The BEDOUIN TENT: *WADDUDA ‘The Great War Mare’

by Jack Kenning
Three K Arabians
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Arabian Visions May 1988

This article is sort of a labor of love. The story of *WADDUDA and the Davenport importation aroused my interest in history and bloodlines when we first got involved in Arabians some 18 years ago. Our first pure blood, my ever beloved personal mare, ALDEBARANN was by FERONEK out of the DHAREB daughter, FARHAN. Our Sr. Lady, my first Arab love, our 30-year-old ZARA EL TEHRAN, now deceased, traces to *WADDUDA three times, through AABAZEM (Tabab-Domow), FARHAN (Dhareb – Moliah), and HANAD (Sankirah – Moliah) ; the dam of our 28-year-old RASIFA was DAANA RA by *RASEYN out of RAIDAANA by JADAAN.

*Wadduda 30

Although the Davenport importation of 1906 did not begin Arabian breeding in the U.S., it gave a major impetus and also was a factor in the formation of the Arabian Horse Registry of America. There were then perhaps 50 Arabians in this country largely derived from Hamidie Society stock brought in for the Chicago World Exposition, English horses of Lady Anne Blunt, Rev. Vidal, Miss Dillon, etc. There were a few established studs, those of Huntington, Borden, Ramsdell, and Peter Bradley, Davenport’s financial backer and partner of sorts; Davenport himself owned some Arabians. His idea was to bring to the U.S. horses of actual Bedouin breeding in actual use by the horse breeding tribes.

Even equipped with a letter from Pres. Theodore Roosevelt and a special permit (Irade) from Abdul Hamid II, the Turkish sultan, Davenport’s success was derived from several lucky breaks. He went in the summer, though the temperature was hot (reported as +120 in Aleppo) it happened to be the time when the nomadic Bedouin were pasturing in the northern desert fairly close at hand. When he and his companions arrived in Aleppo, he had somewhat the feeling of where do we go from here. While shopping in the Suuk (market) he met an Anazeh Bedouin who offered to take him to Achmet Heffez, an old Anazeh Shaikh who resided there as diplomatic representative/liaison to the Turkish government. A fortunate blunder. Personal honor ranks high in the Bedouin value system. Old Achmet Haffez was so overwhelmed and pleased at this honor paid to him and the Bedouin that he undertook to guide Davenport to the encampments of the Anazeh, to Hashem Bey. Shaikh of all Shaikhs of the Fid’an and to personally oversee his purchases. It also produced the first fruit of the expedition. In Bedouin tradition, Achmet Haffez conveyed to Davenport a gift, presenting him with none other than the famed war mare *Wadduda.

*Wadduda had been for several years the favorite personal mare of Hashem Bey, and a gift of him to Achmet Haffez. In his book, Davenport describes her entrance, his first meeting with her, ridden by Ali, eldest son of Achmet Haffez—in a moment into the courtyard she came tearing towards them, all afire, bouncing tassels, blue beads in her highly carried tail, such hock action, and her eyes fairly sparkled. Her name in Arabic has meaning of love/affection. Achmet Haffez in an emotional voice said that when you speak her name it shall bear witness of his regard and the gift and acceptance will be the foundation of their friendship and brotherhood without end.

A child of the desert she was. It is said that she did not seem to like the confines of her life in town. Davenport recounts the evening of their departure from Aleppo, he riding her. Over the dirt and rocky road they rode, she fretted. Davenport felt that perhaps it was the strange rider and clothes. Then just at sunset, they came to the edge of the desert. *Wadduda stopped, as if paying tribute to the closing day. Salat Al-Maghrib, sunset prayer. Then, with a quick toss of her head she began to cavort and play. He settled deep in the saddle and let her frolic. Finally, she stopped short, snorted, and broke into a gallop with a delightful spring. It was a return home for her, the call of the nomadic life, of raids and races, open air under the canopy of stars, as opposed to the confines of her corral in town. Ears alert, she pranced, eyes blazing with intense satisfaction. Davenport said that during this, he too had been carried back to his boyhood dreams and fantasies, was surprised to find his cheeks wet; he had been crying without being aware of it, realizing then who and what she was and what she meant to him. Such was the true *Wadduda, mare of the desert.

One of *Wadduda’s famed exploits was a ride in pursuit of a caravan from Iskanderoon to Aleppo, some 106 miles in 11 hours (a feat equal to The Tevis Cup Ride in time & distance) and prior to that feat to have had a pastern damaged in war/raid; she is also recorded as bearing lance wound scars on neck and shoulder.

She being a war mare of renown, had a servant, one Sai’id Abdullah, and he was to go with her to the U.S., Davenport having no polite way to decline. Sai’id Abdullah did indeed accompany *Wadduda to the U.S. and remained with her. Davenport does record though his value, proving of great assistance in handling of all the horses. On several occasions Davenport offered to send him back to his homeland. But Sai’id Abdullah declined—I serve *Wadduda.

