The South American Pedigree FAQ
By Robert J. Cadranell with Michael Bowling
Originally published in Arabian Visions, January-February 1997
Revised January 2005
Horses in South America were part of the deadlock between the Arabian Horse Registry of America (AHRA) and the World Arabian Horse Association (WAHO). This article answers some frequently asked questions about the South American horses. The AHRA had thousands of horses in South America with bloodlines it would not recognize as purebred Arabian.
The foundation horses are O’Bajan V-6, Hamdani Semri I-9, O’Bajan-7, and Kurdo III. The first three were bred at the Babolna state stud in Hungary. Kurdo III was the son of a horse from Babolna. These four horses were imported to South America in the years just prior to World War I.
In 1789, the Austro-Hungarian government established at Babolna a branch of its military horse breeding. In 1816, two desert bred Arabians arrived at Babolna: the stallion Siglavy Gidran and the mare 74 Tifle. Among the horses fostered at Babolna since then is a herd of purebred Arabians, which are designated in Hungarian Arab teliver horses (the German language equivalent is Arab vollblut, literally “Arab fullblood”).
Babolna’s Arabian purebreds were always outnumbered by its Arabian partbreds, known in Hungarian as Arab fajta horses. The Germans call them Araber rasse. In earlier years, Americans used the term “Grade Arab” to describe these horses. The words Grade Arab are used, for example, in a 1946 U.S. Army Remount catalogue to describe *275 Shagya XXV and *52 Gazal II, among others.
The nomenclature used at Babolna was also in place at other Austro-Hungarian state studs, like Radautz and Mezoehegyes. The handwritten pedigrees reproduced in Hans Brabanetz’s book about Radautz illustrate usage in German. Among partbreds, the male line determines the rasse of the foal. Partbreds descending in tail male line from a purebred Arabian stallion are “arab. Rasse.” Partbreds from the male line of the Norman import Nonius are “norm. Rasse,” just as partbreds by a Kladruber stallion are “Kladr. Rasse.”
Today, a number of distinct breeds have crystallized from the Hungarian partbred stocks. Among these are the Shagya and the Gidran, each named after an imported desert bred Arabian stallion who founded a prominent sire line. Both breeds aim to combine the intelligence, endurance, and hardiness of the Arabian with more bone, size, substance, and a larger frame. The Austro-Hungarian pedigrees carefully note the breed and origin of the early foundation stock. Behind Shagya X (1855), for example, are Arabian, Spanish, and Nonius ancestors. The pedigree of Gidran XXVIII (1857) includes Arabian, Lippizzaner, Nonius, Spanish, and English Thoroughbred ancestry.
Laszlo Monostory, former commanding officer of the Hungarian state stud Alsozsuk, mentions another category of horses recognized in Hungary, which he calls in English “Anglo-Arab purebreds.” These combine Arabian and Thoroughbred blood only. According to Monostory, in the records of the Hungarian state studs such horses were recorded in purple ink, while purebred Arabians were recorded in green ink, English Thoroughbreds in red ink, and partbreds in black ink. In his book on Babolna, Dr. Hecker mentions that a slightly different color coding system was used during the 19th century.
To return to the South American horses, O’Bajan V-6 and Hamdani Semri I-9 were Arab fajta horses. Kurdo III and O’Bajan-7 each have one line to an English Thoroughbred mare named 30-Maria.
According to the 1972 Babolna stud book, the first edition of volume I of the Polish Arabian Stud Book, and Dr. Walter Hecker’s history of Babolna, the Austro-Hungarian broodmare 30-Maria was an English Thoroughbred foaled in 1842. Maria’s registration as a Thoroughbred and her foals born in England appear in Weatherby’s General Stud Book, which states, “Sold to the Austrian Government in 1852, before foaling” (see volume VII, page 230).
She was left in England to foal and then brought to the Austrian stud of Piber later in 1852. The Austro-Hungarian government established the stud farm of Kisber in 1853 for breeding Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred crosses, and 30-Maria was sold to Kisber in 1854. On May 3, 1861, she was bred to the imported desert bred stallion Aghil Aga, producing a bay filly on April 7, 1862. The filly was designated 3 Aghil Aga when she entered the broodmare band at Babolna, and the 30-Maria line descends through her.
30-Maria herself was transferred from Kisber to Mezoehegyes in October of 1862. Her last owner was Baron Bela Wenckheim; 30-Maria died in 1865.
The broodmare daughters of 3 Aghil Aga included 6 Mahmoud Mirza (1870), 35 Mahmoud Mirza (1871), and 90 Mehemed Ali (1878), but it was through 6 Mahmoud Mirza that Babolna developed a long line of horses with Arabian blood plus 30-Maria. A more recent example of such breeding is 30-Maria‘s tail-female descendant 125 Ghalion, born in 1975. After 12 generations of crossing to Arabian stallions, 125 Ghalion has just 0.024% of 30-Maria‘s blood.
The 30-Maria line appears in WAHO pedigrees through Babolna bloodlines that went to South America and Babolna lines that went to Romania. One of 30-Maria‘s first descendants to stand at Babolna as a chief sire was O’Bajan I. A son of his was sold to Germany where he sired Kurdo III.