I have long had a love affair with the Arabian horse breed. Their temperament and refined beauty make them stand out among the herd. Something about the wild look they carry in their bodies and expressive eyes, draws me to them time and time again. It’s as if they are spirits just drifting with the wind and when you ride one, you can’t help but get lost in that feeling too.
Arabians are of the oldest, most recognizable horse breeds in the world. They originated among the desert tribes on the Arabian Peninsula, bred by the nomadic Bedouins for their endurance and speed as a war mount. The Bedouin’s valued the Arabian more then any other possession. A Bedouin story states that Allah created the Arabian horse from the south wind and exclaimed,
I create thee, Oh Arabian. To thy forelock, I bind Victory in battle. On thy back, I set a rich spoil and a Treasure in thy loins. I establish thee as one of the Glories of the Earth… I give thee flight without wings.
The Bedouins, were very selective about their breeding; they would only allow their horses with the best stamina, soundness, speed, disposition, and loyalty to reproduce. Which has lead the Arabian to still be one of the popular horse breeds in modern day. These horses are sensitive, highly intelligent, quick learners that are able to form a fast bond and communicate well with their riders. However, their intelligence and sensitivity allows them to learn bad habits just as quickly and they certainly will not tolerate abusive training practices. Arabians tend to be classified as a “hot-blooded” breed, along with other horses bred for speed, such as the Akhal-Teke and the Thoroughbred, as they tend to be a bit more nervous and energetic than some other equines.
The breed is recognized by their short, dish shaped face with large nostrils that allow for additional oxygen intake. The dish between their eyes is called the jibbah and it’s purpose is to allow for greater brain capacity. These beauties are also known for their long, narrow, curved necks which is supposed to aid in carrying air to their lungs. Often, Arabians have one less vertebra than other horses, giving them a shorter back which enables them to comfortably carry substantial weight. These characteristics make this breed perfect for distance riding, with some of the top Arabians completing 100-mile races in less than 10 hours.
In my experience, these horses are nothing short of pure magic. It’s like they are untamed but will still allow you get on their back. Forming a bond with one is easy and you can gain their trust quickly, but it still feels so incredibly special, like it took you a lifetime. Their reaction time and speed is intimidating at first but once the uncertainty passes you become one, the wind passes through you and everything else disappears; it truly is flight without wings.
My first pony, Daisy, a flea-bitten grey Arabian