It has been several
years since we published a listing of equine deaths in the Davenport community.
Our listing of these is not complete, but those for which we can find reports
are as follows: Ameene, Audobon, Au Contraire, Brigade CF, Cathay, Chatauqua,
CL Keligirl, Coronet CF, Dekadas LF, Demeter CF, Dhara Salan CF, Don Camillo,
Fiddlesticks, Finagle GCA, Forsythia CF, HB Octavian, Ianthe, Ibn Alamein,
Ibn Abinoam, Janub Al Krush, Juno CF, Kiddleywink CF, Lady Leaf, Last Summer,
Leonie, Major General, Mimic, Minaret CF, Modesty Blaise, MV Reflection, Orient
Express, Parizade CF, Persnickety, Persuasion, Recherche, Reminisce, Sarabande
CF (pending), Saracen CF, Saranad, Sunstone, Taffeta CF, Taradiddle, Vivacity,
2004 Regency CF/Shabbura El Bedu colt. All are missed.
Many of these were older horses. As such, they represented a generation whose time had come, and most are substituted for by living descendants which have the full measure of grace their parents passed to them. Still, the old horses are missed, and, although inheritors have their charms, their separate parts cannot be assembled to make another Major General, Audobon, or a source mare such as Taradiddle.
Major General is a horse which we have followed over the years in Our Quest. Now he turns up in "Green Pastures." By way of saying goodby to him, some of the words of Judith Franklin, who was his owner, are given here:
"Major General: The best of gifts are those which give pleasure for a long time. So Major General came into my life some 23 years ago. No amount of money could pay for all the wonderful years we've been partners. Funny, I've never really thought of horses as possessions, though, of course, they have price tags, but more as given into our care for a time. Sort of entrusted to us. In return we get years of loyalty and miles of adventures. How fortunate we are when these years are long! General will be 27 in May, and we're going for the Davenport record."
record is going to stand for another horse to break. General died Ocober 19,
2004. Judith writes that her mare Sabrina called to him a few times at the
end and afterwards looked towards his stall. Her Dalmation "trembled
and shook like during a thunderstorm. She is such a quiet creature, yet she
whimpered and whined."
Strange things happen
on the desk of a horse farm. No one really knows what is on such a desk. All
we know for sure is that there is a pile of paper, unanswered letters, books,
magazines, notes about telephone calls, and calendars from several years with
notations beside various dates. All this incubates, and, when the brew is
ready to harvest, some items float to the top. These need to be harvested
immediately because they can sink back into the pile, and it may be a long
time before they are seen again. Perhaps by then they will have gone stale
or even multiplied.
The harvest this winter is a letter postmarked December 12, 1955, Oakland, California. How it escaped some dusty file is unknown. It is from Catherine Sullivan, wife of Dr. J.J. Sullivan.
Mrs. Sullivan was a slender, red-haired lady. At the time the letter was written she was probably about 50. In her younger years she must have been a beauty and practiced public nursing in some of the poorer sections of San Francisco. She knew her way around and did not hesitate for a moment to say what came to mind. She was a really nice person and unquestionably one of the characters which enrich Arabian breeding.
The Sullivans owned a small ranch at Igo, California, near Redding. They raised Arabian horses and for a while were major breeders of Second Foundation Davenports, having owned (among others) Dharanah, Salan, Antarah, Dhalana, Saranah, Tara, Dhanad and Hantarah. They had other bloodlines, too. Without the Sullivans' activity as collectors and breeders of Davenports, the preservation of the bloodline would have been impossible.
Mrs. Sullivan's 1955 letter on my desk has these observations about Hanad whom she must have seen at Alice Payne's ranch at Chino: "Maybe I was wrong on old Hanad, but I thought he had everything there was to be desired in horse flesh, breeding, looks, disposition, & brains.... Hang on to your Davenport breeding. Carl Raswan's new book gives us quite a boost & in time it will circulate around. I just got mine & am eager to [get] his so called "Index."
The book she references is The Arab and His Horse. It contains appropriate and flattering material about Davenport bloodlines.
From Clare Plehn about her half Davenport Arabian filly by Regency CF/Miss Sashay: "Her chestnut filly has two rear socks, a fore pastern and a partial coronet as well as the comet-shaped star and strip. She has a pronounced jibbah, dish, and neat little notched ears. Her neck is long and upright like Regency's. I still haven't come down to earth yet. The strangest thing happened the night previous to the birth. I fell asleep on the sofa and dreamed that I had found a chestnut filly with a unique star and narrow strip, almost like a comet with a tail. The next night about 3:45 AM I found exactly that in Sashay's stall. Talk about deja vue!! Sashay's filly was an exact replica of my dream filly. That experience gave me goose bumps..." Us, too!
Above, L'Chaim Replica, 2001 filly by Regency CF out of Miss Sashay, a granddaughter of Farolito and Nabiel. Clare decided that filly deserved a repeat, and in 2002 the mare produced L'Chaim Rachel (at right) by Regency. We bet those two are beautiful young mares now! They certainly speak well for both sire and dam.
Another event hard to comprehend is the loss of Carol Lyons and her stallion, Audobon (co-owned with Marge Smith), at the same hour on the same day.
Readers of this newsleter
are invited to consider the inventory of horses at Craver Farms given on our
inventory web page [removed]. Our number of
horses is down to under fifty. That includes some of the nicest horses we
have ever had: the kind we never thought we would sell. It also includes some
very nice colts, some middle-aged broodmares and breeding stallions. Also
there is a share of pensioners, and these, too, need good homes.
Now is a fine time to get some grand horses, many of which have not been offered before and will probably not be offered again. Let us be in touch to see what Craver Farms can do for you. So far our dispersal has come along very well. We have placed fine horses in excellent homes where they will go on in Davenport breeding.
As for the Cravers, these horses are old friends and the embodiment of our lifetimes of dreams. We will miss them, but it is time to do what we are doing. Our memories are precious, and our contacts with new owners are a resource for the future. We regret that we cannot start all over again with the horses we have developed with another fifty years of activity ahead. Please, Lord: just another fifty years.
Don't count us out: we'll still be around.
Charles and Jeanne