Origin of the Arabian Horse Registry of America
The Arabian Horse Registry of America, Inc. is the oldest organization in North America serving owners of purebred Arabian horses. The Registry was founded in 1908 by a group of individuals who shared a passion for the past, present and future of the purebred Arabian horse. Since its inception, the Registry has been the central governing authority in the U.S. and Mexico for the breed and closed out the year 2002 with 27,500 associate members.
It should be noted that for all the breeds of light horses which exist today, it was necessary to establish a registry prior to the development of the breed. The Arabian, however, was an exception to this, for here was a breed that had been recognized for thousands of years. In other words, the Arabian horse was not the result of selective breeding, as were the Quarter Horse, Paint Horse, Appaloosa, Thoroughbred and all other light breeds, but it was a breed of horse that had been maintained and cherished in its purity for centuries.
It is difficult to discuss the history of the Arabian Horse Registry without including a brief background of the introduction of the Arabian horse to America.
In 1873, while on a trip to the Middle East, General Grant was presented the two purebred Arabian stallions, LEOPARD and LINDENTREE, by the Sulton, Abdul Hamid II, of Turkey. LEOPARD was later given to Randolph Huntington who subsequently imported two mares and two stallions in 1888 from England. This program, limited as it was, must be considered as the first purebred Arabian breeding program in the United States.
The second important influence upon the Arabian horse in America was the Turkish exhibition of 45 Arabian horses at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Among the imported Arabians shown were the mare, NEJDME and the stallion, OBEYRAN. These two horses subsequently became foundation animals No. 1 and No. 2 in the Arabian Horse Stud Book of America.
The third greatest influence in the development of the Arabian Horse Registry came from the Homer Davenport importation of Arabian horses in 1906.
According to Albert Harris' book on the history of the Registry: "This expedition was a remarkable one in many respects. It was sponsored by our President, 'Teddy' Roosevelt, financed by Peter B. Bradley, and executed by Homer Davenport, all three outstanding horsemen, and it resulted in the importation of the largest number of authentic Arabian horses in one shipment ever made to this country. It was in 1906 that Mr. Davenport, accompanied by Charles Arthur Moore, Jr., and John Henry Thompson, Jr., had the exciting and strenuous experience which he tells about in his book, 'My Quest of the Arabian Horse.' Twenty-seven splendid horses were secured in Arabia and transported safely to Boston."
Harris went on to write: "Davenport's importation of Arabian horses directly from the desert so aroused the enthusiasm of the few Arab breeders in this country that they decided to form a club and registry of their own to promote the interest of their horses and to offer encouragement for importation of new blood to America. The only place Arabian horses could be registered at the time was in the (Thoroughbred) Jockey Club, and the interests of the Jockey Club lay solely in promoting the Thoroughbred."
On September 2, 1908, the Arabian Horse Club of America, Inc. was founded in New York state. The first meeting was held at the Hotel Belmont and was attended by the incorporators: Henry K. Bush-Brown, Homer Davenport, Charles A. Voetsch, Francis A. Huck, and James B. Kilburn.
The name and location of the organization changed two more times until it finally settled in Colorado under the name, "Arabian Horse Registry of America, Inc."
See: Important dates in the history of the Registry