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Arabian Sport Horses

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  • Arabian Sport Horses

    So I'm a relative "newbie" to the Arabian world. I currently have a three year old that I've backed (had him since he was a yearling) and taken to a few easy schooling dressage shows. And I keep finding that I have one of the only purebread Arabs everywhere I go.

    So why is this? Why is it that we don't see more purebread Arabians eventing or doing dressage etc? Is it the size or temperment that's a factor? I just thought I'd ask some of you breeders out there for your opinions. :-D

  • #2
    Not all Arabs are built for dressage. As recently as 12 or 13 years ago I was told by an FEI Trainer that my HALF Arab wouldn't be suited (sight unseen) because she has 1 less vertabrae and wouldn't make upper levels. Funny, he saw the mare in person a bit later, thinking she was an Anglo-Trak or Anglo-WB, and really, really liked her.

    The ones built/suited for dressage do very, very well. Everglade Arabians used to have a great article I liked to from my site, about why Arabs can be an ideal Amateur horse. I think they were spot on.

    Some have fried brains, some are too tight/inverted in the back... but a GOOD Arab can be a GREAT dressage horse.

    I never thought I'd end up breeding ArabX Sporthorses, but they are incredibly talented and very well suited to their amateur owner/rider/trainers. They are doing quite well in open competition too.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

    Comment


    • #3
      Arabians are very athletic little horses, and their blood has been used to improve almost all ridden sport horse breeds. For some it is a size issue, others find them too hot/sensitive... and then add to the fact that they have not been bred to be serious sport horses until just recently. An overwhelming majority of Arabians are really not suited for upper level open competition. There are exceptions in every discipline, but at this time they are just that.. exceptions. They can make very nice mounts for the skilled/confident armature rider.

      You may want to visit an AHA show that offers Sport Horse classes. We Arabian sport horse breeders are making an honest effort to produce Arabian horses with open quality gaits and conformation to match. The judges we use are open judges, the same you are showing under right now... they switch it up a bit alternating hunter and dressage judges for the Sport Horse In-hand and Sport Horse Under Saddle classes (rail class, not dressage tests of course).
      \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-

      Comment


      • #4
        I think at the lower levels, it's the breed's reputation (too hot, only halter horses, only endurance horses, only saddleseat horses. I think Arabs have more misconceptions out there about them than any other breed ). People just don't think Arabian when they're looking for a low to mid-level horse.

        It varies a lot by area; in CA, you'll see a number of nice Arabs out competing with their owners. Here in KY, I think I might own the only Arabs in the county.

        Another reason is that we have breed shows to go to. There's many a nice Arab that never goes to anything other than AHA shows.

        Finally, Arabs are very versatile. This means lots of them are off at endurance rides, CTR, driving events, team pennings, etc. They're spread out over a lot of disciplines.
        Still Crazy After All These Years

        Comment


        • #5
          I went to a horse expo once and a big name trainer with a lot of confirmation related to performance credentials did a session on confirmation and what it precludes a horse to do.

          If I am remembering correctly (it was many years ago) the quarter horse and the arabian confirmation has their legs even - the patella is even with what is commonly referred to as the elbow - or more even. This precludes them to being much better at endurance, long distance, working all day, etc.

          The thoroughbred's patella is higher, which precludes him more to dressage and especially jumping.

          I know I am not explaining it correctly, but the point I am trying to make is that while Arabians are beautiful and useful horses, they were designed for endurance/working all day. Current breeding may be changing some of that in the confirmation, but do not be offended if the Arabian is not great in dressage - it is not that it is a bad horse, just not designed for it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sudi's Girl View Post
            So I'm a relative "newbie" to the Arabian world. I currently have a three year old that I've backed (had him since he was a yearling) and taken to a few easy schooling dressage shows. And I keep finding that I have one of the only purebread Arabs everywhere I go.

            So why is this?

            To quote a friend of mine:
            To train a horse, you must be smarter than the horse.
            With Arabs, fewer people qualify.
            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

            Comment


            • #7
              To quote a friend of mine:
              To train a horse, you must be smarter than the horse.
              With Arabs, fewer people qualify.


              I'm not sure I agree with the conformation assessment. If Arabs are so unsuited, then why have they been used for centuries for breed improvement? Why do they have such a strong influence? (Inshallah comes to mind immediately... is it Zeus who is also AngloArab? )

              That's why Meg Hamilton said of my stallion "This is the kind of horse you see in Europe for breed improvement." She did not know his breeding. (though it's somewhat obvious.) Many people are stumped--his GORGEOUS head shouts Arab, but the rest of him... perplexes them.

