Real Arabian mares hide their beauty

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 30th, 2012 in General

Someone Marie Arthur posted this picture on Facebook of the Kuhaylah Hayifyah Davenport mare EK Asiirah UF (Portico x Astranah by Astrologer) bred by Joyce Gregorian, and it struck me. I really like this mare. I even like her one obvious defect: a shorter and thicker neck, which is/was the case with  many many desert bred Arabians of the past. That long swan-like over-arched neck is a ugly western invention. Rather, notice the black skin around the muzzle and the eyes, and that overall air of shyness, gentleness, and modest femininity, as if the mare was ashamed of being so beautiful.

38 Responses to “Real Arabian mares hide their beauty”

  1. Joyce was really looking forward to this mare. She had bred Portico to one of her favorite combined source mare, Araba Zkylark and was really pleased with the resulting gelding. Araba Zkylark was tail female *Lisa, daughter of her Crabbet/CMK stallion Zumirz out of a daughter of Janan Abinoam. Therefore this mare combined the blood of both of her foundation stallions.

    Araba Port Said was a solid athletic grey, gelded young, who sprouted up into a wonderful horse. Joyce wanted to try the same cross on a Davenport mare, and chose Astranah. (Her two sons by Janan Abinoam were also very well put together, with the exception of a tendency towards a large head and a short neck.) Joyce was worried that Portico had a straight profile, as did Astranah and the resulting foal might be somewhat heavy-headed.

    Turns out EK Asiirah UF inherited more of Astranah’s lovely “bullfrog eyes” (as Joyce called them), rather than Port’s somewhat straight head. I love her body and rear end. Where ever she is, I hope she’s making her people happy.

  2. A straight profile is not necessarily bad. it can even be a good thing. I hope someone is able to find this mare some day.

  3. She’s beautiful. And you can tell she’s an Asara horse from her coloring alone.

  4. Lovely mare. Datasource says she is in Scales Mound, Illinois. Owned by Susan Haenert Ertmer, presumably the daughter of Davenport breeder Harriet Haenert. Maybe Jeanne knows more.

  5. I’ve always loved this picture, but just in terms of interpreting photos, her neck is not going to be as short as it looks here; turning her head toward the camera exaggerates that impression.

  6. Shirin, RJ, Joe, Michael, while I have all four of you commenting on the same photo, can you tell me what is your top 5 list of favorite Davenport mares (dead and alive) from the second foundation and on in terms of looks + conformation + movement?

  7. I love a straight profile — Joyce’s concern was not that the profile was going to be straight but that the nose ridge was going to be thick — Mystic UF is a wonderful stallion, but his head is a bit too large for his frame. She was wary of repeating that again.

    In terms of your second question, unless the mare herself came through Upland or some of her foals did, I can’t comment. I figured Joyce would be around for a long time and wasn’t that dedicated to learning about Davenports when I was young. So I can really only go by who it is that I’ve already met, so to speak. (And by the way, five? Really? Only five?)

    My favorite mare at Upland was most likely Reminisce (Prince Hal x Bint Ralf). She was solid in her body and hip, had an enchanting face, and was a wonderful mare to work around. Very gentle and sweet — she wasn’t pushy or an “in your pocket” sort of mare, but she was very kind. I think her somewhat curvaceous profile came from Bint Ralf, but am not sure. She had, as I remember, a floating trot with a moment of suspension, but it wasn’t flashy. I don’t remember how she moved out at the canter at all.

    We had Propriety at Upland (whom we called “Polly”) — when I was uploading pictures to the Davenport Conservancy website I was struck by how much Vivacity reminded me of her (different dam line though). Polly had a great body, big knees, and was a powerful mover. I really liked her, and I find myself attracted to many of the Dixie and Decibel mares.

    I’ve always admired pictures of Thea Isis, but never “met” her in person. I know that I’ve always admired pictures of Lotus, but I never “met” her and don’t think I’ve seen videos of her, although it’s possible that I have.

