How do I become a member?

There are several ways to become a member of the Arabian Horse Association. Becoming a member may be done online , via a submitted membership application through mail or email, or by calling AHA at 303.696.4500, option 2. Memberships consist of four options: Adult, Youth, Business or Life membership, as well as options that can be added on such as a club affiliation, Competition Card or the Arabian Horse Life Magazine.


What is Club Affiliation?

The Arabian Horse Association has affiliated clubs throughout the United States and Canada that are regional or discipline based. A member may add club affiliation to their membership by paying the additional club dues, if applicable, when renewing.


How does the Competition Card work?

Competition Cards are issued to individual members ONLY, joint memberships or business accounts can NOT hold a competition card. If the horse you are showing is owned in a joint account one person affiliated with the account MUST hold an individual membership with a Competition Card. Horses owned in a business name must have a Business Membership if the horse will be competing in AHA recognized events.  The Competition Card may be purchased at the beginning of the membership or anytime within the length of the membership; however, the Competition Card will expire at the same time as the initial length of the membership. For example, if you become a member on January 5, 2016 and don't purchase a Competition Card until June 18, 2016, it will expire on January 31, 2017 just like the membership card. You cannot purchase a Competition Card without a membership.


Who needs a Competition Card?

The AHA Competition Card is required for individual adult and youth members who compete, members who own horses that compete, officials who officiate at recognized AHA events and members who participate in AHA Award Programs. This includes AHA recognized shows and endurance and competitive trail rides. The competition card is available to every current member who would like to take advantage of the AHA Excess Personal Liability Insurance for their registered horse.


If you have any questions regarding the insurance policy, please contact Equisure at 1.800.752.2472.


How do I update my name/address?

How do I update my personal information?

Mailing address and contact information are available online to current paid members.  After you have logged in using your member number and confidential PIN look for the option under your Personal Profile.


You may also contact AHA if your address has changed. You may give us a call at 303.696.4500 option 2, email us at, or write to us with your new information.  Changes to your email address must be done through the AHA office by email or telephone.


Name Update

If your name has changed due to marriage, divorce or legal name change, please provide a written signed request to update our records.


What are the new expiration dates for membership?

Memberships expire the following year of the last day of the month in which the membership started. For example, if membership started on March 8, 2015, that membership expires March 31, 2016. Our memberships are based upon an anniversary year basis.



What is the Arabian Horse Association’s Convention all about?

The Arabian Horse Association is a member organization; as such it is the members who decide the rules and guidelines. Delegates vote on the rules and regulations we uphold at convention. Convention is a time for members to discuss and share their experiences in the industry and if any rule changes would be beneficial.


Who may attend convention?

EVERYONE! We encourage anyone who is involved in the Arabian Horse Industry to attend convention and be involved in the decisions that affect you. Convention is a great way to stay informed and have your voice heard.


Although everyone is encouraged to come only registered delegates may vote on resolutions.


What is a Delegate and how do I become a registered Delegate?

Delegates are members of AHA recognized clubs who have been elected by their club to represent them at convention. Once at convention it is these delegates who vote on the resolutions brought forward that year.


What happens at convention?

Every year many resolutions (changes to the rules and regulations of AHA) are brought forward and voted on by the delegates.


Convention is a great place to get together with other people from all over the country who are passionate about the Arabian breed.


AHA also offers several “fun” events for people attending convention such as group dinners at historical or interesting locations, bingo nights, the yearly president’s banquet and tours of local farms.


How do I register my Purebred Arabian Horse?

There are several different types of registration applications depending on how your mare was bred and whether or not the foal was an embryo transfer foal.


If the mare carried her own foal and was bred via artificial insemination (not to be confused with transported semen), live cover, or pasture bred you will need to complete the regular registration application.


If the mare was bred via transported, stored, or frozen semen you will need to use the Transported or Stored Semen Registration Application with the Transported/Stored Semen Certificate.


How do I draw markings for a new registration or markings change?

Extreme care must be taken when drawing a horse’s markings, as this is a very specific way to identify them. AHA recognizes markings as a compilation of solid white hairs. All white markings will need to be drawn on the form provided as accurately as possible. Markings are also very important when identifying grey horses. A true marking on a grey horse will have under-lying pink skin and only the outline of the pink skin is drawn. This can sometimes be seen easier when the horse is wetted down or clipped. Always remember to draw the markings with the horse in front of you, not from memory. Pictures are always welcome.


What are markings that AHA recognizes?

AHA recognizes all leg and facial markings that are depicted by growths of pure white hairs or underlying pink skin on grey horses.


Facial Markings

Star-any white marking occurring above the eye line

Strip/Blaze-any white marking occurring below the eye line and above the top of the nostrils

Snip-any white marking occurring between the top of the nostrils and the bottom of the nostrils

Upper Lip-any white marking occurring below the nostrils, but still on the upper lip

Lower Lip and Chin-any white marking occurring on the lower lip and/or chin


Leg Markings

Coronet-any white thin marking around the coronet band of the hoof

Pastern-any white marking reaching the pastern of the leg

Fetlock- any white marking reaching the fetlock joint of the leg

Sock-any white marking reaching the center of the cannon bone of the leg

Stocking-any white marking reaching above the center of the cannon bone and higher on the leg


Body Markings

A written description of any unusual white body markings, noting size, shape, and location should be included on the application form, at the bottom of the markings page.


Hoof Color

Dark-black or dark in color, normally there will be no white marking above this hoof

Light-white or light in color, normally there will be a marking above this hoof

Parti-colored-dark and light stripes on hoof, normally there will be a white marking above this hoof


What is the difference between artificial insemination and transported/ stored semen in regards to registration?

Artificial insemination is when the mare and stallion are on/at the same premises at the same time. The stallion is collected on site and fresh semen is inseminated immediately into the mare. Transported/stored semen is when frozen or cooled semen is shipped from the stallion to the mare or if the semen is stored for over 72 hours.


How do I register my embryo transfer foal?

Before breeding the mare via embryo transfer she must first hold a valid Embryo/Oocyte Transfer Permit. For each embryo that is flushed the mare owner must order an Embryo/Oocyte Transfer Certificate.  These certificates are needed by the owner of the resulting foal to allow registration.  Each of these certificates, when issued, has met the requirement of the recorded owner’s signature of the dam and sire at the time of breeding as well as breeding dates and method.  Upon registration of the embryo transfer foal the owner will use the Embryo/Oocyte Transfer Registration Application for 2008 and Later Foals along with the issued Embryo/Oocyte Transfer Certificate.  This Embryo/Oocyte Transfer Certificate allows the embryo to be sold/transferred and the bearer of the document to register the foal without having to contact previous owners in the past.


How do I register my Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian Horse?

There is only one registration application for Half-Arabian and Anglo Arabian horses. This application needs ALL sections completed and returned to the AHA Office.


If the Half-Arabian horse you are registering is over two years of age OR will be shown in a Futurity or Maturity class at one of our National shows, it will need to be DNA qualified to its purebred parent only.


Half- Arabians and Anglo Arabians produced by an embryo transfer will need to be DNA qualified to both parents.


I just bought a registered horse, how do I become the horses recorded owner?

To transfer ownership of a horse that is already registered, both the Buyer and Seller sections will need to be completed located on the back of the horse’s Certificate of Registration.  Return the original certificate to the AHA office. Transfer fees are based on the date of sale from the time the Certificate is postmarked to AHA.


    Member   Non-Member
Date of sale* to 2 months   $15.00   $65.00
2 – 6 months from date of sale   $30.00   $80.00
After 6 months   $50.00   $100.00


The Arabian Horse Association is a record keeping organization. We try to keep as updated and accurate records as we can and are only as good as the information provided to us. If you receive a horse’s papers listing the recorded owner as someone other than the individual you purchased the horse from or the recorded owner cannot be found please contact the AHA directly to discuss your options.


How do I replace a Certificate of Registration that has been lost?

If a Certificate of Registration has been lost, the recorded owner of the horse must request a Duplicate Certificate. The Duplicate Certificate Request and Affidavit form will need to be completed, signed and notarized by the recorded owner. The markings must accompany the request and pictures are always helpful to identify the horse. The fee for a duplicate is $25 ($75 for non-members).


How do I report that my horse has been castrated?

On the back of the horse Registration Certificate you will see a section called Record of Castration. Complete this section and return the original certificate to AHA.  We will update the horse’s record to show the gender change and print a new Certificate of Registration stating “Gelding”. There is no charge for this service.


How do I report the death of my horse?

To report a death, the recorded owner may provide a signed statement stating the horse’s name and registration number and date of death. The Certificate of Registration does not need to be returned.


How do I change my horse’s registered name?

Only the horse’s recorded owner may request to change its registered name. To change a horse’s name you must ensure that your horse has no registered progeny, has never been imported or exported, has never held a racing certificate and has never been shown in an AHA recognized show.  To request a name change the recorded owner must return the horse’s original Certificate of Registration along with a signed statement listing what the new name should be.  The new name must abide to the name format regulations (no more than 4 parts to the name and cannot exceed 21 characters including spaces).  The fee to change a horse’s name is $250 ($300 for non-members). Upon approval by the Association, an amended Certificate of Registration will be issued to the recorded owner of the horse. The registration number of the horse will remain the same, regardless of the name change.


Read a freeze mark?



Obtain a pedigree or progeny report?

DataSource enables customers to access this information directly online.

The Association can also provide you with a five-generation pedigree or progeny list for any registered, purebred Arabian horse for a fee of $10.00. Requests can be mailed to:


Arabian Horse Association

PO Box 173886

Denver, CO 80217-3886


Please include the horse's name and registration number with your correspondence.


Find SCID testing information?

For more information regarding testing for SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), please contact:



3728 Plaza Drive

Suite 1

Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Phone: 734.669.8440

Fax: 734.669.8441



I need help reading the pedigree.

A pedigree is essentially a horse's family tree or lineage. A four-cross pedigree, like the ones that you will see in DataSource, shows four generations of this lineage. Siblings or offspring are not included in a pedigree but can be viewed under progeny.



To read a pedigree, start with the first horse on the far left of the screen. This is the "subject horse". Included are his registered name, registration number, color and foal year. The next two horses to the right of the subject horse are his parents, the sire (or father), and the dam (or mother). Continuing to the right, the next set of horses are the grandparents followed by great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. The pedigree of a purebred Arabian horse can be traced, or followed, for many more generations. You can select a new subject horse by clicking on any of the underlined horses in the pedigree. As the world's oldest known breed, many Arabian owners take great pride in their horse's long family history.


Here are a few important things to know when reading your horse's pedigree:


The sire's name is always listed above the dam's name in a pedigree.


Every purebred Arabian horse registered with the Arabian Horse Association is assigned a unique registration number. These numbers are always prefixed by the studbook abbreviation "AHR*".


The DataSource Product contains over 407,000 horses from foreign registries. The horses from these registries are also assigned a unique registration number that is prefixed with the appropriate studbook abbreviation.


What are the studbook abbreviations?






































































































































































What are the track abbreviations for stakes races?


Arapahoe Park


Atlantic City


Bay Meadows-San Mateo County Fair


Bandera Downs


Les Bois Park


Dayton Days of Sport


Delaware Park


Desert Park Exhibition


Cochise County Fair at Douglas


Greenlee County Fair at Duncan


Energy Downs


Ferndale (Humboldt County Fair)


Fresno (County Fair)


Grand Prairie (Canada)


Grants Pass


Grays Harbor Park


Hollywood Park


Sam Houston Race Park


Kamloops (Canada)


Kin Park (Canada)


Kalispell (Flathead Fairgrounds)


Los Alamitos


Whoop-Up Downs (Canada)


Lone Star


Millarville (Canada)


Mohave County Fair


Mount Pleasant Meadows




Bluegrass Downs (Paducah)




Pleasanton (Alameda County Fair)


Portland Meadows




Prescott Downs


Retama Park


Rillito Park


Round-Up Park


Sacramento (Calif. State Fair)


Graham County Fair at Safford


Sandy Downs


Solano (County Fair)


Santa Cruz County Fair


Santa Rosa




Sun Downs


Tampa Bay Downs


Trinity Meadows


Turf Paradise


Eastern Oregon Livestock Show


Wells County Fair


Western Montana Fair


Waitsburg Race Track


Walla Walla


What does the Breeder’s Sweepstakes logo mean?

The logo indicates the horse has been enrolled in the Arabian Breeders Sweeptakes Program.  Breeding Entries are eligible to earn allocated prize money at Regional and National Events. 


