Arabians - Horse breeds, horse breeding and types of horse.   
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Photography by Sandra Alvison
 The Arab

You will find that Arabians come in all colors, though the color must be solid. Occasionally white body patches are seen. The Arabs range in size from 14.2 to 16 hands. They are sleek, elegant and classy looking. They are characterized by their dished faces, level croups, and their appearance of floating on air.

Arabian heads are short, refined, and dished, with a tapered muzzle; large nostrils; very large, wide spaced and low-set eyes; and, small shapely ears set apart. Their jaws are generously rounded with a spread between them; and an curved arch where head and neck meet, known as "mitbah".

Their bodies are long, and have sloped shoulders with well-defined withers; a short, concave back, with a long, level croup; a deep girth. They are very long from point of hip to point of buttock; with a high set tail. Their legs are strong, hard, and clean with flat knees, short cannons, and well-defined tendons. A distinctive skeletal feature is less vertebrae: 5 lumbar, 17 rib, and 16 tail, compared with 6-18-18 in other breeds. Their action is floating -- a full, free trot with little knee action.

In temperament, Arabians are intelligent, affectionate, fiery, courageous, gentle, with high self-esteem.


The Arabian could be the oldest known pure breed. It has influenced, directly or indirectly, all light saddle breeds, all warmblood breeds and most pony breeds in Europe, including the Percheron, Swedish Warmblood, Russian Orlov, Standardbred, Thoroughbred, all American Gaited Horses, Quarter Horse, Morgan, Connemara and Paso Fino.

Arab blood is pure and highly prepotent: it has the capacity to mix with virtually any other breed and effect an improvement in the resulting progeny.

The exact origin of the Arabian is unclear, but there is evidence of the existence of their progenitor before 2,500 B.C. in North Africa. The development and improvement of the breed was incorporated into the Islamic religion as an article of faith, and the Bedouins trace their association with the breed from around 3000 B.C. to the mare, Baz and the stallion, Hoshaba. The modern Arabian is a descendant of the Kohl breed, and all modern Arabians are descended from the five foundation mares known as Al-Khamesh (The Five), owned by King Solomon about 1635 B.C.

For more information, contact the Arabian Horse Registry, Inc.

This article was kindly provided by Michelle Staples, Staples Stables

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