The breed standard stated by the United States Equestrian Federation , describes Arabians as standing between However, the Arabian horse is noted for a greater density of bone than other breeds, short cannons , sound feet, and a broad, short back,  all of which give the breed physical strength comparable to many taller animals. For tasks where the sheer weight of the horse matters, such as farm work done by a draft horse ,  any lighter-weight horse is at a disadvantage. For centuries, Arabian horses lived in the desert in close association with humans.
On the other hand, the Arabian is also classified as a "hot-blooded" breed, a category that includes other refined, spirited horses bred for speed, such as the Akhal-Teke , the Barb , and the Thoroughbred. Like other hot-bloods, Arabians' sensitivity and intelligence enable quick learning and greater communication with their riders; however, their intelligence also allows them to learn bad habits as quickly as good ones,  and they do not tolerate inept or abusive training practices.
The Arabian Horse Association registers purebred horses with the coat colors bay , gray , chestnut , black , and roan. Black skin provided protection from the intense desert sun. Although many Arabians appear to have a "white" hair coat, they are not genetically "white". This color is usually created by the natural action of the gray gene , and virtually all white-looking Arabians are actually grays. There are a very few Arabians registered as "white" having a white coat, pink skin and dark eyes from birth.
These animals are believed to manifest a new form of dominant white , a result of a nonsense mutation in DNA tracing to a single stallion foaled in One spotting pattern, sabino , does exist in purebred Arabians. Sabino coloring is characterized by white markings such as "high white" above the knees and hocks , irregular spotting on the legs, belly and face, white markings that extend beyond the eyes or under the chin and jaw, and sometimes lacy or roaned edges.
The genetic mechanism that produces sabino patterning in Arabians is undetermined, and more than one gene may be involved. The inheritance patterns observed in sabino-like Arabians also do not follow the same mode of inheritance as sabino 1. There are very few Arabians registered as roan , and according to researcher D.
Phillip Sponenberg, roaning in purebred Arabians is actually the action of rabicano genetics. However, a roan does not consistently lighten with age, while a gray does. Purebred Arabians never carry dilution genes. Spotting or excess white was believed by many breeders to be a mark of impurity until DNA testing for verification of parentage became standard. For a time, horses with belly spots and other white markings deemed excessive were discouraged from registration and excess white was sometimes penalized in the show ring.
To produce horses with some Arabian characteristics but coat colors not found in purebreds, they have to be crossbred with other breeds. Because purebred Arabians cannot produce LWS foals , Arabian mares were used as a non-affected population in some of the studies seeking the gene that caused the condition in other breeds.
There are six known genetic disorders in Arabian horses. Two are inevitably fatal, two are not inherently fatal but are disabling and usually result in euthanasia of the affected animal; the remaining conditions can usually be treated. Three are thought to be autosomal recessive conditions, which means that the flawed gene is not sex-linked and has to come from both parents for an affected foal to be born; the others currently lack sufficient research data to determine the precise mode of inheritance.
Genetic diseases that can occur in purebred Arabians, or in partbreds with Arabian ancestry in both parents, are the following:. The Arabian Horse Association in the United States has created a foundation that supports research efforts to uncover the roots of genetic diseases.
Fight Off Arabian Lethals is a clearinghouse for information on these conditions. Arabian horses are the topic of many myths and legends.
One origin story tells how Muhammad chose his foundation mares by a test of their courage and loyalty. While there are several variants on the tale, a common version states that after a long journey through the desert, Muhammad turned his herd of horses loose to race to an oasis for a desperately needed drink of water.
Before the herd reached the water, Muhammad called for the horses to return to him. Only five mares responded. Because they faithfully returned to their master, though desperate with thirst, these mares became his favorites and were called Al Khamsa , meaning, the five. These mares became the legendary founders of the five "strains" of the Arabian horse. Another origin tale claims that King Solomon was given a pure Arabian-type mare named Safanad "the pure" by the Queen of Sheba.
This legendary stallion was said to be faster than the zebra and the gazelle, and every hunt with him was successful, thus when he was put to stud, he became a founding sire of legend. Yet another creation myth puts the origin of the Arabian in the time of Ishmael , the son of Abraham. The Angel then commanded the thundercloud to stop scattering dust and rain, and so it gathered itself into a prancing, handsome creature - a horse - that seemed to swallow up the ground.
