The Arabian Horse is the oldest recorded breed of horse, with reliable documentation and pictorial representations spanning at least 2,000 years that place the breed’s development in the Middle East region1,2,3.
Paleogenomic evidence supports the contribution of ancient Persian ancestry during the early formation of the modern European horse breed around 1100-1300 YA4. The desert horse expanded further with the rise of nomadic Bedouin tribes, who valued these horses as cultural symbols, sources of wealth, and military resources.
Today, despite being surpassed in absolute numbers by the American Quarter Horse, the Arabian breed is still the most widespread worldwide5, with pedigree registries in at least 82 countries.
The modern Arabian horse has a unique conformational phenotype that includes a dish-shaped facial profile, wide-set eyes, arched neck, and high tail 6.
However, Arabian horses in photographs taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s often show less pronounced facial dishing and lower tail carriage2, suggesting that these traits may be under strong selection by modern Arabian breeders, especially for lines of horses. Which is mainly used for non-riding. Show competitions.
The Arabian horse is also renowned for its heat tolerance and athletic endurance, making the Arabian a popular breed for long-distance races, where they carry the rider’s weight over distances of up to 160 km in a winning time of 8 h 7. Analysis of Arabian endurance horses has shown that the predisposition to this type of athletic competition is a multi-genic trait7.
Arabian horses have been exported from their ancestral homeland for many centuries. However, exported populations typically had fewer founder animals, and as a result, may now have limited genetic diversity8.
Taken together with the above selection for constitutive phenotype, the potential for deleterious breeding in Arabians should be high, and it is not surprising that several important autosomal recessive inherited diseases have been identified in Arabians 9,10.
In contrast, the few studies of the diversity of Arabian horses in the Middle East have shown higher levels of diversity in these horses compared to the progeny of Arabians exported to other parts of the world11,12,13.
Despite the evidence of the antiquity of the Arabian breed, there is relatively little solid documentation for the various breeds and maternal lineages of Arabian horses that are maintained by Arabian horse fanciers and breeders. In fact, several molecular studies using mitochondrial DNA have failed to confirm traditional Arabian horse maternal ancestry transmitted through oral history14,15,16,17.
The influence of Arabian horses in ‘improving’ other horse breeds has been generally acknowledged among equestrians for over 100 years18. The best-documented example of such influence is in the thoroughbred pedigree, which has been maintained as a stud book since 179119.
In a pedigree-based analysis of Thoroughbred founder lines, Cunningham and colleagues found that three stallions were imported. England has been a major contributor to the modern-day Thoroughbred gene pool since the Middle East in the late 18th century.
The Godolphin Arabian (sometimes referred to as Barb), is estimated by pedigree analysis to contribute 13.53% to the modern gene pool, as well as the Darley Arabian and the Byerley Turk20.
Recently, however, analysis of horse Y chromosome haplotypes has shown that the Y haplotype of the “Darley Arabian” actually originated from the Turkoman horse, an ancient breed from the Middle East and Central Asia that resembles the Arabian horse, also an “Oriental” type breed21. This calls into question the role of the Arabian as the founder of the Thoroughbred breed and, more generally, its influence on other horse breeds.
This study documents the population structure in a large global sample of the Arabian breed of horse. We used equine single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays and whole-genome re-sequencing in a comprehensive genome-wide analysis of the genetic diversity of Arabian horses that explored the population structure and origins of this breed.
In addition, we applied genome-wide analysis to find Arabian-specific genomic regions that show characteristic signals of selective action, and therefore variation that may be important for the Arabian horse’s unique physical traits.
- Weight: 800 to 1,000 pounds
- Height: 14 hands (56 inches) to 16 hands (64 inches)
- Body Type: Lithe, compact body; small, wedge-shaped head; dished facial profile, long, arched neck
- Best For Experienced owners and riders
- Life Expectancy: 25 – 30 years
- Origin: Arabian peninsula
- Colors: Bay, chestnut, black, gray
Arabian horses have clean, wedge-shaped heads, broad foreheads, large eyes, large nostrils, and small muzzles. Most show a distinctive concave or “dished” profile.
Many Arabians also have a slight forehead bulge between the eyes, called a jibah by the Bedouin, which adds extra sinus capacity, believed to have helped the Arabian horse in its native arid desert environment. Another breed characteristic is the arched neck, with a large, well-set windpipe set on a pure, clean throat.
This structure of pole and throttle was called Mitba or Mitbeh by the Bedouins. In the ideal Arabian, it is long, allowing flexibility in the bridle and room for the windpipe.
Other distinguishing features are a relatively long, level crop or hindquarter top and a naturally high tail carriage. The USEF breed standard requires Arabians to have solid bones and a standard correct equine conformation. Well-bred Arabians have deep, well-angulated hips and well-set shoulders.
