Jane Ott Obituary by Edie Booth

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 30th, 2013 in General

This is the text of Jane Ott’s obituary by Edie Booth on the Blue Arabian Horse Catalogue Facebook page:

“On Wednesday, April 24th, 2013, at 1:50 AM, Miss Jane Llewellyn Ott slipped peacefully away.  Miss Ott is a major historic figure and prime mover in recognizing the loss of the original desertbred horses among American breeders.  Her primary research work is The Blue Arabian Horse Catalog.  The Catalog listed all the horses Miss Ott could find, frequently with the help of Carl Raswan, that were authenticated as the original horses of the Bedouin tribes of Arabia.  These horses were jotted down in a notebook with a blue cover, and the additional grouping of a star/asterisk was added for the horses that were without the Managhi strain of horses anywhere in their pedigree.  This separation was due to unknown background on some of the Managhi horses, and as Miss Ott might say, the separation may not matter at all, but if it does matter and all the horses have been mixed, there is no way back.

My introduction to Miss Ott was in 1986 after reading an interesting full page ad in EQUUS magazine.  Located about 180 miles and under 3 hours away near Hope, AR, I called, and my husband and I immediately visited her special horses. Miss Ott was there with her aged parents, and if we were seeking hospitality, well…  it did not happen.  But the horses were great!  It was my first introduction to *real* Arabians.  I will never forget it.  That visit was followed by a second, only with my mother, who would help me with the finances to buy a horse.  No…  I could not buy a horse, until our farm was inspected.  Miss Ott visited us and pointed out the exact shortcomings in our facility for keeping a stallion, told us how to correct it, and went home.  She immediately wrote me a letter stating we were not ready to buy SIGNATORE, a line bred, double SIRECHO yearling for $10,000.  I did not know enough to buy!!   How many horse breeders will not sell a yearling colt for $10,000??

 But Miss Ott was right.  I did not know enough.  We needed to preserve the Blue Star desertbreds without the Egyptian lines, a tiny group of horses.  Replacement breeding was not happening for many of the existing straight desertbreds.  Miss Ott is rightfully credited for launching our successful horse search and breeding program, even though the overall numbers have not increased.  She was a woman of character and strong conviction.

Although occasionally cantankerous, we always honored and respected Miss Ott and her work. Miss Ott revealed her horse documentation, without remorse, even though there were those who wanted to beat her up for it.  There was a bit of a naïve quality about her when confronted by the vitriol of horse owners who had invested large sums of cash and effort in various groups of horses. Without her research there would likely not be an Al Khamsa, or at least the group grew out of her published research quite naturally.  She altered history for the authentic desert horse and its preservation.

Miss Ott’s generosity was readily apparent in helping a new BOD continue with the Blue Arabian Horse Catalog, Inc., upon the move to Texas in 2008.  She provided funding, as well as the remaining Blue Catalogs to sell for support of the organization.  She was always generous with her help and her answers for those who would call with questions about horses or breeding. She was an invaluable resource, who will be greatly missed.  A smart and talented woman, Miss Jan Llewellyn Ott, will be missed by more people than she would think. 

Miss Jane Llewellyn Ott, may you rest in peace, clear minded until the end, with final plans carefully in place, deceased at age 86.”

10 Responses to “Jane Ott Obituary by Edie Booth”

  1. Very nice writing, thanks.

    Jackson Hensley/Bedouin Arabians

  2. Very interesting piece of information.May God comfort her family.

  3. Thank you Edie for your support of Ms Ott and her monumental work. Agree with her, or not..she redefined how breeders looked at pedigrees.

    I never did own a Blue Star however she encouraged me to love my general type American style Arabian Horses.

    After meeting with Ms Jane and her parents I had a great understanding as to the opposition against them. I was so appreciative of Bill Simpson with the International Horse and Rider as he gave the Ott’s the opportunity to defend their premise.

    Thank you again for you gracious comments about Ms Jane

  4. The Blue Catalog was a huge influence on the way people think about and breed Arabian horses, no question. It’s a remarkable publication, maybe especially when you remember that it was compiled by a woman still under 35 who was working from source material extremely limited compared to what is available today.

    Some of the breeding programs encompassed within the Blue Catalog, such as the Davenports at Craver Farms and the Egyptians at the Babson Farm, Rancho San Ignacio, and Ansata, had already been established prior to publication of the Blue Catalog in 1961. Other programs, such as modern Blue Star breeding, probably wouldn’t exist today were it not for the Blue Catalog and the Otts.

    Miss Ott was also a talented equine artist, although that’s not what she is remembered for today. She also had a great flair for written expression. I met her once in the 1980s and spoke to her on the phone a few times in the 1990s. She was always gracious. She told me that my horses were “in all probability Blue Star.” Their ancestors appear in the Blue Catalog as “BLUE STAR or Blue List. (W).”

    I will suggest however that Edie Booth’s initial meeting with Miss Ott and her aged parents took place in 1981, not 1986. Mr. Ott died in 1982. Mrs. Ott died in 1983. The colt Edie describes as having been a yearling at the time, Signatore, was a 1980 foal.

  5. Thank you Edie for your tribute to Miss Jane Ott. It is sad news to hear of her passing. Since I do not have a Facebook account, it is appreciated to see it here.

    We purchased a Sirecho daughter in 1975 and then corresponded with Miss Jane Ott for several years before meeting her and her mother in person in 1977. It was fortunate that I was an enthusiastic listener which resulted in being able to see and film all 70 of their horses. From that visit I learned a great deal about true war horses. Her correspondence was stimulating as were our phone calls and her words were always a catalyst thought.

    In her lifetime Miss Jane Ott was a transformational figure whose work had ripple effects that will go well beyond today. She was a key part of the chain of links that have worked to preserve and keep before us today the understanding that the Arabian horse is from the Arabian desert and we are only its caretakers, and we better get it right.

  6. She made many false statemants about the Muniqi and she doenst accepted Basilsik and Nureddin II. so what?

  7. You may not agree with the lady on everything, Teymur, but please show a little respect.

  8. Thanks, Jenny!

  9. I have a sighed print of a child offering a horse an apple by jane lewellyn ott any one know any thing about it please email me with info at lbmarshall47@gmail.com thank you.

  10. I worked for the Otts for several years starting when I was in 7th grade, late 60’s. We lived across the street from their stud farm in Oakbrook Ill. “Cantankerous” would certainly be a description that many would give of the elder Mrs. Ott. But she was great to me and was an exceptionally hard worker who would drive the tractor and give me terse direction usually dressed in her “housedress” and floppy shoes.

    I was the only stableboy for a group of horses (and Irish Wolfhounds and a flock of Guinea hens) that ranged from approx 12 to 30. I shoveled a LOT of manure. The Otts sold that farm and moved to the southeast (Virginia I think), I continued to work summers for Miss Ott’s brother and Mr. Ott who stayed in IL. for at least a few years after the move.

    Saturdays after work Mrs./Mr/and Miss Ott and a doctor/admirer of Miss Otts, would invite me over to watch bullfights that were broadcast to a special antennae they had installed. I would churn the hand crank ice cream freezer to make peach ice cream to be eaten during the broadcast.

    Miss Ott was reserved and also a tough taskmaster, just like her mother. Lots of lessons learned on hard work and life bantering with Mrs. Ott while I tossed hay bales, and worked around that farm.

    Interesting that Miss Ott moved to Texas…I have lived in Dallas for nearly 40 years.

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