The Crabbet Heritage in Argentina
By Mary Lockwood
In 1913 the first Crabbet horses arrived in Argentina imported by Don Hernan Ayerza, a well-to-do landowner and lifelong admirer of the Crabbet Stud and the Arab Horse. He was one of the few breeders who travelled to the Middle East and personally selected purchases, although he did not venture into the desert nor ever tried riding a camel! He was newly married and he and his young wife Maria spent their honeymoon of several months in Europe and the Middle East in 1892-93.
He contracted an agent and arranged for a letter of credit to be able to pay his expenses, horses included. In one of his letters he makes an amusing comment on desert pedigrees. Writing to his friend Leonardo Pereyra, for whom he was buying two stallions as well as his own horses, he states “I am sending you the only kind available in all Arabia and anyone who says he has a legal certificate, like the ones used in Europe, lies! I’ve insisted on being shown something with every horse I inspect and they jot down more or less whatever occurs to them at the moment of sale in front of witnesses. I have seen over 500 such ‘certificates’!”
Hernan also mentioned seeing horses being selected for the Chicago World Exhibition and another lot being collected for the French government agent. The agent saw Richam and offered to buy him but Hernan refused the offer. He was in Cairo over the New Year but never visited Ali Pasha Sherif’s stud – an important oversight, and one wonders how so well informed a traveller and interested and knowledgeable horseman could miss such an opportunity.
The Ayerza studs of El Aduar and Las Hormigas
Hernan was the first breeder to register his pure bred Arabs in 1894 with the Jockey Club and their Stud Book Argentino, and it is still to this day in charge of the thoroughbred and pure bred Arab horse registries.
By 1913 Hernan was using the Crabbet bred Ajman by Feysul ex Ajramieh, on loan from his brother-in-law from Uruguay for two years. Ajman was a chestnut, a very well balanced horse with a good head of straight profile.
Rustnar (Rustem ex Narghileh) was purchased from Crabbet as a yearling, imported in 1913. He was a red bay.
Risfan (Rijm ex Risala) was a chestnut imported in 1914. He produced well but his head was a little coarse and Roman nosed. Also imported in 1914 were Nar and Bussora, but they went to the Bridges family in Patagonia and never produced any pure bred stock.
Of these three stallions Hernan felt Ajman had given him the best, mainly mares, and improved his stock in general.
In 1910 Hernan’s younger brother Alfonso initiated his own pure bred Arabian stud. He had used unregistered desert bred stallions on his farm for some years previously. He imported Rukham (Berk ex Rabla) and Nadima (Daoud ex Nefisa), a stallion and a mare respectively, from Crabbet in 1913. In 1910 Alfonso imported from Hungary the stallion Hamdani Semri 1-9 and the mare O’Bajan V-6 and in 1911 he imported from Babolna, Hungary, the stallion Hadban 1-4 and the mare O’Bajan 7. In 1911 he had Seglaani Al Abdi (desert bred) cover both O’Bajan V-6 and O’Bajan 7. The owner of this stallion was a gentleman named Julio Abraham. One of Alfonso’s best known stallions was Nebal by Rukham ex Mottaka, an O’Bajan V-6 daughter by Hamdani Semri 1-9.
The brothers had differing views on the ideal standard for a pure bred Arab. Hernan looked for great stamina, good dished head and high tail carriage, and an animal over 15 hands. Alfonso, on the other hand, maintained that the Arab should not top 15 hands or he would lose his graceful, nimble action. So for 24 years neither ever crossed or bought or borrowed each other’s horses, and in fact they competed fiercely with each other at the famous agricultural shows at Palermo.
In 1934 a surprising arrangement was agreed upon: to exchange breedings between Hernan’s “El Aduar” stud and Alfonso’s “Las Hormigas” stud. Two “El Aduar” mares were covered by two “Las Hormigas” Stallions. The brothers never repeated the experience but years later Alfonso’s son Mario bought ten mares from “El Aduar”. Future generations carried the bloodlines used by both breeding programmes.
Don Hernan made his last purchases from the desert in 1931, applying to Carl Raswan to send him two stallions (Farhan and Tatar) and two mares (Richa and Diya) from Syria. Farhan and Diya died in 1938 from an epidemic of encephalomyelitis. The vaccine had not been invented yet, and Richa died in 1933 leaving only one son, Rimadi, by Farhan. Rimadi sired Champion Nobah (1944) out of Nahal. Nahal was the result of the 1934 experiment covering two El Aduar mares with two Hormigas stallions! Rimadi was also the sire of Riaz (1944) who was the dam of Silver Plate, whose sire was Silver Sun. Riaz was also Ajman’s great-granddaughter. Her son, Silver Plate, was four times Champion.
