By S. Wotowski
“Jeździeć i Myśliwy” (The Rider and The Hunter), 1891, Issues 5 – 8
Edited by Lyman Doyle. Translated from Polish by David Rygielski.
S. Wotowski was the editor of the influential Polish equine publication “Jeździeć i Myśliwy” which mainly covered horse racing. “Jeździeć i Myśliwy” was published in the late 1800s and early 1900s for the Polish speaking central European audience. Wotowski based the article translated below on personal visits he made to Chrestówka and Antoniny, an 1865 “Historical chronicles of the Chrestówka herd” written by Roman Sanguszko Sr., and his own knowledge and reporting about horse breeding and racing which must have been substantial given his position within the Polish horse community. This article references a 1865 history, written by Roman Sanguszko Sr., which is not known to exist today. Because of this, Wotowski’s article is a valuable source of information.
Wotowski offers readers several historical details concerning the origin of some of Skowronek’s ancestors:
- He reaffirms the mixed origin of the Sanguszko herd with this conclusion: “At the foundation of the Sanguszko herd, various Eastern stallions were used – the mares were usually of our national origin. The mares in old Polish herds, the better ones, were very noble; nevertheless, they were of mixed blood, and cannot be considered as anything else.”
- The German artist Peter Hess painted Prince Eustachy on the stallion Szumka I. The older brother of Szumka I was given to Józef Poniatowski in 1810, who was painted on this horse.
- A few years before sending a new expedition to Arabian in 1816, Prince Eustachy purchased an English stallion, possibly a “full-blood” or Thoroughbred in Vienna. He sired an unnamed mare and produced the horse named Polka. Polka was then bred to the imported stallion Haylan to produce Szumka II. Polka’s sire was not Arabian. He was an English horse.
- The first Arabian mare imported to Slawuta was in 1818. All mares bred prior to this date, by biological necessity, must have been of mixed blood horses as described above.
The translation follows:
The Sanguszko herd is an unusual one that commands our attention, as it can trace the genealogy of its horses for over a hundred years. It takes on even more importance since it developed in one, noble direction, and creates one huge family of a sort. The date of foundation of the herd is uncertain, but the Sanguszkos kept horses for centuries.
In the Wołyń registries, in 1528, Jędrzej, the son of Alexander, Sanguszko, reported 42 horses in his estate in the Wołyń area. Wasyl, the Kowelski Prince and the head of the second branch of this clan – 38, and Jędrzej, the Koszyrski Prince, the head of the third branch of this family -46. Altogether then that made 126 horses, some of which were the foundation of the Zasławskie herd, which is now commonly known as the Sławuta herd.
It is a sure thing that fragments of other various herds, and namely, the famous Ostrogski Princes’ herd, were absorbed by the Sanguszko herds; but there is no strict data or registries of what horses made up these herds. We have to assume that the Sanguszko herds, like most of the magnate herds of the 16th and 17th centuries, were mixed, with a very strong eastern influence.
Despite the expression that is used for herds with a lot of oriental blood – “sultan” herds, the strict genealogy of these herds and the purity of their blood was never verified. Earl Czapski very rightfully postulates that the old Polish race was predominantly mixed and represented various types of horses.
The wealthier herds, ones that possessed more noble blood through the choice of racially pure stallions, were more homogenous; the poorer ones manifested stronger deviations through the variety of studs used. In the past, oriental stallions were appreciated and left a significant mark, especially in the Turkish conflicts. This is not to mean that they were the only stallions thought highly of. Andalusian stallions were used, which were very highly rated by the knights of the day. Neapolitan horses were used; Tatar Bachmats; and Danish horses. Most often, whichever stallion the nobleman had, was the one he used to settle his mares.
A herd as old and known as the Sanguszko one, has its strict history recorded since the end of the 18th century – and we can see that the herd of the last Wołyń Voivode in 1790 included Turkish, Neapolitan and local horses.
Amongst the oriental horses, there was a “skarogniady” (dark bay) stallion, brought over from Istanbul, and bought from a Mr. Politowski. We encounter the first records of a horse-sourcing expedition sent east in the year 1801. In this year, Prince Hieronim sent his courtier, Mr. Burski, to buy some stallions.
Burski returned sometime in 1804, having spent some of the money on himself, and brought back less horses than he was meant to. The imported stallions are recorded by their coat color in the stud books: one was a “królik” – rabbit-like, that is, white and pink; “skarogniady” one (dark bay), “gniady” one (bay), a white one, and one whose coat color is not known.
The expedition was joined by an adventurous cook – Antoni – who never returned to the country and instead remained in the East with Ibrahim Pasha, under the name Nadir-Bey. (More historical remarks pertaining to the spirit of the 18th century, and not pertaining to horses.)
The revolutionary times in the beginning of the 18th century were damaging to herds like this. As wars broke out, farming and breeding were forgotten about for a while, and the bigger the herd, the bigger the losses were. The year 1812 was especially tragic to the Chrestówka herd. In this year, Prince Hieronim passed away. In 1813 his son, Prince Eustachy, took over the estate.
