Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
 

The life and times of Lady Anne Blunt, 19th century famous horse breeder, creator of the Crabbet Arabian Stud

Brad Smithfield

She met her future husband Wilfrid Blunt while on the travels and they married in 1869. Their marriage was not very happy during those times. They had four children, but only one child, Judith Blunt-Lytton, survived into adulthood. Never coping with the miscarriages and grief, Lady Anne obsessively focused on her work. In 1872, she inherited an estate in Sussex where she built the Crabbet Park breeding farm with her husband.

Photograph of the author, Judith Blunt-Lytton, 16th Baroness Wentworth.

Photograph of Judith Blunt-Lytton, 16th Baroness Wentworth, Lady Anne’s daughter

The couple traveled across Europe and the Middle East. They bought Arabian horses from Bedouin tribes and the Egyptian Ali Pasha Sherif, who was also a renowned horse breeder himself. Various breeds such as Azrek, Dajania, Queen of Sheba, and the Ali Pasha Sherif stallion, Mesaoud, were taken to England. The purebred Arabian breeds are solely responsible for the Crabbet ancestry found in today’s horses.

Ali Pasha Sherif, the famous Egyptian government official and renowned breeder of Arabian Horses

Ali Pasha Sherif, Egyptian government official and renowned breeder of Arabian Horses

The diaries and notes that Anne wrote reveal their travels across the deserts contain well-written critique and characterization. Her notes were used in her daughter Judith’s diary, “The Authentic Arabian Horse”, in 1945. The equestrian Lady certainly had a good eye for confirmation and has proven to be an avid breeder during their pilgrimage across the Middle East. In 1882, they opened a second stable, the Shaykh ‘Ubayd, in 1882 just outside Cairo. By now, she was fluent in Arabic and the culture had a profound impact on her. She happily accepted the foreign customs and would often dress in middle eastern clothing, much to her husband’s disagreement.

Lady Blunt's husband, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Lady Blunt’s husband, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

Lady Anne and Wilfrid Blunt often had quarrels over management of their horses. Her husband, the more political one, stuck to his theory that with its cold and relentless weather, England was no place for the noble Arabian horses. Wilfrid had many mistresses, such as Dorothy Carleton, whom Anne despised. Expressing her dismay towards her husband’s polygamous “oriental lifestyle”, Lady Anne was not pleased. Consequently, the marriage did not last.

Mesaoud, one of the foundation sires of the Crabbet Arabian Stud, bred in Egypt by Ali Pasha Sherif, imported to England by the Blunts in 1891

Mesaoud, one of the foundation sires of the Crabbet Arabian Stud, bred in Egypt by Ali Pasha Sherif, imported to England by the Blunts in 1891

When Dorothy Carleton moved into the house, the unhappy couple were legally separated in 1906. Lady Blunt went to live with her daughter and son-in-law near Crabbet Park. They would spend the winters in Shaykh ‘Ubayd. After many unnecessary legal disputes and quarrels, Lady Blunt died in Cairo in 1917. Judith Blunt-Lytton needed to repossess the inheritance and had to directly buy back most of it, because of Wilfrid’s spiteful legal obstacles. She bought back most of the horses, along with the farms and houses.

Serafix, bred by Lady Wentworth, foaled 1949, imported to the United States in 1954, was one of the best-known of the "modern Crabbet" stallions, the result of over 60 years of Crabbet breeding. In this photo, he was 22 years old.

Serafix, bred by Lady Wentworth, foaled 1949, imported to the United States in 1954. One of the best-known “modern Crabbet” stallions, the result of over 60 years of Crabbet breeding.

Judith heeded her father’s “desert conditions” theory and her management was efficient. The supposed breeding method showed productivity and quality. As a result, the Polish-bred Arabian stallion Skowronek was introduced. Despite some controversy over breed purity, the Skowronek lived up to Crabbet’s nobility. Judith sold horses throughout the world and the stud farm  prospered until 1971, when a motorway was built on the property.

Lady Wentworth and her prized Arabian stallion, Skowronek. Photo Credit

Lady Wentworth and her prized Arabian stallion, Skowronek. Photo Credit

Sadly, the purity of the Crabbet breed dispersed throughout the ages. Then again, there are many breeders that continue to preserve and keep the gene pool of Crabbet horses. Modern studs are known for Crabbet breeding, such as the Al-Marah including Al-Marah in America and the Australian Fenwick. Today, over 90% of Arabian horses in the United States contain one or more bloodlines to the Crabbet Stud. Either way, Lady Anne’s contribution to this equine profession kept it’s noble legacy to this day.