IntroductionThe Arabian horse is widely considered to be the most influential equine breed in history. These exquisitely beautiful animals possess a story filled with poetry, romantic legends and grand historical figures, reaching far into antiquity and extending across diverse civilizations and cultures to the present day. The tale begins, however, in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula.
Ancient rock art throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia depicts horses with the distinguishing characteristics of the Arabian breed – small, triangular shaped heads, proudly-arched necks, high-held tails and delicate limbs. This art attests to the long history of these horses in the region, as well as their importance in hunting and warfare. During centuries of breeding by Bedouin nomads, the breed acquired its unique attributes, including stamina, agility, hardiness, courage, intelligence, and affinity for humans, as well as the beauty and harmony of form for which these horses are known. Arabian horses exhibit a wide range of adaptations to a desert environment, including thin skin and black pigment for protection against the sun, and tails held high to help dissipate body heat. Their hooves are hard and round, enabling them to conquer both the sand and rocky terrain of their homelands, and their bones, while refined in appearance, are especially dense and strong.
Straight Egyptian ArabiansOne special group of Arabian horses, the Straight Egyptian Arabian, became known for the country in which they were bred, just as Arabian horses in countries such as Spain or Poland, became referred to as “Spanish Arabians” or “Polish Arabians.” Today, Straight Egyptian Arabians are particularly known for their classic type and beauty and many breeding programs around the world today feature these unique Arabian horses. Straight Egyptian Arabians are also used to enhance the beauty, refinement and elegance of other types of Arabian horses, and many of the most successful show champions in the world feature Straight Egyptian bloodlines.
The Straight Egyptian is particularly distinguished by its origins from the finest bloodstock ever to leave the Arabian Peninsula. Arabia had long been the source of the finest purebred horses and during the 19th century one of the most notable breeders was Amir Faisal bin Turki Al Saud. W.G. Palgrave, who visited the stud of Amir Faisal wrote of the extraordinary quality of the Amir’s horses: “Never had I seen or imagined so lovely a collection....Their appearance justified all reputation, all value, all poetry.” During the wars being Egypt and Arabia, Amir Faisal was eventually taken to Egypt to be imprisoned in the Citadel, and the circumstances of his confinement greatly influenced the future of Straight Egyptian Arabian horses.