Prince Eustachy was also a lover of horses like his father, this affinity seems to run in the blood and tradition of the Sanguszkos. Right away Eustachy got to improving the herd and filling the voids – he bought up any better than average horses he could find. In 1814, he bought four stallions from General Gudowicz, the head commander of the Russian Army. Gudowicz brought these horses back from the Turkish wars. These horses did not last long, however.
Even with all the struggles of the time, the Chrestówka herd had to have had beautiful horses, and the oriental type had to have been predominant, since the Bavarian king sent a painter – Peter Hess, who portrayed the prince on a beautiful stallion, named “Szumka the 1st”. The older brother of this “Szumka”, a black horse, was given as a gift to Józef Poniatowski in 1810, and this gentleman was usually painted on this horse.
Prince Eustachy felt a need for original sires, and in 1817 he sent a second expedition to the East, composed of the equerry, Tomasz Moszyński, and Franciszek Świerczyński. The instructions given to Moszyński are incredibly interesting; it paints the picture of the fatherly relation that Princes had with their courtiers, indicates the steps that were taken to bring horses from Asia, and the amounts that were spent on the horse purchases.
The instruction reads literally: “Four thousand ducats and five hundred roubles I entrust for the horses and for expenses. Moszyński will spend the four thousand ducats as he wishes. Three studs and a bastard of bastards for a person of my size and age, but a very agile one, would make me happy. Moszyński should make an arrangement in the case of, forbid God, his illness or death. After buying horses in Damascus and its surrounding area, Moszyński should also give a lot of thought, whether to go from Aleppo by land, or to get on a boat in Aleppo.” Moszyński brought the horses over land; the Prince Roman Sanguszko made the same choice 28 years later, having bought horses in Asia Minor.
The instructions conclude with such words: “If I thought that in this journey there is too much danger, I would send neither you, dear Moszyński, neither those that will go with you, and would not risk you for any horses. Sending a Father and Husband which you are, puts a duty onto me to ensure a decent raising for your family in the case of your accident.” Beautiful feelings which we should appreciate show us the duties and moral responsibilities that the great gentlemen felt. – added Prince Roman in his writings.
Within these few words a noble picture of Prince Roman is painted – he always had the ability to feel what his position commanded, he was willing to sacrifice himself for others, and was a father to his subordinates.
The Prince writes on:
“Moszyński fulfilled what was asked of him on the 22nd December 1818, almost 2 years after departure. He gave a bill penned by Świerczyński, his assistant and travel companion. The bill read: “I took from the Sławuta coffers 4700 ducats for the whole journey and purchase of horses, which when changed, a ducat being 14 leva, makes 65,800 leva.””
The bill further claims that Moszyński spent 31,500 leva on purchasing horses, took 166 for himself in Odessa. To his men: Herasym, Michałko, and Szerewera Świerczyński he gave 550 leva. The expenses for both legs of the journey amounted to a total of 33,534 leva.
By changing this amount into ducats and then into roubles, (counting 3 roubles to 1 ducat), that makes approximately 7,185 roubles. Considering 10 horses were successfully purchased and imported, it has to be considered an exceedingly small number. The expenses for five people for a 2 year journey were not particularly significant – before the iron railways, it was cheaper than it is today.
The horses themselves cost 6,750 roubles – that is exceedingly cheap. Once again, we quote Prince Roman:
“Bejan”, also known as the “Big Bejan”, was bought in Aleppo for 3,150 leva. He did not live for a long time.
“Dziedran”, an excellent horse, was also bought in the Hamah Desert, for 2,200 leva.
“Bejan” was bay, “Dziedran” was chestnut – and sold by me 10 years later to royal Prussian herds.
“Rabdan” was bought in the Hamah desert for 3,700 leva. He was grey, small in height, very typical, and very thin. He was sold to Działyński in Ukraine.
“Heglan”, white, the first horse of this cohort, the founder of our herd; was purchased in Damascus for 3,500 leva.
“Seglawi”, was purchased in the Swiry desert for 2,000 leva.
“Dżulfa”, a grizzled gray one, from the Babak Desert – 1,300 leva. “Kbeszan”, grizzled gray, purchased in the Babak Desert – 700 leva. This horse was 1 and ½ years old when purchased.
A chestnut mare from the Hansze-chun desert was purchased for 2,000 leva. “Semrawi-Seglawi”, an Aleppo chestnut was purchased in Istanbul for 2,800 leva.
“Neżdy”, grey, was purchased in Istanbul for 10,200 leva. This last horse did not live very long and only left behind one descendant.
Prince Eustachy was so delighted with these horses, that in his letters he mentions not only the horses, but also describes Moszyński’s journey and different events that accompanied the purchases and travels through the Arab deserts.
