Arabian Horse History, the Olympic Athletes of the Horse World
Presented by Shadow (who is part Arabian)
Perhaps five thousand years ago, somewhere between the north
part of Egypt and the Euphrates River, a unique type of
horse was bred. These horses eventually were called
Arabians. From what can be seen in ancient illustrations and
writings, the Arabian horse of today is still very like his
The Bedouin tribes of the desert prized the beauty, courage,
stamina, speed and intelligence of these horses, and they
became invaluable in the continuous ongoing warfare of the
desert tribes. Because of the harshness of the Bedouins'
environment and the value of their horses to their way of
life, Arabians were carefully bred and rigorously cared for.
Their horses were the nomads' most valuable possessions, the
primary source of their power and wealth, and often the
saviors of their lives.
Thus, Arabians became a breed of horse uniquely able to
thrive on limited resources and work for long periods under
harsh conditions, to be intelligent, easily trained and
self-resourceful, and to bond tightly to and live closely
with their humans.
In the seventh century the Prophet Mohammed declared that
the Arabian had been created by Allah to facilitate the
Moslem conquest of the world, that more Arabians must be
bred, and that those who cared well for Arabians would be
rewarded in the afterlife. That plus the Quran's statement
to the effect that "no evil spirit will dare to enter a tent
in which there is a purebred horse" ensured that the type
would be bred true and the Arabian would flourish.
One of the most important later breeders of Arabians was the
ruler of Egypt in the early nineteenth century, Mohammed Ali
the Great, who had his agents scour the desert and purchase
only the best specimens for his breeding program. His
efforts and those of his successors resulted in the
Arabian's touted fertility and true-to-type reliability.
Pedigrees were carefully kept by succeeding breeders, and
once transportation methods had improved the breed was
discovered and adopted by British aristocracy, most of whom
dedicated their efforts to breeding with the same standards
sought by the Bedouin and Egyptian breeders.
Because of these many desirable qualities, Arabian horses
figure largely in the pedigrees of most riding horse breeds
today. Arabian horses are consummate athletes, excelling in
speed, stamina, "heart," and strength, and yet also in
balance, beauty and refinement. They were the first "hot-
blood" horse breed, and all breeds considers hot-blooded
today have strong ties to Arabian ancestors. Arabian horses
Arabians can now be found nearly everywhere in the world,
and excelling at tasks ranging from serving as pals and
saddle horses for children to competing in equestrian
competitions, up to and including the Olympic Games. The
Arabian horse is deservedly one of the top ten most popular
horse breeds in the world.
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