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: 18-March 03
From: Vale View, Toowoomba, Australia
Member No.: 117
Tzviah - I like your thoughts and believe it will be more or less a struggle. With this statement, I’m essentially in agreement with Emma. The Arabian Horse can be so many things for so many people its this diversity which makes it the "perfect Breed", perhaps it might be wiser to list what the Arabian Horse should not be? Then the variety of the Breed could be easier to balance than it is now via the current Breed Standard and its modern connotations. The convenience of a short précis style of a Standard will never do the Arabian Horse as a Breed justice. The Breed has too much variety to be labelled easily. We have all come to judge the Arabian Horse by exceptions – the exceptional head, the exceptional neck, the exceptional level croup etc and hold these up as Arabian. Everyone, being the competitors that they are (human nature), wants to be as good as the exceptions, if not better. Essentially the exceptions have become the rule particularly in forums and albeit giving false impressions to all?
The image presented, GBE original or not, to my mind is focussing on the exceptional rather than ordinary. The early authors, until they realised, stated the Arabian horse was of “many breeds” essentially because of the strain names and plausibly reinforced by different looks ie types throughout the tribes. One of the most poignant points these authors subtlely allow the reader to realise is there was no consistency to what they saw in the desert, each individual horse varying somewhat from the next. Each major tribe / sub tribe focusing on their own agenda to what their Arabian should be like. Or is it that they wanted only to produce an asl (asil) horse, that is the pedigree, the bloodlines? If indeed they were fortunate to breed a foal and keep it alive to breed on! This would somewhat explain the variety of the Breed?
Taking the Breed back to an original concept of blood rather than a single specific conformational outline will be too much I feel for one generation. Though there does need to be recognition of the diversity of the Arabian Horse as a Breed. Perhaps the précis should be what the Arabian Horse is NOT? People owning an Arabian should be totally aware of the uniqueness of the Arabian’s diversity and not be ashamed of it. This I feel can only happen through education of the Breed’s history and understanding the proportional attributes of equine conformation. Then judges can judge the diversity of the Breed without the implications we see today, oh so clearly! So… what DON’T we want to see in an Arabian Horse, leaving the Standard out of your thoughts, bearing in mind the diversity the Breed offered in the beginning?