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 says "Then I started wondering... what are the "standard texts" if any that are judges master in order to become judges? Perhaps these would suit. And I have still to hear what these standard "texts" are...."
“Standard” shouldn’t be in the Arabian Horses’ dictionary nor vocabulary! Though to be considered equine and show worthy, the Breed must have a Standard, mustn’t it? A paradox within itself!! The Australian judge’s kit somewhat mortified me by the material enclosed within the kit. The initial paperwork is a standard (that word again) judgement of any equine in a frozen stance ie efficient movement for some impossible if conforming to this screed (scary, for me this starts to ring bells re some of the acclaimed show horses) with of course the obligatory changes to highlight it is an Arabian being judged. Upon reading the list of further reference works which could assist the holder of the kit to obtain greater understanding of proportional conformational limitations in order to allow them to enhance their ability to be a judge is the work of Dr Deb Bennett (Bennett, D. PhD 1996 Principles of Conformation Analysis Vol I, II, III, Fleet St Publishing Corp. Gaithersburg MD USA 4th ed (The Secrets of Conformation video)). Between the Standard kit information (that which would be tested on) and what the Bennett’s work suggests there are some discrepancies. Proportional assessment of an equine’s appearance and understanding its limitations are not entered into in the first part of the kit and yet the Bennett materials are referenced? A conundrum in regard to the Arabian Horse I believe. To my mind, the judges’ materials need a review, world wide it appears. A review based on Bennett’s and similarly based works. Education into this style of understanding and judgement of proportional limitations within the Arabian Breed, to my mind, would better a judge’s ability to judge particularly in reference to the Arabian Horse. Ultimately benefiting of the Arabian Horse as a Breed, perhaps. However, this will only be beneficial if the history of the Arabian Horse with its diversity is also better understood. It’s not going to be an easy task, but a task nonetheless. And I’m happy to admit, I’m still learning! To my mind, shortening the description of the Arabian Horse as a Breed will be taking away its essence, there is too much history behind this unique Breed. Hopefully and sincerely, I’m not demeaning anyone, particularly judges, at all here but I feel there needs to be a different level of observation and judgement applied to equus as a whole and the Arabian Horse as a Breed in particular. I am convinced (unless someone can suggest otherwise) one can not judge an Arabian Horse by the current format without severe consequences to the Breed – as is being shown! The Breed Standard in its original and current formats was introduced essentially as a marketing tool – allowing newcomers to understand the Breed and enable it to be judged. It’s done its job, all to well. Is it now the time to understand equus, in particular the Arabian Horse and give something back to the Breed(s)?
Perhaps this diversity in the physical shape of the Arabian is "kosher" because of those indescribable instrinsic universal qualities that they all share - and we all instrinsically recognize ...no matter what the minor differences in their outside physical form?
I think so and as one author essentially somewhat stated ~ to view the Arabian Horse standing still is to look at a horse, to see it move is a transformation. Not all Breeds have this ability, one could suggest WYSIWYG!
Carol – hold those thoughts
Tzviah's question of Kaely: Do you think that the bedouin had horses for " every day use" and others for "festivities", and made a distinction between them, or is this simply the situation in Iran - an Islamic country which is not by historically (or by population) an Arab country?
My thoughts to this question, Sheikh Hajat of Al-e-Kassir (Kathir) answer appears to be of a similar to what I allude to above. That is there is a variety within the Breed but only a few are being accepted for the showring or in the Sheikh's terminology festivities? The Arabian Breed is not cloned. They are individuals with a variety of capabilities; assessing and understanding these individualistic attributes and abilities perhaps needs time to assimilate considering the systems and screeds at the present time.