How to Ride and Care for Arabian Horses
Why are Arabians Great Horses?
Arabians are quite small compared to other popular horse breeds such as the Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse, which makes them less intimidating to people who are nervous of riding and falling.
That being said, they are spirited horses who require a lot of firm handling. They are generally very intelligent which makes them more likely to be mischievous. However, an Arabian's temperament shouldn't be a problem unless they are overly spoiled or are abused. If treated fairly but with a firm hand then they will give you affection and fun for many years. They are very capable riding horses that can be used just for pleasure riding or even racing.
Fun Facts About Arabians
- They are originally from the Middle East, hence the name Arabian.
- Arabians are also known as Arab horses.
- They are one of the oldest horse breeds.
- Arabians are one of the most popular horse breeds.
- They are easily recognizable by their sloped, concave nose and lifted tail.
- Arabs come in five registered colors: bay, grey, chestnut, black, and roan.
Caring for Arabians
Arabian horses can be cared for in much the same way as any other horse, but because of their intelligence and spirited temperament they often require more attention and one-on-one training.
Arabs can suffer from genetic conditions that can be fatal. One of these is Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). This is when a foal is born with almost no immune system. They will usually die within the first three months of life due to infection.
Another common genetic disorder is Equine Juvenile Epilepsy which occurs in foals. They seem fine in between seizures and they usually disappear between 12 and 18 months of age. If not then the horse can be treated with traditional anti-seizure medications and they will most likely live a long and useful life.
How you ride an Arabian all depends on whether you ride English or Western and which sub-discipline you are involved in. There are some tips though that can help you feel comfortable and be in control of your horse.
- Get to know your horse: You need to know what kind of reinforcement she/he responds to best.
- Establish your dominance: Don't do this in an aggressive way, just make sure that your horse knows who is boss. You can do this by moving your horse out of your personal space or gently tapping them on the nose when they do something bad.
- Use your legs: Try to communicate more with your legs than your reins, generally Arabian's will respond well to this.
- Take things slowly: Basically, don't jump on your horse and gallop off. Start with walking, then trotting, cantering, and finally galloping. Make sure that you are comfortable at each speed before you move on to the next one
Remember that no matter how well trained the horse there is always a chance that you may fall off or that the horse may buck or rear. Horses are living things that have a mind and will of their own and that is something that you can't control. Here are a few things that you can do to be safe.
- Wear a helmet: Always wear a helmet, even if you are just going on a short ride. I know they can look stupid and that your head gets hot but it is better than having your head broken. (See above picture).
- Have an experienced rider/ trainer with you: When you first ride it can be intimidating and there is a lot to remember, having someone to supervise you your first few times can make you feel more comfortable. Also they can help you if you get in to trouble.
- Know how to calm your horse: Horses are prey animals which mean that most of the time when they are scared they will run. This can leave you hanging on for dear life and maybe even getting thrown off. Knowing how to calm your horse when they spook can help prevent them from bolting off.