It is regrettable that such interesting correspondence is not attached to the “chronicles” – the Prince only mentions that most often, his father exchanged messages about his horses with General Mokronowski. Describing “Neżdy”, he writes in one letter: that he is of unusual beauty; in a second, he describes: “As white as silver; eyes, tail, and mane black; the largest of horses. On the third day after his arrival, I was reigning him in, he would thrash all over the stable, tried to catch things close to the ground with his teeth, but when he rose, he could reach the ceiling of the stable.” Could there be a description of a horse’s motion more picturesque? Unfortunately, today, Arab horses capable of such moves are not known.
In a different letter to General Mokronowski, dated 14th June 1819 – that is, 6 months later, Prince Eustachy writes: “I buried Neżdy, he died of colics within a few hours.”
To Wacław Rzewuski, Prince Eustachy writes in January 1819: “I will tell the truth Sir, that in our country, neither an eyes saw, neither an ear heard about Arab horses of the kind that I have.”
The horses would have been beautiful, we can be sure of that, but apart from “Haylan”, they weren’t of a great benefit to the herd. Between the years 1821-1826, 3 transports of horses were brought back from the East under the direction of a Syrian, Arutin, who seems to have come to the Prince’s stables together with Moszyński’s horses. In this time, 10 stallions and 4 mares were brought over.
A few years before sending Moszyński East, Prince Eustachy was staying in Vienna, when a stalwart stallion caught his eye at a horse trader’s. The Prince started haggling with the trader, who didn’t want to let off the price, and finally agreed to a discount on the condition that the Prince rode it himself from Leopoldstadt, where the stable was located, to Prater and back.
The Prince, who had experience in the Napoleonic campaigns and was clearly a brave rider, accepted the offer and mounted the difficult horse to complete the ride. During this short ride the stallion was thrashing madly, chasing down horses and even people, eventually leading to the police chasing the horse and the prince. However, the trader kept his word and parted with the horse for the lower price.
The provenance of the vicious horse is not sufficiently proven; it would appear that he was of the English race, but whether he was full-blood – it is hard to say. The said horse was used in the herd, however. From his daughter – named “Polka”, and the imported stallion “Haylan” – a colt was born – “Szumka the 2nd”, who later became a good stud.
We have spent a long time considering the result of bringing an unknown stallion into a herd, because it could be used as evidence for our claim that: the most noble herds – as long as they are not composed of racing Thoroughbreds – benefit from having occasional mixing, and that this mixing can give properties that an Arab horse will not usually have, that being height and bone width.
In the extremely long genealogies of Thoroughbreds, at the dawn of stud-books, there are also gaps – horses whose genealogy cannot be sufficiently proven. However, 150 years of “proven” crossing and based on selection of shown properties, have completely covered these gaps and created one of the most excellent and stable races.
Prince Roman Sanguszko, as we will see below had something similar in mind when he entered his horses in the races. The episode with the said anonymous stallion was only an episode in the Chrestówka herd, the general profile of the herd was not changed, and yet we should not forget this episode.
Quite a long time passes until the next import of horses – 16 years. In 1842, “Dziran” arrives, having been bought in Istanbul. In 1845, Prince Roman Sanguszko brings 2 stallions from Arabia personally: “Batram Aga” of the “Saglawi” family, as well as “Dżedran”. He also brings a mare – “Elzana”.
In 1844 Prince Eustachy passes, and a split of the herd takes place between his two sons: Roman and Władysław. Roman’s part was moved to Wolica, and later to Satanów. In 1853, according to the Chrestówka chronicles, 1 stallion was bought; in 1854: 2; in 1855: 1; in 1858: 5; in 1859: 1; in 1861: 1; in 1862: 1; in 1864: 1 (“Feruk-Han”, a Persian horse); in 1865: 2; in 1866: 2 (including “Yamri”), in 1867: 1 (“Hammod”), and in 1868, one (“Hadudi”). Therefore, from 1801 to 1869, 51 stallions were imported or bought from eastern horse traders. A number quite significant for a period of 68 years, quite staggering in its size, actually. Another striking detail is the disproportion of mares being bought in relation to the stallions – only six altogether. This probably stems from our old assumptions that races are improved by stallions, and the dams only have to be good enough; or proves that it is much easier to buy stallions than mares in the East. Nevertheless, such a significant number of imported stallions had to have had made an impact on the herd and become the defining type.
In 1864, a vicious bout of strangles had caused horrible losses of Sanguszko horses; it was a huge material loss, but the type and blood of the herd remained the same.
In 1869 and the following years, the following were used for breeding: “Hadżi-el-Mekki”, “Donald”, “Amian”, “Toison d’or”, and “Mahomet-El-Kadi”. From 1869, the following were imported: “Hamdani”, “Trafani”, “Kohejlan” and two mares. Occasionally, two full-blood stallions rented from the Commission of stud farms – “Fontenoy” and “Ellik” were used; as well as “Barbarian” and “Von Stroom” from Austria.
