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warmblood & arab crosses - good idea or bad? (warning LONG!)

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  • Original Poster

    interesting and thought provoding feedback...and some of it does bear witness to my theory that many 'misconceptions' about arabian blood, arabians in general are slowly being dispelled, and also some will never die..so be it..

    bone - our little arab stallion, he's 14.3 if you blow on him, has an 8" cannon...so relatively that's rather substantial.

    disposition..none, NONE of our arabs are 'hot', but trainable, forward, quiet, willing (anytime we go 'out ' with them, this is what is noticed the most, as with visitors to the farm).. Within our herd of about 25 ALL of them are good citizens, and we did not breed them all..you can do anthing with them with the least amount of effort..trimming without halters, blanketing out in the pasture during a raging storm without fuss (over the head blankets), shots, etc..it just wouldn't work unless they WERE good citizens..
    the opposite misconception of a nut case is a sad sad result of the 'halter freak' persona that is definately an arab problem that many of us fight every day.
    WE hate it too!
    Our personal horses do alot to dispel this myth about the general arab population..

    We have found that if there is a crazy arabian present, look to the owner..you know that old saying about how people start to look like their dogs??? well.........

    "lack of neck" hmmm.. now that's a new complaint to me..all I have heard recently is that some of these 'artwork arabs' have TOO much neck..

    We breed for well shaped, long and balanced necks, without that pendulum, no balance..it's not hard to find this quality in a good arab..If anything, I would complain about some warmbloods being rather thick and short, but again, that is a generality that is unfair.

    'alot of crappy arabs out there'..so true..and true of TB's QH's, WB's, etc etc etc...where there are large, unregulated numbers there will be large amounts of garbage...certainly NO ONE is suggesting that all or even MOST warmbloods are superior just because?..of course not...

    However, we ARE huge fans of inspecting to allow breeding..even with a closed, purebred studbook..for obvious reasons..it's an idea the warmblood folks have perfected and that other breeds could use to their advantage, certainly!

    so much goes against the dear arabian because he IS so noticable..so when bad, or hot, or stupid, or mishandled, or poorly built or whatever...people REMEMBER...rarely do we remember that barn with 25 TB's, of which 10 most were nuts, or had lousy feet, were ewe necked, or couldn't jump their way out of a box, etc etc.....they were all bay...all about 16 h...all pretty much alike??? what's to remember?

    there are alot of quiet, good horsemen out there, breeding arabians for years, breeding for big behinds (we have some) , brains, good feet and legs, solid bone, excellent movement, a love of jumping (believe it or not, arabs love to jump as a rule, you don't have to 'push' them to it) but these folks stay in the background, quietly going about the business of breeding nice horses..we are grateful to them, as they keep the 'real ' arabian breed alive..not the glitzy glamour silly stuff seen by most...

    I think all breeds have their place, obviously , but I DO think the arab/warmblood cross is a fabulous answer to many many amateurs..for all the reasons one poster said they DIDN"T like them..more sensitive, smaller, lighter, more versatile, and often very pretty...and I sure don't want to have to pedal that bicycle all the time...

    as for being on top or bottom, it's an age old argument that I don't want to enter..suffice to say we breed what is to us, a good candidate (warmblood or otherwise) to another good candidate..regardless of who is on top or on the bottom and have had much success both ways..

    Oddly enough, this particular colt, out of the arab mare (rather more refined than many of ours) by Ironman, is far larger, more substantial, way more bone, than the fillies we got out of our chunky Art Deco daughter and by our arab stallion.....
    go figure..all I can surmise is that the darn horses don't read the books or listen to our theories....

    I think for ANY breeder,to choose a quality mare goes without saying, and matching to the 'right' stallion is the art in breeding..regardless of the 'title' on the registration paper...


    • #22
      Well said. I understand and agree 100%. What most people believe about Arabs seems to be based on what's been seen in the Arab showring for the past 40 years. I don't want any of those either.


      • #23
        I just remembered this... once upon a time about 15 years ago I had a VERY BNT tell me--sight unseen--that I could not do upper level dressage with my mare because she was 1/2 Arab, and because of the number of vertabrae, she *could* not do what was required... etc. etc.

