The Arabian Horse
Arabian horses are among the world’s most noble and oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence dating as far as 4500 years ago. In this blog post we will be diving into this breed’s history and learning more about its past and unique characteristics.
Origins & Historic Relevance
The story of the Arabian horse is thousands of years old and filled with poetry, art, and romantic legends. It also embraces a number of historical figures, from prophets to kings, reaching various civilizations in the world.
In ancient history throughout the Middle East, horses with refined heads and high tail carriage were depicted in artwork, particularly that of Ancient Egypt in the 16th century BC. While the origins of the Arabian horse are lost in the sands of time, most experts believe that this breed originated around the Arabian Peninsula. Despite their “true” origin, climate and culture ultimately shaped the Arabian. The desert environment required a domesticated horse to cooperate with humans. Where there was no pasture, the Bedouin fed their horses dates and camel’s milk. The horses were used for transportation, hauling loads, and war mounts. Their role was vital and it was reflected in the way they were treated, with many families bringing them into their own tents at night for warmth and protection.
Eventually, the breed would make its way to Europe and beyond due to both war and trade. Evidence leads us to believe that many horses with Arabian bloodlines entered Europe as spoils of war with Crusaders returning from Palestine in the 11th century.
Arabians stand, on average, between 14 and 16hh. While they are the ancestors of many modern-day horses, many traits set this breed apart from others. They are known for their long, arched necks, and high tail carriage. They have floating gaits and are smooth to ride.
Even though Arabian horses are often referred to as spirited, they also have a sensitive and good-natured side to them. They have a gentle nature, and form bonds rather quickly with those who love and appreciate them. They are also often used as show horses due to their delicate appearance. They have a far higher endurance than most breeds, and they are agile and eager to move by nature. Due to their genetic purity, they were often used for breeding with other horses such as Trakehner horses, English thoroughbreds, and others.
Endurance riding is a demanding and competitive discipline testing the horse’s condition and stamina. Due to their extraordinary stamina, lung capacity natural athleticism, the Arabian is one of the most successful breeds in endurance riding.
A quick look at the Tevis cup’s winner will show you that a (very) vast majority of past winners were Arabians and Arabian crosses. The last non-Arabian winner was “Marko B”, a 13 yo Mustang… all the way back in 1960! (See results here).
You can discover more about this wonderful breed and experience it first hand on some of our riding holidays in Egypt, Turkey or Jordan… or even as far as Namibia or Australia!
Did you know...?
Pieraz was an Arabian horse, world endurance champion who reached the top of his career in the 90’s. As a common practice, Pieraz was castrated however as he showed enormous potential, and had great characteristics his owner, Valerie Kanavy, looked for other options that would ensure his qualities would be transmitted to future generations.
Back then, no horse had been cloned yet but Valerie still allowed a physiologist to collect and store a tissue sample from her horse. In 2002, she heard about cloning methods and decided to donate the sample to a group of researchers.
On February 25th of 2005, the birth of Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion, the second cloned horse in the world was officially announced.
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