What do the symbols mean following a horse’s name?

AHA’s premier recognition program for horses that actively compete. Achievement Awards symbols printed behind a horse's name provide a visible sign of honor and prestige. Horses earn points for competing and placing in shows and AHA-recognized events used in the Horse Achievement Awards program (see the website for specifics). 


Legion of Honor "+" 

Legion of Supreme Honor "+/"


Legion of Excellence "+//"

Legion of Merit "++" 


Legion of Supreme Merit "+++"


Legion of Masters "++++"


Legion of Supreme Honor and Legion of Merit "++/"


Legion of Supreme Honor and Legion of Supreme Merit "+++/"


Legion of Merit and Legion of Excellentce "++//"

Legion of Supreme Merit and Legion of Excellence "+++//"


Legion of Masters and Legion of Supreme "++++/"


Legion of Masters and Legion of Excellence "++++//"


Where is the pedigree information for non-Arabian parents?

While we are able to provide the pedigree information for the purebred parent and the Half or Anglo-Arabian parent, we are unable to do the same for the non-Arabian or grade parent, as this information is not in our database. If the non-Arabian parent is registered (designated by the breed abbreviation and registration number next to the name), we recommend contacting that registry directly for more pedigree information.


Why do some Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian records only display name and registration number?

Prior to 1990, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian records were not fully computerized. While some of these records have been researched and rebuilt due to activity such as registration of offspring or transferring ownership, many others have not. You will find that the incomplete records display only the registered name and registration number. We have begun the process of rebuilding these records using archived documentation. However, there are 200,000 + records to be rebuilt, and this will take some time. We appreciate your patience in this endeavor. We know how important it is to have complete and accurate data available for the Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians and will do our best to offer complete information as quickly as possible. 


If you find an incomplete horse record for which you have the Certificate of Registration, please feel free to fax or send us a copy and a request that the record be updated.


What do the letters stand for next to the non-Arabian parent's registration number in my horse's pedigree?

When the non-Arabian parent is registered with another breed organization, you will find an acronym that has been created for that breed association next to the name.


What is the percentage of Arabian blood for my Half-Arabian?

Half-Arabian registration numbers begin with a number and letter combination, such as “1A” or “2A”. These combinations designate the degree of Arabian blood present. Please see the following chart for additional information: 












If you are looking at a horse registered with the Canadian Partbred Arabian Registry (CPAR) the following designations will apply: 


1A= < 62.5%

2A= > 62.5% and < 81.25%

3A= > 81.25% and < 90.63%

4A= > 90.63% and < 95.31%

5A= > 95.31% and < 100%


What is the Pyramid Society?

Founded in 1969, The Pyramid Society is a fraternal member-based organization of people interested in Arabian horses of Egyptian bloodlines. Ownership of a horse is not a prerequisite of membership. The Society does not register horses and recognizes the Arabian Horse Association as the sole registry by which it is guided. Only horses that are or would be eligible for registration by the Arabian Horse Association based upon pedigree are considered purebred Arabians by The Society.


The purposes of The Pyramid Society are to preserve and perpetuate Egyptian bloodlines as a nucleus of outcross blood and to encourage use of that outcross blood as a source of the classic refinement so necessary to the breed and for which the Egyptians are prepotently line-bred.


For more information on the Pyramid Society you can visit their website at


What does "Pyramid Society: Straight Egyptian", "Egyptian Bred", and "Egyptian Related" mean?

The Pyramid Society has established definitions of such bloodlines which are acceptable for its expressed purpose of promoting and perpetuating Egyptian Arabian bloodlines. These are:


Straight Egyptian Arabian

To qualify as a Straight Egyptian, as defined by The Pyramid Society, a horse must trace in every line of its pedigree to a horse which falls into the following categories:


  1. Registered or eligible by pedigree for registration by the Arabian Horse Registry of America; and
  2. Traces in every line of its pedigree to horses born in Arabia Deserta; and
  3. Traces in every line of its pedigree to a horse which falls within one or more of the following categories of horses:
    • owned or bred by Abbas Pasha I or Ali Pasha Sherif
    • used to create and maintain the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS)/Egyptian Agricultural Organization (EAO) breeding programs, with the exclusion of Registan and Sharkasi and their lineal descendants
    • a horse which was a lineal ancestor of a horse described in (A) or (B) above; and
    • other than those excluded above, who was conceived and born in a private stud program in Egypt and imported directly to the United States and registered by the Arabian Horse Registry of America prior to the extension of the EAO's supervision to private Egyptian stud programs as reflected in Volume IV of the EAO's Stud book.


Egyptian-Sired and Egyptian-Related horses, as defined by the Pyramid Society:


    • Egyptian-Sired: a horse by a Straight Egyptian stallion and out of a purebred mare who is not Straight Egyptian.
    • Egyptian-Related: a horse, born prior to 2005, whose grandsires are both Straight Egyptian, and whose granddames are purebred Arabians that are not Straight Egyptian. Horses registered prior to 2005 that meet this definition were “grandfathered” in and are eligible for Society-managed programs for the remainder of their lives.



The information provided by the Pyramid Society is based on research found in various references and is subject to interpretation, and such sources are not always in agreement with each other. While every effort has been made to provide current and accurate information, there is always the possibility for omissions or errors. The Pyramid Society disclaims itself, its agents, representatives, directors or trustees, from any form of liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies, or opinions, or for any damages or other consequences suffered as a result of reliance upon this information. Should any errors or omissions be discovered please notify the Pyramid Society regarding any corrections that need to be noted for future updates.



What are Sheykh Obeyd Arabians?

The root stock of Sheykh Obeyd breeding is composed of 66 Arabian ancestors who were bred by, acquired by, or introduced into the gene pool by these 7 original breeders: Abbas Pasha, Ali Pasha Sherif, Ahmed Bey Sennari, Prince Ahmed Pasha Kemal, Khedive Abbas Hilme II, the Blunts and of the RAS (under the auspices of Dr. Branch). Sheykh Obeyd Arabians descend in all lines from any combination of those 66 original ancestors. In addition to being Al Khamsa, all Sheykh Obeyd Arabians are Asil Club qualified, as well as Pyramid Society qualified (with the exception of the descendants of Kars).


For more information go to the Sheykh Obeyd Foundation website.


What is Al Khamsa, Inc.?

Al Khamsa, Inc., founded in 1975, is a not-for-profit organization that is devoted to the preservation of the horse of Bedouin Arabia. Al Khamsa, Inc. draws admirers of such horses together through education and research. The horses of interest to Al Khamsa, Inc. meet two criteria: (1) those horses that Al Khamsa, Inc. reasonably assumes to descend entirely from Bedouin Arabian horses that were bred by the nomadic horse-breeding tribes of the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and (2) have breeding descendants in North America.


Horses that meet the above criteria constitute The Al Khamsa, Inc. Roster. Al Khamsa, Inc. has traditionally called the Roster horses "Al Khamsa Arabians.” The term "Al Khamsa Arabian,” as used by Al Khamsa, Inc., is not synonymous with or interchangeable with any term or designation used by any other organization or entity.


The Roster includes breeding horses in North America and their ancestors. It begins with Foundation Horses (175 as of 2004) and lists all descendants from them with bloodlines still breeding in North America. Foundation Horses are the earliest horses that meet the criteria.


The Roster changes constantly. Such factors as exports, imports, geldings, deaths, eligible progeny and registration authorities affect The Al Khamsa, Inc. Roster.




The horses marked in DataSource as “Al Khamsa, Inc.” are not all of the horses in the Al Khamsa, Inc. Roster. Only Roster horses that are registered with the Arabian Horse Registry (AHR) and the Canadian Arabian Horse Registry (CAHR) are marked. The Roster also includes horses that are not registered with AHR or CAHR. In addition, many AHR and CAHR horses are marked that are not in the Roster. These horses are “Al Khamsa Arabians” by pedigree, but do not meet the criteria of the Roster simply because they have no living and breeding descent in North America.


The list of horses marked “Al Khamsa, Inc.” in DataSource has been provided to the Arabian Horse Association by Al Khamsa, Inc. The list will be updated quarterly by Al Khamsa, Inc.


For definitive information about Al Khamsa, Inc. and Al Khamsa Arabians, please see our website


Please send any questions, perceived errors/omissions to


Arabian Dictionary


 Abu: "Father of..." it is also used as a form of emphasis, such as Abu El Urgub, "the father of hocks;" or Abu Farwa, "the father of chestnuts."


Anglo-Arabian: A cross between a registered purebred Arabian and a registered Thoroughbred. Crosses accepted into the Anglo-Arabian Association are:

  1. Purebred Thoroughbred to purebred Arabian
  2. Anglo-Arabian to Anglo-Arabian
  3. Purebred Arabian to Anglo-Arabian
  4. Purebred Thoroughbred to Anglo-Arabian


AJC: The abbreviation for the Arabian Jockey Club.


Artificial Insemination: A breeding method by which collected semen from a stallion is deposited into the uterus of a mare through the use of a pipette, within 72 hours of collection and may never have been cooled, frozen, or transported.


Authorized Agent: A person other than the recorded owner who has the authority to transact business with the Association and sign documents on behalf of the recorded owner, per a completed Authorization form by the recorded owner.


Bedouin: A person of a nomadic tribe usually in the Middle East countries often referred to as the first people who bred Arabians, maintaining the purity of the Arabian breed.


Bint: Arabic for "daughter of," such as Bint Mabrouka, or daughter of Mabrouka. "Bint Bint" in a pedigree means "granddaughter of." Bint is usually applied to show parentage in a pedigree.


Blood: Literally "Eastern blood." A blood horse, before the Thoroughbred breed, was a horse of mostly Arabian, Barb or Turkish blood. "Thorough-blood" was the same thing, as was "thoroughly-bred" which was shortened to "thoroughbred."


Bloodlines: Lineage; pedigree.


Blood typing: A process through which blood is taken from a horse and analyzed at a laboratory. Blood type testing was used in the past as a tool for verifying parentage by the Association.


Cold Blood: Horses of northern regions originally, slow and heavy, and ancestral to draft breeds. The opposite of hot blood (southern horses of the Middle East and North Africa, of which the Arab is most famous).


Colt: An ungelded male horse of not more than four years of age.


Conformation: Body structure of the horse.


Cross-bred: A cross between two breeds.


Dam: A female parent of a horse.


Desert bred: Refers to a horse or pedigree whose ancestry can be traced to the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East region who did not keep written breeding records, but rather passed this information from generation to generation by word of mouth.


Dish faced: Concave below the eyes—sometimes seen only in profile, but can also be dished directly below the eyes, on the face. In certain horses the profile may appear dished due to a prominent forehead (jibbah) combined near the nostrils with a bump on the nasal bone. In others, even though the forehead may be flat, the whole profile appears dished, because the muzzle is higher than the rest of the profile. The concave depression in the facial profile of many Arabian horses is called the "afnas" in Arabic.


Dressage: Dressage is an equine discipline and training method that emphasizes harmony between horse and rider. Dressage riders perform a pattern of required movements at specific letter points in an arena. There are nine levels of increasing difficulty with tests at each level, and judges mark each movement from 0-10 and award points for balance, rhythm, impulsion, submission of the horse and the rider's position.


Eastern: Applies to horses of Arab, Barb, Turk or similar breeding. Used frequently in the early days of the Thoroughbred.


Embryo Transfer: A breeding method by which an embryo is flushed from a donor mare and implanted into another (recipient) mare for development and foaling. Although the embryo is matured in a host mare its genetic makeup is that of its natural parents.


English Pleasure: A riding style under saddle with full bridle.


Equitation: The skill of riding a horse.


Equine: Refers to a horse or horses.


Equestrian: Of or relating to horseback riding or horseback riders.


Ex: Meaning "out of" in Latin and meaning the same thing in "horse language." It is often abbreviated to "x," as in "*Bask x *Gawra." When the sire of the dam is added, it is preceded with a "by," thus: *Bask x *Gawra by Doktryner."


Export Certificate: A document issued by the Association for a horse leaving the United States for another country. This document identifies the horse and enables the horse to return to the United States without going through the import registration process.


Farrier: A person who takes care of horses’ hooves either by trimming or shoeing them.


Filly: A young female horse not more than four years of age.


Flea Bitten: A term used to describe a grey horse with little spots of brown or black over its coat.