              Many aren't suited, but many are.
              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                To quote a friend of mine:
                To train a horse, you must be smarter than the horse.
                With Arabs, fewer people qualify.
                OMG! I love that...
                \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post


                  I'm not sure I agree with the conformation assessment. If Arabs are so unsuited, then why have they been used for centuries for breed improvement? Why do they have such a strong influence? (Inshallah comes to mind immediately... is it Zeus who is also AngloArab? )

                  That's why Meg Hamilton said of my stallion "This is the kind of horse you see in Europe for breed improvement." She did not know his breeding. (though it's somewhat obvious.) Many people are stumped--his GORGEOUS head shouts Arab, but the rest of him... perplexes them.

                  Many aren't suited, but many are.
                  This is my thought exactly! If they're so good at refining other breeds, then why don't they stand so well alone? And more importantly, why don't people go for them as much??

                  I LOVE that quote too!!! I think that might be another reason why so many people don't like Arabs since they don't adequately understand them. One of the highest complements (IMO) that I've gotten from a judge is that my horse and I are "A great match."

                  My mom's Arab is WAY too smart for his own good - although at the same time loves to play games. He's a complete challenge to figure out sometimes, but I really like that about him. He's one that's definitely built uphill enough for dressage.

                  Mine on the other hand, confuses everyone when he goes out. I see him as definitely Arab, but all I get is jaw dropping and confused looks when I tell that to people. Like it's beyond comprehension that an Arab can do well in dressage. He's a great boy and even at 3 has beat high dollar, warmblood - level equivalents.

                  Well I'm glad to see other people think that Arabs are as great as I do. I doubt I will ever be out of the "Ammies," and I'll be lucky if I get out of BN Eventing (although I don't see it being the Arab holding me back hehe )

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I see quite a few Arabs in dressage! Not too many at the upper levels, but they are out there (check out Taez, he's done quite well). One reason you may not see quite as many as you might expect is many are showing on the Arab circuit. AHANC has done an excellent job promoting their own Arabian sporthorse show circuit - and many Arab owners choose to focus their $ and time on those shows (where the ribbons and prizes are very cool).

                    Half Arabs are also quite popular in California - so we see quite a few of them in the dressage court too!
                    www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
                    Director, WTF Registry

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Refinement and improvement are two different things. Yes, Arabians have been used for both, but I would wager that the goal of using Arabian blood has a lot less to do with the way Arabians are built and move and more about streamlining, lightening and adding an elegant head/neck... Top it off with being extremely picky about the kind of Arabian that was used to influence heaver more coarse breeds (they didn't just use the Arab down the lane) without diluting the big lofty movement they were striving for... it is a little more complicated then just saying "they have been used for centuries for breed improvement". Yes they have, but they had to be exceptional individuals
                      \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FriesianX View Post
                        I see quite a few Arabs in dressage! Not too many at the upper levels, but they are out there (check out Taez, he's done quite well). One reason you may not see quite as many as you might expect is many are showing on the Arab circuit. AHANC has done an excellent job promoting their own Arabian sporthorse show circuit - and many Arab owners choose to focus their $ and time on those shows (where the ribbons and prizes are very cool).

                        Half Arabs are also quite popular in California - so we see quite a few of them in the dressage court too!
                        First of all, there are ALOT more arabs and 1/2's out there in both the hunter and dressage world..flying under the radar for years due to the 'prejudice' that existed..hardly all arabs 'look' like the stereotype..and most DON"T act the stereotype either, but those that DO make a statement that is often negative and highly remembered...In a barn of say, 20 bay thoroughbreds and warmbloods of which a certain percentage is ALWAYS nuts, if there is ONE 'little' grey arab and that arab is nuts (like any horse of any breed can be thanks to humans) , which 'nut' in the barn will be remembered and talked about?
                        Most HALTER arabs are not 'built for dressage'...as in halter the QH are not built to do anything...NONE of our purebreds would ever have made a top arabian halter trainer very happy...as in all breeds there are variations within the breed that appeal to each segment of the horse breeding population. Selective breeding for halter, racing, hunters, saddleseat, dressage, working cattle, etc etc...fits about any registered group of animals, doesn't it?..PEOPLE have a tendancy to create the stereotypes...not the horses.

