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.
There was a wide difference in age for the horses imported. Some, such as *HALEB #25 and *MUSON #27, were mature animals of breeding age at the time of importation, and they wre probably intended to fill an immediate role as breeding stock upon arrival in the U.S.
Most of the stallions, however, were little more than colts. Eleven of the 14 imported males that were ultimately registered were three or under at the time of importation. The actual cost of importing an equine in Davenport’s day was not great. Young stallions in the desert were not expensive, and costs of transportation itself were low enough so that several donkeys were brought along on the trip home as well as one non-purebred horse which had specifically been purchased for resale in the U.S. (BEAMING STAR was purchased at dockside by Jack Thompson, one of Davenport’s party in the expedition. He was not included in Davenport’s count of the imported horses and was apparently not considered by him to be a part of the importation. He was shipped to America by separate vessel, arriving several days after the other horses. He was not registered by the Arabian Horse Club, but was registered without apparent question by the Jockey Club as an Arabian.)
It is hard to know for sure why Davenport purchased so many juvenile stallions. Several possible explanations come to mind. In the first place, that may have been mainly what he was able to choose from. Several writers and travelers have commented upon the scarcity of adult stallions in the desert. Another consideration is that he may have had a certain quota of horses to fill. One of the purposes of the trip was to acquire a nucleus of horses for the eventual establishment of a Cavalry Remount Stud, a utilization which would have required a plentiful supply of stallions. In this context, some of the stallions may have been purchased with their eventual use as remount sires more in mind than possible use in a purebred breeding program. Davenport may have felt that by purchasing a relatively large number of young horses in the desert he was bound to get some good ones. He was surely enough of a horseman to know that judging colts is a difficult matter under the best of circumstances. In the desert, horses are raised on different rations and fed differently than the ones he was used to seeing. He could reasonably have selected a likely group of colts, expecting to keep a few and to let the others go for remount service.
It would be nice if we knew more of what Davenport looked for in an Arabian horse. He does comment that most of the desert horses he saw were about 14.2 hands high and that he wanted taller horses for this country, and also that his party had seen several mares which it could not buy and that colts had been obtained from such mares. Generally speaking, the evaluations placed by the Bedouins on their own horses were very important to him. There was obvious constant deference to the opinions of Akmet Haffez, his Bedouin blood brother and guide. He tells us frequently of the reactions of others of his Bedouin contacts to the horses. Thus *ABEYAH is more valuable because of the Bedouin appraisal of her head and speed, *ENZAHI is retained rather than sold because a Bedouin offers a good price for her, *RESHAN is the more valued because the Bedouins have offered 30 camels for her, (1) *URFAH is prized because her owner refuses to sell her. He takes obvious pride in the dismay expressed by Hashem Bey that *HALEB is to be exported to America.
A related factor of importance to Davenport was that his purchases should be acceptable to the Bedouins for breeding purposes. Davenport writes that they called such horses “chubby,” apparently a term which is synonymous with “asil.” In describing the purchase process by which horses were obtained, he tells how each Bedouin seller was required to take an oath to God in the presence of his sheikh – and often others as well – that the horse being sold was “chubby.” The sheikh then placed his seal upon the sales document. The importance of the oath and seal in the semi-literate Bedouin society was great. Davenport writes about one would-be seller of a pretty filly who in great disturbance backed out of the sale when confronted with the oath requirement, say that the filly was “chubby” for Davenport, but not for God. (2) A somewhat similar ceremony is followed in our own culture, where oaths are taken upon the Bible.
Davenport’s physical standards, for Arabian horses were no doubt, rather complex. We know that he had read some of the Blunt writing, which was convincing, although much of it was written when the Blunts themselves were beginners with Arabian horses. There was other literature on Arabian horses in his time, and he can be assumed to have been familiar with that, too. More important, in his own stable he had a number of Arabian horses. As far as knowledge is concerned, one live horse’s worth a whole shelf of books.
It is unlikely that Davenport had any single mental pattern into which he felt all Arabian horses should fit. His book, My Quest of the Arabian Horse, and his later catalogs indicate that he was well aware that the Bedouins divided their horses into different families or “strains” and that each family had its own distinctive characteristics. Thus he differentiates among the various strains of horses in his importation and gives differing type descriptions for them.
In his own breeding of Arabian horses, there is evidence that he deliberately bred some horses of the same desert strain together – obviously, the strains were of importance to him years before Raswan wrote on the subject.
In order of their registration, the imported Davenport stallions are as follows:
*HALEB #25: A Mu’niqi-Sbaili by a Shueyman-Sbah, born 1901. He is described by Davenport as brown, but the stud book entry for him in Volume IV describes him both as brown and as bay with black points. At the time of the importation, he was a five-year-old. *HALEB appears to have been one of very few stallions to have left Arabia which were used extensively at stud by the Bedouins. Davenport writes of this horse that he
“was a present…to the Governor of Aleppo in recognition of his liberal camel tax, and a present from the Governor of Aleppo to Mr. Davenport…More than 200 mares are due to foal to this stallion within a year between Nejd and Aleppo. …Owing to the fact that his mother and grandmothers for hundreds of years past have been the spectacular mares of their age, this stallion was looked upon by the Bedouins as their best horse at the present time.” (3)
*HALEB’s desert authentication document bears Davenport’s handwritten notation, “HALEB our great horse…this horse was fairly worshiped by the bedowen (sic) of the Anezeh. He was their pride.”
The pictures of *HALEB for the most part are unfortunate. It is mainly by breaking them apart mentally into separate units of conformation that the concept of a good horse begins to emerge, and one can begin to understand what all the admiration was about. He emerges from this type of analysis as an extremely well-balanced and correct horse of moderate size and admirable muscularity. According to Davenport, George Ford Morris, the horse artist, wrote that “HALEB was the only horse he ever saw that he could not fault.” (4) Most of *HALEB’s skeleton is preserved at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Of particular interest are his cannon bones, which are short and give the impression of great density. Their diameter at midpoint is not great: *HALEB was obviously not a “big-boned” horse, which would seem to indicate something about Bedouin taste in this aspect of horse conformation.
*HALEB’s skull gives a better indication of what his head was like than any photograph of the living horse which has been preserved. He had a well-placed eye, a definite jibbah, and an unusual amount of dish for a stallion. Some recent writers have taken the position that the Bedouins of Arabia did not particularly like the dished head even in mares and would not tolerate it in stallions. The skull of *HALEB would seem to disprove this proposition, at least for the Anazeh Bedouins of 1906. These were the same tribes and even the same families of people who historically had furnished horses to the great Egyptian collectors – including Abbas Pasha, the Blunts, and studs of continental Europe. It is even said that the family of Hashem Bey, whose seal authenticated several of Davenport’s imports, including *HALEB, had furnished the Darley Arabian to England. (5)
In the United States, *HALEB’s excellence received appropriate recognition. Albert Harris comments that “he was pronounced best of the importation by horsemen here.” (6) At the time of the importation, the Morgan horse in the United States was at a cross-roads as to whether to retain its established identity as a compact, general purpose horse or to modify more towards saddle horse type. The proponents of classic Morgan type apparently saw to it that *HALEB was entered at their show at Rutland, Vermont in June, 1907, in competition for the horse most closely resembling the original Justin Morgan type, and his winning of the Justin Morgan Cup was considered a plus for both the purist Morgan breeders and for the Arabian breed. (7)
Unfortunately, *HALEB’s career in his new country was a short one, as he died early, said to have been poisoned. He is represented in the Arabian Horse Club studbooks by only ten foals. One of these, *ENZAHI #46, was imported at her mother’s side in 1906, and three (MELEKY, SALEEFY, and SEBHA) were foaled in 1907, apparently having been bred during Davenport’s time in Arabia. Only six were actually bred in the United States, the last of them being born in 1909.
