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.

When I was nine years old, I made my first trip to Kelloggs. I was very excited about seeing real Arabian horses. I don’t know what I expected, but somehow I was disappointed to see what looked to me like regular horses doing the same things I had seen other regular horses do at horse shows and circuses. Oh, sure, they were fat and slick and they seemed to carry their tails much higher than most horses I had seen, but they didn’t look like the paintings.

JADAAN restored my faith that there really was such a thing as an Arabian horse when he came charging into the ring with robes flying in the air. He looked like what I thought an Arabian should look like. I didn’t even notice whether the rider had on glasses or a wrist watch; I knew I was seeing a real Arabian horse.

We made many trips to Kelloggs over the next few years. I came to appreciate the fact that these other regular horses were also Arabians and had those characteristics distinctive to the breed.

I then learned that the ancestors, for the most part, of these former regular horses, had come from England, while JADAAN’s sire had come from the desert of Arabia. I knew I had been right all the time. JADAAN was a real Arabian and those regular horses were imposters. How could Arabians come from England? To a 10- or 12-year-old kid this was a confusing state of affairs.

As I became more interested in Arabians, I found that our Arabians in America had come from many places, including England, France, Poland, Spain, Egypt, and that there also had been an importation of 27 horses direct from the desert of Arabia to America in 1906. This importation was made by Homer Davenport and thus these horses are referred to as “Davenports.” I would recommend Homer Davenport’s book, My Quest of the Arabian Horse, to all those who are interested in the background of the Arabian horse. I find this book very interesting, as Davenport goes into considerable detail as to just what qualities the Bedouin horse breeders valued in their horses. These comments are invaluable to those who want to produce the authentic Bedouin-type Arabian horse.

During the 1940’s I was in my teens and growing up with horses. When we had visitors to our ranch such as Carl Raswan, John Douthit or Jimmy Wrench, the talk always got around to the Davenport horses.

Carl knew many of the original Davenport horses, having purchased from Peter Bradley, the man who financed Davenport’s trip, a group of these pure Davenports, including JADAAN. Carl also purchased two more groups of pure Davenports from F. E. Lewis which included LETAN 86 and ANTEZ 448. These horses all came to California in the early 1920’s and that is why most of the present-day pure Davenports trace to California breeders.

By the 1940’s most of the pure Davenports were scattered across the country and either no or very little attempt had been made to perpetuate the pure Davenport breeding. John Douthit had GAMIL 1427 (Kasar 707 – Schilan 706). GAMIL, one of the most beautiful of the pure Davenport mares, produced IBN HANAD 4165. Jimmy Wrench was trying to collect a herd of pure Davenport horses. While Jimmy was able to get a few mares, he never was able to find a stallion that suited him.

In those days, things Arabians were far different from what they are now. We had no Arabian magazines, not even Arabian shows until 1946. Breeding Arabians was more a matter of convenience then. Very few people could take the effort to trailer a mare any distance to a stallion. Of course, during the war years, there was the problem of gasoline, and, even after the war, horse trailers were not at all as common as they are today. In order to locate horses of a particular bloodline, such as pure Davenports, you would take the stud book and start with the imported horse and check all their offspring and their offspring’s offspring, making certain that the horses they were bred to were of the desired bloodline. We did have one advantage, though. All the horses were in one stud book.

Jimmy Wrench was the best tracer of Davenport horses, as his job kept him on the road, and Jimmy always had time for a side trip to see horses. Jimmy knew almost every pure Davenport horse in existence, but the problem then was getting the owners to sell. If it was a mare he wanted and couldn’t get the owner to sell, he would often try to get the owner to breed her to a Davenport stallion.

ANTEZ 448 was about the only pure Davenport stallion in southern California, and he met an untimely death in 1943.

My folks went to Texas in 1945 or 1946 and bought HANAD 489 (*Deyr 33 – Sankirah 149). HANAD was pure Davenport and equally as well known as ANTEZ. We have owned several well-known Arabians such as *RAFFLES 952, *RASEYN 597, and *AZIZA 888, but to me there was always something special about HANAD. He had been at the Kellogg ranch in the early 30’s and was trained to jump rope, Spanish walk, and other dressage gaits. Somewhere in his travels he had broken one of his front legs. He stood with this leg bent at the knee. When we would put a halter on him and bring him out, you would forget all about his broken leg. He was all show horse. He reminded me of Jim Kline’s *TALAL, gentle as a kitten in his stall, but all fire and 20 feet tall when you showed him off.

