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A Report on the State of Crabbet/Old English
By Diane Jones, Windt im Wald Farm
As breeders of Crabbet/Blunt bloodlines here in Ohio we like to keep track of the condition of these bloodlines internationally. While many of the European shows seem to show the great influence of the Russian bloodlines of *Padron and the Egyptian bloodlines of *Ruminaja Ali, we are noticing in the last two years that entry numbers in these shows have declined, while entries in England’s British Nationals and the UK International remain quite high. In fact, the 2004 UK International Show drew over 900 entries.
What especially appeals to us about these two show venues for Arabians is that many of the handlers and exhibitors are not professionals, though some are undeniably renowned. This is the place where amateur exhibitors, many the owners and breeders of their own entries, have the opportunity to show for the fun of it, whether they win a ribbon or not! We have noted at some Class A shows in Ohio that the handlers are neither friendly nor helpful to others, so we have been breathing a sigh of relief that, like Eastern Crabbet Arabian Horse Shows in the United States, horses are shown in a relaxed atmosphere where everyone can enjoy the rationale behind the judging and try to learn something about true Arabian conformation. The two yearly shows cited always utilize multiple judges. Often the judges are internationally known, not just from Great Britain, so it cannot be said that the British shows rely on regional talent to determine the best horses in their respective classes.
What is particularly refreshing and hopeful are the opportunities to show aged geldings, stallions, and mares with and without foals so that everyone has a chance to win fifteen minutes of fame, even if they are relatively unknown. Betty Finke reported of the 2004 British Nationals in the December 2004 issue of The Arabian Horse World that handlers are “leaving the ring with a big smile on their face even if they didn’t win, or even get a ribbon.” This scenario reminds us of the early days of Arabian-horse ownership in the United States when exhibitors willingly traveled far distances just for the fun of showing off their Arabian horses. We think the concept of showing any horse for the fun of it needs to return to local, open, Class A, and even Regional Championships in the United States.
We have been opposed to some of the exhibitors’ styles and methods of standing up Arabian horses, fully believing that mishandling and cruelty in the show ring have lent a bad reputation to Arabian horses, who are smart, loyal, and honest, provided they are treated with dignity and respect. We are delighted to believe that the shows in Great Britain are helping to restore the dignity of the Arabian in general and the recognition of Crabbet/Old English bloodlines in particular. We view these trends as a welcome ray of hope!
After studying the reports of Arabian Horse World’s reporters Betty Finke and Gari Dill-Marlowe, we have noted that certain Crabbet bloodlines produce consistent champions in England. Since these are bloodlines that we particularly cherish and admire, we are happy to report our observations that, in spite of the success as well of Padrons Psyche (Polish, Russian, Crabbet), Ffatal Attraction (Polish, Egyptian, Crabbet), and Essteem (Polish, Egyptian, Crabbet), Crabbet/Old English bloodlines are holding their own in English shows. The particular farms and handlers that have developed the successful horses certainly deserve a hearty round of applause. We are seeing representation of Crabbet lines from Radi (to Joseph), Oran (to Sotamm), Faris (to Mahruss), and Naseem (to Skowronek/Ibrahim) within the pedigrees of English winners, and frankly, we are encouraged. Interestingly, some of the winning Arabians of these bloodlines in the ribbons are individuals that have been only sparingly used or that are of advanced age and not likely to be around for many years.
Some of the sires that have been represented
by British winners in 2003-2004 are 1992 aged stallion Aurelian (Ben Rabba
to Mahruss sireline), 1982 stallion Aboud, PHA Silver Risalm, 2002 British
Nationals Supreme Champion; Aazari (*Carmargue sire line to Skowronek),
Irex (Naseem to Skowronek sire line), El Saleem (Sire El Shaklan is 25%
Crabbet; dam Rullante is 100% Crabbet) Over and over again, we are reading
about the reliable Crabbet horses Queens Topaz, Dancin Dream, Indian Serena,
and Indian Phoenix.
Aurelian, a chestnut 1981 stallion by Ben Rabba out of Estrella, has a top line that is familiar to US breeders for its CMK background with the names of *Nasik, Babyat, Ghazi, Rehal, *Raffles, and *Zarife. There are actually two crosses to *Nasik through Aulani, once through Aurab and once through Coalani. It is Aurelian’s bottom line, which pleases us more, however. His dam, Estrella, has a triple cross to Rissalix through two lines to Blue Domino and 1 to Rifari. Additionally Aurelian’s granddam, Rexbaya, has three crosses to Skowronek with 2 crosses to Irex and one through Raktha. Estrella ‘s sire, Ibn Irex, had a line to Joseph through Rosh. As far as we know, Aurelian has fewer than 60 purebred registered Arabian offspring.
It is our understanding that he is not even in the United Kingdom any longer, and yet he is represented by success in the British show ring.
Aboud, AHSA 13991, is another 1982 chestnut Crabbet stallion. He has about 70 registered purebred get, the majority of which are in the United Kingdom, but since he was the property of a now-deceased sheik from the United Arab Emirates, he also has about a dozen purebred get there, with one first-generation offspring in the Netherlands and another in Germany. Aboud carries a double sire line to Skowronek through Indian Magic with an additional Skowronek line through Raktha (all three through Naseem). There appear to be at least six lines to Skowronek through the pedigree, 3 to Naufal (Sotamm), 3 to Faris (Mahruss). Two of the Faris crosses incorporate the full sisters Risseefa and Nerina The two crosses to Algol (Dwarka) come through the full sisters Myola and Algoletta (Algol x Myola), Additionally, the stallion Dargee and the mare Aldourie are full siblings in blood. As Betty Finke reported in the December 2004 Arabian Horse World, Aboud’s appearance at the 2004 British Nationals was much anticipated after his return from the United Arab Emirates. As fate would have it, the trailer in which Aboud was traveling was detained by a vehicular accident. Although he managed to show up for his stallion class before it was all over, his lateness made it impossible for him to be awarded a ribbon, regardless of how excellent he might be. Although many of his old fans were disappointed by this twist of fate, they much appreciated the reappearance of an old favorite.
