The Crabbet Line
History was made on July 2nd, 1878 when the first importation by Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt of horses from the desert arrived at Three Bridges Railway station in England. This was the start of the World Famous Crabbet Arabian Stud. Crabbet Park was the Blunt’s Sussex home and the effect of these imports was to have a lasting effect on Arabian horse breeding worldwide forever. Nearly every single Arabian horse will have some Crabbet blood in today and many in this country carry more than 75% Crabbet blood. Lady Anne Blunt was meticulous in her assessment and verification of purity of Arabian horses and would not buy anything that did not come up to her very high standard. The stud continued after the Blunts death with her daughter Lady Wentworth and it was during her era that Crabbet reached its highest heights.
Lady Wentworth added one or two outside lines into the stud. Early on it was Skowronek, a beautiful grey horse from Poland and latterly, not long before her death she bought Dargee. After her death, Lady Wentworth’s manager, Cecil Covey continued running the stud on a reduced scale until the M23 cut the property in half and the stud was sold in a matter of a week.
It is an extraordinary fact that for nearly 100 years, despite the exportation of numerous top class colts from Crabbet, the stud was able to continue producing generation after generation of outstanding sires. This must be attributed very largely to exceptional inherent qualities of its mares – qualities which Lady Wentworth always maintained were of the utmost importance in the mares of a stud and which she valued so highly in her own.
As visitors to Crabbet were to remark, “there is something about those mares” – an indefinable presence or style which both Lady Wentworth and her parents regarded as essential in the high caste Arabian horse.
Today, there are very few straight Crabbet horses in the UK, i.e. carrying 100% Crabbet blood. There are many lines with what we call Old English blood and also those descending from stock recorded in the General Stud Book. Binley Arabian horses are 100% Crabbet.