Crabbet Stud Tours - Part One

Historic Crabbet Stud Tours

by Tiffani McCarthy

Some of the most historic and best Arabian farms in the UK opened their stable doors for visitors from 11 countries who came together for the Crabbet Convention in September 2002. This article reports the highlights of visits to Harwood Arabian Stud, Worth Arabian Stud, Binley Arabian Stud, and Biddesden Stud. Part 2 features highlights from five more studs - Imperial Arabian Stud, Foxbury Arabian Stud, Coed-y-Foel, Cwm Farm Arabians, and Klinta Arabians. What these various studs have in common is distinguished breeding programmes and tremendous contribution to the success of the British-bred Arabian horse. Though the Crabbet Convention celebrated a stud long past, the subsequent stud tours celebrated today's breeding studs producing horses that will be household names in Arabian pedigrees in years to come.

Harwood Arabian Stud

Mrs. Monica Calvert's Harwood Arabian Stud is the oldest stud in England and can take credit for having stood Indian Flame II at stud. Monica warmly welcomed the delegates to her stud, situated in a series of lovely ancient farm buildings surrounded by pastures in the lush West Sussex countryside near Horsham. After refreshments, we were treated to a steady stream of beautiful horses shown by stud manager Peter Towler and head girl Kerrie Moor. Colonel Lyon of Harwood House founded the stud in 1896 when he bought an Arab mare named Howa for his daughter May to ride from the 8th sale at Crabbet Park. May grew the stud through breeding and purchasing including the Indian Gold daughters Naxindra and Rosalina and the Ruskov daughter Rafika. When May Lyon died in 1962 she left the stud and horses to her cousins the Calverts, who brought all the horses together in their present home.

Harwood horses have competed successfully in every discipline including racing, showing, endurance, the Marathon, hunter trials, hunting, show jumping and dressage. Monica's daughter Georgie Moore trains the stud's race horses at her nearby home. The stud's aim is to breed riding horses with good legs and conformation and Arab beauty.

Harwood boasts two influential stallions. First to parade was Saker, a gleaming silver-white elegant horse standing 15.2 hands high, now 17 years old. This imposing stallion is by Ahmoun out of Moulton Star and was British National Junior Champion in 1986. He is on loan from Erica Ferrari and also has a good race record. Saker is double bred to both Ludo and Indian Magic with additional Rissla lines coming from Mikeno and Indian King.

Next in was Kasadi, Mrs. Calvert's favourite horse because as she explained, "he was born here, and I have known him for 25 years". This charming chestnut gentleman is by the Indian Flame II son Taqah and out of Anna Rose (by Harwood Asif), representing several generations of Harwood breeding. He has bred race winners as well as in-hand and ridden show winners, including the well-known dressage and show champions Vikta, Jazmyn and Cezare. They are usually chestnuts with four full white stockings and superb movement.

We saw three generations as well as the blood of both stallions united through a family group of the 15-year old grey mare Freyr, her grey nine-year old daughter by Kasadi called Caecilia, and Caecilia's three-year old chestnut daughter Selene, by Saker. Next came the lovely chestnut Kasadi daughters Marceline, a British National winner out of Kashala who is now in foal to General Reflection, and Bhavna, a beautiful two-year-old out of Sophy and full sister to Vikta, Jazmyn and Cezare. Saker's daughter Perle D'Azur is a successful race horse, now in foal to Clarenden Stud's Russian racing stallion Div.

Three up-and-coming yearlings bred for high performance included the colt Christov, by Kasadi out of Kashala, Heavens Open, a bay filly by Saker out of multi race winner Pharitz Maneon, and Cirrius, by Saker out of winning racing mare Gennista. We were also treated to other young stock as well as the delightful sight of mares with foals at foot in the next generation of race, show and endurance performance horses.

