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Less reactive Arab lines?

2337 Views 47 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Remali
This is really just for my own curiosity and for the sake of discussion. Of course, every horse is an individual regardless of breed, but does anyone know of performance Arabian lines that are known to produce brave, relatively calm (in the context of Arabs) animals?

My half Arab mare is terrified of the most random and annoying things. Things like semis and motorcycles are perfectly fine, but certain objects that she sees on a daily basis don't get any less scary. Barrels are terrifying. Signs are terrifying. Mailboxes are terrifying. Milkweed plants are terrifying. Painted lines on the road are terrifying. And we encounter most of these on every single ride in the exact same spots they've been in for as long as she's been here. If she spooks at something once, I know she's going to spook at it every single time.

She is perfectly tolerating of desensitization training. I've spent hours throwing hula hoops onto her neck and bouncing exercise balls off of her back and things of the like. She doesn't care one bit. She doesn't care about most things that move and make noise, and wild animals don't phase her one bit. But she hasn't ever gotten any less spooky about the stationary items she has constant exposure to and have obviously never tried to eat her. I can tolerate all her other quirks, but I am beyond frustrated when she throws herself into a ditch because she almost stepped on a painted line and noticed at the last second.

Anyway - the reactivity is a big part of what turns me off from getting another horse with Arab blood in the future. I know brave Arabs exist, but I'm wondering if there are lines that are known for it or if some individuals are just a lot better than others.

@Dreamcatcher Arabians and @phantomhorse13, I know you two have lots of Arab history.
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Hi there, (this got long so fair warning) now this is just my personal experience (I grew up with Arabs and have 4 now) and I am no expert, but here's what I've found working with quite a few:

CMK (Crabbet, Maynesboro, Kellogg) and Selby lines are versatile, and one of my very best horses ever was highly Selby bred (they owned Raffles for a while). We trained her to ride and drive as an 8 year old, untouched pasture horse and she never once gave me a hard time. As a 15 year old kid I took her trail riding through a neighborhood with cars, trucks and flags.... it was her 3rd ride ever, and she acted like it was old hat. She could go saddleseat, western, jump and drive. Fantastic mare.

I knew quite a few Crabbet bred horses that were safe for beginner children even when the horses themselves were at a fairly young age.

I recently had a straight Egyptian mare somewhat linebred to Halima that was the most gentle soul ever, unfortunately I lost her minutes after she delivered her last foal.

She was one of the least reactive horses I have ever met, she would relax anywhere and just loved attention from anyone. I have her 2 daughters, one with domestic lines on top and a straight Egyptian filly. They both have great personalities but the straight Egyptian filly at just a few months old is able to be led with just a neck rope, calmly checks out new things and basically functions as my shadow. She's been hand raised unfortunately because of the tragic loss of her mother but even so, she's developed none of the issues I would expect from a bottle baby. She is very gentle, not at all pushy, and is extremely non reactive. I have, however met very hot Egyptian Arabs so this could just be her particular lines.

Halter lines are often quite hot, but some do make really good performance horses. Others... not so much.

My favorite riding horse is what I would consider reactive/hot breeding, with Padrons Psyche and a ton of linebreeding to *Bask, but while very reactive she is very good at watching her feet and luckily if handled calmly she is able to contain herself. She's amazingly responsive to aids, but if she gets overfaced she rears a slight bit, which is usually my fault so I don't blame her. She does react to Every. Little. Thing. On a ride, stall, wherever but her reactions are usually really small. That said, when my 70 year old mother leads her, the mare takes tiny, mincing little steps and waits patiently if mom drops behind a little.

I've had both ends of the spectrum with Polish lines, but I really like them.

Again, I am no expert and this is just based on personal experience. I'm sure there's others who can comment on lines I have no experience with, and of course each horse is an individual. There are for sure plenty of non reactive Arabs out there.

Edit: I cannot believe I forgot Khemosabi, I had the great fortune of meeting him when I was a kid, and he just exhuded calm confidence. He was stunning too. I met a stallion recently that was Khemo/Ferzon bred and he was so quiet, calm and relaxed even at a big show. I like the addition of a little Khemosabi to the hotter lines, though his lines seem to carry a lot of white markings which really just goes down to preference but I like less white on my horses.
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Ugh, the barrels. There are barrels in both arenas here and April has yet to get over them. She spends the whole ride actively avoiding getting within 15 feet of them. One time we came around a corner at a slightly different angle than we did in the previous lap and when she saw one of the barrels in a slightly different light, she teleported ten feet sideways without any warning and with a single leap. You could see four hoof-shaped chunks taken out of the grass where she pushed off the ground and four hoof-shaped chunks taken out where she landed.
My reactive mare is the same with barrels, she always snorts, she's gotten better but is never chill about it.

My pet theory is that with a steady horse, you show them a barrel, they check it out and decide its a plastic tube that's not a threat to them, but the reactive one sees the barrel, sees that they're hollow inside, and decides to always be cautious of all future barrels... as barrels, being hollow, could always harbor something dangerous inside.

Maybe I just tell myself that though to make sense of her aversion to them :)
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April has recently taken to trying to go sideways over the trail bridges that don't have railings. Thankfully she is respectful when I tell her we are ABSOLUTELY NOT doing that, but I know she wouldn't hesitate to sidestep straight off the edge of a bridge if I didn't stop her.

I'm honestly glad to know I'm not the only one who's had this experience with a horse of this lineage. It normalizes a lot of the experiences I've had with her. What a doofus.
Your mare's pedigree has a pretty good amount of Morafic... the one Morafic son I knew was absolutely empty upstairs and a lot like you describe. Not a mean horse, but he wasn't sharp like all the others in the barn. He would smash himself into things all the time, thankfully he was a gelding. The trainers were never able to accomplish even halter training with him. He was really, really pretty though!

For Egyptian lines I chose to linebreed to Halima, which means "the gentle one" in Arabic. There's 3 crosses to Morafic in my fillies pedigree but they're 4-5 generations back, so the influence isn't super heavy.

The mare (aforementioned fillies mother) I lost was so quiet, when I picked her up she had just weaned a foal and I took her on a 9 hour solo trailer trip home. The barn I boarded them at the time was all western pleasure bred stock horses. When I unloaded her, she looked around, gave a big sigh, cocked a hind foot and started grazing. The stock horse folk ("Arabs are crazy" type of people) were all like.... "why is she so calm?!?!"

She was pretty much unflappable. She would however, occasionally go into show-off mode, and you had to let her prance and snort for a bit as there was no way to bring her out of it when she got there, but i didnt want to stop her anyway as it was so beautiful when she did it. She never did it out of fear though- she was just showing off.
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