Some of the *HALEB foals, notably SALEEFY, RHUA, and MELEKY, appear in the pedigrees of many of the finest current Arabian horses, but the unfortunate truth is that he did not leave enough foals in this country so that he could be fully evaluated as a stallion. In Arabia, where he had been bred to many mares, evaluation would have been easier. In fact, because so many mares had been bred to him in the major horse-breeding area, between Aleppo and Nejd, it is very possible that some more recent desert-bred imports would show *HALEB as an ancestor if their extended pedigrees were known.
*HALEB was one of the Davenport stallions which were of the Mu’niqi or a Mu’niqi-related strain. At the time of the importation, this was a strain of horses which was especially prominent in Arabian breeding in America through the development of the Randolph Huntington breeding program and its attendant promotion. Huntington was specifically interested in the Mu’niqi strain, which he felt to be different from the others and better. Davenport’s Mu’niqi horses would have fitted well into this program, and, in fact, two of *HALEB’s foals were out of Mu’niqi-strain Huntington mares, NAZLINA #6 and NARKEESA #7. The NARKEESA foal was a stallion, LEUCOSIA #50. He in turn was bred to another Huntington Mu’niqiyah mare, KHALETTA #9, to produce NARKHALEB #114. Unfortunately, this extremely interesting example of stain breeding in the Mu’niqi strain was not continued, although the descending line does exist in current pedigrees.
The other of *HALEB’s foals from a Huntington Mu’niqiyah mare was METOECIA #51. She seems to have gone to W.R. Brown’s Maynesboro Stud where she was bred to a stallion of her own strain (KHALED #5) once. She had four other foals. None of her foals reproduced, so that line, like so many others in early Arabian breeding, came to nothing. The same essential result happened with the other Davenport stallions of Mu’niqi or Mu’niqi-related strains (*EL BULAD, *KUSOF, and, probably, *GOMUSA). They had foals, and they made their contributions to development of an “American Arabian,” but they did not have opportunities to leave lines of their own strain. According to the theory of strain breeding, one reason is probably that the Mu’niqi type was not what American breeders found attractive, and consequently selection operated against it.
*HALEB’s surviving lines out of non-Mu’niqi mares trace through one daughter from *HADBA (Meleky) and two from *URFAH (Rhua and Saleefy). These were discussed in detail in “There is Nothing Like a Dame,” in the January, 1981 issue of The Arabian Horse Journal, under the names of the producing mares, and there seems little point in going over the material again, beyond saying that he is represented in current Arabian breeding by many beautiful animals tracing to him.
*HOURAN #26, bay stallion foaled 1904, “sire a Hadban-Enzekhi; dam a Kehilan-Tamri; bred by the Gomussa Tribe of the Sebaa Anazeh.” (8) *HOURAN is something of a mystery horse. Several pictures have been published of several different horses which were supposed to be *HOURAN, but none of these really fit his markings as indicated in his registration entry.
As a sire, *HOURAN had 13 get, making him one of the more prolific of the imported Davenport stallions. He is represented in modern pedigrees through his daughters, BINT NIMNARAAH # 452 and HAARANMIN #451, both out of the Huntington Mu’niqiyah mare, NIMNAARAH #129, to which numerous current Arabians trace. These two mares are particularly evident in many pedigrees developed at the Manion Canyon stud farm where the foundation mares YDRISSA and OURIDA were daughters of BINT NIMNARAAH and HAARANMIN, respectively. Notable horses came from these bloodlines, including, RIFRAFF, RAFOURID, RADIO, and IMAGIDA, recognized as one of the greatest daughters of IMAGE and dam herself of RAFI, IMARAFF, and GIDA. In recent years, Manion Canyon has made extensive use of WINRAFF+, who traces to *HOURAN through OURIDA.
A different line of breeding derived from *HOURAN via BINT NIMNARAAH and her daughter YDRISSA is found in Mrs J.E. Ott’s historic mare SIRRULLA (Sirecho/Drissula). This pedigree has additional interest in that it preserves the only line of descent from SULTAN, an Egyptian-bred stallion of the 1930’s.
*MUSON #27, grey stallion foaled 1899, “Sire, a Shueyman-Sbah; Dam, a Kehilan-al-Maisan bred by the Roala Tribe of the Sebaa Anazeh.” (9) Of the horses in the Davenport importation, *MUSON was probably the most striking individual in that he was a “listening” horse. Davenport considered this a strain characteristic rather than an individual trait. He writes a charming story about it to the effect that a certain mare in an Arab encampment was observed by the Bedouins to be “listening” to some unknown sound. That night the camp was attacked by enemy raiders. Thereafter the mare’s descendants were called “listening horses” after her behavior. (10)
*MUSON apparently showed the disposition to “listen” very strongly, George Ford Morris, the artist, wrote of him
“…a beautiful and characteristic specimen of the Kehilan al Maisan or Listening Horses strain of blood. Have seen this stallion led out by his devoted attendant – the Nubian slave boy that Homer also brought home with him from the desert – and invariably assume the same pose. Head held high, ears pricked forward, and the eyes intent on some evidently far-off object, he would seem utterly oblivious of what was going on in his immediate surroundings. I found him so interesting that I took a number of photographs of him in addition to making sketches and studies.” (11)
*MUSON is an example of the fact that there were types of Arabian horses in “Arabia Deserta” which are seldom preserved in the Arabian horses as known in this country and Europe. Many strains survive as names only, scattered through pedigrees, and no longer correlating in any systematic way to how horses actually appear. The Jilfan type, for instance, is almost unknown in modern breeding. Typical examples of the strain have been imported but, they have been blended in with other bloodlines to the point of extinction as a type.
In *MUSON’s case, the strain aptitude for “listening” was very strongly embodied, and time has not completely blotted it out. In his catalog of 1909-1910, Davenport writes, “A few colts have been born, sired by him, in America and they all bear traces of his marked individuality.” (12) In all, he only had six foals, the last being the products of the season of 1909. Only one of these left progeny, that being LETAN #86 (out of *Jedah #44), but LETAN showed the *MUSON influence very strongly. Pictures of LETAN indicate that he, too, was a “listener,” and the characteristic crops up from time to time in his descendants, even when there is no reinforcing line-breeding to bring it out.
