Fresh information on the Davenport mare *Hadba

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 5th, 2011 in General

Recently, I wrote here about the little-known group of horses from the Hadban strain tracing to the desert-bred mare *Hadba, imported by Homer Davenport from Arabia in 1906.

The hujjah (Arabic authentication certificate) of that mare is available, and I did a new translation of it, which appeared in the reference book Al Khamsa Arabians III (2008). I am reproducing an updated, revised version of this translation here:

We, who put our names and seals below, based on our honor, say that the bay mare whose has a stocking on her left hind leg and a star on her face, that her dam is a Hadbah to be mated and her sire is Shuwayman Sabbah, and the sire of her filly is Ma’naqi Sbayli; Abd al-Sakam Azraq took this mare from Hajj Ismail the Shaykh of Sfireh, and Hajj Ismail took her from ‘Ajil ibn Zaydan the Shaykh of Shammar, and for the sake of clarity, we have put our names and seals [below].

Written by: Abdessalam Azraq [seal]

From the people of [the town of] Sfireh:
Muhammad Nur [or Nadar or Thawr, unclear] [finger print]
Ahmad al-Muhammad [seal]
Mustapha al-Bdeiwi [seal]
Hajj Ahmad al-Abdallah from the tribe of al-Fardun [seal]
Ahmad Sarraj [seal]

I swear by God [that] the witnesses referred to are just and [that] their testimony is acceptable: Ahmad al-Hafez [seal]

I will leave the comments on this hujjah for another time. For now, I want to share with you a piece of information I just found, which sheds light on *Hadba’s background:

The hujjah above mentions a certain ” ‘Ajil Ibn Zaydan, the Shaykh of Shammar” as the original owner of *Hadba. I have always been intrigued by who he was, but never looked into it further. Today, I did a quick search online, just for heck of it, and the outcome of it was more fruitful that I could have hoped:

The search led me to a discussion thread on the Shammar tribal website, where a member posted a short story about a ‘Ajil Ibn Zaydan al-Jarbah of the ruling clan of the Shammar. The story is about how a large detachment of Ottoman soldiers surrounded a group of Shammar Bedouins, and asked that the Shammar surrender ‘Ajil ibn Zaydan to them, or else the whole group of Shammar would be taken into custody.  The Shammar asked ‘Ajil to flee, and told him they would ask for God’s help to deal with the Ottomans, but ‘Ajil refused, citing a poetry verse that was relevant to the situations, and surrended to the Ottomans, who then executed him. The story is one of self-sacrifice for own’s group, and is a nice one.

Yet the point of this article is not the story, but rather the tracing of the mare *Hadba to ‘Ajil Ibn Zaydan al-Jarbah. *Hadba then becomes the second mare Davenport imported to be traced to a leader of the Shammar Bedouins, after *Abeyah who was the mare of Mit’ab al-Hadb.

This piece of information is all the more significant in that the Hadban strain is still owned by the leader of the Shammar Bedouins in Syria. Indeed Hamidi al-Dham al-Hadi al-‘Asi al-Farhan al-Sfouq al-Jarbah is the owner of the last Hadban mares remaining in Syria. Time to ask for a DNA sample for comparison..

More on this ‘Ajil Ibn Zaydan soon now that his Jarbah affiliation has come to light.

8 Responses to “Fresh information on the Davenport mare *Hadba”

  1. What a dandy thing to have located, and what wonderful background to the *Hadba line!

    Thank you so much, and we look forward to hearing more!

  2. Jeanne, do you happen to have Oppenheim’s Jarba family tree? I don’t here, but if you do, and you could mail it to me, then I can trace his genealogy, and we can then conclude whether his Hadbans are the same as those of the branch of Farhan al-Jarba, which are with the Shaykh today.

  3. Argh, just the Anazah part. I’m sorry! Let me look online….

  4. No luck. Sorry!

  5. Edouard, if you can get the sample sent to me, we will run it.


  6. That would be very interisting!!!!!

    Please do it if it is possible…

  7. ok, Anita. Not easy, but will try.

  8. Very interesting post, I love this site, it’s like having a fantastic library on my kitchen table!!!
    I found that link to the Arab poetry interesting too Edouard… some lines in Aramaic, some Arabic..a little snapshot in the evolution of a language, amazing the Aramaic is still spoken isn’t it?
    Found Hadba in my new foal’s pedigree too :)!

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