Foal: A colt or filly under a year of age. If still with its dam, it is a suckling foal; if weaned, it is termed a weanling, or weanling foal. For more precise identification, it is either a colt foal, suckling colt, or weanling colt, or filly foal, etc., as the case may be.


To foal: As a verb, "to foal" means to give birth to a foal, and so on, with "foaled," "foaling," etc. Or a horse "was foaled" on a certain date.


Foaled: Gave birth.


Foaling date: The day, month and year that a horse is born.


Formal driving: English pleasure horse (sometimes a park horse) shown in light harness pulling a buggy. Judged on manners, quality of the horse and smooth, responsive performance.


Freeze marking: A permanent, virtually painless, unalterable means of identification that causes the loss of color in the hair or completely stops hair growth where the mark has been applied. This is no longer performed or required by the Association.


Gaits: Leg movement and speed of movement: walk, trot, canter and gallop.


Gelding: A male horse, regardless of age, that has been castrated (surgical removal of the testicals).


Get: Short for "beget" as a verb. As a noun, it refers to the entire offspring of a stallion. This word should never refer to the produce of a mare. Females do not "beget."


Girth: A band that passes underneath a horse to hold a saddle in place; the area behind the front legs extending underneath the horse.


Grade: A horse which may have a purebred parent; usually it is one having only a small amount of blood of some pure breed. Not the same as Halfbred, half Thoroughbred, or Half-Arabian, etc., in which one parent is purebred, or Crossbred, in which two breeds are combined.


Half-Arabian: One parent must be a registered purebred Arabian and the other parent must be a horse not registered as a purebred Arabian or Thoroughbred.


Half-bred: When capitalized, this means a horse which is half Thoroughbred and registered in the Halfbred Stud Book. When not capitalized, it can mean a horse of any mixture, but having one purebred parent.


Half-Brother (or -Sister): In "horse language," a half-brother to a certain horse is out of the same dam only—as the Bedouins say, "out of the same womb." This distinction is made in order to give due credit to exceptionally good broodmares. To give proper relationship to a horse that is by the same sire as another, the term is exactly that: "By the same sire."


Hand: Unit of measurement to express a horse’s height from withers to ground; a hand is four inches.


Hot Blooded: Of Eastern blood, such as Arab, Barb, Turk, etc. It may also refer to a horse of hot temperament.


Hunter: A horse specially trained for use on a hunt (i.e., fox hunt).


IBN: Arabic for "son of."


IAHA: The abbreviation for the International Arabian Horse Association, now the Arabian Horse Association.


Imported horse: A horse brought from a non-US country to the United States whose owner desires registration with the Association. An imported horse is usually foaled in a non-US country and registered with a non-US source or studbook authority.


Imported in Utero: Describes a foal which was imported into the United States while in the mare, but foaled in the United States.


Inbreeding: Breeding closely related horses to obtain a desired trait. Examples of inbreeding include: parent to progeny, full or half-siblings to one another, breeding first cousins, uncles to nieces and/or aunts to nephews, and grandparents to grandchildren.


Jibbah: Arabic word for the bulge in the forehead often seen in Arabian horses. At one time it was thought that such a bulge indicated a larger brain, but instead it indicates larger sinuses.


Jumper: A horse that is trained to jump fences, hedges or other obstacles; shown over fences with a fault system (i.e., knocking down a fence results in four faults). The horse may work against time and fence heights.


Line breeding: A form of inbreeding; breeding related individuals where there is a high relationship to common ancestors in a pedigree usually three to four generations in the past.


Mare: A female horse five years old or over.


Mitbah: Arabic term for the throatlatch or attachment of head and neck. The word means "the place where the throat is cut" since it is the same for camels, sheep, and goats, and they are the ones for whom it is taken literally. A fine and long mitbah is much desired in an Arabian horse.


Muzzle: The area encompassing the horse's lip, chin and mouth.


Markings: Configurations of solid white hairs, growing out of pink pigmented skin, contrasting with the surrounding coat color.



 Natural breeding: A controlled breeding process through which a stallion and mare are mated without the use of artificial devices.


Om: Arabic word for "mother of."


Park: A show class where the horse is shown in full bridle and saddle seat attire, and possesses more animation than English pleasure. Judges expect a performance comprised of style, presence, finish, balance and cadence.


Pasture breeding: A breeding process through which a stallion and mare(s) are left together in a pasture for an unobserved mating.


Pedigree: Chart of a horse’s ancestors; the bloodlines or lineage of a horse. An ancestral line using genealogy to distinguish purity in Arabian horses.


Produce: The verb "produce" means to give birth when applied to animals or "to bring forth." The synonym is "to bear." As a noun (accent on the first syllable) it means the offspring of a female animal, in this case a mare, as distinguished from the get of a stallion. The difference between "produce" and "get" can be summed up like this: "The produce of this fine mare includes the get of several leading stallions."


Progeny: The collective offspring of a sire or dam.


Sclera: The white part of the eye including the dark colored portions. Although a desirable trait in the Appaloosa breed, it is not desirable in the Arabian breed.


Sire: The male parent of a horse. The horses “father”.


Spayed mare: A female horse that has had some or all of the reproductive organs removed through surgical techniques and can no longer reproduce. This is also known as a yeld.


Stallion: An ungelded horse at least four years of age (five on the racetrack, or with Thoroughbreds, whether raced or not). A stallion is a sire after his first foal arrives. He is a proven sire only when his foals have won races or performed any other type of rigorous work (i.e., proven that his foals are worthwhile). This term is now loosely used in the Arabian industry to mean only that a stallion is fertile, or has sired at least one foal, so in such cases "proven sire" means little.


Stock horse: Shown in western pleasure and performs sliding stops, spins, figure eight’s, flying change of leads. These horses are agile, willing and show no hesitation in performing these acts.


Strain: In Arabian horses, it has the old Bedouin meaning, in which the strain, or family, traces back in time to a certain mare. It may descend from a mare of a famous breeder, or a mare with an unusual trait or characteristic—such as the "old, well-trained mare of Jedran" or whoever, or a dark mare, or even a filly which had been nursed by a donkey. Only if the family is very strong, and bred to stallions of the same bloodlines, would a strain continually retain a certain type. In other words, the strain remains the same through all generations—if the original mare was Maneghi, so would all her descendants be of that strain, regardless of the many strains represented in the rest of the pedigree, or their differences in type.


Stud: A breeding farm where stallions are stood for the purpose of breeding mares.


Stud Book: A record of information about individual registered horses including pedigrees, foaling dates, colors, names and progeny. The Association publishes the Arabian Stud Book. Non-US registries around the world also publish stud books listing horses registered in their countries. The Association’s Arabian Horse Bookshelf CD-ROM contains horses published in all stud books from around the world, and traces pedigrees and progeny information back and forward through all countries of origin.


Trail ride: Riding a horse in a leisurely way following a trail or road which may possess obstacles such as bridges or logs. Usually referring to recreational horseback riding in open country.


Trust: An abbreviated term for the Arabian Horse Trust; also a declaration by an owner that from a given date, specified property will be held in trust for beneficiaries.


Western pleasure: A show class where horses shown in western tack are required to maintain steady speeds at all gaits and move freely and are judged on manners, performance and conformation.


Weaning: The time of the year when foals are separated from their dams. Most farms wean at six months or earlier.


Weanling: A young horse of either sex that has been weaned but not reached his first year.


Yearling: A horse that has reached its first birthday but has not yet turned two years old.


Buying & Selling

What do I need to know to buy an Arabian for the first time?

If you're looking for a companion who'll be your partner in adventure or competition--and your friend for life--then you'll want an Arabian horse. No other horse can match the Arabian for beauty, athleticism, devotion and companionship.


Designed for the passionate, consumed horse person, the Arabian horse brings thousands of years of pure breeding together with its beauty, intelligence, personable nature, and athletic abilities, requiring only what it will freely return to its owner: mutual respect and lasting companionship.


Before you even decide to buy, evaluate your own skill level and devote some serious thought to what you expect to do with your horse once you have bought it. Will you pleasure-ride, learn a new horse-related skill, or participate in the show ring. You will likely change your focus once you have your horse; perhaps it will be very talented in some direction or a great endurance prospect or a happy and able jumper. The Arabian horse, in particular, is capable of nearly any athletic accomplishment towards which you aim. There is no law that says you must stick with your original ideas; common sense, however, dictates that you operate within the ability-range of both you and your horse.


If possible, seek the advice of a reputable horse person, preferably someone without a financial interest in your purchase. When you have found the horse you really like ask for a veterinary check by a veterinarian of your choice; it will be an invaluable investment.


If the horse you are evaluating is trained for a specific activity, be sure to get on the back of the horse and see how it responds to your cues. Match your wants and desires with the attributes of the horse under consideration and make sure that it meets your specific needs; only then discuss a price for the horse. Your goal should be to find a horse that will provide you with long-term enjoyment. Purchasing the wrong horse because the price was right, won't make you a happy horse owner.


As with people, great offspring can come from both humble backgrounds and champion bloodlines. The opposite is just as true. When evaluating a potential purchase first check the horse's conformation, gait, attitude, athletic ability, and then its pedigree.


Where to Find an Arabian


Finding the Arabian that's right for you is easier than you might imagine. When shopping, knowledge and patience are your best tools. Look for a horse that meets both your needs and price range. When considering young fillies or colts, the personality, disposition, conformation, type, action and athletic ability of the parents offer clues to how the horse will look and perform at maturity. And, since Arabians often remain active longer than other breeds, an older horse may be perfectly suitable and a very good buy.


Many people have the mistaken impression that all Arabians are expensive. The truth is, Arabians can be bought as reasonably as horses of other breeds and excellent Arabian horses are now accessible to all horse enthusiasts. Best of all, with more living Arabians in the U.S. than in all the other countries of the world combined, we have a stunning variety of Arabians from which to choose.


When looking for an Arabian of your own, check in your local paper, at your tack or feed store or in regional magazines devoted to horses or horse clubs. Use our Arabians for Sale Classifieds to find thousands of purebred Arabian Horses for Sale online. You can also pay a visit to an Arabian farm or breeder in your area by going to the online Arabian Farm Directory. If you are not quite ready to buy, but would like to visit an Arabian farm, you can search for one of our Discovery Farms right online.


Appointment Time


Make an appointment to see the horse you are interested in; turn up on time; and be candid with the seller about what you are looking for. If you truly like the horse, ask if the seller will accept terms if the purchase price is more than you had planned for. It is not unusual to make an offer on a horse, but do not insult the seller by making a ridiculously low one; explain that you are working with a pre-set budget and you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of sellers who will work with you given a measure of courtesy and good will on both sides. Also, ask to see the horse's health records and make a note of the names and phone numbers of the seller's veterinarian and farrier. In addition, ask to see the horse's AHA registration papers. You'll need that document signed on the back in order for you to transfer the horse's registration into your name.


If you purchase a horse on contract, be sure that the contract is in writing, properly signed, dated and witnessed as called for by the statutes of the state you live in. Also, contact the Arabian Horse Association (303-696-4500) to verify the horse's registration status and current ownership.


Finally, recognize that it is possible to absorb all this good advice and then walk into a barn or farm or field and fall completely, irrevocably in love. The horse may not be what you planned on, may look totally different from your image of your ideal animal, may not suit your predetermined plans at all. It will nevertheless totally absorb your interest and possess your imagination and will be the only possible horse for you.


An Arabian, in particular, possesses incredible qualities of personality, equine intelligence and striking beauty that will wind themselves around your heart and become an essential part of your life. The greatest and most lasting rewards will come from that almost inexplicable bond which can arise between human and horse, from that completely uncalculating companionship which these marvelous animals give so generously.


Buyers Checklist

First, call and ask questions prior to your visit:



  • Date foaled, sex, color and height?
  • Is the horse registered? Look up AHA registration information.
  • Do you have the original registration papers?
  • Are you the registered owner?
  • How is the horse's health?
  • Does he or has he had any specific health problems?
  • How would you describe the horse's temperament?
  • What is the horse's training history?
  • Can the horse be loaded into a trailer?
  • What has the horse been doing recently? (specific disciplines)
  • Is the horse kept mostly in a stall or pasture?
  • Does the horse have any bad habits or vices?
  • Has the horse spent much time with other horses, or mostly alone?
  • Who owned the horse before you?
  • If I come out to see the horse, do you have somewhere where I can ride them? If not, are you willing to take the horse somewhere where I can ride him or have someone demonstrate riding him?
  • Can I have a vet check the horse out before I make my final purchase decision?


Second, visit the horse where it's kept.