It is probably that the “listening” attitude has more to do with a usage pattern of nervous energy than it does with conformation. Horses that do it are usually very quick to respond to any physical stimulation. In *MUSON’s case, it was also associated with grey color and nicely notched ears. These characteristics were often passed on to his descendants, too, but they are not invariably linked to the “listening” characteristic.
The pictures of *MUSON show that he had a much more erect head carriage than is ordinarily expected in a Kuhaylan, which he was. His sire, however, was a Shuwayman: according to Raswan, a Saqlawi-related strain of the Kuhaylan group noted for its elegance and large eyes. (13) It may be that part of the neck carriage came from this aspect of his pedigree. Another possibility is that the neck carriage may have been more a consequence of the “listening” posture than of actual conformation. Because of the eye structure of the equine, horses that look into the distance as “listening” horses do are compelled to raise their heads and noses, placing their necks in an upright position, regardless of any other aspect of their conformation. Movies of *MUSON’s son LETAN, also a “listener,” show him to have had a rather typical Kuhaylan shoulder and neck.
*MUSON is represented in current Arabian horses only through his son, LETAN. Among LETAN’s sons were ORIENTAL #529, whose son MUSTAKIM produced MUSTAFA, sire of KIMFA; AKIL #552, especially noted as a broodmare sire; DHAREB, a central sire in current Davenport breeding; and KASAR, sire of EHWAT-ANSARLAH, NAHAS, SHAIBA, and the historic mare, GAMIL. (Concerning GAMIL, see under *URFAH in “There is Nothing Like a Dame,” January, 1981, issue, Arabian Horse Journal.)
LETAN had several daughters to note. Two that had particular influence on the breed were MAKINA, dam of ALLA AMARWARD, and BABE AZAB, through which the line of *WERDI comes into prominence in current show horses, such as THE JUDGE, FAME, SAKE and her produce, and FERANAKA+ and her produce. (Concerning BABE AZAB, see under *WERDI in “There is Nothing Like a Dame,” January, 1981 issue, Arabian Horse Journal.) Another branch of the BABE AZAB line preserves the Kuhaylan-Krush group within 100% Davenport breeding.
*MUSON is represented by several currently active sire lines including those through ORIENTAL, AKIL and DHAREB.
*HAMRAH #28, bay stallion born 1904, by a Hamdani-Simri out of URFAH #40, a Saqlawiyah-Jidraniyah. *HAMRAH’s dam was a distinguished mare in the desert. Akmet Haffez told Davenport she was the finest Saqlawiyah-Jidraniyah owned by the ‘Anazeh, and, in fact, she was not parted with willingly by her Bedouin owner, but only by force after Davenport had already bought her two sons, *HAMRAH and *EUPHRATES. Davenport speaks of *HAMRAH as having a “racy” appearance and comments that, “He seemed finer than others we had of the same age. There was an inherited dignity which the rest did not have.” He took pride that *HAMRAH and his brother, *EUPHRATES, were both “sired by the great Hamdani-Simri chestnut horse that the Anazeh are so proud of and thus combined the two rare breeds of the desert, the Seglawi Jedran and the Hamdani Simri.” (14)
In the Davenport catalog 1909-1910, *HAMRAH is described as he was closer to maturity.
“This young horse is rapidly rounding into one of the best of the entire importation….He is a horse of immense power and the finest possible action under saddle in the gallop. He would impress you at once as being a race horse and in an impromptu trial of a mile he ran the last quarter in twenty-nine seconds as a three-year-old without a day’s preparation and in fact never having run before at top speed. Many visitors prefer him to any of the importation…” (15)
The picture of *HAMRAH in the catalog shows him to have had a short back, sloping shoulder, long forearm, close coupling, and a very long hip. *HAMRAH was by far the most successful of the Davenport stallions. He sired 53 foals – a phenomenal number for that day.
Although *HAMRAH had sons which were successful at stud, he is chiefly noted for his daughters, of which there were 34. Mainly through them, he seems almost everywhere in American pedigrees. In a randomly selected sample of 80 pedigrees from the Arabian Horse Registry studbook, Vol. XXX (1976), he was present in 69 pedigrees. Of these, only 18 had four or less lines to him. Thirty had five to nine lines, five had 15 to 19 lines, three had 20 to 29 lines, and one had 38. In a genetic study of the Arabian horse in America through 1946, Dr. Ameen Azher calculated the relationship to the breed of stallions and found that *HAMRAH had the highest relationship to the breed of all stallions studied. (16)
Most of *HAMRAH’s breeding career was at the Hingham Stock Farm of Peter Bradley – Davenport’s partner in the desert horse venture. At Bradley’s, he sired 44 of his 53 foals. To select one superior stallion and then to stay with that horse consistently was something new in Arabian breeding in America, but Bradley did it although he had a number of alternative stallions that could also have been used. It was through the breedings to *HAMRAH at Hingham that most of the key Davenport mare lines were perpetuated, and possibly one of the reasons for *HAMRAH’s great success was that the mares to which he was bred were such a sound foundation for Arabian breeding. The other great stallion of that day, *ABU ZEYD # 110 – also imported by Davenport but from England – had about the same number of foals as *HAMRAH, but much less impact on the breed. Perhaps part of the difference was in the mares to which he was bred.
Among the *HAMRAH daughters of particular note were MOLIAH (dam of HANAD, MONICA, FERDIRAH, NIRAH, and KIRAH), HASIKER (dam of MAKINA [dam of ALLA AMARWARD], and ANTARAH [dam of DHAREBAH, DHARANAH, EL ALAMEIN, DHARANTEZ, and TARA]), MORFDA (dam of STAMBL), SEDJUR (dam of AKIL and BINT SEDJUR), ADOUBA (dam of ORIENTAL), FASAL (dam of MARKADA, KASAR, SALAN, FASALINA, and CARAVAN), KOKHLE (dam of KOKHLESON), TAMARINSK (dam of BABE AZAB), POKA (dam of AATIKA and TRIPOLI). If these and others of *HAMRAH’s get were taken out of the breed, there would be little left, and what there was would be missing some of the brightest ornaments of American Arabian breeding.
Through multiple crosses, *HAMRAH is strongly represented in all presently living 100% Davenport Arabians. There is also a *HAMRAH sire line today in American Arabian breeding, through his son, KILHAM, to NAZEROUX to ASIL.
