“My beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by.
With thy proudly-arched and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye!
Fret not to roam the desert now with all they winged speed:
I may not mount on thee again – thou’rt sold, my Arab steed!”
-Caroline Norton’s An Arab’s Farewell to His Steed
The Arabian Horse Breed
From the 1922 Newbery Honor Book King of the Wind to finely-bred competitors in the 2004 movie, Hildalgo, Arabians have become a legendary breed for all horse lovers. In fact, the oldest domesticated breed is the Arabian horse.
Hoofprint in History
An Arabic tribe known as the Bedouins were the first Arabian horse breeder. To the Bedouins, these horses were a prized possession. The Arabians spread through England and France. In fact, the first Arabian in the United States belonged to George Washington. Washington’s Arabian stallion bred with cavalry mares to strengthen America’s military.
Furthermore, 1893’s Chicago World Fair popularized Arabians in the United States. In order to exhibit the country, Turkey brought Bedouin horsemen and Arabians. However, under order of the sultan, none of the prestigious pedigreed horses were taken. International visitors became intrigued with the Arabians. The Bedouins sold these horses in the Americas before returning home. Due to the increased interest in Arabians, the Arabian Horse Club of America formed 15 years later.
Face of Beauty
Brains and Brawn
About 90% of the American Endurance Ride Conference members compete on Arabian and part Arabian horses. Traditionally, Arabians always finished among the top on the Tevis Cup, known as the oldest endurance competition.
Furthermore, the breed excels in both Western and English riding. The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show exhibits these abilities in an annual show held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Called the “Super Bowl of the Arabian world,” the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show holds events such as halter, mounted native costumes, dressage, pleasure driving, and western pleasure.
“The Arabian is the horse every besotted little girl draws; he looks like a fairytale.”
-William Shatner’s Spirit of the Horse: A Celebration in Fact and Fable
Without question, Arabian horses are a legendary breed, displaying beauty and historical traditions. Indeed, the Arabian horse is a window into the ancient world for all horse lovers.