Bargain Table Horse Books and Arabians

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It seems that every horse coffee table book I’ve ever picked up from a book store bargain table always includes Arabian horses.  I started thinking about this because I was disappointed that the book pictured above doesn’t contain one of my favorite breeds, Marwari.  But then I thought, well, I guess it would be pretty impossible to include every breed of horse in every coffee table book.  But then I thought further and realized they always include Arabians.  (At least the ones I’ve seen.)

This book even has one section completely devoted to them:

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While the rest of the breeds are grouped into categories:

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A quote from the book: “With his tiny curved ears, large liquid eyes, extravagantly dished face and luxurious mane and tail, the Arabian is the horse of dreams.”

Another quote: “This beautiful ancient breed is thought to go as far back as 3000BC and has strongly influenced many of today’s more modern breeds of horse.”

I’ve been aware for some time that the Arabian horse influenced many other breeds, most notably the thoroughbred through the three foundation stallions;

The Byerley Turk:

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The Byerley Turk by John Wootton

The Darley Arabian:

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The Darley Arabian stallion painting by John Wootton

And the Godolphin Arabian (my personal favorite):

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The Godolphin Arabian, by George Stubbs

(I’ll write more about these three Arabians in another post.)  I was surprised to learn that Arabians also directly influenced the American Quarter Horse.  Growing up in Texas, it always seemed that Quarter Horse owners and Arabian owners are of different mindsets.  It still seems that way actually. So other than a little Arabian blood coming through to the American Quarter Horse via early Thoroughbred foundation stallions, I had no idea that there were full blooded Arabians among the early Quarter Horses until I read an article in the December 2018 issue of Equus that mentioned two Crabbet-bred Arabians who were direct sire-line descendants of Mesaoud, one of the foundation sires of the Crabbet Arabian Stud in England.

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Mesaoud at Crabbet Park

The stallions were Astraled and Ribal:

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I never tire of learning about Arabian horses and their influence on other breeds and their appearance throughout human history.  I have much more to learn about the Arabian horse, but as in everything I love, I am a life-long learner.  I welcome comments and additional information as I know this blogpost just barely scratches the surface. I’m learning as I write!

Al Khamsa (The Five)

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Al Khamsa by Karen Kasper

All modern Arabian horses are said to descend from five original mares.  There are many versions of the story of Al Khamsa, but the one that seems to be the most popular is the one in which it is said that after a long journey, Mohammed released his band of horses to drink water at an oasis, but then blew his battle horn and only five of the mares stopped and returned to their master in spite of their great thirst.  The legend goes that these five mares were chosen to be the foundation mares for the Arabian breed because of their loyalty to their master.

The five strains named after these mares are, Keheilan, Seglawi, Abeyan, Hamdani, and Hadban, or various spellings there of.

In her book, The Classic Arabian Horse, Judith Forbis tells an albeit less magical story about the origin of the five mares in which several tribes from Yemen come to visit the prophet Mohammed and present him with “five magnificent mares, belonging to five different races of which Arabia was then said to boast.” In her version, Mohammed steps out of his tent, caresses them and says, “Blessed be ye, O Daughters of the Wind.”

Also in Forbis’s book she states that Carl Raswan, who was a well known historian of early Egyptian Arabians and lived among Arab tribes for over a decade, did not acknowledge all five strains.  “Raswan divided the Arabian breed into three main strains,…Saklawi was representative of feminine elegance, grace, and refinement, while Kuhaylan, signified masculinity, strength, boldness and power.  The Muniqi strain was of a racier build, usually more developed in the forehand and lighter behind.”

The Al Khamsa may be stuff of legend, but according to alkhamsa.org, “Any horse in North America that Al Khamsa, Inc. believes, after study, to descend entirely from Arabian horses bred by the nomadic Bedouin horse breeding-tribes of the Arabian Peninsula is an Al Khamsa Arabian.”

Franch Horse Spotlight-Just Touch

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The passage that follows my little intro was written by Lisa Vaughan Carter about her beloved horse, Just Touch. Touch is the oldest horse at The Franch at the ripe old age of 30, but doesn’t look a day over 9! He is a sweet boy and I love bringing him in to the barn for the evening on Sundays! I remember telling Lisa when I first met her that I liked the “cut of his jib”! He’s a special horse with a special owner, who has provided him with a wonderful forever home at The Franch!

