Wikipedia: Arabian (horse)

The Arabian belongs to the group of the thoroughbred horses. They are distiguished between the races Thoroughbred Arabian, Shagya-Arabian, Anglo-Arabian and Arabian Partbred, whereas the three last races possess a more or less large part of Arabian Thoroughbred. In German documents of descent the Thoroughbred Arabian will branded by an "ox" after the name.


Special characters of the Thoroughbred Arabian are an overall noble appearance, a small head with a broad forehead, an elevated attachment of the tail, often a concave nasal bone (dished head), a nicely arched, well borne neck, large eyes and nostrils. Their rigid measure lies between 140 cm and 156 cm. He is considered the most beautiful of all horse races.


They are rugged, frugal, intelligent, gentle, people oriented and agile. These attributes render them one of the most popular leisure horse races worldwide. Their real sportive domain is - due to their unique stamina, rigidity and celerity - the endurance sport. Arabian horses dominate these equestrian sports that reside in a rapid up wind. In many countries Arabian races take place as well. Especially in the Arabian world these precious animals count as status symbols.

History of breeding

Thoroughbred Arabians are being breeded since the 7th century on the Arabian peninsula in pure breeding, i. e. without the influence of peregrine blood. At least this is being alleged by the adherers of this race, which seems plausible given the religiously constituted duty by prophet Mohammed to breed the own horses pure (asil). Reasons for this were the military reverses, which the prophet suffered against his opponents in the beginning. Those were better mounted than the cavalry of the prophet. Hence the Arabian horse is considered being the oldest domestic species of the world, a brilliant cultural achievement of the Bedouins of the Arabian peninsula. The Arabian horse influences global horse breeding until present-day.

In the 19th century European dynasties send costly expeditions to Syria an the contiguous steppe regions of the Arabian peninsula to gain Arabian horses. These expeditions were mostly conducted by excellently skilled stud officers. They acquired genuine Arabian horses directly from the Bedouins or from local brokers and transported the bought horses via land or sea route to Europe. The stallions were established as refiners in the own provincial horse breeding. But with the few mares the Bedouins were willing to let go were established pure breedings as well. As an example for that be mentioned the Privat Stud Weil of King Wilhelm I. of Württemberg, founded 1817 and importing such important horses from Arabia like Murana I, Tajar and Bairactar. Offspring of these horses is still found today in the Capital And Provincial Stud Marbach, whose famous Arabians date from the breed of Weil, and in all sports horse races around the world. Worth mentioning also is the somewhat later founded british Crabbet Park Arabian Stud, which gained global relevance as well.

Brought in epidemics as well as the introduction of the automobile and the rifle at the beginning of the 20th century tore deep wounds into the population of the Arabian horse in its native breeding region. The pure, asil Arabian was on the verge of extinction in its homeland. Thus the largest population of Arabian horses nowadays is located in the USA, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland and Germany. But during the last years especially the ruling families in the Gulf states rediscovered this Arabian cultural assets and with horses imported from all over the world reawakened to live the breeding on the Arabian peninsula.

Solely the Emirs of Bahrain maintain a stud on their island since centuries uninterruptedly until today. There they preserve such rare mare stems like Al-Jellabieh and Al-Kray from pure desert breeding, which do not carry any imported blood from the Western world. Therefore they are being considered a valuable gene reserve. These horses reportedly resemble most closely the primal type of the desert horse, breeded by the Bedouins. It is stated that also in Saudi Arabia, Syria and with the Tahawi-Bedouins in Egypt sporadically existed some pure (asil) desert Arabians.

Moreover in Egypt, in some private studs of the kings and wealthy pashas and later on in a state-run stud a largely pure breed of classy Arabian horses was preserved. Partly these can be traced back to especially valuable imports of the Egyptian Mamluk-sovereigns of the 19th century from Syria and the Arabian peninsula. These Egyptian horses won major popularity globally during the second half of the 20th century due to their beauty and rareness and were being traded for horrendous prices. This boom meanwhile has ebbed away.

According to their origin or lineage breeders differentiate amongst others between Egyptian, Russian, Polish or even Spanish Arabians. Depending on the specific breeding goals of these countries of origin these horses vary more or less in their exterior, just as there were different types in the primal desert breeding as well. Therefore it is important to note that these different types do not involve different races. All of these horses are Thoroughbred Arabians and feature the above pictured charcteristics. And all are to trace back completely to desert Arabians, as the WAHO defines (see below).

In Germany the Verband der Züchter und Freunde des Arabischen Pferdes (VZAP - Association of the breeders and friends of the Arabian horse) in Hanover parents the breeding of all Arabian races (Thoroughbred Arabians, Shagya-Arabians, Anglo-Arabians and Arabian Partbred) and is with roughly 3.400 members and 4.000 registerd breeding horses one of the wolrdwide largest member associations of the World Arabian Horse Organisation (WAHO). The WAHO approves only one breeding association per country. In Germany this is the VZAP. The VZAP is subdivided into breeding regions. The breeding regions in their responsibility largely orient on the federal state frontiers and offer their members manifold possibilities of advanced education, sociability and activity with their horses, besides breeders events like foal musterings and award exhibitions.

Arabians have been used used for the refinement of other races ever since. Also in the breeding of warmbloods Arabian stallions are being used time and again to preserve and boost rigidity, healthiness, endurance, affability and beauty. As an example for Arabian stallions successfully used for warmblood breeding Amurath, Priboj, Ramzes or Bajar are being named. The English Thoroughbred directly originates from three Arabian stallions only.

This article is based on the article Thoroughbred Arabian from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and stands under the GNU Free Documentation License. Wikipedia offers a list of authors.

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This page was last modified on 14/07/2011 from Sabine Brockamp