Hence, the Bedouins bestowed the title "Drinker of the Wind" to the first Arabian horse. Finally, a Bedouin story states that Allah created the Arabian horse from the south wind and exclaimed, "I create thee, Oh Arabian. To thy forelock, I bind Victory in battle.
On thy back, I set a rich spoil and a Treasure in thy loins. I establish thee as one of the Glories of the Earth I give thee flight without wings. Men shall follow you wherever you go; you shall be as good for flight as for pursuit; you shall fly without wings; riches shall be on your back and fortune shall come through your meditation.
Arabians are one of the oldest human-developed horse breeds in the world. Horses with these features appeared in rock paintings and inscriptions in the Arabian Peninsula dating back years.
Some scholars of the Arabian horse once theorized that the Arabian came from a separate subspecies of horse,  known as equus caballus pumpelli.
The modern concept of breed purity in the modern population cannot be traced beyond years. There are different theories about where the ancestors of the Arabian originally lived.
Most evidence suggests the proto-Arabian came from the area along the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent. Regardless of origin, climate and culture ultimately created the Arabian.
Where there was no pasture or water, the Bedouin fed their horses dates and camel's milk. Weak individuals were weeded out of the breeding pool, and the animals that remained were also honed by centuries of human warfare. The Bedouin way of life depended on camels and horses: Arabians were bred to be war horses with speed, endurance, soundness, and intelligence. For centuries, the Bedouin tracked the ancestry of each horse through an oral tradition. Horses of the purest blood were known as Asil and crossbreeding with non- Asil horses was forbidden.
Mares were the most valued, both for riding and breeding, and pedigree families were traced through the female line. The Bedouin did not believe in gelding male horses, and considered stallions too intractable to be good war horses, thus they kept very few colts , selling most, and culling those of poor quality.
Over time, the Bedouin developed several sub-types or strains of Arabian horse, each with unique characteristics,  and traced through the maternal line only. Raswan felt that these strains represented body "types" of the breed, with the Kehilan being "masculine", the Seglawi being "feminine" and the Muniqi being "speedy".
Purity of bloodline was very important to the Bedouin, and they also believed in telegony , believing if a mare was ever bred to a stallion of "impure" blood, the mare herself and all future offspring would be "contaminated" by the stallion and hence no longer Asil.
This complex web of bloodline and strain was an integral part of Bedouin culture; they not only knew the pedigrees and history of their best war mares in detail, but also carefully tracked the breeding of their camels, Saluki dogs, and their own family or tribal history. Fiery war horses with dished faces and high-carried tails were popular artistic subjects in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia , often depicted pulling chariots in war or for hunting. Horses with oriental characteristics appear in later artwork as far north as that of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
While this type of horse was not called an "Arabian" in the Ancient Near East until later, the word "Arabia" or "Arabaya" first appeared in writing in Ancient Persia , c. For example, a horse skeleton unearthed in the Sinai peninsula, dated to BC and probably brought by the Hyksos invaders, is considered the earliest physical evidence of the horse in Ancient Egypt.
This horse had a wedge-shaped head, large eye sockets and small muzzle, all characteristics of the Arabian horse. Following the Hijra in AD also sometimes spelled Hegira , the Arabian horse spread across the known world of the time, and became recognized as a distinct, named breed. By , Muslim influence expanded across the Middle East and North Africa, by Muslim warriors had reached Spain, and they controlled most of the Iberian Peninsula by Their war horses were of various oriental types, including both Arabians and the Barb horse of North Africa.
Arabian horses also spread to the rest of the world via the Ottoman Empire , which rose in Though it never fully dominated the heart of the Arabian Peninsula , this Turkish empire obtained many Arabian horses through trade, diplomacy and war.
A stud farm record was made of his purchases describing many of the horses as well as their abilities, and was deposited in his library, becoming a source for later study. Historically, Egyptian breeders imported horses bred in the deserts of Palestine and the Arabian peninsula as the source of their foundation bloodstock.
One of the most famous was Muhammad Ali of Egypt , also known as Muhammad Ali Pasha, who established an extensive stud farm in the 19th century. However, after Abbas Pasha was assassinated in , his heir, El Hami Pasha, sold most of his horses, often for crossbreeding, and gave away many others as diplomatic gifts.
At its peak, the stud of Ali Pasha Sherif had over purebred Arabians. After his death, Lady Anne was also able to gather many remaining horses at her Sheykh Obeyd stud.
