The Prophet Mohamed believed that the Arabian horse came from Allah. It is believed that its ancestors were the horses that ran wild around the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. After domestication by the Bedouins, this breed became a prized war horse, perfect for life in the desert.
This horse was bred by the Bedouins using a selective breeding program. As the fame of this horse grew, each tribe developed its own strain. Some breeding stock could be bought for very high prices, but prized mares were never sold.
Mares were ridden into battle. They had the lightness of foot and the speed necessary to get in and get out. There are several legends as to the origins of this horse. One states that King Solomon received a stallion as a gift from the Queen of Sheba. Another is that King Solomon gave a prized stallion to the Bedouins when they came to give tribute to him.
The height of this horse is between 14 to 15 hands (57- 61 inches or 145-155 cm). Although the standard height cutoff for a horse is 14.2 hands, less than which it is considered as a pony, the Arabian is classified as a horse even if its height is less.
Coat colors for purebred horses are black, gray, roan, chestnut, or bay. Roan, bay, and gray are the most common colors, and black is the most uncommon. This breed is not genetically white.
Horses that appear white are actually gray. It is a natural characteristic of the gray gene. The sabino spotting pattern is also present in this breed. Coat colors that do not exist are dun, buckskin, cremello, or palomino.
This horse has a gentle spirit and it is extremely intelligent. This is because the horses were kept in their owners' tents by the Bedouins to prevent them from being stolen. This exposed them to everyday life, which resulted in a truly domesticated and gentle animal. Thus, this is one of the few breeds that children are allowed to exhibit in show rings.
Due to its high intelligence, this horse is easy to train and communicate with. It cooperates well with humans. However, it does not tolerate abusive training. It can become nervous and extremely anxious if treated badly. It rarely becomes vicious unless pushed to the brink by subjecting to excessive abuse, or unless it is greatly spoiled.
This horse greatly influenced almost every horse breed that was present in Europe at the time. Its wonderful personality and characteristics made it a popular horse. There are some breeds that came into existence because of this horse, one of them being the Thoroughbred.
To this day, 92 percent of all Thoroughbreds can trace their lines all the way back to three Arabian stallions that were brought to England.
This horse breed, however magnificent, is affected by some genetic disorders. Some of them are listed here.
★ Severe combined immunodeficiency: The affected horse chronically lacks an immune system. It is born that way.
★ Lavender foal syndrome: The affected foal is born with a coat that is diluted in color. The tips of the coat hair, and at times the entire hair is lightened. The horse may suffer from seizures.
★ Cerebellar abiotrophy: The affected foal develops symptoms like a wide-legged stance, incoordination, or a head tumor, usually six weeks after birth.
★ Occipital Atlanto-Axial Malformation: This is a cervical spinal cord disease in which symptoms can range from slight incoordination to paralysis of the front and hind legs.
★ Some other health issues are epilepsy and guttural pouch tympathy.
The Arabian has truly been a horse of the ages. It is the oldest horse breed known to man. It has influenced man greatly, and will most likely continue to be a very popular and favorite horse for a very long time to come.