish. She and her children forcibly removed the mare Riyala, a special favorite of Lady Wentworth’s, from her father’s stables. With these she had the makings of her own Crabbet program to rival her father’s at Newbuildings.
Lady Wentworth was 47 years old when the courts settled the lawsuit in her favor on March 5, 1920. The first Arabians returned from Newbuildings on April 16. In the interim, Lady Wentworth had acquired a grey stallion named Skowronek. Skowronek was one of very few Arabians with no Crabbet ancestors which Lady Wentworth used for breeding, and the only one to become a part of her long-term program. He had been bred in Poland at Count Potocki’s Antoniny Stud. The Blunts had admired many of the Potocki mares during their visits to Antoniny, but their writings indicate they did not consider Antoniny a viable source of Crabbet foundation stock. The disputed Riyala was one of the first mares Lady Wentworth bred to Skowronek. She named the foal Revenge, and proceeded to weave Skowronek into the Crabbet tapestry.
When the horses returned to Crabbet, Lady Wentworth found herself the owner of between 80 and 90 Arabians. Many of these were excess colts and breeding stallions. She was able to reduce the herd by selling nearly 20 to Egypt’s Royal Agricultural Society. During the lawsuit, she had complained about her father turning horses into cash. Now that she was able to choose which horses would go and which stay home, sales were known as reducing the herd to a manageable size.
The period from 1920 to 1930 was a time of great experimentation at Crabbet. The genetic base was broad, and Lady Wentworth broadened it further with Skowronek blood and by continuing to reacquire Crabbet horses her parents had sold into other hands. The mare band was in full production, with nearly every mare covered every year. Lady Wentworth bred mares to a variety of sires, giving them a chance to show what they could produce by each. Lady Wentworth conducted a number of experiments in inbreeding. Rasim, *Nureddin II, and Skowronek all had the chance to sire foals out of their own daughters. Rasim was also bred to his dam, Risala. The most famous result of these consanguineous matings was *Raffles, a favorite of many American breeders from the late 1930s to the present. Among the horses Lady Wentworth returned to Crabbet during the 1920s were *Nureddin II, *Battla, Astola, Jawi-Jawi, Fejr, Nessima, Riz, and Rythma. She also bought the all Crabbet Savile-bred mare Julnar. In doing this, she was able to revive lines which had died out at Crabbet itself, in particular the Basilisk and Johara families. Halima briefly returned the Bint Helwa line. With Fejr to represent the Ferida family, Lady Wentworth was able to let the bay *Ferda go to the Kellogg Ranch in 1920.
Many of the horses Lady Wentworth bred during the 1920s travelled the globe and ended up changing the course of world Arabian breeding, whether in Australia, the United States, Poland, Brazil, Egypt, Russia, or Spain. Of those which stayed home for a time, among the most important to Crabbet’s future turned out to be Shareer, Naseem, Razina, Silver Fire, Rissam, Raseem, Ferhan, and Astrella.
Crabbet’s breeding peak under Lady Wentworth was in 1929, when nearly 30 broodmares were covered for 1930 foals. By 1931, the Depression had caught up with Crabbet. Lady Wentworth cut production by a third. The 1932 foal crop of eight was the smallest Wentworth crop yet. In 1933 only two foals were born. Although foal production expanded slightly in 1934 and 1935, Crabbet was overstocked and in financial trouble. A discouraged Lady Wentworth contemplated giving up the Crabbet Stud.
In 1936, however, a major reduction took place. Lady Wentworth sold 25 horses to Russia’s Tersk Stud, three to America’s Kellogg Ranch, and other horses went singly in 1936 or ’37 to new owners in Australia, Portugal, Brazil, Holland, and England. With numbers reduced and the genetic base narrowed, foal production at Crabbet continued on a limited basis as the Depression era abruptly ended and the war years began.
During the war Lady Wentworth’s aunt, Mary Lovelace, died and left her a large fortune. It marked the end of the financial problems which had hampered Lady Wentworth’s management of the Crabbet Stud from the beginning. In 1926 Lady Wentworth’s son, Anthony Lytton Milbanke, later the fourth Earl of Lytton, visited W.K. Kellogg. Kellogg had, earlier that year, bought a number of horses from Lady Wentworth. In a memo dated July 27, 1926, Kellogg recorded that “Mr. Milbanke stated that the propagating of horses by his mother had not proven profitable; he mentioned that this year had been an exception, and was the most profitable year that they had ever had.” This apparently refers to the more than $80,000 Kellogg had paid Lady Wentworth for his horses.
