The Abaco Wild Horse
The American Cream Draft
The American Paint Horse
Anglo and Part-Bred Arab
The Arab Horse
Australian Stock Horse
The Bashkir Curly
The Blazer Horse
British Spotted Horse & Pony
The Canadian Pony of the Americas
The Chincoteague Pony
Coloured Horse and Pony Society (UK), Connemara Pony
Curly Haired Missouri Fox Trotters
The Gotland Pony
The Irish Draught Horse
The Kisber Felver
The Kiger Mustang
The Medicine Hat Horse
Mountain Pleasure Horse
New Forest Pony Nokota Horse Noriker
The Orlov Trotter
The Quariesian Quarter Horse Quarter Pony
The Racking Horse
Sulphur Springs Mustang
Tennessee Walking Horse
Welsh Pony and Cob
Please feel free to visit Equiworld's website for detailed information as to each specific breed of horse or pony.
Horse & Pony BreedsEquiworld: Worldwide Breeds of Horses & Ponies
The Arabian Horse Picture Gallery
Origin of the Arabian Horse The origin of the Arabian horse remains a great zoological mystery. Although this unique breed has had a distinctive national identity for centuries, its history nevertheless is full of subtleties, complexities and contradictions. It defies simple interpretation.
When we first encounter the Arabian, or the prototype of what is known today as the Arabian, he is somewhat smaller than his counterpart today. Otherwise he has essentially remained unchanged throughout the centuries.
Authorities are at odds about where the Arabian horse originated. The subject is hazardous, for archaeologists' spades and shifting sands of time are constantly unsettling previously established thinking. There are certain arguments for the ancestral Arabian having been a wild horse in northern Syria, southern Turkey and possibly the piedmont regions to the east as well. The area along the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent comprising part of Iraq and running along the Euphrates and west across Sinai and along the coast to Egypt, offered a mild climate and enough rain to provide an ideal environment for horses. Other historians suggest this unique breed originated in the southwestern part of Arabia, offering supporting evidence that the three great river beds in this area provided natural wild pastures and were the centers in which Arabian horses appeared as undomesticated creatures to the early inhabitants of southwestern Arabia.
Because the interior of the Arabian peninsula has been dry for approximately 10,000 years, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for horses to exist in that arid land without the aid of man. The domestication of the camel in about 3500 B.C. provided the Bedouins (nomadic inhabitants of the middle east desert regions) with means of transport and sustenance needed to survive the perils of life in central Arabia, an area into which they ventured about 2500 B.C. At that time they took with them the prototype of the modern Arabian horse.
There can be little dispute, however, that the Arabian horse has proved to be, throughout recorded history, an original breed-which remains to this very day.
Neither sacred nor profane history tells us the country where the horse was first domesticated, or whether he was first used for work or riding. He probably was used for both purposes in very early times and in various parts of the world. We know that by 1500 B.C. the people of the east had obtained great mastery over their hot-blooded horses which were the forerunners of the breed which eventually became known as "Arabian."
About 3500 years ago the hot-blooded horse assumed the role of king-maker in the east, including the valley of the Nile and beyond, changing human history and the face of the world. Through him the Egyptians were made aware of the vast world beyond their own borders. The Pharaohs were able to extend the Egyptian empire by harnessing the horse to their chariots and relying on his power and courage. With his help, societies of such distant lands as the Indus Valley civilizations were united with Mesopotamian cultures. The empires of the Hurrians, Hittites, Kassites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and others rose and fell under his thundering hooves. His strength made possible the initial concepts of a cooperative universal society, such as the Roman empire. The Arabian "pony express" shrank space, accelerated communications and linked empires together throughout the eastern world.
This awe-inspiring horse of the east appears on seal rings, stone pillars and various monuments with regularity after the 16th century B.C. Egyptian hieroglyphics proclaim his value; Old Testament writings are filled with references to his might and strength. Other writings talk of the creation of the Arabian, "thou shallst fly without wings and conquer without swords." King Solomon some 900 years B.C. eulogized the beauty of "a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots," while in 490 B.C. the famous Greek horseman, Xinophon proclaimed: "A noble animal which exhibits itself in all its beauty is something so lovely and wonderful that it fascinates young and old alike." But whence came the "Arabian horse?" We have seen this same horse for many centuries before the word "Arab" was ever used or implied as a race of people or species of horse.
