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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 wih the oath requirement, say that the
filly was "chubby" for Davenport, but not for God. (2)
A somewhat similar ceromony is followed in our own culture, where oaths
are taken upon the Bible.
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
hae 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.
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.
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.
order of their registration, the imported Davenport stallions are as follows:
#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
*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."
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.
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.
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)
*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.
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.
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 developement
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.
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 developement 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
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.
#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.
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
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.
#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 decendants were called "listening
horses" after her behavior. (10)
apparently showed the disposition to "listen" very strongly,
George Ford Morris, the artist, wrote of him
- "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)
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.
*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.
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 descendents, too, but they are not invaribly linked to the "listening"
picutres 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 actural 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.
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
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.)
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. (Conderning BABE
AZAB, see under *WERDI in
"There is Nothing Like a Dame," January, 1981 issue, Arabian
Horse Journal.) Another branch of he BABE AZAB
line preserves the Kuhaylan-Krush
group within 100% Davenport breeding.
is represented by several currently active sire lines including those through
ORIENTAL, AKIL and DHAREB.
#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)
the Davenport catalog 1909-1910, *HAMRAH is described
as he was closer to maturity.
- "...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."
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
*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 tohim. 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)
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 tht 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.
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
(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.
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.
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 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)
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:
- "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)
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,
- "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
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.
- "'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
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