When the war ended, Lady Wentworth had been learning about Arabian breeding for 68 years. Despite the smaller numbers born during the Depression and war years, the breeding program had continued to advance. Of the horses born at Crabbet during the Depression, the most important to its future were Sharima, Indian Gold, Indian Crown, and Sharfina. If Lady Wentworth had spent the 1920s finding the way she wanted to go, then the 1930s saw the birth of the horses she needed to get there. During the war these elements began to come together in horses like Grey Royal, Silver Gilt, Indian Magic, Silfina, and *Serafina. By the spring of 1946, nothing stood in the way. Lady Wentworth was free to apply her knowledge to the production of horses which matched her ideals. Although foal production had increased toward the end of the war, the 1947 crop was the first to evidence the expanding breeding program. Ten foals was a large crop during the years between 1936 and 1946. After the war, Lady Wentworth’s foal crops again reached toward the mark of 20.
Post-war breeding at Crabbet produced its own distinctive stamp of Crabbet Arabian. Since 1920 Lady Wentworth had been culling the herd and selecting for the characteristics she most admired. The breeding she did in her later years stressed a few key animals, namely Raktha, Oran, Sharima, Silver Fire, Indian Gold, and Nisreen. Raktha and Oran were bred at Lady Yule’s Hanstead Stud from straight Crabbet bloodlines; Lady Wentworth bought them as youngsters. It is difficult to imagine post-war Crabbet without these two stallions. Writers often comment on Lady Wentworth’s knack for recognizing the potential of immature stock. Part of this was no doubt because she had spent her entire life watching animals of Crabbet breeding go from birth to old age. No one else was similarly qualified to predict how a young Crabbet Arabian would look at maturity. After the war, Lady Wentworth also added to her mare band from English studs using Crabbet lines. Included were Indian Flower and *Silver Crystal.
The movie footage of Lady Wentworth’s parades (what we in America might think of as “open houses”) of 1952 and 1953 document what she had achieved. With a remarkable degree of consistency, the films show us tall Arabians with upright carriage and lofty bearing. They are regal, magnetic animals with tremendous presence and arched necks. They seem to move well. Faults showing up in the herd with some frequency are long backs and a tendency to stand high behind. When Lady Wentworth died in August of 1957, she owned about 75 of these “Modern Crabbet” Arabians. To American breeders, the best known examples of Modern Crabbet horses are probably *Serafix, *Silver Vanity, and *Silver Drift. As impressive as these horses were, they replaced the wider variety of Arabian types which had graced Crabbet in earlier days.
With a few exceptions, Lady Wentworth stayed within the parameters of the Crabbet herd as her parents had defined it. The first and most lasting exception was Skowronek. By the time Lady Wentworth died, very few of her horses had pedigrees without Skowronek in them. In 1928 Lady Wentworth began using the stallion Jeruan, whose pedigree traced to the non-Crabbet desert-bred horses El Emir and Maidan. Lady Wentworth used none of his foals for breeding, but Roger Selby imported Jeruan’s daughter *Rishafieh to America, where she had a successful breeding career. In 1930 Lady Wentworth bred a number of mares to the Thoroughbred stallion Mighty Power, an experiment in Anglo-Arab breeding which apparently did not last at Crabbet. In 1946 Lady Wentworth purchased a remarkable yearling colt named Dargee. A sensationally successful show horse, Dargee traced to several non-Crabbet imported lines, namely those of Dwarka, Mootrub, El Emir, Ishtar, and Kesia II. Dargee was a successful cross on the Crabbet mares and Lady Wentworth did use his offspring Royal Crystal, Sirella, and Indian Peril for breeding, but that is the furthest extent to which she had incorporated him at the time of her death.
Many breeders of Arabian horses have suspected that certain coat colors are usually found in conjunction with recognizable types. Since there is no way to quantify a horse’s “look” in the scientific sense, the science of genetics is not yet able to tell whether this is so. Coat color was important to Lady Wentworth’s breeding program. She exhibited a preference for grey horses all her life. Her first recorded favorite in her mother’s Journals was the grey mare Basilisk, apparently the first Arabian she ever rode. Judith Blunt was six at the time.
