#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.

#EqHist2019 Sponsors: W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center

The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, a historic site and breeding program on campus, is a returning sponsor of the Equine History Conference. Don’t miss Friday’s “Unconference” 8:30-9:00a.m. for a chance to learn more about the Kellogg Arabians, the Pomona Quartermaster’s Depot, equine movie stars, and the many other roles the program and its horses have held over the past century.

In the “Unconference” session, join us over breakfast to informally discuss your latest projects, get feedback from your peers, and meet legendary author Mary Jane Parkinson. Mary Jane Parkinson, longtime co-editor of Arabian Horse World and author of The Romance of the Kellogg Ranch: A Celebration of the Kellogg/Cal Poly Pomona Arabian Horse, 1925-2000 among numerous other publications, will be on-hand to sign copies of her books and to talk with conference attendees about her experiences in the horse industry. Copies of The Romance of the Kellogg Ranch will be available for purchase and proceeds will go to support the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.

#EqHist2019: Registration Extended to Nov. 7

There’s still time to register for the second annual Equine History Conference! Due to technical difficulties, the registration deadline has been extended to Thursday, November 7th. Register at https://squareup.com/store/equine-history-collective.

Besides a fantastic line-up of panelists, the conference includes:

  • Keynote by Sandra Swart
  • Breakfast and book-signing with Mary Jane Parkinson, longtime co-editor of Arabian Horse World and author of The Romance of the Kellogg Ranch: A Celebration of the Kellogg/Cal Poly Pomona Arabian Horse, 1925-2000
  • Tour of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library
  • Tour of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center
  • Private tour of the Lasker Collection of the Huntingon Library on Saturday, Nov. 16
  • Fabulous raffles items, including equine history books and items for the barn!

If you have trouble registering, email EquineHistory@gmail.com

#EqHist2019 Sponsors: WKKAHL

      The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library just keeps getting better! The Equine History Conference would not be going into its second year without their incredible support. We are happy to welcome you all back to the WKKAHL for the second annual Equine History Conference. In addition to hosting the conference, the entire staff has been integral to keeping everything running. Many of equine historians have spent time with the WKKAHL and their archivists as a researcher– founder Kat Boniface chose her grad school in part due to the proximity of the WKKAHL!– and we’ve only just begun to discover all the collection has to offer, not only on the Kellogg and Pomona Remount Arabians, but also Arabians worldwide, Kellogg’s Percheron team, the development of the local horse industry, Thoroughbreds, equestrian sports, farming…we could keep going but you should come see the collection yourself!

      The WKKAHL hosts small museum exhibits, archives material culture related to the collections, and teaches students from the college and the community how to conduct research. They share the EHC’s values of research, inclusion, and public access. Next year’s conference, Equine History 2020, will be in New York, but we will return to the WKKAHL regularly in the future.

      In addition, this year Katie Richardson, head of special collections and archives at CalPoly Pomona (which includes the WKKAHL) joined the EHC Board of Directors. Her experience and insight have been valuable assets as we seek to grow the Equine History Collective. Katie will also be joining us at the Western States Horse Expo the weekend before EHC 2019!

#EqHist2019 Speakers: Plenary by Sandra Swart

The Equine Experiment SANDRA SWART is a free-ranging primate and the Professor of History at Stellenbosch University. She researches the social and environmental history of southern Africa, with a particular focus on the shifting relationship between humans and animals. She has authored and co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and, on horses, has co-authored […]

Pictures from EHC 2018

The Equine History Collective and W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library look forward to welcoming attendees to the second annual Equine History Conference at Cal Poly Pomona in just over a month! Last year’s conference was a lot of fun, featuring not only fantastic papers and conversation, but also Cal Poly Pomona’s very own student mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Los Broncos. We’ve put together this album from least year, showing some of the speakers and activities: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6SVPnGbquaEwVVyF8.

As a reminder, registration for EHC 2019 ends October 30; if you want to pre-order a shirt or tote, please let us know by October 24 to ensure delivery at the conference! We’ll soon be previewing the paper abstracts for this year’s conference, so stay tuned!

Kladruby nad Labem: Habsburg Stud now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Alexandra Lotz

September 27, 2019

As of July 2019, the Czech National Stud has achieved recognition denied to many cultural or natural heritage sites despite outstanding beauty, historic significance, and enormous effort during a long nomination process. The stud, founded by the Habsburg Empire in order to breed and train noble carriage horses for the court, is now listed as UNESCO World Heritage.

Undoubtedly, Rudolf II did not foretell the future fame of the courtly stud he founded in 1579 in the Bohemian village Kladrub on the Elbe. For elaborate Hapsburg court ceremonies, he aimed to breed noble and powerful carriage horses with the strength necessary to pull heavy gala vehicles in style and with exalted movements. For this honorable task, only stallions were considered and they were supposed to have excellent manners.

Mares and foals in front of the stud chapel and palace

These horses represented a type of horse that was fashionable at the time. Steep shoulders, high necks and roman noses are still trademarks of the Kladrubers. They have been bred for walking, since in important ceremonies the carriage passengers were driven up to eight-in-hand according to their rank. The horses used to be accompanied by grooms on foot through the crowds of spectators and had to remain calm. Furthermore, it was essential that the audience had enough time to see the passengers in the passing carriages. Today, horses bred at Kladruby can be found in the Royal Mews for Denmark and Sweden. They prove their ability not only to walk in an elaborate manner, but also to perform successfully in fast-paced modern driving competitions around the globe.

Stud premises of outstanding universal value

The spacious stud landscape—with its long tree lined avenues and its chessboardlike arrangement of pastures and woods used for the hunting pleasure of the court society— still provides conditions for horse breeding and training. The disasters of the 20th century, the end of the Habsburg monarchy, the first Czechoslovak Republic, and 40 years behind the Iron Curtain left their marks, but those circumstances could not destroy the dignity and the beauty of Kladruby. During the past years the stud premises underwent intensive renovation and today the dignified buildings appear in old brilliance.

In addition to the French Art of Riding as it is still practiced at Saumur, and the Spanish Riding School of Vienna in connection with the Austrian State Stud Piber, the Czech National Stud Kladruby nad Labem is the third equine institution that can be found on the list of intangible heritage. UNESCO has declared it a heritage for all mankind. Let’s hope that that the implementation of the World Heritage spirit succeeds and that the UNESCO title brings positive effects not only for Kladruby, but also for other significant sites that bear witness to the unique connection between horses and humans in history.

For further inquiries about Kladruby nad Labem, equestrian heritage or excursions to places of interest in Europe you are welcome to contact Alexandra Lotz (www.horses-and-heritage.net). Her article “Beauty in harness: the imperial coach horses of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, their decline and their renaissance” will soon appear in World on Wheels (Magazine of the American Carriage Association).

Kladruber stallion in gala harness


“Seven more cultural sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List” UNESCO World Heritage Convention, July 6, 2019. url: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/2004/

“Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem” UNESCO World Heritage Convention, url: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1589/documents/