        Same BNT saw her in person a while later, not knowing it was the same mare we'd discussed, and thought she was Trakehner, or Anglo-Trak, and really, really liked her, and thought she had definite potential to continue up the levels.

        <shrugs> She's NSH.

        Some people have ideas set in stone which they are not willing to change. It's too bad, because they miss out on some fantastic individual horses.

        I also think it's great that some folks are so *passionate* about their breed that they are affronted by the thoughts of outcrosses. You know what? That's a really GOOD thing! It means they have found all that they desire in that breed. We need loyalists too.

        The irony for me, is I'm really not entirely fond of purebred Arabs. With very, very few exceptions to that rule. But I really LIKE Arab crosses. <shrugs>
        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

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


        • #24
          Originally posted by Tom King
          Well said. I understand and agree 100%. What most people believe about Arabs seems to be based on what's been seen in the Arab showring for the past 40 years. I don't want any of those either.
          That's a bit offensive to those of us who do our best in the arabian show ring - to follow the rules and make sure our horses are on their best behavior. I guess you should tell the 9 year old that rides my arab that she shouldn't want to ride or show her.


          • #25
            I am sorry that what I said offended you. But really, what I want or you or whoever wants should be no offense to anyone else. I have taken no offense to anything said here from the different points of view even though mine is different than some. Personally, I like the old style Arabs that more closely have what's considered desirable in sporthorse breeding.
            If anyone has not noticed a difference in Arabs in the U.S. since the 60s, I would hope that it's been because they haven't been around them since then or at least weren't paying attention. I do believe that the current common assumptions about Arabs are based on the changes that have occured in what's desirable in the Arab show ring over that time.
            There are a few breeders who are going above and beyond to keep the old style alive. Those that I know are not in the show ring.
            Just because I don't want a particular horse has absolutely nothing to do with telling a child anything. I kind of doubt she's reading the breeding forum and would hope that she wouldn't make such an assumption if she is.


            • #26
              I love arabs and never thought that I would breed anything but purebreds, but as the expression goes"never say never."

              I also love dressage. I scored very well on a pureblood arab mare. 3 years ago I needed major knee surgery on both knees which meant basically 2 years of no riding. I decided to breed the mare while I was on hiatus. While looking for stallions I noticed that DWB and SWB often have a similar body type to arabs just larger. I decided to breed to a DWB who was approved with Old NA. When the foal was born he was the most amazing colt. The mare was inspected and made it into the main mare book and the colt was a premium colt. This year she has a colt by Sempatico who was also a premium colt. He was reserve champion at the inspection and scored an 8.3 for movement. The older colt is 2 now and I've shown him in hand this year and the judges really like him so far.

              So said arab mare has had 2 wb colts by 2 different stallions and both have been premium foals. Both colts have lots of bone. The 2nd colt is huge even though his sire is much smaller than the 1st stallion.

              I have to confess that I'm hooked on the cross. I can see that in order for th the cross to work you have to do your homework, but that is true with all breeding regardless.


              • #27
                For the dominant quality of Arab blood is its eternal, its immortal persistence. Wherever, as the horseman of today looks about him and among these horses, observes beauty, speed, grace, fire, activity, docility and fineness yet toughness of fibre, he sees that eternity, that immortality, incarnated. It has triumphed over everything mundane, thousands of years, hap and circumstances, time and tide, incredible hardships and immemorial adversities, misuse, and abuse, the exigencies of mankind's daily life and the flame and blood of the battlefield, unconquerable, indestructible and victorious. Everything worth while in the shape of a horse in the world today partakes of it. The Greeks believed it Godlike, and verily they made no mistake.-Hervey
                One of my favorite quotes. I believe it sums up everything that makes Arabians an essential cross for any registry. There's nothing that isn't better for being half-arab .
                Still Crazy After All These Years


                • #28
                  I'm no breeder, but I daresay an injection of quality Arabian blood of the athletic, performance horse variety (rather than the Gazelle-Cats dominating the halter ring) could do most any breed a bit of good. The athleticism and soundness alone are enough justification to use the Arabian to improve other breeds, but then there are the smooth gaits and the refined look. It seems to me that a carefully bred Warmblood x Arabian would be an excellent horse for an amateur looking to get the Warmblood movement and level headedness with more refinement and an easier trot for sitting, as well as a little smaller size.
                  "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

                  -my gelding is a ho clique-


                  • #29
                    I don't usually post on the Sport Horse Breeding board, nor do I know much about sport horse breeding at all!