In Prince Roman’s manuscript from 1865, a very deep thought from a breeding standpoint is evident: to try and improve his Eastern horses through racing, instead of crossing them with Thoroughbreds. The road of continuous breeding selection is difficult, but it is not impossible – this way the English have created their excellent full-blood race; but centuries are needed for this. From the time of Jacob the 1st, oriental horses were continuously brought to England – the number of stallions and mares brought over was a legion. Finally, only blind luck united the three founders of the race: a horse found half-dead, “Godolphin Arabian”, a horse taken from the Turks at Vienna, “Bearley Turk”, and the “Arabian” bought in Aleppo by Mr Darley.
In any case, the Sanguszko horses could only gain from training and racing, they could only toughen and firm up – and their appearance at the tracks was quite positive. Prince Roman’s horses raced in Kiev, Moscow, Tsarskoye Selo, Vilnius, Lviv and Warsaw. Prince Roman’s and Prince Paweł’s horses were brought to Warsaw in 1856 and raced without success. Only in 1870 they returned for a few consecutive years and the results, as per the official reports of the Society of Horse Racing in the Polish Kingdom, were the following: A 5-year old light-bay, stalwart and beautiful “Cavalier” (parents: Feruk-Han and Dalia) won the first two prizes, making 790 roubles. Two mares that came with him, a 4-year-old “Madziarka” (Cotswald from a half-blood dam), and a 4-year-old “Uryka” (Feruk-Han and Nina) won nothing.
The sire of “Cavalier”, as we remarked earlier, was of the Persian race, the dam: Dalia, was a full-blood. In 1871, “Cavalier” reappears, with a 5-year-old “Stateczny” (Feruk-Han and Wyga), and a 4-year-old “Estafetta” (Bagdad and Dalia).
“Cavalier” starts twice and wins the 5-verst race in the Emperor’s Prize over the known “Foscari” of Mr. L. Grabowski and over “Rowenna” of Earl L. Krasiński. In the second race, he loses out to “Foscari”, beating “Wicountes” of Mr. M. Rajewski and “Ligurian” of Mr. J. Sohn. The winnings were 2,060 roubles.
“Stateczny” was a stalwart horse, bay, strongly built. His dam was meant to have been oriental. He came to Warsaw unprepared, he was ridden with difficulties by a Mr. Habermajer, an Austrian ex-officer who remained at the service of the Prince. “Stateczny” started twice. In the hurdle race, in which four horses raced, he would have been second behind Mr. Grabowski’s famous “Odetta”, had he not fallen after the last hurdle. The steeple-chase was excellent, he took the second prize (180 roubles), coming second to the aforementioned Serniki mare.
“Estafetta”, an Anglo-Arab, on the 4-verst stretch in the Prize of the Main Commission of Stud Farms, beats J. Sohn’s “Pretti-Boy” and wins 710 roubles. “Foscari” who also took part in this race stumbled onto a post by the last corner, and the jockey, Newman, fell off, leaving the horse to finish the race alone.
The year 1872 was not a lucky one for the Sanguszko stable – “Cavalier” lost his previous form, and took the third and last place in the Emperor’s Prize, behind the 8-year-old “Foscari”, and Mr. Rytter’s “Firella”.
The 4-year-old “Sirena” (Barbarian and Hanna) is unsuccessful and is beaten by the same horses. In 1873 Prince Roman sent: 4-year-old “Bora” (Barbarian and Delili), 5-year-old “Orkan” (Feruk-han and Fabiola), 3-year-old “Fantaska” (Barbarian and Hanna). “Bora” wins no prize in the Main Stud Farm Commission Prize, behind Mr. Iłowajski’s famous “Wadim” and Mr. Mysyrowicz’s “Eclipse”.
The black “Orkan” takes second place (135 roubles) in a difficult steeple-chase with several horses, behind the foreign “Lady Flora” of Earl Potocki.
“Fantaska” wins 639 roubles in the beaten handicap, beating five horses. Before this, she was beaten by Mr. Grabowski’s horses: “Switezianka” and “Grand Daniel”. In 1874 we see: “Fantaska”, 4-year-old “Orfea” (Barbarian and Georgetta) and 3-year-old “Lobelia” (Barbarian and Lorella).
“Fantaska” goes to battle twice: in the Emperor’s Prize, she is beaten by “Grand Daniel” from Serniki, and “Tajkun” of Mr. Niepokojczycki; wins the beaten handicap (459 roubles), beating Mr. Sohn’s “Lotteri”, “Raul” and “Tordequinta” of Mr. Mysyrowicz.
“Lobelia” takes 1st place in its category (801 roubles), having “Tordequinta”, L. Krasiński’s “Bird, and W. Wodziński’s “Chon” behind her. “Orfea” earns 441 roubles, beating Mr. Niepokojczycki’s “Bismark”.
