The Fine Friesian and the Awesome Arab- whats your opinion??

I have always loved the Arabian horse and the Friesian horse breed. I love to occasionally you tube videos of the Friesian in action and read and re-read 'My friend Flicka' by Mary O'hara, a book on Arab horses.

I love how majestic the Friesian looks. How they stand tall and proud, with their glossy black coat shining in the sun and their long flowing manes. I love how long their tails are and the feathers that adorn their hooves. The Friesian originally was from the Netherlands along with its cousin, the Gypsy Vanner. They were used for pulling plows in the fields and for the knights horses as well. The Friesian averages 18hh at the most and is very gentle. This is a horse that was meant for the high-end life that they had when owned by the royals. Couldn't you just picture the queen or princess sitting side-saddle in their beautiful evening gowns or a knight or young prince prancing around showing off for all the young ladies?

The Arab is a proud cocky horse. It has been labeled by most 'hot-blooded' due to its sensitive jumoy nature. But still I cannot help but love them. I have always loved how they carry their head proudly in the air and lift their tails up high ike a banner for all to see. I enjoy watching them as they lift each individual leg up high as they trot and how they side glance when they run by. They look as if theyare floating in the air. The Arabian horse obviously originated in Saudi Arabia and are still native thier today. They were used by the Bedouin boys to carry their supplies and to race across the hot desert sand. It was considered bad luck for a woman to be around a horse in Saudi and therefore women and girls never got to see or be around horses at all. How sad.

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Comment by Jackie Cochran on August 11, 2013 at 12:26pm

I suspect that his sire was a grey Arab, there are quite a few around since grey Arabs tend to be a little bit more beautiful in the head than other colors (a tendency, not guaranteed!)  The color is not the reason for the sensitivity, I now regularly ride a grey Arab gelding who is sane and useable for beginners in a lesson with a good teacher, and I also ride a grey Arab/Welsh mare who is very, very good with beginners.

At sixteen hands I suspect Thoroughbred or Appendix QH, though there are Arab/Draft horse crosses who can be quite tall too.  Another possibility is an American Saddle horse, the Arab/American Saddle Bred crosses tend to be more challenging than most part Arabs.  I owned one (a grey) and she had a screw loose in her head, not suitable for a nervous beginner at all!  This was the horse that made me an advanced rider, a very exciting and challenging ride.


Comment by Horsing Around is Fun on August 11, 2013 at 12:00pm

The arab cross that I was on was sixteen hands. my instructor said he used to be black then gray and now he is white with gray flecks in his coat. his mane is so light it looks blonde. his front hooves are white and his back hooves black. any idea what he might be crossed with?

Comment by Jackie Cochran on August 11, 2013 at 10:39am


Average Arab goes from around 13.2 (considered really small for an Arab) up to 15.3-16 hands.  Some are smaller, I do not believe a  pure  Arab over 16 hands ever existed (lost of people lie or use the measuring stick wrong).

A pure Arab is descended solely from Bedouin bred stock in the Middle East.  The desert bred Arabs (DB) generally were from 14 to 15 hands high.  They were hard for Europeans to buy.  The Arabs had several categories of pureness of the blood, and Europeans often got 2nd quality animals as far as pureness was concerned, often as war booty (esp. Poland, Hungary, rest of Eastern Europe).  These Europeans were picking out horses to breed for cavalry horses and they were more concerned with good conformation than absolute purity of blood.

The Egyptian Arabs are considered among the purest, their breeding stock was based on tribute (ie. taxes) on the Bedouin tribes and the Egyptian rulers tended to pick the most beautiful, but not always the best conformed horses.  I find the Egyptian Arabs to be slightly more hyper than other breeding groups, but many are wonderful calm horses.  NOT for a beginner.

An Anglo-Arab is a cross between a Thoroughbred (usually the mare) and an Arabian (usually the sire.)  These horses are a cross between the two of the "hottest" breeds around, and the dispositions vary, but even the calmer ones do not like heavy hands or other abuse.  I lucked out with mine, he was an angel, but again generally they are not for beginners.

The Shagya Arab is bred by Europeans who wanted a horse like the Arab but TALLER (up to 16 to 16.2 hands).  Often better conformed than a pure Arab, these horses are still HOT in disposition.  They are quite sensitive too.

Personally I prefer Arabs to be 14 to 15 hands high.  I just loooove small horses!

None of these are good horses for beginners, like I said I lucked out with my Anglo-Arab being an absolute angel.  If you want to go part Arab look the Arab-Quarter Horse cross may be the best idea, or Arab crossed with any Western breed, including the Pintos, Apps, Buckskins and Paints.  DO NOT GET A GREEN BROKE HORSE, and don't get a young one.  A good beginner's horse has been around for several years, had lots of diverse experiences, and has gotten over its youthful follies (over 9 years old, a horse in its teens can be even better) and has LOTS of hours under the saddle.  And always remember that a horse's color is not as important as a good disposition, decent legs, decent conformation, and decent training.  You will never find a perfectly conformed horse, and if you did you would not be able to afford it.  A horse who has perfect conformation, beauty, and is cheap (under $3,000 USD) probably has something wrong with its head, a rotten disposition, has been ruined by bad riding and handling, or has costly veterinary problems either now or in the future.  

Do not be seduced by beauty, the really pretty refined horses tend to be more flightly than the plainer horses.  Many quiet, reliable, and trustworthy horses, ideal for beginners, are just plain looking or ugly.