PHA Silvern Risalm is a perennial winner at the British Nationals and the UK International Show. This time not even Half-Arabians, usually the better performers under saddle, could best this veteran under saddle. My Arabian Database is a few years old, but I could not find any registered purebred offspring for this 1994 gray stallion. He is 100% Crabbet/Blunt with bloodlines to drool over. The sire line for both his sire and dam is Radi through Masjid on top and St. John on the bottom. Additionally, his sire Silvern Sceptre himself has a double Radi sire line. There are at least 5 crosses to Riffal through Oran, at least 3 crosses to Skowronek through Iridos, Silver Drift, and Indian Gold; 2 crosses to Rissalix through Blue Domino and Mikeno, and 2 crosses to Dargee. Looking back to Betty Finke’s coverage of the 2003 British Nationals and UK Internationals, I was not surprised to see that he had been the champion ridden horse at both those events as well.
Toman, a pretty red chestnut with three high white stockings, was the winner of the Novice Ridden Stallions Class. Toman has a Russian sire, Grand, but his dam, Queens Topaz out of Dancing Queen, is a foundation mare at Mrs. Kadri’s Al Waha Stud. Queens Topaz’s sire line is Fari II, a maternal brother to *Farodar, owned by Dr. Richard Stoneback of Clarion, Pennsylvania., a combination of Blue Domino and Farette, for a double dose of Faris. Interestingly, Queens Topaz ‘s sire, Midnight Gold carries 3 crosses to Faris as well as 3crosses to Skowronek through Indian Gold and 1 cross to Naseem. Dancing Queen’s sire line is Riffal , one cross to Joseph, multiple crosses to Skowronek through Rissam, Irex, and Raktha with crosses to Dargee (sire of *Farodar), Blue Domino (to Faris) and to Skowronek through Raktha and Rissam. Awfully nice Crabbet pedigree!
One of the youngest perennial stars of the British Nationals and the UK International has been Aazari (BNC Arazi x Mareesah), a 1998 bay stallion of 72% verified-Crabbet/Blunt lines, owned and bred by Keimore Arabians. By the age of 4 in 2002, Aazari was British National Champion, UK International Junior Male Champion, UK International Senior Reserve Male Champion, and Futurity Champion. He is a grandson of the old favorite Carmargue, who passed away in 2004, himself a great-grandson of Saladin II,
a rare offspring of Naziri, a full brother of Naseem, Some may remember that Naziri was lost at an early age during World War II, never having the full potential to produce champion stock. Although BNC Arazi is only about 50 % Crabbet (His dam First Blush is heavily Polish-bred), it is Mareesah, Aazari’s dam, who is the Crabbet treasure. She is a daughter of Mareschal with a Blue Domino (Faris) sire line. Mareschal also has ample crosses to Skowronek, Dargee and Radi (to Joseph), and Oran/ Mareesah’s dam, Rasmara, is a product of Gaymet (Dargee sire line) and Radsilla , who has a great deal of Faris through Blue Domino, as well as Irex (to Skowronek). Aazari won the Sire Produce Group this year with Aazaria (x Bey Sheba),a 2004 filly, who went on to be the UK International two year old reserve champion filly.
Among other old-time favorites who placed in the ribbons at British Nationals and /or UK International were Sky Comet (Silver Blue x Sky Hala) for third place in Veteran Stallions 17-20 years old; The Frosted Orange (The Prince of Orange x Holly Blue) for third place in Veteran Stallions 21 and older; Indian Golden King (Azinja El Shaklan x Indian Phoenix), for Reserve Champion Junior 2-year-old gelding; Indian Serena (Rostan x Indian Rani) for third in Family Groups; Windella Silver Sensation (SK Shakla Khan x Windella Silver Fascination) for UK Senior Reserve Champion mare and for UK Reserve Champion in Mares 11 and older; and Storm Gold (Imad x Starlite Rose) for Champion Ridden Gelding; Zeezeetop (Assad x Snow Dove x Imad), for Reserve Junior Champion Filly ( only a yearling).
There were other good performers with a strong Crabbet/Blunt background. The major point, though, is that although the Crabbet Stud was disbanded forty years ago, the Crabbet bloodlines still prevail strongly in performance and halter champions in Great Britain. Although it would be easy to jump on the bandwagon for the newest celebrated bloodline (sang du jour), the old tried-and-true formulas are producing using Arabian horses that look like Arabian horses, that train admirably well with courage and honesty, and that make their breeder/owners look terrific while they are having great fun.
We hope that we may make a similar case for U.S. champions in upcoming national Arabian competitions in 2005.
Tom and I wish to express our deep gratitude to Arabian Horse World for permission to use the included photos. Many thanks to Production Manager, Rob Hileman; Editor Mary Jane Parkinson, author Betty Finke, and photographers Peter and Marilyn Sweet. Completion of this article seemed sometimes like a monumental task, but knowing that our friends at Arabian Horse World are working selflessly and diligently to promote the horses that we love made this project very important..
And, finally, this is a note of thanks to Gari Dill-Marlow of California for being a role model. Gari, you are the consummate wordsmith; you could have written this article in the twinkling of an eye instead of a fortnight.
It is good to know that all of us have a timeless bond through the Arabian horse.