Lady Wentworth had wanted to exchange Nobah and a spotted mare, Trabag, for the stallion Star Diamond and mare Namona, but after much correspondence, it never took place. Lady Wentworth had communicated with Don Hernan many years before about another exchange – her stallion Skowronek for Haurram II (Racid ex Haydee) but this horse was the apple of Don Hernan’s eye and he did not wish to part with him. Haurram’s pedigree was entirely from the original desert horses and a wonderful example of that breeding. He also produced excellent stock.
Hernan had imported from France a very good looking stallion, Actif, in 1927, and before that he had bought in Germany a stallion with a Babolna pedigree, I-O’Bajan, whom Hernan renamed Kurdo III and used him carefully from 1910 on.
In 1920 Hernan imported Nachor (Sotamm ex Nessima), another red bay of all Crabbet bloodlines. He was bought “sight unseen” as usual, but he did not appeal to his new owner. He only covered three mares and has no descendants today.
In 1926 Rafeef (Nasik ex Riyala) was imported to Patagonia by Mrs Bell, travelling via Buenos Aires, but never produced any pure bred stock. This was a great loss – as Lady Wentworth said, “Everybody wanted this horse”.
In 1925 Mootrud Hafid was imported by Doctor Mendez as a foundation sire for his new stud. His dam Nessima was also Nachor’s dam, but his sire Shahzada was owned by the Courthouse Stud who sold Nessima back to Crabbet in 1922, making Mootrub Hafid a Crabbet/GSB blend. He has no descendants today. Sr. Mendez and his “La Piedrita” stud feature later.
In 1938 Hernan, aged 80, leased Harmattan (Nahrawan ex Haliah II) from Brazil because he was a grandson of Skowronek. He was also out of an “El Aduar” mare and was used for two years and then returned to Brazil. Sr. Echenique, the brazilian owner, was an old friend of Don Hernan and had bought several horses from him. One of the conditions of Harmattan’s lease was that he be shown at Palermo. Don Hernan died in 1940 so there were no Arab horses shown from “El Aduar” that year, but his promise was kept and Harmattan was shown and awarded Reserve Champion.
Another Nahrawan son, Ameer, was imported by “Las hormigas” through Mario Ayerza, Alfonso’s son.
In 1939 Radiolex (Rix ex Rishna) was imported by Sr. Martin Ferreyra who changed this stallion’s name to Mansour. He produced some wonderful stock from both Ayerza lines, mares bought from “El Aduar” and “Las Hormigas”
It is surprising that Don Hernan Ayerza did not send any mares to Mansour (Radiolex’s new name) nor attempt to buy a colt from his owner who had bought two “El Aduar” mares to set up his stud, plus several mares from Alfonso. Mansour was only shown once at Palermo and did not win a prize. Sr. Ferreyra was so disappointed that he never showed Mansour again. That was the same year that Harmattan and Ameer, both by Nahrawan, also tried their luck at Palermo and Kalb was Champion.
Zuleika (Mansour ex Azamat) born in 1940 was the dam of Chaim (by Belkacen). Chaim went to Palermo in 1960 and was made Reserve Champion, the year Silver Sun was Champion. Mr Mendez was very impressed by Chaim and bought him. Chaim’s son out of Sisteram (Silver Sun ex Munira), called Aman, was Champion at Palermo some years later. This was the first major win for Sr. Mendez’s “La Piedrita” stud. Aman was Mansour’s great-grandson and Silver Sun’s grandson.
In 1946 The Amir Al Omrah, bred by Hon. Mrs Vaughan Williams from Crabbet lines (Joseph ex Alfarouse), was imported by Rafael Ayerza for “El Aduar”, now solely owned by Hernan’s widow Maria, but left no descent.
Although Don Hernan Ayerza knew his days were numbered, his interest in his Arabs and in their breeding (and the Crabbet lines in particular) is evident and remarkable. Rafael Ayerza, his nephew, took over management of “El Aduar” until 1953 when his Aunt Maria Ayerza died. An era of breeding came to a close at this time.
