Short History of the Arabian

"Allah said to the South Wind: ‘Become solid flesh, for I will make a new creature of thee, to the honour of My Holy One, and the abasement of Mine enemies, and for a servant to them that are subject to me.’ And the South Wind said: ‘Lord, do Thou so.’ Then Allah took a handful of the South Wind and he breathed thereon, creating the horse and saying: ‘Thy name shall be Arabian, and virtue bound into the hair of thy forelock, and plunder on thy back. I have preferred thee above all beasts of burden, in as much as I have made they master thy friend. I have given thee the power of flight without wings, be it in onslaught or in retreat, I will set men on thy back, that shall honor and praise Me and sing Hallelujah to My name." -- Bedouin legend.

The Mohammedans believed that the Arabian horse was created by Allah, but like all other creatures, the horse evolved through the centuries. Two basic strains of horses were developed from the ancient horse: the Occidental and the Oriental. The Occidental included horses common to early Europe, such as the Celtic pony and the Great Horse of the Middle Ages. The Oriental strain included the mounts of nomadic tribesman from the Asian Steppes, Near East, and North Africa. It was from this strain that the Arabian horse developed.

The Arabian is the oldest purebred horse in the world (approximately 3,000 years). The Bedouins of Mohammed’s time were zealous in their attempts to keep the Arabian strain pure, and would breed only the best of the animals to ensure that genetic faults were not continued. In direct contrast to medieval European thought, the Bedouins prized the mare over the stallion, and used her on raids. A Bedouin so highly prized his Arabian mare that he kept her in his tent and often gave her the best of the food.

For more information on the Arabian horse, see Resources.

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