Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Arabian Horses

I have been lucky enough to have a pony or horse for quite a few years but one thing I have never known much about is the different breeds.   The most distinctive breeds I can recognise but there are many more that I don't know much about.  So I thought it would be interesting to make that something I could learn and share!

As Tommy was described as an 'Arab type' on the Blue Cross website I thought I would find out more about the Arab first.  This is one of the more distinctive breeds that I can recognise but I thought it would be great to find out more.

The Arabian was originally found on the Arabian Peninsula (desert) and is the oldest pure breed.  It has made a substantial contribution to the development of the equine world.  Many centuries ago tribesman were determined that their breed should remain pure and that no foreign blood should be introduced.  This means that the Arab is the first breed to be established.

The Arab arrived in Europe in the 7th century and during the 17th and 18th centuries was vital to the development of nearly all European breeds.  Reaching the US with the Spanish, Arab studs are found all over the world.

The Percheron, Lipizzaner, Haflinger and nearly all British native pony breeds owe many of their characteristics to the Arab.  Arabian horses are used to improve other breeds by adding speed and endurance, agility and strong bone.  The Thoroughbred, Morgan, American Quarter Horse , the Trakhener and many more are also breeds with Arab bloodlines.


Height: 14 - 15 hh

Colour: Bay, Gray and Chestnut are the most common but Arab's can also be Brown or Black.  Skin is always black except under white markings, this is for protection from the intense desert sun of their homeland.

Conformation: Short, fine dished head.  Large eyes, small ears, small muzzles and a broad forehead.  Some Arabs have a slight bulge between the eyes. The neck is long and elegant with a slight arch and a well set windpipe.  The  shoulders are sloping and the back is short and concave with a deep girth and chest.  Quarters are long and level and Arabs have a high tail carriage.  Their legs are clean, strong and with dense bone and good feet. 

Temperament: Kind, good natured, quick to learn and willing but can be high spirited.  They are classified as hot-blooded which generally means they are sensitive and intelligent which means great communication with their riders but also means they do not tolerate inept or abusive trainers.  When treated badly Arabians generally become more nervous and anxious rather than vicious. 

Arabian's  are fantastic riding horses and have lovely temperaments.  They also have amazing stamina and strength.  They are versatile and compete in reining, dressage, endurance, showjumping, eventing and pleasure and trail riding.

However, their characteristics also mean that they should be handled with competence and respect.

One famous Anglo-Arabian is Tamarillo who was ridden by William Fox-Pitt and represented Great Britain at the Olympics and many other competitions in the 3 Day Event. 

I think that Tommy demonstrates a lot of the characteristics of the Arab breed and it is interesting that generally the breed becomes more nervous if badly treated.  Tommy was certainly that when I had him but seems to have retained his kindness and gentle nature :)

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Until next time!

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