  • Does the horse's overall appearance look healthy?
  • Do you notice any soundness problems?
  • Do you sense an attraction to the horse? Remember it will become part of your family.
  • Do you like the overall appearance of the horse (color, head, expression)?
  • Do you sense anger, pain, fear, lethargy or sedation?
  • How is the horse's conformation relative to the purpose you have for purchasing it? If you're inexperienced, have an experienced horseperson evaluate the horse for you.


Next, evaluate the horse's performance with the owner or handler:


  • Standing tied
  • Walk, trot, stop, backing up
  • Round pen longing
  • Saddling and bridling
  • Have the handler show you how it performs if you are purchasing for a specific discipline.


Then, test ride the horse:


  • Try all of the above yourself with the owner/handler present. Be sure to use the proper protective gear.
  • Be sure to try out the horse for the specific discipline for which you are buying the horse.
  • If you don't feel comfortable doing this, look for another horse. This is the first step in your relationship with the horse.


Finally, check the horse's registration and health papersFirst, call and ask questions prior to your visit:


Be sure to ask to see the registration papers and verify the horse's age and lineage. Check to make sure that the horse matches the information and the markings as presented on the official registration certificate. Also, check to see if the person selling you the horse is the registered owner. If so, the seller should sign the back of the certificate and provide you with a bill of sale. If not, make sure that the seller provides you with a bill of sale from the registered owner to the seller and a bill of sale from the seller to you. To register the horse you will need the official registration certificate, signed, and documented proof of the chain of ownership. Don't assume that you can get the paperwork straightened out later just because the horse is a purebred Arabian. After the sale you will want to conduct an official transfer of the registration for the horse into your name and receive an updated Registration Certificate to validate that you are the current registered owner.


Even if you do not plan to use the horse in shows, races or for breeding where registration is required, the registration certificate will help retain the horse's value. Besides, you never know what the next owner may want to do. Too often an older horse is purchased for a son or daughter who wants to show, but the certificate was not transferred properly creating enormous difficulties for the new owner.


A veterinary check can help you make an informed decision. Depending on how well you know the owner or what type of assurances you may have in a purchase agreement, you may want to hire a veterinarian to do a pre-purchase exam.


What Will It Cost


As you might imagine there are no set rules when establishing prices but be assured that Arabians today are priced competitively with other popular horse breeds. And, you will find that very good horses are available in every price range. This range is established by the seller's circumstances, the horse's age, level of training, conformation, pedigree, show record (if any), and even by the geographic area in which you are looking. As you review the prices of horses you will see these prices separate out into distinct categories. We won't attempt to tell you what to pay for a horse, but rather give you some general guidelines for evaluating what you should expect for your money.

Part of the cost is made up of its structural soundness and the level of training the horse has had for a specific activity. The other part will consist of the "market value" of the horse's potential based on its blood lines or its actual performance history if it has been involved in a competitive activity. Generally, as prices go up, more and more has been invested in the training of the horse and the closer the horse is to being immediately ready-to-go for a particular activity, whether it be trail riding, showing or even racing. If you are looking for an older horse, find out about its recent history regarding use; by whom, how often, and about any peculiarities. Most of all, get on that horse and ride it for a while. And, don't forget the vet check.


When prices begin to get very high for foals or younger horses, the market is putting a much higher value on the horse's pedigree, implying a potential for a great show horse, race horse, etc., than it is on conformation or current performance. On the other hand a proven champion show horse or race horse with breeding potential, like any known entity, will be in much greater demand and therefore claim a much higher price.


The thing to remember is that, although a history of champions in the horse's pedigree can be a good indicator of potential for that horse, without proper conformation, a good attitude, athletic ability and proof of soundness of structure, the horse most likely will not meet your expectations. On the other hand, there are many great horses that meet all of the criteria for great form, ability, and disposition that come from more humble backgrounds and go on to be that dream horse everyone is looking for, or even a champion athlete.


Check out the Arabians For Sale classified ads on this web site for a realistic view of current prices for Arabian horses. You'll find horses in all price ranges and for all uses.


Finalizing the Sale


Sometimes owners do have a fixed price on a horse, but more often than not the sales price is negotiable. Offers tend to vary from five to fifteen percent off the listed price depending on how motivated the seller is. The higher the price, the more you'll be able to negotiate. If the horse checks out and you really want it, make an offer. Sellers will often throw in some perks like lessons, temporary boarding or transport to your location to maintain the sales price. These can be helpful depending on your individual situation.

The best advice is to use a legal sales contract to eliminate any possible misunderstandings in the future. If any additional perks were offered, make sure that they are itemized in the sales agreement. Remember, once you sign the contract, you own the horse. If you plan to get insurance, it should be effective the moment your purchase is consummated, just in case something happens prior to getting the horse home.


When do I need to have a pre-purchase exam by a veterinarian?

Pre-purchase Exam or Vet Check


Recommended to assist buyers of any horse is the "Pre-purchase Exam." Your local equine practitioner can help you assess the health and soundness of the horse you are looking to purchase. Those who are familiar with the owner or farm may accept guarantees stipulated in the purchase agreement. In either case, knowledge of the horse's physical condition will help you better care for your horse over its life.


Physical exam

A thorough physical exam, (eyes, mouth, teeth, heart, body condition, reproductive exam, physical history, vaccination history, worming history) often precede a "soundness exam." where by watching the horse in motion or even by taking radiographs, a potential athletic compromise or current lameness is ruled out. Of course, the condition of the horse should be balanced against its age and intended use.


Eyes - The Arabian horse has large, expressive eyes, widely set for excellent vision especially to the rear. Examination of the eyes is therefore critical, and recognition of any past injury or ongoing inflammation is important.

Dental check - All horses need dental check ups regularly. Horses ridden with a bit, in particular, are far more comfortable with their "wolf teeth" removed, if present, and with a "bit seat." A bit seat is the application of a tooth file, (a "float") to round off the upper and lower premolars so that the bit seats itself more comfortably in the horse's mouth.


Heart - Horses, like people, can and do have heart "murmurs," arrhythmia (irregular beats), and other audible normal and abnormal heart conditions. Some murmurs, for example, are perhaps acceptable in an older mare to be used strictly for breeding, whereas the same murmur might spell potential disaster in a seven-year-old 100-mile endurance horse.


Physical condition - The physical condition of the horse predicts its future, and reflects its past. A very fat horse has not been worked consistently, for whatever reason, and will take some time and care to be "fitted up" without stress or strains. A very thin horse, on the other hand, may be nervous, unwell, have teeth problems, or be low-man in the pecking order for food. In either case, a diagnosis should be made prior to purchase.


Breeding soundness - Any stallion or mare to be used for breeding should be proven "reproductively sound." In mares with unknown recent reproductive history, a full physical examination of the reproductive tract, often including ultrasonography, culture and uterine biopsy of older mares, may be advisable. Stallions must have drive, and acceptable numbers of fertile spermatozoa, or have, as proof of their breeding soundness, recent live and healthy foals. Nevertheless, an examination of the stallion's reproductive tract may provide important information prior to obvious physical problems.


Physical history - Old injuries, behavior problems, past surgeries, past medical crises in the horse's history should be reviewed in light of future plans for the horse. A veterinarian with experience will have some ability to predict long-term consequences results from any such historical documentation.


Worming history - Perhaps one of the most critical historical pieces of information to you as a potential buyer is the horse's worming history. The results of a poor worming schedule are often severely compromised vessels in the gut, which in time may result in a bowel without blood perfusion, death of that portion of bowel, colic or even death of the horse. Be sure of a good worming history, and continue yourself to maintain a proper worming program based on sound advise, and if necessary, on a microscopic fecal examination.


Vaccinations - Each area of the country and world has its particular endemic diseases for which it is advisable to vaccinate your horse. Your equine practitioner is specifically aware of horse diseases, and can help you determine your horse's future needs locally, country-wide, and even world-wide, if necessary.


In addition to the vet check you should check the housing condition that your future horse presently inhabits. Many keys to this horse's future lay before the observant person who takes note of the way the horse is kept on a daily basis. An intelligent buyer visits his potential selection several times, at a varied schedule, unless he or she is familiar and confident in the seller.


I'm not familiar with selling horses, can you give me any advice?

Set a Price


Be sure you are completely clear on the asking price and terms, if any. If you are not totally confident in your ability to price a horse, ask for help. There are enough professional horse people out there who can and will help you arrive at a fair price; once you have arrived at it, stick to it. If you can, accept terms, but make sure to have a contract clearly stating the terms in writing. Contracts for the sale of horses exist in pre-printed form. If you agree to sell on contract, be sure the buyer understands that the official registration papers will only be handed over on fulfillment of the agreement.


Let the world know


When selling your horse(s) you must first identify your potential market in order to make sure to spend your advertising dollars as productively as you can. Most communities have local and statewide horse publications, as well as weekly and daily newspapers with "horses for sale" columns. Today there are also numerous websites that accept classified ads. Check out the FREE Classifieds section of this site. If you decide to include a photo, be sure you have a good picture—nothing is worse than a poorly presented animal.


Networking is one of the seller's best forms of advertising. If you have lived in a community for awhile and know people who own horses, be sure to tell them that you are offering one of yours for sale. You would be amazed to know how many horses find excellent new homes by referral. This "network" should include your veterinarian, farrier, trainer, feed store, local 4H and Pony Club groups as well as members of the club to which you belong. If you happen to sell your horse through a professional or other intermediary, pay the agreed commission promptly—these can be one of your best sources of referrals.


Know Your Product


When you receive calls from people interested in your horse, screen potential buyers there and then; ask if they have owned a horse before, if the rider is a beginner or has had some experience, and if the horse is for a child or an adult. Also, ask what the potential buyer plans to do with his/her purchase. Ten minutes on the phone can save you lots of time.


Be clear in your own mind on the strengths and weaknesses of the horse you are selling and never hesitate to say that you feel the horse may be unsuitable for the buyer; stress good points, but be absolutely honest. Avoid discussing the horse's height over the phone; the majority of people have no idea how tall 15 hands high is, but all seem to think that any horse which stands less than that is too small, which is not true. Somewhere along the line, you may simply have to educate people on the issue of height in the Arabian breed.


Make the presentation


Once you have made an appointment for someone to look at your horse, do your best to present it well. Allow the buyers to see the horse in the stall, to watch him being brushed and tacked up if you are selling a riding horse; if the horse is for a child, arrange for a child you know to ride your horse; insist on helmets and proper shoes; lend a helmet if the buyers have not brought one. If you are selling breeding stock, arrange for a friend, neighbor or employee to show the horse in hand while you talk to the buyers about it.


Once the horse has been presented and put back in his stall or paddock, offer your visitors some refreshments. Have available a copy of the pedigree and some photos (use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the potential buyer and horse and send them a copy).


Think, "customer service"


If the potential buyer is truly interested in the horse, always offer them the opportunity to come back several times to see it again. Suggest they arrange for a vet check by a veterinarian of their choice and, if they appear likely to purchase the horse, offer them a perk, like up to a month of free board—you'll be amazed what can make or break a sale. If the buyer decides to buy the horse but doesn't have a way to transporting it, suggest haulers who do an excellent job or offer to deliver the horse within a specified distance of your farm.


When buyers are first-time horse owners, give them a complete list of veterinarians, farriers and reputable trainers in the area, a folder with the horse's health history, detailed instructions for the horse's care, and an invitation to call at any time for help or advice.


A final suggestion:


Trust your intuition. You want to place your horse in a loving, appreciative home where he will become an ambassador for the Arabian breed. Many times those who purchase horses from you will come back to purchase again and again, and even become part of your circle of horse enthusiast friends. Do everything you can to help your buyers feel happy with their purchase; you will gain friends, your horse will have a good life, and you will have made a positive contribution to the Arabian horse.


Ownership, Care, Feeding, Breeding

What is "type" and how can I identify good conformation for an Arabian?

Arabian Type, Color and Conformation

The Arabian's conformation and "type" have been selectively bred for longer than any other breed. Records reflecting desert-bred animals still connect today's Arabian horse's traits with particular traits prized many hundreds of years past. Such documentation makes it possible to retrospectively study heredity, to then predict what good and bad characteristics will be likely to pass from a given stallion and mare into the next generation.


The Bedouins of the Arabian desert were dependent for survival on their Arabian horses. While they valued the beauty of their horses, they were equally adamant that their horses be strong, with deep chests, straight legs, large joints and good lungs to carry them across large stretches of their desert homeland.


