I have a question about how Arabs feel in comparison to TBs and warmbloods, how they might feel different coming off the ground. For example, warmbloods tend to feel slower off the ground than TBs do and if you don't pay attention to this you might run them off the ground trying to get them as sharp as many TBs can be. I'm just curious what a good Arab might feel like in comparison to either. I'm working with some now and I want to be sure to look for the right feel for them.
I would expect an arab to feel weak in comparison to the other two, at least at first without a lot of training to build correct hind end use and strength. Probably way more bendy, more likely to go sideways, easily twisting and going crooked, and very light and responsive in general. Often more suspension than a TB, and typically very little movement in the back to begin with, as the smooth ride a less mobile back provides is seen as a positive.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
Depends on the horse, I have had two arabs now and they are/were as different as night and day. One (now deceased) had a very tense back and was like riding a 2 x 4. The new horse is very pliable in his back and very athletic with three very quality gaits.
Both tended to be quick/prone to rush and light on their feet, not on the forehand as many (not ALL) WBs can be. You really feel when they are out of balance (I think a combination of smaller size and sensitivity). You MUST be on your game at all times. Agree arabs can get really wiggly and use that against the rider as an evasion. They can look supple when they are in fact just falling out the shoulder.
Otherwise dressage is dressage, a horse on the bit feels really good no matter what the breed. Arabs tend to look either wretched and inverted or lovely and very put together. There is not a lot of middle ground in my opinion. You really know when you aren't having a good day--they just can't fake it (they can fake headsets but that is not quite what I mean).
I say this loving arabs and growing up on the back of a lovely orange crabbet mare... They're very very hard.
They feel exceptionally safe, but they are strong little buggers are as far as flexion goes, but when they're soft they're sooooffftttt. I am an arena junkie (many years of not having one) and arabians are the only horses I enjoy trailriding. They're so sensible and smart, surefooted and quickwitted.
I am a total thoroughbred junkie, my horse gives and gives and gives to a fault, but at 10 he's like a 3 year old in every way. My trainer gave in and admitted that he needs to be lunged before he is ridden otherwise he's not mentally prepared to work. It has nothing to do with wearing him out, more to do with quieting the many voices in his head.
(The woman at the barn where I ride with the tough arab is, hands down, the best rider in the barn. She rode my thoroughbred one day and they both had huge smiles. Her arab, though not always 'together' has given her a priceless amount of 'feel').
I came to warmbloods at the wrong time in my life. Three years at the racetrack into a warmblood barn left me feeling like the horses weren't really paying attention. They are, just not in the same pyschotic way a thoroughbred does
Don't make the mistake of lumping them into common general categories.
A Shagya Arab feels much like a warmblood/TB cross both in size, movement and power, except there is a definite dose of ferrari heat. A Polish Arab and Egyptian Arab would definitely feel less powerful than a TB, let alone a warmblood. The endurance on the Arab is amazing. They can go for 8 hours, rest for 20 minutes and be hot-diggity ready to go for another 8 hours. These horses are fantastic for developing the rider's own endurance. I love riding Arabs! Not to mention, they're a quick study. You, generally speaking, do not have to explain things too many times to an Arab as they have considerable intelligence. Arabs are known for their loyalty, and I have experienced this first-hand. The Arabs I've ridden were lovely in the mouth and easy to come into collection, except for one mare who had been terribly spoiled and had been allowed her own way. Once we got through that, she was easy peasy. You do have to have feeling hands or the Arab will most definitely tell you His/Her Royal Highness is most displeased.
I've ridden TBs that were calm and quiet, lazy and stupid, and hotter than a frying pan. Not safe to lump TBs all in one puddle. A TB is least likely out of the 3 breeds to put up with any sort of nonsense from you. Both Arabs and warmbloods have more patience for their rider's momentary lapses, especially if you have already won them over as your teammate. Once you have won the TB as your teammate, you have some decent loyalty on your side, a heart that's willing to go and go and go for you some more if you should ask him/her of it.
The same can definitely be said for warmbloods. An old-bred warmblood will definitely feel cooler than many of today's modern bred warmbloods who have a goodly dose of TB, Anglo, or Shagya Arab in there somewhere. And for what it is worth, the kind of power behind a warmblood is the kind that can "cow-hop" and it breaks your pelvis without you even being tossed from the saddle. Been there, done that. Never underestimate the power of a WB. They also have considerable endurance. If you find yourself engaging in a spat or "discussion" with a warmblood, you had best be prepared to go the distance and you need to be sure you can win this battle, because they remember it indefinitely and if they're not convinced you completed the task, they will bring the issue up again at a later point. While most have superior rideability, they still seem to request leadership from their rider and will have less respect for someone who doesn't definitely present themselves as leader. Even a typical in-your-pocket Rubinstein will demand this from you.
