Endurance Arabian Genetics & Type
I am wondering what makes a good Arabian endurance horse when it comes to genetics and "type" (Egyptian, Polish, Crabbet, French, etc) I bought a 4 year old Arabian gelding last fall who came from a "Showing" environment where he was not taught respect or good people interaction. On top of that he had been bred before he was 3 years old and then gelded at the age of 4. I have been diligently working with him over the past 11 months because I have high hopes of during endurance with him, however I am starting to wonder about my success. Many people are telling me my chances are low because of his breeding. I suppose it's because he is "show-bred", is only 14.3, and is pretty "hot" at times. I don't know a ton about bloodlines so that's really what I need help understanding. Now, I'm not the type of person to give up just because someone tells me I can't do it, however I am also trying to be realistic. He has come a long way and has just started to be introduced to the trails. Super spooky but does it. I only worry that his place will be what he was bred for: the show ring. So what are you thoughts? I love this horse and he is super athletic, but I hate to put all the work into him if he is set up to never be able to "mentally" handle it. I attached his pedigree below and also attached a video of his movement free-jumping and a short clip of riding in the indoor this winter. Please be honest, everyone has an opinion. Personally, I think we can do it. However I like hearing what other have to say and advise. Thank you!
Magnific Af Arabian
most endurance Arabians I see are that size. Seems the shorter horses are preferred for mountain trails. 14.3 really isnt even that short. Seems many of the endurance Arabians I see are also half crazy. I am kinda surprised people actually get on them. No way of knowing how he's gonna be till you get some miles on him. Get him in shape, see if he is sane enough to stay on at the start. Gonna take awhile.
He is very pretty and looks like a sweet horse! I don't know about certain breeds for endurance, like you asked, but if the horse likes to do the work, that is what is most important to me!
A horse may have breeding that makes them more suited physically for certain work, but it is the mental addtitude that means the most to me.
So if you both like riding the trails, going places, and challenging yourselves, he is the right horse for endurance. Do not let anyone discourage you from doing what you enjoy, ok?
As long as he is decently conformed and has a brain you can deal with, there is no reason you shouldn't keep working him to see how he develops, regardless of his type. Being spooky does not mean he can't do endurance, it just means you need to have a super-sticky seat!
While some of the "show-bred" horses might worry me due to their extremely fine bone, your horse does not seem to be of the twig-legged variety. In fact, I think I like how he is built (though its hard to tell for sure without still pictures of him side-on).
Not sure what is "only" about being 14.3--arabs are not meant to be on stilts.
Continue on with what you are doing and let him tell you if he wants to be an endurance/trail horse. If he doesn't, you will know it soon enough!
It is a little hard to see his conformation and/or action in the video accurately simply because of the distance and the limited quality on many of the shots. From what I CAN see, he looks like a good mover and I'm not seeing any glaring faults that would automatically scream NO ENDURANCE! lol Arabians are traditionally smaller horses, but in todays equine market buyers are demanding taller Arabs, which is a disservice to the breed. Arabs aren't supposed to be big, that is part of the alure (sp) of the breed. The plus to a larger Arab is that you should have a longer stride which can be beneficial in an endurance event. Notice I said "should" and "can". Small Arabs can do just as well if the rider knows how to help the horse use its assets to the best advantage.
The other thing most people don't stop to consider is that when a horse is running around at play, you are not seeing accurate movement that would be expected of a horse under saddle in a show or endurance environment. Additionally, a horse alone in his own environment may behave vastly different from the way he will behave in a show or endurance enviromnent - then again he may not. It depends on the horse.
I don't see anything in his breeding to suggest that he won't make a good endurance horse - on the contrary. Many of the lines he has in his pedigree are common lines I've seen in a lot of good endurance horses. One thing to keep in mind about endurance is that a horse cut out to do a 50 mile ride may not be cut out to do a 100 mile ride and the reverse is also true. The 25 and 30 mile LD and CTR rides are also vastly different from the 50, 75 and 100 mile rides. This is not just because of the distance. Because of the metabolics involved in a shorter ride, it can be much more difficult for a horse to complete a shorter ride.