The Arabian's distinctly elegant head has been represented artistically for literally thousands of years, to this day appearing in nearly all horse related advertisements for every conceivable equine related commodity. Referred to as "type," defined, described, and judged for centuries, the shape and beauty of the Arabian head remains its most distinctive and sought-after quality.


In general, Arabians have a short, straight back (usually 23 vertebra as compared to 24 with most other equine breeds), perfect balance and symmetry, a deep chest, well-sprung ribs, deep girth and strong legs of thick density. An Arabian can most readily be identified by its finely chiseled head with a dished face, long arching neck and high tail carriage.



Although no individual animal will possess all of the qualities described below, the composite, nevertheless, epitomizes the finest specimens observed:


  • His skeleton is characterized by a relative shortness of skull, a slenderness of the lower jaw, a larger size of brain case. There are fewer vertebrae in the back and tail and a more horizontal pelvic bone position.
  • The Arabian's head is a thing of beauty, the upper half being larger in proportion to the whole size of the horse, especially in the depth across the jowls.
  • The head has a triangular shape that diminishes rapidly to a small and fine muzzle, which is so small that it can be enclosed in the palm of the hand. The lips are fine and thin. The nostrils are long, thin, delicately curled, running upward, and projecting outward. In action or when the horse is excited, the nostrils may become greatly dilated.
  • The eyes are set far apart and are large, lustrous and, when aroused, extremely attentive. They are set more nearly in the middle of the head.
  • It is interesting to note that the distance from the top of the head to the top of the eyes is often within one inch of the distance from the lower eyelid to the top of the nostril. The overall appearance of the Arabian head is frequently enhanced by a slight protrusion over the forehead and extending to just below the eyes, called the "Jibbah" by the Arabs, and greatly prized.
  • The cheek bones spread wide apart at the throat, often between five or six inches, enabling the muzzle to be drawn in without compressing the windpipe, and permitting the animal to breathe easily when running.
  • The ears, smaller in stallions and of good size in mares, are pointed, set evenly together in an upright position, and of great flexibility.
  • Generally speaking, the head should be lean, somewhat well chiseled, and showing energy, intelligence, courage and nobility. The neck is long and arched, set on high and run well back into the withers.
  • In height, the Arabian horse generally measures 14.1 to 15.1 hands at the withers, although some horses measure above or below this height.
  • The animal's coat is thick, close, fine, soft and silky. The mane and tail are long and very fine in texture.
  • The Arab may weigh from 800 to 1,100 pounds, but there are individuals who exceed this weight occasionally.
  • In color, Arabians are bay, gray, chestnut and black, with an occasional roan. Common markings are stars, strips or blaze faces, as are also snip noses, a white foot or more or white stockings.
  • Arabians that appear white are actually gray, since white looking Arabians have black skin. White hair on horses grows out of pink skin as can be found under an Arabian's white markings.


The Arabian Horse Association verifies breed purity through blood typing and pedigree for every foal registered from purebred Arabian mating. The Association makes this information available as a service-an invaluable tool for the serious horseperson in breeding selection.


I've owned horses before, but are there differences in the care, feeding and breeding of Arabians?

Outfitting Your Arabian

Arabian horses require the same kinds of saddles, bridles and stable halters as other breeds. However, most Arabians require slightly different sizes.


Arabians usually need western bridles that are smaller in the cheek and brow areas. A cob size English bridle (the smallest size made for horses) fits most Arabians. Breast collars made for Arabians usually fit better than those designed for larger, more broad-chested breeds such as Quarter Horses. If used, a martingale designed for Arabians fits best because it accommodates the breed's higher neck set and head carriage.


Because Arabians usually have more refined heads with smaller muzzles than other breeds, they also need smaller bits. The typical Arabian bit is size 4 3/4 (4 3/4 inches across). Horses with narrower jaws (from side to side, where the bit lies in the mouth) may need a 4 1/2. Arabians with wider mouths may take a standard horse size bit (5 inches).


Retail and mail-order tack stores often sell tack specifically designed to fit Arabian horses. However, some standard horse equipment also may fit. For example, western saddle blankets and pads that are 30 inches x 30 inches will fit most Arabians. Pads measuring 29" down the back may fit even better. A 30-inch western cinch usually fits an Arabian, and an English girth of 44 to 46-inches should fit the average Arabian (girth sizes start at 38 inches).


Most Arabians are wide (very round) in the barrel. The "well-sprung" ribs which contribute to the Arabians exceptional lung capacity and stamina result in wider backs. Because of this, "Arab" saddle trees (the underlying structures of saddles) are wider than standard saddle trees. A wide tree also prevents the saddle from rubbing low and/or wide withers.


Arabians usually have short backs, which help them carry heavier weights than longer-backed horses. Because the Arabian's back is shorter, the western saddle's skirt should not be more than 27 inches long (measured down the horse's back). The shorter skirt prevents chafing as the hind legs move forward. There are a variety of English saddles, depending upon the style of riding. Most riders use dressage, hunt seat (jumping), or "all-purpose" English saddles (designed for both the flat and jumping) for casual pleasure riding. Lightweight saddles designed for endurance riding are also popular for competition and trail riding. In English Pleasure classes at Arabian shows, cutback saddles are used. Riders in Show Hack classes use dressage saddles, and hunters and jumpers use hunt saddles.


To learn which style of tack is best for your horse and how to fit it, observe what others use and ask experienced Arabian owners for guidance. Tack store employees can also help you find the proper fit for your Arabian. The sizes suggested here are general guidelines. Individual Arabians vary, and all tack should be chosen to provide the most comfort to the specific horse. 


Feeding Your Arabian

Most Arabian horses use their feed efficiently, which means that they may require less feed than other breeds. Perhaps this is because their ancestors came from the deserts of the Middle East, where feed was scarce. Also, because Arabians also are smaller in comparison to larger, heavier breeds, they require less feed to maintain their weight.


This does not mean, however, that Arabians should be kept extremely thin or that they will thrive on poor quality feed. They need adequate calories and the same nutrients as any other horses. Like people, they need a proper mix of vitamins and minerals to stay in good shape and perform well.


If the horse is carrying the proper amount of weight, his contours will look rounded, rather than angular. You should feel the horse's ribs when you brush your hand across the horse's sides, but the ribs should not be visible. If they are, the horse is too thin and needs more feed. (If he's getting enough feed, have a veterinarian examine the underweight horse.)


Overfeeding also can create health problems. Feeding a horse too much rich feed or allowing a horse to become obese can cause founder (laminitis, a serious inflammation of the hooves). Feeding too much rich feed also can bring on a deadly bout of colic. So be careful when feeding grain, rich springtime grass, or other high-protein feeds.


Fortunately, it's easy to feed an Arabian properly. Feed an Arabian as you would any other breed: give it enough good quality feed to maintain its proper weight, along with plenty of fresh, clean water.


Horses' feed requirements change depending upon their age and kind of use. Good quality horse hay and/or pasture may be sufficient for a lightly used, mature Arabian pleasure horse. More calories are needed when horses are more active and during cold weather. Young, growing horses and breeding or show stock need additional grains or supplements. Horses that are heavily used also require grain, supplements, and perhaps electrolytes when especially stressed. All horses need constant access to a salt block and, if recommended by your veterinarian, mineral supplements.


For tips on feeding your Arabian properly, ask your veterinarian. You can also seek advice from Arabian horse owners whose horses are in good condition, or refer to books that discuss the feeding and care of horses.


The Joys of Breeding

There is much to know before you can consistently breed Arabian horses with good conformation, breed type, athletic ability, and the people-loving dispositions that have made the breed famous.


The primary goal of all serious breeders is improving the quality of their breeding stock, which can only be done over several generations. This takes years of study and commitment.


First, breeders need a clear vision of the type of horses they hope to produce. They must discover which bloodlines have successfully produced the kind of horses they want to breed, and which may do so in the future.


A breeding program is a plan for mating specific individuals or families of horses to consistently reach the breeder's goals. Skillful breeders adjust their breeding programs to emphasize successful nicks, eliminate disappointing crosses, and introduce additional bloodlines.


A horse's pedigree is its "family tree." However, breeders must know much more than just the names that appear in their horses' pedigrees. To breed for improvement, they must know both the good and bad points of their horses' ancestors, because either can be inherited.


Conscientious breeders carefully study each horse's genotype (traits inherited from the horse's ancestors, whether or not they appear in that individual). They also analyze the phenotype (appearance) of each individual. Every Arabian used for breeding should be a good representative of the breed. Horses with serious inheritable defects should not become breeding stock.


Breeders also must protect the breed from inheritable weaknesses that cause serious health problems or death. An example is Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome (SCIDS), for which there is a medical test to identify carriers. Responsible breeders must find out whether any of their mares and stallions carry such defects and, if so, avoid breeding them to each other.


Breeding Arabian horses requires time and commitment. The dedicated breeder's greatest reward is the satisfaction of producing quality Arabians that can be enjoyed by others. 


Competition & Recreation

Arabians are beautiful, but are they good athletes?

Historically, the Arabian was a war horse capable of withstanding the extreme conditions of the Arabian desert and covering long distances, while moving quickly in and out of battle. He was also a close companion of the desert Bedouins evolving a pleasant personality and an affinity for humans.


The traits that were bred into the Arabian through ancient times created a versatile horse that is not only a beautiful breed, but one that excels at many activities. Considered the best breed for distances, the Arabian's superior endurance and stamina enable him to consistently win competitive trail and endurance rides.


The most popular activity with all horse owners is recreational riding. The Arabian horse is no exception. The loyal, willing nature of the Arabian breed suits itself as the perfect family horse. His affectionate personality also makes him a great horse for children.


In the show ring the Arabian is exceptional in English and Western pleasure competition. The Arabian is well known for his balance and agility. Combined with his high intelligence and skillful footwork, he is more than capable in driving and reining events. For speed, agility, and gracefulness, you'll want an Arabian. Arabians compete in more than 400 All Arabian shows as well as in numerous open shows around the U.S. and Canada.


The Arabian, as the original racehorse, is becoming more and more popular competing at racetracks throughout the country. Arabians race distances similar to Thoroughbreds, with more than 700 all-Arabian races held throughout the U.S. annually.


Although the most beautiful of all riding breeds, the Arabian is not just a pretty horse. He is an all-around family horse, show horse, competitive sport horse, and work horse.


What types of classes are seen at Arabian horse shows?

In order to compete at the highest levels, both professional and serious amateur riders spend a lot of time on the road working their way through competitive events at the major regional and national shows.


The participants include a ringmaster who coordinates the classes and keeps everything moving along. Judges rate and rank each horse and select the winners. The stewards are chartered with enforcing the rules. Most officials are licensed by the American Horse Shows Association, the governing body for most American horse shows.


Arabians are known for their ability to show their stuff during competitions. If you believe your horse has the ability, action, and looks to be a winner, the best way to find out is to enter a horse show. You could go home with some ribbons or even a trophy. Horse shows are offered at many levels from novice to professional.


There are local Arabian-only shows where participants qualifying for the "regional" and "national" levels. At "open shows," Arabians compete along side other breeds in a wide variety of classes.


Arabian Horse Shows

Each class has to follow certain procedures that are defined by US Equestrian Federation, in conjunction with AHA. The rules are written and amended by the action of the AHA annual convention and submitted to US Equestrian Federation.


All Arabian horses participating in the AHA sanctioned shows must be registered with the AHA or The Canadian Arabian Horse Registry. Proof of registration is submitted to the horse show secretary at the time of entry.


The Arabian Horse Association approves more than 400 Arabian shows each year around the country. For those who want to compete at the highest levels, AHA offers 18 regional and several national events, including the U.S. Nationals.


Other national events conducted by AHA include the Canadian National Championship, Youth Nationals, and the Youth Judging Contest. Arabian only shows are managed at the local level.


Breeding/Halter Classes

Arabian Halter horses are shown at halter in a light headstall or halter with a throat latch. The handler is allowed to carry a whip or crop, but it is not mandatory. Handlers may also use enticements such as carrots or grass to maintain the horse's attention. If a whip is used, it can be no longer than 6' in length including the snapper or lash. Excessive use of the whip will result in penalty or elimination.