                        One thing that the arabian IS 'better' at AS A RULE..is their ability to do, and do them well, diverse activities simultaneously...Check out HSA Haley's Comet....He is an accomplished 16h purebred arabian stallion who wins at 4th level and now prix st. george ....wins there on Thurs, then gets his tack changed and wins at open hunter shows that weekend...as a HUNTER...NOT jumper, as do the tb's and wb's who compete (admirably) at 3 day events...
                        Most of our arabs are 'built for hunters', with an added benefit of having an uphill enough build to be ideal eventers..as in they can jump very very well, but can also accomplish mid level dressage. The others are built for doing whatever you may want..A more athletic animal doesn't exist.. NO, many are not 'capable' of upper level dressage...the same can be said of warmbloods...and if the percentage of warmbloods is smaller who cannot do upper level, is it possibly a numbers game? anyway, most humans are not capable of upper level dressage either...If all the breeders of dressage horses ONLY bred for upper level they would quickly run out of buyers..
                        the poster who described the conformation 'issues', I disagree with.. and that article at Evergreen is a MUST read for anyone serious about breeding or performing with any breed...very very enlightening...another 'odd' thing is that many arabians can do things VERY WELL, that another breed with the same 'faults' could never do..These 'little' horses have a ton of heart and can compensate more than any breed we have worked with to succeed...One trainer was here and commented her opinion...That arabians are so naturally balanced, they are more likely to maintain a functional frame on THEIR OWN, so are ideal for many amatuers who have difficulty keeping a horse in a frame...
                        Attitudes are changing..more arabs and crosses (proudly declared) are coming out. Quality arab mares are being presented and approved to very strict WB registries (we have one and plan on taking another)..SOON an arab or half arabian stallion WILL break into this glass ceiling (the Trakhener folks already have TWO approved purebred stallions..)
                        Warmblood breeders with knowledge and open minds are contributing tremendously to this positive change, and I for one are grateful..It's bringing out more and more good arabs who have , due to their 'innapropriateness' for arabian halter or saddleseat, perhaps been languishing in the pastures. Most people are very surprised how diverse the breed is, how many 'types' and styles this breed contains.. like other breeds..
                        As for their minds, most are 'sensitive' and easy to train, NOT 'hot' or 'difficult'..and it's true, one must match them up to a smart individual for that upper level work..as they bore easily (hate that horse whispering stuff), and like a bored child, get into trouble..
                        but all the non arab people we have spoken to lately, breeders, dressage folk, hunter folks, have been VERY positive about the breed, sayiing their experience, altho limited has been positive, as in 'so easy to train', so 'light' to handle, so responsive and willing, remembers the lesson and THINKS about it...and so on and so on... people who have seen our 'average' arabians.and those we pass them on to, are impressed...our horses can move, can jump, have fine minds...and we are not alone...Size is not really an issue anymore, either, one can find a 16h purebred, or find one of those fabulous half arab half warmbloods....done right, as in any breeding, it really doesn't get any better...the best of both worlds, really...
                        our arabians don't get out much to be seen until their babies are born...and we are not alone in producing good stuff, thank goodness... One always cannot not know an arabian when one meets one....and that, in itself , may be good or bad....
                        Even the notion of how many generations back the arabian blood needs to be is starting to crumble...thank goodness....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi
                          I have a PB Arab that I have started in dressage. Although I am kinda aiming for breed shows I will go to open shows mainly just so I can show. But my guy seems to be built for it as opposed to being a halter horse and has a great trot. The truth be known I got him because I couldn't afford a warmblood (Don't like T.B.) and since I am a ammie I am glad I got him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a registered 1/2 arab & registered/branded oldenburg yearling colt. He is truly the best I could have hoped for out of this cross http://www.goldenventurefarm.com/SaintSandroGVF.htm The WB/Arab cross can be wonderful if you get the right qualities from both types. The NICE ones can hold their own against the pure WB's too!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As Sakura pointed out - refining does not always mean the breed being used to refine the original breed is a better mover. The Arabian is used to bring finer bone to the heavier breeds and the stamina of the Arabian is also a nice addition, if it is passed on. Also, as Sakura mentioned, it is not just any Arabian that is used, but the stallions and mares are picked carefully. The Arabians stallions that are in the Trakehner studbook are picked carefully. There are also Thoroughbred Stallions in the Trakehner studbook. These are the only two breeds approved for crossing with the Trakehner. The selection is not willy nilly - it isn't like those two Arabians are the only ones that tried to get in or the Trakehner Association suddenly realized that Arabians have something to offer.

                              The foundation of the breed is endurance and stamina. The breed, as it is originally intended, stands less than 15.1 hands. The fact that there is a 16HH Arabian out there is an indication of a change in direction in breeding. This is similar to the Quarter Horse world.

