Arabian Horses in the United States and Their Origin
by General J.M. Dickinson
Reprinted by permission of his daughter Margaret D. Fleming
Part 6 - Endurance
The hard life required of his mount by the Arab horseman has made the breed famous and superior among all horses for its endurance. The United States Mounted Service Cup given for winning endurance tests, conducted under the auspices of the United States Army, was permanently awarded to Mr. Brown's Maynesboro Arabian Stud of Berlin, N. H., after having been won three out of five times by horses from that stud. The contenders carried from 225 to 245 pounds over the 300-mile course. The tests were open and competed for by many horses of various breeds, including Thoroughbreds, Trotters, Morgans, "saddle bred" horses, and crosses.
In the Yearbook of Agriculture, 1936, United States Department of Agriculture, at page 937, is a summary of the records of all the official United States Army Endurance Rides, showing that of the nine highest rating classifications of horses competing, the Arabs and grade-Arabs furnished the highest percentage of horses finishing and had the lowest percentage of leg trouble. First and third prizes in the first United States Endurance Test in 1919 were won by Ramla and Kheyra, half-sisters of Gulastra.
In a private test conducted by the writer in 1932, Antez carrying a moderate weight for an Arabian, 225 pounds, was ridden steadily twelve hours a day for five days over fields, country roads, and hillside trails, simply to verify the endurance of the breed. At the end of the test the little horse was in perfect condition and apparently ready and willing to go the distance again immediately.
In A test conducted by the Stadskanal Riding Club of The Netherlands in 1935, one horse out of forty-five entries of various breeds finished with "absolutely perfect" record, and he was a purebred Arabian stallion. Eight horses were rated "not quite satisfactory," all others bad or worse. The conditions were such as to interest the average American pleasure rider more than the conditions of an army endurance test. The distance covered was but 60 kilometers, a little less than forty miles. Each horse could travel as fast or slow as his rider wished, stop as often as desired. However, each was examined by a board of veterinarians at every stop and at the finish. The Arab carried 248 1/2 pounds, and no other horse in the test over 196 pounds. Some were ridden by very light weight riders or children. All were larger than the Arab, which stood 14:3. The Arab galloped the 60 kilometers in 3 hours, 16 minutes, with 26 minutes taken up in three halts. His nearest competitor covered the distance in 3 hours, 35 minutes, with 45 minutes added for halts. The Arab's temperature at the finish was exactly what it was at the start. The temperatures of others showed rises of four degrees or more. The veterinary board reported the Arab's condition throughout the test and at the finish as "absolutely perfect." This Arab stallion was Akal, maternal grandsire of *Kadira and 1st. prize Arab stallion of the Royal Agricultural Show, England, 1934.
One of the most recent remarkable long distance performances of an Arab was reported in L'Eperon in July, 1938. The sorrel Arab Tatté had just been ridden from Tanger to Casablanca, in Morocco, a distance of 440 kilometers, in 5 days, in a time of frightful thunder storms and down-pouring rain which made the hard surface of the road into a skating rink and rendered the clay shoulders useless.
It is of interest that in the various Trail Rides held in Ohio, Vermont, Illinois, and Iowa in recent years, Arab horses won prizes substantial in number and out of proportion to the few Arabs com peting. In both the Illinois and Iowa Trail Rides of 1940, all Arabs competing were prize winners. In the seven classifications in the two Rides, Arabs won four first prizes, two seconds and a third, and an Anglo-Arab was winner in one of the two remaining classifications. Again in 1941 and 1942, the Iowa Trail Ride was won for the second and third times by a little Arab that was formerly at Travelers Rest. The Vermont Trail Ride of 1945 was won by the half-bred son of a Travelers Rest stallion. In the Mt. Diablo (Calif.) Trail Ride of 1946, the first prize winners of all three classes were 1/2 or 1/4 Arab in blood, and the only prize winning stallion was a registered Arab, half brother to Ronek.
Field Marshall Lord Roberts, V. C., wrote of his Arab Vonolel: "During the 22 years he was in my possession he travelled with me over 50,000 miles, and was never sick nor sorry. He measured exactly 14 hands, 2 inches."
In "The Horse of the Desert," W. R. Brown, the distinguished breeder and authority on Arabian horses, gives numerous examples of the great endurance displayed by them, in war and in peace, in America and abroad.
Dr. George Crile, who included in his studies the organs and glands of Guemura, in the preparation of his "Intelligence, Power and Personality," 1941, wrote:
"The endowments of the Arabian horse that make him a gentle companion of man, requiring a small amount of food, capable of enduring long-distance travel but not equipped for as high a speed of outburst energy as the thoroughbred, are expressed in a brain and adrenal glands smaller than the thoroughbred's. The balanced energy system of the Arabian horse is comparable to the balanced energy system of Oriental man. Thus it is this unique energy formula, possessed only by the Arabian horse, that endows it with its unequalled endurance, coupled with high intelligence and gentleness."
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