The Arabian Horse

There are few breeds of horse or pony that have not at some time been improved with Arabian blood.

These lovely animals with their distinctive concave profiles, tapering muzzles, broad foreheads and big, luminous dark eyes, are the oldest unadulterated breed in the world.

Their known history dates back to the seventh century, and they remained unsullied because they come of a relatively small stock of much prized horses, fanatically inbred, culled, and kept 'asil' (purebred) for centuries by the desert tribes.

When the Arabs set out on conquest they augmented their cavalry with local horses and their stallions bred with these, helping to found the general type of 'hotblood' horse established from North Africa to Spain, and in India and the Near East.

However alien horses were never taken back to adulterate their own pure Arab strains. Very few of the cherished Arabian mares ever left their country of origin, but through the centuries many stallions were exported.

Foreign breeders therefore often built up studs using domestic mares and there are not many of the true, ancient blood-lines left.

Some famous studs, however, in Britain, the U.S.A. and elsewhere outside Arabia, were built on pure-bred Arabian horses, though they possibly are not considered 'asil' in Arab estimation, since different feeding and environment often produce much larger animals than the original and in some countries, particularly America, the big Arabian horse in any case is considered preferable.

Although these retain many of the qualities of their breed, they differ materially from the smaller pure desert-bred horses of the Royal Jordanian Stud, which are now world famous.