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Arieana Arabians ~ Heritage Notebook
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CMK and The Days of Yore

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Travelers Rest Arabian Stud
by Suzi Morris 2012
Based on an article by Dixie Ryan appearing in
The Arabian Horse Journal February 1977.
Enhanced with photos courtesy of Delores Lyndon and
with additional information from the notebooks of
Suzi Morris and Leslie Schoradt.

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General Jacob M. Dickinson was born in Nashville, Tennessee on February 4, 1890. His early years of education were completed in the Nashville area, and later after acceptance to Harvard he received his law degree.

General Dickinson served during World War I and again in World War II when his patriotism inspired him to again re-enlist. During this second tour of duty he organized the Tennessee State Guard which consisted of a dozen or more units, and at this time was ranked as Brigadier General. He was addressed as General Dickinson for the remainder of his life.

As a youngster, Jacob Dickinson always loved a good horse and usually could be found where in the vicinity of the nearest stable or pasture which contained his four-footed friends.

His deep devotion to the horse and a burning desire to learn were the foundation of his future, and in years to come he accumulated and coordinated many facts which are history today. These studies, accompanied by his deep belief in antiquity, purity, and Biblical studies were also to eventually lead him to the oldest of breeds ... the Arabian.

Many years prior to his birth an ancestor of General Dickinson, Judge John Overton (Andrew Jackson's law partner) founded the Travelers Rest Stud Farm in Davidson County, near Nashville, Tennessee and the first recorded horse transaction for this farm is dated 1793. At his death about 1830, his son Colonel John Overton succeeded him, maintaining the farm, raising fine Thoroughbred and Morgan stock, and in conjunction with his own son May Overton, breeding trotting and Saddlebred horses, with this farm passing down through Overton's family for over a century and a half. In the late 1920's, through some type of family arrangement, General Dickinson was to become owner of this establishment which had been his mother's ancestral home.

Arabian blood had previously been introduced at Travelers Rest as early as 1827 when the Arabian mare Santa Fe was brought from Virginia. Over the next hundred years, there were one or two renewals of Arabian influence, but it was in 1930 that General Dickinson's first Arabians came to Travelers Rest and the program begun that has so influenced our breed today.

By close and continued association with many of our old and well-known breeders, General Dickinson purchased his first Arabians from Henry Babson, these being mares of Egyptian breeding. Antez At approximately the same time he also purchased Antez (Harara x Moliah) from the W.K. Kellogg Ranch.

Margaret (Peggy) Fleming, daughter of Dickinson, remembers well the arrival of Antez. He was sent by rail from California, with an entire box car rented for his enjoyment. The set-up was comfortable, at least as comfortable as one could have been in a 1930 box car. When he arrived at his destination he had lost a tremendous amount of weight and it seemed according to Margaret he barely weighed anything at all. He was taken to the ranch, however and with careful feeding soon returned to his normal weight.

General Dickinson was also an accomplished writer and his Travelers Rest Catalogue is considered one of the most informative and detailed books of its kind. His records and breeding program are recognized as one of the greatest contributions in the history of the Arabian breed.

With his deep dedication to the preservation of purity, General Dickinson further felt the need to improve other breeds by infusing them with Arabian blood. He introduced the abilities of Arabians which were to later become the foundation stock in breeds we recognize today. One such example was his work on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association of America, helping to write the By-Laws, and proving his Arabians through performance so that they could become officially registered in the Supplemental Section of Volume I of The Register of the TWHBA, published in 1939 and therefore eligible as Foundation Breeding Stock. These horses were:

Click to view larger image of Bazleyd (75351 bytes) X-1 Bazleyd AHR #648 (*Abu Zeyd x Bazrah). "Approved because of having won ribbons in various recognized Walking Horse Shows."
click to view larger image of Fath (62102 bytes) X-3 Fath AHR #583 (*Rodan x *Kola). "Approved by Executive Committee on performance."
Click to view larger image of Kolastra (81401 bytes) X-9 Kolastra AHR #654 (Gulastra x *Kola). "Approved by Executive Committee on performance."
Click to view larger image of *Alya (46451 bytes) X-10 *Alya AHR #986 (Desert Bred x Desert Bred). "Approved by Executive Committee on performance."

With the rigid principles in conformation and athletic ability that General Dickinson upheld, he was never satisfied with any animal. Even though he felt they were good Arabians, he also felt they could always be better and continually bred to upgrade the animals he owned. He felt outcrossing was an absolute necessity and further felt the quality of the Arabian would deteriorate unless new blood was brought to the United States. This was the beginning of his search which took him to Poland, Egypt, South America, and other countries.

