Article: Davenport Arabs: A Return to Authenticity

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 15th, 2011 in General

Check out this compelling article, by W. Michael Briggs Jr., on the website of the Davenport Arabian Horse Conservancy. It is graced with the picture of the beautiful Kuhaylan Hayfi stallion Audobon LD (Iliad x Audacity by Lysander), ridden by owner Marge Smith, and by the Hamdani Simri stallion Personic LF (Ibn Don Carlos x Persephone by Regency CF), photo below by Christine Emmert.

15 Responses to “Article: Davenport Arabs: A Return to Authenticity”

  1. … and the third picture is Petit Point CF. (Darlene mentioned recently that she’d used a picture of her, but I hadn’t actually looked for it.)

  2. Thanks for the link, the article by Michael Briggs is excellent I think.

    I absolutely agree with his views, the agilty and handiness of the Arab is one of my favourite of their virtues. I believe that although we are unable to prove our horses in Ghazu anymore, the characteristics that were so important to these raids are the same that make the Arab a peerless riding horse today.
    If riding an Arab horse doesn’t make your heart sing, he is off type imo!!!
    I would undoubtedly be utterly hopeless with a lance but that small matter aside 🙂 (!) , I would happily ride any of my Arabs into battle… I know they will stop from full gallop, turn on a sixpence then fly off at the slightest aid, I know that even having worked very long and very hard they will give me all they have got and more and I even know that if I hit the deck they will stop and wait for me!!! And yes (at least some) of my horses have Davenport blood in their pedigree, though they are mostly Crabbet.
    I think that endurance is the best competitive discipline that we have to test and maintain at least some of what the Bedouin bred for. I think it is important to test breeding stock in this sport.

    I also agree with Michael regarding modern horse care systems not offering the Arab horse chance to show what he really does best …ie be the best friend that you ever had.
    My horses live at home, and I spend a lot of time with them but even then with work etc….
    A Bedouin friend of ours had visited Europe and asked how Europeans expected so much of horses when they put in so little time with them, he said in his family a horse would have almost constant human attention from his ealiest foalhood, when he would be the companion of the children.

    I have been lucky enough to do a fair few journeys on my Arab horses including one very long and challenging, during this time the generosity, trust and loyalty shown by my horses cannot be adequately described in words, ‘humbling’ is the nearest I can get.
    So if Davenport horses are a good reserve of these qualities then please keep breeding them!!!
    And please compete them too so that the riding world can see these fabulous horses for what they are 🙂

  3. Re the comments of Said Abdullah, and I have heard other versions of this sentiment, eg ‘we would judge a man by looking at his face, not his wrist’ etc….
    (I should preface with this by declaring my position… I feel untold depths of gratitude to the generations of Bedouin to whom we owe the Arab horse (seriously, I believe that this animal is one of the greatest acheivements of mankind…I would rather own an Arab horse than the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo or any other ‘treasure’)).
    BUT, from my experince travelling and working as a vet in the Middle East, Africa and Asia I would observe that horses are broken and worked much younger than in the West and have VERY much shorter working lives. The implication of this is that biomechanical faults may never manifest themselves as problems, though they undoubtedly would later in life. For example, angular and rotational limb deformities of the lower limb will not slow a horse to any significant degree, but the uneven loading of the joint over time will, almost inevitably result in cartilage, joint capsule and ligament damage and eventually arthritis.
    A markedly toe-out mare who may have been an exceptional raiding mare from 2-9yo 150 years ago would not in todays world neccessarily be sound even to hack aged 16, it is a simple matter of biomechanics. For all their sublime excellence, the Bedouin mares may have ‘got away’ with limb faults that will become problematic with modern working life expectancies. So for all the respect that I have for the Bedouin, this is one bit of advice that personally I would ignore… for me, feet matter every bit as much as eyes!

  4. The horses shown are in a far different condition then what was found in the Desert with the Bedouin! What they would find today is difficulty to survive without major changes prior to reentry. Yet, going back is only an opinion in words. As is the possible, is mote. The word visual is speculation but
    fun to create.

    The horses presented were certainly wonderful in photo’s and the article was
    certainly well thought out! Like this blog
    always interesting, with thoughtful presentations. I did look up all the horses presented. Like a review of what is constant, todays Bedouin Arabian separated from conditions of their past.

    Enjoyed! Jackson

  5. The travesty that some dog breeds have become is evidence enough of not keeping faith with a breed’s original funtion. We have a very clear picture from vast historical records as to the harsh life and extreme demands that were made on Bedouin horses through their long history into the fairly recent past.It is the qualities of frugality, utility, endurance, extreme handiness and above all capacity for real devotion to a human that I personally find so admirable in this breed. These virtues are not there by chance they were selected for by the Bedouin both intentionally and as an inevitable consequence of the horse’s job and environment….a mare who was a poor doer, slow, weak or easily fatigued would very soon be dead. Mares were celebrated for feats of endurance and loyalty and the reverse is also true, Lady Blunt recalls a mare that stumbled ,resulting in the death of a sheikh, being hamstrung by the tribe and left to die.
    I believe that many Arabs today show these virtues in full measure (one of mine has physically defended me from attack for example, as a dog would, other examples are legion). These qualities are for me the quintessence of the Arab, they are our heritage from the Bedouin we owe it to these tribes to at least do our best to maintain the integrity of the breed.
    I am not of course saying that todays world much resembles Arabia of 700 AD or 1878 AD for that matter! I just feel strongly that, as was mentioned in the articles the mental, moral and athletic qualities of this wonderful horse should be conciously preserved. Even with the most pristine pedigree a breed can drift away from it’s original type and become barely recognisable in a surprisingly short period of time.

    To quote the excellent article ‘….agility, stamina and courage were absolute necessities…’, for me they still are!!
    I feel strongly, very strongly about the importance of maintaining the essential utility of the Arab.
    That means testing them under saddle.

  6. I thought that Personic was a Saklawi.

    I just checked here

    and to my surprise, it even says Urfah is Saklawi Al Abd (didn’t know the substrain).

  7. well edit that… Jidran, is what I thought!

  8. No he is a Hamdani because of the switch between Freda and Saleefy at FE Lewis in 1921

  9. The AK and DAHC databases follow the AHA studbook, which takes no notice of the evidence for the switch theory (and IMO is unlikely ever to do so).

  10. However, the Al Khamsa online roster entry for Personic LF has this footnote, with a link to Schilla’s roster entry, which includes the full discussion of this issue from Al Khamsa Arabians III.

    1: See Schilla: mtDNA Inheritance
    Link to

    I think Ambar is right; the AHA is unlikely to every change any of its pedigrees, even if they show a grey with two bay parents, or if mtDNA shows that a whole line is entered incorrectly. This is true of a number of horses, and that number is growing as more detailed mtDNA research is completed.

  11. Thanks!!!
    Never looked at the footnotes!

  12. Jeanne: although the Schilla page says “In addition to this Pedigree Note, there is a footnote by the names of all of her descendants,” that footnote (specifically, the flag by the name, not the text at the bottom) is missing from the Schilla descendants in the online roster. A bug for Randy!

  13. Reading This I notice the importance of a Asil Horse Registry worldwide

  14. Sorry! I meant to indicate that this was on the Al Khamsa website. I know that Randy has not had a chance to to link any footnotes over….

  15. Double whoops. Now I am following. Yes, that is a bug! Next iteration!

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