The horses are presented to the judge in hand at a walk and trot. In colt-stallion and filly-mare classes, the horses are judged on the following criteria, presented here in order of importance:

  • Type, which are the standards of the breed that define the Arabian horse and set it apart from other breeds.
  • Conformation, which is how the horse is put together, the relationship of form to function.
  • Suitability as a breeding animal, for example, a stallion 2 years and older must have both testicles descended. Any transmissible weakness will be considered a fault in a breeding animal.
  • Quality, such as condition of skin and coat, weight and fitness, grooming.
  • Movement, which includes freedom of stride, style and way of going.
  • Substance, such as density of bone and muscle.
  • Manners, or the horse's behavior in the ring.
  • Presence, an awake and aware attitude.


Additional halter classes include:


Get of Sire or Produce of Dam - an entry is made up of at least two horses entered under the name of the sire or the dam. These classes are judged on reproductive likeness, uniformity, quality of breed characteristics, conformation and similarity.


Most Classic Arabian - open to mares, stallions and geldings over two years of age. This class is judged on Type, presence, animation, carriage and conformation.


Classic Head - open to mares, stallions and geldings over two years of age. The horses are shown in a plain, unmarked sheet or cooler. They line up in the center of the ring and are judged entirely on the breed type of the head. Correctness of the bite is also considered.


Performance Classes

Arabian horses are shown in virtually every capacity imaginable with the exception of gaited classes. Show ring opportunities under English tack include: Park, Pleasure, Country Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure, Show Hack, Hunter, Jumper, Dressage and Roadster Under Saddle. The Arabian Western horse can be shown in Western Pleasure, Reining, Working Cow, Cutting, Trail and Western Riding. The junior exhibitor is offered Equitation classes in Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat and Stock Seat as well as Showmanship and Western Riding.


English Pleasure horses give a distinct appearance of being a pleasure to ride and display a pleasurable attitude. They are ridden in informal saddle seat attire at a walk, trot, canter, and hand gallop. English Pleasure horses are judged on manners, performance attitude quality and conformation.


Country English Pleasure horses are meant to give the appearance of being a pleasure to ride and display a pleasurable attitude. They are ridden in informal saddle seat attire at a walk, trot, canter and gallop. These horses have a quiet, responsive mouth and move with willingness, obvious ease, cadence, balance and smoothness. Country English Pleasure horses are judged on attitude, manners, performance, quality and conformation.


Hunter Pleasure horses, as with other pleasure classes, give the appearance of being a pleasure to ride while displaying a pleasant, relaxed attitude. They are ridden in informal, hunter style attire at a walk, trot, canter, and gallop. The stride is regular, unconstrained and with good reach. Hunter Pleasure horses are judged on manners, performance, suitability as a hunter, quality and conformation.


Park Horses are ridden in informal saddle seat attire. The walk, trot and canter are distinguished by an animated motion. The horse drives forward with the hind legs, resulting in an airy and light front end. The resulting natural animation is meant to appear effortless. Park horses are judged on brilliant performance, presence, quality, manners and conformation.


English Show Hack horses are not necessarily dressage horses nor are they English Pleasure horses. A Show hack must be a well-trained animal showing balance, vitality, animation, presence and quality. Acceptable hack attire is required. This includes a conservative colored coat, breeches and boots. Formal attire of top hat and white breeches and tails can be worn. They are ridden at a normal, collected, and extended walk, trot, canter, and at hand gallop. The show hack horse is judged on manners, performance, quality and conformation.


Western Classes

The western or stock-seat classes require the horse and rider to employ movements that model the work and activities of the cowboy out on the trail. The horse and rider must integrate agility and responsiveness with the savvy of experience.


Arabian Western Pleasure horses are shown in a stock type saddle and a standard western type headstall with any standard western bit. Junior horses five years old and younger can be shown in hackamores or snaffle bits, as long as the horse has not been shown in any western event in a curb bit. Riders wear western hats, long sleeved shirts with collars and scarves or ties. A vest, jacket or sweater may also be worn. Chaps and boots are required. The horse may wear boots or bandages only in Reining, working cow and cutting classes. The horses are shown at a flat-footed, ground covering four-beat walk. The jog is a two-beat gait that is free, square, slow and easy. The lope is a true three-beat gait that is smooth, slow, easy and straight on both leads. Open horses will also be asked to hand gallop. There should be a distinct difference between the lope and the hand gallop. In the Open division, the classes are judged on manners, performance, substance, quality and conformation. Junior horse classes are judged on substance, quality, performance and manners. Amateur and Junior exhibitor classes are judged on manners, performance, suitability of the horse to the rider, substance, quality and conformation.


Arabian Reining horses perform a prescribed pattern that includes circles, spins, lead changes, roll backs, runs, stops and backs. Stops require the horse to bring the hind feet and hocks under the horse, and slide on the rear shoes. Throughout the stop, the horse should remain straight, with ground contact with the front legs and the position of hind legs unchanging. Spins are a series of turns over a stationary inside hind leg. The location of the hindquarters should be fixed at the start of the spin and be maintained throughout. Rollbacks are 180-degree turns completed by running to a stop, rolling the shoulders back to the opposite direction over the hocks and departing at the lope as one continuous motion. Circles are maneuvers at the lope to demonstrate control with little or no resistance. Backing requires the horse to move in reverse in a straight line for a required distance. The class is scored on a scale of 0 to infinity with 70 being the mark of "average". Points are added or subtracted from the base score of 70 for faults, penalties or credits to arrive at the final score.


Arabian Working Cow classes are designed to demonstrate the horse's ability to hold, contain and work a cow. Each horse is scored on a scale of 0 to infinity with 70 being the mark of "average". Points are added or subtracted from the base score of 70 for faults, penalties or credits to arrive at the final score. Penalties will be counted for loosing a working advantage with the cow, passing the cow, loosing control of the cow, biting or striking the cow, and knocking the cow down.


Arabian Trail horses are shown over and through obstacles at a walk, jog and lope. This class is judged 70% on performance and way of going with an emphasis on manners. 20% on appointments, equipment and neatness and 10% on conformation.


Arabian Western Riding horses demonstrate the characteristics of a good, sensible, well-mannered, free and easy moving horse. The class is conducted over a course that includes a gate, logs to step over and markers to designate gate and lead change positions. Horses are judged on quality of gaits, flying lead changes, response to rider, manners and disposition.


Riders in western classes use the western saddle with heavy stirrups and saddle horn.


Hunter/Equitation Classes

Hunter Seat Classes - These classes test the rider's ability to gracefully manage the obstacles faced in the hunting field. Both conformation and performance are important with different classes emphasizing one or the other.


Arabian Hunter horses are shown over a course of a minimum of eight fences that would be considered a fair test for hunters. The distance between fences is set at multiples of 12 feet. Amateur, Junior Rider and Green Working hunters will be asked to jump courses that are between 2'9" and 3' in height with spreads no greater than 3'. Courses for Regular Working hunters will be between 3' and 3'3". Warm-up hunter classes consist of no less than 6 fences at heights between 2' and 2'6".


Regular Working Hunter Under Saddle horses are shown at a walk, trot and canter. The judge may ask the horses to hand gallop one way of the ring. Horses should be obedient, alert, responsive and demonstrate free movement. A horse must be entered in at least one hunter class over obstacles to be eligible to enter and show in the Hunter Under Saddle class when it is counted toward a Championship.


Hunter Hack horses are shown at a walk, trot, canter and hand gallop. Horses will jump two fences at heights of between 2' and 2'6". This class is judged on performance, manners and soundness. This class does not count toward any championship.


Arabian Hunters are shown in light, hunter-type bridles with cavesson nosebands. Breast collars are optional. Martingales are not allowed in Hunter Hack, Under Saddle or tie breaking classes. Boots and bandages are prohibited. Arabian Hunter championships are offered at shows where a minimum of three classes are held, one of which must be an Under Saddle class and the other two over fences. Hunters will receive points in each class toward a show championship.


Equitation Classes - The rider is judged on the ability to maintain form and control on the flat and while jumping over fences.


Appointment Classes - This class emphasizes the fox hunting clothing and tack. In some cases these events are limited to members of recognized hunts.



The dynamics and beauty of horse and rider soaring over fences makes jumping a thrilling sight. Natural abilities and precise training prepare horse and rider for entry in the many different types of jumping competitions.


The Riders Position - In order to stay over a horse's center of gravity and to allow its head and neck to extend, the rider leans forward during a jump. Although a single pole may not seem like much of a jump, the rail teaches a horse to lift its legs and to pay attention to an obstacle in its path. Higher fences require horse and rider to find the correct takeoff point.


Arabian jumpers are shown over courses of fences and are scored according to the American Horse Shows Association rules. The course and the order in which the horses jump will be posted at least one-half hour prior to the start of the class. Obstacles in Amateur and Junior to Ride classes will start at 3', with a maximum height of 3'3". Spreads can be up to 4' wide. Open Jumpers start at 3'3" to a maximum of 3'6" and with spreads to 5'. Horses may be shown in any type of English saddle. Any type of bridle is allowed. Martingales, tie downs, boots and bandages are allowed.


Grand Prix Jumping - The apex of show jumping occurs in Grand Prix events. The prizes are big, and so are fences and spreads.



Dressage events are managed primarily by the US Dressage Federation: Contact the USDF (United States Dressage Federation). Arabian owners also compete in Dressage at the US National Arabian Championship at various levels of competition.


The word "dressage" comes from a French term meaning training. It is not only a method of training, but also a competitive equestrian sport.


"Dressage develops the horse's physique and suppleness and improves the horse's three natural gaits, making it a pleasure to ride. Dressage is considered 'classical training' because it uses gymnastic exercises-a series of movements and figures-which have been studied and developed for centuries. When done systematically and correctly, the exercises will cause the horse to be supple on both sides and to respond willingly and obediently, moving freely forward with pure gaits and an even tempo." - USDF


Sometimes Dressage is called basic training for horses because it incorporates a variety of exercises that develop both the horse's athletic ability and obedience. No matter if it's Western or English, most disciplines from racing, to reining, to jumping all benefit from Dressage training. Even so, many riders find great pleasure and a passion for Dressage even at very modest levels of competition.


Examples of basic-level exercises include figures such as serpentines and circles, movements such as lateral movements (sideways), and transitions such as trot to halt, or walk to canter. These exercises can be used to start a young horse or to retrain an older one, and can be used by riders primarily interested in other equestrian sports, such as western riding.


Dressage has been described as a combination of sport and art. Whereas more aggressive sports tend to be intuitive and instinctive to the horse and rider, Dressage perfects the rider's analytical skills and creates a more artistic fluid motion for the horse. This training tends to create a stronger bonding between the horse and rider.


Riders of all ages, from kids to seniors, are taking up Dressage. Improving the skill level of the horse and rider is the goal and ultimate outcome of this sport. Both the rider and the horse learn and improve together. It's not a sport where you can buy a winning super star horse and expect to win, you have to develop the skills yourself and that is the appeal to those with improved horsemanship in mind.


Arabian Dressage - Recognized dressage competitions use tests issued by the American Horse Shows Association. These tests are designed to confirm the horse's ability to perform at a specific level according to the objectives and standards of the AHSA. As the horse and rider progress, more difficult gymnastic exercises are introduced. As a result, the advanced horse becomes an athlete, developing strength, flexibility, and the ability to perform collected and extended gaits with lightness and brilliance. When the horse and rider work in harmony, this performance of grace and athleticism is beautiful to watch.



Arabian Formal Driving horses are shown in a light show harness with blinkers, overcheck or side check. A four-wheeled show vehicle is required. They are shown at a true, cadenced four-beat walk with animation and brilliance. The trot is natural, animated and cadenced with impulsion and power from behind. The animated natural trot is extremely bold and brilliant and executed with apparent ease. Horses are judged on performance, manners, quality and conformation.


Arabian Pleasure Driving horses are shown in light show harness with blinkers, overcheck or side check. Either a two- or four-wheeled vehicle may be used, but the use of a two-wheeled cart is encouraged. They are shown at a brisk, flat-footed four-beat walk, a balanced and free moving normal trot and a mannerly, cadenced strong trot with a lengthened stride. Open horses are judged on manners, quality and performance. Junior horses are judged on quality first, then manners and performance, while Amateur and Junior to Drive classes emphasize manners followed by performance and quality.


Arabian Country Pleasure Driving horses are shown in light harness appropriate to the vehicle and a bridle with blinkers, overcheck or side check. A two-wheeled vehicle is required. They are shown at a true, flat-footed and ground-covering walk, a balanced, relaxed and easy going trot, and a strong trot with a lengthened stride. High action is penalized. Open horses are judged on attitude, manners, performance, quality and conformation. Junior horses are judged on attitude, manners, quality and performance. Amateur and Junior to drive classes are judged on attitude, manners, performance, quality, conformation and the suitability of the horse to the driver.


