Carleton Cummings holding the weanlings
Antezeyn Skowronek and Abu Farwa's
Rawia, both by Abu Farwa. Rawia, called by Cummings
"the Queen of Diamonds" for her three diamond star, strip and snip,
carried two generations of children to show ring victories, the
last at age 17 when she was named champion mare of the Pacific National
Exposition in Vancouver, B.C., shown by an eight-year-old boy.
Like many kids looking for their first Arabian horse
in the 1950's and early 1960's -- kids perhaps from less than affluent families
and looking to make their dreams of owning an Arabian horse come true --
I first heard of Carleton Cummings after reading about his Skyline Trust
Arabians. An article by H. H. Reese stated that Cummings had "developed
his Arabian horse breeding program with the purpose of assisting boys and
girls who like horses to secure good specimens of the breed on a partnership
basis." Reese's article described Cummings's "lend lease" program whereby
youngsters could lease a mare, breed her and then, after the birth of the
foal, return either the mare or the foal. To an imaginative 11-year-old,
this sounded like just the ticket. I wrote a letter to Cummings. Having
read H.H. Reese's Kellogg Arabians a hundred times, I had pictured
in my mind's eye the Arabian horse I wanted to own. I described this horse
to Cummings in the first letter. Cummings replied with a post card. He stated
he had about 2500 letters on his desk from youngsters across the country.
If I was still interested, I was to write him again. I wrote Cummings that
very day and so began a correspondence of some two years which culminated
in buying half interest in a weanling colt, Skowronek's Antez, with my own
savings in 1962. Cummings wrote the following spring that "few breeders
ever get colts of this quality and even fewer ever offer them for sale."
Nevertheless, he was giving me the opportunity to buy out his interest in
the now yearling colt. I took Cummings up on his offer. It was a purchase
I was never to regret. Within a few weeks Cummings died of a heart attack.
Skowronek's Antez (Antzeyn Skowronek
x Raseynette). The author's first Arabian and a wonderful
companion for 28 years. He also proved a fine sire.
Cummings's background outside the sphere of Arabian
horses was in music. He had been an operatic tenor of some notoriety in
the east. He later turned to teaching as professor of music at Wake Forest
College and later as the head of the music department at the University
of Idaho. Cummings's wife, Theresa, had been a drama major in college where
they met. After their marriage and graduation, they traveled to Army posts
doing music and drama presentations during World War I.
Cummings's background in music and theatre suited
a personality that tended toward the theatrical, and a soul that was flamed
by the same qualities in Arabian horses. His love for the dramatic carried
over to the horses he purchased and bred and the ways he talked about them.
However, his flowery descriptions were no means an exaggeration of the splendid
group of horses he assembled.
His initial purchased in 1945 was the four-year-old
Kellogg-bred Direyn (*Raseyn x Ferdirah). Cummings rode in a boxcar with
Direyn the entire trip from Pomona, California to Moscow, Idaho. Cummings
was to become part of "the Reese circle of breeders." Reese, having
left the Kellogg Ranch as manager by then, and with a ranch of his own,
continued in an influential role in the early Arabian horse community. Cummings's
later purchases were from Reese himself, from that circle of cooperative
breeders like the McKenna brothers, and from the Kellogg Ranch. Cummings's
notable purchase outside this circle was Rifala's Lami (Geym x Maatiga,
by Image) from Roger Selby in 1954. She was to become one of his most influential
Rifala's Lami (Geym x Maatiga, by
Image). Roger Selby wrote Cummings that she was as good a
filly as he had ever bred.
In 1949, Cummings purchased the weanling Abu Farwa
son Antezeyn Skowronek (x Sharifa, by Antez out of Ferdith, by Ferseyn).
He became Cummings's head sire. His progeny earned him a reputation as the
third ranking son of Abu Farwa in the list of leading sires of show champions
-- with many fewer foals on the ground than the first two ranking Abu Farwa
sons. Antezeyn Skowronek ranked first of the Abu Farwa sons on another of
Gladys Brown Edwards's lists: Abu Farwa sons whose own sons had sired show
champions. Cummings himself claimed that for a three year period Antezeyn
Skowronek had sired more ribbon winners than any sire of any breed. This
was entirely possible since his progeny were in the hands of an army of
horse-crazy, show-happy kids who would take their Skyline charges to every
local show, weekend after weekend, entering dozens of classes in every division
from halter to three-gaited to gymkhana events -- and winning. These Antezeyn
Skowronek offspring were notable not just for their quality and sheer beauty.