The origin of the word "Arab" is still obscure. A popular concept links the word with nomadism, connecting it with the Hebrew "Arabha," dark land or steppe land, also with the Hebrew "Erebh," mixed and hence organized as opposed to organized and ordered life of the sedentary communities, or with the root "Abhar"-to move or pass. "Arab" is a Semitic word meaning "desert" or the inhabitant thereof, with no reference to nationality. In the Koran a'rab is used for Bedouins (nomadic desert dwellers) and the first certain instance of its Biblical use as a proper name occurs in Jer. 25:24: "Kings of Arabia," Jeremiah having lived between 626 and 586 B.C. The Arabs themselves seem to have used the word at an early date to distinguish the Bedouin from the Arabic-speaking town dwellers.
This hot blooded horse which had flourished under the Semitic people of the east now reached its zenith of fame as the horse of the "Arabas." The Bedouin horse breeders were fanatic about keeping the blood of their desert steeds absolutely pure, and through line-breeding and inbreeding, celebrated strains evolved which were particularly prized for distinguishing characteristics and qualities. The mare evolved as the Bedouin's most treasured possession. The harsh desert environment ensured that only the strongest and keenest horse survived, and it was responsible for many of the physical characteristics distinguishing the breed to this day.
Horse of the Desert Bedouin "An Arabian will take care of its owner as no other horse will, for it has not only been raised to physical perfection, but has been instilled with a spirit of loyalty unparalleled by that of any other breed."
Somewhere in the inhospitable deserts of the Middle East, centuries ago, a breed of horse came into being that would influence the equine world beyond all imagination. In the sweet grass oasis along the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in the countries that are now known as Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and in other parts of the Arabia peninsula, this hearty horse developed and would soon be known as the Arabian horse.
To the Islamic people, he was considered a gift from Allah, to be revered, cherished and almost worshipped. Long before Europeans were to become aware of his existence, the horse of the desert had established himself as a necessity for survival of the Bedouin people. The head men of the tribes could relate the verbal histories of each family of horse in his tribe as well as he could each family of Bedouin. The mythology and romance of the breed grew with each passing century as stories of courage, endurance and wealth intermingled with the genealogies.
The very nature of the breed, it's shape as well as it's color, was influenced by religious belief, superstition and tradition. It was believed that the bulging forehead held the blessings of Allah. Therefore the greater the "Jibbah" the greater the blessings carried by the horse. The great arching neck with a high crest, the "Mitbah" was a sign of courage, while a gaily carried tail showed pride. These traits were held in high esteem and selectively bred for.
Due in part to the religious significance attached to the Arabian horse, as well as the contribution it made to the wealth and security of the tribe, the breed flourished in near isolation. Traditions of breeding and purity were established to keep the breed "Asil" or pure, in the form intended by Allah. Any mixture of foreign blood from the mountains or the cities surrounding the desert was strictly forbidden. While other, desert type breeds developed in North Africa and the periphery of the Great Desert, they were definitely not of the same blood as Arabians and were disdained by the proud Bedouin.
The Arabian horse was primarily an instrument of war, as were horses in general in most societies of the time. A well mounted Bedouin could attack an enemy tribe and capture their herds of sheep, camels and goats, adding to the wealth of their own tribe. Such a raid was only successful if the aggressors could attack with surprise and speed and make good their escape. Mares were the best mounts for raiding parties, as they would not nicker to the enemy tribe's horses, warning of their approach. The best war mares exhibited great courage in battle, taking the charges and the spear thrusts without giving ground. Speed and endurance were essential as well, for the raids were often carried out far from the home camp, family and children.
The Bedouin people could be as hospitable as they were war like. If a desert traveler touched their tent pole, they were obligated to provide for this "guest", his entourage and animals for up to three days without request for payment. A welcome guest would find his mare's bridle hung from the center pole of his hosts' tent to indicate his status. In this way, tribes that were often at war would meet and, with great hospitality, break bread and share stories of their bravest and fastest horses.