In 1875, the following were brought to the races: “Lobelia”, 4-year-old “Formoza” (Fontenoy and Generilla), “Orfea” and 5-year-old half-blood “Kotwica” (a descendant of Ellik). “Fantaska” also started in Warsaw, but it was now in the colours of Earl Alfred Potocki, together with its stable mate, the 3-year-old “Ewa” (Fontenoy and Lorella).
The Prince’s horses, like the ones belonging to Earl Potocki were trained by Grasenik; the stable’s jockey was Guillam, now a famous trainer for Earl Nirod. The campaign at the Mokotów racetrack was successful. “Formoza” won the Commission’s prize: 720 roubles, beating Wodziński’s “Chon”, the Warsaw company’s “Warszawa”, Mr. Lizogub’s “Borodino”, and Mr. Grabowski’s “Izaura” (she broke a leg). In the other prize, “Ewa” wins, beating “Miss Godolphin” and “La Putifare” of Mr. Grabowski.
“Lobelia” in a 1 versus 1 fight with Mr. Iłowajski’s “Łanerkost” takes the second prize of 270 roubles. “Kotwica” wins the 373 rouble prize for half-blood horses, and comes second (135 roubles) in the steeplechase, behind Mr. Arapow’s “Prince”. The beaten handicap goes to “Fantaska” (855 roubles), “Orfea” is second (90 roubles), beating Grabowski’s “Jupiter Tonans, Lizogub’s “Borodino”, and “Raul” from Łoś. “Ewa” wins the prize for 3-year-old horses, 522 roubles – together: 1998 roubles.
The year 1876 is even more fortunate and constitutes a turning point for the stable. In this year, the following were featured at the Mokotów track in the Prince’s colours: the already known “Ewa”, “Formoza”, “Fantaska”, and a debuting 3-year-old stallion “Pretendent” (Van Stroom and Generilla). The 4-year-old “Ewa” comes first in the Emperor’s Prize on the 5 verst stretch, beating Iłowajski’s “Quasimodo”, the Warsaw company’s “Pokusa” and Czyczagow’s “Jung-Fett”. The winnings were 1340 roubles. Apart from that, “Fontenoy”’s daughter claims the Commission prize of 1,396 roubles, leaving “Friponnier” from Łoś behind her; and the government prize of 710 roubles, beating Mr. Sohn’s “Sekret” and Wodziński’s “Chon”.
“Fantaska” claims a win over “Prześwit” (who came over to us after having won international fame; and which as a 3-year-old won at the Mokotów track, beating “Friponnier” and “Ewa” once each) – in the Omnium on the 5 verst stretch. She claims both the first and the second prize of 1160 roubles, since the Galician stallion had been stopped. His loss had been justified by the wet and difficult track and an ill condition. “Formoza” wins 800 roubles, beating three horses; in the Commission prize, it is second (228 roubles), behind “Warszawa”.
“Pretendent” wins the government prize for 3-year-old horses, beating Wodziński’s “Kochanka” and Mysyrowicz’s “Thetis”. In the government derby, won by “Thetis”, it gains no placing – from five horses. In the last race, that “Thetis” also wins, he comes third.
The year 1877 is the last time we have seen Prince Sanguszko’s horses in Warsaw, but it wasn’t without success. The line-up was: the 4-year-old “Imprevu” (Tourbillon and Georgette), 4-year-old “Royal” (Van Stroom and Hanna), “Pretendent” and “Formoza”.
“Imprevu” comes first in the Omnium (1025 roubles), beating Iłowajski’s “Sajhak” and Wodziński’s “Kochanka”. “Royal” comes second in the Emperor’s prize (450 roubles), behind Grabowski’s “Jupiter Tonans”, but beating “Sajhak” and “Pokusa”. “Pretendent” wins the prize of 695 roubles, passing Krasiński’s “Fanny”, and “Almea” from Łoś. In the prize for 3-year-old and older horses (371 roubles), it is second behind “Thetis”; “Royal” coming last. In the government prize for 4-year-old and older horses, it is second (270 roubles) behind “Pokusa”, having Iłowajski’s “Extaza” and Krasiński’s “Vanadis” behind him. Finally, “Formoza” wins the beaten handicap (459 roubles) – beating “Fanny”, Iłowajski’s “Elikrik”, and Sohn’s “Zora”.
From this outline of the racing history of the Sanguszko horses we can see that they were a very significant force on the Warsaw track (and others). The Prince’s horses were exceptionally strong on longer distances, improved their form with age, and the Anglo Arabs ran better than the Thoroughbreds that occasionally could be found amongst them. It is enough to compare the performance of “Cavalier”, “Fantaska”, “Royal”, and “Imprevu” with the racing careers of “Formoza”, “Orfea”, and “Lobelia” to see the difference. Only “Ewa” and “Pretendent” could match the Anglo Arabs, and even beat them over short distances.
