By RJ Cadranell
Posted on April 18th, 2008 in General
Wilfrid Blunt thought seriously about the breeding program at the Crabbet Stud. Some of his thoughts are preserved in his stud memoranda and also his remarks prepared for delivering to the crowds at the Crabbet auction sales. The Wentworth Bequest includes comments dating from 1904 discussing the wisdom of developing a separate breeding program at Crabbet using horses not tracing to Mesaoud. Mr. Blunt posited that those horses could be used as the Crabbet Stud’s own outcross, should one be required in another 50 years.
Mesaoud was the most successful stallion the Blunts ever used. They had sold him to Russia just the year before, in June of 1903. Mesaoud’s 12 seasons at Crabbet resulted in more than 100 foals, with the last arriving in 1904. After Mesaoud’s departure, it’s no surprise that Mr. Blunt was wondering whether it was possible to have too much Mesaoud blood. Of the 94 horses listed in the 1904 Crabbet catalogue, only 22 did not have Mesaoud in their pedigrees, and only two of those were male: Nejran and Rijm.
Nejran’s 1904 non-Mesaoud colt out of Bint Helwa died. It was a grey colt, so it was unlikely that the Blunts would have used him much even had he lived. Nejran covered just three mares at Crabbet in 1904 (all Mesaoud daughters) and then Nejran himself was sold to Australia that year. He left just one non-Mesaoud foal at Crabbet (a 1903 filly).
At that point, if the non-Mesaoud program were to continue, it would have to have been built entirely around just one stallion, Rijm. Thus it is probably no coincidence that in September of 1904, the Blunts shipped three non-Mesaoud stallions to Crabbet from their stud in Egypt. These were Feysul and his sons Ibn Yashmak and Ibn Yemama. Feysul started breeding mares at Crabbet in 1905, and Ibn Yashmak finally bred one in 1908, followed by seven in 1909. Ibn Yemama was never used. In addition to their potential in the non-Mesaoud program, both Feysul and Ibn Yashmak were natural choices for breeding to the Mesaoud mares, as was Rijm.
An effort to breed some non-Mesaoud foals does seem to have been made. Rijm sired six named non-Mesaoud foals out of Asfura and Bereyda, with additional breedings to non-Mesaoud mares including Khatila, Kasida, Bint Nura, Azz, Shieha, Mabruka, Selma, and Bukra. Feysul sired just one non-Mesaoud foal that survived: a colt out of Kasida, but Feysul was also bred to the non-Mesaoud mares Nefisa and Khatila. Ibn Yashmak also had just one non-Mesaoud foal survive: a colt out of Ridaa. His only other non-Mesaoud mate seems to have been Kasida.
Without any knowledge of Wilfrid Blunt’s comments on the non-Mesaoud horses, more than 50 years later Charles Craver developed his herd of Davenport Arabians with its own built-in outcross horses. The most specialized groups
were the non-Fasal horses and the non-Tripoli horses. The horses tracing in tail-female to Schilla and Asara were also developed separately from each other, and the large Antarah family was developed without Asara or Schilla. Occasionally some crossing was done at Craver Farms, such as breeding Asara’s son Tybalt to Dharebah (Dhareb x Antarah). However, the resulting filly, Tyrebah, was seen as a new departure and the foundation of her own breeding
group. She was not folded back in to the main Antarah family.
Away from Craver Farms, there seems to be a trend to produce Davenport horses with homogenized pedigrees. I’m not sure if this is by accident or design. I’ll be interested to see how well it works.