#EqHist2019 Speakers: Arabian Breeding Standards

It is fitting that the opening panel of the conference will be dedicated to Arabian history, in light of our phenomenal host the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library and returning sponsor the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.

The panel will be at 9 a.m. on Wednesday November 13th, chaired by Jennifer Bidwell from Cal Poly Pomona and featuring Margaret Derry, John Schiewe, and Tobi Lopez Taylor. This panel has agreed to allow livetweeting, so if you can’t make it in person be sure to follow the #EqHist2019 tag on Twitter!

There is still time to register: the deadline has been extended to Nov. 7!

Pedigrees, Purity, and Breed: The World Arabian Horse Organization versus the Arabian Horse Registry of America in the Orchestration of Trade, 1970-2000
Margaret Derry, University of Guelph

It is difficult to see horse bodies outside the framework of “breed”; even though many animals are (and always have been) crossbred. The purebred system of pedigreeing has come to define “breeds”, and to shape desired phenotypic types. Pedigrees are also vitally important to trade in horse body-types. Patterns in the purebred trade of Arabian horses over the late 20 th century provide an example of how pedigrees and pedigree standards can orchestrate an international market for a “breed”. The history of the Arabian horse industry shows that first, pedigree standards could shape, not simply an international market but rather a global one; second, animal body-type generated outside the purebred method had to be forced into it because of the system’s marketing power; and third, translating an Eastern-produced horse into a Western purebred horse brought with it complicated concepts concerning purity. When it came to the Arabian, purity implied authenticity to Eastern type and breeding, while Western-style pedigrees were to provide authorization of that fact. Affairs in the Arabian horse world make it clear that these pedigree standards/markets issues caused havoc with respect to what quality or purity – let alone type – meant in relation to pedigrees. In this presentation I focus on the conflict that developed between the World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) and the Arabian Horse Registry of America (AHRA) over how to preserve the purity of the breed, how to define purity, and how pedigrees could or should designate either – all issues important in the market for Arabians.

Pioneering American Breeders of Pure Polish Arabians, 1961–1985: An Examination of “Best Practices”
John Schiewe, Andrzejevo Associates

The period from 1961 to 1985 can be called the Golden Age of Polish Arabian breeding in the United States, a time when these horses dominated the show ring at the local and national level. Inspired by the work of Roman Pankiewicz, who comprehensively researched every Arabian horse breeder in Poland between the World Wars, this paper examines the breeding programs of a number of pioneering American breeders of Polish Arabians, including Lasma Arabians, Varian Arabians, Four Winds Farm, Nichols-Delongpre, and Patterson Arabians. Some of the breeders under discussion left excellent verbal or written records for their breeding rationales. For those who left no written statements, the quality horses they produced can often “speak” for themselves.

More than thirty years have passed since the Arabian horse market in the United States collapsed, owing to changing tax laws and overproduction of horses, and the majority of the well-known Polish Arabian breeding programs from that time period have ceased to exist. Today, the registration numbers for Arabian foals in the United States are much reduced compared to the 1980s. In addition, the State Stud Farms of Poland are in a documentable period of crisis. This paper examines the “best practices” of certain past breeders that should be considered in order to advance the quality of Arabian breeding across the globe.

Politics and Pedigrees: America’s Cold War-Era Arabian Horse Registration Debacle
Tobi Lopez Taylor, Independent Scholar

How do political conflict and human prejudice affect perceptions of a horse’s value? This paper examines how global and personal politics impacted importation of Russian Arabians to the United States during part of the Cold War era (1963–1978).

Many of today’s Arabians descend from horses bred at Tersk, the Russian stud farm established during the 1920s. The Tersk breeding program incorporated Arabians from France, Poland, Egypt, and England’s Crabbet Stud. By the 1960s, when the first Soviet-bred Arabians were imported, Americans had been buying registered Arabians from other countries, including Poland, for decades. And Poland had been purchasing bloodstock from Tersk since 1955. However, only one of the first seven Russian-bred Arabians imported to the US between 1963 and 1965 was accepted by the Arabian Horse Registry of America (AHRA); one reason given for that horse’s acceptance was that it had been used for breeding in Poland (a communist satellite state of the USSR since 1947). The other imports (some of which were closely related to the horse accepted by AHRA) were denied registration for various reasons, including AHRA’s questioning the “purity” of their bloodlines and, significantly, AHRA’s reluctance to “do business with the Russians.”

It was not until 1978 that AHRA lifted its ban on Russian Arabians and retroactively allowed registration of the remaining 1960s imports. Using recently obtained primary documents, this paper discusses the unintended consequences of AHRA’s decisions, demonstrating how changing American attitudes toward Russia influenced the US Arabian horse community’s acceptance of Russian-bred horses.

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