                    However, this topic caught my attention, so I have come over to add my experiences.

                    I agree that Arabians are not what H/J trainers usually look for when choosing a horse for a client; in fact, most H/J trainers will not look at an Arab, because they are very typey in a way that is not currently preferred in the open circuit H/J shows.

                    However, I have not yet met a trainer who has turned down a arab/warmblood mix simply because they are part arab. In fact, the more tastefully done mixes have the best of both worlds - a more refined warmblood, with a good temperment and athleticism.

                    Of course, I may be partially biased. I have a horse who is 1/4 Arab and 1/2 Westphalen. He is built like a warmblood, but has certain traits which are clearly indicative of his Arabian lineage. Still, this has not stopped him from placing well at shows and recieving compliments from H/J trainers (most of whom cannot guess his exact breeding, but can guess that he has Arab in there somewhere). He is a fantastic horse for me - very calm and levelheaded, but smart. He is athletic and a nice jumper and mover. He's also got his own unique personality, and is just a lovebug. Just the other day, a H/J judge was dissapointed that he was not half arab, because if he were, he would be able to do the 1/2 Arab shows. He was saying that there is lack of quality in the 1/2 Arab Sporthorse (for H/J, I'm assuming) pool, and that some nice looking ones would be great.

                    In short, I can't tell you if it's a good idea or a bad idea, as I don't know enough about the lineage of horses and genetics and such. I can tell you, though, that in my horse, it was a success. He's a nice horse, regardless of breed. I think you have to look for that, ultimately - whether the cross will create a nice horse, not whether or not the cross will be part arab or not.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by Dazednconfused
                      That's a bit offensive to those of us who do our best in the arabian show ring - to follow the rules and make sure our horses are on their best behavior. I guess you should tell the 9 year old that rides my arab that she shouldn't want to ride or show her.

                      I don't want to put words in anyone else's mouth, but I understand what Tom King means..it's not the everyday person's show ring that has hurt the arabian image,(or that has horses we would not want) it's the glitzy, freaky, fiery frightened looking snakey neck creature with no body substance type of showing that has hurt the reputation of the arabian as a perfect family horse breed..

                      I guess I think that showing should be fun for both the horse and the rider and display the breed, whatever it is, to its best. and that's what gives the 'world' whatever impression it has of a breed..


                      • #31
                        Kind of on a sidenote...something I learned recently...several of the so called "arabians" that were used in the creation of the TB breed were not arabians at all but Barbs. Apparently any horse from that region of the world at that time was called an "arabian" in Europe at that time...thus the confusion. I believe both the Goldolphin "Arabian" and the Byerly Turk are believed to have been Barbs now. Barbs and Arabs are related of course if you go back far enough. This discussion came up on our breed's message board. Fascinating.

                        What I find interesting is that arabian blood is still acceptable to cross into WB breeding programs whereas the Barb's that also were used several hundred years ago to improve light horse breeds seem to have fallen out of favor. I'm not sure if that's because they are so rare today compared to arabs or why that is... Barb breeders are bringing this breed back and quite often they are quite a bit more substantial than most modern arabians in bone and have quieter temperaments and built better in the hindquarters for engagement and power useful in sport horse disciplines. I found out recently that my stallion is eligible for several Barb registries so I may be pursuing this path with him and my breeding program.

                        Getting back to the topic...I used to own and show arabians as a teenager and later had a nice crabbet bred gelding I evented. He was phenominal and a fantastic jumper. The arabs I had as a teen were polish and I showed hunters with them in breed shows. There is a BIG difference in the different strains of working arabs versus the show arabs. I'd think the ones you'd want to cross for sport horses would be the working types like the Polish and Crabbet lines...versus the lighter and often hotter tempered egyptian lines.