Later Crabbet imports to Argentina
In 1952 Silver Sun (Sun Royal ex Silver Shadow) was imported by the then Argentine ambassador to London, Sr. Carlos Hogan. He was the only horse allowed to be imported during the Peron years. I suppose ambassadors got priviledges! Silver Sun had two Creabbet/Old English daughters out of Twinkling Diamond and Indriss Diamond, owned by Mrs de Popp, who bred Arabians in Argentina and latterly in the UK. Silver Sun was Champion at Palermo in 1960. Silver Sun’s son Silver Plate (ex the Ayerza mare, Riaz) was four times Champion and reproduced very well. His influence was evident, especially on mares.
In 1967 Silver Storm was imported to Argentina by Mr and Mrs de Popp (Dancing King ex Yemama by Indian Magic). Mrs de Popp sold him to Julio Mendez later, and he has descendants today.
In 1968 Windermere (General Grant ex Ghazali) was imported by Mario Ayerza from Mrs Hedley but has no descent.
The aforementioned Twinkling Diamond (Count Rapello ex Asma) and Indriss Diamond (Indriss ex Twinkling Diamond) were imported to Argentina by Mrs Maureen de Popp in 1969. Indriss Diamond still has descent in Argentina while Twinkling Diamond returned to the UK with the de Popps and has a small but talented family predominantly via her Silver Sun daughter, Sun Diamond. Sr. Julio Mendez imported Nasiya ( Oran ex Radeyra) and Abrrightsha (Bright Shadow ex Shamarina) from Chile in 1971, but only Abrrightsha bred on.
Harmik (Haroun ex Mikoletta) was imported in 1977 to Argentina by Mrs Claudia Quentin – a strong horse with good action who left several descendants. The following year Mrs Quentin also imported the mare Mandahyla, bred at Crabbet, for her Haras “Las Cortaderas”.
Also in 1978, Sr. Julio Mendez imported Silver Jubilo (Silver Flame ex Maracanda by Mikeno) – a horse with a lovely head, still breeding on through sons and daughters. Julio visited Mrs Barbara Campbell’s stud and was given a marvellous lunch, after which he was shown the horses and he chose Silver Jubilo, who was still at foot with his dam Maracanda. He turned out to be an excellent choice and he led a very happy and comfortable life at “La Piedrita”.
In 1980 Nadid (Shahid ex Nadeen) and Dyaba (Zabek ex Dyala) were imported, probably by Lady Gina Pelham. In the same year Silver Blue King (Silver Blue ex Dancing Dove) was imported by Mrs Kuphal (Elizabeth Grigg). He bred on well initially, but is not evident in pedigrees today.
The author imported Ferdena (Golden Silver ex Flame of Indriss) in 1989, followed by Rawabi (Kildimo ex Mazella) in 1995 to her “Cerralenia) (Lockwood in English) stud. Rawabi was carrying a filly in utero by Silver Blue Ludo, Little Popp.
In 1992 Julio Mendez added the mares Silver Circlet (Bright Crown ex Argenta), Silvern Reverie (Silvern Idyll ex Bright Reflection) and Winter’s Wind (Silver Idyll ex Queen of Diamonds) – a very generous gift from the Duchess of Rutland. There are several very nice looking descendants from these mares, with lovely dished heads which come from Silver Jubilo, says Julio. Silver Jubilo’s son, Tallado, is also passing on good looks, good temperament and good conformation.
Crabbet & Ayerza lines today
Today, Sr. Julio Mendez’s “La Piedrita” and the author’s “Cerralenia” are the two studs still trying to continue with Crabbet lines. Ferdena died last year at “Cerralenia”, leaving only one descendant, Golden Sheen by Harmik, in foal to Astrawbi. Rawabi has one daughter, Little Popp, imported with her in utero, and one son, Astrawabi, by Allegro of Egyptian lines plus one quarter of that precious Ayerza, Blunt and desert inheritance.
We need a Crabbet stallion urgently, but by using Egyptian bloodlines we hope to keep close to the original imports. Between “La Piedrita” and “Cerralenia” there is a distance of about 500 miles, too far to do much interchange and very risky, unfortunately.
Maureen de Popp also introduced some Arabians of Ayerza breeding to the UK, and the remains of this important Blunt and desert breeding is now in the hands of the Dorseys at the Beeston Hall Arabian Stud in Norfolk, which continues to combine the Ayerza and Crabbet inheritance. The Flowers at Llain Arabians in Wales also have an Ayerza/Crabbet stallion at stud.