*EL BULAD #29, grey stallion born 1903, “Sire a Kehilan-Ajuz, Dam a Julfan Stam al Boulad.” As Davenport was on shipboard en route to Arabia, he wrote to a friend, “I am going to bring some of the greatest Jelfons that run the 5 hour races.” (18) In *EL BULAD he had his Jilfan. He wrote of him,
“This young horse is one of rare beauty and conformation. Indeed his well-formed body threatens to eclipse even that of HALEB. His lines are extreamly pleasant and his bone is good and flat. He has shown great ability at the trot though a frictionless galloper. His mother was a war mare of much repute and it took a great deal of influence on the part of Akmet Haffez to persude the branch of the Anezeh near Membij to sell him. He had been in war as a scant two-year-old and as a result will always carry a scar on his right jaw…The Jilfans are noted for the peculiar slant of the shoulder and hip and this horse is a striking example of that peculiarity.” (19)
EL BULAD eventually ended up in the ownership of Albert Harris. Mr. Harris’ 1922 catalog, “The Arabian Horses of Kemah,” has some observations about him as a 19 year old:
“A few years ago on a mountain road in Virginia a motor truck rounding a bend struck him in the flank, tearing a hole that would have put most horses out of commission forever. Since then, he has played polo, besides being hard ridden and driven for many years, in the stud has sired many wonderful colts, and today stands straight and clean without a puff or blemish, except for the scars on his cheek and flank, and still has the courage to do it all over again. A child is safe in his stall and anyone can ride or drive him. He is the head of our stud.” (20)
Elsewhere, Mr. Harris tells of a Scottish horseman — probably a new farm employee — who “had been handling and training other horses for years” and was starting with the Harris Arabians. When Mr. Harris asked him,
“‘What do you think of our little horses, Mac?’ a sly smile stole over his face as he replied, ‘They are not so little as they look.’ ‘Well, no, perhaps not,’ I said, ‘but there is that stallion, EL BULAD; you must think he is small.’ Yes, I did until I rode him and then I thought him as fine a gentleman as I had ever met.'” (21)
*EL BULAD sired 15 registered Arabian foals, and enough of them were used in Arabian breeding so that he is present in numerous pedigrees of current production. By all means, his best-known foal was DAHURA #90, out of NANSHAN #13, by Garaveen out of Nejdme. DAHURA produced 17 foals and through them became one of the most widely distributed foundation mares in American breeding. In an examination of the pedigrees for a randomly selected sample of 80 registrations in Vol. XXX (1976) of the Arabian Horse Registry studbooks, she was present at least once in 37 pedigrees (or 46.25% of the total examined), and in 20 of 37 (25% of the total) she was present at least twice.
*GOMUSA #31: in the 1909 edition of the Arabian Horse Club studbook, his birth date is indicated as 1903, color is given as “brown,” and parentage is given as by a “Seglawi Jedran out of Kehilan Heifi.” It is also indicated that his certificate was sealed by “Hassan Tassen Pasha and Akmut Haffez.” The birth date and parentage information is retained in Vol. I (1912) through Vol. IV (1937) of the Arabian Horse Club studbooks, although the color changes from brown to chestnut in Vol. I. The Raswan Index indicates the same date of birth, color, and strain information concerning his parents, adding additional detail that the dam was “a Kuhaylah-Hayfiyah of Ibn Matra of the RASALIN-QUMUSA-(SABA’ tribe).” (22) (Raswan frequently gives more extensive strain information on Davenport’s imported horses than is available in other sources. Where he got it is not known. Sometimes it is not in agreement with the importation documentation secured by Davenport in the desert and/or other sources.)
The Davenport catalogs of 1906 and 1909-1910 differ from the AHCA studbooks and Raswan in the spelling of the horse’s name which is given with a double ‘s’ so that it appears “GOMUSSA” rather than *GOMUSA as registered. Birthdate given in the catalogs is a year later – 1904. Color in the catalogs is given as bay. Strain of dam, and therefore the horse’s strain, is given as “Maneghieh Sbeyel.” (23) In Davenport’s book on the importation, *GOMUSA is described as a two-year-old and as a “Maneghi Sbeyel,” which would have agreed with his catalogs. (24)
The contradiction of sources boils down to the question of whether *GOMUSA was born in 1903 or 1904, whether he was a Mu’niqi-Sbaili or a Kuhaylan-Haifi, and whether he was bay or chestnut.
Unfortunately, the original pedigree information concerning *GOMUSA obtained in Arabia does not seem to have been preserved, which is true for several other of the Davenport imports. One of the horses purchased by Davenport was a three-year-old Kuhaylan-Haifi stallion obtained from Hassan Tassen Pasha, described as a bay “without a white hair on him.” (25) In the copies of importation certificates which do survive there is one for a “red-brown” three-year-old horse of Kuhaylan-Haifi strain sired by a Saqlawi and whose certificate bears the seals of Hassan Tassen Pasha and Akmet Haffez. This much would agree with the 1909 volume of the Arabian Horse Club studbook. Recent translation of the document indicates that the horse had a white star on the face and a grey mark on a left leg. That would not agree with the description of the horse from Hassan Tassen Pasha as lacking white markings, given in Davenport’s book, but it might be stretched to fit the markings as given in the 1909 studbook, which were left fore foot and white snip. The documentation for this horse is not an original. It is a photocopy. On its lower margin is written, “This colt died the day before we reached the sea coast at Escanderoon. He was a beauty solid bay without white. The doctors only remedy was to have the colt led passed the Grave Yard. His remedy failed.”
In the Blue Catalog, the possibility is mentioned that the importation document of the dead colt was erroneously used in preparing the *GOMUSA entry in the first issue of the Arabian Horse Club studbook. (26) Whether this actually happened or not is a question that will probably never be answered but it points up the fact that 1906 was a long time ago. There are a number of contradictions between studbook entries and other sources of information about various horses which might have been correctable at the time, or at least understood, and which are now simply beyond resolution. That is too bad, but anyone who has tried to figure out personal events of several years ago can see how it can be.
*GOMUSA as an individual was described with enthusiasm by Davenport.
“He stands slightly over 15 hands high without shoes on, is one of the most remarkable built horses any one ever saw, regardless of breed; his back is much shorter than ordinary short-backed horses.” (27) In his book, he says, “He was the most powerfully made horse, I think, it has even been my pleasure to see. His remarkable hips and shoulders were a sight. There was not a flaw in him … one of his eye-balls was white. In this country such a thing would be disliked in a horse, but in the desert it is commonly found.” (28)
The reference to the white eyeball has been taken by some writers to mean that *GOMUSA had a glass eye. That may have been so, but other explanations are also possible. The horse may have merely had a clouded eye. That can happen as a result of injury or infection. Another possible explanation is that the sclera or “white” of one eye was larger in proportion to the iris than in the other eye. This happens from time to time with Arabian horses and would be more likely to fit Davenport’s comment that the characteristic is frequently found in the desert than would the hypothesis of a glass eye, which does not occur frequently in Arabians. The truth is that we do not know what Davenport meant by “eyeball.”
Years ago, Elizabeth Paynter, a Davenport breeder interested in the *GOMUSA line, contacted Carl Raswan in regard to whether *GOMUSA had a glass eye or not. His reply to her was in the negative.
In current Arabians, *GOMUSA is represented through two daughters, SAAIDA #66 and KILLAH #103. Both were out of *HADBA #43, and their descendants are widely scattered through the Arabian breed in America. Among horses tracing to him are several bred by Heritage Hills from LA DONNA, including HERITAGE BEAU and HERITAGE ADONIS. In Davenport breeding, he is represented through lines tracing to EHWAT-ANSARLAH.
