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Arabian -Horse Breed & Info

Characteristics of the Arabian Arabian Horse Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below

History does not tell us the country where the Arabian horse, or indeed horses period, were first domesticated, or whether they were initially used to haul and pull or for riding. We do know that by 1500 B.C. the people of the east were horsemen who valued their horses highly and that these same horses were the forerunners of the Arabian breed.

Perhaps this horse developed in the wild, in the days when the deserts of Arabia and Sahara were rich with grass, trees and rivers. Or perhaps the ancient Hittites brought the horse to the desert when they swarmed out of Turkey to overrun the Near East. Ancient carvings depict Hittite horses that look remarkably like the Arabian horse of today, with arched necks, dished faces in profile, high tail carriages and short-coupled backs.


Beyond doubt the Arabian horse is one of the more ancient of horse breeds. The Bedouin breeders kept the blood of their horses pure and the harsh desert made sure that only the strongest horses survived. Bedouins raced across the desert, rode their horses into battle, and hunted bustards and antelope by horseback. So endurance and speed as well as beauty were the prized traits. Both the environment and the fanatical breeders ensured many of the breed characteristics of the Arabian horse that define the breed today.

Mares were prized the most and unlike western breeds who trace from sires, the Arab strains traced through the mares. Written pedigrees were unknown among desert tribes of course, but any Bedouin could recite a horse’s lineage through several generations. Even after battles, the winning side would be told the lineage of horses they had captured. In this way even in times of man warring against man, the lineage of the horses were preserved. So it is clear that the Arabian horse has proven to be an original breed which still exists today and is one of the most popular breeds globally.


The Arabian breed has provided foundation blood for so many other breeds: The English Thoroughbred; the Russian Orloff Trotter; The Andalusians, Lipizzaners, and Trakehners; the French Percheron; and all of the breeds in American through one path or another, either directly, or through the horses of Cortez and Coronado as well as from importation of the Thoroughbred from England. Other than through the explorers’ horses or the imported Thoroughbred, it was in 1725 that the first Arabian horse was imported to America, with many more to follow.

Throughout the of the 1800’s, official purchasing parties from many countries, as well as private buyers traveled to Arab lands to acquire Arabians for breeding purposes in their own home countries. They mostly purchased stallions. Although the Arabian is small in height, crosses with other breeds or types, often produce a taller animal.


It remains true today, as in ancient days that the Arabian’s forehead is high, his face has a delicate dry profile, his neck is proudly arched, his tail carried high, and his intelligence and frisky spirit are off set by his gentleness. The gentleness of the Arabian horse was most likely a trained characteristic way back in the beginnings of history, but because of unceasing purity of blood and close association with man, it is now inherent in the breed.

Arabians excel at a wide variety of activities - 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 at both all Arabian events and open breed shows. As an endurance horse, the Arabian has no equal and Arabian racing is another sport of great popularity.

Arabian Head Study Park Horse Dressage Class Arabian Western Class Arabian Costume
Photo at the top of the page copyright Waiditschka, visit Arabian Horses - In The Focus. Other photos from left to right:
1) Head study - copyright Jolene Bertrand - Avalon Horse Show Photography
2) Park Class - copyright Ferrara Photography, courtesy AMA
3) Dressage Class - copyright Bob Tarr, courtesy AMA
4) Western - copyright Jerry Sparagowski, courtesy AMA
5) Costume Class - copyright Ferrara Photography, courtesy AMA

Article copyright HorseShowCentral.com. Reproduction of any portion of this copyrighted website without written permission of the publisher is prohibited and subject to legal action.

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Other sites that offer information about the Arabian Horse:

Founded in 1908 the Arabian Horse Association(AHA)is the official breed association and registry in the U.S. The AHA also provides information about the Half Arabian and Anglo Arabian horses. The Pyramid Society is the American Egyptian Arabian Association.