The Blunts seem to have selected against grey to a certain extent. Greys were harder to sell to military remounts and government studs, a significant portion of the Blunts’ customer base. This was due to greys being easier targets on the battlefield, as well as grey hair being more obvious on dark uniforms. For the most part, it is only generals who are depicted on white horses. The last of the three grey sires the Blunts used was Seyal, sold to India in 1904. With the exception of a non-productive breeding to Rosemary, the GSB records that the Blunts restricted Seyal to grey mares. Mrs. Archer states that Judith was anxious for her mother to find another grey stallion for the stud, but that she was unsuccessful in her search (History and Influence, page 146.) During the lawsuit, Lady Wentworth claimed that her mother had intended for her to have every grey mare in the stud.
Reconstructed lists of the Crabbet herd at the time immediately after the settling of the lawsuit indicate that slightly more than half of the horses were bay or brown, a third were chestnut, and the remaining 15% were grey. The figures concur with Lady Anne Lytton’s recollection of the period, recorded in her article “Memories of the Crabbet Stud,” from the August, 1963 Arabian Horse Journal: “…bays were more common than chestnuts…[but] when Lady Wentworth took over the Stud I think she found that the quality among the chestnuts was much higher, with a few notable exceptions. At the time of her death there was not a bay left at Crabbet. She was not very fond of bays…” *Nizzam was one of the last bays foaled at Crabbet.
To speak today of an Arabian of “Crabbet Type” is a misleading oversimplification. Among Lady Wentworth’s horses, *Raffles and Grand Royal come to mind as two vastly different extremes. The Blunts owned animals as different from one another as Rijm and Sobha. Today, finding an Arabian of pure Crabbet pedigree is as difficult as finding one with no Crabbet blood at all. In a 1% sampling of 80 pedigrees from vol. XL (1982) of our stud book, the writer found that every one had Crabbet ancestry, including those in the pure Polish and straight Spanish categories. In spite of the present dilution of Crabbet blood, and in spite of the variety of horses Crabbet owned, certain ancestors reappear again and again in their descendants. Once familiar with them, it is possible to recognize the influences of Rodania, Mesaoud, Skowronek, Sharima, Feluka, and the rest of the pantheon of Crabbet luminaries.
Index to English-Bred Arabians Named Above
1913 cm Ibn Yashmak/Ajramieh
1910 bm Rijm/Asfura
1929 cm Raseem/Amida
1915 gm Razaz/Bukra
1945 cs Manasseh/Myola
G. H. Ruxton
1899 cm Mesaoud/Ferida
1913 bm Rustem/Feluka
1925 cs *Raswan/Fejr
1911 cm Rijm/Feluka
1947 cs Oran/Sharima
1942 gm Raktha/Sharima
1916 bm Razaz/Hamasa
1935 cm Raseem/Nisreen
1939 cm Irex/Nisreen
Miss I. Bell
1934 cs Ferhan/Nisreen
1945 gs Raktha/Indian Crown
1952 cm Dargee/Indian Pearl
1910 gm *Berk/Jellabieh
1912 cm Rijm/Jiwa
1920 cs Nureddin II/Rose of Persia
1911 cm *Abu Zeyd/Kabila
1900 gm Mesaoud/Makbula
1901 bs Mesaoud/Nefisa
1922 gs Skowronek/Nasra
1909 bm Rijm/Narghileh
1919 bm *Nureddin II/Nasra
1943 bs Rissam/Nezma
1911 cs Rijm/Narghileh
1940 cs Riffal/Astrella
1926 gs Skowronek/*Rifala
1934 gs Naseem/Razina
1922 cs Rasim/Riyala
1923 gs Skowronek/Rayya
1906 cs Feysul/Risala
1922 cm Rasim/Riyala
1921 gs Skowronek/Riyala
1901 cs Mahruss/*Rose of Sharon
1900 cm Mesaoud/Ridaa
1903 bm Nejran/Rabla
1930 cm Jeruan/Rishafa
1928 cs Naseem/Rim
1930 cm Naseem/Risslina
1905 cm *Astraled/Ridaa
1916 bm Razaz/*Rijma
1886 bm Jeroboam/Rodania
1952 gs Dargee/Grey Royal
1914 bm *Berk/Risala
1945 cm Indian Gold/Sharfina
1949 cs Raktha/*Serafina
1897 gs Mesaoud/Sobha
1923 bs *Nureddin II/Selima
1937 cm Rytham/Sharima
1932 cm Shareer/Nashisha
1944 cm Indian Gold/Sharfina
1937 gm Rangoon/Somara
1951 gs Raktha/*Serafina
1926 gm Naseem/Somra
1943 gm Indian Gold/Silver Fire
1950 gs Oran/Silver Gilt
1953 cm Dargee/Shalina
Arab Horse Society, The. The Arab Horse Stud Book 7 vols. England, 1919-52.