*AZRA #32, grey stallion foaled 1903. “Sire a Kehilan-Al-Krush; Dam, a Seglawi-Obeyran.” (29) This was apparently the horse described in My Quest of the Arabian Horse which Davenport brought contrary to the advice of Akmet Haffez, who thought the price was too high. Davenport commented in the book that before the trip was over, he realized that the horse was the poorest one in the group acquired. (30) *AZRA has remained under a cloud because of this comment. Whether it was still warranted as he grew older would be interesting to know as so many Arabians improve with age. He had time for the ripening process. His last foal was sired in 1927, when he was 24 years of age.
*AZRA produced six foals. It happened that they were out of DAHURA #90 and DOMOW #267, two mares which were of great influence in the breed through progeny by various stallions. Their combinations with *AZRA bred on as did their other foals. Some of *AZRA’s best-known descendants came through lines established by CHARMAIN #860, COURIER #2465, and ARDITH #1101.
*DEYR #33, chestnut stallion born 1904. His registration in Volume IV of the Arabian Horse Club studbooks indicates “Sire, a Kehilan-Ajuz; Dam, An Abeyan-Sherrak.” In his Index, Raswan concurs with the registry version, with added particulars. (31) No importation documentation appears to have been preserved for a horse of this strain background.
Davenport writes of his purchase of *DEYR, who was a two-year-old at the time, that
“this little fellow was so full of life that they had to show him with all four feet hobbled, but he understood the hobbles so well that in his pacing motion he managed to make much play.” (32)
In General Dickinson’s discussion of *DEYR it is said that,
“he was a horse of intense vitality and was considered by the late Peter Bradley as the best ‘Davenport’ stallion. Though HALEB has contributed greatly through the success of his daughters, there can be little doubt that the DEYR male line has been the premier line from any Arab stallion imported to the United States directly from Arabia.” (33)
In his lifetime, *DEYR produced 18 foals, 17 of them under ownership of Peter Bradley’s Hingham Stock Farm. Like *HAMRAH, in his stud career he had the benefit of the Hingham mares, and from these his production made him, next to *HAMRAH, the most successful of the Davenport imported stallions. An analysis of 80 pedigrees chosen randomly from the registrations in the AHR studbook Vol. XXX (1976), showed 66 tracing to *DEYR and in over half of those he appeared more than once.
*DEYR was noted as a sire of breeding stallions. His son, HARARA #122 (out of *Haffia #45) sired eighteen foals, a substantial number for the time, but is chiefly remembered as the sire of ANTEZ #448, who was an extremely important sire in this country beginning in 1928. A sire line is still in existence today for *DEYR through his grandson, ANTEZ. Of *DEYR’s own sons, the best known was HANAD. He is represented in current breeding through sire lines tracing to several of his sons, including IBN HANAD (through Tsali and other Sunny Acres breeding), HANRAH (though Ibn Hanrah in the Donoghue breeding program) and TRIPOLI, used extensively in 100% Davenport production. Both HANAD and ANTEZ were successful in the production of mares of equal merit to their sons.
Like his sons, *DEYR was a successful sire of mares. His daughter, AMRAN (out of *Wadduda #30) is probably the most famous of his female production. She was the dam of JADAAN (by *Abbeian #111), Valentino’s mount in some movie scenes, and FASAL (by *Hamrah #28), considered by Raswan to be the best of the early Kellogg mares and dam of CARAVAN, FASALINA, KASAR, SALAN, and others.
*MOWARDA #34, grey stallion, foaled 1904. Vol. IV of the AHC studbook indicates “Sire, an Abeyan-Sherrak; Dam a Kehilan-Ajuz.” He left no foals, which may have been a great loss for American Arabian breeding as his dam was a famous mare among the Anazeh, who would not permit either her or any of her female line to be sold. She was referred to in Davenport’s book:
“When I asked if she was ‘Chubby,’ the Bedouin smiled, and almost laughed, when he said ‘Kehilan Ajuz,’ which is equivalent to saying, ‘Rather, she’s the dam of all that is chubby.’ She was a picture, though she had no jibbah, or bulging forehead. On the contrary her forehead was as flat as a board, but her eyes were far apart and set in peculiar Japanese slant. They were turned up at the outer corners like those of a chorus-girl with a 1907 make-up. There was the same stately dignity about her that WADDUDA had; she looked like a fine lady of quality in the presence of a lot of cooks at an employment agency.” (34)
*KUSOF #34, bay stallion foaled 1904, Arabian Horse Club studbook Vol. IV indicate both sire and dam of the “Maneghi-Hedruj” strain. However, the Davenport catalog of 1909-1910 gives his sire as a Jilfan Stam El Bulad. The importation documentation simply indicates that he was of the Mu’niqi family. He was purchased at the same time as *DEYR and *EL BULAD.
*KUSOF is represented in Arabian breeding through one daughter, SAMIT #153 (out of *Haffia #45). Out of a lifetime production of eleven foals, her line is traced today through four: SUFFARA, SURA, ZIKI and FADIL. The family spread rapidly through the early studbooks, and by the third generation of removal, *KUSOF had 19 descendants. In the fourth generation, the number was up to 43. Present-day *KUSOF lines are mainly represented in early California breeding in combination with FARANA (for instance, the mare MAILAT #1487), through the use of the mare LA PLATITA #2831, and through the Jimmie Wrench mare, MAHBUBA #732. There is also a line preserved today through SAHANAD, a mare of nearly 100% Davenport breeding (one line gong to the Hamidie stallion, *OBEYRAN), and her foals by Davenport and Egyptian stallions.
*EUPHRATES #36, chestnut stallion, foaled 1905. He was a full brother to *HAMRAH #28, by a Hamdani-Simri stallion and out of *URFAH #40, a Saqlawiyah-Jidraniyah. At the time of purchase, *EUPHRATES was only a yearling. At that age, Davenport described him as even finer than his brother *HAMRAH.” (35) In his catalog of 1909-1910, representing a later assessment, Davenport describes *EUPHRATES as “possibly a more beautiful horse than HAMRAH though not so large but of about the same perfect model and same perfect disposition.” (36)
*EUPHRATES had a much more limited opportunity at stud than did his brother, producing only four foals. Of these, JERREDE #84 (registered as out of *Nejdme #1) is of special interest in Arabian breeding both because it furnished an opportunity for the continuation of the *NEJDME line and because JERREDE himself was – as would be expected from his breeding – an extremely attractive horse that had caught the eye of W.R.Brown. Brown wanted his Arabians to have registration with the Jockey Club as well as the Arabian Horse Club. Mainly because of personal considerations of some previous years, the Davenport horses were not so registered, which caused JERREDE, the son of a Davenport stallion, not to be so registered. Brown went to considerable trouble to remove obstacles for Jockey Club registration of *EUPHRATES and ended up with the desired registration of JERREDE. The effort had taken a considerable amount of time, and by then Brown seemed to no longer have need for JERREDE in his breeding program, most likely because he had slanted his breeding efforts towards more recently imported lines. (For more on the Jockey Club registration of JERREDE, see “At the Beginning,” Arabian Horse News, May, 1974.)