Needless to add, the shown anomaly was only an anomaly. Nevertheless, the Sanguszko Anglo-Arabs have shown that they can run better than many medium Thoroughbreds. The crossing of oriental horses with Thoroughbreds was done in two ways: eastern stallions were crossed with Thoroughbred dams (“Cavalier”, “Imprevu”), as well as full-blood sires with Eastern dams (“Fantaska”, “Royal”). However, the first way has to be considered superior.
Horses that were purely Eastern, like “Stateczny” and “Orkan” could only start in hurdle races, in which they showed resilience and strength. They were, however, deficient in one thing that is hereditary and hard to find, and without which there is no winning with a horse of blood – speed that doesn’t drop off in a few hundred yards.
Prince Roman’s idea, as remarked above, was unusual and very significant from a breeding standpoint. Although the Prince found out the hard way that it is difficult to run on Arabs only, his crosses with full-blood horses were unusually successful, which can testify to the high quality of the Sanguszko type, which has been unmatched.
It is regrettable that the Prince’s racing stable, which had commenced its operation so well, and after a few years led in the total winnings with an incredible at the time sum of 6098 roubles, was closed due to old age of the owner. It would be exceedingly interesting to see what the Sanguszko horses could do today, considering the development of racing and breeding.
Prince Roman passed away in his beloved Sławuta at the age of 82, on the 26th March 1881.
Having visited the estate of Earl Józef Potocki in Antoniny, Wołyń last autumn, I had the opportunity to take a close look at many specimens of the Sanguszko blood. As it’s known, Prince Roman’s whole herd was passed on to the grandson, and the will of the deceased was that the stud farm’s Eastern profile was kept, as is the family tradition.
In Antoniny, the herd is kept at a manor around a mile from the palace; the stables are made according to the hygiene and health needs, but without unnecessary luxuries. There is a lot of light and air; there are spacious pastures right next to the stables for the mares and foals.
We have seen 42 broodmares, and amongst those, 22 are of a pure oriental race. Around 100 foals are at different pastures; there were over 20 foals just last year. The whole herd has a healthy and full appearance, the 1-year-olds are exceedingly developed and grown for their age.
The Anglo-Arab mares (there are no other crosses) are bigger than the Eastern ones, but they kept Arab heads and necks. They are differentiated by height, stronger bone development and a more pronounced dorsal line. The oriental dams are not large, and represent a very noble type with dry, springy legs. Where there are Eastern horses, there have to be white and grey coats, however, these are not the predominant colours of the herd. Quite the contrary, most of the horses are chestnut and bay. The most beautiful dams, both Arab and Anglo-Arab, are of this colour.
Young stallions, meant for use or just being broken in, are kept in a beautiful stable opposite the palace. These horses resemble Anglo-Arab horses more than strictly oriental ones, although we have been assured that many are without any mixing. Their height scales from medium to large, from 2 arshins and 2 ½ vershoks, to 4 arshins and ¾ vershoks. The heads and necks of these stallions are very good, the legs dry, the rear legs correctly aligned; in general, there is a lot of beauty in these horses, all you could wish for would be more bone and depth in the front. Some of the leading horses here would surely draw attention to themselves in Bois de Bolougne or Prater.
From amongst the foals, regardless of the general, many horses are now used for par-force hunting; it is very rational for the sober judgement of the condition of some of the future studs. The studs are also housed in the stable opposite the palace in the fall and winter; in the spring, they move to the farm, where the dams stay. Last fall, when we were visiting the Antoniny herd, there were three Arab studs: black “Achmet” from the stable of Earl Branicki: a stalwart stallion, strong in build, very meaty, with a dorsal line leaving a lot to wish for. This is the horse that has produced the most offspring so far.
The second stallion, named “Proximo”, dark-bay, imported, of a righteous height, was taken by the English under Tel-El-Kebir. This horse’s type is noble, dry, and bony; unfortunately, it is sterile and 16 years old.
The third is “Obejan vel Euclid”, brought over from East India last spring by Earl J. Potocki. This horse represents a type so distinct from the average Arab, that many pseudo-experts could be unimpressed. First of all, imagine a large bay horse, with a heavy ear and head, not resembling a delicate gazelle at all, but with a strong, muscular body, developed shoulders, with diagonal lines as rich as in a Thoroughbred; with wide-boned legs, and flat in the shin. This would be the image of “Obejan”. The head is set on a nice, light neck, decorate with large, fiery, black eyes; a drawback of the legs are overly long front pasterns.
This horse impresses with musculature, strength, and something indescribable that reveals the bravery and energy of the horse – and those properties outweigh the drawbacks. As a type, it is something between a Muslim horse, and a full-blood horse, it has the focus, loftiness and the type of a tail with really long hair of the first; and resembles the second through its shoulders and bones.
“Obejan vel Euclid” as he was called in India, was born in Arabia in 1882, and was brought to India in 1885, purchased by Lord W. Beresford, whom Earl Potocki bought him from.
“Euclid” was used for racing in India in the years 1885, 1886 and 1887, at hippodromes especially built by the English for Arab horses. He won 1602 pounds in his career. It is strange however, that the Arab horse racing in India is usually staged over a short distance.
