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November 22, 2017     
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Arabian Horses in the United States and Their Origin

by General J.M. Dickinson

Reprinted by permission of his daughter Margaret D. Fleming

Part 9 - Size of the Arabian

As pointed out in the United States Department of Agriculture Bulletin, "Breeds of Light Horses," referred to above, "The usual height" (of the Arabian horse) "is from 14 to 15:1 hands and the weight from 850 to 1100 pounds ;"that is to say, from 56 inches to 61 inches at the withers."

There is a widely prevalent impression that a satisfactory saddle horse must be tall. We cannot ignore this matter of taste and therefore endeavor to supply a fair proportion of horses of more than average Arab size. We would point out, however, that the Arab horses which have made the breed famous for endurance, in war and in peace, have not been the largest Arabs on record. As a matter of fact, some of the most astonishing performances have been made by horses standing less than fifteen hands. It has been our experience that mere height has nothing to do with the ability of the Arab to endure and to carry weight. As William Scarth Dixon says in "The Influence of Racing and the Thoroughbred Horse on Light Horse Breeding," " . . . balance is of more importance than mere height, a fact it is as well to bear in mind."

This opinion is confirmed by Sir Walter Gilbey, who wrote: "Breeders and horsemen are well aware, though the general public may not know or may not realize the fact, that increased height in the horse does not necessarily involve increased strength in all directions, as greater weight-carrying power and more endurance." The same principle was pointed out even more strongly in Davenport's "Principles of Breeding," 1907.

 
 

 

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