How the Blunts named their desert imports

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 5th, 2010 in General

Did you ever wonder how early Arabian horse breeders such as the Blunts and Homer Davenport chose names for their original desert imports? I sometimes do, and in the process of doing so, I find many original details about these horses and the circumstances of their acquisition coming back to life.

The names of the Blunt’s desert imports fall in three readily recognizable categories:

Some of the earliest imports were named after plants and animals, reflecting the Blunt’s interest in botany and zoology, and probably bringing back memories of their day-to-day lives during their desert journeys: Wild Thyme, Tamarisk, Basilisk, Francolin (a bird), Jerboa, Canora (another bird), Purple Stock (a flower), and Damask Rose.

Other names clearly fell into the mythological Biblical register: Queen of Sheba, Pharaoh,  Hagar, Lady Hester (Dajania’s original name), Babylonia, and Burning Bush, whose early name was Zenobia.

The third group consisting mainly of later desert imports were named after their strains and substrains: Rodania, Zefifia (a branch of the Kubayshan strain), Dahma, Jedrania, Jilfa, Hadban, Abeyan and Dajania (whose earlier name was Lady Hester).

The names of the other desert imports do not seem to follow a distinctive pattern: Meshura (famous, in Arabic) seems to have been so named because she was famous names in the desert, unless it was the name her original Bedouin owner had given her; Ferida means’ unique’ in Arabic (but why?), and Sherifa means ‘noble’; Ashgar and Azrek were simply named after the coat colors; Proximo and Rataplan look like they might have retained their racing names from India; Kars was named after the Anatolian (today in Eastern Turkey) city where his original owner, a Turkmen paramilitary chief, fought durinf the Russian-Turkish war; and the colt Darley was named after the Darley Arabian.

Homer Davenport’s naming pattern was more random, as we shall see in a next entry..

4 Responses to “How the Blunts named their desert imports”

  1. I think that Lady Hester was named in honour of Lady Hester Stanhope(1776-1839).
    The “Amie de Coeur” of Count Rzewuski and breeder of the famed “Nichab”.She was also knowed as the “Queen of the Desert”

  2. you’re right… I thought it was a reference to the Biblical Esther..

  3. “Lady Hester”: is that Biblical, or after Lady Hester Stanhope?

  4. OK, you two are a step ahead of me.

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