Archer, Rosemary, Colin Pearson, and Cecil Covey. The Crabbet Arabian Stud. Gloucestershire, 1978.
Archer, Rosemary, and James Fleming, editors. Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence. Gloucestershire, 1986.
Blunt, Wilfrid S. My diaries. 2 vols. New York, 1922.
Kellogg Ranch Papers, The. Collection held by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California.
London Times, February 20 & 21, 1920.
Parkinson, Mary Jane, The Kellogg Arabian Ranch. 1977.
Weatherby & Sons. The General Stud Book, vols. 13-35, London, 1877-1965.
Wentworth, Lady. The Authentic Arabian Horse. 3rd., 1979.
Thinking VisuallyAn Interview with Johnny JohnstonCopyright 1992 by R.J.CADRANELLfrom Arabian Visions October 1992Used by permission of RJCadranell
of the first and best of the Arabian horse photographers is Johnny
Johnston. Since the 1960s, his name has appeared on photographs
of everything from beloved family companions to the giants of
the breed, including *Bask and *Serafix. We caught up with Johnny
this summer at a ranch shoot and were able to talk when he was “in
Arabian Visions: How did you become
interested in photography?
Johnston: I became interested in
photography when I was maybe nine or ten years old. I had always
been an artist and did a lot of sketching when I was very young.
In the first grade my teacher had me drawing things. I’ll never
forget when she had me go out and look at turkeys and draw the
Thanksgiving turkey. Then when I was in second and third grade
I’d draw sketches of the other kids: just rough sketches of their
faces and so on, for two cents a piece.
I found out about photography. Big revelation. I found out it was
a whole lot easier to take pictures, and sell the pictures, than
it was to sketch the little rascals. My first camera was a Falcon.
It was a cute little camera, and it cost me a lot of money: $6.95!
I started taking pictures and doing contact sheets and selling
them. Through high school I was interested in sports, particularly
boxing. Photography fell by the wayside until I got in the service
and bought an Argus C-3. Some of you people who go back a few years
will remember the little Argus C-3 35mm. That wasn’t a bad camera. One
of the ways I made money as a youngster was as a Saddlebred hot
walker. They had several of us children 11 or 12 years old who
liked horses. We started cleaning stalls and when they found out
we got along with the horses they’d let us hot walk Saddlebreds.
I made 25 cents an hour. So I had the horse interest and the photography
interest. As a child I always dreamed about owning a black stallion.
Sometimes it was a white stallion, because I saw the Lone Ranger,
but it was always a stallion. And black was my color. I was about
six years old.
interest in horses was there from fooling with those big, powerful
Saddlebreds — to an 11-year-old, that’s a lot of horrse. They
were gentle giants. They were never ornery, at least the ones I
had. They weren’t treated quite as rough as they are today. We
didn’t have any problems with them. We’d clean them up and walk
them down and cool them out and take the saddles off. Finally they
put me up on top of a few of them and I decided right then I wasn’t
going to be much of a rider because of the way I’m built.
first time I actually took a horse picture to sell, I was in my
early 20s. I was in the Air Force, and every time I would go to
a different base, I would look up every ranch I could find in a
fifty mile radius. I’d go out there and I’d clean the stalls or
mend fence so they’d let me ride. Some people have a natural affinity
for horses, and when you do, it’s a never ending love. You just
can’t help it. You just want to be around horses. When I was in
the Air Force, every spare minute I’d be around horses. I started
photographing them, just because I liked them. By then I’d learned
how to develop my own film and did a lot of enlarging. I would
take pictures and trade pictures if they’d let me ride the horse.
