Sunday, January 7, 2007

Trash Talking Arabian Horses

There isn’t anything that makes me crazier than people trash talking Arabian horses. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted Arabian horses. Growing up in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, any kind of horse was out of the question and I was teased if I even mentioned an equine.

But even when I did get to a farm or around horse people where you’d think they would understand about my dream, the mere mention of an Arabian horse met with all kinds of disparaging remarks not to mention laughing and jeering. I quickly learned not to talk about wanting horses and in particular my breed of choice. I left my dreaming for the nighttimes and/or daydreams during boring classes at school.

Times have changed a lot since my childhood but the prejudice against the Arabian horse still remains. When I did finally decide that it was safe to share my secret dream of owning Arabian horses, while my husband was quite supportive, the horse community pushed and pulled at me from all directions insisting that an Arabian horse would never, never do.

At least some would dismiss Arabians only as not a good first horse, BUT most didn’t think there was any good reason for anyone to own an Arabian EVER. I would venture to guess that at least 50% of the population of horse enthusiasts are very vocal with negative press for the breed. They will say things like they’re stupid, crazy, untrainable, killers and have stories they’re willing to share to prove their point of view.

Fortunately, I have never been swayed by this prejudice. I love Arabian horses. I always have and I always will. I love everything about them. I love their fire and spirit. I love their intelligence. I love their expressive faces. I love their flagging tails and flaring nostrils. I love their beauty and grace. And most of all, I love their companionship and loyalty.

It took me until I was 40 years old to get my first horse, an Arabian mare named Scandalous. She was probably everything the book would tell you NOT to buy in a first horse. Well, maybe, not everything, her conformation and disposition were good, but she was a young, green broke, hormonal mare.

It was love at first sight for both of us. She took to me like she’d been shot with Cupid’s arrow and I fell just as hard. She was everything I’d dreamed about and more. She was my best friend, my inspiration.

It’s been 20 years since I first met Scandalous and some 30 plus horses later, I still love Arabian horses and I still meet the prejudice against them regularly. It amazes me how such a thing can exist when Arabians are such kind and gentle creatures. I really don’t understand.

For me, while I love Arabians, I don’t dislike other breeds. I truly appreciate good horses no matter what breed they are. While I have no wish to own any other breed of horse since I know an Arabian horse is the perfect fit for me, I would never think of trash talking other breeds.

What is obvious to me is that those people, who are so quick to snicker when they see me saddling my Arabian for a poker ride, have never ridden my horse or one like it or they wouldn’t be snickering. Those folks who sneer when they hear I breed Arabians have never had a relationship with horses like mine. They have never sat atop a well-trained one and felt the strength and power at their fingertips waiting for direction. They do not understand Arabian horses and they are speaking out of their ignorance and fear.

To be continued...

More on Trash Talking Arabian Horses


  1. I must agree with you that Arabians are strongly prejudiced against by many horse people, but I don't believe a word of it. I had the opportunity to meet and have my senior pictures taken with an Arabian Horse. After the session was over I got to ride him bareback, in an unfenced yard next to a road across the street from a beef farm. If Arabians were truly crazed, stupid, untrainable, or killers he would have ditched me or taken off. In fact he did neither, I got to experience the smoothest trot I have ever ridden. I also worked closely with a different Arabian that when you led him he would arch his neck and prance next to you. He would snort playfully at things people might expect him to spook at, but he would stir not left nor right if he spooked he would just stop so he could look. He wasn't rude about either, if I just told him it was nothing to worry about when he hesitated, he'd walk on and snort at it. I would definitely own an Arabian after those experiences. If someone had a bad experience I can understand that too, but I am of a mind set that one horse isn't every horse of a breed. Just like people there are bad horses.

  2. Welcome to the blogsphere! I hope you keep up the posting, it is terribly fun.

    I owned a dalmatian for 11 years, sweetest dog ever. They too have a bad rap, but with the right training, love and attention they are wonderful dogs.

    Many horse folks are never exposed to the sensitivity of a hot blooded horse, so the alertness, the energy, the true spirit are seen as 'dangerous' and 'anti-horse', but the truth of the matter is, if they could learn to expand their horizons there would be so many horses open to them. And, they wouldn't have to wear spurs nearly as much! hehe. :)

  3. Hi Mikael.
    I love your blog page and you are so right in what you say about the Arabians haveing a bad name. I also love all horses (all animals in fact) but my preferred breed are the big draft horses, Shires, Clydes and those types. I would never trash any other breed as I love them all. I cant wait for your next blog and more info on your horses....especially the two special ones Trouble and Suprise. I adore watching them on the cam.


  4. When I was a young kid I had a shetland pony and NOTHING was as good as my Charlie. LOL. I was around Quarter horses a lot and I thought Arabians were mean. I misunderstood the word spirit. Then our 4H club went to an Arabian farm. I was amazed at how sweet these beautiful horses were. They had a stallion that was standing so calm. His handler said Pal, it's showtime. He transformed into a sight to behold. Head and tail held high and his eyes full of fire. He was prancing along but never once did the chain on his show halter become tight. He stayed on a very loose lead. Then during the summer before 8th grade I got a job working for some lippizan trainers at a farm where they trained other horses. There were all sorts of breeds there. It was here that I got to know Arabs. A mare named Belle Tzar would started hopping and jumping in her stall when she heard her owner's car pull up. She knew the sound of it, much like a dog knows the sound of it's master's vehicle. She was so easy to train and seemed to have that ok what's next attitude. She was a love. Then in my high school freshman year a man asked me if i would like to ride his half Arab some. He got put on 3rd shift and couldn't ride during the week anymore. Taco was such a gentleman. Yes, he was spirited but he didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was the best trail horse I ever rode. Put a small child on him and you couldn't get him to go faster than a walk. Arabians remind me a lot of a big lovable puppy. They seem to adore their owners and are loyal to no end. The sheiks loved these horses not only for the stamina and grace but also because of their loyalty and dependabilty. They even slept with them in a tent. Not a place for a crazy horse. Yes, there are bad Arabs but there's a bad one in every single breed out there. Most of the time this is some human's fault. I love all horses but Arabs are right up there at the top.

  5. Another thought and pet peeve of mine. No breed should be trashed. I love horses period and I do have my favorites. But that does not give me the right to trash other breeds. Every breed was developed for a reason and you have to appreciate that in order to appreciate that breed. Same goes for any other animal. If you don't like Arabians, fine. But don't trash them. I won't trash your breed just because it's not my favorite.

  6. You will also see prejudice against Arabians in the dressage world. Although, not as much by the judges as you might think. It's mostly by the riders. They just assume that your Arabian isn't doing "real" dressage. Quite a few people have been surprised to have my "little Arabian" outscore their big warmblood.

    Over the past few years I have seen predjudice from dressage judges lessen to the point where many will now admire a nicely trained Arabian. I no longer worry about getting a low score becasue of my horse's breed.

    So, yes, my Arabian does REAL dressage - my trainer says he's one of the best horses she's ever ridden or trained.

  7. Trash talk happens about ponies too. I had a pony and many horse people would put my pony down and all ponies. Some people would say that all ponies are mean and are good only for dog food. I heard so much trash talk about ponies from people that owned horses that I begin to think that all horse people were mean and I didn't want anything to do with mean people.

    Arabians and ponies are smart and that can cause people to have problems with them when they try to man-handle them and show them who is boss. You have to be smarter than the horse you are working with and show that you can listen too.

    This is a wonderful horses blog.

    P.S. I no longer think all horse people are mean people, just some of them. ;)