Interesting Facts About Arabian Horses You Probably Never Knew

Updated on November 15, 2016

While the exact origins of the Arabian horse are unknown, there is anecdotal and archaeological evidence of this oldest of breeds dating to 490 B.C.

This breed was used as war horses and for pulling Egyptian chariots because of their speed and endurance, and in fact, their speed earned them the nickname "Drinkers of the Wind". The available evidence seems to pinpoint their origin to the Middle East.

However, regardless of where the breed originated, the Arabian is, in the words of the Arabian Horse Association, “not only a beautiful breed, but one that excels at many activities.” 1 Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics and details of this magnificent horse breed.

Arabians are believed to be the oldest purebred horses in existence.
Arabians are believed to be the oldest purebred horses in existence. | Source

Horse Racing

Although Arabian horse racing has existed in the United States since 1959, the sport has only gained popularity during the last ten years. If you're interested in racing one, the Arabian Jockey Club is a good source for information.

Whether you decide to buy, lease or partner with someone on an Arabian, you can find the answers to all your frequently asked questions (FAQs) on their website. However, here's a brief snapshot of some basic information about this type of racing:

  • The average race is six furlongs (0.75 miles, or 1.207008 kilometers)
  • The horses compete against other Arabians
  • The average racehorse costs between $5,000 to $20,000
  • The top awards—for the best of the best—are the Darley Awards. These are presented to horses, jockeys, breeders and trainers.
  • The Super Bowl of Arabian horse racing is the Arabian Cup Championship

Horse Show Awards and Prizes

If you're interested in showing your Arabian at a horse show, there are over 500 AHA competitions yearly. The AHA works in conjunction with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to sanction these shows and license judges. Horses may compete in events like dressage, competitive driving, or show hunter, or in classes like:

  • Equitation
  • Halter
  • Working
  • Native Costume
  • Show Hack
  • Sidesaddle

The horses accumulate points to earn achievement awards like these:

  • Legion of Honor
  • Legion of Supreme Honor
  • Legion of Excellence
  • Legion of Merit
  • Legion of Supreme Merit
  • Legion of Masters
  • High-Point Awards
  • Milestone Awards
  • Horse Performance Records
  • Dressage Rider Award
  • Ambassador Award

Prize money is awarded in the following programs:

  • Breeders Sweepstake Program
  • Halter Futurities
  • Performance Futurities/Maturity

These competitions are open to Arabians, Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians.

Genetic Disorders

Arabians suffer from the following genetic disorders:

  • SCID: Severe combined immunodeficiency disorder results in Arabians being born with a compromised immune system. Either an infection kills the foal, or they are euthanized.
  • CA: Arabians are susceptible to cerebellar abiotrophy. This disease is defined thus by the Arabian Horse Association: “The Purkinje cells in the brain’s cerebellum begin to die, resulting in a severe lack of coordination.”2 The animals are usually euthanized.
  • LFS: “Lavender Foal Syndrome, or Coat Color Dilution Lethal (CCDL)” 3 as it is also known, is a neurological disorder which causes seizures. Foals are born with a dull lavender color coat and are usually euthanized.
  • JES: Juvenile epilepsy or Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE) causes the foals to have seizures. This condition is usually self-limiting.
  • Wobbler’s syndrome causes compression of the spinal cord. Wobbler’s syndrome and CA are often confused, and it is important for owners to get professional help to distinguish between the two conditions.
  • GPT: When Arabians have guttural pouch tympany, the pharyngeal opening is deformed. Air comes in, but is not breathed out.
  • OAAM: Occipito atlantoaxial malformation is another neurological disorder that causes spinal compression in Arabians.

An Interesting Fact About Arabians: They Can Dance!


The Arabian is one of the most popular horse breeds because of its intelligence, affectionate nature, and willingness to please. They are quick learners, high-spirited and alert.

Some of their distinguishing features are their compact bodies, short backs, and strong solid dense bone structures. They have a horizontal croup—the area across the hindquarters—an arched neck, and their tails are carried high. Their heads are sculptured, form a wedge and are slightly concave.

The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) recognizes five colors for Arabians: bay, gray, chestnut, black and roan. Their average lifespan is 20 to 25 years, and when full-grown, they weigh about 800 to 1,000 pounds, and stand 14.1 to 15.1 (57 to 61 inches) hands high.

Now that you know some basics about Arabian horses, you may be interested in obtaining one. The AHA is a good place to start when looking for information on breeders; the Arabian Rescue Mission rescues and re-homes these horses.

1, 2 - Arabian Horse Association

3 - Undisclosed author, "Arabian Horse Breed Information," Horsebreeds List

What's Your Opinion of the Mighty Arabian?

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    • profile image

      jj 4 years ago


    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Ricky, I'm glad you liked this. They are really beautiful creatures, aren't they?

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up, useful, and interesting. Very cool article Donna. You have listed some very important facts and this was very well written I may add. They are beautiful horses. Great history. Great article.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Hi Lisa42, thanks for reading and commenting on this. I'm a Derby fan myself (being a Kentuckian) but the Arabian races are awesome as well. I'm glad you found this useful.

    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 5 years ago from Sacramento

      I learned a lot here. The only horse race I'm familiar with is the Kentucky Derby, so I had no idea that Arabians had their own race.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for stopping by to read this hub on Arabians, alwaysexploring. I always look forward to hearing your feedback on my work:)

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Hi Vellur, thanks for commenting - the dance was pretty impressive wasn't it? I knew Arabians could run like the wind but I had no idea that they had such an impressive high stepping gait.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for commenting, The Finance Hub. It's always fun to learn new facts, isn't it? I'm glad you enjoyed this.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      The Arabian horse is very beautiful. I love to watch them dance. You have noted some interesting facts that i was unaware of. Thank you for sharing..

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      A cool hub. Loved it. Lots of interesting information and loved the dance.Voted up.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with Arabian horses Mardi! I'm glad you enjoyed this hub on these marvelous and beautiful horses.

    • Mardi profile image

      Mardi 5 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

      Arabians are a terrific breed. I have an Arabian/Quarter horse paint mare that is absolutely lovely. Some Arabians are very high spirited and may not be suitable for novice riders. These are outstanding endurance horses too I might add. Small and agile but also as tough as nails! Great Hub!

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