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History & Heritage


Why are Arabian horses so special?

Nicknamed the son of the desert, the Arabian horse dominates endurance racing and is one of the most expensive horse breeds. But what makes them so special?

The history of the Arabian horse

The history of the Arabian horse is that of the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. These tribes held these loyal horses in high esteem as indispensable companions, particularly suited to traversing the difficult terrain of the Arabian deserts. Over centuries of selective breeding, the Bedouins have meticulously cultivated a breed characterized by a blend of traits found in no other race.


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The main attraction of this strain lies in its unrivaled endurance. This attribute is underpinned by a combination of genetic traits that enable energy-efficient movement, enhanced lung function and a distinct cardiovascular system. The Arabian horse’s synthesis of form and function puts it in a class of its own. With 23 vertebrae instead of the usual 24, its anatomical composition gives it extra balance. Characteristic features of the stock, such as the fine head, wide nostrils and pronounced withers, are not merely aesthetic, but rather manifestations of evolutionary adaptations that contribute to the horse’s capabilities. These biological advantages make the horse a dominant force in endurance and racing disciplines, the result of millennia of selective breeding.

A precious asset

By the 7th century AD, the horse’s presence had spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula. However, its influence extended beyond its geographical borders. While the Najd region of Saudi Arabia remains a key focus, the strain’s reach has extended beyond its country of origin thanks to international breeding programs.


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Various factors determine the monetary value of an Arabian horse. Typically sold for between $5,000 and $30,000, show horses and selected stallions can fetch even higher prices, ranging from $80,000 to $150,000. Age, lineage, training and sex collectively contribute to the financial valuation of these equines.

Arabian horses are generally divided into different lineages that are well documented and extensive, providing a clear picture of each horse’s progeny. For example, the Crabbet/Blunt line, established by Lady Anne Blunt and Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, advocates the preservation of the desert-type horse bred outside Arabia itself.

See also

The United Nations designates Feb. 10 as International Day of the Arabian Leopard

Published on 8 August 2023

#Arab world