Subscribe to Young Rider    

Horses of History: Arabians, Anglo-Arabians and Thoroughbreds

Horses of History - Arabians, Anglo-Arabians and Thoroughbreds
By Allison Griest

If someone asked you to ramble off five different horse breeds, chances are you'd mention Arabians or Thoroughbreds. Mix them together and you’ve got Anglo-Arabians.

These breeds are well known for many reasons. Did you know they've all played important roles in the history of the horse? Their conformation, disposition and athleticism have made them important contributors to bloodlines and equestrian sports.

The Arabian
When you envision the Arabian, you probably think about a dished face, a beautiful arched neck, curved ears and a flagged tail. The Arabian's elegance makes it a favorite among riders and horse lovers. They're a very majestic breed.

The actual origin of the Arabian is debated among historians and researchers. Many believe the Arab developed in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula while others believe the first Arabians were wild horses in Syria and Turkey.

Arabians were bred as war mounts in the deserts of the Middle East for thousands of years. The harsh desert environments helped develop a horse with a large lung capacity and incredible endurance. They were sure-footed horses with good speed.

Despite different perspectives on the breed's origin, there's no doubt that the Arabian is a breed that has had vast influence on today's horse world.

Arabian Bloodlines
In 1900, the Royal Agricultural Society in Egypt began the first Arabian studbook. The first stallion was named Saklawi.

Many prized Arabians are bred at the Royal Stables in Amman where Princess Alia Al-Hussein of Jordan and others have worked to carefully maintain the royal Arabian bloodlines.

Since Arabians have remarkable athleticism and intelligence, they are often used in endurance competitions. It's not uncommon for Arabians to have logged hundreds of miles. For example, Elmer Bandit is a 37-year-old Arabian who has logged more than 20,000 competitive trail miles!

Breeders all over the world have integrated Arabians into their breeding programs to refine and enhance their horse herds.

The Arabian has breed societies in several countries. Visit the Arabian Horse Association at for more information about this historic breed.

The Thoroughbred
As soon as you hear the word Thoroughbred, you probably think about speed. Thoroughbreds are known for their racing talent, but they excel in almost every equestrian discipline.

All Thoroughbreds trace back to three famous foundation sires of Arabian blood: the Darley Arabian, Byerley Turk and Godolphin Barb.

In the 1700s, Thoroughbred racing became quite popular in England, and in 1791 the British General Studbook for Thoroughbred horses was published in an effort to bring a sense of order to the sport of racing and to preserve the breed. The first American studbook, the Jockey Club, was started in 1894.

Thoroughbreds in Action
Besides racing, Thoroughbreds can be seen in three-day eventing, hunters, jumpers, polocrosse, polo, combined driving and fox hunting.

Thoroughbred crosses are also very popular due to the breeds' stamina and athleticism. They have been crossed with Quarter Horses, Standardbreds, Arabians and various Warmbloods.

The Anglo-Arabian is a cross between a Thoroughbred and an Arabian. An Anglo-Arabian can have no more than 75 percent and no less than 25 percent Arabian blood. One of the reasons this breed is so successful is because Arabians cross extremely well with Thoroughbreds. Anglo-Arabians inherit the best characteristics of both breeds.

Originally bred in France under the French National Stud Service in 1836, the Anglo-Arabian became a very popular breed due to its strength and endurance.

Today the Anglo-Arabian is a wonderful horse for show jumping, eventing and dressage.

To learn more about Anglo-Arabians, visit

Successful Eventer
If you follow the eventing world, you may have heard of Britain's William Fox-Pitt. William has been very successful riding the bay Anglo-Arabian gelding, Tamarillo. The team has won several upper-level eventing competitions, including the 2008 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials! William recently retired “Tam” from top level competition.



Dog Fancy | Cat Fancy | Horse Illustrated | Reptiles | More Great I-5 Sites

Disclaimer: The posts and threads recorded in our messageboards do not reflect the opinions of nor are endorsed by I-5 Publishing, LLC, nor any of its employees. We are not responsible for the content of these posts and threads. Site best viewed with IE 5+
Copyright ©  I-5 Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
Our Privacy Policy has changed.Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights. Terms of Use * Guidelines for Participation

Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.