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Arieana Arabians ~ CMK Heritage Notebook
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CMK and The Days of Yore

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Looking Back ~ 1913

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A short story about Walter Winan's Purchase of Skowronek
derived from Arabians (March 1985) by Suzi Morris
and enhanced with photos from various sources.

Click to view larger image (73003 bytes)Chance has always played a pivotal role in the making of history. The tale of how Skowronek, a most influential stallion of this century, was rescued from certain death in the World War I slaughter of Polish horses, is one such example.

Skowronek, a son of the desert-bred stallion Ibrahim, was bred by Count Josef Potocki of Poland. The Count's Antoniny Stud lay just south of his private zoo, called the Forest of Pilawin. A European Bison [ Aurochs] Bull was indirectly responsible for Skowronek's importation to England in 1913, which saved him from the fate that would later meet his sire and all his stablemates ~ death at the hands of the Russian troops.

The old bull at Potocki's zoo had begun killing off its sons as soon as they reach maturity. Potocki decided to shoot the old bison to put an end to his killings. However, some of the Count's friends thought that the bull should be given to the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg.

The Hagenbeck Zoo, upon being approached by the idea, telegraphed "Don't shoot ~ letter follows." But the letter did not reach the Count in time, for an American painter/sculptor came on the scene offering 1,500 England pounds to be allowed to shoot the bull, and his offer was accepted.

The American Walter Winans lost no time in traveling to the Polish estate, packing a huge Winchester repeater. He enlisted 300 peasants as beaters and 25 gamekeepers, all blowing madly on hunting horns. The old bull, dazed by this ear-splitting barrage, stood in the midst of it all and was quickly overcome.

The following day, after Winans went hunting with the Potocki staghounds, he decided that he wanted to buy the coach-and-four in which he rode to the site of the hunt. He even requested that the coachman be thrown in as part of the deal.

Instead of agreeing to sell his coach and coachman, Potocki took Winans to the stallion stables and had the three-year-old colts shown to the American.

Click to view larger image (61766 bytes)Suddenly, Winans spied the colt Skowronek. "I like that one," he said, "How much is he?" Potocki replied, "Fifteen hundred pounds."

Without batting an eye, Winans wrote the check out, then and there. He subsequently took Skowronek to England, where he was living at the time.

Winans, who raised trotting horses, not Arabians, had purchased the stallion to use as a model for his sculpting. He made several bronzes in the likeness of the stallion, and these were exhibited for many years at the Royal Academy in England. He later sold Skowronek to his friend Mr. Webb-Ware who in his turn sold him to H.V. Musgrave Clark from whom Lady Wentworth later acquired him and under whose ownership Skowronek became famous.

And thusly Skowronek was saved from certain destruction by the whim of an eccentric American artist and hunter. Today it is indeed difficult to imagine the Arabian breed without the influence of Skowronek.

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For more information on Skowronek or the CMK Heritage Horses of Arieana Arabians, please contact us. Visitors are always welcome; appointments are appreciated.

Suzi Morris
ARIEANA ARABIANS
28952 Via Hacienda
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-5546
Phone: 949-248-1260
e-mail: arieana@fea.net


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Copyright 2003-2012. Website designed and maintained by Suzi Morris. All rights reserved. This page created for Arieana's Heritage Notebook June 9, 2005. Revised and Updated with additional information on August 11, 2012.