Arabian heads - Page 6

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Arabian heads

This is a discussion on Arabian heads within the Horse Breeds forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    07-10-2013, 10:11 PM
Originally Posted by IndiesaurusRex    
I don't think anyone answered the OP's question about the reason why they have such a dished face.

Don't take this as gospel, as this is what I'm remembering from my Equine Exercise Physiology lectures, but the dish in the face developed due to the hot, arid climate the Arab evolved in. The dish effects the shape of the sinuses, which, coupled with the large nostrils, allows a large oxygen intake and cools the air efficiently, helping prevent potentially fatal overheating of the brain.

Compare them to the draft horses/British native ponies - they often have a more roman nose. The larger sinuses allow the air to be warmed before it is taken into the lungs, as they are typically from colder climates.

Well, going back to my observations on Arab horses, and I prefer quarter horses, so I know only what I was told by my Bedouin about Arab horses, but I doubt that is the answer. One, Deserthorsewoman has pretty much given a good argument as to why that probably isn’t the case,. And as I said, none of the horses I saw through the desert when I lived there in Jordan had the dish face, a few of the fancy ones had a little, but mostly they were brought in from the north, Syria and even as far away as Turkey, all the well known local horses had pretty much straight faces, and they were the ones the Bedouin liked for their endurance races, they liked the thoroughbreds for shorter distance races. (on a side note I have a video I took of a race in which my friend’s thoroughbred won, it’s worth watching to see how fast this horse could go, I’ll try to figure out how to upload it and make a post about it).
The horses I saw there all look like Arabs, they have the same body and the face is kinda the same but for the dish. I’d almost be willing to bet money on it that the reason so many have the pronounced dish face is because some of them, in the past probably exhibited a predisposition for it, breeders focused on that as a particular trait of the breed and have selectively bread horses to emphasise that particular characteristic. The same has happened with all sorts of animals that are put in the show ring, they are bread for “breed characteristics” above everything else. For example, have a look at a real Shetland pony, then look at an American Shetland pony; hard to believe they came from the same stock.
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    07-11-2013, 02:54 AM
It is the different strains of arabians that exhibit different degrees of the jibbah.
The different tribes bred different strains and some have a very pronounced jibbah and others a straight profile.
The arabs did not believe in crossing the strains. So different regions had horses that were different sizes, colours, and degrees of the dish.
Though I do not think the extreme dish we see in the show ring was prominent in the desert. Shalom
Remali, HGEsquire and goneriding like this.
    07-11-2013, 04:19 AM
I have seen some of the really dished faces with the bulgy forehead and they are disturbing .
I think some of the show horses are bred that way , and just like the quarter horses that are butt high and really downhill, and the very uphillness of some WB's , I think it is wrong.
The grey arabs posted a few comments up , with nice heads and faces are pretty , and were what was common when I was young in this area, they had a nice head and were very dainty heads compared to the quarter horse
    07-11-2013, 11:04 AM
Originally Posted by dbarabians    
It is the different strains of arabians that exhibit different degrees of the jibbah.
The different tribes bred different strains and some have a very pronounced jibbah and others a straight profile.
The arabs did not believe in crossing the strains. So different regions had horses that were different sizes, colours, and degrees of the dish.
Though I do not think the extreme dish we see in the show ring was prominent in the desert. Shalom