Meanwhile, the passion brought by the Blunts to saving the pure horse of the desert helped Egyptian horse breeders to convince their government of the need to preserve the best of their own remaining pure Arabian bloodstock that descended from the horses collected over the previous century by Muhammad Ali Pasha, Abbas Pasha and Ali Pasha Sherif. Probably the earliest horses with Arabian bloodlines to enter Europe came indirectly, through Spain and France.
Others would have arrived with returning Crusaders  —beginning in , European armies invaded Palestine and many knights returned home with Arabian horses as spoils of war. Later, as knights and the heavy, armored war horses who carried them became obsolete, Arabian horses and their descendants were used to develop faster, agile light cavalry horses that were used in warfare into the 20th century.
Another major infusion of Arabian horses into Europe occurred when the Ottoman Turks sent , horsemen into Hungary in , many of whom were mounted on pure-blooded Arabians, captured during raids into Arabia. By , the Ottomans reached Vienna , where they were stopped by the Polish and Hungarian armies, who captured these horses from the defeated Ottoman cavalry. Some of these animals provided foundation bloodstock for the major studs of eastern Europe.
With the rise of light cavalry, the stamina and agility of horses with Arabian blood gave an enormous military advantage to any army who possessed them. As a result, many European monarchs began to support large breeding establishments that crossed Arabians on local stock, one example being Knyszyna , the royal stud of Polish king Zygmunt II August , and another the Imperial Russian Stud of Peter the Great.
European horse breeders also obtained Arabian stock directly from the desert or via trade with the Ottomans. In Poland, notable imports from Arabia included those of Prince Hieronymous Sanguszko — , who founded the Slawuta stud. The 18th century marked the establishment of most of the great Arabian studs of Europe, dedicated to preserving "pure" Arabian bloodstock.
The Prussians set up a royal stud in , originally intended to provide horses for the royal stables, and other studs were established to breed animals for other uses, including mounts for the Prussian army.
The foundation of these breeding programs was the crossing of Arabians on native horses; by some English observers felt that the Prussian calvalry mounts were superior in endurance to those of the British, and credited Arabian bloodlines for this superiority. One of the most famous Arabian stallions in Europe was Marengo , the war horse ridden by Napoleon Bonaparte.
During the midth century, the need for Arabian blood to improve the breeding stock for light cavalry horses in Europe resulted in more excursions to the Middle East.
Queen Isabel II of Spain sent representatives to the desert to purchase Arabian horses and by had established a stud book; her successor, King Alfonso XII imported additional bloodstock from other European nations.
The military remained heavily involved in the importation and breeding of Arabians in Spain well into the early 20th century, and the Yeguada Militar is still in existence today. This period also marked a phase of considerable travel to the Middle East by European civilians and minor nobility, and in the process, some travelers noticed that the Arabian horse as a pure breed of horse was under threat due to modern forms of warfare, inbreeding and other problems that were reducing the horse population of the Bedouin tribes at a rapid rate.
Perhaps the most famous of all Arabian breeding operations founded in Europe was the Crabbet Park Stud of England, founded Upon Lady Anne's death in , the Blunts' daughter, Judith, Lady Wentworth , inherited the Wentworth title and Lady Anne's portion of the estate, and obtained the remainder of the Crabbet Stud following a protracted legal battle with her father. Upon her death in , the stud passed to her manager, Cecil Covey, who ran Crabbet until , when a motorway was cut through the property, forcing the sale of the land and dispersal of the horses.
In the early 20th century, the military was involved in the breeding of Arabian horses throughout Europe, particularly in Poland, Spain, Germany, and Russia; private breeders also developed a number of breeding programs. The Russian Revolution, combined with the effects of World War I, destroyed most of the breeding programs in Russia, but by , the Soviet government reestablished an Arabian program, the Tersk Stud , on the site of the former Stroganov estate,   which included Polish bloodstock as well as some importations from the Crabbet Stud in England.
Not all European studs recovered. The Weil stud of Germany, founded by King Wilhelm I , went into considerable decline; by the time the Weil herd was transferred to the Marbach State Stud in , only 17 purebred Arabians remained.
The Veragua stud was destroyed, and its records lost, with the only survivors being the broodmares and the younger horses, who were rescued by Francisco Franco. Both the Soviet Union and the United States obtained valuable Arabian bloodlines as spoils of war, which they used to strengthen their breeding programs. The Soviets had taken steps to protect their breeding stock at Tersk Stud , and by utilizing horses captured in Poland they were able to re-establish their breeding program soon after the end of World War II.
