At the Beginning (Part I)

By Charles C. Craver III
of Craver Farms,
Hillview, Illinois
used by permission of Charles Craver
The Arabian Horse News May, 1974

The ultimate achievement for an Arabian breeder in the successful importation of breeding stock from Arabia. Nothing else comes up to it: numbers bred, champions shown, importations form other sources, books written—none of these together can compare with having made the importation directly from the desert. In modern times, the number of breeders who have had the distinction of making such importations is extremely small. Probably the really successful ones can be numbered on the fingers of one’s hands, if not on the fingers of a single hand.

When Homer Davenport returned from Arabia in 1906 with his importation of Arabian horses, he could not have been unaware that he was one of those few people who had done the big thing, that by going directly to the Bedouin tribes of the desert to obtain horses he had acted in the tradition of Abbas Pasha, Upton, and the Blunts. He arrived in America with the recollection fresh that the Bedouins themselves had told him that the horses he was bringing were the only horses within their memories of authenticated pedigree which had left the desert. Their lives were short, and their memories did not cover a long span of years, but it was still a statement of significance: an indication that what he had obtained was more than just a boatload of horses.

So, as he arrived in America, he had reason to be satisfied with himself and to be proud of his achievement. Probably he anticipated its acclaim by other Arabian breeders. Probably he expected to enjoy a certain amount of public glory and then to settle down to years of enjoyment in making use of the unique breeding stock which had been obtained.

As a matter of fact, things did not work out that way.
Continue reading “At the Beginning (Part I)”

An Interview with Charles Craver

December 1, 1987
KHAMSAT, Volume Five, Number One, January 1988
Produced for the Khamsat by Carol Lyons
Copyright by Carol Lyons. All rights reserved.
Used by permission of Carol Lyons

Most anyone who knows Charles Craver is aware that you rarely get a simple, uncomplicated answer from him. His answers are usually as thought provoking as they are modest. Despite his years of intense involvement with Arabian horses, and his obvious success – or perhaps because of it – he insists that he is no Guru, and feels that he has more questions than pat answers. In keeping with this philosophy, many of his following comments on strains, breeding and management provide food for thought for all serious breeders, regardless of bloodline interest or experience.


QUESTION: When you first started gathering foundation breeding stock in the early 1950’s, none of the books such as the RASWAN INDEX, THE ARAB AND HIS HORSE, by Carl Raswan, and THE BLUE ARABIAN HORSE CATALOG by Jane L. Ott had yet been published. Were you aware of any purist movement within Arabian breeding?

CC: No, there wasn’t a purist movement, but there were a few purists. There have been purist breeders in America since the very beginning of Arabian breeding here. Primarily those that I knew were Jimmy Wrench and Alice Payne, and they weren’t within the Al Khamsa context. Not all purists have to be within that context. When I got Tripoli, the pedigree of Skowronek, as we now know it, was not public yet. There was no reason to avoid him in a pedigree. At that time, purists avoided certain other bloodlines.
Continue reading “An Interview with Charles Craver”

Sugar Hill Farm: The Clown Prince

by Shirley E. Cunningham
Sugar Hill Farm
Rt 2 Box 1920
Ashville, Alabama, 35953

all right reserved
used by permission of Shirley E. Cunningham
Arabian Visions May 1972

It was a lovely winter morning in November, 1982 when Regina Booth’s trailer pulled into our yard, bringing Fiddlesticks, a five-year-old Davenport stallion, to his new home. The story of our acquisition of Fiddlesticks had begun years before in 1977, when my husband Russell, and I had visited Craver Farms to choose a colt who would ultimately be bred to our blended-source Al Khamsa mares, to produce a pure-in-the-strain Saqlawi foal with both sides of the pedigree tracing to *Urfah of the original Davenport importation. Our goal, to breed our blended source Saqlawi mares and ultimately add a Davenport mare to produce straight Davenports of the Saqlawi stain.

