Sometimes referred to as the Arabian, the Arab is one of the most influential and respected horse breeds. It is greatly admired for its intelligence, spirit, stamina, and refined profile. Although it may not be the stock from which all other horse breeds originated, the Arab has been used in many breeding programs to improve the genetic pool of other horse breeds.
The Arab's head, which is refined and small, has either a straight or concave profile, sometimes with a white marking on its face. The ears are pointed and short, with a slight inward curve. It also has strong muscular legs and a high-set tail, along with a high-crested neck, sloping shoulders, deep chest, and prominent withers -- the area between the shoulder blades.
This breed usually appears in bay, gray or chestnut, although a roan Arab (possessing a coat of mixed white and pigmented hairs) may appear from time to time. Otherwise, its coat is glossy and its skin is dark.
Overall, the Arab has one of the most pleasing conformations.
The Arab is very intelligent. A quick learner with high spirits, it makes for a great riding horse. However, the Arab has been known to become aggressive if and when it is mistreated by its handler.
The Arab is associated with the Middle East. But contrary to the fables from this region, the breed did not develop on its own or even originate in the Middle East. In fact, evidence from archaeological digs and expeditions reveal that the ancestor of the Arab came to be in Asia and Europe by crossing the historic land bridge that connected North America with Asia.
From the ancient horses that migrated to Asia and Europe, four archetypal horses evolved as a result of natural selection. These four types are Pony Type I and II, and Horse Type III and IV. The Arab is believed to be a descendant of the Horse Type IV, which had similar characteristics to the modern Arab. Evidence also indicates that the Arab may roamed wild in Turkey and Syria.
Today, the Arab is being bred in various places. The purity of the Arab stock is strictly maintained, however, the best Arabian stock is considered to come from Middle Eastern countries like Jordan and Iran.