The Arabian horse is one of the most well-known horses in the World. Their dished faces, high tail set, and graceful carriage has made them frequent subjects of the arts. Photography, painting, and of course, books and movies – The Black Stallion series being one of the most loved of all time – are full of depictions of this beautiful horse. But did you know the follow fascinating facts about this ancient breed?
#1 – Oldest Pure Breed in the World
The Arabian horse is the oldest pure breed in the world. Depending on the source, it is estimated they are at least 3,000 years old, with some sources saying they are closer to 5,000. Even more amazing, aside from being a bit larger, the breed has remained essentially unchanged throughout the centuries.
#2 – Unknown Origin
While it may be clear that the breed is old, what is not clear is where they came from originally. No one knows. However, since it was the Bedouin tribes of Arabia that took the horses and so carefully guarded their bloodlines, the breed was named the “Arabian” after them.
#3 – The Foundation for Many Breeds
The Arabian breed has been used to develop several popular breeds including the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Morgan, to name a few.
#4 – Missing Bones
Many Arabians have one less vertebrae in their backs, accounting for their shorter length. In addition, they also have one less in their tail, which accounts, in part, for the high tail set. Finally, they have 17 instead of 18 ribs. (horse-genetics.com)
#5 – A House Horse
Arabians are known for being people-oriented and it is believed this temperament was fostered in them by the way they were treated by the Arabs. They raised the foals alongside their children and brought the mares to live in their tents with them.
#6 – Always Black Skinned
Another unique trait of the pure Arabain is his black skin. Regardless of coat color, all Arabian horses have black skin.
#7 – Made for Endurance
Many know that Arabians are amazing endurance horses. This is in part due to where they come from – the desert sands of Arabia – and in part due to their structure. Arabians have “slow-twitch muscle fibers in contrast to the fast-twitch fibers found in other breeds. This makes them capable of using oxygen more efficiently, and sustaining speed over great distances.” (www.arabhorse.com). In addition, “their well-sprung ribs, large, flexible nostrils and unique attachment of the neck to the head all allow for tremendous lung capacity.”
#8 – Famous Mounts
Many of the world’s most famous (and infamous!) men in history chose Arabians as their mount. George Washington brought the first Arabian horse to U.S. soil and bred them with other horses to create a stronger Calvary mount. Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and Alexander The Great all rode Arabians. (arabianhorses.org)