The local mares at the heart of Skowronek’s pedigree

Skowronek‘s pedigree ends with a number of mares present or born at the Sanguszko Stud in Slawuta/Chrestówka around the years 1800-1820: Polka (1800), Szweykowska (1800), Kobyla (1805), dam of Ptaszek, Polka (1808), dam of Krolik, Kwiatka (1810), Milordka (1810), Sawicka (1810), Woloszka (1810), Anielka (1811), Iliniecka (1815), and Demianka (1819). None of these mares was Arabian. There are four main bodies of evidence to support this fact. First, primary source accounts of the importation numbers and dates of stallions and mares. Second, stud records and family histories detailing the non Arabian character of the herd prior to the importation of horses said to be Arabian around 1804. Third, Roman Sanguszko Jr.’s direct reference to local mares in his 1900 letter. Finally, the 1903 Russian Arabian Stud Book details the presence of non Arabian blood in the Sanguskzo herd.

Biological necessity requires that an Arabian horse have an Arabian sire and an Arabian dam. Stefan Bojanowski writing in 1902 and 1906 indicates that Burski imported 4 stallions and 1 mare around 1803-1804 while Prince Roman’s account shows Burski imported 5 stallions instead. Roman Sanguskzo Sr. writing in Polish and Russian in 1876 tells us the first mare imported from Arabia was Seglawia in 1818, although she is not in Skowronek’s pedigree. Skowronek’s official pedigree indicates that his first “Arabian” ancestress is Gazella, imported in 1823. Hence, any female ancestor born prior to 1823 must descend from non Arabian blood.

Prior to 1800, the Slawuta/Chrestówka herd was composed of horses of mixed blood that were not Arabian in character. A stud report from 1799 can give present day readers an idea of the types of horses on the farm around 1800. A mare named Szweykowska (1800) is mentioned in the report. Prince Roman gives his own opinion of the same report in 1876: “Such details are very precious to history, as they give evidence on which we can base our opinions and theories about the happenings of the herd about which we are writing. It shows that the herds of great landowners of the times were often mixed and led without any thought…There was no clear direction in the systematic leading of the herd; everything was achieved by chance, as seen from the collection of stallions and mares cited above. There was no race in the herd collected from all kinds of sub-par sources – such as Starzyński, Pruszyński, and the like. Therefore we come to the conclusion, that all small and larger herds in Ukraine and the Wołyń region had no value in terms of race; but only in terms of local horses.”

Roman Sanguszko Jr. explicitly mentions these local non Arabian mares in his 1900 letter to the authorities establishing an Arabian horse stud book in Russia: “Exclusively Arabian breed has been conducted at my Khrestovetsky (Chrestówka) horse breeding farm for a long time. The breed is kept without any impurities of other blood, except for the local mares. The horses of our farm have from 2/3 to 4/5 of pure Arabian blood, thanks to the consistent, for a hundred years, bringing of Arabian stallions, as well as several mares.”

Lastly, the 1903 Russian Arabian Stud Book describes the Sanguszko horses this way: “According to the owner himself (Sanguszko), there is not a single horse at the farm that descends exclusively from horses imported from Arabia (i.e., not only from an imported sire, but also from an imported brood mare), although it can be proven that all their horses have from 66% to 85% of pure Arabian blood.” Skowronek’s dam Jaskolka was listed in part 2 of the stud book for horses of mixed blood and insufficiently ascertained Arabian provenance.

As the above evidence indicates, no mare in Skowronek’s pedigree prior to Gazella (1823) was “Arabian.” We don’t need to know what breed of horse these mares were. Perhaps as some primary sources say, they did not even have a recognized breed. The main point to consider is what Roman Sanguszko Sr. and Jr. tell us: that these mares were not Arabians. The primary and secondary sources published on this site give us more that enough information to confirm this.

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