Formal, Informal and Country Combination classes are both harness and undersaddle classes. The horses are exhibited first in harness as Formal Driving, Pleasure Driving or Country Driving horses, working both ways of the ring at the required gaits. Horses are then saddled and shown as Park, English or Country Pleasure horses at the gaits required, both ways of the ring.


Arabian Roadster horses are shown in light show harness and a bike. The bridle must have blinkers of the square pattern and an overcheck with a separate overcheck bit. Unweighted boots are optional. The exhibitor wears stable colors with a matching cap and jacket. The horses are shown at the trot in three different speeds; the slow jog-trot, the fast road gait; and at speed. Judges may ask the horses to walk. The Roadster horse should have animation, brilliance and show ring presence while maintaining form at all gaits. Open horses are judged on performance, speed, quality and manners. Amateur or Junior to Drive classes are judged on manners, performance, speed and quality.



Mounted Native Costume horses are shown at a walk, canter and hand gallop both ways of the ring. The bridle may consist of bit, hackamore or any suitable headstall. No martingales or tie downs are permitted. The rider's attire is of native, Bedouin type. Flowing capes, coats, pantaloons, headdresses, scarfs, sashes and any other decorations in keeping with a colorful desert regalia are allowed, with safety remaining of utmost importance. All divisions of this class are judged 75% performance and manners and 25% on appointments.


Ladies Sidesaddle horses are show in either English or Western tack and attire. Period attire is also accepted and encouraged to be researched as to the authenticity of the entire costume. Hat and boots are required. Horses are shown both directions of the ring at a walk, jog or trot, and a lope or canter. This class is judged 85% on manners, performance, suitability as a sidesaddle mount, quality and conformation. The appropriate sidesaddle attire is given 15% weight in the judging.


How can I find information about Endurance and Competitive Trail competition?

From the U.S. Cavalry Endurance Ride in 1919 evolved two competitions that are gaining popularity today: "Endurance" and "Competitive Trail." Arabians excel at both.


Distance riding in general is a test of horse condition and stamina, rider intelligence and horsemanship, and the team effort of both over a cross-country trail under veterinary supervision.


Endurance Rides

The beauty of distance riding is that both novice riders and those with vast experience can enter the same events. At distance competitions you'll encounter the old, the young, the fit and the not so fit. Endurance riding is particularly appealing to the person with an average income; you need not be wealthy to participate. An endurance rider is almost always the equine's owner, trainer, and groom. Discipline, dedication and a sense of adventure are the most important ingredients for success.


The endurance riders’ motto, "To Finish Is To Win," applies to all types of distance events. For some, it is a highly competitive and challenging athletic endeavor. For others, it is a recreational activity combining a camping trip with an extended trail ride. For still others, it provides an opportunity to discover America as our forefathers did—from the back of a horse.


Endurance riding is defined by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) as an athletic event with the same horse and rider covering a measured course within a specified maximum time." Endurance rides are races that vary in distance between 25 and 100 miles and are covered in a single day. The horse with the fastest time is the winner providing the horse meets the 'fit to continue' criteria as determined by a veterinary staff. The horses are monitored by veterinarians throughout the ride at pre-determined checkpoints and will be withdrawn from the ride if they are judged to be unsound or metabolically unfit. Each ride has mandatory rests or 'holds' for the horses throughout the ride. Some rides are longer than 100 miles but are completed over a period of several days with the horses typically covering 50 miles per day.


The rules require horses to be at least five years old to begin competing in 50 mile races. The winner is the rider who completes the ride in the shortest time. Prizes awarded include: Top Ten, Best Condition and Completion. The Best Condition award is available to those who finish in the top ten. For this valued award the judges consider the speed of the ride time, the total weight of rider and tack, and the condition of the horse at the finish line.


Most endurance rides also have a shorter novice ride of about 25 miles. These rides are not considered endurance rides by AERC but are referred to as Limited Distance rides. These are great for more inexperienced horses and riders.

Although endurance rides are technically 'races' many (if not most) riders participate for completion rather than placing. To these riders the satisfaction of completing 50 or 100 miles on a sound horse is the prize.


Contact the American Endurance Riding Conference (AERC) 701 High St., Suite 203, Auburn, CA 95603 916.823.2260. Also check out Endurance Net.


One of the most famous of all endurance rides is the Tevis Cup. During a 100-mile, 24 hour endurance ride, the Tevis Cup participants race through the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.


Competitive Trail

If you enjoy trail riding, experiencing new trails, and making new friends, then you should consider trying competitive trail riding. Participants get the chance to improve their riding skills by competing in the friendly and fun atmosphere of competitive trail riding.


Competitive trail riding's emphasis is on teaching riders how to improve their horsemanship skills. Trail courtesy and safety are key elements, as is the ability to care for a horse during and after a long day on the trail.


There are three levels of competition, beginning with those just learning the sport up to the expert competitor. Sometimes described as a road rally on horseback. Here, speed is not the primary objective. Time, distance, condition of horse and rider, and horsemanship are the key elements judged in these events. Points are deducted for mistakes or problems from a score of 100. The horse and rider are judged separately. Horses are evaluated based on: soundness, condition, trail ability/manners, and way of going.


Most rides are sanctioned by the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC). These can be one-day, two-day, or three-day rides with Novice Division and Competitive Pleasure Division riders covering 20 miles each day, with Open Division riders going around 30 miles per day. Open riders travel over rougher trails, at a faster pace and over more miles. There is also a Junior Division.


Riders are given a minimum and maximum time to complete the day's ride with penalties given to those who do not meet the time constraints. In addition to proper pacing during the ride, penalties are given for horses that do not meet the recovery requirements for pulse and respiration.


Prizes awarded include: through six places in each weight division with an overall Grand and Reserve Champion, and Completion. Special awards are often given for Horsemanship, Best Trail Horse and Best of Breed awards.


Contact the NATRC at P.O. Box 338, Sedalia, CO 80135, 303.688.2292.


Ride & Tie

In a Ride & Tie, two riders with one horse on a pre-marked trail travel in a running and riding leapfrog pattern. The horse must pass a metabolic and mechanical standard for veterinary checks during and within one hour of finishing the trail. Distances range from 10 to 40 miles in one day. No minimum time restrictions, but a maximum time limit is set by management. Awards are given to the first to finish and the next fastest time. All competitors who complete the trail within the rules are awarded a completion.

Contact the Ride & Tie Association, 11734 Wolf Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949, 916.268.8474


Mounted Orienteering

One horse and rider are required to find pre-determined stations on an unmarked course using a map and their compass. There is no minimum time requirement and no veterinary examination required. Distances range from 5 to 20 miles. Awards are given to the first to finish and runner ups in a variety of age and experience divisions.

For organized rides in North America, contact the National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering (NACMO), 503 171st Avenue SE, Tenino, WA 98589-9711


Are Arabians good horses for just trail riding?

Recreational riding is the most popular activity in the horse industry, specifically trail riding. Although other horse activities have their own unique pleasures, most riders also love to trail ride. Recreational trail riding may include simple day rides, overnight rides, or longer horse-packing rides. In every case the common denominator is the bonding that takes place between you and your horse and the love of riding outdoors.

Most states have organized trail groups. Check local Arabian Horse Clubs and Trail Riding Organizations.


How do I prepare for a week-long trail ride?

  1. Make sure your horse has the aptitude. Does your horse mingle well with other horses? Can it remain calm in a group or standing tethered quietly to a trailer or fence for the night? Does your horse always want to race? Does it kick? These tendencies can be a problem on the trail and in camp. If the answer is yes to any of these questions, think again or begin to break your horse in on short day rides.
  2. Make sure your tack fits properly. Nothing is worse than to have your horse harmed by ill-fitting tack.
  3. After a days ride, your horse will appreciate being covered with a light to medium weight blanket for the night. This will help to avoid stiff and sore muscles.
  4. Prior to the trip make sure that your horse gets familiar with drinking from streams and pools of water. Electrolytes added to the horse's water or feed can help keep it hydrated. Many endurance riders use electrolytes religiously on strenuous rides.
  5. Some rides require specific feed be used. If this is the case, begin a few weeks before the ride getting your horse use to the new feed.
  6. Check your horse's feet. Talk to your farrier about your plans. If needed, have him come out a couple of weeks prior to the ride to make any adjustments.
  7. Be sure your saddle will be comfortable for three or four hours straight on the trail before a break. Perhaps you'll need to purchase a saddle designed for this type of riding.
  8. Make sure your vet gives you the go-ahead. Some rides require you to present a Health Certificate prior to the ride.
  9. Prepare your horse physically. Be sure your horse can be ridden all day, every day for the entire week. This may not be an endurance ride, but if your horse isn't used to the rigors of trail riding, i.e., up and down hills, through streams, rocks, etc., you will be asking for trouble. It won't be fun if you have to wait for the group on the way back because your horse couldn't make it for the entire ride. Worse, you don't want your horse to get hurt.
  10. Don't forget personal items that you'll need to make the trip a pleasant one for you:
    • Comfortable folding chair
    • Means for washing yourself
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and insect repellant
    • Comfortable riding clothes and gloves
    • Flashlight
    • Any medicine or vitamins you take regularly
    • Handy water containers
    • Rain gear
    • Good riding boots you can walk in
    • Be sure that your truck and trailer are in good shape before leaving home.


What is Arabian racing?

Check out the Arabian Jockey Club and their FAQs


Racing is in the heart and soul of every Arabian horse. Breeders in England recognized this when they selected the Darley, Godolphin and Byerly Turk Arabian as the foundation sires for the Thoroughbred racehorse. With its own long history of racing, the athleticism, speed and beauty of this desert horse made it the perfect choice. Keeping this in mind, Arabian racing today makes perfect sense.


Arabian racing in North America was organized about 1959 and has more than quadrupled in size over the past 10 years. Today's Arabian racehorse has many advantages and opportunities. It runs against other purebred Arabians at a growing number of racetracks across the United States and Canada and competes for an ever-increasing amount of purse money. Bettors have enthusiastically welcomed the breed and enjoy the beauty and heritage of the Arabian horse.


More horses are running in more races each year making Arabian racing the fastest growing segment in the racing industry. In recent years, Arabian horses have won over $4 million in races. As the popularity of this athletic breed continues, prize money is increasing and more tracks around the country are eager to include and expand the use of purebred Arabian horses in their race meets.


Some owners have the perception that horse racing is too expensive for them to participate. But armed with knowledge, growing prize money and increased opportunities for Arabians, racing can prove to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for the entire family. The Arabian Jockey Club is committed to ensuring that this growth continues.


What kinds of youth programs are available using Arabian horses?


Arabian Horse Youth Association. There are more than 200 Arabian youth clubs across the US and Canada. Whether you own a horse or not, you can get hands-on experience riding, caring for and showing horses with other kids who share your interest through club membership. The AHYA enables participants to vote for youth officers, take part in award programs, contests, shows and other activities.

AHA Sponsored Programs include:


Judging Contest - The Arabian Youth Judging Contest is an annual event where teams come together at the National Championship Show.


Amateur Achievement Awards - The AAA program assigns points to individual riders, handlers and drivers. Riders don't have to own the horse they compete with since this program tracks riders only.


Youth National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show - This six-day event is held every summer for the best young competitive riders in the country. There are also clinics, contests, socials and parties for the whole family.


Regional Youth Team Tournament - Want to earn points and win prizes with your friends, or make new friends through showing and riding? The Regional Youth Team Tournament offers youth from each region the opportunity to form teams that work together to earn points.


4-H Clubs

Many young Arabian horse owners participate in horse-oriented programs and events organized and managed by 4-H clubs. Each state has multiple clubs where members share their love for horses and horse activities. Membership is not breed-specific so you can share your Arabian experience with those who have little knowledge of this wonderful breed.


Check out the 4-H to find the club nearest to you.


US Pony Clubs

The mission of The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC) is to provide a program for youth that teaches riding, mounted sports, and care of horses and ponies, thereby developing responsibility, moral judgement, leadership and self-confidence. Check out the USPC for a list of contacts in your part of the country. 


Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes Program

What Is New With The 2021 Sweepstakes Program?

  • The ABS HA/AA Yearling Sweepstakes In-Hand Classes have been discontinued as Sweepstakes designated classes at U.S. Nationals.


