Arabian Horse Breed Spotlight – Young Rider

Photo by Alexia Khruscheva/Shutterstock

Imagine this scene: a glorious black Arabian stallion swims mightily through the ocean following a shipwreck, dragging you to the safety of a deserted island where you will later learn to ride him.

It could happen if you’re Alec Ramsey in The black stallion movie and book, but even if you’re not shipwrecked on an island with a wild stallion, you’ve probably seen Arabian horses in the stables or at horse shows. The Arabian is a beautiful breed capable of many different jobs.

Why are Arabian horses known?

A lightweight horse breed that ranges between 14.1 and 15.3 hands (although 15.1 is more common on the top), Arabian horses have been prized for centuries for their stamina and versatility. But the Arabs are also famous for their distinctive beauty and presence. What is it about the Arab’s appearance that sets him apart from other races?

Young Rider Magazine LogoPart of the reason for this is surely the Arab’s sculpted head, which sports a heavily domed face and large eyes prominently on the sides of the face. The Arabian’s muzzle is small, but the nostrils are flared, which also adds to the drama of this breed. There is an undeniable elegance to the Arabian that contributes to its distinctive type, stemming from its arched neck and graceful body.

You will find Arabians in four different coat colors: bay, black, brown, and gray, sometimes with the occasional roan caused by coat patterns like rabicano. Gray is something of a classic Arabian color, and many foundation stallions were gray, including imported Raffles and Skowroneks.

Breed - Arabian Horse;  Discipline - Endurance
Arabians are well known for excelling in endurance. Photo courtesy of the Arab Horse Youth Association

How is the skeleton of an Arab different?

If you study the conformation of many horse breeds, you may notice that the Arabian tends to have a shorter back than other breeds, as well as a high tail and a flat croup. There’s a good reason for that: most Arabians actually have a slightly different skeletal structure than other horse breeds.

In addition to having higher bone density than other races, Arabians typically have one less rib and only have five lumbar vertebrae in their back instead of six, resulting in a shorter back. Additionally, they lack two tail vertebrae, which may contribute to the Arabian’s tendency to lift their tail high when excited.

Arab Western Pleasure
The versatile Arabian is an excellent partner for Western or English riding. Photo by Paulette Johnson

How versatile is an Arabian horse?

The fiery Arab is not lacking in talent when it comes to competition or performance. Arabians are used in racing and also take part in endurance riding, where horse and rider go on long-distance rides of 50 or 100 miles.

And whether it’s a local open show or Arabian breed show, you’ll find Arabians competing in the sports of hunting, western pleasure, English pleasure, dressage, show jumping , saddle seat, reining, cutting and many other disciplines besides hand. conformation and directing lessons. Even if you first think of Arabians as riding horses, you will also find some that compete in pleasure riding.

Arabians also excel outside of competition, whether it’s a leisurely jaunt down a trail or a low-key jaunt around the outdoor arena.

arabian horse
Arabians are easily recognizable by their rounded faces and graceful movements. Photo by Robert Peek/Shutterstock

Are Arabian horses good for beginners?

If you are interested in Arabian horses and want to learn more about them, you might be interested in the Arabian Horse Association’s Discovery Farm program. This program is an opportunity for beginner riders to meet Arabian horses and learn from informative farm owners who are willing to share their knowledge of Arabian horses.

For thousands of years, people have cherished their alliance with the Arabian horse. And when you ride or watch an Arabian, remember that you are participating in that connection and helping to write the final chapter in the Arabian story.

Arabs and Fellowships

The Arabian Horse Association
◆ National Arabian Horse Judging Competition Scholarships
◆ Arabian Horse Youth Association Board of Trustees Scholarships
◆ Club and Affiliate Scholarships

The Arabian Horse Foundation

In a single, convenient location, the Arabian Horse Foundation allows students to complete a single application that automatically makes them eligible for all Memorial and Regional Scholarships.

The Foundation awards scholarships to high school students who have positively represented the Arab race, performed well in their studies, and been excellent members of their communities. The Foundation’s research arm is committed to supporting equine research aimed at improving the health of the Arabian breed.

Important dates in Arab history

About. 2500 BC: The ancestors of Arabian horses reside in the deserts of the Middle East and are loved by the Bedouin people.

1724: The Godolphin Arabian was born. He would later become one of the most influential stallions in Thoroughbred history.

1770s: George Washington rides Blueskin, a half-Arab, throughout the Revolutionary War.

1888: The first purebred Arabian breeding program is established in the United States.

1908: The Arabian Horse Club of America (now the Arabian Horse Association) is formed and 71 purebred Arabians are registered. Over one million Arabian horses were registered in 2020.

1926: WK Kellogg (of Kellogg’s Cereals fame) imports Arabians and establishes the Kellogg Ranch.

1926: The *Raffles stallion was born at Lady Wentworth’s Crabbet Arabian Stud in Sussex, England. He arrived in the United States in the 1930s and began his influential contribution to Arabian breeding in the United States.

1941: by Walter Farley The black stallion is published.

1948: At Marguerite-Henri’s King of the Wind: The Story of the Arab Godolphin was published and won the Newbery Medal in 1949 for his outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

1956: The stallion *Bask++ was born in Poland. He was then imported to the United States, where he sired over 1,000 foals.

1993: An Arabian stallion named JB Kobask debuts as “Thunder”, an official mascot of the Denver Broncos football team. Two other Arabian geldings also served as Thunder II and Thunder III respectively.

2003: The Arabian Horse Association was born from the merger between the International Arabian Horse Association (IAHA) and the Arabian Horse Registry of America (AHRA). It becomes the official breed register.

This article on the Arabian horse breed appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe !

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