*Lassa and Nejal Feeling that the Arabian of the 1930's needed more size and substance, and placing endurance and athletic ability near the top of his priorities, he set up an extremely rigid program of performance and endurance testing. The animals in his breeding program were required to race, pull wagons, jump, and perform many other tests. In this photo above right you see the mare *Lassa and the stallion Nejal (Rehal x Larkspur by *Abu Zeyd) driving double in harness. Another was Tony, a half-Arabian sired by Ahrany (Bazleyd x Rogelmar Kolette by Nejal), who was entered and won the grueling Vermont Trail Ride. 

The records kept on the animals were meticulous and each animal was recorded according to his or her accomplishments. Once they passed his conformation tests, the athletic program began, and animals that did not perform as he felt necessary were eliminated from the breeding program.

General Dickinson continued to study the programs and animals in other countries and corresponded with knowledgeable persons in these areas. He was greatly impressed with the Polish breeding programs, as they also placed much importance on athletic ability as well as having the size he felt needed in the Arabian horse.

Through the years he had kept a lively correspondence going with Prince Dzartoryski of Poland, and through him purchased his first Polish importations.

These horses arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey aboard the SS Batory in May, 1937, and seemed to have traveled well on their long sea voyage. Many of them were in somewhat light condition, but overall they appeared to have fared better than horses that had traveled by rail across the United States.

*Czubuthan Included in this first group were *Przepiorka, *Lassa, *Liliana, *Mattaria, *Niwka and *Nora. *Latif, an en-utero import by Antez out of the mare *Lassa, was born a few months later.

In 1938, another importation by General Dickinson and Henry Babson included for Travelers Rest the following horses: *Czubuthan (pictured above), *Ba-Ida, *Aeniza, *Ugra, and *Babolna.

During the years that Travelers Rest was in full operation, there were 50 producing mares and usually about 100 animals on hand. At the end of World War II, the stud was moved to its present location in Columbia, Tennessee. Then in 1946 General Dickinson decided to sell his ranch and move his family to California where the stud remained until 1948. At that time the longing for the lush green pastures of Tennessee once again drew him back to the South and he returned. He did, however, disperse most of his horses in California (see Ronek), taking only a few of his favorites back with him to Tennessee.

*Nasr As with all horsemen, General Dickinson had his favorite, who in this case was *Nasr (pictured at right). This was his greatest love and many hours were spent working with this Arabian. Hallany Mistanny was another family favorite and was given to Margaret Fleming as a wedding gift. Unfortunately however, when her husband went overseas many years later, she was forced to sell Hallany Mistanny.

The years were passing and General Dickinson made the decision to disperse his remaining herd of horses and retire. He was nearing 60 years of age and in 1950 sold the animals, many of them going to Cuba. On March 14, 1963, at 73 years of age, General Dickinson died unexpectedly, but left to us his gift of a legacy that will always be a very important part of the history of the Arabian Horse in America.

Two of the five Dickinson children maintained an active interest in horses. Maxi Decker, a daughter, devoted much time to research and pedigree work. Margaret (Peggy) Fleming reorganized the Travelers Rest Stud keeping alive many of the ideas that her father had instilled in her so many years ago. The blood of the Arabians on her Tennessee ranch continued along the same lines of the original stock and continued to underline what General Dickinson had worked so hard to accomplish.

The year 1976 saw granddaughter Tammy Fleming qualify for the U.S. Nationals and further allowed onlookers at Louisville, Kentucky to witness her win the 1976 Reserve National Champion Hunter title astride a horse descending from original Travelers Rest bloodstock. Her win held special meaning for the entire family by proving that good breeding carries on ... her Arabian being living proof of those years of dedication her grandfather had given to the Arabian breed.

Arabian breeders and owners today owe a lot to General Dickinson and dedicated persons like him who worked so hard so many years ago preserving the foundation for the breed we all know and love ... the Arabian. Perhaps Margaret Fleming said it best when she placed this quote of tribute to *Nasr in the Travelers Rest Catalogue (Revised edition 1988, p.71):

To the Arabian Horse
"From his veins came the blood of the thorobred[sic], from his style the beauty of the saddler, his endurance gave bottom to the trotter. Big little fellow with the heart of a lion, second to some of his children but third to none ~ may he live on through the ages as the symbol of all that we love in the horse." ~ Peg

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We thank those who have gone before us for preserving the traits that give us today CMK Arabian Horses we can truly say are a "Pleasure to Own, A Pleasure to Ride." For more information on the history and horses of Travelers Rest Arabian Stud and how their influence lives on in today's prized and cherished horses of Arieana Arabians, please contact us. Visitors are always welcome; appointments are appreciated.

Suzi Morris
28952 Via Hacienda
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-5546
Phone: 949-248-1260

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Copyright 2003-2012. Website designed and maintained by Suzi Morris and all rights reserved. This page created for Arieana's Heritage Notebook on April 22, 2005. Article Updated with additional information on August 26, 2005. Revised with new information and Current as of August 20, 2012.