Family: Equidae Arabian, Picture of an Arabian HorseEquus caballus
Latest Reader Comment - See More
I just lost my Arab two weeks ago. He was 27 1/2. My best friend for over 26 years. By far the smartest horse I have ever met. Rode him two weeks before I had to... (more)  kay yeager

   The Arabian, known for its incredible endurance, can maintain a run for over 100 miles!

The Arabian, one of the oldest breed of horse, and is also the purest breed of horse. They have existed for at least 4,500 years. The Arabian horse is known to have been in existence since the time of Muhammad. It is also believed to have been developed by the nomadic Bedouin's in the desert belt of Africa, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Desert, for 2,500 years prior to that. As Islamic influence spread so did the Arabian horse, to be bred all over the Middle East and North Africa. With the Moorish invasion of Spain in the 7th century it was introduced to Europe.

The Arabian horses have a beautiful and unique appearance. They are generally small in stature but readily recognized by their dished face and fine features. As they were bred in different parts of the world various breeds emerged including the Polish Arabian, the Shagya Arabian in Hungary, and the Egyptian Arabian. The Arabian blood contributed to the development of many other fine breeds as well, such as the Lipizzaner and the Thoroughbred, and it is still used to improve and refine other breeds.

In early times they were renowned for their incredible endurance and courage. Today Arabians are known for their "people-oriented" nature and loving disposition, which makes them great pleasure horses and pets. They are also known to be very intelligent. They are quick to learn and willing to please.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Perissodactyla
  • Family: Equidae
  • Genus: Equus
  • Species: caballus
Pet Supply Comparison Shopping

Horse Breeds

The Andalusian or Spanish Horse is a light horse breed. The light horses are also referred to as a warmblood or 'hot-blooded' horse. Light horse breeds generally weigh under 1,500 pounds. They are typically used as riding horses for leisure and trail riding. Being agile and swift, many are also used on the racetrack, in the show ring, and for work on the ranch.
Light horses are grouped in a couple of different ways, one being the continent or country where they originated from. They are also grouped according to training, classified as either a stock type, hunter type, saddle type, or 'other'. A body type is generally attributed to each class, with the 'other' classification being a bit of an odd ball. It includes those that are color breeds or those that may fit a body type of one of the training classes, but not be used for that type of training. The 'other' types can also include those that may fit into more than one of the type groups.
The horse class the American Mustang fits into is the 'other' type class.

Horse Backgrounds

It is known that the Arabian has been in existence since the time of Muhammad. But it may have been bred by the Bedouin of Arabia for 2,500 years prior to that although there are no written records, making it one of the oldest breed of horse still being bred today. The historian El Kelbi wrote the first history and pedigree of the Arabian horse in 786 AD.
The spread of Islam contributed to the spread of the Arabian horse. As Islam spread to Turkey, Persia, Palestine, Syria, and North Africa, the Arabian horse began to be bred all over the Middle East and North Africa. It was introduced to Europe when the Moors invaded Spain in the 7th century, and became desired for its beauty, endurance, and courage. Emperor Napoleon rode a grey Arabian named Marengo into the battle of Waterloo.
As Arabians were bred in different parts of the world, subsequent breeds of Arabians have developed such as the Polish Arabian, the Shagya Arabian in Hungary, and the Egyptian Arabian. Arabian blood has contributed to many other breeds such as the Lipizzaner and the Thoroughbred, and because of its purity, continues to act as an "improver" to refine other breeds.


The Arabian has a very unique appearance. It is generally small in stature with an average height of 57 inches or 14.3 hands. Although many fall within the height range of a pony, they are always considered horses.
The most distinctive features are the outline and the shape of the head. The unique outline is created by a skeletal formation that differs from other horses. The Arabian has 17 ribs, 5 lumbar bones, and 16 tail vertebrae where other breeds generally have 18 ribs, 6 lumbar bones, and 18 tail vertebrae. This difference accounts for the shape of the Arab's back and the high carriage of the tail.
Arabians are generally fine boned and have a small, refined head. The famous dished face is created by the indentation that begins below the eyes and down to the muzzle. They also tend to have an arch at the point where the head meets the neck, and the greater the arch, the greater the range of motion of the head. Arabians can be grey, chestnut, bay, and black (see color descriptions).
Arabian lines that were bred separately from the purebred Arabian have created distinctive breeds, namely the Polish Arabian, Egyptian Arabian, and Shagya Arabian. These breeds tend to be larger than the pure Arabian and have thicker bones.

Horse Care and Feeding

Arabians tend to do better if they are kept in larger paddocks and not confined to small stalls because their intelligence causes them to be easily bored. They may be more prone to developing nervous habits or "stable vices" when confined than other horses. Keeping them in a paddock with other horses is ideal. You can also try to keep them occupied with objects they can play with, such as horse balls and traffic cones.

Horse Training and Activities

Arabians mature more slowly than other horse breeds, and are not fully mature until five years of age. This means that owners of young Arabians must be extra careful not to strain their horse's legs, tendons, and joints before they have fully developed. Intense riding and jumping are definitely not a good idea until an Arabian is five years old.
Arabians are great pleasure horses as they are generally willing to please, but they can be very energetic and spirited as well, so they may not be the best horses for children and beginners. They do very well in the show ring in pleasure, dressage, and trail classes due to their gracefulness and agility. They are also great reining horses. They can be used for jumping although they are not top competitors.
The discipline they excel in is endurance riding because they have the energy and the willing personality to travel over great distances with a rider. Endurance rides can be single or multi-day events where horses race along a trail through all kinds of terrain for 30 to 100 miles a day!