This is by no means all-inclusive, but the Arabs and TB's I've owned were all fairly hot, sensitive, and opinionated. The Arabs were much more of the "pocket pony" type, very personable and interested in what I was doing, and as someone else mentioned, they can be very wiggly. I felt like the Arabs I owned were much more playful, and the TB's were compulsive workaholics (in the best possible way).
Currently I have an Anglo-Trakehner mare with what I'd consider a very typical TB personality. Amazing work ethic and tons of try in that mare. I also own her 3/4 Trakehner daughter, and she's an interesting one - very businesslike under saddle, but a big cuddly goofball on the ground.
I'm definitely a person who enjoys the hotter horses, so although I've liked many, many Arabs and TB's, in general I haven't been a big fan of the non-Trakehner WB's I've ridden. Most of them made me feel like a slave-driver - needed much stronger aids, and had very little get up and go to them.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
rodawn said it perfectly re: wbs need leadership and will bring up the issue again if not convinced. i gurrently own my third wb mare, dutch/han, and she is great in so many ways. however, being a mare especially, our conversations include a lot of her saying things like, " how sure are you that i should do this?" "do you really want my shoulders here? i think here is good enough" "remember last week? yeah i dont remember being totally convinced". but, she is almost 6, not hot, very intelligent, readily seeks contact, and tho super greenbean she can hack out alone and pops little logs, etc. also, not mareish.
my TB foxhunters, tho, are currently fit as fiddles and super sharp. they look at EVERYTHING.. their feed bucket, the field gate, the tree by the front of the barn. and they dont ask you to ride, thats just a bonus if you happen to know. they just need you to hold on. very different feel and attitude than the wbs ive ridden.
I really like Arabs for dressage. I'm thinking my next horse will be an Arab (because I can't afford a nice WB). As other members have already said, they're pretty wiggly and bendable--lateral stuff is, in general, easy for them. They're also very clever and have a fabulous work ethic.
I think the average Arab tends to be more suited to dressage than the average TB because they're more easily put together, less likely to fall on the forehand, very responsive (TBs are responsive too, obviously, but I think in a different way).
The Arabs I've ridden have been hard to sit. Which is not fun.
This thread came at a great time - I'm currently breaking a WB filly in who I find very different to the Arabs & TBs I have. Verrry interesting. Haven't backed her yet, looking forward to it, but slightly nervous at the same time...
Keep going with the answers, people!!
I've ridden all three over the years - although it's been a while since I've owned/regularly ridden a Tb or arab - and agree with the responses that instruct not to overly simplify things. When speaking of breeds, or types in the case of warmbloods, you really have to keep it at generalities and even then there will be plenty of exceptions.
I have found arabs to be quick, clever, and physically flexible. As a rider you will have to stay on top of keeping them straight. I have also found that many arabs find a false frame to be very easy, and they take a long time to build enough strength to carry themselves properly. Many are not built such that collection will be easy or even doable at an intermediate level. They have all been very personable and safe to ride.
The TBs I've owned/ridden have all been forward, sensitive horses that enjoy working. They generally have willing temperaments, and it's usually their build and movement that handicap them in dressage.
You'll find the most variation in warmbloods. There can be a lot of differences both within and between breeds. They dominate the sport horse world in dressage, jumping, and increasingly eventing, so finding one that fits you is not a problem as long as you have the pocketbook for it. When sitting on a good warmblood you will feel a sense of power. They are very strong, all mine have been as sensitive as any TB, and even a training level horse can give you that great uphill feeling. Many have excellent focus and work ethic, but they generally take longer to wrap their brains around a concept. I find they can be more stubborn or opinionated than arabs or TBs and are more willing to have an ongoing argument with their rider. They can be pretty powerful buckers.
I ride arabians. As an adult rerider after a 30+ year hiatus, they suit me right down to the ground. I've sold my long time arabian gelding and am focusing on my arabian mare. She comes out every day, wanting to work and it is so much fun to ride her. My gelding is a good boy, too.
At the end of the day, it is all about the partnership. Riding should be fun. For whatever it is worth, this is going to be my year to have fun!
Thanks for all the great insights. I think what I was looking to hear was the confirmation that they will feel less powerful, softer off the ground. I ride a number of very powerful TBs (for TBs) and and reasonably powerful warmbloods (for a warmblood) and the Arab I ride always seems to soft and to have little suspension in comparison. It's nice to know he is not "missing" something and to just work within those parameters to bring the real him out, that I shouldn't be trying to "add" punch and power to him. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, but it's always nice to have thoughts confirmed but other people with experience as well. Thanks again, I really appreciate it.