I am sooooo glad you are looking for a good teacher!!!!!  The method of riding is not as important as the teacher being good at training riders, using safe tack, and having suitable horses for you to ride.  When you visit their stable check the horses out, you want to see cheerful horses, not horses who cower in the back of their stalls, with the hooves kept up and the tack taken care of (no cracks in the leather of the billet straps that attach the girth, and no cracks in the stirrup leathers.)  Make sure that they have insurance for teaching riding, this is something only serious people get.

Good luck!   

Comment by Horsing Around is Fun on August 10, 2013 at 9:50pm

oh, sorry, and how big is the average arab? My uncle said 13 hh

Comment by Horsing Around is Fun on August 10, 2013 at 9:49pm

We are currently looking for a new teacher question, what is the difference between a Shaggya arab, an egyptian arab and an anglo arab from just an arabian horse?

Comment by Horsing Around is Fun on August 10, 2013 at 7:59pm

Yeah, We FEMALES are pretty brave. I cannot stand it when people say women do not belong around horses or on horses, it ticks me off.

Comment by Jackie Cochran on August 10, 2013 at 5:19pm

It was more of a joke, just telling me that the horse was NOT for sale!

I no longer own any horses.  I got my first horse 43 years ago, an Anglo-Arab gelding, and I've owned part-Arabs, pure Arabs, a Paso Fino, and one POA pony.  My last horse died around seven years ago.  I stopped owning horses because my MS makes me too disabled to do the necessary work.

My first horse was not ruined, but he was 5 years old, just gelded, and had only 3 weeks of training.  I had some experience riding some stable hacks when I was in grade school.  I had difficulties at first with him (him running away, me falling, getting a concussion and not able to ride for 6 weeks) but as my riding improved he became a wonderful, wonderful horse.  After several years I could put beginners on him, he was so gentle and considerate, and he would putter around until he felt like they were ready for the next fastest gait and he would gently sneak it in when he thought the beginner was ready.

If I were you I would try and find another place to ride, a place that will listen to your mother!  If you find a good teacher it will take around three years good lessons before it would be safe to even think of putting you up on a ruined horse.  Even then it can get scary, but you will have the skills to deal with the problems including to know when it is better to jump off a horse that is going crazy.  Ask your new teacher to teach you the emergency dismount, it can be a life saver when the horse goes postal.

When I first rode at the stable where I get lessons the teacher asked me what the highest level I had ridden, and when I told her she decided not to put me on her baby-sitter 30 yr. old, and put me up on this absolutely wonderful Arab gelding, very sensitive, quite unforgiving about rider error, and I rode him for a wonderful 18 months before he went back to his breeder.  The only reason I could ride this sensitive Arab is that I had EXPERIENCE, especially one 7/8 Arab mare with a screw loose in her head that I took from a double bridle and standing martingle to riding on a snaffle on loose reins in 6 months.  Without that previous experience the Arab gelding probably would have been too much horse for me since I am pretty disabled, but since I did have experience we had a wonderful relationship.

My riding teacher would have never put me up on the Arab gelding, as handicapped as I am, if I was not an experienced rider.  He had run away with some of her students (she got him stopped each time), did not like people screaming, had a really sensitive mouth, and did not like fools.  I remember him looking at me when she told me all the horror stories and he "told" me "You don't hurt me and I'll be good."  I made sure not to hurt him, especially his mouth, and he was good to me and often took care of me when we got into difficulties.  If I had hurt him I would have been off of him quickly, that horse could move quickly!

We horsewomen are brave creatures.  Just as long as we realize that we have to LEARN how to ride we keep on coming back and getting back up on those horses until that wonderful day when we realize that, yes, we do know what we are doing on horseback.  Get lessons, keep riding, you seem to be a brave girl, you will get there too.  I did in spite of my MS.  Horses are worth all the problems. 

Comment by Horsing Around is Fun on August 10, 2013 at 3:55pm

Wow, 2 million do horses really go for that high? Yes, I know it was not wise of her to do that, furthermore I was not aware of the fact that my mother had told her I could go on that horse becuase of exactly what you said, and she put it on me anyway behind my mother's back. Do you have any horses?

Comment by Jackie Cochran on August 10, 2013 at 1:32pm

Yes, it was not wise for your riding teacher to put you up on that horse at all.  It is NEVER a good idea to put a nervous beginner on an abused horse that has not been ridden for a year, it does not matter what breed the horse is.  Believe me, that horse was probably more scared of you than you were of the horse.  The only good thing I can see about this experience is that you have faced your fear and not let it paralyze you.  This is one of the most important lessons of riding, and it can really help in everyday life.

There is an old saying, that whatever a bad horse takes from you, riding a good horse can bring back. 

Nervous beginner riders do best on horses that are used frequently in riding lessons for beginners under the eye of a GOOD instructor.  They are around, and a lot of stables value their beginner lesson horses over any others in the stable.  One time I offered to buy a particulary good one (a Morgan) but got told by the owner that he would not take less than 2 million dollars for him because the horse was so dependable and he could safely put ANYONE up on him safely.

Comment by Horsing Around is Fun on August 10, 2013 at 12:46pm

Haha, I have never liked heights either and I don't think I ever will. But I seem to be able to try and put that aside when, although not frequently, I ride a horse.


I was told by many people that it is not wise to put a nervous beginner rider on an arab and especially an arab that is spooked easily, was abused and had not been ridden for  1 year.

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