That was a lot easier than cleaning stalls.
first professional pictures, if you look at it like that, were
in my very early 20s. I actually started selling them, because
apparently I began to get some sort of a knack. People I wasn’t
working for would come out and say, “Why don’t you take one for
me? What will you charge me?” I think I charged $5 a print. So
I started photographing professionally about age 25 or 26. I got
out of the service in 1963 and immediately started photographing
horses for a living. I was a B-52 navigator and every time I landed
a B-52, I had two or three people wanting me to come photograph
their horses. It seemed like a way I could do what I wanted to
do with both photography and horses.Were there any photographers who influenced your early work?
were no photographers who influenced my early work because there
were no standard Arabian horse pictures back then. When I became
a full fledged B-52 navigator I bought myself an Arabian stallion
called Robu, by Royal Son (who was bred by Frank McCoy) out of
the mare Labu, who was an Abu Farwa daughter. A fellow named Bruce
Clark helped me pick him out.
friends with Bobbi Gassert, whose husband flew tankers. She had
maybe eight or ten El Nattall bred horses. El Nattall was at one
time a very famous ranch in southern California, owned by one of
the finest people in the Arabian breed, Marietta Whitcomb. And
Marietta spent hours teaching me Arab pedigrees.
Bobbi’s I got some drafting paper. I would draw pictures of what
I thought, if I saw the image, would make me know it was an Arabian.
Not a Quarter Horse, not a Morgan — if I looked at this image
I would know it was an Arabian. I must have spent several
months. I’d draw a picture and Bobbi would look at it and say, “That’s
pretty close. Let’s go try to make the horses do it.” Then we’d
go out and practice with the horses. When I landed a B-52 I’d usually
go and spend two or three hours and we’d fool with the horses and
fool with the sketches.
at some of Lady Wentworth’s pictures, and I looked at Saddlebred
pictures and Morgan horse pictures and I looked at paintings of
Arabians, and I finally came up with a drawing which was probably
a composite of a lot of different things I’d seen. I’d never seen
any photographs like it, but I’d seen paintings: “I know that’s
an Arabian because of the tail and arched neck.”
then we had a problem. We had what they called the “California
stretch.” You pulled the neck out as far as you could pull it,
whipped the front legs, and that was the way you stood your horses.
And they did not look like Arabs. But I drew the picture and then
I had Bruce Clark stand my horse like I wanted him stood. When
I brought the pictures back and showed Bruce he became my biggest
promoter. He said that was the best horse picture he’d seen and
asked if I would take some of his horses. The word started spreading.
But Bruce Clark stood up my first Arabian horse, and that was probably
1960 or 61.Are there any other photographers whose work you admire?
a fan of Jerry Sparagowski’s and Polly Knoll’s. I think Jeff Little
is getting to be a fine photographer; he’s come a long way in a
very short time. Judith I think does some outstanding work, some
beautiful work. She’s also a very fine artist, by the way.
Do you photograph breeds other than Arabians? Do you photograph
things other than horses?
a lot of flowers, a lot of cattle — I used to do the Houston Livestock
Show and Rodeo. I did all the cattle, sheep, swine, chickens, rabbits,
the whole thing! I did the State Fair of Texas, probably for 15
years. I photographed everything including the horses there. It
was a 16 day show. I photographed the Appaloosa World for 14 or
15 years, the Appaloosa nationals for several years, the Morgan
Horse nationals, Walking Horses — I was raised with Saddlebreds,
so I’vee photographed too many Saddlebreds. I photographed dogs,
I photographed fighting cocks, dog races — I photographed everything
you can think of.
You’ve photographed many famous Arabians over the years. Would
you tell us about some of the ones you admired the most?
the most impressive horse I guess I’ve ever seen was a horse called
*Serafix (Raktha x *Serafina), and Fadjur would run a very close
second. During their day they were absolutely incredible. The horse
that got me started in Arabians was a horse called Ibn Hanrah (Hanrah
x Ronara). I watched him in the three-year-old class at Denver.