                              This is not a knock on the breed - the breed is beautiful and versatile. It was not originally built for dressage. Not that the horse is not balanced and not able to perform well at the lower levels, but it is not built for the higher levels of dressage. Changes in selection of breeding may eventually produce some Arabians that can compete at Grand Prix level - but this is years in the future and will not be really linked to the foundation of the breed.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Sakura View Post
                                Refinement and improvement are two different things. Yes, Arabians have been used for both, but I would wager that the goal of using Arabian blood has a lot less to do with the way Arabians are built and move and more about streamlining, lightening and adding an elegant head/neck... Top it off with being extremely picky about the kind of Arabian that was used to influence heaver more coarse breeds (they didn't just use the Arab down the lane) without diluting the big lofty movement they were striving for... it is a little more complicated then just saying "they have been used for centuries for breed improvement". Yes they have, but they had to be exceptional individuals
                                that's true of ALL the stallions and mares approved into the WB stud books. that's what inspections are all about..'exceptional individuals'...it's not just about arabians...
                                It's all about the numbers of arabians BROUGHT to the inspections..It's hard to get em in if you leave em home...

                                Unless someone has been exposed to hundreds of arabian horse individuals, it's very hard to generalize about how they move or 'what they are built for'..any more than it would be about any breed...to say the breed 'isn't built' for dressage would, imo, require an explanation for the statement, as in details as to what those criteria are that the arabian seems not to have to some people..certainly size is not the issue since dressage ponies are now impressing many in the dressage world..(and have much arabian blood in many of them). Perhaps someone could elaborate on these qualities that they feel arabians do not have?

                                We've heard it all too often...Arabians aren't 'built' for jumping (and many are known to be succeeding)., they are 'poor hunter movers'.(many are now succeeding here, especially in pony hunters).they aren't 'built' for dressage (but are succeeding here), they aren't 'built' for working cattle or reining.(and are booming in popularity here)....ok.....guess they are were just 'built' for running across the desert...but if you study arabians thoroughly you will find they have family strains and that the individuals in these strains are as different from one another as a 'stereotypical' arabian is from a Thoroughbred...or a warmblood...

                                and you will find more than 'just a few exceptional individuals' now succeeding in ALL of the above activities...It's really more of a numbers game..the more people try them and get out in front of the others, the more the stereotype crumbles as more 'exceptional individuals' are seen...they're out there...just not in the numbers of all the other more 'popularp breeds...times they are a-changing though..
                                Remember when people said only Thoroughbreds were suitable in the hunter divisions?It's because for 40 plus years that's all that was used (a super supply of this breed made available by the racing industry's cast offs) and so this breed set the stage for what was considered the right 'hunter style'..then the warmbloods came along and it took them awhile to be 'accepted' also..they were 'too slow' , 'too clumsy' , 'too dumb', and so on ...but people kept finding those 'exceptional individuals' and kept bringing them out...and now, well the Thoroughbred is no longer considered the benchmark..and the warmblood is no longer considered the step child...and now along comes the arabian and arabian crosses..
                                AND to the argument that Arabans are not 'suitable' for upper level dressage (Prix St George and beyond), here's a kicker to think about...most individuals in ALL the other so called 'suitable for dressage' breeds aren't either...it takes an 'exceptional individual' from ANY breed to succeed at this lofty level of competition and training..
                                And I would wager a guess that another reason for adding arabian blood to many breeds is their minds...a smart quickness, love of humans resulting in extraordinary willingness and trainability...a big issue for the warmblood people..and for many others who appreciate how attractive that is for most horse owners..and that dab of pretty sure doesn't hurt..

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  SOON an arab or half arabian stallion WILL break into this glass ceiling
                                  RPSI Book I. 15/16ths Arab. (granted, it's the pony book due to his stature)
                                  InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                  Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Ancientoaks,

                                    You're preaching to the choir... I have been breeding Arabians for a while now, all with an emphasis on sport horse type. I am vary familiar with the different strains, due to the very fact that a strain in and of its self is developed by selective breeding for specific characteristics that made surviving in arid, rocky and otherwise inhospitable lands. I would bet dressage and jumping were not on the top of any Bedouin's list of breeding criteria. Soundness, gaits that conserve effort and energy, stamina, endurance, disposition... those would have made the top five.

                                    Just like any breed that has been bred for a multitude of years with one goal in mind they become specialized. That is not a bad thing. However, there are some of us who would like to change directions using individuals that are more suited to our goals as sport horse breeders. When shopping for broodmares I am going to pass on the downhill, cow hocked, peaky crouped mare... she may stay sound for 100 years and kick ass in endurance, but she would not fit my plan and goals.