Yeah, that sounds about right. Bedouin are pretty careful about keeping track of their own linages, those of their camels and horses. The linages of camels and horses are associated with certain groups so that they know the family tree of the animals as well as their own, spanning generations, and many groups are well known for breeding particular types of animals. For example the Al Murrah Bedouin of the Rub alKhali in Saudi Arabia are well known for breeding very expensive black milking camels (which can sell for over a million US), some Howeitat Bedouin from the south of Jordan are famous for breeding pure white camels that are highly valued for producing very fine wool, others in Egypt were known for producing enormous draft camels that were highly valued for many of the Bedouin who were involved in smuggling between Egypt, Saudi and Syria up to about the 1980s, and there were many tribes or sub-tribes throughout west Asia and north Africa who were famous for producing valuable racing camels too. It was the same for horses, as far as I can remember the Rashid, who were powerful throughout Nejd and the Hejaz, until the Sauds beat them and established Saudi Arabia were famous for their horses, as were many others.
But, given that Bedouin tribes are fairly anarchic in their operation with very little central decision making processes that could have shaped a unified breeding programme, and, though major linages of camel and horses may have been in the hands of maybe a sub tribe rather than a whole tribe, which could have given some measure of unity in breeding, the animals, or the whole breed, would have usually been spread across sub tribes of many tribes given the practice of raiding and the prestige involved in seizing the animals from other tribes, I'd be guessing that there would be a reasonable amount of variation in characteristics that people would have been breeding for.
Still, from what I can recall from reading Blunt's books, she noted that back in her day that some breeders were digging the dish head, mainly in Britain and Europe as far as I can remember; she seemed to be a bit critical of the practice. But it wasn’t so prominent in Nejd, and maybe Hejaz. But if it was becoming a thing even back in her day it is certainly something that has been thought to be a major breed characteristic for a very long time. But then it was a while ago that I read her books; my memory might be a bit hazy.
    07-11-2013, 01:12 PM
I have seen those white camels in Jordan while I was living in Israel . If you go to the Negev or Sinai you can still seen them using camels . Probably for smuggling. Shalom
    07-11-2013, 02:04 PM
Originally Posted by dbarabians    
I have seen those white camels in Jordan while I was living in Israel . If you go to the Negev or Sinai you can still seen them using camels . Probably for smuggling. Shalom
Well, I don't know if that was as funny to everyone else as it was to me, but I just lost some of my coffee on my laptop reading that!
Remali likes this.
    07-11-2013, 03:45 PM
Glad that you got a kick out of that wsarabians.
I strive to be funny as often as possible. With varying degrees of success however. LOL
. The Bedouin have been smuggling, kidnapping, and raiding for centuries. Lots of terrorist use those ancient trade routes to cross the desert and enter other countries. Weapons also and no matter who is in power in whatever capital the Bedouin are still free and independent.
They keep the Palestinian majority in Jordan at rest so the King of Jordan remains on his throne. They ousted the PLO from Jordan in the 80's and exiled Arafat when he tried to rest control of the country from King Hussien. Shalom
    07-11-2013, 04:11 PM
Super Moderator
I think the extreme head came out of a desire for an art form rather than a functional horse, certainly that shape seems to have become more evident in recent years regardless of the strain
Here are 2 pics of Al Farouk the arab I had in the mid 80's for a few years, he was a grandson of Grojec (pic of him attached too) and looked a lot like him. Grojec was brought to the US to introduce more body into the lighter weight Arabians.
Even Skowronek who appears in so many pedigrees didn't have the extreme dished face we see now in the polish strain
I think I'm more concerned about the lack of substance in some of the modern Arabians than I am about the head - but there does seem to be a drive to address this and get back to something that can be a really wonderful useful riding horse - which is what they were originally meant to be - and away from being pasture ornaments or halter horses
I've seen some fantastic Arabians belonging to HF members so someone must be getting it right again!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2010-06-02-0957-50_edited - Copy.jpg (90.7 KB, 118 views)
File Type: jpg Tramp 2 - Copy.jpg (88.2 KB, 114 views)
File Type: jpg CaptureGrojec.JPG (68.6 KB, 112 views)
File Type: jpg Captureskowronek.JPG (55.6 KB, 116 views)
    07-11-2013, 04:37 PM
That is what an arabian horse should look like IMO. It is also the direction I have taken and intend to stay on in my breeding program.
I have two mares with very prominent dishes. Both are very athletic and correct.
The arabian horse should be able to go 25 or more miles with very little conditioning and be able to cross well with most breeds as they have always done.
This is why the breed is so valuable both historically and for the future.
If we as arabian breeders and owners neglect the soundness and versatility the breed is known for we are IMO committing a crime against the breed. Shalom
goneriding and kctop72 like this.
    07-11-2013, 11:39 PM
Jaydee, your horse was freaking gorgeous, and Gorjec (as well as Skowronek - there's a reason he is one of my favourite sire lines) is an perfect example of what an Arabian should be.

Here's a few of my favourite old foundation sires that I think should be brought back:

Lewisfield Magic (my jr. Stallion is a g-grandson of his):



Magic Domino:


Tripoli is attached.
Back when legs and hips and backs were not compromised for a pretty head. In MY opinion.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tripoli.jpg (22.9 KB, 111 views)

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