The Arabian

Quick Facts :

  • The exact origin of the Arabian is unknown

  • Average Height 14.2-15.0hh

  • Their skeleton is different from other breeds. They have 17 pairs of ribs, instead of 18 and 5 vertebrae instead of 6.
  • Coat colors include bay, gray, chestnut, black, and roan. Bay, gray and chestnut are the most common; black is less common.

  • The breed is thousands of years old and is said to be the first domesticated breed of horse.

History

For thousands of years, Arabians lived among the desert tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, bred by the Bedouins as war mounts for long treks and quick forays into enemy camps. In these harsh desert conditions evolved the Arabian with its large lung capacity and incredible endurance.

Historical figures like Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Alexander The Great and George Washington rode Arabians. Even today, one finds descendants of the earliest Arabian horses of antiquity. Then, a man's wealth was measured in his holdings of these fine animals. Given that the Arabian was the original source of quality and speed and remains foremost in the fields of endurance and soundness, he still either directly or indirectly contributed to the formation of virtually all the modern breeds of horses.

The prophet Mohammed, in the seventh century A.D., was instrumental in spreading the Arabian's influence around the world. He instructed his followers to look after Arabians and treat them with kindness. He said that special attentions should be paid to the mares because they insure the continuity of the breed. He also proclaimed that Allah had created the Arabian, and that those who treated the horse well would be rewarded in the afterlife.

Over the centuries, the Bedouin tribes zealously maintained the purity of the breed. Because of their limited resources, breeding practices were extremely selective. Such practices, which eventually helped the Arabian become a prized possession throughout the world, have led to the beautiful athletic breed we know today, which is marked by a distinctive dished profile; large, lustrous, wide-set eyes on a broad forehead; small, curved ears; and large, efficient nostrils.

Body Type

The purebred Arabian horse is striking. An Arabian's most identifiable characteristics are its finely chiseled head, dished face, long arching neck and high tail carriage. Its entire appearance exudes energy, intelligence, courage and nobility. Every time an Arabian moves in its famous "floating trot," he announces to the world his proud, graceful nature.

In general, Arabians have a short, straight back (usually one less vertebra than is common with other breeds), perfect balance and symmetry, a deep chest, well-sprung ribs, strong legs of thick density and a more horizontal pelvic bone position.

Temperament

The high intelligence, trainability, gentle disposition and stamina of the Arabian enable it to excel at a wide variety of activities popular today. Arabians are excellent on the trail as well as in the show ring. Show classes in English and western pleasure, cutting and reining, even jumping and dressage provide opportunities for fun and enjoyment at both all-Arabian events and Open breed shows alike. As an endurance horse, the Arabian has no equal. The top prizes at endurance events almost always go to riders of Arabians.

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Credits:
Info from Arabian Horse Association