I’d gone down to buy a Quarter Horse and Ibn Hanrah came in the
ring with a little skinny fellow named Walter Chapman showing him
— things have changed, huh Walter? — he was the 29th horse in
the ring, and I’ll never forget that horse. He was a bay horse,
and the most beautiful horse I had ever seen. At that point in
time — this was I think in 1953 or 1954 — I immediately went
to the library to find everything I could about Arabians, because
I didn’t know anything about them. All I knew was Saddlebreds and
Quarter Horses. A librarian got me started on Walter Farley’s Black
Stallion series. I read everything he ever wrote, and then got
to meet him in person, and finally became fairly good friends.
(Witraz x Balalajka) was probably the most elegant horse I’ve ever
seen. When he came in this country, we had some magnificent horses
like *Silver Drift (Raktha x *Serafina) and *Serafix. But *Bask
suddenly had a neck as long as *Silver Drift’s neck, but it was
very fine. *Bask had action like I’d never seen on an Arab before,
and I don’t think anyone else had, either. He had very free shoulders,
and not just shoulders. It wasn’t trappy action. There’ve been
a lot of Arabs that had a real high action, but it was trappy.
*Bask had high reaching action. The humerus would actually come
out past the vertical. I’ve got pictures that can prove it. His
humerus — it was not just his shoulder working — that humerus
would actually come out past the vertical, which gave him long
reaching as well as high action, which was totally different from
anything I or anybody else had ever seen. It was something that
you saw in a really good five-gaited horse, but I’d never seen
it in an Arab before.
thought Fadjur (Fadheilan x Bint Sahara) was the most typey Arab.
And Fadjur had one of the great minds. Fadjur was one of those
horses who was a very mental horse — by that I mean a horse that’s
very responsive to humans, who follows their lead and does what
pleases humans. I think Fadjur as much as any horse I’ve ever seen
enjoyed being around people.
Real McCoy probably had the most extreme head. It was incredible.
The Real McCoy was a big grey horse raised by Frank McCoy. Then
Fadheilan (*Fadl x *Kasztelanka) was one that I liked a lot. He
was up at Harry Linden’s place in Spokane. Fadheilan and Fadjur
had incredible tail carriage. It was unbelievable, and they put
it on every baby they had. I never saw a bad tail on a Fadjur or
Has your work changed over the years?
work has changed a lot. I used to do 35 or 40 horse shows a year.
I did that for 15 or 18 years. I was probably one of the two original
on-the-spot photographers. I had black and white pictures ready
within two hours of the time they were taken. When I did color,
I found a color lab in the town where I was working and had the
color back generally within half a day. Now, I do really nothing
but ranch work, and basically Arabian ranch work.
time you turn around you learn something new. I watch everything
other photographers do. I look at paintings. When I go to a movie
I’m always trying to see if there’s something in the movie I can
apply. Everything visual changes your outlook on things visual.
I think that’s a fundamental. No human being to my knowledge ever
gets tired of things visual, because they’re always changing. As
they’re changing you’re always learning, so you never get bored,
and you never quit learning. So your business does change, constantly.
probably not very many people know me anymore. It used to be everybody
knew me, because I did 35 or 40 horse shows a year. Every horseman
of every breed in the country I swear used to know me. Now very
few do, because they’re all new people. “Johnny what? Oh, that’s
who. Excuse me.” They don’t know who I am anymore. If you’re not
out there in front, why would they?
What three things do amateur photographers most frequently
overlook when they photograph horses?
background is the most important thing. Clean up the manure. Make
sure nothing’s growing out of the horse. You don’t want phone poles
or trees growing out of the horse. Be sure the fence line does
not sit on top of the horse’s back. If you’ve got a fence taller
than the horse, you’re out of luck. But if you can possibly do
it, get down low enough so the fence line is not on top of the
horse’s back. Second is watch the foreground. Don’t let manure
and garbage or even cigarette butts clutter the foreground. Get
them out of the picture. The third thing is that amateur photographers
are not ready to shoot. Have the camera set up and ready to go,
then worry about the horse. All you should have to do is focus
and push a button.
Do you have any comments to make on the changes in grooming
and presentation that have taken place over the years?