Worth Arabian Stud

Our next hostess is a very special lady to whom Arab breeders and enthusiasts worldwide owe a debt of gratitude. She is a national treasure - a celebrated scholar, author and breeder who has brought so much inspiration and knowledge to all of us - Rosemary Archer. In 1944 she purchased Sharona (Rissalix x Samsie) from Lady Yule. Lady Wentworth later persuaded Rosemary to part with Sharona in return for two mares in foal and free services for the following year to Rissam. One of the mares, Faris daughter Risseefa, produced the stallion Rayyan and the mares Rasana and Silver Ripple for Rosemary. Silver Ripple produced British National Champion Silver Flame and Silvern Magic who was imported to the US as a foal. Silver Flame's offspring became race winners, ridden and dressage champions and long-distance winners. For example, Mandis won the 150 mile competitive trail ride at the EHPS Spirit of Sherwood Ride without forfeiting a single penalty point! Silver Ripple's son Raseef (by Kasadi) was exported to Canada to become a Scottsdale winner and US Top Ten English Pleasure horse.

Silvern Dream is Silver Ripple's daughter by Silvadoris (Oran x Silver Magic). This mare has borne sons who are now siring high quality show horses for Silverdale Stud (Silvern Glimmer) and the Rutland Stud (Silvern Idyll) in the UK and Jamani Stud (Silvern Gleam) in South Africa. Rosemary exported two wonderful full brothers by Prince Saraph out of Sa'lilah to America - the stallion Saika to Bazy Tankersley's son Mark Miller where he qualified for the US Nationals, and also the stallion Seffer to Michael and Anne Bowling in California in partnership with Bill and Kathy Root in New York, where he has been multiple champion in hand and in Engligh Pleasure due to his Faris/Rissla combination trademark brilliant action, a cross occurring six times in his pedigree.

Through a keen understanding of bloodlines, a sharp eye and careful selection, Rosemary has bred size with type and fabulous action. Her policy has always been to create a small group of broodmares which trace in all lines to horses imported by Crabbet Stud, preserving all that is best about Crabbet-descended horses. Rosemary still keeps some of her horses at her home, but most are elsewhere such as at her daughter Caroline's Binley Arabian Stud.

Binley Arabian Stud

The lineage passed from Lady Wentworth to Rosemary Archer continues at Binley Arabian Stud, owned by Rosemary's daughter Caroline Sussex. In idyllic countryside bordering a pretty Hampshire village near Andover, Binley Arabian Stud aims to produce beautiful Arabians with athletic ability to perform at all levels. Caroline acquired her foundation mares, Sa'lilah and Princess Gaila, from Rosemary. Though Sa'lilah's two sons are in the US, she now has four daughters who are part of Binley.

Caroline provided gracious hospitality and introduced us to many of her 20 pure Crabbet-descended horses, shown to us by her sister Elizabeth Archer and Sheila and Stuart Fleming.

First to be presented were Binley's two stallions. Caroline purchased the beautiful grey stallion Prince Sadik (Silver Gauntlet x Princess Alia), who was bred at Worth, from Tony Thorogood. He is now an AHS Premium Stallion, and his sons include Kahruss Ibn Sadik, Ikoni and Silvern Prince. Also standing at stud and delighting the crowd was Grecian Idyll, by Silvern Idyll out of Grecian Gilt. Caroline bred this five-year old chestnut who has superb action and temperament and a pretty face.

Prince Sadik is the sire of the last two foals of the now-retired Silvern Dream. A family group representing Prince Sadik included both of these absolutely gorgeous mares, Silvern Pearl and Lou Lou. Uniting the breeding programme, Grecian Idyll's first foal is out of Lou Lou, the grey yearling Binley Silvern Gem who was second at Wessex in her first time out.

We met foundation mare Sa'lilah and three of her daughters, Sema (on lease from Worth), Sefina and Sa'ira. Sa'ira has been produced under saddle by Sheila Fleming with great success, this year placing 2nd Ridden Mares at the UK International at Towerlands and winning her Ridden Mare class at the British Arabian Championships.