And their successes were not limited to the competition of local shows.
In 1958, the Pauley girls took their young Antezeyn Skowronek daughter,
Khatum Tamarette, on the road, first to Estes Park, Colorado, to take 1959
U.S. Top Ten Mare; then to Yakima, Washington, to win Pacific Northwest
Champion mare; and finally to Calgary to win a Top Ten at halter. These
victories, which Cummings later described as no small feat of endurance
for a young mare, earned her the Legion of Merit, one of the first mares
to earn this award.
Cummings's band of foundation mares numbered
at 16. He selected these mares to complement Antezeyn Skowronek,
but each was chosen on her own merits. Four of his mares were daughters
of Ferseyn, taking Reese's lead to cross Ferseyn daughters with
Abu Farwa, and Abu Farwa daughters with Ferseyn, an idea which echoed
Lady Wentworth's earlier cross of Skowronek and Blunt lines. Cummings
purchased the Farnasa daughter Anazeh's Nijm from the Kellogg Ranch,
in partnership with one of his protégées, Mary Hall. Anazeh's Nijm
was bred to Ferseyn prior to shipping her home. The resulting foal
was the chestnut colt Ferseyn's Rasim, whom Cummings traded Mary
for full interest for his interest in the mare. Ferseyn's Rasim
became Cummings's junior sire and proved himself an excellent cross
on Antezeyn Skowronek daughters as well as on Skyline foundation
mares. Two of Cummings's foundation mars were daughters of the Antez
son Gezan, a popular southern California sire of the early 1950's.
Antezeyn Skowronek himself was a grandson of Antez, a Kellogg sire
of 100% Davenport breeding who ended an international career as
a successful sire himself at the Reese ranch. The Davenport influence
was an important presence in the Cummings breeding program.
Cummings was a somewhat controversial
figure and outside his band of young, loyal protégées, he was not
always well liked. He did not seem to care, and used to say "It
doesn't matter what people say as long as they keep talking about
you." This advice must have harkened back to the days when he
performed on stage. Cummings was outspoken and did not mind stating
his opinions while sitting in the stands at a horse show. If sitting
on the same side of the arena as Cummings, everyone got to hear
his opinions, which sometimes referred to the horses in the ring,
whether they wanted to hear them or not. It was a little embarrassing
for the youngster such as I who was sitting at his side. Cummings
also made enemies of a few breeders who had horses for sale at fancy
prices. Cummings's kids sometimes beat these breeders in the show
ring with horses leased from Cummings or sold by Cummings at bargain
basement prices. And the parents of competing kids must have sitting
in the stands bored stiff watching the Skyline horses entering,
and often winning, class after class.
Antezeyn Skowronek, Skyline Trust head sire.
Wafa El Shammar (Cavalier x Shama,
by Abu Farwa).
When Cummings died everyone
wanted this mare. Seven people lay claim to her. Wafa El Shammar
produced a half-dozen champions. Five of her offspring produced
national champions or top ten winners in halter and performance.
Abu's Rissletta (Abu Fatwa x Alleyna, by Alla
bred by and purchased from
H.H.Reese. The rider is a young Bruce Clark, later well known
as co-owner of Bru-Mar-Ba Stud. An important mare at that stud
was Skyline-bred Rasim's Ghazayat. Abu's Rissletta was later
purchased and shown by another youngster, Joyce Stockdale, who
now with husband Ron Paelek owns Vantage Point Farm. When not
carrying youngsters in the show ring, Abu's Rissletta was having
foals, including the important Risseyn for Berry's Skyline Arabians
in Iowa. Risseyn was trained and shown by daughter Lyn, now
Lyn Freel of Crystal Castle Arabians.
Nadir (Gezan x Bint Sedjur)
Maternal half-sister to
Bint Sahara. Nadir produced Canadian Top Ten stallion Raseyn
Gezan by Antezeyn Skowronek. Raseyn Gezan was leading sire of
champions in Canada for years.
Cummings was not in the habit of getting things
down on paper and sometimes made agreements or promises he did not
remember. After his death, his daughter inherited his estate, which
included the horses. I told her Cummings had promised Wafa El Shammar
to me to breed to my colt. His daughter told me six other people
had written to tell her Cummings had promised this mare to them.