Army Remount station, the former W. Kellogg Ranch in California. In the postwar era, Poland,  Spain,  and Germany developed or re-established many well-respected Arabian stud farms. While only a few Arabians were exported from behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War , those who did come to the west caught the eye of breeders worldwide.
Improved international relations between eastern Europe and the west led to major imports of Polish and Russian-bred Arabian horses to western Europe and the United States in the s and s. Organizations such as the World Arabian Horse Association WAHO created consistent standards for transferring the registration of Arabian horses between different nations.
Today, Arabian horses are traded all over the world. The first horses on the American mainland since the end of the Ice Age arrived with the Spanish Conquistadors.
Many horses escaped or were stolen, becoming the foundation stock of the American Mustang. Colonists from England also brought horses of Arabian breeding to the eastern seaboard. One of George Washington 's primary mounts during the American Revolutionary War was a gray half-Arabian horse named Blueskin , sired by the stallion "Ranger", also known as "Lindsay's Arabian", said to have been obtained from the Sultan of Morocco.
Keene Richard was the first American known to have specifically bred Arabian horses. He traveled to the desert in and to obtain breeding stock, which he crossed on Thoroughbreds , and also bred purebred Arabians.
Unfortunately, his horses were lost during the Civil War and have no known purebred Arabian descendants today. Leopard is the only stallion imported prior to who left known purebred descendants in America.
In , the Arabian Horse Registry of America was established, recording 71 animals,  and by , the number had reached half a million. Today there are more Arabians registered in North America than in the rest of the world put together.
The origins of the registry date to , when the Hamidie Society sponsored an exhibit of Arabian horses from what today is Syria at the World Fair in Chicago. Records are unclear if 40 or 45 horses were imported for the exposition, but seven died in a fire shortly after arrival. The 28 horses that remained at the end of the exhibition stayed in America and were sold at auction when the Hamidie Society went bankrupt.
Major Arabian importations to the United States included those of Davenport and Bradley, who teamed up to purchase several stallions and mares directly from the Bedouin in Brown of the Maynesboro Stud, interested in the Arabian as a cavalry mount, imported many Arabians over a period of years, starting in Army Remount Service , which stood purebred stallions at public stud for a reduced rate.
In the s, Arabians became a popular status symbol and were marketed similarly to fine art. When the Tax Reform Act of closed the tax-sheltering "passive investment" loophole, limiting the use of horse farms as tax shelters,   the Arabian market was particularly vulnerable due to over-saturation and artificially inflated prices, and it collapsed, forcing many breeders into bankruptcy and sending many purebred Arabians to slaughter.
Arabian horses were introduced to Australia in the earliest days of European Settlement. Early imports included both purebred Arabians and light Spanish " jennets " from Andalusia , many Arabians also came from India. Based on records describing stallions "of Arabic and Persian blood", the first Arabian horses were probably imported to Australia in several groups between and Throughout the 19th century, many more Arabians came to Australia, though most were used to produce crossbred horses and left no recorded purebred descendants.
In the early 20th century, more Arabian horses, mostly of Crabbet bloodlines, arrived in Australia. The first Arabians of Polish breeding arrived in , and Egyptian lines were first imported in Arabian horses from the rest of the world followed, and today the Australian Arabian horse registry is the second largest in the world, next to that of the United States. Arabian horses today are found all over the world.
They are no longer classified by Bedouin strain, but are informally classified by the nation of origin of famed horses in a given pedigree. Popular types of Arabians are labeled "Polish", "Spanish", "Crabbet", "Russian", "Egyptian", and "Domestic" describing horses whose ancestors were imported to the United States prior to , including those from programs such as Kellogg , Davenport , Maynesboro , Babson , Dickenson and Selby.
Each set of bloodlines has its own devoted followers, with the virtues of each hotly debated. Most debates are between those who value the Arabian most for its refined beauty and those who value the horse for its stamina and athleticism; there are also a number of breeders who specialize in preservation breeding of various bloodlines. Controversies exist over the relative "purity" of certain animals; breeders argue about the genetic "purity" of various pedigrees, discussing whether some horses descend from "impure" animals that cannot be traced to the desert Bedouin.