Races were held with the winner taking the best of the losers herd as their prize. Breeding stock could be bought and sold, but as a rule, the war mares carried no price. If indeed they changed hands it would be as a most honored gift. Through the centuries the tribes who roamed the northern desert in what is now Syria became the most esteemed breeders of fine horses. No greater gift could be given than an Arabian mare.
The value placed upon the mare led inevitably to the tracing of any family of the Arabian horse through his dam. The only requirement of the sire was that he be "Asil". If his dam was a "celebrated" mare of a great mare family, so much the better. Mare families, or strains, were named, often according to the tribe or sheik who bred them.
The Bedouin valued pure in strain horses above all others, and many tribes owned only one main strain of horse. The five basic families of the breed, known as "Al Khamsa", include Kehilan, Seglawi, Abeyan, Hamdani and Hadban. Other, less "choice" strains include Maneghi, Jilfan, Shuwayman, and Dahman. Substrains developed in each main strain, named after a celebrated mare or Sheik that formed a substantial branch within the main strain.
A great story of courage, endurance, or speed always accompanied the recitation of the genealogy of the sub-strain, such as the great Kehilet al Krush, the Kehilet Jellabiyat and the Seglawi of Ibn Jedran. Each of these mares carried with them stories of great battles and intrigue. Their daughters were sought after by the most powerful Kings but often remained unattainable. Daughters and granddaughters of these fabled mares changed hands through theft, bribery and deceit. If any of their descendants were sold, the prices were legendary.
Each strain, when bred pure, developed characteristics that could be recognized and identified. The Kehilan strain was noted for depth of chest, masculine power and size. The average pure in strain Kehilan stood up to 15 hands. Their heads were short with broad foreheads and great width in the jowls. Most common colors were gray and chestnut.
The Seglawi was known for refinement and almost feminine elegance. This strain was more likely to be fast rather than have great endurance. Seglawi horses have fine bone, longer faces and necks than the Kehilan. The average height for a Seglawi would be 14.2 hands, the most common color Bay.
The Abeyan strain is very similar to the Seglawi. They tended to be refined. The pure in strain Abeyan would often have a longer back than a typical Arabian. They were small horses, seldom above 14.2 hands, commonly gray and carried more white markings than other strains.
Hamdani horses were often considered plain, with an athletic if somewhat masculine, large boned build. Their heads were more often straight in profile, lacking an extreme Jibbah. The Hamdani strain was one of the largest, standing as much as 15.2 hands. The common colors were gray and bay.
The Hadban strain was a smaller version of the Hamdani. Sharing several traits including big bone and muscular build. They were also known for possessing an extremely gentle nature. The average height of a Hadban was 14.3 hands, the primary color brown or bay with few if any white markings.
While the Bedoiun bred their horses in great obscurity, the highly war like people of the East rode their Barbs and Turks into Europe, bringing havoc with them and leaving waste in their wake. Though few Arabian horses accompanied the Turks and Vandals on their forays into Europe, their hardy Barb and Turkish mountain horses were no less impressive to their victims.
Europe had developed horses through the Dark Ages to carry a knight and his armor. Their lighter horses were from the pony breeds. They had nothing to compare with the small, fast horses upon which the invaders were mounted. An interest in these "Eastern" horses grew, along with fantastical stories of prowess, speed, endurance and even jumping ability. To own such a horse would not only allow for the improvement of local stock, but would endow the fortunate man with incredible prestige. Such a horse in the stable would rival the value of the greatest art work hung on the wall. Europeans of means, primarily Royalty, went to great lengths to acquire these fabled horses.
As the world slowly shrank due to increasing travel abroad, the Turkish rulers of the Ottoman Empire began to send gifts of Arabian horses to European heads of state. Such was the nature of The Godolphin Arabian (sometimes called "Barb") imported to England in 1730 as well as The Byerley Turk (1683) and the Darley Arabian (1703). These three "Eastern" stallions formed the foundation upon which a new breed, the Thoroughbred, was to be built. Today 93% of all modern Thoroughbreds can be traced to these three sires. By direct infusion, and through the blood of the Thoroughbred, the Arabian has contributed, to some degree to all our light breeds of horses.