Common Health Problems

Arabians are known for being a sound breed due to their strong legs and dense bones, and they tend to have a low occurrence of lameness problems.


Arabians are popular in many parts of the world and should be readily available throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Like all horses, they range in price, but generally speaking they are not relatively expensive. Look in local ads or pick up regional horse magazines at your local tack and feed store to find horses for sale in your area. .


Maria Costantino, The Handbook of Horse Breeds, Barns and Noble, 2004
Byford, Sharon, The Arabian: A Guide For Owners, Alpine Publications: Loveland, Colorado, 1987 Author: Sandra Lloyd

Lastest Animal Stories on Arabian Horse

kay yeager - 2015-12-03
I just lost my Arab two weeks ago. He was 27 1/2. My best friend for over 26 years. By far the smartest horse I have ever met. Rode him two weeks before I had to put him down due to colic. Miss him so much. At 59 I thought that I may not get another horse but have started looking for another Arabian. I have a 16.3 ottb but want another small go to guy like my old Traveller.

Elizabeth - 2015-11-26
Can an Arabian horse be let in a pasture that has a few mole holes but with lots of grass? or does it need to be in a sandy paddock?

Lorna Drake - 2012-04-23
I own a Polish Arabian and he is now white. He is 13 years old and I have owned him since he was 5 years old and only 90 days into training. I have been around horses all my life. After getting my daughters old enough, I was finally able to start riding again in my forties. Faress is the arabians name, yes in the beginning I hit the ground a lot and often. Never was I thrown, but he did spook a lot. Took me awhile to get my seat back since we were learning dressage together. I can only tell you that the bond we share is like no other. He is the smartest horse I have ever owned. He can learn a trick in one day. He and I sleep together in his stall. He is loyal like no other horse. So all of you who do not like Arabians probably couldn't ride one because they are not for the green rider. Nor the chicken hearted. You treat them well and with kindness, they will love you forever. I also own a Warmblood. He is beautiful and big and great at dressage and I love him. I can only say the Arab is the most loving horse I have ever owned. When you lie down in his stall on a blanket and you wake up and he is lying next to you, you know this is the greatest bond ever.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-04-24
    Sounds awesome. I'd love it.
  • mechi garcia - 2013-01-25
    i have an all white polish arabian thats a rescue. he is 18, and he is the best horse. maximus is the best horse i ever owned, he is so eager to learn. he even plays hide and go seek with me! lol
  • vickie mossman - 2013-03-19
    Hi Lorna, I read your comment I myself came across the arabian by pure accident and now my children ride arabians. I couldn't agree more with you what you wrote was true, correct and beautiful.Yes it is true people who do not like the arabians do not understand their Beauty, Loyalty and Charm. All I can say they have a lot to learn about horses.
  • Jennifer - 2015-04-14
    So Awesome. I have had my Arab 22 years. They are amazing animals, and only a few can appreciate their beautiful spirits. We are the lucky ones...
  • Anonymous - 2015-05-12
    totally beautiful animals. my favorite always.i have an orange/brown quarter horse named joey. shes my whole life.
Cara Perez Miller - 2012-05-16
I have a 3 yr old Spanish barb arabian and when I got her she weighed about 300 lbs and now she is weighing about 900 lbs but it has been 2 yrs..
I dont know much about arabians so if anyone can tell me about them I would love to know about there eating habits and does and don'ts with them

  • Trina - 2012-06-29
    Arabians are what we call hard keepers. Because of their high indurance levels and energy, they burn off fat fast. I have to feed my 25+ Arabian/Quarter 4/flakes a day about 24 #s. Also Integrity for seniors. They also have Integrity for young horses. If they loose weight it takes 6 months to a year to get it back. A rice bran product can help put weight on qiucker.
  • Jennifer - 2015-04-14
    I have had an Arabian for 22 years. They are not hard keepers. They need adequate food and forage. If he needs to put on weight, try shredded beet pulp. Soak it overnight before you feed it. I rode endurance and kept my horse on good pasture. He did fine with very little grain, and quality hay. I feed grain and hay with the beet pulp over the winter and back off during summer when the pasture is good. Put her on good pasture. She will be happy and healthy.
kay yeager - 2015-12-03
I just lost my Arab two weeks ago. He was 27 1/2. My best friend for over 26 years. By far the smartest horse I have ever met. Rode him two weeks before I had to put him down due to colic. Miss him so much. At 59 I thought that I may not get another horse but have started looking for another Arabian. I have a 16.3 ottb but want another small go to guy like my old Traveller.

Emily Eldridge - 2015-02-17
FOR SALE: 2yr old purebred arabian filly. Dark bay. Excellent mover with quality bloodlines. Happy to please temperament. Starting to be broken but very green. Kind nature. Mature approx. 15.2hh. Make excellent endurance horse. Not easily spooked. Enquires appreciated. Please email with queries or expressions of interest. Thanks!

shelby - 2010-11-12
Anybody arabian gelding in florida for 500$ he is bay and 15.1 and 7 years old.......? His name is budweiser but buddy for short budweiser is his trouble name..

call me 772-713-9825....or text

  • shelbee - 2010-12-21
    Yep I do my name is shelbee.