JERREDE was involved, incidentally, with one of those interesting ventures in Arabian breeding which was not carried further in that he was the sire of D’JEMELI #180, who was out of NAZLET #161, a Huntington-bred Mu’niqiyah mare. In an effort to reconstruct the Mu’niqi strain, D’JEMELI’s daughter MATIH #469 (by Sargon) was bred to NASIN (Sinbad/Nazami) twice, producing foals in which the Mu’niqi strain predominated. The studbooks indicate Mr. Howard Ray as the breeder. This is, no doubt, the same Howard Ray mentioned by Raswan as in Arabia in 1927 in search of pure-in-strain Mu’niqi breeding stock. Raswan is generally credited with guidance in the Ray breeding program. Unfortunately, it was another instance of a promising start towards saving a particular type of Arabian which was not continued, and at present the breeding it represented has blended in with other bloodlines.
The major bloodline through which *EUPHRATES enters into modern breeding is through SLIPPER, out of his daughter, SABOT. SLIPPER was used extensively at the Selby Stud, and her female line is found in many horses today. An example would be AARFATE #13395, a well-known breeding stallion of several years back.
*ANTAR #37, bay stallion born 1906, by a Saqlawi-Jidran out of a Kuhaylah-Haifiyah. He appears as a foal on the importation document of his dam, *RESHAN #38. According to the Davenport catalog of 1909, his sire was sold to the Italian government for 900 pounds Turkish (about $3600), (37) at that time a high price, which would, for instance, buy a fine home in America and who knows how many average Bedouins such a sum would have supported in luxury for a year?
Little has come into the literature about *ANTAR. His last registered foal was sired in the season of 1912, the year of Davenport’s death. He is not represented in current pedigrees.
*MOHARRA #47, chestnut stallion, foaled 1907, thus imported in utero. According to the 1909-1910 Davenport catalog, his sire was the same Saqlawi stallion which sired *ANTAR #37. His dam is given in the same catalog and in the 1909 Arabian Horse Club studbook as *ABEYAH # 39. Interestingly, her name is omitted in his entry Vol. I, copyright 1913, and succeeding volumes nor is he given in the progeny listings for *ABEYAH contained in these volumes. He had no registered get.
*ABBEIAN #111 grey stallion reported as foaled in 1889 by Arabian Horse Club studbooks beginning with Vol. I (1913). In Vol. I his strain is given as “Abbeyan Dahra.” By Vol. III (1927), the strain is changed to “Abeyan-Dahwah,” and in Vol. IV it is “Abeyan-Dahwak.” Vol I does not indicate his importer, but by Vol. III it is given as Homer Davenport, 1906. In Vol. III his markings are given as “none.”
There is a long-time question among students of Arabian horse breedings as to whether this is the same horse as a grey stallion named “Abbeian” and later referred to as “Abeya” or “Abeyan” which was imported by the Hamidie Society for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. In either case, by long-term usage. *ABBEIAN #111 as registered is considered a Davenport bloodline.
The Hamidie Society horse is listed in the Jan. 4, 1894, auction catalog of Tattersall’s of Chicago, Limited, as follows: “Abbeian, Grey Stallion 14 3/4 hands, foaled 1888; white nose; bred Abeyan-Dahra.” The Hamidie Society Abbeian apparently found his way into the stable of Peter Bradley of Hingham, Massachusetts, and thence to the ownership of Homer Davenport, who referred to him in his catalog titled “The Worlds Fair Arabians” of 1906-1907 under the name “Abeya.” “bred 1888.” The term “bred” is often used by Davenport to indicate “foaled.” Probably that is the meaning intended.
*ABBEIAN is registered out of sequence with the other original Davenports, but then, so is *MASOUD #64. Three horses known to have been in the desert importation of 1906 were not registered at all, so he may have been one for which registration had been delayed for some reason. No importation document exists for *ABBEIAN. That is also true for a number of other horses in the importation. No strain is given for the sire of *ABBEIAN, which is also true for a number of the other horses for which there is importation documentation, including some of the most highly regarded. Frequently such horses are registered as having sire and dam of identical strain, which is possibly correct.
The case has been made, most recently by Gladys Brown Edwards, that *ABBEIAN #111 and the Hamidie Society horse were the same animal, but that is not a comfortable case. If *ABBEIAN #111 was a Hamidie Society horse, the Arabian Horse Club could just as well have registered him accordingly. Carl Raswan in entries 31 and 32 of his Index lists *ABBEIAN and the Hamidie Society horse as different individuals, distinguishing between birth dates, importers, strain names, and calling attention to the “white nose” of the Hamidie Society horse. Raswan had personal contact with the Bradley breeding establishment in arranging the purchase of JADAAN #196, a son of *ABBEIAN, and he subsequently had opportunities to know JADAAN well, caring for him, writing for publication about him, and even doubling for Rudolf Valentino as his rider in the movies. Raswan’s friends and foes alike would agree that the man was fascinated almost to obsession with the pedigrees of Arabian horses. It would have been completely out of character for him to have had close contact with JADAAN, both in purchase and as a horseman, without informing himself as to the obvious pedigree data concerning the horse’s sire, *ABBEIAN #111, and at that early point in Arabian breeding in America, the data should not have been difficult to obtain.
The Blue Arabian Horse Catalog of Jane Llewellyn Ott enters *ABBEIAN as being imported by Davenport. Carol Woodbridge Mulder in Volumes I and II of Imported Foundation Stock of North American Arabian Horses treats the subject rather extensively, concluding that there were two horses. She accounts for the non-sequential registration of *ABBEIAN and his absence from Davenport’s farm catalog on the grounds that he might have been a gift horse received on the trip by one of Davenport’s companions on the expedition. (38) The same explanation could also account for the absence of an importation document for him.
The Douthit index cards for Davenport horses were probably authoritative for what was known on the subject through approximately 1950. They treat *ABBEIAN #111 as imported by Davenport.
*ABBEIAN #111 had six foals. He is best known for his son JADAAN, who fell out of favor with some of those recording history of Kellogg breeding, but nevertheless sired twenty-one foals – a production which has had a good influence on Arabian breeding. Among *ABBEIAN’s daughters, SHERIA #110 is widely distributed in the breed through her daughters SHERLET and POKA, who produced AATIKA and TRIPOLI. The POKA line was a very fruitful one and perhaps best known because it was POKA’s daughter AATIKA #590, which bred to *SAOUD #697, produced RASASAH #1141, who was the outcross basis upon which much of the Alice Payne inbreeding with *RAFFLES was done. That may seem pretty far removed from POKA and of course, still further from *ABBEIAN, but tiny elements in a pedigree make a vital difference in an in-breeding program. Mrs. Payne felt that the contribution of POKA to her success was substantial and that it worked the best of the foundation lines which she had tried, including the most likely of the premier Arabian lines then available in the United States.
