New DVD: Films From Craver Farms, 1957-1981

This DVD contains footage from Charles Craver’s films of his horses over the decades.  It begins with some footage taken in 1957 (6.3 minutes), which includes film taken of his first Davenport horses and other horses of his and other owners.

DVD cover

Charles made three composite films of Davenport horses.  The first 1961 film was spliced together in three sections (8.49, 10.14 and 8.05 minutes), and included footage from 1956-1961.  Horses are identified.

Craver Farms 1971 Film.  This film is in two parts, with mares (12.33 minutes) first and stallions (13.52 minutes) on part 2.  The stallions are labeled.  This film became magenta with age (the wrong raw film) and so the footage had to be desaturated.  Horses are labeled.

Craver Farms 1981 Film. (37.18 minutes) This film was flooded in muddy water in 2003.  It was professionally cleaned, but the damage is obvious, unfortunately.  Work on this film took nearly five years.  It uses silent footage from the Kellogg Library, 1926-31 and still photos to include the 1906-1910 era.  Horses are identified where possible.  We had a musical score that we used with this, and a voice-over script.  The script is included on the DVD as a PDF.

Please place your requests with checks made out to DAHC and mail to DAHC Treasurer, 1736 S. Farmingdale Road, New Berlin, IL 62670. This edition is priced at $10 each plus shipping of $5 per DVD in the US ($10 shipping to Canada, other areas as quoted). Questions? Please contact alice.martin@mac.com.

New Edition of “THE ANNOTATED QUEST” Coming Soon

Homer Davenport’s book, My Quest of the Arabian Horse, published 1909, is one of the classics of Arabian horse literature. It has started many a breeder on an informed study of the Arabian horse and has had an important influence on the development of the concepts of pure Arabian breeding which have furthered the breed in America.

In 1992, a new edition of this book, titled The Annotated Quest, was published. This edition included annotations to provide clarification for the contemporary reader. A significant amount of historical information from sources not available to Davenport when he wrote, as well as many additional pictures, were added.

A new edition of The Annotated Quest entitled Homer Davenport’s Quest of the Arabian Horse is scheduled to go to print this fall. This updated edition will include newly researched material, more annotations, and new high resolution scans from the Arthur Moore photo album. The larger format (8.5 x 11) will better portray the color pages.

This project, undertaken by the Davenport Arabian Horse Conservancy, is getting close to completion. Only a limited number of books will be printed, so pre-orders are strongly recommended.

Please place your requests with checks made out to DAHC and mail to DAHC Treasurer, 1736 S. Farmingdale Road, New Berlin, IL 62670. This edition will be priced at $50 each plus shipping of $5 per book. Questions? Please contact alice.martin@mac.com.

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The End of *Hamrah’s Story

This was the back cover ad for the program of the 2013 Al Khamsa/CMK Convention & Symposium. We’ve seen a cropped version of this photograph before, but the uncropped version, showing the crowd admiring *Hamrah, is new.

This picture shows *Hamrah early in his career, ridden by Said Abdallah at one of Homer Davenport’s farm social events. The studbook record of *Hamrah ends with his 1923 and 1924 foal crops–three fillies bred by Mrs John G Winant. The story picks up in Northern California, when Mr. Winant retired the horse with his fellow WWI pilot, noted stockman Phillip G. Smith. *Hamrah was bred to the local mares, and lived to the age of 32.  We owe this information to Mr. Smith’s niece, Louise Pryor Charles, who owned one of *Hamrah’s half-Arab get.