    The last Davenport mare who really stood out at Upland for me was Cloisonne CF (Plantagenet x Tyrebah). Her daughter by Mystic UF, Chantress UF looked like she was going to be quite something. Cloisonne was more delicate in body type, and a lovely mover. I believe Joyce was planning on breeding her to Portico because she felt that they both moved so well.

    You said five, but I’m breaking the rules. I loved Lady Fair — so elegant in her old age. I don’t have a great memory of how she moved, but part of that is that I don’t remember ANYONE amongst the Upland Davenports as being a poor mover. And because I so admire Lady Fair, I have to say that my heart skips a beat when I see Grace Note CF today.

    Oh wait, while we’re on the topic, Scotia UF (Janan Abinoam x Leonie) was a marvelous mare. She had a great shoulder and withers, a short strong back, large hips and a neat way of going. Very precise in her movements and light.

    OK. It’s someone else’s turn now.

  8. Dear Shirin, wasn’t Lotus the Dam of Mandarin? She would have been the producer of one of the best stallions ever foaled of any breed, if so.
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  9. I can’t pick just five. But my favorite mares from the second foundation through fillies of 1982 (thirty years ago) would have to include these (and I probably missed some):

    Dharebah, Fairy Queen, Portia, Ceres, Iras, Moth, June, Lady Fair, Bint Antan, Thea Isis, Bint Alamein, Tyrebah, Fancy Flight, Bint Dharebah, Oriole, Lotus, Junes Air, HB Octavia, Dixie Cup, Magnolia, Trill, Demetria, Audacity, Velveteen, Cloisonne CF, Fairlee CF, Ariadne CF, Anjou CF, Indian Summer CF, Jonquil CF, Cinnabar CF, Juno CF.

    Other than Dharebah and Ceres, I saw all of the above at least once.

  10. RJ I guess I will have to wait twenty more years before I know your preferred mares that are still alive today (through 2002).. but I am ready to wait.

  11. this mare’s beauty is hardly hidden.

  12. We couldn’t do just 5 without surgery. And I had never seen a photo of this mare, and just love it. I see Portia there.

  13. I see some Asara in the hindquarter and these sparse fleebites.

  14. R. J. cheated. 😉

  15. I got that picture of Asiirah back 2003 I believe. I posted it on FB. I always though she was a very nice mare.
    To me you can never have enough Poatia and her daughters or sons in a pedigree. But I like RJ list too.

  16. I think my list would be very close to RJ’s, allowing that I’ve seen far fewer of them; he includes a number there that I wish I had seen, or had taken a good look at (I know I walked past some of them in crowd scenes). I think I’d add Molly Brown, who made an impression apart from being the first Davenport mare I ever saw.

    As to behavior–I haven’t handled that many of them, but my pick right now has to be ADA Sareeah. She’s not four months old yet but she’s been an absolute trooper from the very start, and has earned a highly positive reputation at the breeding station where she and Pirouette have spent a fair amount of time.

  17. I am a newcomer, so my favorites (from those I have seen in person) will have to be from after 2000, which is the date of my first visit to Craver Farms (arranged by Tzviah Idan, by the way):

    — En Pointe CF
    — Pirouette CF
    — Javera Chelsea
    — GH Janet
    — Lustre CF

    Wow. Having just thought through this list, I just realized it includes Two Javera Thadrian daughters, two full sisters of his, and a double grand-daughter. I am rarely that consistent, otherwise.

  18. RJ, you saw both Cinnabar CF and Cloisonne CF. As full sisters, how would you say they are similar or different? I thought Cloisonne was quite unique amongst the Upland mares but am not sure if that was solely due to her, or whether she represented a cross or family I wasn’t familiar with.

  19. Joyce told me that when Cloisonne stepped off the trailer at Upland Farm, she was so beautiful it gave her chills. She also commented that she was a darker bay than the other bay Davenports at Upland, almost Babson-colored.

    My recollection is that Cloisonne was a more compact build, and really a different type, taking after Tybalt. Cinnabar had more of the Antez/Plantagenet look. Both had the presence that Tyrebah gave to her foals.