The pedigree certificate of “Euclid” looks as if it was printed in London or Paris, however, it was written in Calcutta and contains: the name of the horse, date of birth, origin, that is, that he belong to the Nejdi race, and the number of races won. A similar certificate of an Eastern horse impressed us with its simplicity and honesty, and to further reflect our impression, we cite Mr. Vallon on this matter: “It is still commonly thought that for 2,000 years Arabs have recorded the genealogy of their horses in books, and uniting horses and foaling takes place with the presence of witnesses, and that an appropriate legal act is made to confirm the provenance of the progeny. There isn’t a bigger untruth than this one, brought to us by travelling Europeans. Its origin lays in the tales made up by traders of Damascus, Aleppo, Euphrates, Hamah, etc. to capitalise on the naivety of the Europeans and to sell them horses far above their actual value. If you asked an Aner in the desert about a certificate for the horse he is selling, he would laugh at your naivety. It is true that the sellers that bring their horses to the markets of Baghdad, Basra, Aleppo, Medina and Mecca, do not forget to tie some amulet to the neck of the horse, that is meant to contain the certificate, but these are cunning measures employed to tax the good faith of the Europeans. It would be strange for a nation that does not have a civil registry, to have records of genealogy of its horses in perfect order – and for more than 2000 years. In reality, Arabs know the genealogy of their horses to the second, sometimes the third generation. They do not know the number of varieties or different families that the Arab race has, or the properties of each variety. However, all inhabitants of Syria agree to the division of horses into two large classes: 1) Noble horses – “koheil” or “nejdi”, and 2) common horses, known as “gnedich”.
We subscribe fully to the words of Mr. Vallon, even though they dispel many poetic illusions. It is a sign of our age, that under the microscope, legends and tales perish. A question arises: can the lack of certain, written genealogy decrease the value of oriental horses?
We answer to the contrary, since the value of the original Aryan race is based on its purity from mixing, influences, unnecessary fat of the American races – and for centuries, being developed in one direction. This gave brisk and resilient battle horses. However, with the development of civilisations, the decline of encampments and pastures, the noble eastern horse has to decline. The same civilisation that damages this, has to try and remedy this through skilful breeding, reproduction attempts, and try to keep the past strength and energy, if the race is not to be lost completely in near future.
Which of the Eastern varieties is of the highest order? – the answer is very difficult. The homeland of the Arab horse is considered to be Asia Minor, the banks of Tigris and Euphrates; but should the Persian and Barb horses not be appreciated in this respect?
A great expert on Eastern horses, General Daumes, said: “Call the horses Arab, Barb, Persian, it’s meaningless, they are just names. The family name is: “The Eastern Horse”.” While accepting the words of the author of “Horses from Sahara”, we have to remark that there is a significant differentiation between the types and within individuality of oriental horses. In terms of beauty, harmony of shapes – the horse from Asia Minor can be said to be superior. In terms of resilience, speed, bravery – the opinions are split.
Abd-el-Kader, a hero Emir, postulated that the properties of the Barb horse best the Arab-Asian battle horse. The fact is that the famous progenitor of the Thoroughbreds, “Godolphin-Arabian” was of Barb origin.
Having considered the diversity of the varieties of Eastern horses, and lack of “certain” origin, then a herd being developed in this direction cannot come from one branch of the large Arab race, but at least a few branches will contribute to it. At the foundation of the Sanguszko herd, various Eastern stallions were used – the mares were usually of our national origin. The mares in old Polish herds, the better ones, were very noble; nevertheless, they were of mixed blood, and cannot be considered as anything else.
The chronicle of the Chrestówka herd shows us that from 1801, horses were continuously brought from the East, or purchased in Constantinople or Vienna had the opportunity arisen. The number of imported stallions, as we saw, was significant; while the number of mares incredibly low. That is – the Sanguszko herd was being improved through the stallions. Nevertheless, the herd, moving continuously in one direction, develops a pronounced type and pronounced characteristics, that the Sanguszko horses display within them. Through the mix of Polish blood, and occasional and homeopathic English blood, they gained height while keeping dryness.
The Sanguszko horses are appropriate for both the saddle and the cart – and are very valuable from a working point of view. In reproduction, as with all “very noble” horses, they have to be skilfully crossed and bred to bear the right offspring.
The forking of the herd in Antoniny into purely Eastern and English-Arabs we consider to be very appropriate. Such mares as the Sanguszko ones should not stray from the taken path, and now, with the right choice of stallions, both sets of dams can show their value.
In this way, the desire that directed the whole life of Prince Roman Sanguszko will be fulfilled – Eastern, traditional blood of the Sanguszko horses will not decline – and the mares of these herds can bear future race track champions.