In her book, Gladys Brown Edwards of *Wadduda states that perhaps plain headed she may have been, but she was neither coarse nor common, and was a mare to be proud of. Though there are several extant photographs of *Wadduda, a frequently used one shows a rather thin, bony mare. Charles Craver makes the point that besides crude photography and non skillful posing we must make allowances that we are looking at the working garb of the horse of the desert, a mare who had been fully capable to perform with distinction her tasks of an often harsh nomadic way of life. Her spirit, bones, muscles, and frame were fashioned in the desert and suited to it, that here we are looking at the real thing. Indeed with time in the U.S. with better feed, *Wadduda became heavier and more like we are used to seeing. Craver also comments that we might hope, without too much confidence in some instances, that our modern day Arabians could return to the desert conditions that formed *Wadduda and their ancestors, and function in the Bedouin way of life as she did. Where such an adaptation might not be possible, then something has been lost in the breeding of Arabian horses. Our ZARA EL TEHRAN pursued parallel careers of broodmare (17 foals) and performance horses (twice Okla Hi-Point Mare of the Year) and ‘retired’ completely sound and at age 30, il-hamdu-lilah, was active, without arthritis or other infirmities of age, a legacy perhaps of her dam’s war mare ancestry—one of *Wadduda, *URFAH, *HAFFIA, *JEDAH, AND *NEJDME; her sire’s Crabbet breeding obtained by the Blunts from the same desert and tribes.

In his recent and highly recommended book, Gerald Donoghue refers pointedly to the habit of some writers to make oftentimes flippant and disparaging remarks which impair the reputation of old horses, drawing conclusions from old crude photos that didn’t appeal to them. Donoghue states it is not fair and proper to judge by such old photos. If indeed some were as poor as some photographs depict or suggest, they could not possibly have produced the offspring that give rise to the horses of today. Nor, he adds, is it safe to judge some present day horses by artfully groomed and otherwise enhanced professionally done color photos endemic in Arabian publications.

Rather we should judge these old time horses by their records. In the case of *Wadduda, it is incontestable that her heartiness and endurance were established, and her quality attested to by having been the favorite war mare of the leading Shaikh, who had his choice of many mares. She not only functioned in her role, but was renowned in that role. And their descendants speak for them. The daughters of *Wadduda and their offspring speak plainly and decisively, being found over and over in the ancestors of many well-known and renowned horses down to the present day.

None of her three sons, all by *Hamrah, were used in breeding. Charles Craver suggests that the reasons for this was that at the time there was a rather limited market for her sires, and a ready market for colts and horses for riding-driving; there were relatively few breeding farms and these were commonly headed by their own well regarded stallions, usually imported. Nor at that time were they yet aware of how important it was to preserve such young stallions for future use. American Arabian breeding history has many instances of horses of great potential being “lost to the breed,” and others who were “rescued from obscurity.”

*WADDUDA is represented in modern breeding through three (or four) daughters: AARED (by *Obeyran); MOLIAH (by *Hamrah), AMRAN (by *Deyr); the fourth, DOMOW (by *Abu Zeyd) had given rise to all sorts of conjectures, all by reason of her bay color. We shall look at this anon.

From AARED, only one foal left progeny, but she through SEDJUR and 14 offspring. One of these, BINT SEDJUR produced the great producer of champions, BINT SAHARA, whose produce included FADJUR and FERSARA. Fersara is the dam of THE REAL McCOY and FERZON.

*Wadduda’s daughter, MOLIAH produced the stallions, ANTEZ, DHAREB and MUSTAKIM. Antez should be quite familiar; Dhareb sired FARHAN: Mustakim was the sire of Mustafa, the sire of KIMFA. Bred to her sire, *Hamrah, Moliah gave SANKIRAH, a mare commonly encountered in many of our pedigrees. She was the dam of HANAD who gave us IBN HANAD. Hanrah (foundation sire of Donoghue breeding and his sister ROHANNA, dam of PULQUE). Another noteworthy foal of Sankirah was MONICA, dam of MONEYNA and MONEYNA. Moneyna, also a great show mare of her day, was the dam of FERNEYN. Ferneyn bred to Fersara (of *Wadduda line through Aared above) gave Ferzon who is thus tail female to *Wadduda on both sides of his pedigree. The dam of another famed present day horse, KHEMOSABI, JURNEEKA is also double *Wadduda in descent.

Amran was the dam of Jadaan in extensive use as early Kellogg sire, and also known as the movie mount of Rudolph Valentino. A daughter was FASAL who produced FASALINA, the dam of SYBELLE (by the Antez son, ANSAR). Sybelle bred to Moneyn produced WOENGRAN. She is known as the dam of GARAFF and RAFDEN. Jadaan above, along with other get of note, was the sire of the mare, BADIA. She was the dam of the *RASEYN son RALET of BABEYN, and FERDIA by Farana. Ferdia should be familiar as the dam of the famed SAKI, producer of many champions by the, as mentioned, *Wadduda line stallion, Fadjur.

DOMOW is perhaps best known as the dam of TABAB (sire of Monica), though her son MAHOMET by Hanad is not unknown. Her daughter, DOWHANA also by Hanad was the dam of the early day sire, YBARRA, and SCHEHERAZADE, the dam of SCHERAFF by INDRAFF. Scheraff by PHANTOM produced a number of get hereabout from when he was at stud at Trehus’ Lin-Mer Arabians in Broken Arrow.

Such are some of the threads of blood of *Wadduda, the war mare of Shaikh Hashem Bey, woven and rewoven into the tapestry of Arabian breeding in the U.S., from early day horses down to the present; the dam line of *Wadduda still holding rank in the roster of leading broodmatrons, now almost 80 years from the date of her importation.