Today, people love, admire, and depend upon Arabian horses for their superior versatility and athleticism, just as the ancient Bedouin tribesmen of the Middle East did so many centuries ago. The Bedouin put their loyal mounts to the ultimate athletic tests as beasts of burden and a means of transportation.
As encampments moved, Arabian horses carried heavy loads over miles of hot desert sand with little food or water. Often quieter than stallions, mares served as war horses, allowing their masters to sneak up on the enemy during tribal raids. These animals were cherished, honored, and loved. Arabians were so crucial to the Bedouin way of life, that they often slept in the family tent on chilly nights. The horses returned the love to their masters, developing an intense protective loyalty and willingness to please. Centuries of close interdependence with man helped this equine evolve into a horse with sensitivity, intelligence, and an ability to bond with humans.
The Arabian has the distinction of being the oldest living breed of horse. Equus Agilis, one of the four original species of horse has been identified in modern times as the Arabian horse. While other breeds disappeared or were mixed with different breeds, the Arabian horse has remain virtually unchanged. Although the first recorded history of the horse was from 3,000 years ago, some archaeologists believe the breed existed as long as 40,000 years ago.
Beauty Meets Athleticism
The purebred Arabian is known for its elegant features. Its dished head, large eyes, arched neck, and high tail carriage precede its reputation as the most beautiful of all breeds. An old Arab expression was used to describe this look: “A neck curved like a crescent moon and a nose that could fit into a teacup”. This refinement, however, is more than just cosmetic.
The Arabian’s natural physical characteristics have helped it perform exceptionally well in today’s equine activities. The short, dished head and wide, flaring nostrils allow for maximum oxygen intake. The arched neck keeps the windpipe defined and clear to carry air to the lungs. There’s plenty of room for lung expansion because of well-sprung ribs and a deep chest cavity. Through careful breeding, strong, resilient legs are free of most lameness problems that are common in other horse breeds. Some scientists believe the Arabian horse has one less vertebra in its back, allowing it to carry greater weight. It is qualities like this that give the Arabian horse superior athleticism and versatility. Basically, Arabian horses can excel in any activity that people enjoy doing with horses.
Genetic Strength That Lasts
The amazing beauty, intelligence, strength, and endurance of Arabian horses, still endures today. This is greatly due to the Bedouins careful breeding and recording of bloodlines. Since the bloodlines have remained so pure and have been carefully cultivated over the years, a strong genetic stability, known as prepotency has resulted. This ability to pass on traits allows Arabian qualities such as beauty, intelligence, endurance, and temperament to become quite evident in crosses with other breeds. For thousands of years, people bred Arabian horses to their own stock to pick up the famous Arabian qualities. In fact, the Arabian horse is the genetic predecessor of every light horse breed in existence today.
The Horse For All Uses
The Arabian is considered one of the best breeds for distance. This is due to their superior endurance and stamina which enable him to consistently win competitive trail and endurance rides. Arabians are known to excel in many facets including:
o Recreational riding – the most popular activity with all horse owners.
o A perfect family horse – they have a loyal and willing nature
o A great horse for children – they have very affectionate personalities
o Driving and reining events – a combined high intelligence and skillful footwork make them more than capable in these events.
o Any events that require speed, agility, and gracefulness
It is also noteworthy that the Arabian horse was the original racehorse. Arabian horses race distances that are similar to Thoroughbreds, with more than 700 all-Arabian races held throughout the U.S. annually.
The Arabian is not just another pretty horse. These beautiful animals are an all-around family horse, show horse, competitive sport horse, and work horse. They are loyal and have such a peaceful nature that you might even call them a friend. How’s that for versatility.