  • The ABS A/HA/AA Dressage Prospect Incentive Class at Sport Horse Nationals is now restricted to 4 and 5 year old horses enrolled as a Breeding or Original Entry.


  • Two new ABS AO Sport Horse Under Saddle Jackpot Classes have been added to the 2021 Sport Horse Nationals. These classes will not be run as Hunter or Dressage Type, but all types will be run together as one class for Arabians and one for Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabians. These classes are restricted to horses enrolled as a Breeding or Original Entry.


What Are The Objectives For The Sweepstakes Program?

  • Boost the level of participation in the program as well as create an incentive to increase breeding and showing participation


  • Increase the value and stimulate the marketability of Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses for all levels of competition


  • Expand interest and participation from those who compete at the Regional level to those striving to breed a National Champion


  • Reward breeders, who are at the core of our industry


  • Ensure funds for future payouts and long-term viability


Is There A Payment Option For Me To Enroll My Horse(s) In The Sweepstakes Program?

Yes. AHA offers a Deferred Billing Agreement. Payment of the entry fee due for a Breeding Entry, Nominated Sire or Nominated Dam may be made pursuant to a Deferred Billing Agreement. Refer to Chapter 18 of the AHA Handbook for complete Information and requirements, or contact a Competition Program Representative at 303-696-4500, option #4.


What Are The Requirements To Enroll My Foal As A Breeding Entry?

The foal must be by a Nominated Sire or out of a Nominated Dam. The AHA In-Utero Foal Application must be submitted by December 31st of the year the mare was bred. Payment in full or the first payment with a completed Deferred Billing Agreement must accompany the enrollment. Current AHA membership is required in order to enroll a foal as a Breeding Entry.


My Sire/Dam Is Only Enrolled As A Breeding Entry. Are Their Offspring Eligible To Be Enrolled As Breeding Entries?

No. As stated above, in order for a foal to be eligible as a Breeding Entry, either the sire or the dam must be enrolled as a Nominated Sire or a Nominated Dam.


What Is The Difference Between A Nominated Dam, Nominated Sire And A Breeding Entry?

The offspring of a Nominated Dam or Nominated Sire are eligible to enrolled in-utero as a Breeding Entry. Horses enrolled as a Nominated Dam or Nominated Sire are not eligible to earn prize money. They are both lifetime enrollments. A Breeding Entry is enrolled in-utero and is eligible to earn prize money in Sweepstakes designated events for the life of the horse.


What Is Breeder / Nominator Payback?

The Breeder/Nominator is the individual(s) who enrolls the foal in-utero in the Sweepstakes program as a Breeding Entry. This person will receive 15% of all allocated prize money earned by that entry at Regional and National Events provided all Sweepstakes requirements are met.  Breeder/Nominator payback is for the lifetime of the horse. The Breeder/Nominator does not have to be the recorded owner of the mare.  Current AHA membership is required in order to receive prize money.


What Are The Incentives For A Breeding Entry?

A Breeding Entry is entitled to receive allocated money at the Regional and National level in designated Sweepstakes Events (provided all Sweepstakes requirements are met) for the life of the horse.  This is the only way to enroll a horse in the Sweepstakes Program to be eligible to earn prize money.


I Submitted An Application To Enroll My Embryo Transfer Foal As A Breeding Entry. How Can I Make Sure That The Nomination Is Linked To The Registration Of My Foal?

Because Breeder/Nominator and Nominated Sire Payback cannot be calculated until the end of the Competition year, payback will be  issued within 60 days of receipt of completed results for the competition year.  Allocated Prize money at the Regional and National Level will be issued within 60 days of receipt of completed results.


What Is The 50% Rule?

The 50% rule provides prize money payout to the top 50%, rounded up, based on the number of horses in a class at the Regional and National Level.


Sweepstakes Allocated Prize Money earned at the Regional and National Events will be issued based on the number of horses in the class/ride.   At the Regional Level, if fewer than 9 horses are in a class/ride, 50% rounded up, will be eligible for prize money.  At the National Level, if fewer than 19 horses are in a class/ride, 50% rounded up, will be eligible for prize money.


Exemption:  National Yearling Sweepstakes Classes, ABS Dressage Prospect Incentive Class, ABS Green Working Hunter Derby at Sport Horse Nationals, Sweepstakes AAO Jackpot Classes and the ABS AAO Performance Halter Classes at U.S. Nationals will receive payout for a full Top Ten.


When Can I Expect To Receive My Sweepstakes Checks?

Sweepstakes Prize Money at the Regional and National Level will be issued within 60 days of completed results. Breeder/Nominator and Nominated Sire Payback cannot be calculated until the end of the Competition year. This payback will be issued within 60 days of receipt of completed results for the competition year. All requirements must be met in order to receive Sweepstakes Prize Money.


What Will Happen In The Event Of A Split AAO Class?

Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes AAO classes are the only Sweepstakes Classes that may be split by age of the rider at the discretion of the show management. The ages for the classes must be all inclusive. The designated Prize Money for each AAO Class will be divided equally among the age splits. It is recommended that Regional Shows do not split AAO classes as this will reduce the available prize money for each class that is split by age. Leveling AAOTR classes will receive prize money in place of regular AAOTR Classes when offered. No other Sweepstakes designated classes can be split. If they are split, they will not be eligible for prize money (including Junior Horse Classes.)


I Was Awarded A Top Five At A Regional Show And Did Not Receive Payback. Why?

For horses participating in Regional Events, payout will be issued up to to five places based on the 50% rule. Regional Shows have the option to award five placings based on the 50% rule for qualification purposes only, or they may award a full Top Five in all classes, regardless of how many entries are competing at the close of the gate. This information must be clearly stated in the Regional Prize List. For Example, if a Regional Show awards a full Top Five for qualifications and your horse places 5th in a class of 5, Sweepstakes prize money will only be issued to 50% of the class, or through 3rd place.


I Was Awarded A Top Ten In A Sweepstakes Class At A National Show. Why Didn’t I Get A Check?

Even though a full Top Ten is awarded at National Shows, Sweepstakes Allocated Prize Money is paid out based on the 50% rule. Exemption: ABS Yearling Classes, ABS Dressage Prospect Incentive Class, ABS Green Working Hunter Derby and ABS Sport Horse Under Saddle AO Jackpot at Sport Horse Nationals, ABS AAO Jackpot Classes and the ABS AAO Performance Halter Classes at U.S.Nationals will receive payout for a full Top Ten.


It Was Announced And/Or Presented At The Show That I Would Receive A Specific Dollar Amount In A Sweepstakes Class. I Received A Different Amount. Why?

The Sweepstakes Program is not responsible for incorrect announcements and/or presentations at National Shows. All rules which deal with Competitions and Sweepstakes can be found in the current AHA Handbook under Chapters 11, 12, 14 and 18.


What Are The Membership Requirements For Payout?

Owners must have a current base level membership to receive payout and hold a competition card if they are competing. For those horses owned by a business, a Business Membership is sufficient.  For Breeder/Nominator and Nominated Sire Payback (for those eligible), a current base membership as of December 31st of the competition year is required in order for prize money to be issued.


How Do Shows Incorporate The Sweepstakes Classes Into Their Schedules/Prize Lists?

Shows must denote the Sweepstakes designated classes in their prize lists.  Event management is notified of Sweepstakes eligible classes and changes to the prize list which need to be made in order for the class to be recognized as a Sweepstakes Class.  AHA requires show management to post any changes to classes in the show office or notify all exhibitors.


How Can I Tell If A Class Is A Sweepstakes Class?

Sweepstakes classes will have a denotation at the front of the title.  For complete list of Sweepstakes classes and events please refer to Sweepstakes chapter of the on-line AHA handbook.  Denotation of a Sweepstakes Class does not guarantee eligibility for Sweepstakes payback.


Can A Sweepstakes Class Ever Be A TBA Class?

No. Sweepstakes classes must be in the schedule as regular classes. Any exempt Sweepstakes Regional Classes added as a TBA are not eligible for Sweepstakes Prize Money.


Who Can Show In Sweepstakes Classes?

Nominated and non-nominated horses can be shown in a Sweepstakes designated events at the Regional and National Level. However, some classes are restricted only to horses enrolled as a Breeding or Original Entry. The Regional and National Yearling Sweepstakes classes are restricted to Breeding Entries only. The ABS A/HA/AA Green Working Hunter Derby, ABS A/HA/AA Dressage Prospect Incentive and ABS Sport Horse Under Saddle AO Jackpot Classes at Sport Horse Nationals; the ABS AAO Jackpot Classes and ABS AAO Performance Halter Classes at U.S. Nationals are restricted to Breeding Entries and Original Entries.


What If I Notice That My Results Are Incorrect In A Sweepstakes Class?

If your show or ride results are incorrect, please notify the Event Secretary from that show/ride immediately. Allocated class results need to be adjusted within 60 days of receipt of completed results. It is the exhibitor’s responsibility to verify these results and notify Event Secretaries to provide correct results or notify AHA of any discrepancies.


What Are The Current Fees To Nominate My Stallion As A Nominated Sire Or Non-Arabian Nominated Sire?

If your stallion (Arabian or Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian) is already enrolled as a Breeding Entry in the Sweepstakes Program, the cost is $1,000. The fee for all other stallions is $2,000. The entry fee can be paid in full or placed on a Deferred Billing Agreement (provided all requirements are met.)


What Is The Benefit To Enrolling My Mare As A Nominated Dam?

If you breed your Nominated Dam to an Arabian or non-Arabian Stallion that is not enrolled as a Nominated Sire, the foal would be eligible to be enrolled as a Breeding Entry. The enrollment fee is $1,000. The entry fee can be paid in full or placed on a Deferred Billing Agreement (provided all requirements are met).


I Enrolled My Foal As A Breeding Entry And The Mare Lost The Foal/ Did Not Have A Foal. Is There A Credit Available?

The entry fee for a Breeding Entry is non-refundable; however a credit voucher can be issued. A death certificate for the foal signed by an accredited veterinarian on letterhead or official documentation which identifies the mare by registered name, registration number and the year she was to foal must be submitted. AHA will then issue a Dead Foal Credit in the form of a voucher. The Dead Foal Credit Voucher can be used toward a future Sweepstakes Entry. In order to enroll a future entry, a new AHA In-Utero Foal Application and must be submitted with the Dead Foal Credit Voucher or signed vet statement prior to the enrollment deadline.


I Have A Dead Foal Credit That I Will Never Use. Can I Get A Refund For My Entry?

The entry fee for a Breeding Entry is non-refundable, but can be transferred for any following year to a foal of any mare under the same ownership. You do have the option of selling the Dead Foal Credit to another member. AHA would then require written notification from the owner of the Dead Foal Credit that authorizes AHA to use the Dead Foal Credit for an entry listed under a different ownership. A new AHA enrollment application and the Dead Foal Credit Voucher must be submitted prior to the enrollment deadline.


Why Do I Need To Fill Out A W-9 Form?

Prize money payouts are federally reportable as income. Therefore, a Tax ID must be associated with each account that receives payout. A Tax ID (TIN or Social Security Number) reported on form W-9 is required for the release of any such payment regardless of the amount. If a W-9 form for said account is not on file, the payout will be placed on hold until the form is received. If this information is not provided within 120 days after notification, all Sweepstakes Prize Money will be forfeited.


I Provided A W-9 In The Past For My Sweepstakes Prize Money. Why Am I Being Asked To Complete Another One?

Each unique AHA account that receives prize money must have a W-9 on file. It is possible to have two or more AHA accounts that have a unique information (i.e. horse, owners, etc.). Therefore, a separate W-9 is required for each account. This is especially important for joint accounts. Payees on a joint account have the choice of which owner will assume the tax liability and file the tax return should one be required. The only reason a W-9 would be requested is due to the fact a Tax ID is not on file for that specific account/ownership.


I Earned The Prize Money Last Year But I Am Getting The Check In February/March Of This Year. Will This Affect My Tax Return For Last Year?

The tax liability is assessed in the year the payment is actually made. Although the prize money was earned last year, the payment is made in the early part of this year so it does not affect last year’s taxes. Form 1099-Misc is used to report the payment to both the payee and the IRS for the tax year beginning January and ending December 31st. The 1099 will reflect only the payments actually made in that year, regardless of when the prize money was earned.


Where Can I Find Enrollment Forms Or Get More Information?

Enrollment forms are available online at, or you can contact a Competition Services Representative at AHA at 303-696-4500, option #4, and a Competition Services Representative can assist you with forms and/or questions.