COMMON HORSE BREEDS
Photo supplied by Sienna Stud Arabians - Victoria
Photo taken by Kim Mc Conville ©
The Arabian is the oldest and purest horse breed, however its exact origin is not clear.
Ancient art dating back to 2000 to 3000BC displays horses of Arabian style on the Arabian
peninsula. These horses had to adapt to their harsh environment enabling them to survive
on meagre food rations and to develop great powers of endurance and immense soundness.
Arabian influence is present in most horse breeds around the world. In the 7th and 8th
century Islamic invaders spread into Spain and across North Africa bringing with them
their horses, which where far superior to the native breeds of other lands. Trading and
cross-breeding of stock began and it still continues in many lands today. Now pure-bred
Arabians are bred all over the world.
Head: small head; dished, concave profile; broad forehead;
fine muzzle; wide nostrils; small ears; large, expressive eyes
Neck: gracefully curved
Shoulders: long sloping shoulders with well defined withers
Body: deep body; broad chest; short, straight back; the
skeleton of the Arabian differs from that of other horses. It has 17 ribs (other horses
have 18), 5 lumbar vertebrae (other horses have 6) and 16 tail vertebrae (other horses
have 18). This gives the Arabian horse its unique outline.
Legs: fine, dense bones; hard clean limbs; well defined
Feet: well shaped
Mane & Tail: fine and silky; high set tail
Height: 14.4 to 15hh
Color: predominantly chestnut, grey, bay and black
Temperament: gentle, spirited,
intelligent, easy to train
Qualities: great stamina and endurance; appears to float
elegantly over the ground
Many people consider the Arabian the most beautiful horse in the word. It's gentle
temperament makes the Arabian a popular riding horse. Due to the breed's legendary stamina
it is often used for endurance riding where a distance of 161km (100 miles) per day may be
covered. The Arabian is also popular at horse racing.