The Arabian Horse — Its Present Place and Mission

Gentleness, Wiry Compactness and Speed the Desert Inheritances — Why Arabs Are Needed In the Family Stable and On the Turf

by Homer Davenport

Photographs by Curtis Bell, A.G. Eldredge, A.L.Stanger and others
from Country Life in America, Vol. X, No. 4, August 1906

To name the Arabian horse is to recall instinctively the fountain-head of thoroughbreds, Darley’s Arabian. For was not the Darley the great-grandsire of that Eclipse who “won the race, with the rest nowhere“? It was certainly a lucky day for racing when, in 1703, Mr. Darley bought, in Aleppo, a bay four-year-old, who stood fifteen hands, had three white feet, also some white on the face, and was, moreover, a Kuhai-lan of the Ae-ni-za. His substrain, Ras el Fedawa, is one of the fleetest, if neither among the hardiest nor the handsomest. So prepotent was his blood, conjoined with that of the Byerly Turk, the Godolphin Arabian, and various and sundry Barbs, that it changed the English race-horse from a sluggish creature, cold-blooded, and something coarse, to an approximation of our present thoroughbred type. Indeed, the definition of thoroughbred, as meaning “of pure desert Arabian blood, on sire’s and dam’s side, imported into England and bred there,” sufficiently proves the turf’s debt to the Darley and his compeers. But this article is meant less to exploit the Arabian’s racing qualities than to emphasize his beauty, good sense and better disposition. Major Upton, who has seen him under all conditions — on the desert, and off — very well says: “He is the quintessence of all good qualities in a compact form.”
Continue reading “The Arabian Horse — Its Present Place and Mission”

Why I Own “Davenport Arabians”

wisteria CF

A lovely article by blogger Edouard Al-Dahdah (who owns Wisteria CF, shown at left):

I was involved in translating the hujaj (Arabic certification documents) of Al Khamsa Foundation Horses from the original Arabic to English, for the reference book Al Khamsa Arabians III, and as such was given temporary access to copies of a lot of original hujaj. This is when it dawned on me that the Arabians known as Davenport Arabian horses (to simplify, the exclusive descendants of the horses imported from the Arabian desert by Homer Davenport in 1906) were one of only two groups of Al Khamsa horses whose desert-bred ancestors were documented by way of these hujaj.

Nuns Fret Not

By Charles Craver Copyright 1988 All Rights Reserved
Arabian Visions May 1988

Used by permission of Charles Craver.

Readers who enjoy English literature can take pleasure in Wordsworth’s poem telling how he, too, found restrictions of his own choice a source of freedom.

Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells;
In truth, the prison, unto which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is; and hence for me,
In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

William Wordsworth, 1806

Our favorite poem about Arabian horse breeding was written in 1806 by William Wordsworth. Maybe he never saw an Arabian horse, but he wrote a sonnet which is very pertinent for many of today’s breeders of Arabian horses and particularly for the people who are interested in this little group of Arabian horses which are called Davenports.

Wordsworth chose the sonnet form for this poem. The sonnet is one of the most rigorous forms of poetry in the English language. Much can be said in a sonnet, but what makes a sonnet a sonnet is that everything must be stated in 14 lines of rhymed iambic pentameter. No more. No less. Nothing else will do.

Wordsworth’s sonnet begins “Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room . . .” He goes on to tell of other people who choose restricted lives yet feel no confinement because their choices are voluntary. Then he expresses his contentment at the restrictions of the sonnet form in poetry.

There was a time when most Arabian horses were owned for very utilitarian purposes. The Arabs had them go on raids, and, when horses ceased to be useful for that purpose, most Bedouin owners no longer kept them. Although the horses are a heritage to us from such hands, they are usually not objects of utility in our lives. In large part, our interest in them is aesthetic.

Where we keep and breed these animals for beauty, we are not so different from William Wordsworth, who was seeking beauty, too; In the strict lines of the sonnet, he found freedom of expression. In the strict lines of Arabian horses, we, too, find freedom to express the loveliness of these horses.

Continue reading “Nuns Fret Not”

“And Noah Begat … “

Copyright 1981 by Charles C. Craver III all rights reserved
The Arabian Horse Journal April, 1981
Used by permission of Charles Craver

When Davenport’s desert importation of 1906 arrived in this country, it included seventeen stallions and colts, eight mares, and two fillies. Davenport may not have realized it at the time, but the proportion of stallions to mares was not out of line for Arabian breeding here where plenty of farms have more stallions than mares. For some strange reason, a surplus of desirable males seems to be intrinsic in the breed.
Continue reading ““And Noah Begat … “”