                        • Original Poster

                          Kind of on a sidenote...something I learned recently...several of the so called "arabians" that were used in the creation of the TB breed were not arabians at all but Barbs. Apparently any horse from that region of the world at that time was called an "arabian" in Europe at that time...thus the confusion. I believe both the Goldolphin "Arabian" and the Byerly Turk are believed to have been Barbs now. Barbs and Arabs are related of course if you go back far enough. This discussion came up on our breed's message board. Fascinating.

                          In the 40 odd years in the horse business, we have heard this resurface many times, it's an old theory that comes back and then fades away...not to start an argument none of us can win, but most historians discount this, due, as you say, to verbage and terminology..but oh well, it was a long time ago..

                          the vast majority (thank goodness) of arabs are of a 'sport horse' type (since fewer than 10% of arabian owners show, it goes to reason that what is seen out in public may not represent the 'real breed')
                          and I am amused by those that say these horses were not 'bred' for sport...what were they bred for?
                          it seems that chasing the enemy across the sands, whirling, leaping off of one's hindquarters, and be willing and able to jump any obstacle in the course of the above, is certainly akin to our 'sport' of today..the only difference, your life was on the line if you were riding an unsuitable mount...just ask the guys on those big heavy draft types back then how they felt when faced with some of those unsporty type arabians.....


                          • #33
                            So heres a stallion that can get it done!!

                            Check this stallion out. At 16h, pedigree, performance and temperment, he proves to be an excellent F1 cross to arab mares. He already has a half-arab progeny who is being looked at by USDF judges and hunter breeding as well. The filly is that nice and versatile too. One of the reasons this stallion was chosen was to be bred to arabian mares, so the secret is out, that his bloodlines are going to produce a certain type of horse on a variety of mares, including arabians. At 5 years old he booked over 20 mares, from mostly breeders who saw him in the ring at USDF DSHB. He is even being looked at by large arab barns to produce half-arab main ring hunters. (Now that will stir the pot, dont you think??) Yes, we own him, so we are always biased, but more importantly, ask people and judges what they think of him. We do very little selling on our own, the judges have really helped us out this year. We hear from vets who inseminated the mares he's bred too, that they cant wait to see the foals, (vets we have never talked to) they also thank us for the excellent semen. I have referrels sent to me from judges, USDF, hunter breeding, and more recently carriage driving, for breeding packets. This horse is just getting started, and we are really excited for the arabian mares he is being crossed with. www.bluebrookfarm.com


                            • #34
                              True...no one can say for certain as it was so long ago but both Barbs and Arabians are similiar still today. Both hotbloods and both refining types with a strong stamping ability on their offspring. Interesting also that both are considered to be the best pics of endurance horses still today. The main difference that I note between the two breeds is the gaits and power from behind.
                              Last edited by Ridge Runner; Aug. 10, 2006, 10:55 AM.


                              • #35
                                I think crossing an Arab to a Warmblood is excellent for the Arab Sport horse division. If I were to pick a type of Arab to cross it would probably be of polish decent because they had to prove themselves before entering the breeding shed (of course in North America they don't). As a warmblood breeder I would avoid Arab blood because it lacks the consistancy in breeding for type. It makes it an expensive crap shoot to have my mare throw a 15 hand foal. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be a nice foal it is just that I feel I must breed what the market wants and unfortunately big is in. Also if I were to breed I would probably use a warmblood mare with an Arab stallion. The problem with this is that Arab stud fees (for good horses) are far more than the warmblood ones. I like Arabs and have some knowledge of them as I board at an Arab barn and go to see their shows (and have regularily for 15+ years now). I just think that they are bred to fill another part of the market. There are fabulous crosses out there. My friend owns a 17 hand anglo arab that has won in the 4' hunter division all over the west coast. It really just comes down to whether or not you have the time and money to experiment.