    There’s probably nothing left from Cloisonne, because Chantress has been lost for years, and Cloisonne’s only other Davenport foal was gelded. Joyce saw Cloisonne as part of her breeding group of Kuhaylan Haifi horses with Asara through the middle of the pedigree, hence the breeding to Mystic UF, who had a line to Porthos and one to Tybalt but through Tyranah instead of Tyrebah.

  20. Edouard, when I saw your list of five, I didn’t think about the Thadrian connection. What occurred to me is that they are all from the core Kuhaylan Haifi group (no Krush, Hadban, Ralf, or Schilla) and all with significant pedigree presence of Portia, Ceres, and Bint Dharebah.

    As a related point, when looking at the pedigrees of the later Craver Farms horses in the core Kuhaylan Haifi group, take note of how nearly everything is descended from the mare lines of Portia, Ceres, and Bint Dharebah. By “later” I mean after about 1975 or 1980.

    The Craver Farms foundation mares from the Kuhaylan Haifi strain produced a total of 12 fillies in the core group that lived to produce registered progeny. But most of the later breeding in this bloodline was from just three of them, Portia, Ceres, and Bint Dharebah.

    The lines from an additional three fillies, Lady Fair, Lady Grey, and Fairy Queen, were developed mostly in the non-Fasal family, which is a subgroup of the core Kuhaylan Haifi group, although occasionally their non-Fasal sons were crossed on mares from the lines of Ceres, Portia, and Bint Dharebah (sons like Fair Sir and Atticus). In earlier generations, Dharebah’s non-Fasal sons Sir and Prince Hal were key to developing the core Kuhaylan Haifi group.

    Craver Farms also developed a small family of non-Tripoli horses in the core Kuhaylan Haifi group by breeding Taradiddle to Dharanad, and then some of the resulting fillies to Ibn Alamein or Saranad, producing as an end product such as Una CF. However non-Tripoli, core Haifi stallion options were very limited (for a long time there were just Ibn Alamein, Dharanad, and Saranad, who for more than 20 years just kept siring more fillies in this bloodline), and so many of the mares from the Taradiddle line were bred to the non-Tripoli stallions from the Bint Antan line, which continued the non-Tripoli theme but took them outside the core Kuhaylan Haifi group.

  21. Who are they, and why did I select? Probably memory and the lack of. Each foal should reflect the best as to possible, yet, I am afraid the foals only reflect the breeding they represent. Usually in the case of Craver Farms, Charles and Jeanne, or the other’s, such as Fred and Barbara the results were a constant reflection of possible as to results. I know that Charles favorite all time horse, mare, was the one he was looking at, at that moment.

    Personally, I had many favorites, all for different reasons, mostly due to the tail female they represented, be it stallion or mare. Also, color played a great role, especially within tail female.

    I personally would pick a favorite by the foals produced by the mare, and who the mare was bred too. Michael’s favorite mentioned, was due to that foals response to humans. A very interesting reflection on who and what one like’s, interesting dialog.

    R.J. noticed you named June’s Air? I wondered why, why? I liked her sister Desert Air much better. Neither compared to later mares and their foals. Yet, they were remarkable at the time.

    What to me is remarkable is that the Cravers choices and thoughts produced so many wonderful individuals, and still continues. I look mostly at each horse as to what that horse represents. Not what I want, but what it has to offer, as to my own needs or ability to understand, and my participation.

    With all this said, like Charles, my favorite is the one I am enjoying at the moment. Also, my dislike for the one who is making my moment difficult.

    So Edouard, unasked, you have it, my opinions.