*ABBEIAN’s son ASHMAR #156 (out of Satwan #100) produced KOKHLESON (out of the *Hamrah-Farha mare, Kokhle), through which the *ABBEIAN line also continues at present. FRANKOKHLA #1646 was a daughter of KOKHLESON. She and her sister KOKHLANZA #2638 were foundation mares at Manion Canyon. FRANKOKHLA was especially known as the dam of RUFFLES, one of the most striking of the *RAFFLES sons, and RADIANT, dam of RADIO. There is a special “Arab” quality about the KOKHLESON line that often catches the eye. It is very evident in various lines of descent as in the above-named horses, in SKYLINE KOKHLETA #7617, a direct daughter of KOKHLESON still producing, and in IBN T’CHAKA, out of a mare inbred to KOKHLESON, IBN T’CHAKA made quite an impression at the 1980 Nationals, performing the airs above the ground to the rhythm of his own drummer.
Discussion of the KOKHLESON line should end with mention of the work of Reba Troxell and Esther Oliver in preserving one branch of it. Miss Troxell bought her first Arabian horse from W.R.Brown in 1926. For years, she and Mrs Oliver had a small place in urban Burlington, New Jersey. They managed to keep horses in a truly backyard situation since that was all the room they had. Because of the necessity for urban sanitation, the horses were housebroken. They acquired the aged mare, HALLOUL, of all Davenport breeding, and bred her to KOKHLESON, a son of their mare, KOKHLE, producing two foals. One of these, RALF #3448, was then bred to the Davenport mare, ALASKA, which they had acquired for that purpose. Of the resulting foals, one continues the *ABBEIAN sire line today. One, FASHA #28774, was a Legion of Merit winning gelding, and one is a brood mare in active production of completely Davenport progeny. A son of their stallion Ralf out of a different mare was El IBTIDA #11247, East Coast Champion Stallion.
The contributions of backyard breeders to the preservation of the Arabian breed is often overlooked. They can be very significant. In this case, lines of breeding were preserved which were rare and obviously worthwhile.
An equally important contribution of these backyard breeders was the friendly personal leadership of the two ladies in the Arabian horse community developing in the East, beginning during the 1950s. Those were the good old days when an Arabian horse meeting was an adventure, any Arabian owner was an old friend, and a horse show was place where you enjoyed the other fellow’s horse about as much as your own.
ARTHUR MOORE’S MU’NIQI: grey stallion whose importation document showed him to be in his sixth year, of the Mu’niqi-Hadruj family, sired by an “Abayyan-Sharrak. This was apparently a gift horse to Arthur Moore, possibly the one described as a five-year-old “Maneghi Hedruj.” (39) The same horse is apparently referred to in Davenport’s letter to his family written in Naples en route home as belonging to Arthur Moore, who wanted Davenport to sell it for him. In Arthur Moore’s scrapbook for the trip, there is a captioned photograph of the horse being loaded aboard ship, so there is no question that the animal was a part of the importation. (40)
ARTHUR MOORE’S MU’NIQI was not registered and, of course, has no progeny in the AHC studbooks. He does not appear in the Davenport catalogs of the importation known to the writer.
SIMRI: chestnut stallion whose importation documentation shows him to have been a two-year-old in 1906. His dam is given as a “Hamdaniah El-Semary” and his sire a “Kehelan El-Aguj.” He is listed as a chestnut Hamdani-Simri colt foaled 1903 in the Davenport Desert Arabian Stud catalog of 1906. This particular catalog is restricted in its entries to the bloodlines imported in 1906.
The documentation for SIMRI’s importation is a photograph of an original document. On the lower margin of the photograph is written in Davenport’s hand, “SIMRI Chestnut since gelded.” The word “Simri” is crossed out by a different writing instrument and the word “Deyr” written by it. The correction was probably done in error. The pedigree does not agree in strain with that of *DEYR as that horse is registered. *DEYR and “SIMRI” were both specifically listed in the same catalog, so clearly there were two horses having the names “DEYR” and “SIMRI.” Finally *DEYR was not dignified by the same operation which eliminated SIMRI as a prospective sire, as *DEYR was siring foals as late as 1921.
SIMRI was not registered and has no registered progeny.
Although much more is known about the Davenport importation than is known about any other major group of imported animals with which the writer is familiar, obviously much is not known. The Davenport book is fascinating and full of good, solid information, but it simply cannot be used as a complete guide to the importation. Other documentation does not fill all the gaps.
One good question is “How many horses were imported?” The book, My Quest of the Arabian Horse, gives 27 as the number in several places, and Davenport’s letter in route home gives the same figure. Other sources give lesser numbers, and only 24 were registered, exclusive of in-utero imports. There is no good reason to doubt that the figure of 27 is correct. The importation contained mares of record, leaving a balance of 17. Of the stallions, 14 (including *ABBEIAN #111) were registered. There were two unregistered imports, SIMRI and ARTHUR’S GREY, with import documents, leaving one horse lacking to complete the total of twenty-seven. This must have been the gift horse to Jack Thompson mentioned in Davenport’s book (41) and in his letter dated 9/16/06 from Naples, Italy.
Mrs Carol Mulder indicates that of the horses in the Davenport importation, three unregistered stallions were returned to the desert “because of trachoma eye infections.” (42) Upon query, she does not recall the source of this information, which is not at all to say that there was no source. Nevertheless, the information is difficult to fit in with the record of what is actually known to have been imported to the United States and retained here. one might also ask whether such horses would have been worth the expense and trouble of return to the Middle East.
The total number of horses registered by the Arabian Horse Club as imported from Arabia in 1906 by Homer Davenport is 25. This includes *MOHARRA, who was imported in utero, but it does not include the other in-utero registrations, which were SALEEFY #70, MELEKY #63, and SEBHA #59. If the early registrations of the Arabian Horse Registry are ever revised, from the point of view of technical accuracy, the names of these three mares should be preceded by asterisks, indicating that they were imported.
Compared with information available concerning other horses exported from “Arabia Deserta,” the sources of information about the Davenport 1906 imports are plentiful, even lavish. This is so much the case that it is almost embarrassing because, as would be expected with any complex event of 75 years ago, not all of them are in complete agreement. The differences involve little points which seldom have any bearing on Arabian breeding today. Nevertheless, it is tempting to try to figure them out, as has been done in this article and its companion piece, “There is Nothing Like A Dame,” Arabian Horse Journal, January, 1981 issue.
The major source of information about the Davenport importation in his book, My Quest of Arabian Horse. This is one of the most entertaining of all Arabian horse books and would be good reading simply as a travel book. It gives a straight-forward account of his trip to the desert with many particulars about individual horses. There are some references to horses concerning pedigree and acquisition which are impossible to correlate exactly with the horses known to have been imported. Most likely, this is because the book is not a complete, continuous story. It was first published in 1909, but major portions of it appear to have been written very shortly after the expedition itself and published in serial form in the Woman’s Home Companion. These chapters have the advantage of telling the story while events were still fresh in Davenport’s mind, but perhaps some inconsistencies and incomplete accounts might have been corrected if the work had been done later. Perhaps imperfections of this sort did not bother Davenport too much. He was an artist and journalist by profession, and the impact of immediate news was of primary concern to him. He was not one to let trifling details impede the flow of a good story.