                                    I would LOVE to see inspections for Arabians... OMG, I think it would help curb much of the thoughtless fad breeding that goes on in our breed (Ibin Imsopretty x Bint Ijustovulated). Seems anything with a uterus or testicles is fair game... Everyone of my horses has to have a show record before I'll breed them (and most have earned Class A Championships, Reserve Championships or Nat. Top Tens in the Sport Horse division). In a way that is my personal "inspection".
                                    \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Astraled View Post
                                      Here in KY, I think I might own the only Arabs in the county.
                                      http://www.hightrailarabians.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Sakura,
                                        "I would LOVE to see inspections for Arabians... OMG, I think it would help curb much of the thoughtless fad breeding that goes on in our breed (Ibin Imsopretty x Bint Ijustovulated). Seems anything with a uterus or testicles is fair game... Everyone of my horses has to have a show record before I'll breed them (and most have earned Class A Championships, Reserve Championships or Nat. Top Tens in the Sport Horse division). In a way that is my personal "inspection"."

                                        you took the words right out of my mouth...too bad too few 'understand' this need..I can respect how you choose your breeding stock (in lieu of inspections it's a good alternative)
                                        We don't worry about whether our choices for breeding have 'won' alot, but that they fit correct conformational, movement and performance criteria (like jumping ability in the chute, or free movement for hunter or dressage) and that, when presented to a WB registry, can be approved.(since we will NEVER see arabian inspections).After years and years of breeding horses for sport and knowing what 'works' for the animal to succeed, we can usually get a good feel. so far it's worked.

                                        And I really wasn't trying to preach since you are an arab breeder, just slightly disagree with a couple of things.

                                        "I would bet dressage and jumping were not on the top of any Bedouin's list of breeding criteria. Soundness, gaits that conserve effort and energy, stamina, endurance, disposition... those would have made the top five."

                                        You have stated in this quote some of the qualities that would still be desireable for dressage...yes? and for any equine athletic endeavor..I certainly would not want to ELIMINATE any and still expect my horse to be successful in dressage.
                                        After all, what is the real definition of dressage and it's exhibition with the horse? To display what qualities of the species?

                                        And the arabian breeding program has not been controlled by the 'selective' breeding of Bedouin's for a rather a few years now??????????
                                        as for the strains being different to survive the stresses of desert living, that seems to be rather simplistic, as some of the strains are, as I said, as different from one another as any other 'breed' from them..Certain tribes had certain preferences, some wanted size and strength, others wanted gazelle like movement, others doe eyed extraordinary beauty.. The 'desert' survival qualities of large nostrils, huge lungs, thin skin, and strong bone did little to affect the different looks, sizes and abilities of the strains..
                                        Even today certain bloodlines, as in all breeds, possess more or less of certain qualities..there is actually far more 'variety' in arabians for those to choose to participate in many equine sports..Hard to find cutting horse types in the Oldenburg regsitry, or dressage ability in King bred QH (appendix QH's sometimes can be successful), or jumping ability in Hackneys .....it's one breed that one can go 'shopping', stay with arabian and still get to do a wide variety of things...

                                        "When shopping for broodmares I am going to pass on the downhill, cow hocked, peaky crouped mare... she may stay sound for 100 years and kick ass in endurance, but she would not fit my plan and goals."

                                        Gosh, I would hope you'd pass!....I rather doubt that this sad creature would fit anyone's plan or goals if they are serious about producing a quality horse for any sport.and it is precisely THIS 'stereotype' that many think of when hearing the word 'arabian'..

                                        Am not an endurance expert by any means, but the ones I have seen that are successfull didn't share the above stated conformational faults.don't think you meant to imply that,
                                        and there is no doubt that the MAJORITY of arabians do not fit that description either...the arabian breeding industry is hardly alone in fad or thoughtless irresponsible breeding..

                                        A correctly built horse of any breed is going to be relatively successful at most equine sports, and much has to do with the heart and mind of the animal as well (just like in people). And quite frankly, I would venture a guess that as many arabians are 'correctly' built as in most of your other 'sport ' breeds....after all, running about the desert and staying 'sound for 100 years' requires a certain amount of correct conformation... and could be considered a 'sport' of sorts..
                                        Perhaps the real aspect of what we are discussing is EXTRAORDINARY success at any given activity, of which a relative few in any breed will ever achieve...just like people..
                                        With careful scrutiny arabians measure up in about the same percentages as other breeds bred for sport..

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