The Arabian horse also made inroads into other parts of Europe and even farther east. In France, the Arabian helped to make the famous Percheron. In Russia, the blood of the Arabian horse contributed to the development of the Orloff Trotter.
The Bedouins have generally been credited with the beginning of selective pure breeding of Arabian horses. These tribes, although their breeding records were kept by memory and passed down through the ages verbally, are also credited as the first to keep breeding records and maintaining the purity of the Arabian breed. To this date, many Arabian pedigrees can be traced to desert breeding meaning there is no written record but because of the importance of purity to the Bedouins, "desert bred" is accepted as an authentic verification of pure blood for those early imports.
Today the Arabian horse exists in far greater numbers outside of it's land of origin than it ever did in the Great Desert. In the early part of the last century; greed, ambition, desire for prestige, as well as an honest interest in saving the breed from extinction was the driving force behind governments, royal families and adventuring private citizens alike in the acquisition and propagation of this great prize of the Bedouin people--the Arabian horse.
For more information on this breed, please visit the Arabian Horse Association's website.
The Arabian Horse Association
Other links on Arabian Horses:
The Arabian Horse Network
Stonewall Farms Arabians, LLC
Arabian in Site
The Heavy Draft Horse Picture Gallery
History shows that Belgians are the most direct lineal descendants of the "Great Horse" of medieval times. The Belgian, as the name implies, is native to the country of Belgium. This little country is blessed with fertile soil and abundant rainfall providing the thrifty farmers of Belgium with the excellent pastures and the hay and grain necessary to develop a heavy, powerful breed of horse. Belgium lies in the very center of that area of western Europe that gave rise to the large black horses known as Flemish horses and referred to as the “Great Horses” by medieval writers. They are the horses that carried armored knights into battle. Such horses known to exist in that part of Europe in the time of Caesar. They provided the genetic material from which nearly all the modern draft breeds are fashioned. Stallions from Belgium were exported to many other parts of Europe as the need to produce larger animals of draft type for industrial and farm use was recognized. There was no need to import into Belgium for she was the "mother lode." It remained only for this ancestral home of the "great horse," by whatever name, to refine and fix the type of the genetic material she already had at hand. The government of Belgium played a very energetic role in doing just that. A system of district shows culminating in the great National Show in Brussels, which served as an international showcase for the breed, was established. The prizes were generous. Inspection committees for stallions standing for public service were established. The result was a rapid improvement into a fixed breed type as the draft horses of Belgium become regarded as a national heritage and, quite figuratively, a treasure. In 1891, for example, Belgium exported stallions for use in the government stables of Russia, Italy, Germany, France, and the old Austria-Hungary empire. The movement of horses out of Belgium for breeding purposes was tremendous in scope and financially rewarding for her breeder's decade after decade. The American Association was officially founded in February of 1887 in Wabash, Indiana. The breed offices still remain in Wabash. It was slow going for the Belgian until after the turn of the century. In 1903 the government of Belgium sent an exhibit of horses to the St. Louis World's Fair and the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago. While this effort was attended by plenty of controversy over which type of horse best suited Americans, it also generated a great deal of interest in the breed. From that point forward the breed's acceptance grew steadily. Nearly every major importer in the country included Belgians in their offering. In terms of importing seed stock and establishing new breeders it was none too soon, for the onset of World War I in 1914 brought all importations to a halt. Suddenly, American Belgian breeders were on their own. Fortunately, they had plenty of the "right kind" with which to develop their own style of Belgian horse. It was during the draft horse decline in the 20's that the Belgian moved into a very solid number two position in this country. Thus, it should not be surpassing to know that during the 20's there was a resumption of importing from Belgium on a small scale. With the dramatic upturn in draft horse fortunes in the mid-30's, the importation of horses from Belgian again assumed major proportions for a few years. The last importation was landed was landed in New York by E.F. Dygert, Iowa importer, on January 15. 