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Arabian Free Run at shows

I did not know that this was a thing


CRAZY! :crazy_face:



That was my reaction. But they also free jump and allow free movement in WB inspections. Arabs have stronger flight reactions. And saddlebreds. I used to exercise for a Saddlebred owner and she was pissed when she caught me calmly riding them bareback. The wilder they were the more she thought she was impressing people with her riding skill.


We work so hard to teach a horse to be calm and confident, to move with athletic grace and there they are chasing one mercilessly teaching one to be scared and scooting around heedlessly, stressed and alarmed?

Crazy people those. :unamused:


I thought the Liberty class has been a staple of Arabian shows for…ever? Those horses know when they are “on” and then they shut it down when it’s time to stop showing off. The more animation during the class the better! I have never shown or even owned an Arabian, but they are gorgeous animals. I babysat one this summer and she was such a sweetheart, absolutely beautiful with the biggest, softest kindest eye ever. Didn’t miss a thing going on anywhere around her though!


The liberty class at Arab shows could be a great class.
Unfortunately, it all too often is a series of terrified horses, reacting to being chased around the arena and the screeching and banging feet of the crowd.
I have seen all too many of these “performances” where my heart was in my mouth because the poor animal was close to jumping the ingate to escape.

They leave me feeling dirty, as though I’ve just been subjected to viewing some badly produced porn video.


I’d rather see the horses presenting all of their gaits, including a relaxed rambling walk, without all the hyped up flag waving. A really good liberty trainer will have them doing a few different things with confidence and curiosity, which can include a wild gallop and certainly without looking for a means to exit the arena every chance they get.

Beautiful horse but not an engaging a performance imo, despite the woo woo stallion running wild and free element. Not all that free or enjoyable for the horse.


I know that some bad stuff happens at Arabian shows.

But this particular video does not give me any problems from a horse management point of view.

At my suburban barn we have stalls with small runouts and we have a big arena dedicated to attended turnout. When the horses need to blow off steam we take them down, they may spontaneously blast or we may shake a whip and in particular keep them away from sliding stops at the gate.

So I’m used to sitting and watching horses solo or in pairs or even threes (gets a bit crowded) bomb around until they are out of breath.

My big Paint mare can move, she’s faster than an Arabian, she’s quite handy and she bucks a lot. I’ve got photo sequences of her where almost every canter stride her butt is in the air. As she gets older she really only has the beans to do a blast about once a week.

The Lusitano project horse has dance moves, she can rear and leap and do a 360 degree spin. Letting her bomb with the Arab or the Quarab is fun because they can all stop on a dime and love to stand up and wave their hands in the air.

Based on many many hours at attended turnout over the past decade plus, I can say this about the Arab in the video.

He’s having fun. They really do love to be “expressive” and it doesn’t mean what it means when my Paint gets prancy (with my Paint you could end up in ER and non weight bearing with a soft cast for 6 weeks).

He’s having a blast running and knows his job. Then when he knows it’s over he comes quietly back to his people.

Arabs have crazy endurance. Arabs and OTTB can keep running circles well after my Paint is panting and heaving and refusing to take another step. Arabs also have fantastic balance running loose

Anyhow this video (without the music) just looks like attended turnout with an Arabian after 3 rainy days in the winter.


At the out gate of course. They don’t try to halter him anywhere else in that big arena.

I don’t think he’s being mistreated. But I disagree that he’s having all that much fun. It’s like he has to put up with ten minutes of BS.

His focus on leaving is the tell imo.


I feel like the out gate is a draw for every single horse in an arena, whether under saddle or loose. Just like they inevitably walk faster on the trail headed or home.

Put a beginner on almost any horse and watch that horse drift to the arena gate.

How much fun is a horse having when they blast in attended turnout? Ours will do it spontaneously especially if they have a buddy to run with. Out at pasture holidays they will blast around the field a couple of times a day. And this is what Arabs look like when they blast. They also get way more prancy than other horses, even when being handled by sedate owners.

I trail ride a lot with a friend who has an Arab. I get to see him in turnout too. I absolutely do not want one :).