  22. I have been away from computers for several days but I have to agree with R.J that it is nearly impossible to pick just 5 mares, a limiting choice to be sure, but to be fair to Edouard’s question, of the 5 early Davenport bred mares that I actually saw, I choose the following for many reasons including: type, quality, movement, style and nobility, but mostly for nearly everything I have seen that descends from these 5:
    1. Ceres (Aramis x Dharebah)
    2. Portia (Tripoli x Dhalana)
    3. Tyrebah (Tybalt x Dharebah)
    4. Bint Antan (El Alamein x Antan
    5. Olivia (Tripoli x Asara)

    As I said, 5 is too limiting since there are other early ones closely related to the above such as Lady Grey (Tripoli x Dharebah), June (El Alamein x Asara) and Bint Alamein (El Alamein x Cressida), as well as daughters of the above such as Iras (El Alamein x Portia) and Thea Isis (El Alamein x Portia) who I also admire for the above reasons, but for today this is my list.

  23. Jackson, I never saw Desert Air. I did see Junes Air but I don’t remember her as well as June or the Junes Air daughters Juno CF and Classical Air. I included a couple of the mares on my list partly because they were such good producers although Edouard asked regarding looks, conformation, and movement.

    I did see the Desert Air daughter Atika al Krush and although she was a nice enough mare I would not list her among my all-time favorites.

    Joe, you might be the only person I know who picked Olivia as a favorite? Granted she has bred on extremely well, particularly through her daughters O-Henrietta and Asallah al Krush, and her daughter that died young, Odalisque, was said to be beautiful. But Olivia herself I thought was a nondescript mare that most people would have walked right past.

  24. Sorry, that sounds too harsh regarding Olivia. I don’t mean people would have walked past Olivia because they would have rejected her. Rather, I mean Olivia just wouldn’t have caught their attention, what with so many eye-catching mares at Craver Farms, including some that stood out like bonfires.

  25. Overall, Olivia was not a beauty queen but I had already liked the uniqueness of pedigree and then when I saw those particularly deep soulful eyes, I felt that there was something very special about her that cold not be easily described. The eyes were very deep with almond tips at each corner. It was the feeling she gave me peering out of her stall that was quite memorable. There was something in the way she looked, I mean how she looked at things with her eyes. Then when I saw her son Sir Oliver, I was impressed with his style and movement and nobility, and later impressed with how Olivia fit into multiple crosses of Asara. Ruby Perdue told me, when we were beginning to look at horses and to film horses, that it takes a long time to “see the blood” meaning to see how it expresses itself generations down the line and if her expression holds true, it justifies my impressions of Olivia.

  26. Joe,

    Interesting expressions about Olivia, Tybalt’s sister. Also about Sir Oliver, a stallion I had owned until his death. Sir Oliver was quite the horse, one day I noticed him in his field down on his knees, seemed to be playing with something. Turn out to be a grasshopper, he would push the grasshopper with his nose, then buck off his hind legs when the grasshopper jumped. This went on and on, until the grasshopper decided to do something else. Sir Oliver never hurt his play mate, what a story to witness.

    I rode Sir Oliver a lot, as did my wife Carolyn. He died standing, I was holding him. It was always a honor to be around him, he expressed as you do, so many positive and happy thoughts. I was always surprised
    by Sir Oliver, just as I am by your statements of noticing. Astute observations, you are always gifting, especially about horses that you and your wife did not raise. You both are quite the team!

    R.J. I am glad you asked Joe the question!

    JMH/Bedouin Arabians

  27. Olivia is one of the mares shown running, the cover of the Smithsonian Magazine, Craver Farms, review of the horses and Charles and Jeanne. (I believe the article refered to the Cravers as the largest breeders of Davenports.)

  28. I was surprised to see Joe’s comment about Olivia, because she caught my attention in much the same way; I wouldn’t put her on my list of favorite mares necessarily, but she just had “something about her” that caught my eye and made her stick in my memory.