The various catalogs prepared by Davenport for his horses provide valuable information which is supplemental to this book. There are several of these known to the writer. The first, titled “The Davenport Desert Arabian Stud,” is copyrighted 1906 according to its cover page, but it has entries for several foals of 1907, so apparently the cover page is used from a previous catalog. From the text of this catalog, it would appear to be an explanation of an exhibition of Davenport’s 1906 imports at Louisville, Kentucky. The concluding paragraph is of interest to Arabian breeders for the light it casts on why Arabian horses were imported to America in the first place:
“Having decided to submit our imported Desert Arabs to the judgment of Kentuckians, who are perhaps the most critical horsemen in the world, we wish to explain briefly that as yet these horses have not become fully acclimated, some of them having been very sick a month before shipping to Louisville. They have not been handled in this country for either speed, action or show purposes of any kind. They have not even been accorded the attention ordinarily given show horses. You see them simply as they came from the hands of the Bedouins with whom their sole merit lay in their weight, gallop and endure. We ask you to bear these facts in mind in passing judgment upon these horses. to judge them by the standards and under the classification of a civilized horse show would be doing them an unjustice. We know however by experience and by the history of the accomplishments of Arab blood that they are the most adaptable horse in the world, and we believe that from the loins of this importation will spring horses that will be champions of American horse show rings in future days.”
A second catalog of 1906-1907 is titled “The World’s Fair Arabians,” and is primarily concerned with Davenport’s horses that were not from the 1906 desert importation. Most of them had ties to the Hamidie Society importation for the Chicago World’s Fair, 1893.
A third catalog for the years 1906-1907 is titled “The Davenport Desert Arabian Stud 1906-1907,” bearing on its cover a head picture of a grey horse framed in oval lines. It contains much of the basic material used in the subsequent catalog of 1909-1910.
The catalog of Davenport’s horses most commonly available at the present time is titled “Davenport Desert Arabian Stud.” On the upper left corner of the cover page 1909 appears. On the upper right corner, 1910. It was a fine service for the Arabian breed when this catalog was reprinted in 1967 by Best Publishing Company. This catalog appears to cover all of Davenport’s horses including the ones of Hamidie Society bloodlines, but its primary concern, in general preservation as well as individual horses, is with the 1906 importation. Much of the introduction and many of the entries – especially those concerning the imported mares – is identical with the 1906-1907 catalog. The special value of these entries is that they were written while the trip was still fresh in Davenport’s mind.
Their shortcoming is that they do not reflect modifications or corrections that might have been in order because of contemplation or increased knowledge. Certain of the stallion entries, however, notably of *HAMRAH, *HALEB, *MUSON, and *EL BULAD, were expanded appropriately. One wishes the same could have been done at least for other key individuals.
The Davenport importation documents: When the Arabian Horse Club Registry was still located in Chicago, the writer visited them with the hope that many questions could be resolved by examination of original importation documentation of early horses. The office staff was very cordial, but it seemed that very little of such material had been preserved by the Registry. Some years later, it developed that Mr. and Mrs. H.O.Bell of Missoula, Montana, through a contact with the estate of Peter Bradley, Davenport’s partner in many horse ventures, had possession of much of the documentation for the Davenport horses, as well as a scrapbook prepared by one of the participants in the trip. The writer visited the Bells, who were most gracious, in February of 1968, and was privileged to examine their material. The documentation for the Davenport imported horses consisted of certificates of desert origin and photographic copies of such certificates. These were in Arabic and were not translated, but there were notations on the backs of some of them containing pedigree information which had apparently been done at the time of the expedition. It was not practical to copy these notations completely, but notes were made concerning them.
Some time later, the writer was furnished photocopies of the faces of the documents themselves by Mr. M.G.Hickman, who had them from Mr. and Mrs. Bell. These photocopies were subsequently translated as regards pedigree information by Mr. M.A.El-Fouly, Ain Shamsa University, Cairo, U.A.R., at that time doing graduate work at the University of Illinois. (For information concerning verification of these documents at the time of the Davenport importation, see “At the Beginning,” Arabian Horse News, May, 1974 issue.)
So, there are a number of primary sources concerning the pedigrees of Davenport horses: (1) the book, My Quest of the Arabian Horse, (2) Davenport’s catalogs of his desert horses, (3) the notations on the back of the desert documents, and (4) the El-Fouly translations of these documents.
In general, these sources agree pretty well, but they do not agree completely. The strain of the sire of *KUSOF, for instance, is given as Mu’niqi-Hadruj on the back of the importation document, as Jilfan Stam el Bulad in the catalogs, and is absent in the El-Fouly translation. The studbook shows it to be “Maneghi Hedrug,” It is tempting to take the El-Fouly translation of the pedigree as authoritative, but this may not be completely fair because the other sources were written either during the trip or shortly thereafter, and may well contain information which is not included on the importation document itself.
A final source of information on the Davenport pedigrees is Carl Raswan, most easily available as an authority in his Index. He had direct personal knowledge of many of the early Davenport horses, including one and possibly more of the imported animals. He had apparently had contact with the Bradley breeding establishment where many of the early Davenports were kept and bred from. During an expedition to Arabia in 1927, he had close contact with the family of Akmet Haffez and even employed as a guide a son of Akmet Haffez who had accompanied the Davenport party in 1906. (43) On the same trip he discussed the pedigrees of the horses obtained by Davenport with the same Hashem Bey who had certified a number of them and, in fact, had even owned *WADDUDA. With several exceptions, Raswan confirmed the pedigrees of the imported horses as registered by the Arabian Horse Club, and frequently he gives interesting supplemental detail. As has been noted, however, he is sometimes rather significantly in contradiction with the importation documents and other sources.
It is difficult to make any simple, generalized summary about the stallions of the 1906 Davenport importation. Most of them were juveniles at the time of acquisition by Davenport. They were selected by a person who did not have professional expertise as a horseman. There were pedigree relationships between some of them, but for the most part they appear to have been chosen as representatives of differing strains of Bedouin horses. They were selected from the relatively small number of “asil” horses in use by the Bedouins in Davenport’s time.
In America, a few did not leave enduring lines, but most of them did. Some made major contributions to the breed, most notably *HAMRAH, whose daughters are a vital foundation of American breeding. Some of the stallions *HAMRAH, *MUSON,*DEYR, and *ABBEIAN – established sire lines which are still active today, 75 years after their importation. This is especially remarkable in the context of the historical bias in American Arabian breeding in favor of the newly imported sire. Out of fairness, it should be observed that there were numerous excellent stallions of different bloodlines contemporary with the finest Davenports which have unfortunately vanished or dwindled in their influence.
The breeding history of the Davenport stallions was so inseparable linked with that of their companion mares of the importation that it is impossible to separate the influence of the two groups. One of the greatest values of the breeding resource which they jointly represented was that it combined so well with non-Davenport bloodlines. Not their least service was that matings by these animals with such bloodlines sometimes provided the main opportunities for these bloodlines, too, to be preserved as an American heritage.
A final contribution of the Davenport stallions was that they projected a force within the limits of the Davenport importation that continues the Davenport breeding group into our current American Arabian breeding as a cohesive genetic element containing the essentials of desert type and character.