1940, four months after World War II had started and four months before the German invasion of Belgium. It was about that time that a number of things conspired to nearly end draft horse breeding of any kind. The labor shortage of World War II, the introduction of small, rubber-tired row-crop tractors, and the tremendous push for mechanization in the wake of World War II put all draft breeds under severe pressure. The decline of interest in draft horse breeding was precipitous, obituary notices were a dime a dozen. The number of annual registrations even dropped under the 200 mark for a couple of years during the early 50's. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, the return of the draft horse got underway. As the price of horses recovered so did the breeding. Registrations and transfers made slow but steady gains until, in 1980, they surpassed the all time high set in 1937. An average for the next five years was over 4000 registrations and close to 6000 transfers...easily the greatest five year period in the breed's history. That is where you find the Belgian horse today...way out in front. Looking at the following reasons will explain the resurgence in draft horse fortunes and the reasons for the remarkable success of the Belgian in particular. REASONS FOR THE DRAFT HORSE RENAISSANCE 1. A growing ecological awareness that some of the tools and methods of modern agriculture is destructive, causing many to seek alternatives, among which is the draft horse as a source of power 2. An economic crunch that makes home grown power, that runs on home grown fuel, which in turn enriches the soil in the form of manure, reproduces itself plus providing surplus for sale, and appreciates rather than depreciates for the first half of its life, look better and better. 3. Their beauty. The draft horse at his best is a spectacular beast. Once booted out at some fairs for being behind the times, they are now welcomed back as crowd pleasers. More increasingly big commercial firms are also looking to the Belgian hitch as an advertising vehicle. 4. Nostalgia plays a role, albeit a minor one. Increasing numbers of horse-minded people are finding their pleasure horse in the form of a team of Belgians. Their good disposition and willingness to work make them great favorites on some of the small part-time "sundowner and weekender" type farms that continue to increase in number. WHY THE BELGIAN SUCCESS? Many of the breeds first imports were roundly criticized for being too thick, too low headed, straight shouldered, and round boned. There was even an expression for it..."the Dutchman's type." But even with his faults, those early Belgians made friends because they were easy keepers and willing workers with amiable disposition. The American farmer decided that the breeds' assets far outweighed its faults and the American breeder set out to retain what was right and remedy what was wrong. The success of that effort has been one of the great success stories in animal breeding. Today's Belgian is a big, powerful fellow that retains the drafty middle, a deep, strong foot, a lot of bone, the heavy muscling and amiable disposition possessed by the early Belgians. His qualities as an easy keeper, a good shipper, and a willing worker are intact. The changes made by American breeders have developed a horse with far more style, particular in the head and neck, with more slope to both shoulder and pastern, and the good clean, flat bone that goes hand in hand with such qualities. The modern Belgian is still a great worker...and has become a great wagon horse. The fact that the Belgians are equally effective in pulling competition as in a hitch competition says it all. The fact that Belgians are by far the most numerous of all draft breeds in this country, plus the fact that they are much a one-color breed makes it easier to mate a horse when you need to and offer you a much bigger market when you wish to sell.
Rural Heritage, Draft Horse Journal
The Draft Horse Journal
The Draft Horse Resource
The Warmblood Horse Picture Gallery
What is a Warmblood? Synopsis from the 1/8/00 presentation on “What is a Warmblood?”
