Arabian

Family: EquidaeArabian, Picture of an Arabian HorseEquus caballus
Latest Reader Comment - See More
I have loved horses all of my life and I came across 'Gabriel' purely by accident. My neighbor and I were out hitting the local yard sales. One place we stopped at... (more)  Laura

   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

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.

Description


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.

Availability


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. .

References


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

Laura - 2014-01-24
I have loved horses all of my life and I came across 'Gabriel' purely by accident. My neighbor and I were out hitting the local yard sales. One place we stopped at had a pretty Palimino on the back property. I commented on her. Lynn the owner said I have one for sale. It was not the Palimino however,it was Gaberiel, a 16yr old Chestnut Arabian. Lynn threw my 11yr old son up on his back and led him around the yard. Gabriel was so passive and friendly. My son had taken riding lessons over the summer but is still very much a beginner. Yet, Gabriel (Gabe)was so gentle I thought this might be a good way to continue my son in riding. To make a long story shorter ~ I told my husband (who was out of country)about him and he said get him. When I said I was scared he asked why. I told him a horse is very time consuming. He told me not to worry about it and to go ahead. So I made the jump and bought him. However, though Gabe is 16, you would not know it. Put him under sadddle and he is a different horse. The first time I got on him he went to bucking and kicking up his heels. Scared me to death. What happened to the sweet passive horse I bought?? There was no way I could put my son on him. I didn't give up though and soon I could simply give a verbal correction when he would start acting up and he would calm down. However, I realized this is not a horse for my son so I would have to be the one to become his owner/partner. I have developed a wonderful friendship with Gabriel, it took a little time for us to learn each other but he aims to please. He has learned to trust me and me him. I look forward to getting up everyday and spending time with him. I loose time at the stables and minutes turn into hours in a flash. My husband now fully understand my concern of how time consuming a horse can be ~ he has become a horse widower. Gabe is a wonderful horse, friend and companion. He has a wonderful disposition and friendly to everyone. When I think of how Gabe came into my life I believe we were ment to be. He is truely a gift from heaven.

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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.
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Jenny - 2013-07-26
Hi. I have a 13 yr old part Arabian. I had to put her at a boarding ranch just about a month ago. And they only feed her 2 flakes a day but every time I go. It's like she is starving. Not just a lill nibble here and there. I'm talking about grubbing down like she is super hungry. I ask the ranch owner who is a trainer and he says she's ok. But I think she needs more. Any suggestions..

  • Pat - 2013-09-28
    I like to free feed my Arabian horse. I notice he likes to chow down off and on all day. Put him on pasture or insist on his getting fed 3x's a day. I feed a good 25 lbs @ a time.
  • Morgan - 2013-12-03
    Hi I am trying to reach a go to Arabian haven ranch because I have a 3yr old Arab mare. I have some questions about her and would love to ask the ranch owner or who ever knows the Arabian breed. I have had 3 and they are amazing animals andalways my first choice but I have never dealt with one like mine and I want to see about things I can do more for her and are safe but I can't get to it from my phone. Please if Arabian haven ranch sees this or someone knows how to reach them please let me know or anyone who has a great deal of knowledge about Arabs please contact me my email is morganw1987@yahoo.com thanks to all have a wonderful night.
  • Morgan .T - 2014-01-03
    If she looks like she is staving then i say you tell the owner that ur horse isn't being taken care of
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Lisa - 2010-08-12
I'm scared! I rescued an arab stallion, then let him gain back some weight then gelded him. He is very nice looking, but sad what he went though. Now he's with a friend, for finishing, but they saw him head over heals in the arena, all four feet in the air, and now he's having a hard time with his rear end, and is really sore. Will he get over it?

  • Pat - 2011-07-31
    I would find a equine chiropractor and homeopathic vet in your area. He might have pinched something or have something out of whack. The homeopathic vet in our area treated my daughters Arabian and he is doing so much better. He is 25 and a beauty. Good luck with him...
  • Bec - 2013-05-27
    Yes, and definatly do NOT ride him until he is better. also, try this great computer game called Star Stable!
  • Arabian Haven Ranch - 2013-06-21
    He will with time and a good diet, if you need any supplies or supplements please check out our store: www.arabianhavenranch.com
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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.
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