- “Szlachetny” is translated as noble throughout this document. It can also mean precious, fine, of the highest quality, or first-rate. ↑
- Original footnote: M. Czapski – “Historya Konia” (The history of the horse), volume 2, page 263. ↑
- The Sanguszko clan had many “branches”, two of them were “Sanguszkowie-Kowelscy” and “Sanguszkowie-Koszyrscy”, which the latter 2 of the 3 men listed were the heads of. ↑
- “Sułtańskiemi” or the root word “sułtański” means sultan or of the sultan or belonging to the sultan. In this context, a herd with many high quality oriental horses was described as sultan, just as another first-rate herd may be considered royal. ↑
- “Zamożniejsze stada, posiadające więcej krwi i szlachetności” means the wealthier herds, possessing more blood and nobility. ↑
- “Rasowych” of which the root word is “rasowe” meaning an individual with a clear race. ↑
- “Bachmat” is a variety of stout Tatar horse. (https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachmat) ↑
- “Voivode” is the title of a local military commander, in this context: Prince Hieronim Sanguszko (1743-1812). ↑
- “Krajowe” means local as in from our own country. ↑
- Original footnote: We source the history of the Sanguszko horses from the “Kronika Historyczna stada Chrestowieckiego” (“Historical Chronicles of the Chrestówka herd”), penned by the late Prince Roman Sanguszko and gracefully made available to us by the family. The Chrestówka herd was located in Wołyń, in the Zasławskie region. ↑
- Original footnote: Herasym was a Cossack stableman who took trips to Arabia with Burski. ↑
- Original footnote: Michałko and Szerewera were Cossacks from Illińce. ↑
- It is difficult to judge if this was indeed cheap given the rampant inflation in the Ottoman Empire during this period. ↑
- “Pełnej krwi” is translated full blood throughout this document. ↑
- “Folblutów gonitewnych” means racing Thoroughbreds. The word “folblut” being the German word for Thoroughbreds that was popular in Poland at the time. “Folblut” is translated as Thoroughbred throughout this document. ↑
- Original footnote: The horses remaining from Władysław’s herd are currently in Sławuta and belong to Prince Roman Sanguszko. ↑
- Original footnote: It was bought in Persia by Earl Dzieduszycki. ↑
- This document is not known to survive. However, we do have versions from 1860 and 1876 that describes almost the same information. ↑
- Original footnote: The prince’s horses raced in Vilnius in the years 1875, 1876, and 1877. In Moscow and Tsarskoye Selo in 1876 and 1877. ↑
- “Verst” is an obsolete Russian unit of length equalling 1.0668 kilometres. ↑
- Original footnote: Who could have predicted that a mare running this poorly could breed such a „Fine-Mouche” and a few other good horses – and that its life would end so tragically. ↑
- “Pół-krwi” means half blood. ↑
- Original footnote: This refers only to the Warsaw season, which was 3 days at a time. In the next year, 1877, Grabowski’s stable beat the Prince, with total winnings of 7720 roubles. ↑
- Original footnote: This is not a constant number – sometimes there is more. ↑
- “Czystej rasy oryentalnej” means of a pure oriental race. It is unclear what the author means by this. ↑
- Original footnote: From 1890. ↑
- Obsolete Russian units of measurement: 2 arshins and 2 ½ vershoks makes approximately 153 centimetres; 4 arshins and ¾ vershoks equal 287 centimetres. (This seems unlikely, so it may have been a different measurement, or there is a mistake in the print). ↑
- Original footnote: During the winter, “Achmet” was swapped for the most beautiful “Zarif” from Babolna, with a golden-buckskin coat and seemingly sculpted. We have seen a few unusually noble 4-year-old descendants of Zarif in Antoniny, and mares were being sent to him in Hungary. Zarif is currently 13 years of age, he won first prize at the Vienna show in the oriental category; Zarif comes from parents brought from the East; he is average in height, has a short, stocky leg; the head, neck and withers unusually noble; light, springy motion, a thrusting trot. In one word, a beautiful horse. ↑
- Original footnote: He got so sick through the winter, that he had to have been defective. ↑
- “Koniem muzułmańskim” means Muslim horse. ↑
- “Aryjskiej rasy” means of the Aryan race. ↑
- This appears to be a reference to horses not people. ↑
- “Szlachetny koń wschodni” means noble eastern horse. ↑
- Homeopathic medicine is based on very low concentrations of potentially harmful substances similar to the pathogen that caused the illness. Perhaps he is suggesting a similar proportion here. ↑
- “Czysto wschodnie” means purely Eastern. ↑
- Original footnote: This spring, a known chestnut “Melbourn” (Saxifrage and Australia), born 1885, will be used for the English-Arab mares. Last year, they were covered by “Drum-Major” (Kettledrum and Redpole), born 1869. “Drum-Major” was rented from the Commission of Stud Farms. A grey “Telegraf” (Germes and Trompette) can also be found in Antoniny, born 1882. Until now, his descendants were not a great success, now he is being given mares less noble. The progeny of “Drum-Major” is strong and boney. ↑