Articles of History:

"And Noah Begat ... "
copyright by Charles C. Craver III all rights reserved
The Arabian Horse Journal April, 1981
Used by permission of Charles Craver
Craver Farms
Rt 2 Box 262
Winchester, Il 62694
Page One   
           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 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.
           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 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.
           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 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 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.
           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 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 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 decendants 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 descendents, too, but they are not invaribly linked to the "listening" characteristic.
           The 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.
           *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. (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.
           *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 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)
           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 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.
           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.

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