I don’t like clown masks on a horse, and I don’t like a horse that
looks like a caricature of a horse. If what God created and man
has bred isn’t good enough, then we’re in a lot of serious trouble.
The extreme “caricaturization,” I call it, to me is absolutely
grotesque. I just don’t like it. If people do like that, when I
photograph their horses I try to talk them into toning it down: “Let’s
make him look like a horse.” I hate greasy black eyes and noses
in a picture. It doesn’t look like an Arab. It’s a mask. It’s a
clown face. That’s my opinion, whatever that’s worth to you. But
it’s your horse. Do what you want. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m
not going to tell you what to do. But I don’t like it.
Where is the horse market right now?
who are buying horses now are buying them because they really like
and want to be around horses. They’re not buying them for investments.
In a lot of respects this may be good. If you’re a good, conscientious
breeder you don’t have to worry about what kind of home the horse
is going to go to. If somebody buys a horse because they love the
horse they’re going to take the best care of it they can, and they’re
going to try to keep learning about the horse. Hopefully the horse
will become a teacher and they will start to get along and everybody
will have fun. That’s what it’s supposed to be. The only value
of a horse is the fun. It’s really a four-legged recreational vehicle,
when you think about it. Except unlike other recreational vehicles
you can fall in love with him, pet him, groom him, and talk to
him. You’d look kind of silly talking to a Ferrari, although I
probably would if I had one.
Out of all the photographs you’ve taken, do you have any that
are particular favorites?
lots of photographs that are favorites. The four fillies comes
to mind immediately. I took that up at a place called Sir William
Farm. That was used for years. The picture of Tornado (*Bask x
*Silwara) trotting in the ring: They’ve used that in every way,
and painted him bay and black and white and everything you name.
He had a real high trot and his head was turned almost to the middle
of his body and he was looking up real high. Everybody’s used that
in every conceivable painting and ad. That was one of my favorites.
I had another one of Tornado early in the morning coming across
a field full of fog. Probably the *Bask halter shot is one of my
favorites, only because the people who knocked *Bask finally got
to see what he really looked like when he was stood up about the
best he could be stood. Gene LaCroix talked me into doing that
picture because I didn’t think we’d ever get a halter shot. So
Gene talked me into trying it one more time and sure enough the
horse stood up.
What distinguishes a Johnny Johnston photograph from other
to use the least amount of makeup possible on the horses I photograph.
I do want to see a horse well groomed. I like the hairs in place.
Rather than cut the eyelashes I’d prefer to use mascara because
I worry about flies a little bit.
I photograph babies I do everything in my power not to cut the
whiskers off, and particularly not to cut the feelers around the
eyes of babies, because they don’t see well at close range and
they’ll knock their little eyes out. And leave the hair in the
ears with those babies. If you take the hair out of the ears with
those babies, the flies are going to drive him crazy. Why put a
horse through that for a picture? To me it’s not worth it. I try
to tell people, “With baby pictures, just make them as clean as
you can and do them natural.” It doesn’t make that much difference
to the picture. It’s a baby. He’s going to change in six months
so why put him through the misery?
my pictures are a little more natural. I think my halter pictures
are a little bit better balanced than most. But there are a lot
of good photographers out there. I think the Arabian horse breed
should consider itself lucky because there is no other breed with
the same level of high quality photographers. And most of them
I’ve got a lot of respect for.
Are some horses more photogenic than others?
of horses are photogenic, and lots of horses are just coyote-ugly
and it’s not their fault. But every horse has some angle you can
do something with. Maybe a horse with a common head has great tail
carriage and fantastic action. There’s always something you can
do if you’re a photographer, and the horse will show you what it
is if you will watch him.
Anything you’d like to add?
making an income at this in 1959 or 1960, and started making a
living in 1963. I just hope I’m around and all my folks are around
for another 30, or 40 or 50 years so I can keep doing it. Because
this is what I do. I had a guy ask me once, “Johnny, if you got
two million dollars, what would you do?” Well, I’d take horse pictures.
Maybe I would give them away, and take only those horses I was
interested in. But I’d be taking horse pictures. And I’ve had people
ask if I ever burn out. Sometimes you can get aggravated with people,
but if you try to understand a horse, and understand and work from
his mind, you can see why they do what they do. They’ll teach you.
I never get tired of it.