Can anyone tell me about Arabians that are bred for Endurance as opposed to the “show” and “halter” bred Arabians? Typical temperament, trainability, good brain???, soundness, and ability to do other disciplines, such as dressage and leisurely trail riding? Thanks!
I am the furthest thing from an expert, but I will share my ignorance and preconceptions as collected through vague anecdotal comments here and there from various and unknown sources … My understanding is that the show and halter-bred Arabs have flat “table top” croups, whereas the “bred to work” have pointier croups, which in theory allows their hind legs to move under them better. I find that the Arabs with really dished faces just look bizarre and don’t seem to have been left much room for having a brain and breathing ( this last is my totally my uneducated prejudice).
I also got an impression that the Polish Arabs were less flighty and were more solid all-arounders than the Egyptian Arabs. I have had several dressage-y trainers comment that truth be told, they didn’t love the way Arabs moved, calling it “swimming,” but there are any number of Arabs that do dressage quite well enough for most riders. And no trainer I had could resist how intuitive the Arabs were, and how quick to get something. (And so pretty!)
From my very limited experience of growing up riding grade Arab lesson ponies, and then owning an Arab mare (Polish), I will say that the Arabs I have ridden have had amazing brains, super trainable, very loyal to their people, protected me as well as themselves when they were uncertain of something, snuggly, and owned the trail. Good feet and good legs. My horse liked to move right out on the trail, even if just at a good swinging walk, though. She did not believe in leisurely ambling (at least, not before age 27). I did have to train her out of jigging down the trail when she wanted to go faster than I did, but, that only took a few simple techniques. She resented dressage other than lateral work, which she loved, but I think all of this is another case of, “You buy/ride the individual horse, not the breed.”
Someone near by uses Arabians for dressage and only dressage. She has done very well in this area.
The problem with arabians is that you really need to know your bloodlines and look at the individual horse. I really don’t like what they are breeding for show these days. I used to work at an Arabian farm and there were 2 horses out of 30 that were decently tempered. The rest were bred hot and hotter. I don’t mind a hot horse but these were spook at everything hot, can’t walk a straight line without spooking. No thank you.
I currently ride an Arabian that my friend owns and I actually have almost forgotten that he is an Arabian. He is smooth and comfortable to ride, forward without the spook factor. My paint has more spook then him.
The problem is to find a good one, you will need to sort through a lot of bad ones. Certainly you should be able to find one for dressage and endurance… But do weed out anything that is overly spooky or high strung. And beware if all work in the barn comes to a stop because someone is showing you a horse and afraid any barn noise might cause an explosion.
Egyptian Arabian’s, when bred correctly with old lines, should be very solid and sane. I have a three year old I bought from a friend and he is VERY athletic and not fazed by anything really. I am super excited to get him going, I will be using him for mountain riding and maybe some cow work but he would be good for lower level dressage. He should finish out about 15.2 hands and go any direction I want. I LOVE his mind. She has other horses for sale if anyone is interested.