Joined: 17-March 03
Member No.: 64
Shalom and greetings from Israel!
I have been lurking and reading quite carefully the BORN TO PERFORM discussion, and so well understand many of the points of view reflected there. Much of what, for example, both Hansi and Ralph say make sense - I know that Hansi doesn't mean that good type isn't necessary in a good Arabian - I don't think that Ralph wants Arabians that are purely typey head and neck and tail carriage and the ability to trot in a showring but are not fit to be using horses. ( Nor do I believe that this was the goal of the RAS/EAO with their goal of breeding classic horses.) Ralph is a rider. Hansi is a rider. Both love and breed the same breed with a singular passion.
The instructive comments in this thread reminded me that about a year ago, I looked all over the internet for a more or less universally accepted written breed standard for the Arabian horse and couldn't find one. I mean one that describes the standard from "head to foot" , correct conformation, action, charcter, etc - point by point. I was both fascinated and mortified. (I wanted to publish a translated breed standard for our Hebrew/Arabic Breeder's Cup show program. )
The thread about Sport Horse Championships and the commendable judging system used there, got me thinking even more....
So many things are subjective (the terms typey, classic, brilliance), or difficult to define, Where is our common ground? What can we agree upon about the Arabian horse? What can be crystallized about our breed, defined, and described sufficiently well in words? Each of us individually know what we are referring to when we refer to a good Arabian horse. Are we speaking the same language?
Seriously, Who has an Arabian breed standard of 5000 words or less that would be acceptable to us all? Or, perhaps to say the great majority rather than all of us. (Not looking for a fight, only for data).
Now obviously there are complete books on the subject - many of them in my library, but I am wondering whether it is possible to find a succinct, written breed standard that is of perhaps a few thousand words in length that would keep (almost) everyone happy. Seriously. Something that could be published in a show program for "neophytes" as to what are the hallmarks of the breed, or handed out to people who have no previous knowledge. And something to make available on the web - (perhaps even on this exceptional website) for anyone looking for basic information starting from "zero?"
20-25 years ago I used to see this type of information published in general horse magazines. I apologize if I am wrong here about it not being available currently on the web - please set me straight if anyone can find it.
And, please... Anyone with a written example of such a standard, please present it here. Also if there is a date tagged to the standard.
To think about....if there are examples of standards from, lets say 40 years ago and standards from 10 years ago.....what has, if anything, changed in terms of what appears in the accepted written standard? When, who, how modified?
Perhaps a logical place to start to look for a standard would be from the judges on this forum who study before being licensed.
Years ago there was an article in some printed mag - showing how the Gladys Brown Edwards' images of the breed standard (in America anyway) were changed and refined over the years to show a more "modern" type of Arabian. The picture was changed to a more upright, had a longer neck, and a more "modern" croup. Anyone remember ? Any comments? Can anyone post these images? Anyone willing to guess whether a 2003 image be modified in other ways?
So, this post is, I guess, asking three things:
Serious part -'this is my quest', in the immortal words of Don Quiote 1)Is there today a written (more or less) breed standard that we can agree upon ?
Curious part: 2) How is (or Is this) standard different from what that would have been (or was actually) published in, let's say, 1960.
Pragmatic part: 3) What is the acceptable written breed standard that judges study today?
Any takers? LIz, Alia....anyone?...What would you use (or how would you write) the breed standard for the Arabian horse today?
Thanks for listening. Sorry for the rambling. And, as always, all the best!
Joined: 21-March 03
Member No.: 192
But this is really not that difficult. When you look at some prominent breeds, such as the Tb, Belgian, Frisian, Shetland Pony, clydesdale etc you recognize such as a particular breed-and conformation does not come in at that point. Within these breeds one judges their conformation for what they were designed to do.
the same goes for the arabian horse. Even if some have a straighter face than others, there is still that tail carriage, the particular regality or presence. Once you enter the arabian among other reeds, in most all cases they are recognizeable as an Arabian horse. Here I refer to Asils and SEs or both.
when it comes to conformation, again we have to consider what we want the horse for. I am under the destinct impression, that the arab was wanted for its inheritated qualities of stamina, courage, sure footedness,easy keeper, intelligence and sensitivity, speed, etc.etc. This is why desertbreds were originally imported to europe etc to improve the coldbloods, which they did and with it created a number of new breeds including the successfull TB.
The calvalery used the Arab and crosses. Napoleon rode them, so did various other royalties, or they pulled carts etc. Paintings, Monuments- which were in most cases not exagerated, showed the Arabian horse in its glory.
In each case the Arabian was treasured BECAUSE oF WHAT IT COULD DO.
You speak of standards, and I outlined them. Of course due to the many diferent types within the Arabian breed, I am now talking of the Se's and Asils, you can not fit them into one clichee, but you can fit them into a particular look/presence, etc. which other breeds do not have.
when it comes to conformation, that should be very simple. All horses have good and bad conformation points,and considering the work they have to do, one pays great attention to it. And there is were the clue lies. Without testing for the qualities, how can anybody determine the value, thei abilities? Do you really think our ancestors bred from a stallion they have not thoroughly tested? That would be suicidle and NOT common sense.
Of course breeders of the past were few and apparently highly experienced. Most all were riders/drivers and knew exactly what to look for. So why should this be different today? When I look at a horse I ask myself this" "If my life was depending on a get-away horse, which one would I take!" Can we do this today? I doubt it by enlarge.
A neck is important. Even a short neck, provided there is enough room in the ganashes. A back is important, provided it is not too soft. And the angulation of the rearend is important, because there is where the power comes from. A proportional shoulder is important, because it dictates the length of the stride. The hoofs are important, you dont want platoons, but also not hoofs so small, the horse cant carry itself and you over any terrain. And the legs, tendons,joints are important, to ensure that they dont break down by just a trip around the corner. The attitude also plays a great role and then is the talent, which comes. And then there has to be balance, in appearance and gaits.
As you can see, these qualities are also demanded from other breeds, for what ever they are designed or have to do workwise.
At the end, you again look at the overall picture of a horse to determine its breed.