                                • #36
                                  This topic has come up on some previous threads and I'll repeat what I said then; the arab blood used in warmblood breeding in europe is used as a stepping stone. Meaning that it is not the 1/2 arab/wb that is the desired outcome. It is the F3,F4, etc crossing back into the warmblood lines that is the desired outcome. The europeans use arab blood, general rule of thumb, once every 6 generations. They do NOT want a barn full of 1/2 arab crosses, just one here and there for use in BREEDING as a stepping stone to the subsequent generations. Arab blood has historically been used to add bone, just as TB blood historically was used to add size. Of course that has changed with the refinement trends.

                                  There was a poster on this forum that bred a lot of arab crosses, had them approved with high scores with the Oldna and couldn't sell them AT ALL. Absolutely no market.

                                  I am in the hunter jumper markets and I can't think of ANYONE who would want one. And that goes for Traks too. You can argue all you want but it won't change it. There are a couple of Traks that are the exception - abdullah lines mostly but it is few and far between.

                                  Isn't it kind of funny that warmblood breeders complain so much about hunter and jumper people not caring about bloodlines but then, when discussing these arab crosses, some of the same people say you shouldn't discount the horse because of the bloodlines!!!!!

                                  Also, the barb or arab question - DNA has proved that the barb was the foundation for the Tb much more than the arab so the "old" arguement has a lot of "new" meaning with today's technology.


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by tri

                                    Also, the barb or arab question - DNA has proved that the barb was the foundation for the Tb much more than the arab so the "old" arguement has a lot of "new" meaning with today's technology.
                                    Interesting. I did not realize they had DNA evidence as well. Thanks for mentioning it.


                                    • #38
                                      I have a friend who bred her Arab mare (who also happens to be a large pony) to Hanoverian Stallion, Gold Luck. The resulting filly was quite lovely, and at the Hann. inspections the mare was the first ever Arabian mare to be entered into the Hanoverian studbook, passing the mare performance test w/ 8's on jumping ability, making her Champion Non-Hanoverian Mare. SO yes, I'd say that the WB/Arab cross can be very successful, if done with a lot of thought.
                                      The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!


                                      • #39
                                        Rival I found your post interesting for a few reasons. First you say, "As a warmblood breeder I would avoid Arab blood because it lacks the consistancy in breeding for type." I found this interesting because many of the other posters talk about how the arab blood often shows through after a number of generations. Honestly, those posters are more correct. Many arabs are heavily line-bred. In the past in-breeding was also very common. This limits the gene pool and sets type quickly.

                                        The 2nd thing you talk anout is height. I have come to realize that in the non-arab world 16H seems to be the magic number, and many people won't consider a horse under that height. This is interesting to me because I'm seeing more and more pure blood arabs closer to 16H and could list a number of sporthorse type arab stallions that are 16H. The other thing that I've noticed is that there are also many warmbloods that are less than 16H. Admittedly, I only know this because they are being offered for sale. Maybe they are being sold because they are too small for their 5ft 1in rider who weighs 103 lbs?

                                        The last thing that I found interesting that you talked about was stud fees. Generally, the only really expensive arab stud fees are those 10% that show. Others on average are between $500-$1500 and many have a lower fee for non-arab mares. Also, many stallion owners will cut you a deal if you ask. Tell them you really like their horse, but you're nervous about the wb arab cross and don't want to spend a fortune in case it doesn't work. If that doesn't get you a discount, many stallion owners have breeding incentives.

                                        Just food for thought.


                                        • #40
                                          Inviting Arab/TB mares to our inspection

                                          It's funny that I logged on aftre a long time and found this discussion. I spent yesterday emailing Arab and TB breeders in my region (USDF Region 5) to invite them to bring mares to our Danish Warmblood Mare Foal and Stallion inspection. (October 22 Durango, CO) I agree with the poster who said that the introduction of Arab blood is to improve the F3 F4 generation. As a breeder in Danish Warmbloods for the long term I have an interest in improving the horses for the ongoing generations. I would like also to note two other arabs and anglo-arabs who have been extremely influential in warmblood breeding: Matcho ox and Ramses ox. Without them I would not have some of my nicest horses. Matcho is found a lot in many of the refining stallions of today.

                                          Erica H. Max
                                          Fire Hjorner Farm
                                          Breeders and Importers of Danish Warmbloods