Within the genus, there are variations. Some individuals have wider, more powerfully muscled hindquarters suitable for sharp bursts in events such as reining, while others have longer, leaner muscles better suited for long stretches of flatwork such as endurance riding or horse riding.
Most have a compact body with a short back. Arabians generally have dense, strong bones and good hoof walls. They are particularly noted for their endurance, and the breed’s superiority in endurance riding shows that well-bred Arabians are robust, strong horses with superior endurance.
In international FEI-sponsored endurance events, Arabians and half-Arabians perform impressively in distance competitions.
The history and cultural development of nations are part of the embodiment of the Arabian horse which has influenced almost every other horse breed in existence today. Arabians have proven their superiority as one of the oldest human-developed horse breeds in the world.
The present type of these beautiful horses was probably created and domesticated by the people of the Arabian Peninsula. The Bedouins were very smart people because they knew the use of camels about a millennium ago. Considering its origins, warm climate, and raw culture, they were able to breed these amazing Arabian horses.
These horses were bred for war as Arabians were good war horses for their endurance, intelligence, speed, and soundness of constitution. For centuries, the Bedouin painstakingly studied the lineage of each horse, following oral tradition.
They gave the pure-blood horses the name Asil and strictly forbade breeding with non-Asil horses. To make their raids successful, stealth was needed which mares could do. Mares were preferred over stallions because they roamed quietly and did not attend to fighters.
Over time, the Bedouin developed a number of sub-types or varieties of the Arabian horse. Each type of strain has unique characteristics but can only be traced through the maternal line.
The Arabian Horse Association states that there are five primary strains: (i) Abayan; (ii) Hadban; (iii) Hamdani; (iv) Keheilan; and (v) Seglawi. This explains why many Arabian horses were bred to be not only noble, and pure-blooded, but also pure in strain.
Still, interbreeding is not considered forbidden, although by some breeds. For Bedouins, purity of bloodline was essential and they also believed in telegony. This belief states that if ever an Asil mare breeds with an impure mare; All of his closed springs will have impure blood throughout the line.
Over time, horse breeders around the world would incorporate the Arabian horse breed to improve most modern breeds today. The Arabian horse breed has evolved over the years with great enthusiasm and success in improving the breed around the world.
The Arabian breed is a compact, relatively small horse with a small head, protruding eyes, wide nostrils, a marked wither, and a short back. It typically has only 23 vertebrae, while 24 is the normal number for other species.
For centuries, Arabian horses lived in close association with humans in the desert. For shelter and protection from theft, prized war mares were sometimes kept in their owner’s tent, close to children and daily family life.
Only naturally good-tempered horses were allowed to reproduce, resulting in the good temperament of Arabians today, which, among other examples, makes them one of the few breeds where United States Equestrian Federation rules allow children to show stallions.
Show ring classes are limited to riders under 18 years of age.
On the other hand, the Arabian is also classified as a “warm-blooded” breed, a category that includes other purebred, spirited horses bred for speed, such as the Akhal-Teke, Barb, and Thoroughbred. Like other hot-bloods, Arabians’ sensitivity and intelligence enable quick learning and greater communication with their riders;
However, their intelligence allows them to learn bad habits as quickly as good ones, and they do not tolerate unfair or abusive training practices. Some sources claim that “warm-blooded” horses are more difficult to train.
Although most Arabians have a natural tendency to cooperate with humans, when mistreated, like any horse, they can become overly nervous or anxious, but rarely become vicious unless severely spoiled or subjected to extreme abuse. is
At the other end of the spectrum, romantic myths are sometimes told about Arabian horses that give them near-divine characteristics.
Equine enthusiasts and casual horse lovers alike may have negative attitudes toward the Arabian horse breed. This is mainly because they are naturally “spastic” or “spooky”. Their boring nature can create uncomfortable feelings in new riders or passive observers.
In fact, most Arabians are extremely friendly – they are even said to have a puppy personality.
Arabians enjoy bonding with humans and make wonderful family horses because of their gentle nature with children. Their naturally long lifespan also lends them well to being family pets, as they get to grow up with their family’s children.
Arabians suffer from several genetic disorders, ranging in severity from treatable to fatal. They include:
Severe combined immunodeficiency: a disorder in which a foal is born without an immune system and usually dies quickly from an infection.
Lavender Fall Syndrome: A disease in which foals have multiple neurological problems that are usually fatal
Cerebellar abiotrophy: An often fatal neurological disorder that affects balance and coordination in falls.
In terms of behavior, Arabians are generally very friendly with people. But they are also quite intelligent and sensitive and can easily develop bad habits with the wrong handler.
While they often do not cooperate with improper training, they are generally easy to work with experienced riders.
Arabian horses are one of the oldest breeds of horses, which makes them very special to own! They are very intelligent horses with unique appearances. Caring for your Arabian horse is essential to maintaining its health and happiness.
