About Us

Craver Farms began with Davenport Arabian horses in 1955. It started as a family partnership in Arabian horses between Charles C Craver, Jr. and Charles C Craver III in 1948. The latter had been in the Navy, and just before being discharged in the spring of 1955 he purchased the Davenport stallion Tripoli (Hanad/Poka) as a seven-year-old weighing something under 500 pounds. He returned to a farm owned by his family and began operating it in partnership with his father.

Over the next few years, the remaining available Davenport mares in this country were purchased or leased. Only nine Davenport mares and two additional stallions could be obtained or leased. Two equally good mares and four such stallions were owned by others for Davenport breeding.

As breeding of these horses began, several honored and experienced horsemen said that the remaining Davenport horses were already too related to each other and that it would be impossible to breed satisfactorily from them. That turned out to be a false concern. The horses produced beautifully. They were shown on an amateur level and did well. They were much admired as beautiful. The noted authority, Carl Raswan, observed that they constituted historic breeding.

In 1974 the farm partnership was expanded to include Jeanne Hussong, by virtue of marriage to Charles III. With the addition of Jeanne, activity at the farm thrived. She was always at hand to help with a sick foal, run the farm books, maintain personal contacts. She was the key individual in bringing people together to form the organization Al Khamsa, and she and Charles guided it through its first years.

New customers came along, and these expanded the universe of Davenport breeding. As involved friends they added greatly to the pleasure of the enterprise.

In 1979 father Charles Craver Jr. died. Mother Bertha Craver, who had been a great support, died in 2002.

Life was not always easy. Some horses or bloodlines were lost. Farming became ever harder. There was a battle every few years to keep the Illinois River from flooding the farm. Finally in 1993 the flood did occur. Much was lost but no horses, thanks to the generous and sometimes brave help of friends, who would drive through flooding water to rescue a horse.

A new farm was found to which the horses could be moved. The remnants of the old farm were sold. Davenport breeding continued on a less extensive scale, but beautiful horses were produced, and whether better or not, it seemed that each generation was more appreciated.

In its years of operation from 1955 through 2010, Craver Farms has bred nearly 600 foals. It retained a sizable herd of its own, which at present is reduced from a high of 170 to 14 mostly retired animals. The breeding is unusual in that it closely follows the strain breeding principles observed by Carl Raswan. No bloodlines other than Davenport bloodlines are used in the herd.

The activity of the farm is little advertised, but its reputation extends throughout the purist breeding community in North America and to England, Germany, Holland, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Everywhere the horses are noted as being real Arabians as to pedigree and physical being.

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