Elizabeth Archer showed us the still fabulous Princess Gaila, behaving as if she were half her 24 years (don't tell her!) and clearly enjoying her audience. She is a Princess Alia daughter by General Gold.

Silvern Image, a full sister to Silvern Idyll as she is a Masjid daughter out of Silvern Dream, showed poise and beauty not to be outdone by her two stunning daughters. She is now 15 years old and on lease to Binley from Worth. Her elegant and streamlined nine-year old daughter Ismala is by Nefeuret. She is an exceptional mover with lovely conformation. Mother and daughter were joined by a younger sister. Prince Sadik has sired the extravagant-moving and typey filly, Binley Silvern Grace. She captivated her audience with her irrepressible cavorting. This exceptional foal is a full sister to Haley Budge's stallion Ikoni and Diana Whittome's Silvern Prince.

All these horses plus others I didn't include in this write-up represent clearly the extremely high standards of the Worth breeding programme combining beauty and athleticism now continuing with thoughtful additions through the Binley Arabian Stud.

Biddesden Stud

The Honourable Finn Guinness opened the doors to one of the family's historic homes, Biddesden House in Hampshire, and one of his sisters graciously took early guests on a tour of the house and its treasures, including a life-size tapestry portraying the House's original owner on horseback. Biddesden Stud's foundation Arab mares Dafinetta and Starilla were purchased from Lady Wentworth at the Crabbet Stud in 1939. In the hall hang the two original pedigrees, hand-painted, dated and signed by Lady Wentworth. Through continuity of breeding policy, the stud aims to provide reliable breeding stock for other people. Biddesden's Arabians have been very much sport horses in hunting and jumping pursuits as well as show horses.

The gorgeous grey stallion Sisyrinchium (Dhruv x Sakuntala) led the parade of horses, as beautiful as ever with substance, type and supple movement in abundance. This stallion brings together the stud's Crabbet foundation lines with an outcross to Dhruv, the 1979 bay stallion by El Shaklan out of Despina.

Two bay Dhruv daughters Calamintha out of Calliope and Caltha out of Calpurnia showed his scope. The beautiful grey Berardia has the same sire as Sisyrinchium's dam Sakuntula, and she appeared with her lovely two-year old grey filly Ballota by Sisyrinchium. The super type and conformation of Sisyrinchium's full sister Salsola shone through her exhilarating action.

Biddesden is as well known for Anglo and Part-bred Arabians as for purebreds. Home-bred Tamarillo contributed to the British Equestrian Team bronze team medal in eventing at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez in September before 20,000 spectators. Ridden by William Fox-Pitt, his special strength was his show jumping prowess that made up for some of the team's misfortunes at the water jump in the cross country.

We were treated to some of the stunning Anglo and Part-bred Arabs at Biddesden as well. From what I saw, I wholeheartedly agree that Finn has reached his goal of successfully combining the grace, strength, tractability, toughness and lightness of movement of the Arabian with the sport horses. The movement of every one of his Anglos and Part-breds was truly captivating, and all in the audience oriented towards dressage or jumping had lumps in our throats from the desire to ride these fabulous horses. Powerful bay Part-bred stallion Grafik took our breath away with his beauty and rhythm. This Kwartet x Grafologia son is in dressage training. The two-year old Part-bred Dandelion by Dante (purebred) out of Teasle had equally tantalising action plus the exuberance of extreme youth. Anglo Arabs All that Jazz and Syringa were equally impressive. We saw two of Sisyrinchium's yearling Part-bred fillies brimming with potential, and the superb yearling Part bred bay gelding Erodium by Emilion out of purebred Calamintha.

We then joined some purebred and Part-bred mares and foals for a walk in the field before being treated to a truly sumptuous afternoon tea complete with scones, clotted cream and home-made jam as well as every manner of sandwich and cake, and of course tea from china service which especially delighted the overseas visitors. The hospitality of Finn and his sisters was generous and made this inspirational stud visit even more memorable.

Copyright 2009 to Tiffani McCarthy