Because of our admiration for Tripoli, we chose a bright chestnut colt we named Vesuveus. His sire was Tripoli, and his dam, Verona, and on the map, Vesuveus is halfway between! Red, as a weanling, grew to maturity, was trained to ride, and sired two lovely fillies. We were just becoming completely comfortable with each other when an accident took his life. In addition to the emotional loss, this was a severe set-back to our breeding program. At the time there were very few Al Khamsa stallions in our area and none of the proper Davenport strain.

A search began for another stallion for Sugar Hill, with letters and phone calls to breeders across the country. The two excellent fillies by Vesusveus, made us consider another Davenport. In addition, we had bred our mare Dahriefa, by Dahrecho, to the Sirecho son, Joramir, to produce Dahmira and Sugar Hill Sassy, and were extremely pleased with those results. So a stallion with heavy Sirecho breeding to concentrate that line might also be a choice. We traveled widely in the summer of 1982 and ultimately chose the Sirecho-bred colt. Abay-Hami, as our new stallion. However, we were unable to forget the very attractive liver chestnut Fiddlesticks, then at home at the Cravers. He was so handsome, so vital, so very much a Tripoli son. Two stallions to replace one? Well, why not? And so Fiddlesticks came to Sugar Hill.
Continue reading “Sugar Hill Farm: The Clown Prince”

Davenport Influence

By Carol Lyons copyright 1972
Used by permission of Carol Lyons
all rights reserved

Several years ago I met Mr. Warner Dixon, our County School Superintendent, and in the course of our converstion he mentioned that he had owned several Arabs many years ago. I invited him out to se our Arabs and while he was here we looked up his horses in the Stud Book. Great was my amazement to discover that one of his mares was BABE AZAB 567, maternal great-granddam of our stallion PORTHOS, who is 100 percent Davenport breeding.

BABE AZAB was 18 when he bought her and he described her as being pure white and “Everything that you’ve ever read about the ideal Arab; a beautiful, expressive head and full of fire and spirit, yet so very gentle and willing.” For two years Mr. Dixon tried to get her in foal and thinkin g that she wasn’t in foal (he even had a ‘vet’ check) he finally agreed to sell her … for $1,100. He never has gotten over the fact that she had a filly six months later, and two colts after that.
Continue reading “Davenport Influence”

Yes, Virginia

1989 Copyright by Charles & Jeanne Craver Craver
Charles & Jeanne Craver

All rights reserved
from Arabian Visions March 1990
originally published in the Craver’s newsletter, Our Quest.
Used by permission of Charles & Jeanne Craver Craver

So you’ve been to the show all on your own. Ventured out without a guide. Seen the beautiful horses. Watched the crowd. Cheered the glory of champions.

The people you met told you “the real truth” about Arabians: How they are bigger and better than they used to be. How they trot faster and higher. How their necks and legs are longer and their heads prettier. And, yes, Virginia, how they will make you money if you buy them.

And then they told you that nobody believes in pedigrees any more, that you just breed best to best, that the names of old-time horses are only names, that this is a new and better breed which is right for our own time and place. “It’s the breed of the future,” they say.

You ask if all this is true.
Continue reading “Yes, Virginia”

The Backyard Breeders of Davenport Arabians

By Carol Lyons Copyright 1981 All Rights Reserved
The Arabian Horse Journal April 1981
Used by permission of Carol Lyons.

An Arabian horse! The term conjures up the picture of a noble, beautiful, and graceful animal in a Desert setting; it embodies a sense of history, mystery, and even awe. The would-be Arabian owner rushes out to buy the first available Arabian horse and loves him or her dearly, with an emotional attachment unequaled with any other breed. Yet the average person will own Arabians for less than ten years before selling out for one reason or another. During this period several widely differing types and bloodlines will vie with each other in the showring, and for popularity in sales and stud service. Few owners will be fortunate enough to own Arabian horses of a type that truely satisfies them, and which possess a pedigree which will allow a consistent continuance of that type.