To keep your horse happy, you must provide adequate housing and feed it properly. Basic mane, coat, and hoof care are also necessary to keep him healthy and happy.
Best Food For
Like most horses, they eat fresh grass, quality hay, grain, and some supplemental fruits and vegetables. Because their ancestors came from the desert with scarce food, Arabians may actually need a little less food than other breeds of their size to maintain a healthy weight.
Feed your horse 1 to 1.5 percent of its body weight. About 80 to 90 percent of your Arabian horse’s diet should be forage. Arabian horses require non-irrigated pastures and grass hay for forage. However, you can supplement your horse’s diet with grains such as barley, corn, and oats.
Use fences to divide the pasture into four or more, one-acre sections. This way you can maintain the quality of pasture for fodder. Allow your horse to forage one section at a time. Once your horse has eaten all the grass and hay in one section, move him to the next section.
Turning my horse in sections will make the grass grow back.
If you have only one acre of land, divide the land into two parts. Once your horse has eaten up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) of hay, move it to another section.
Try to keep one or two horses per acre. More than that will overgraze the pasture.
Horses in professional care, are always groomed twice a day; Before and after they work. Whether they are just lunged or ridden, they always groom themselves habitually.
When I was training the trainers they had a specific method that they followed. It went as follows:
Comb the horse’s coat vigorously
Spray a thin moisturizing spray over the entire coat, mane, and tail feathers
Brush the body with a soft brush, remove loose hair, and brush in a moisturizing spray
Carefully comb the mane and tail feathers
Pick a leg
Clip any long whiskers or long bridlepaths
This was all done before any tack or protective equipment was placed on the horse, and it was all done again after the horse had been worked and properly cooled down. If the horse gets too hot and sweaty during his workout session he will be rinsed and sponged with a special oil and liniment mixture.
An important detail to mention is that if you have properly groomed your horse after riding, your horse should feel as if it has not been ridden at all. That’s right, no saddle marks. “Impossible!” You say, but it’s more common than you think.
The university I graduated from had 157 horses in its equestrian program and every single one was always free of saddle marks. In fact, if there are any traces of sweat left on your horse you will be called back to groom again, as this is how horses should be groomed.
At home, horses under professional care have their tails docked (you can take a look at my article on show tail care), and re-docked before each show or about once every two months.
If the horse has a long mane, pros usually keep it braided to prevent wind knots and tangles (you can see my grooming for long mane article). Finally, good equine professionals keep their horse’s feet in good condition on a regular basis by wearing proper shoes.
Arabian horses are trained rigorously in the Middle Eastern deserts. Horses must learn to obey their master perfectly. This obedience is tested by depriving the horses of water for several days and then turning them loose near water.
As the horses reach the water’s edge, and before that, they drink much-needed water. The trainer blows his whistle. If the horses have learned to obey they turn around and come back to the trainer who gives them as much water as they need.
The trainer knows what his horses need and will not let them die of thirst, but he must trust him. God knows what His children need and wants to provide, but we must trust Him and obey Him.
Horses need a lot of exercises every day because they are essentially grazing athletes. When you own a horse you need to know that exercise is a very important part of horse care. It is not acceptable to confine horses in yards or stables without giving them plenty of opportunity for movement.
Horses that are pastured with other horses in a herd will exercise themselves if the paddock has a good pasture. This is because the pasture moves the horses. Horses have to constantly move to find new plants.
Horses kept in yards or stables should either be turned daily on pasture (preferably with other horses) or over a large area (again preferably with other horses) so that they can not only move but interact socially with other horses. Horses turned out alone – even in pastures with good pasture – tend to stand around rather than graze (and therefore walk).
See More Horse Breeds For Further Research
Why Arabian horse is so special?
The Arabian horse, the oldest improved breed of horse, is prized for its speed, endurance, beauty, intelligence, and gentleness. The long history of this breed is obscured by legend, but it was developed in Arabia in the 7th century.
How much do Arabian horses cost?
On average, an Arabian horse will cost between $5,000 and $30,000. However, some top show horses and stallions range from $80,000 to $150,000. Their value can vary depending on many factors such as age, bloodline, training, and gender. What is this?
What is the Arabian horse best known for?
Arabians generally have dense, strong bones and good hoof walls. They are particularly noted for their endurance, and the breed’s superiority in endurance riding shows that well-bred Arabians are strong, robust horses with superior endurance.
Are Arabian horses fast?
Arabian horses are not only known for their elegant appearance but also their athletic physic. They are great as endurance horses and are known to be able to run very fast. The fastest recorded time is approximately 65km/hour, in a gallop, while the average speed is 55km/hour.
Are Arabian horses difficult to train?
He adds that their sensitivity and warm nature require intelligent handling. “Some people get into trouble with Arabians when they interpret the horses’ reactions as not learning as well as, say, a quarter horse. And in reining, it’s true that Arabians can take a little longer to train.