The Arabian Breed

Arabian Breed Description

General Characteristics The Arabian horse is known for its stamina, grace,
noble shape and outlook, adaptability, affectionate nature and intelligence. It is handsome in appearance and action.
Conformation The head is very short, and very refined. The face
is pronouncedly “dished”, or concave. A straight face is not desirable.

The muzzle is small and tapered. Nostrils are very large, and can flare very widely when the horse is excited or exerting itself.

The eyes are very large, and placed lower in the head than in other breeds.

The ears are small, fine, and curve inwards.

A distinctive feature of the Arabian head is the jibbah, which is the forehead which exhibits a bulge between the eyes up to a point between the ears and down across the first third of the nasal bone and so forms a shield shape. Equally distinctive is the mitbah, which refers to the angle at which the head meets the neck. The desired angle forms a particularly arched curve.

The back is short and very slightly concave. The croup is long and level. Ribs are well rounded and the chest is broad.

The tail is set into the croup at the highest level so that it is carried arched and high when the Arabian is moving.

The Arabian horse’s conformation is unique, because it has 17 ribs, 5 lumbar bones and 16 tail vertebrae. Other breeds have 18 ribs, 6 lumbar bones and 18 tail vertebrae.

The Arabian horse’s limbs should be hard and clean with well defined
tendons. The feet should be near perfect in shape and size.

Colour The Arabians were originally chestnut and bay, but can now be found in most strong solid colours, and many are grey. The skin is dark, and the mane and tail and fine and silky.
Height Arabians are typically 14.1 to 15 hands high.
Mane and Tail Both the mane and tail tend to be sparse.
Action The Arabian horse’s action is characterized by a “floating” movement, with the horse moving as though on invisible springs, and with great freedom. In the trot it takes free, straight strides, but the gallop is its natural pace. It has the stamina to maintain speed for exceptionally long periods.

Arabian Breed History

The Arabian horse is the oldest and most influential purebred horse in the world. Arabians have been used to improve nearly every other breed. It is also the most widespread breed of horse.

The origins of the Arabian horse are obscure, and many legends abound. The scholar Lady Wentworth claimed that the true homeland of the Arabian is the Arabian peninsula, most particularly the Yemen region. She believed that the Arabian had been there since 5,000 BC. Others claim that the Arabian harkens from Saudi Arabia. The Iranians have claimed to be the first to domesticate the Arabian.

Regardless of its origins, the Arabian breed has many famous lines around the world. The Persian Arab is the oldest, and has been carefully maintained in Iran with few injections of desert stock.

The Egyptian Arab is also very old, and one of the most famous. Some of the best of the breed today in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Egypt are descended from the Egyptian Arab line.

Polish Arabs have an old and pure line. The first Arabians were brought into Poland in the 16th century by the Turks as war booty. Then, in the 19th century, it became fashionable to collect desert stock, and the Polish Arab line was firmly established.

Another major European Arab line is in the United Kingdom. The earliest stock came after the Crusades. The horses that came at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century were used to found the Thoroughbred. The original British collectors were Lady Wentworth’s parents, Anne and Wilfred Scawen Blunt.

The Arabian horse is so popular that there is hardly a country in the world that does not have important Arab studs. A World Arabian Horse Organization had to be set up to control the authenticity of the pedigrees. The Arabian horse is truly an international breed.

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