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Southern California CMK Heritage News

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Internet Edition  ~ 2012
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What is CMK?

Some Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
By Michael Bowling © 2000

Q: What is a CMK Arabian?

A: The CMK concept has developed around the effort to maintain traditional using and companion horses such as made the breed's original reputation in this country, and these lines increasingly are prized for producing examples of the Arabian as a "beautiful generalist" riding horse. The raised awareness of preserving genetic diversity as a form of biological health insurance has reinforced the development of CMK as a preservation breeding movement.

Our approach differs from that of some preservation or conservation breeding groups in the Arabian community, because we do not have a closed pedigree requirement. Working with less narrowly defined pedigrees enables us to put more emphasis on retaining a broad base of the original founder animals; watching the development of CMK breeding programs makes it clear that our definition sets off a specific and distinctive kind of horse. We also offer a rallying point for some of the specialty closed pedigree groups that fall within our founder population, such as the Stud Book V horses, the straight Crabbet and GSB Arabians.

"CMK" itself commemorates three breeding programs—Crabbet of Lady Wentworth in England, Maynesboro of W.R. Brown in New Hampshire, and the W.K. Kellogg program at Pomona in Southern California—whose historical and genetic contributions provide our strongest links to the breeding and philosophical tradition of the desert travelers: Lady Wentworth's parents Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt, and the American newspaperman Homer Davenport.

CMK is a registered US trademark; we encourage its use to refer to CMK qualifying Arabians and to the CMK ancestral elements in combined-source pedigrees.

Q: Where did they come from?

A: The ancestry of individual horses will vary, but averaged across pedigrees the most influential single contribution to the overall CMK breeding base has been made by the stock of England's Crabbet Stud, founded by the Blunts in 1878. Crabbet breeding contributes to the uniqueness of CMK through the earliest English imports which give our horses by far the most extensive sampling of the original Blunt founders of any breeding tradition in the world. We also value more recent lines which reinforce particular Crabbet sources, and Old English lines which do not come from Crabbet as such but have proven their compatibility with that tradition.

CMK ancestry includes unique lines based on horses imported direct to North America from the Middle East. Desert horses of the Davenport (1906) and Chicago World's Fair (1893) importations are the most widely influential, and a later source was provided by the Hearst horses of 1947.

We also embrace a relatively small number of other Arabian ancestors which come in because of their use at Maynesboro or by Kellogg, or their later whole-hearted incorporation into the Midwest or Old California cooperator breeding circles of the 1940s and '50s. An entire chapter could be written on the influence and interactions of the two breeder circles, and their spirit of community and cooperation is among the things we aim to keep current, right along with the genetic contributions of their horses.

Q: How are they different?

A: The riding and using qualities of the Arabian horse are central to our view of the breed's purpose and function. We owe our first allegiance to the desert travelers, including the Blunts and Homer Davenport, who sought out the Arabian horse not as an artist's model but to improve and strengthen the performance horse heritage of their respective countries. We also prize the Remount connection through Maynesboro and the Kellogg ranch, which carried the using horse emphasis down for further generations.

With the rising specialization within the Arabian show scene over the past few decades, the CMK Arabians are increasingly respected in such areas as endurance, competitive trail and the arena sport horse disciplines.

Q: Who owns them?

A: The CMK owners are as wide-ranging as their horses, from breeders with large numbers generations deep in established programs, to owners who enjoy a single CMK gelding. A recurring theme in the histories of individual CMK breeding programs is the awakening to preservationist ideas through observing the increasing specialization of the show horses, in parallel with the increasing influence across the breed at large of a small subset of leading show ring sires.

Q: What do they do with them?

A: Individual CMK Arabians continue to excel both in the show ring and in virtually every field of performance open to the breed; individual breeders working within the CMK Heritage may specialize in any performance area, from dressage to cattle work to endurance to racing.

Q: Is my horse one?

A: A CMK Arabian is defined as one tracing in at least 75% of its pedigree to CMK sources (Blunt, Davenport, Old English, North American desert sources, and a few other compatible elements), with a traditional pre-1960 sire line and a dam line established in North America by 1950, or else a dam line unique to North America (this refers to a scant handful of desert founder lines added after 1950).

We will gladly help you to determine whether your horse fits this pedigree requirement, and tell you more about the specific breeding elements which contribute to its ancestry; please join us on our Arabian Preservation Mailing List or look to any of the resources in our Southern California CMK Heritage Directory.

Q: Where are they?

A: In short the CMK Arabians are found everywhere in the US and Canada that the breed is appreciated. There are centers of organized CMK-oriented activity in the Northwest, California, Texas and down the eastern seaboard. The CMK Heritage does not operate through a national organization, but rather our central committee attempts to facilitate communication between local CMK action groups. Activities on the local level include unrated shows and noncompetitive symposia or showcase events, with a historical and community emphasis.

Q: How many are there?

A: Because the CMK definition is not closed, it is not possible to produce a definitive census of the CMK Arabian population as might be done, e.g. for the straight Crabbets. Statistical estimates from recent AHA registrations indicate that less than 8% fit within any preservation breeding pedigree group. The CMK horses are a substantial majority within, but not even all of that 8% or less. They are thus a substantial minority in the breed today, but they represent a resource of genetic diversity out of proportion to their absolute numbers. We believe increasing awareness is required to maintain both CMK numbers and the range of CMK breeding options at a healthy level, and it is becoming critical that attention be paid to some of the individual endangered lines.

Q: Is there a newsletter or forum?

A: The CMK Record newsletter was published independently for about 15 years; the Record has now joined forces with Arabian Visions magazine. The CMK Heritage also is taking advantage of web and internet technology to develop an increasing electronic presence, such as this Southern California CMK Heritage News website you are now reading with its articles and links to other websites and mailing lists.

To those of us working on this project, preservation breeding is the future of the Arabian horse, and we know that it is not enough to enjoy our horses among our own circle; it is essential that others come to understand why we have devoted so much of our time and resources to keeping these horses in the world. We know, and we work to show to others, that preservation breeding is not about names in pedigrees: it is about the Arabian horses that those pedigrees produce. We know from our own experience that the horses will make the converts; we just need to provide them with an audience.

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This website space is provided by Arieana Arabians as a courtesy to advocates for advancing the CMK Heritage here in Southern California. For information on posting your SoCal CMK Heritage news, announcements, and Classified Ads please contact:

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

Good Luck Horseshoe
HAPPY TRAILS!

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