The horse in the video is running balanced circles, he’s responding to the body cues of the handlers to change directions, his ears are up, and he comes back down at the gate he’s not afraid of his handlers.

It just looks like another day in attended turnout to me. Our horses tend to need a regular blast day, and they have a calm happy demeanor afterwards. I would argue that my Paint mare wouldn’t complain about a life that was hand walks for grass and a periodic blast in turnout, or in a nice field with a mare herd that did fitness sprints 3 times a day. She’s fine these days with being ridden of course, too.

So I honestly don’t see any issue with a horse bombing around at liberty for 5 minutes. I don’t like seeing Arabians encouraged to be nutcases on the longe line or in hand. That bothers my sense of training. But it isn’t abuse per se. And it’s true Arabians can bounce without trampling you.

I want my horses to hold it together until we walk down the path through the park to turnout and then they can explode. I have no use for antics in hand. But that’s more about my training goals.

There are far worse things that go on in Arab world. Stacked shoes like they use on saddlebreds. Leg chains. Etc


Yes agreed. This is my point about the handler’s lack of real engagement with the horse.

Absolutely, which is why I wouldn’t call this particular video mistreatment per say. Just kind of senseless and unpleasant for the animal.

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So does this apply to all attended turnout blast sessions with horses, or is it just because there’s an audience and screaming (which is wierd to me too)? When my horse blasts, I just stand out of her way and keep her away from me until she slows down of her own accord. After that we can do our actual liberty work and engage. But when she’s on blast, I don’t try to engage beyond directing where she runs from a distance.

So if this video is dumb and unpleasant for the animal then all our attended turnout buck and bomb sessions are unpleasant. And I don’t think they are, because the horses will do it spontaneously if they are pent up enough, and they are happy afterwards

I just see this video as basic turnout arena procedure, but weirdly in front of judges and audience.


A little different from a free turnout because he’s being chased.

My barometer is how would I feel about a horse of mine being flagged around aimlessly at the gallop for five straight minutes so that people could stomp and clap and yell. I’d be pissed.

But we all have our lines in the sand and can agree to disagree on this point.


Loooong time for sure…and the noisy audience screaming? Ever see a Native Costume class? Or a Five Gaited Stake or Roadster to Bike at an ASB show? Or big money Reining? Part of the show.

Got no problem with it as part of the show. DO have a problem with those who think of it as normal, acceptable behavior outside a controlled environment and don’t seem to teach the horse any other …skills.

Liberty class started as an exhibition…anybody else remember Poly Royal and John Davidson? But he didn’t just chase him around, he worked him on a traditional set routine schooled in parts, not the whole thing all the time, like you would a Reiner. School the parts. Course nobody wants to take that amount of time to learn and execute the routine these days.


To me liberty classes are nerve wracking. I’ve shown in them at mini shows (they are popular) some minis really get into it and fly around enjoying themselves and play, others head for the gate and want out or are obviously overstimulated and frantic. I stopped going in the class as it made me uncomfortable and I could see big potential for injury.
The “Catch” at the end is a big deal and no baiting allowed. And the person catching the horse must be the exhibitor that was at his head and released him at the start. Most classes were won or lost on the catch. I noticed the arabian was caught with a treat so the rules must be different there.


I worked at an Arab breeding farm for years and a lot of their horses competed in liberty. The run around, act like a crazy horse thing was definitely a behavior that was taught- class was over horses knew to be caught and chilled right out. Y’all know they chase WB’s with whips and bags at breed inspections right?


With all that screaming and stomping, too?

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Yes, but its not a class that you can sign up for every show season? It’s one and done …at the inspection.

And yes, they have free jumping chutes as someone mentioned above; but again its not a show, or a class you can enter over and over again. Its under controlled conditions and not a whooping loud crowd.

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I’m curious as to whether a horse like this is also expected to go under saddle in competition or if he’s all in hand.

I attended a couple of Arabian shows as a spectator and saw that if a rider fell off, they were allowed to remount and continue on. Any other show I’ve been to that’s a DQ !

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