To give an accurate answer, one must first look to history. Equus evolved sub species from two main ancestral types-the Tarpan and the Przewalski one million years ago to adapt to their own environmental conditions. The three sub species were Proto Arabian located in Africa, Valley of the Tigris, Euphrates, Iran and Afghanistan. The breeds descending were the Barb and the Arabian. The Proto Warmblood was found in Europe. Note that the warmblood was actually a "wild" sub species and not of man made origin. The Cleveland Bay, Friesan and Groningen were descended from the Proto Warmblood. Proto Draft was in the area of the British Isles. The Celtic pony and the Noriker descended form them. Man made mixtures or "breeds" are horses that have been selected by man with characteristics that meet man's criteria. They are mixtures of our original, wild subspecies. Since horses went extinct in North America after migrating through Alaska into Siberia, there weren’t any native subspecies there to breed from so they relied on importation and Proto Warmblood was not used. The first warmblood came to the U.S. in 1970. Europe had use of the 3 distinct types, however. Thoroughbreds, for example, were a mix of Proto Arabian (Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk, Godolphin Arabian) x Proto Draft (Suffolk Punch) and a bit of Tarpan and were culled for speed. The American Quarter Horse was originally Proto Draft x Proto Arab and a bit of Tarpan. The Morgan was the same with a different dilution. The Hanoverian was originally bred by using Thoroughbred Stallions on native Proto Warmblood mares. After 1900, Trakehner and Arabian blood was used. They would be Proto Arab x Proto Draft x Proto Warmblood with a dash of Tarpan. Sub species adapted for their region. For example, the Proto Arabs had dished heads for a cooling of air into the lungs and were fine boned and light for easier going through the sands. The Proto Drafts had large hooves and bodies for easier navigation of boggy ground while the Proto Warmbloods were large bodied with Roman Noses for warming the colder European air for their lungs. It is interesting to note that the ponies of the British Isles were a descendant of the Proto Draft. Shetlands and Norwegian Fjords were originated from large draft types! When the Islands were formed, the large horses got smaller. They shrunk from 1/2 to 1/3 their size ensuring ample food and being able to find breeding partners.
So you see that Warmbloods were here before man started riding horses. They have since been selected for various reasons through the centuries to meet the needs of man. Early years bred heavy horses for farm work and war, i.e. pulling artillery or carrying men with armor. The Trakehner Breed is one exception, however. It has always been bred for a riding horse and has had a closed stud book which does not allow other breeds except Thoroughbred and Arabian. Some warmblood breeds have open books that include other European warmblood breeds, Thoroughbreds and Arabians that exhibit the characteristics desired creating a meshing of breeds. Today, Warmbloods are SPECIFIC DILUTIONS of time honored recipes for sport. A little hot and a little cold does not produce warm in the Warmblood Horse. Remember that the special ingredient was the native Proto Warmblood mares with appropriate mixes to come up with our modern “Warmblood”. The Europeans are masters at breeding their beloved horses and have had a system of intense record keeping, testing and culling in their breeding for hundreds of years. The Hanoverian Breed is "Dedicated to the Development of a Superior Riding Horse". We have many warmblood registries worldwide with new American ones popping up every day and American affiliates of the European counter part. All registries have different criteria for inclusion in their studbooks but welcome inquiries and interest. First importations into the U.S. were a large, heavier type and now look more elegant and show the refinement of more Thoroughbred influence due to market demands. In Europe they have preserved the movement of the warmblood and it is paramount that we strive for this also in the United States in our breeding programs. Warmbloods excel and predominate in 3 out of the 4 Olympic equestrian sports which are show jumping, dressage and driving. 3 day eventing is still dominated by Thoroughbreds or crosses because of the need for galloping speed.
As with all sports, an animal bred for a particular endeavor will usually possess more of the attributes mentally and physically that predispose him for that use. He will perform with less injuries, progress faster in his training, have a happier attitude and seem to almost have an inherent understanding for his work which can all help create that human/horse bond we hope for. He should have the natural abilities that make it easy for him to meet our requests with a generous attitude, besides. One must always keep in mind what our animals are bred for, physically and mentally predisposed for, their previous training and be thoughtful in how and what we ask of them.
The warmblood market is booming. It seems like everyone is buying or breeding them these days. Be a knowledgeable consumer and remember that all breeds have their few exemplary members and many average and a few poor members. Breeding is like that from even one mare. Spending a lot of money on a "Warmblood" is not a guarantee for anything-just the same as breeding your favorite non-warmblood mare to a "Warmblood" isn't. The market has expanded to the point of having many “Warmbloods” on the market from many breeders with different goals. breeds and breeding criteria. The wise one will always select the breed of horse on its own merits of movement, conformation and attitude for the sport to be performed.
This material was taken from articles written by Deb Bennett, Ph.D. in "Equus", "The Warmblood Guide Book", articles from Hanoverian and Trakehner publications and some is just my opinion!
by Dorene Schuette (http://www.elkrunfarm.com/default.HTM)
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