The Arabian horse's most distinctive feature, compared to other horse breeds, is the smoothly dished profile of its head.
Modern trends have given rise to Arabian horses bred to have extremely concave features. Alarmed vets have decried this development as detrimental to the animal's welfare, as well as ruining the natural beauty of the horse.
Comparisons have been made to the breeding of pugs and other dog breeds, where a breed standard calling for a certain feature, such as a flat face, has led to breeders seeking an ever more exaggerated form, with little concern as to the inherent function of the animal. Veterinarians speculate that an extremely concave face is detrimental to a horse's breathing, although there is so far no evidence for this.
One vet confirmed that El Rey Magnum had no medical or respiratory issues. Because of the genetic strength of the desert-bred Arabian horse, Arabian bloodlines have played a part in the development of nearly every modern light horse breed, including the Thoroughbred ,  Orlov Trotter ,  Morgan ,  American Saddlebred ,  American Quarter Horse ,  and Warmblood breeds such as the Trakehner.
Today, people cross Arabians with other breeds to add refinement, endurance, agility and beauty. There is intense debate over the role the Arabian played in the development of other light horse breeds.
Before DNA-based research developed, one hypothesis, based on body types and conformation, suggested the light, "dry", oriental horse adapted to the desert climate had developed prior to domestication;  DNA studies of multiple horse breeds now suggest that while domesticated horses arose from multiple mare lines, there is very little variability in the Y-chromosome between breeds.
There is little doubt that humans crossed "oriental" blood on that of other types to create light riding horses; the only actual questions are at what point the "oriental" prototype could be called an "Arabian", how much Arabian blood was mixed with local animals, and at what point in history.
For some breeds, such as the Thoroughbred , Arabian influence of specific animals is documented in written stud books. For example, while outside cultures, and the horses they brought with them, influenced the predecessor to the Iberian horse in both the time of Ancient Rome and again with the Islamic invasions of the 8th century, it is difficult to trace precise details of the journeys taken by waves of conquerors and their horses as they traveled from the Middle East to North Africa and across Gibraltar to southern Europe.
Mitochondrial DNA studies of modern Andalusian horses of the Iberian peninsula and Barb horses of North Africa present convincing evidence that both breeds crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and influenced one another. Arabians and Barbs, though probably related to one another, are quite different in appearance,  and horses of both Arabian and Barb type were present in the Muslim armies that occupied Europe. Arabians are versatile horses that compete in many equestrian fields, including horse racing , the horse show disciplines of saddle seat , Western pleasure , and hunt seat , as well as dressage , cutting , reining , endurance riding , show jumping , eventing , youth events such as equitation , and others.
They are used as pleasure riding , trail riding , and working ranch horses for those who are not interested in competition. Arabians dominate the sport of endurance riding because of their stamina. Classes offered include Western pleasure , reining , hunter type and saddle seat English pleasure , and halter , plus the very popular "Native" costume class. Other nations also sponsor major shows strictly for purebred and partbred Arabians, including Great Britain  France,  Spain,  Poland,  and the United Arab Emirates.
Purebred Arabians have excelled in open events against other breeds. One of the most famous examples in the field of western riding competition was the Arabian mare Ronteza , who defeated 50 horses of all breeds to win the Reined Cow Horse championship at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. Part-Arabians have also appeared at open sport horse events and even Olympic level competition. The Anglo-Arabian Linon was ridden to an Olympic silver medal for France in Dressage in and , as well as a team gold in , and another French Anglo-Arabian, Harpagon, was ridden to a team gold medal and an individual silver in dressage at the Olympics.
Arabians are involved in a wide variety of activities, including fairs, movies, parades, circuses and other places where horses are showcased. They have been popular in movies, dating back to the silent film era when Rudolph Valentino rode the Kellogg Arabian stallion Jadaan in 's Son of the Sheik ,  and have been seen in many other films, including The Black Stallion featuring the stallion Cass Ole ,  The Young Black Stallion , which used over 40 Arabians during filming,  as well as Hidalgo  and the version of Ben-Hur.
Arabians are mascots for football teams, performing crowd-pleasing activities on the field and sidelines. One of the horses who serves as "Traveler" , the mascot for the University of Southern California Trojans , has been a purebred Arabian. Arabians also are used on search and rescue teams and occasionally for police work.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Arabian horse disambiguation. Equine coat color and Equine coat color genetics.
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