  29. Michael, I can only attribute my impression of Olivia to being reminiscent of Lady Anne Blunt’s comments about Queen of Sheba because if one judges Queen of Sheba from the unaltered photos of her, one might not see what was so special about her, but if we could have been alive and seen her in person, then we would have known for sure what Lady Anne Blunt was talking about. It must have been something nearly indescribable that impressed her about Queen of Sheba. Likewise they noted something special about her son Astraled even though his unaltered photos do not impress all that much. The same is true for Ibn Hafiza. He looked different in every photo ever taken of him, but when I saw him in person and saw his dramatic movements, body language, unusual, pearlescent mahogany coat, and overall noble bearing, I was forever impressed beyond any previous photos I had seen. The same was true for the mare Fanistar (Fanifeh x Blue Star) an 87.5% Saudi mare. I walked right by her without noticing when she was eating from outside hay feeder until Mr. Maxwell asked me if I wanted to get some movies of her and he pointed to her and clapped his hands, and then my movies tell the rest of the story as she seemed to almost on cue put on a spectacular show for me of powerful long reaching galloping in a large circle of he field and then returning back to eat her hay and look like a fairly ordinary horse. Then after being impressed I walked over to her and she slowly raised her head to me and even though it would be considered plain by anyone today, her nostrils showed large expansion and her eyes looked deeply at and through me with the confidence of a war mare. I will not only always remember her gallop but also the way she looked at me.

    Some Bedouin and Arabs that I have talked with in the past have insisted that the true value of some horses can be seen in the eyes, and in my experience I believe them. This is what I saw in Olivia, and perhaps it is more about her dam, Asara because Porthos was also a horse of memorable expression just as Olivia’s son Sir Oliver was. Another one was the young (when I filmed him) stallion Oreb Al Krush (Dharanad x High-C), an Asara grandson. I remember telling my wife after seeing Oreb, this was the first time that I had seen another horse who hit me like Ibn Hafiza. Oreb was turned in to play with two other Davenport Krush yearling colts and the body language and demeanor of him just blew me away. My films of Oreb were taken at Jackson Hensley’s place in 1977, where I also had filmed Olivia’s son Sir Oliver and Asara’s son Porthos,among others.

    So if you go back to my list of 5 the other four are easy to love at first glance and all 5 along with their daughters and granddaughters etc. have proven their value but among the 5 Olivia will always hold a special place in my heart because there is something very unique in her influence and something very enduring and that is something any breeder of Bedouin type Arabians would want.

  30. Edouard,

    With Joe’s last comments we all have been given more then what you had asked, a lesson in seeing!

    Once again Joe thanks for letting your soul express from within an awareness of understanding, looking at a whole, and in this case seeing through and into the eyes of a mare called Olivia.

    JMH/Bedouin Arabians

  31. I am sure this conversation will be remembered and quoted by many in the years to come.

  32. I will bookmark this conversation for future learning.

    I like to point out one attribute about some Davenport mares that is extra alertness & awareness of their surroundings. It is inherited from Muson.

    I love this feature about them. Maybe other Al-Khamsa horse share this extra alertness. I did not see this alertness with 2 Polish Arabian horses at my boarding pasture.

    Some Davenports are more alert than others.
    My mare will tense her body and watch some kind of object / creature in a far distance among the trees for sometimes.

    I think extra alert and aware horse would be excellent choice for a Bedouin war horse.

  33. – En Pointe CF
    – Pirouette CF
    – Lustre CF

    You are reminding me how stupidly lucky I feel to have bred a filly from each of these mares. (Petit Point needs a daughter still.)

  34. Agreed, a nice looking mare 🙂

  35. I went back and looked at the photo of En Pointe CF that Edouard had posted on this blog in the past and it reminded me why his question to choose just 5 was an impossible question. En Point CF is really another “Iras” (who appears 4 times in her pedigree). That is the difficulty, because there is so much continuity in these lines that it seems unfair to celebrate only few individuals when so many of them bring forward so many of the things we like in the original Arabians.

  36. I have k.haifi mare.uncle gr-1 winner BABAMEVLUT (CA?-TIGRESS LASS) stra?n RESHAN-1896 Now in turkey very famous

  37. I tried to buy this mare!! She is so beautiful. I still long for her.

  38. (Petit Point needs a daughter still.)

    Just to correct my temporary idiocy — Petit Point of course has a daughter, the 2009 filly ADA Selene.

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