The story of Just Touch: I’ve always loved horses. I never owned one as a child but, always wanted to. When I was 29 my boyfriend told me I needed to “get a hobby”. I thought about what I loved to do the most, I remembered how much I loved riding horses as a kid. I started taking horseback riding lessons, which gave me the bug. I got rid of the boyfriend and bought my first horse. I found a beautiful 14yo solid black, with a white star, Tennessee Walking Horse named Just Touch.  I had no idea what I was doing; I learned some very hard lessons about horseback riding and caring for a horse. He was a very good teacher and I landed on my butt quite a few times those first few years. Touch has always been a stoic solitary guy. He has had many friends who adored him but, he never seemed to care much who was around. We had so many adventures together. We traveled to Oklahoma, Arkansas and all over Texas to ride the trails together. Unfortunately, when Touch was 26 he was diagnosed with EPM. We treated him for 6 months and I made the difficult decision, for his safety and mine, to quit riding him permanently. He now loves retirement, at 30 years old. I have loved having him in my life for the past 16 years. He gives me a sweet subtle whinny when he sees me coming, not too loud so no one thinks he is too excited to see his mama. I cherish each day I have with this sweet horse.

 

Lisa and Touch:

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Franch Horse Spotlight-Mr. High Dollar-Memorial

Mr. High Dollar

Today’s post was written by Stephanie Young and Lizze Ferbert about sweet Mr. High Dollar who recently passed away.  Dollar, as I knew him was one of the first horses I met at The Franch along with his owner Lizze Ferbert.  Lizze immediately welcomed me with open arms into The Franch family and she paired well with Dollar, who was very welcoming to newcomers as well.  One of my earliest memories at The Franch is of her grooming Dollar in front of his stall and I would pet him as I talked to her.  Dollar also shared a paddock with one of my crew, Flame and his brother, Blaze.  Dollar knew me well, because I would always talk to him in the paddock when I was visiting Flame.  My last memory of Dollar was again of Lizze grooming him at his stall and I pet him as I talked to her.  I’m so happy I had that opportunity, our time with them is so fleeting.

The original post by Steph and Lizze:

The Franch lost a very special 4-legged family member last week that had been with us for 14 years (longest horse boarded here). Mr. High Dollar touched every one of us out here in a very special way. You see…Dollar was blind and had a different way of communicating with us. He literally knew words and would listen to the sound of your voice for commands. To watch Dollar and Lizze Ferbert together was something incredible and very magical to witness between horse and human. Mr. High Dollar you will live in our hearts forever and will always be a part of us here at the Franch. RIP

Here is a very special tribute Liz Ferbert shared below…

Mr. High Dollar was a Walkaloosa gelding that entered my life in December of 1999, as a green 4-year-old. I started working him with a local trainer and life was good.
Boarding one summer in pasture with a big lake, Dollar and his herd of 4 or 5 other horses started to splash and cool off in the lake water which was downstream from cattle grazing pasture. That summer he starts tripping over ground poles in training. As his eyesight became worse, I had an equine ophthalmologist diagnose uveitis in both eyes, blindness occurred.
So since his blindness occurred fall of 2002 in his seventh year, Dollar lived an almost typical horse life. He turned out in “Electrobraid” fencing so he heard the fence boundary (after touching the hot fence once).

With the encouragement of my trainer, I kept riding Dollar. He trusted me, responding to voice and hand and seat aids. He not only hacked in the arena, but also loved walking out on local trails, through woods and streams, stepping over poles and logs. I did not know how he knew when we were riding back toward the barn but he always picked up the pace when heading toward the barn, anxious to get back to rest and grazing.

Dollar lived at the Nelson-Hixson Franch for 14 years. Everyone at the Franch was kind and helpful, always treated Mr. High Dollar with love and caring. And he did get to live a horse-happy life:
outside pasture-grazing in the fresh air and sunshine.

BULLET POINTS regarding a very special horse, Mr. High Dollar:
• Favorite word: WHOA
• When cleaning his hooves, after I picked up one for cleaning, he picked up the next hoof himself so it was ready for picking.
• Never pull his mane to shorten it because he hated that, shaking and tossing his head.
• He chose to dump the water buckets in his stall, spilling water everywhere, for fun. I had to install steel bucket holders to stop that.
• I was Blessed to be Dollar’s owner, to know him and love him. We had fun and that’s what it’s all about.

“When we’re gone, long gone, the only thing that matters is the love that we shared and the way that we cared” Emmylou Harris

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Lizze and her beloved, Mr. High Dollar