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Why Arabian Horses Are Not Crazy

Updated on March 31, 2014
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is a published author, freelance writer, and photographer. She also specializes in horses.

Foundation Horse of All Our Light Breeds

 Noted for its beauty and mystique, the Arabian horse is the foundation horse of all our light breeds and some of the draft breeds. Pretty is and pretty does, the Arabian is highly intelligent, graceful, and affectionate. The Arab's long smooth muscles and efficient conformation give it stamina and endurance. The Arabian put the quick in the quarter horse and the speed and endurance in the thoroughbred. The Arab's presence and airy motion can be seen in the American Saddlebred, and its compact conformation in the Morgan. These breeds and others are still crossed with the Arabian to produce specialty horses such as the Anglo Arab, the National Show Horse and the Moab. In fact without the Arabian influence we'd not have these other popular breeds.

Often labeled crazy, flighty or hard to handle the Arabian horse is anything but deserving of those adjectives.
Often labeled crazy, flighty or hard to handle the Arabian horse is anything but deserving of those adjectives. | Source

Arabian Horses: Treasure in the Backyard



Often labeled crazy, flighty or hard to handle the Arabian horse is anything but deserving of those adjectives. Ask the therapeutic riding instructors whose star mounts are Arabian horses. They will tell you how this breed's sensitivity and intuition make him the perfect choice for the program. Ask the parent of a youngster who rides his Arabian on trails, in shows, and then gives his visiting cousins "pony rides." Ask the hunter jumper enthusiast whose Arabian takes him neatly through a course. In fact it was a thirteen year old Arabian mare named Bynadette that carried twelve year old Billy Worthington to win the 2002 Pony Jumper National Championship in Lexington, Kentucky.

Arabians lead the list of twenty-three American Endurance Ride Conference Hall of Fame inductees. The current top ten National Best Condition winners were Arabian/Arabian crosses, and seven of the National 100 Mile Award horses are Arab or Arab crosses. This is not surprising since the breed has enjoyed those top positions in endurance racing for years. Thumb through any issue of Endurance News, the official magazine of AERC, and the horses pictured in its photographs are predominantly Arab or Arab crosses.

While Arabians are shown in hundreds of All Arabian shows every year, plus countless open shows the most popular use of the Arabian is recreational riding. It is the Arabian in the backyard, the all around family horse that has wormed its way into the hearts of thousands of horse owners. Some might even declare that it's the other way around - they are owned by the Arabian.

This writer has worked with children and Arabians for over thirty years. Kossack, an Arab gelding, was the first of a long stream of Arabian and Half Arabian ‘family' horses in my barn. Kossack was ridden many hours on trails, he won many ribbons and trophies at weekend open shows, including the year he won NC State 4-H Championship in Trail Class, and he was an outstanding school horse. Our next Arabian star was a mare, Miramar. She is still part of my family at 34 years old. Broodmare, favorite lesson horse, show horse, trail riding horse-she has done it all. Mira gets presents at Christmas and on her birthday. Her young students draw pictures of her and see her in every "white" they see.

Cheryl Tyson, of Greenville, NC, is another enthusiastic owner of Arabian horses. She'd heard all the negative rumors about Arabians. Crazy, flighty, hard to handle. But, her horses have proven to her the rumors are ill founded.

Ms. Tyson's Arabian experience began when her uncle, who was planning to move after retiring, offered to give her his Arabian mare. She was hesitant at first.

"It was pitch dark and she was pastured alone when I went to see her the first time. When she heard (Uncle) Vernon's voice she came flying into the corral-white as a ghost, all tail and nostrils," Cheryl says about meeting Monica.

"That image didn't help dispel my misgivings, but I agreed to give her a try. Within a month she had my complete attention and before the first year was over I was a convert! I think I could have trained her with a towel in her mouth. I did use a rubber bit. She was kind, smart, funny, and a joy to teach."

Cheryl is amused at the comments people make about her "nice" Arabians, as if they are unusual. "I only wish everyone could have the opportunity to find out what Arabians are really like," she says.

That comment is a mantra spoken by many Arabian owners. Others just smile when they overhear the non-initiated talk about "those crazy Arabian horses." They know it's all just an act, all that snort and pizzazz. That's because we've been privy to the mystique, and have part of the treasure right in our own backyard.

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    • profile image

      Phil 6 years ago

      I have ridden TB's and Quarter Horses but now I have a 13 year old Arab Gelding and he is my joy. He greets me when I arrive...well mannered..I ride English but we ride on trail. I always look forward to being with him.

      These are exceptional horses.

    • profile image

      Banana123 6 years ago

      arabians are awesome...they are most definatley not hotheaded...i love quarter horses but arabians do have the character to quickly change my mind...i say that if you can't keep up with the arabian (like you don't have patience to train them) don't buy them! welsh cobs are nice but they are slow and fat and thick...great necks when they learn to tuck they're head...but i would prefer the arabian over a fat slow breed!

    • profile image

      Amanda 7 years ago

      I'm a proud horse owner because I own an Arabian. And Arabians are in heavey horse breeds history too

    • FKbach profile image

      FKbach 8 years ago from NW Pennsylvania

      They say that to train a horse, a person needs to be smarter than the horse, and with Arabians, few people qualify! I am an avid fan of the Arabian breed and own a couple of them. They are wonderful, intelligent, sensitive creatures and certainly do not deserve the bias against them, but I run into it all the time. I'll take a "hot" Arabian over a cold Quarter Horse any time!

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      Kendra 8 years ago

      They're great when they're handled right from the start. The one I have (training) was neglected handling until she was 2 and then sent to a 'professional' trainer that associated riding with pain, so now I'm having fun to trying to fix someone elses screw up. Beautiful horses though.

    • EasyLearn profile image

      EasyLearn 8 years ago from Washington State

      IMHO if you treat your arab like your quarter horse wants to be treated, they'll get bored and disgruntled. That's where many people get the stubborn and hot headed from. Arab's almost have to be treated more like a dog than a horse. (Except my B&W pinto half arabs, they REQUIRE I treat them like princesses)

    • MagicStarER profile image

      MagicStarER 8 years ago from Western Kentucky

      Arabians are the only true purebreds of all horses. The rest are all "mutts" to be judged by their percentage of Arabian blood. ;)

    • dana825 profile image

      dana825 9 years ago from Chicago

      I'm an Arabian fan! Arabs aren't hot-headed, other horses just don't have enough character... that's my opinion!

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      Karen Plyler 9 years ago

      The first Arabian I ever rode was sent to a friend for training. My friend hurt her knee and could not ride so I offered to help out with the "little" mare. She had never been ridden, only ground driven and due to a heavy handed experience before she came to us, she had been flipped over backwards and was very afraid of contact with her mouth. I held her reins like threads in our first ride and she was fabulous. Within 15 minutes she was doing leg yields, as well as forward, backward, halt and walk. I immediately sold my APHA and QH, bought the arabian mare and never looked back. She went on to become my awesome trail companion and was our favorite lesson horse. Today I have a farm full of Arabians. They are the best!

    • donnaleemason profile image

      donnaleemason 9 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      I think they are absolutely beautiful.

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Amen, sister! Thanks for the comment.

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      Beth Thomas 9 years ago

      This person is just saying stuff we all have known for years! Arabians are intelligent,quick to learn with great senses of humor and a willingness to please that is equal to no other breed! They can be as gentle and as quiet as any kid's pony yet have the energy, grace and talent to jump fences, chase cows, and do dressage.