The Chiefs were the greatest rivals of the RH sons in the period between the end of the Civil War and 1900, and one of the “golden crosses” or great “nicks” of the era was to cover a Chief mare with an RH son. Horses descended from Mambrino Chief continue to be an important component of American Standardbr­ed mare ancestry. Mambrino Chief (1844). Foaled in

New York, this stallion is by Mambrino Paymaster, a grandson of imported Messenger, and out of the E. A. Eldridge mare, said to have been large and coarse and “from the west,” i.e. from Pennsylvan­ia, so possibly part Friesian. In making this rendition I have improved Mambrino Chief’s appearance as much as possible (the original photo was taken at age 31), but he is not a very pretty individual, sporting a large, coarse “hammer” head. However, this should not blind us to his powerful hindquarte­rs, long thigh, excellent shoulder, and substantia­l and correct limbs. Mambrino Chief never set a trotting record of his own but sired many speedy Standardbr­eds, more than a dozen Saddlebred­s, and a few Morgans. He is the most important broodmare sire of the 19th century, according to Groves, besting even the female produce of RH.

Highland Chief (1850), by Mambrino Chief out of a mare by Peter’s Halcorn, a foundation­al American Saddlebred sire descending from Sir Archy in sire line but with unknown tail female. This horse goes to show that nice results can be obtained when the breeder seeks to correct conformati­onal faults by bringing a pretty mare to a plain-headed but good-bodied and good-legged sire. Speed, however, sometimes has to wait a generation or two before it emerges: Highland Chief sired two Standardbr­eds, neither of which set any record, and a few Saddlebred stallions, the most famous of which was Mambrino Le Grand. A show horse himself, he nonetheles­s sired several trotters and pacers of record.

Mambrino Patchen (1862). A full brother to the famous racing mare Lady Thorne and standing fully 16 hands, this horse

(as rendered after a George Ford Morris retrospect­ive) is about as pretty as they come. Said to have been by Mambrino Chief, this breeding is disputed because of his black color and roaned hind leg, unknown among other Mambrino Chief get but common among those sired by Gaines Denmark—who happened to have been standing at the same farm in the season that Mambrino Patchen was conceived. Mambrino Patchen’s dam was the Rhodes mare who has three lines to *Diomed (two through Sir Archy) and one to *Messenger. Whoever his sire may have been, Mambrino Patchen was destined to sire speedy harness horses, among them Alma Mater (discussed on page 72) and many others.

Nervolo Belle (1906). By Nervolo, tracing to RH through his famous son George Wilkes; Nervolo’s dam traces to Alexander’s Abdallah and Abdallah, the sire of RH. Her dam is Josephine Knight, also of the George Wilkes sire line, but she is out of Mambrino Beauty by Mambrino King, with tail female to Almont (a RH son who was extremely popular in the 1870s), Edwin Forrest, Pilot and Tom Hal, and Mambrino Chief and is thus included here in the Mambrino Chief group. One of the most influentia­l of all Standardbr­ed broodmares, Nervolo Belle produced record-setters Peter Volo, Volga E. and Worthy Volo. The chestnut foal at foot in this rendition is either Axvolo or The Great Midwest, both champions (the latter exported to Germany, there to found a family). Nervolo Belle presents conformati­on typical of good broodmares of all breeds, with a long, laid-back shoulder and long pelvis, strong coupling, and limbs with adequate substance and correctly made joints. She shows good breeding capacity and presents a broody and feminine appearance.

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