The Arabian Horse (2)

Lines & Origins

Original desert Arabian stallion

Arabian fullblood

Arabian fullblood

Arabian halfblood

Arabian halfblood

        In the true meaning of the word, the most “purely” bred purebred (hence fullblooded in our concept) is the Arabian horse who was bred in central Arabia by the Bedouin tribe Nejd and a tribe Shomar. There are not many of these fullblooded Arabians horses even in Nejd. The foundation and development of this breed is credited to five bloodlines/families. These are: Ku-Hai-lan, Sak-La-We, U-Bai-Jan, (oo-bayan) Had-Ban, Ham-Da-Ne. These five families together are called Al-Kham-Sa (all five) and/or also Ku-Hai-Lan.

        Horses that do not have both parents from Al-Kham-Sa, the Bedouins call Kadish, however Kadish becomes any fullblooded mare that was covered/bred accidentally by a Kadish stallion.

         Arabs derived the above mentioned 5 blood lines from a story about the five legendary “ Prophet’s mares”, who out of one hundred horses ran from Mecca (Makkah) to Medina (Al Madinah see map) on the memorable night “Hegira”, when the prophet Muhammad was forced to flee from his enemies (07/06/622 A. D.). From this day the Muslims also count their years/era. The most valued are the descendants of the Ku-Hai-Lan (Kuheilan u as in good) bloodline, which are (reasonably) more robust and taller type among the Arabian horses, and mostly bays. After Kuheilan the most valued is the U-Bai-Jan (U’baiyan u as in good) line of horses, which are smaller but more refined. The Ham-Da-Ne (Hamdanee) line characteristics show mainly in the gray color and remarkable endurance in trot.

       Besides the previously mentioned family lines, there are also other valued bloodlines. According their relations the closest are the following families/lines.

  1. Related to Sak-La-Weh (Siglavi or Seglavi): “Muwaii”, “U’Bajan”, Dahman (Dahoman), Milwah, Rishan and Tuwaishan.
  2. Related to Ku-Hai-Lan (Kuheilan): Hadban, Hamdan, Scheihman, Wadman and Khirzan.
  3. Related to Munighuj (Managhi): Rabdan, Kubayschan, Samhan, Dschilfan and Mughallad etc.

       Arabian horse is a genuine purebred (fullblood) in the true meaning of the word, because he is the descendant of the most refined horses from the ancient regions of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, he has the blood of the old Iranian horses and no other foreign blood was mixed with his breed throughout the ages, and because over several centuries the Arabs managed to protect their horses from mixing with other breeds.

      The endeavor to keep this most precious blood pure led naturally to inbreeding, which was on the other hand balanced with relatively tough breeding (conditions) that only individuals of hard/solid “constitution” (foundation) could endure. The Bedouin with all his “love” for his horse, actually left the foal nurse only for a month and then fed him camel’s milk, dates and sometimes gave him the privilege to graze on the edges of the desert. Only the wealthy could afford to provide expensive barley imported from India. When the tribe was on the move, the little foal had to endure all the hardship and suffering associated with traveling on the desert lands, otherwise he didn’t get to enjoy much of free running, because the Bedouin fearing he may get lost in the desert, tied the youngster either to his tent or used hobbles (tied his “lower” front or hind legs together).

      Horses in Arabia are broke to ride after the age of two. The Bedouins ride mostly in gallop or in “rocking side to side” pace (pacing) and are very hard/tough on their horses. They almost always ride exclusively mares, because these are to the owners the most precious property and that is why they also never sell them. The tribes always have a lack of feed, so only one or two stallions at most are kept. The Bedouin see the mare as the “keeper/producer” of the bloodline and her foals are named after her. Excessive stallion stock, that is not sufficient for reproduction, the Bedouins sell off at the edges of the desert. Though the stallions are faster, the mares endure better over further distance. To a “robbery expedition” the Bedouin rides a camel, while he ties the mare all tacked up to it, and only during the actual attack (then escape/return) he rides the horse. He rides the mare only in a halter without a bit, while he controls her with his legs and stirrups with the inside wider edges shaped to a point. Only the stallions are ridden with the help of a bit; the Bedouins do not castrate their stallions because they perceive it as a sin. The Arabian horse is bred tough with very low maintenance and immense endurance in long travels or fast rides. It is stated that he can handle several days in a row the distance of 150 km (93.21 miles) per day during the hottest desert days with minimal amounts of feed and water. If needed a mare can handle a distance over 200 km (124.27 miles) in one day under the same conditions.  

      Stallions exported from Arabia are not all Ku-Hai-Lan (Kuheilan) because the Bedouins are jealously guarding their most refined and treasured horses and showing them not to the merchants. At best they show Al-Kham-Sa, which means that the horse is only from the sire’s side a Ku-Hai-Lan, in our terms Arabian halfblood.

Translated by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a. Lee Stanek from the 1953 Special Zoo-Technique - Breeding of Horses
Published in 1953 by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Agricultural Science and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Written by: MVDr Ludvik Ambroz, Frabtisek Bilek, MVDr Karel Blazek, Ing. Jaromir Dusek, Ing. Karel Hartman, Hanus Keil, pro. MVDr Emanuel Kral, Karel Kloubek, Ing. Dr. Frantisek Lerche, Ing. Dr Vaclav Michal, Ing. Dr Zdenek Munki, Ing. Vladimir Mueller, MVDr Julius Penicka, pro. MVDr Emil Pribyl, MVDr Lev Richter, prof. Ing. Dr Josef Rechta, MVDr Karel Sejkora and Ing. Dr Jindrich Steinitz.