The Arabian horse is known for its stamina, strength and beauty. It is believed that they are one of the oldest breeds in the world, along with the Barb and the Akhal Teke.
Nomadic Bedouins were the first people who tamed these horses, which were believed to be very fiery (and still are known for this trait today). These tribes protected the purity of their horse stocks; in fact, many sheiks could rattle off the ancestry of their horses from memory. They were bred for stamina and survival in harsh conditions found in the desert. They were also known for their speed, courage and loyalty (qualities that were needed in the ongoing battles between tribes).
There are five strains and families in the breed, including: Saqlawi, Dahman, Kuhaylan, Hadman and Mu’niqi. The strain refers to ancestry and physical traits; it is believed that the strain is passed from are to foal.
With the development of firearms in the 15th century, faster Arabian horses were used to breed quicker, more agile cavalry horses. They were used for racing and provided, with their appearance in England in 1703, two of three stallions that based the Thoroughbred breed. In Europe, royalty took an interest in Arabian horses and developed royal studs, including the Crabbet Stud in England. The Chicago World’s Fair exhibited Arabians in 1893, causing interest in the United States to grow.
The Arabian today
Today, there are more Arabians registered in the United States than the rest of the world combined.
There are several varieties of the breed, including: Polish, Spanish, Crabbet, Russian, Egyptian and Domestic. Each variety is known for different traits, but type and athleticism remain consistent.