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The Place Names of New Mexico - An Autobiography

Raswan in New Mexico

Carl Raswan renamed himself for a stallion he didn’t even own. That animal's character so entranced him that when the horse died unexpectedly he made the name change official. Or maybe he didn’t like his given name, Schmidt. Anyway, it says a lot about a horse to do this. It says a lot about a person too.

Raswan, the man, devoted his life to Arabian horses. He searched for the “horse of perfection” among the Bedouin people, traveling on horseback with them before the first World War. He developed worldwide lifelong friendships with fellow devotees of the breed and wrote multiple books, including the authoritative “Raswan Index” of Arabian horse pedigree information.

He emigrated to the US in 1921 and imported Arabian horses for WK Kellogg, advising him on the purchase of purebreds from the Crabbet Stud in Sussex. Among these, was the horse, Raswan, who owner Lady Wentworth, gifted to (then) Carl Schmidt. When the horse died accidentally, Carl was said to have exclaimed, "No! He will live!” Then he changed his name.

Raswan moved to New Mexico with his third wife, Gertrude Pearl, in about 1939. They established a 93 acre horse ranch near the village of San Antonito in the East Mountain area, east of Albuquerque.  Around ten years later, he moved to Mexico with a fourth wife and the ranch was sold. Today, a road access in the now subdivided ranch site is still marked as “Pearl Lane.” 

Photo: "Raswan on Sartez," from the dust jacket on the 1961 edition of Raswan's Drinkers of the Wind, first published in 1942. This may or may not have been taken on the track at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, but those sure look like the Sandia Mountains in the background. ) 



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