Breeders of Davenport Arabian horses don’t concern themselves much with the changes in type brought about by the showring for they are fortunate to have found that the old ‘Desert’ type satisfies them, and they know that they can reproduce it consistently. They are not interested in “improving” on the type of horse that the Bedouin found so useful.

Continue reading “The Backyard Breeders of Davenport Arabians”

Davenport Descendants

by Frederick W. Mimmack, M.D. All Rights Reserved
used by permission of Frederick W. Mimmack, M.D
Arabian Horse News August 1972

Fred and Barbara Mimmack
16619 East Easter Avenue
Foxfield, CO 80016

This is the story of the evolution of one family’s backyard Arabian horse breeding program, focusing on straight Davenport Arabian horses of the Saqlawi family. The story really starts back in the late 30’s and the 40’s when Arabian horses were introduced to me by my parents through attendance at the Sunday shows at Kellogg’s and later, the pioneering all-Arabian shows in Southern California. Ownership of an Arabian horse at that time was an impossible dream for me, so I did as so many others in that position do, I read everything I could lay my hands on. In those days, the Western Horseman published articles by Carl Raswan fairly regularly, and the public library had the works of Raswan, Brown, Blunt, Tweedie, Wentworth, and of course Davenport.
Continue reading “Davenport Descendants”

A Teenager’s Dream: Tripoli

by Pat Payne of Asil Arabians, Chino California
All rights reserved
Arabian Horse News August 1972

Last February, at our Arabian Horse Association of Southern California meeting, I received a real surprise and treat. Bill Ainley showed us some movies one of his relatives had taken at the Kellogg ranch in the mid-1930’s.

Here were those old time greats *RASEYN 597 under English saddle, FARANA 708 going through his stock horse routine, RALET 759 free jumping, ROSSIKA 659, the trick horse, pushing her baby carriage, and the liberty drill team spelling out “K E L L O G G “.

As much as I enjoyed seeing all these long gone greats, my real thrill was seeing JADAAN 196 with his rider in Arabian costume. JADAAN brought back memories of my first visit to Kelloggs well over 30 years ago.

During those depression days of the 1930’s we had horses — the $50 kind. One of our friends had a half-Morgan, and that was a big deal. The total of all registered Arabians was less than 1,500, with about half of those dead. You can see how rare a real Arabian was in those days. Some of the circuses were still calling spotted horses Arabians. The general horse public had very little real knowledge of Arabian horses.

The Kellogg ranch did a wonderful job of introducing the Arabian horse to the southern California area. You couldn’t be involved with horses for too long without hearing about Kelloggs and their Arabians.

Continue reading “A Teenager’s Dream: Tripoli”

Davenport Horses … See How They Last

By Charles Craver
Copyright 1991 All Rights Reserved
Arabian Visions May 1991
Used by permission of Charles Craver

In 1906, an American newspaperman, Homer Davenport, imported 27 Arabian horses directly from Arabia to this country. Most people who saw the horses recognized them as wonderful horses. There were a few detractors, a good many of whom had horses from other sources which they preferred. To each his own.

The Davenport horses were written about, ridden, publicized, shown, raced, and bred to almost every other kind of Arabian that came to this country. They seemed to do fine regardless of what was asked of them. They had a unique capability as a bloodline: they endured. Everything else that came to this country when the Davenports arrived, as well as a good many that have arrived since then, was crossed in with additional bloodlines to the point that survival of bloodline identity was submerged into the American melting pot from which most current “Domestic” Arabian horses derive.

Not so the Davenports. They indeed were bred to everything else, but ever since their arrival in 1906, a few have been bred to each other. Some foals have always been produced so that the original bloodlines of the importation survived intact without anything else being added to them. The total number of such horses is still scant, but there are more of them now than there have ever been before. Continue reading “Davenport Horses … See How They Last”