How long has he been under saddle? Most endurance horses aren't even started under saddle until at least 3-4 years old - preferably 4. He has to have a good foundation of groundwork as well as being proficient in walk, trot, canter transitions. Accurate transitions are what will keep you alive during your endurance event. Like training for any discipline, you want to make progress, but don't overwhelm him. Endurance is a demanding, yet rewarding sport. You will have to have the dedication to train for it daily, and not just a few laps around the arena. You have to get out on the trails and on different footing. A minimum riding session should be at least an hour.
Nutrition is also a consideration. An endurance horse is going to need to have a higher protein and fat content to help their muscles recover quickly and a bit of fat makes a good energy reserve. Naturally, you need some carbs in there too, but the complex carbs are going to provide a better source of available energy than the simple carbs because the complex carbs don't burn as fast as the simple.
It also may be necessary to put shoes on his front feet, or easy boots. Even if he has the best hooves in the world, you want to protect his soles from the hazards on the trail that will likely bruise his unprotected sole.
There are some great resources for you to check out: SEDRA - www.distanceriding.org ; AERC – www.aerc.org ; and of course FEI - Welcome To FEI Fédération Equestre Internationale
I hope I have answered some of your questions without overwhelming you. I'd be happy to help out more if you want to PM me.
Best of luck to you and your horse!
PS - I forgot to mention, my Rocky Mtn gelding is only 14.3 too, IMO that is a very good size for a horse.
Your horse might actually be a little taller than the average endurance horse, most of those folks who come looking at mine want not more than 14.2 and I don't ever have anything under 15.
Your horses pedigree has some very nice horses in it and especially with Khemo in there, I don't see any reason why he couldn't do endurance, Khemo horses tend to be very good at work type disciplines. You do have 2 that are pretty hot in there, Bey Shah and Ali Jamaal, but they are not soooo hot that the horse shouldn't be unridable.
What I see in the video is a young horse, enjoying himself, playing with his people during the liberty portion. Under saddle, he's looking happy and ready to go. In order to do 50 miler endurance rides routinely, he NEEDS to be pretty hot, it's where he's gonna get the GO from. If you take him on trail, I'd wouldn't even bother with less that a good 8-10 miler to start. Ride him out walk/trot on that for about 2 weeks of daily rides then start putting on the miles, and adding steeper terrain. Give his brain something to think about and he'll get a lot less spooky.
Mostly what I see is a young horse, with a lot of play in him, learning to go well under saddle. He's very young and he's got lots to learn, but there's nothing I see in him that would make me think he couldn't do the distance.
I'd pretty much tell anyone who had anything derogatory to say, to STFU and ride off and leave 'em in my dust and SHOW them he's just fine.
My horse is bred to be a halter horse. She is straight Egyptian. She is big boned and not dainty though.
My experience has been this. It has taken a lot of work to get her so that she can tolerate new environments without going psycho. The up side is that she has so much drive. We have been working on creek crossings. I have had horses in the past that would have been content to stand and stare at a creek forever rather than cross it. Not my girl! She has so much energy that she just can't stand to not do something. Today for the first time, she crossed the scariest creek in the world (to her) without a hitch. She has learned to tolerate deer and snakes and turkeys and humans on 4 wheelers and logging trucks and tractors. It has taken time. And I did take a nice little spill earlier this year. I bought some full seat riding breeches so that I have a little more stick. I would ride him. If he can't compete for some reason, at least he will get enough riding hours in that he should be worth some money as a trail horse. He looks to me like he has enough energy to go forever.
If he is anything like my horse, I would advise this. Teach him to walk on trails to start with. He can run for sure. That is easy. Training him to go slow is harder. I'm not saying don't trot and run at all, just don't let him get wilder and wilder by letting him stay wide open all the time. Do some slow trail work and do some arena work to polish your gaits. I bet you will have a great horse, but any great horse is not polished over night.
Another thing, why not ride a horse that is pretty enough to show? Life is to short to ride an ugly horse. Go for it.
i agree with all of the above. as long as the horse isn't super fine boned, and you can handle the temperament, go for it!
Oh, one thing I forgot to add about feeding. If you are feeding alfalfa, get him off of it. Alfalfa can make some Arabs really hot. Mine act like idiots when they eat alfalfa. Peanut hay is a way better choice. It has good protein content and it won't make him hot like alfalfa does.
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