ARABIAN HORSES: PHOTOS and Breed History

Arabian Horses

Arabian Horses

Introduction:arabian horses; Unparalleled beauty, a rich history and a unique ability to bond with their owners.


From the ancient deserts of the Middle East evolved the oldest known breed of riding horse, the Arabian. Now one of the most popular breeds in America, the Arabians' incredible energy, intelligence and gentle disposition allow riders to excel in most equine sports and activities. Today, horses spend as much time on the trail as they do at horse shows and other competitive events.

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 from 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 AD, was instrumental in spreading the Arabian's influence around the world. He mandated that the Arabians' numbers be increased, as the horses would be crucial to the inevitable battles that would be required for his religious conquests. He also proclaimed that Allah had created the Arabian, and that those who treated the horse well would be rewarded in the afterlife. These incentives, coupled with the Koran's instruction that "no evil spirit will dare to enter a tent where there is a purebred horse," further spurred the breeding of the Arabian horse.

The severe climate required the nomads to share food and water, and sometimes even their tents with their arabian horses. As a result, Arabians developed a close affinity to man and a high intelligence.

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Arabian Horse

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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 Horse 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.

Even today the purebred Arabian is virtually the same as that ridden in ancient Arabia. Arabians now display their athletic talents in a variety of disciplines from English to Western, with the Arabian positioned as the undisputed champion of endurance events.

If you're looking for a companion who'll be your partner in adventure or competition-and your friend for life-then an Arabian may be the horse for you.


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The Versatile Arabian Horses

Historically, the Arabian was a warhorse capable of withstanding the extreme conditions of the Arabian Desert and covering long distances, while moving quickly in and out of battle. He was also a close companion of the desert Bedouins evolving a pleasant personality and an affinity for humans.

The traits that were bred into the Arabian through ancient times created a versatile horse that is not only a beautiful breed, but also one that excels at many activities. Considered the best breed for distances, the Arabian's superior endurance and stamina enable him to consistently win competitive trail and endurance rides.

The most popular activity with all horse owners is recreational riding-the Arabian-horse is no exception. The loyal, willing nature of the Arabian breed suits itself as the perfect family horse. His affectionate personality also makes him a great horse for children.

In the show ring the Arabian is exceptional in English and Western pleasure competition. The Arabian is well known for his balance and agility. Combined with his high intelligence and skillful footwork, he is more than capable in driving and reining events. For speed, agility, and gracefulness, you'll want an Arabian. Arabians compete in more than 400 All Arabian shows as well as in numerous open shows around the U.S. and Canada.

The Arabian, as the original racehorse, is becoming more and more popular competing at racetracks throughout the country. Arabians race distances similar to Thoroughbreds, with more than 700 all-Arabian races held throughout the U.S. annually.

Although the most beautiful of all riding breeds, the Arabian is not just a pretty horse. He is an all-around family horse, show horse, competitive sport horse, and work horse.

Hot Blooded Arabian Horses

Arabian Horses today

Historically Hot Blooded Arabian Horses have maintained a reputation as the horse of beauty, intelligence, courage, endurance, and romance. Because he was bred and reared in close contact with man from the earliest records, and existing in mutual inter-dependence, he developed an unequaled ability to bond with humans. Indeed, his intelligence has been celebrated in thousands of anecdotes. He is gentle, affectionate, and familiar, almost to the point of being troublesome. Foals, for example, have no fear of man, and are usually indifferent to sudden noises. The Arabian gentleness and tractability, while originally the effect of education, is now inherited, and is observed in foals bred in a foreign environment.

Because the Arab often engaged in a form of desert warfare known as "Ghazu," a form of quick mounted foray upon his neighbors, his life and welfare depended upon the endurance and speed of his Arabian horse. These stellar qualities of the Arabian horse were also the natural result of a good original stock, which by intensive breeding in a favorable environment had maintained its purity. His blood is commanding to a remarkable degree, and invariably dominates all the breeds to which it is introduced and contributes its own superior qualities to them.

When imported to England, the Arabian horse became the progenitor of the Thoroughbred. In Russia, the blood of the Arabian contributed largely to the development of the Orloff Trotter. In France, the animal helped make the famous Percheron. And in America, again it was the Arabian horse, which became the progenitor of the Morgan and through the English Thoroughbred, to make the Trotter.

As the oldest of all the light breeds and foundation stock of most, the Arabian is unique. The Arabian breed is different in that it does not exist as a result of selective breeding, as were other modern light breeds, where it was necessary to establish a registry prior to the development of the breed, but was a breed that had been recognized for thousands of years and had been maintained and cherished in its purity over those years as much as is humanly possible.

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. Arabian racing is another sport becoming more and more popular in recent years. In the past, considered the "Sport of Kings," Arabian racing is now enjoyed by racing enthusiasts at tracks across the country. In addition, the Arabians' Bedouin heritage is evident in their unequaled ability to bond with humans, making them the perfect horse for family members of all ages.

With today's prices comparable with other popular breeds, excellent Arabian horses are now accessible to a broad base of horse enthusiasts. And, with more living Arabian breeds in the United States than in all the other countries in the world combined, America has some of the best horses and breeding farms from which to choose.

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