A. orig. desert
stallion B. halfblooded
mare C. halfblooded gelding
Original Arabian stallion Amurath Sahib
Imported desert Arab (1930s Europe)
Typical head of the desert Arabian
Typical head of an Arabian halfblood
Typical Arabian fullblood
Arabian halfblooded stallion
Fanfan IV, 5 yrs
8 yrs gray Arabian halfblood
The "eastern" Arabian
horse became known in Europe only in the medieval age. During the
Christian crusades, the soldiers (knights) came across the Arabian horses
for the first time. Bought or stolen, the Arabian horse found his way to
Europe, where he was used in breeding to refine domestic horses. Of course
in the early part of the middle ages, the Arab merchants often traveled to
Europe, where they were selling jewelry, silk, ivory, spices, medicine and
also horses. In those days the popular horse of the central Europe was a
lighter version of the western type
horse used primarily as a military and tournament horse. With the invention of
the black powder, this western type of a horse became obsolete and useless for
the military purpose for his lack of speed to escape the enemy fire. In
those days, the eastern type of horse began to spread over Europe very
The eastern horse
became property of Arabs only at the time of the prophet Muhammad
is, in the 7th century A. D.
In the biblical times, there were no horses bred in the Arabian
Desert. Greek explorer/writer Herodotus and Roman
Strabo, who traveled
through the Orient, wrote with amazement that they saw beautiful horses
in Asia Minor and Persia, but about Arabia they wrote, that only
camels and sheep are being bred there and that there is also living a large
amount of wild donkeys. Already in the 6th century A. D. the
Roman emperor gave to a Syrian nobleman 200 fine horses to promote the
breed of horses in Arabia, but the idea didn't catch too well. During the
Arabian invasions east to the Caspian Sea in the siege of cities
and Turkestan, the Arabs were riding camels, whose appearance was scaring
to death the opposition’s horses, who never saw them before. The sight
of a camel was remote in those days in that region.
For the bloom of horse
breeding, the Arabs give gratitude to Muhammad, who suffered many defeats
by the enemy’s cavalry and came to know the value of a horse not only
for the military purpose, but for spreading his religious ideology as
well. Muhammad alone was a rider and lover of horses and in the
encourages the love for horses and their breeding.
possessions rest between the eyes of a horse”, “The best earthly
possessions are; a smart woman and pregnant mare”, although there is
another quote; “every evil has two springs, a woman and a horse”.
The homeland of the Arabian horse is the Arabian Peninsula that stretches from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea and covers an area the size of half Europe. The center of this region consists mostly of steppes, deserts and rocky terrain. The deserts are mostly rocky or sandy and water is scarce everywhere. Only at few places are Oases with palm trees, water, gardens and fields tended by settlers. The rest of the region is desert, which was occupied by nomadic Arabs/Bedouins, who used the horses for robberies or attacks against neighboring tribes, while for transportation they used camels. The climate is dry, plants are scarce, dry and hard; the robber’s lifestyle of a nomadic Arab, including the harsh use of a horse under saddle, were the hard living conditions which gave the Arabian horse the characteristics of undemanding/easy keeper and tough horse with immense endurance. The living condition on such a large region varies, and so do the types of Arabian horses.
In Arabia the horses are bred smaller or larger, with a “dished in” or straight, sometimes even “Roman” nose. Various forms of horses are both, on a tall or short leg, and of square or longer frames. The smallest and most refined fullblooded Arabian horses were bred in the center of the region called “Nejd” by tribes named “Shomar” (later moved north), “Vahabit” and “Anase”. In the eastern, western and northern Arabia including Mesopotamia, the horses are somewhat taller and less refined.
Among the Arabs are also individuals that are not consistent with this kind of frame, often with longer lines, low set necks and more resembling the English Thoroughbred.
Every Arabian original
is imported from the desert and often isn’t as beautiful and graceful as
it is frequently described. The most common faults found on desert Arabian are;
small size, elk neck (U-neck), steep shoulder, sway back, insufficient
width, performance, too thin legs, soft pasterns, sickle
hock, stumpy and
too hard hoofs. This of course doesn’t mean that one horse has all these
deficiencies, but one or two can be often found on an individual. Many of
these deficiencies are blamed on improper raising of young foals,
nutrition and careless use under saddle. The Bedouins, despite their
“love” for horses show no concern about their horse, especially in
sharp turns and instead of spurs they use sharpened stirrups that often
injure horse's leg joints.
The gait of the
Arabian is energetic, roomy, light not high but higher in trot than the
English Thoroughbred, with crisp, somewhat short but quick and enduring gallop.
The general impression
bears a testimony to the refinement and through-breeding of the Arabian
horse; not only in his exterior but also in his movement and the general
positioning of his body accompanied with lively, often inflammable (not
nervous) temperament. Shortly said a horse of a good character.
The colors of Arabians vary. The best and most practical are the gray (white) with gray pigment in the skin, thus reflecting the ultraviolet ray and protecting the horse from sunburn. Besides the gray, the most common colors are bay and black and less common are chestnuts and other colors or shades. Those horses who have markings on the head are excluded from breeding, because the Arabs believe that a black horse with a white “star” on his forehead predicts the owner’s death.
As far as racing is
concern, the Arabian horse is hardly comparable in speed with the English
thoroughbred, however in longer distances he is better.
Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a.
from the 1953 Special Zoo-Technique - Breeding of Horses
Published in 1953 by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Agricultural Science and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Written by: MVDr Ludvik Ambroz, Frabtisek Bilek, MVDr Karel Blazek, Ing. Jaromir Dusek, Ing. Karel Hartman, Hanus Keil, pro. MVDr Emanuel Kral, Karel Kloubek, Ing. Dr. Frantisek Lerche, Ing. Dr Vaclav Michal, Ing. Dr Zdenek Munki, Ing. Vladimir Mueller, MVDr Julius Penicka, pro. MVDr Emil Pribyl, MVDr Lev Richter, prof. Ing. Dr Josef Rechta, MVDr Karel Sejkora and Ing. Dr Jindrich Steinitz.