(I did get Wafa El Shammar, who became my foundation mare.)
Despite these discrepancies, Cummings
was a real horseman and a genius as a breeder. The horses he selected
and bred from were outstanding for their "tangible as well as
intangible qualities." Most of his horses were mounts and companions
for youngsters. Few of the horses were ever trained or shown by
professionals, but were remarkably successful nevertheless. As breeding
horses, they were notable for their ability to consistently produce
first rate stock. Cummings's advertising slogan "Home of beautiful
heads and great performance horses" was an accurate description
of the Skyline Arabians, as was another of his slogans, "bred
for and born with spectacular action." Cummings admired the
Crabbet-bred Naseem for his exceptional beauty above all other ancestor
horses, and the Crabbet-bred *Berk for his spectacular action. He
used to brag about the number of crosses his horses had to those
icons of Arabian horse breeding. Cummings also admired *Raffles.
He used to say he liked a "touch of *Raffles for beauty"
in his horses. His statement no doubt reflected his delight with
the foals of Rifala's Lami, especially the Antezeyn Skowronek son
Rifala's Naseem. Cummings described Rifala's Naseem as a "peacock
of horses" and "well worth traveling 10,000 miles to see
him." From his pedigrees-in-a-name (another of Cummings's idiosyncrasies)
his pride in these particular ancestors of Rifala's Naseem is obvious.
Perhaps most important of
all, Cummings provided an opportunity for kids to have their dreams
come true -- not just to own an Arabian horse, but to own a good
one. Cummings stressed hard work and responsibility to these youngsters,
but his often heard advice was "to dream big."
(Ad recreated from the one appearing with
1995 Skyline Trust article)
CMK PRESERVATION BREEDING
SILVER FELICITÉ 1993 filly (Jericho
Cortez x Silver Joi)
Carlton Cummings would have
raved about this filly and he would have recognized his own breeding
in her -- 4 crosses to ANTEZEYN SKOWRONEK and tracing to
6 of his Skyline foundation mares. He too would have commented on
her 6 crosses to NASEEM whose influence bred down in spades. We
are honored to have bred and to own such a filly to carry forward
the Skyline type and bloodlines into the 21st century.
RICK SYNOWSKI ARABIAN HORSES
200 SE Uglow #2
Dallas, OR 97338
For more information
on CMK Arabian horses we carry the CMK HERITAGE CATALOGUES,
vols. I, II, & III @ $10, each
In Memoriam: Jericho Cortez 48007 (January 27, 1968
- March 8, 1995) One of the grat Skyline stallions is gone.
(Ad recreated from the
one appearing with 1995 Skyline Trust article)
Having owned ANTEZEYN SKOWRONEK...
Robert Bruce photo, age 28
...there really isn't much more one
to thank his breeder, E.J.Boyer (and the guiding spirit
H.H.Reese), his long-time owner, Carlton Cummings,
who gave him opportunity with those brilliant mares in the Skyline
program; the director of his later career, Rick Synowski;
and the Illings of Twin Brook Farm who entrusted the old
horse to us in Maryland.
ANTEZEYN left us just one representative,
his lovely feminine daughter ENCHANTED GOLD, from the Lewisfield
mare MOSTLY MAGIC. See the Skyline descendants' photo feature for
ENCHANTED and two of her offspring, CROWN OF GOLD by GALAN, making
a good start as a sire at Hill House Arabians in Lincoln CA, and
our own filly GOLD AND SPICES by ABU ZANZABAR. Both these youngsters
are linebred ABU FARWA and CROWN traces in 50% of his pedigree to
the classic Reese blend of ABU FARWA with ANTEZ.
MAGIC GOLD (Zadaran x Enchanted Gold) is one
of the promising young geldings we currently offer for sale; he
is rising four, has been ground worked and is ready to start.
Five CMK stallions at stud (shipped
semen available; filly consideration on the Sweepstakes sires).
Neziah+ 85494 15 hh br
1972 (Galah x Nalysa by Ayf) book closed
Cantador 273930 15 hh
ch 1983 (Kimfa x Auralu by Aurab)
*Seffer 318071 15 hh ch
1983 (Prince Saraph x Sa'lilah by Silver Flame) Sweepstakes