Everything You Need to Know About the Arabian Horse

Posted by Allie Layos
Arabian Horse

The Arabian horse is an ancient breed of horse with a modern following.

One of the oldest and most recognizable horse breeds in the world, the Arabian horse originated among the desert tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, bred by the Bedouins for its endurance and prowess as a war mount.

The Arabian's distinctive dished face, high tail carriage, and large eyes and nostrils make it easy to spot, and its courage and fiery spirit made it prized among the nobility, conquerors, and other historical figures; Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and George Washington all rode Arabians. Arabians are only those whose sires and dams descend from a special pool of horses used in the Egyptian purebred Arabian breeding program.

Another breeding program worth mentioning is a breeding farm in England, also known as Crabbet Park that was established by Lady Anne. She became so enamored with the horses, that she eventually became a devout student of Bedouin breeding. The Crabbet Arabian stud is a very piece of history for all Arabian breeders and horse owners.

The Arabian directly or indirectly contributed to nearly all modern-day horse breeds and has changed little over the centuries. Today, these horses are used in both English and Western riding and excel at endurance competitions.

The Arabian Horse Association talks about the Arabian's three coat colors in a guide available on their site. The first is sabino, the only white spotting pattern seen in purebred Arabians, characterized by bold white markings on the face and leg markings, and, in some cases, body spotting. The second pattern is rabicano, a roan-like intermixture of white and dark hairs. The third unusual coat color is dominantly white, a mutation characterized by a predominantly white hair coat and pink skin, present at birth.

According to ArabianHorses.org,

"An Arabian will take care of its owner as no other horse will, for it has not only been raised to physical perfection but has been instilled with a spirit of loyalty unparalleled by that of any other breed."

Horse of the Desert Bedouin Tribes

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ArabianHorses.org also tells us,

"Long before Europeans were to become aware of his existence, the horse of the desert had established himself as a necessity for the survival of the Bedouin people. The headmen of the tribes could relate the verbal histories of each family of horse in his tribe as well as he could each family of Bedouin. The mythology and romance of the breed grew with each passing century as stories of courage, endurance and wealth intermingled with the genealogies."

They explain that the Arabian breed was a true warhorse,

"The Arabian horse was primarily an instrument of war, as were horses in general in most societies of the time. A well-mounted Bedouin could attack an enemy tribe and capture their herds of sheep, camels and goats, adding to the wealth of their own tribe. Such a raid was only successful if the aggressors could attack with surprise and speed and make good their escape."

If you're interested in Arabian horse breeding, a wonderful resource is the Arabian Horse Association. America has some of the best-breeding programs and farms that you can choose from. Experts say that the purebred Arabian is an all-around family horse, show horse, competitive sports horse, and workhorse. There are Arabian stud farms all over the world including Canada, Spain, France, and even here in the states - outside of Chicago!

Other breeds of horses worth researching are the American Quarter horse, Saddle horse, and the Morgan horse.

If you're at a horse show you will see Arabian mares in the show ring, and perhaps competing in dressage. Do you have a horse with Arabian blood? Or a half-Arabian horse? Or are you simply an equestrian geek and love thoroughbreds? We understand as we love any and all racehorses!

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General Appearance

The Arabian is a model of perfect balance and symmetry, with a naturally high tail carriage and a general air of animation and spirit. They usually stand 14.1 - 15.1 hands and weigh about 950 pounds.

Body

Because they have one less vertebra than other horses, Arabians generally have a short, straight back. They also have a deep chest, well-sprung ribs, strong, thick legs, and a pelvic bone that is more horizontal than other horses. The neck of an Arabian is long, arched, and set on high on the withers. The croup is comparatively horizontal.

Coat

The Arabian Horse Association registers horses with the coat colors of bay, grey, chestnut, black, and roan. No matter the coat color, all Arabians have black skin except for the skin underneath their white markings; this protects them from the desert sun.

 

Head

Arabian horses have comparatively small heads, with a profile that is straight or slightly dished below the eyes; this dished profile is preferable. Arabians also have a small muzzle, large eyes and nostrils, and a short distance between eye and muzzle. They have deep jowls, and small ears that are thin and well shaped, with tips that curve slightly inward.

Temperament

The best word to describe the Arabian horse is spirited. They are courageous, loyal and highly intelligent, with a unique ability to bond with their owners.

Health

There are six known genetic diseases that affect Arabians, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, Lavender Foal Syndrome, Cerebellar abiotrophy, Occipital Atlanto-Axial Malformation, Equine juvenile epilepsy and Guttural Pouch Tympany. The Arabian Horse Association has created a foundation to research the roots of these diseases.

Body image: Wikipedia

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Everything You Need to Know About the Arabian Horse