Many of the people who had pure Davenport mares brought them to HANAD, and some beautiful foals were produced. Best known, of course, was IBN HANAD.

I could only dream about owning an Arabian mare. Even though prices were much lower than today, my income was even lower.

One day we had a visitor at the ranch, a Mr. Alvin Yoder of Corcoran, California. Mr. Yoder had had Arabians for years but was now wanting to retire. He had an old mare that he wanted to find a home for. He would sell her at a very reasonable price. Her name was POKA 438. We looked her up in the stud book and found she was pure Davenport. She was by *HAMRAH 28, the leading sire of all the Davenport horses. *HAMRAH was imported from the desert in 1906. She was out of SHERIA 110, who was by *ABBEIAN 111 (the sire of Jadaan) and out of *URFAH 40, the dam of *HAMRAH. As far as I was concerned, this was the cream of the Davenport horses. Mr. Yoder told me she wasn’t in very good condition and was 25 years old.

I bought her sight unseen, a mare that was seven years older than I was, to breed to a stallion who was six years older than I was. Even though the price was reasonable, $250, it was still 25% of my annual income.

I drove to Corcoran to pick up POKA. She was showing her age. Her worst problem was her eyes. They were irritated, and the lower lids were swollen. We would bathe her eyes several times a day, and that seemed to make her more comfortable.

I bred her to HANAD in early 1947. She presented me with a stud foal on February 28, 1948. The baby was very weak and had extremely crooked front legs. I was sick about his legs, but everyone told me they would straighten and, sure enough, they did.

Carrying the foal and feeding him was hard on POKA and she died shortly after we weaned the baby. She was a very sweet dispositioned mare and a good mother.

I named the foal TRIPOLI, a name that had stuck in my mind from the North African campaign of World War II.

In the summer of 1950 the North Koreans attacked South Korea, and I found myself in the Army. I lost my interest in horses and asked my Mother to sell TRIPOLI.

Twenty years later the flame of my romance with the Arabian horse was rekindled. I visited Charles Craver in southern Illinois, the man who had purchased TRIPOLI. Charles is without question the most knowledgeable person concerning the Davenport horses I have ever met.

It is a funny thing that my time in the service resulted in my losing interest in horses, while Charles found his interest in the Davenport horses as a result of his time in the service. Charles was in the Navy during the Korean War and was stationed in the San Francisco Bay area. On his free time he would visit Arabian breeders. On one of these visits he met Jimmy Wrench and came under the spell of the romance of the Davenport horses.

In the summer of 1970 I visited Charles Craver and TRIPOLI. It was a gratifying experience to get to talk to Charles and to find that he values TRIPOLI for the very same reasons I had in mind when I bred him.

TRIPOLI had been produced with due regard to the family strains of the parents and with a desire to produce a pure Davenport offspring. It was my hope before the mating had been made that the foal to be could play a part in the continuation of the pure Davenport horses. The key part TRIPOLI has played in the continuation of the pure Davenports was beyond my wildest expectations.

Another interesting aspect to the story of POKA and the Davenport horses is that today all but three of the horses on our ranch trace to POKA. My Mother started, like most breeders, with a very divergent group of horses. Not only did we have many different types of Arabians, but very diverse bloodlines. We had Polish, Egyptian, English, South American–you name it and we had it.

A few years ago I talked to my Mother about the fact that she had eliminated all those other lines. She told me that for her purposes of extremely intensive inbreeding to SKOWRONEK through *RAFFLES and *RASEYN she had found her Davenport bottom lines the most dependable.

One of the values of the Davenport horses, in my opinion, is their closeness to the desert in terms of generations. From what I have read and observed, our western ideas concerning the appearance of an Arabian horse are sometimes in conflict with the ideas of the desert Bedouin. What I am saying is that some of us may value short speed, size, high leg action, an extended trot, color, etc., while in the desert, as the Emir Abd-el-Kader says. “Color counts for nothing, size for little, and blood is everything.”

Many of the travelers to the desert criticized the conformation of the Arabian horses and the breeding ideas of the Bedouins, but most of them were astounded by the soundness and endurance of the Arabian horse. And, after all, it is we who value their horse and not the other way around.