It's unlikely that there will ever be an end to the debate as to whether the Arab or the Thoroughbred is the more beautiful or more talented. It's hardly surprising then that an attempt would be made to have the best of both and the result is the Anglo-Arab.
In spite of their name, the Anglo-Arab traces its history back to France. Around the early-/mid-18th Century, the French began experimenting with crossing Thoroughbreds imported from the UK with Arabs left behind by invading Muslims. These developments were interrupted by the Grand Revolution of 1789 to 1799, which brought a halt, amongst other things, to the importing of Thoroughbred stallions and to aristocratic studs in France. Fortunately for the breed, the arrival of Napoleon in the early19th Century saw the breed's fortunes revived as he had a liking for them and “acquired” many fine Arabs as a result of his campaigns, which were then crossed with Thoroughbreds already in France. In 1833 a French studbook was opened by order of Louis Phillipe and this breeding strategy became formalized. It was noticed that the best results were obtained by breeding Thoroughbred mares to Arab stallions and three of the founding horses of the breed were the Thoroughbred mares Selim mare and Deer who were breed with the Arab stallion Massoud. Over the following years Anglo-Arabs continued to be bred by crossing Arabs and Thoroughbreds and also by crossing Anglo-Arabs with other Anglo-Arabs or with Arabs and Thoroughbreds. By 1880 this practice was formally acknowledged and today to be considered an Anglo-Arab a horse must have a minimum of 25% Arab blood and a maximum of 75% with the rest being Thoroughbred. How this is achieved is left to the discretion of individual breeders.
Rather ironically the Anglo-Arab was initially created in an attempted to breed a top-class cavalry horse; however by the time the breed was established, cavalry warfare was all but obsolete. Fortunately the rise of equestrian sports and the all-round excellence of the breed in competitions meant that it soon found a place for itself as a competition horse and it continues to excel in this area today.
Unsurprisingly Anglo-Arabs can look mainly like Thoroughbreds, mainly like Arabs or like a cross between the two. Generally speaking, Anglo-Arabs stand a bit taller than purebred Arabs, but a bit smaller than purebred Thoroughbreds – between 15.2 and 16.3 would be around average. They can be any whole colour. Their faces tend to be Arab in nature and many have the convex or dished face typical of the Arab breed; however overly-dished faces are discouraged. In terms of body, there are already numerous similarities between Arabs and Thoroughbreds due to the latter being descended from the former. Anglo-Arabs therefore tend to have physiques which could belong to either breed, but are sized somewhere between the two. On the plus side, they tend to have much denser bones and sturdier hooves than Thoroughbreds. This means that although their legs are slender, they are much stronger than those of the typical Thoroughbred.
The addition of Arab blood tends to reduce or eliminate the Prima Donna attitude shown by many Thoroughbreds. For centuries Arabs have been bred for temperament as well as performance and as such tend to be friendly and sensible as well as highly-intelligent. Thoroughbreds on the other hand were bred essentially for racing performance and temperament was therefore a minor consideration. Having said that, these are still, essentially performance horses and are therefore probably best suited to experienced riders who will benefit from their athletic abilities. The less experienced may find them a bit too hot and sensitive and those who just want a pleasure animal will find plenty of hardier and more easy-going options.
Anglo Arab X Health
Anglo-Arabs tend to be free of many of the health issues which plague Thoroughbreds. In particular their stronger bones and hooves help to stop them going lame with the same sort of frequency as Thoroughbreds. Unfortunately Arabs are known to be susceptible to a number of genetic health problems, some of which can prove fatal. These include Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID); Lavender Foal Syndrome (LFS), also called Coat Color Dilution Lethal (CCDL); Cerebellar abiotrophy (CA or CCA); Occipital Atlanto-Axial Malformation (OAAM); Equine juvenile epilepsy, or Juvenile Idiopathic Epilepsy and Guttural Pouch Tympany (GPT). Most of these can now be detected with DNA tests. They all tend to be detected long before a horse reaches adulthood. Buyers of younger horses (under 5) should make a point of checking for these (ideally a horse's parents will have been tested clear before breeding). Buying of adults generally need only be concerned if they are thinking about breeding from their animal.
Caring for a Anglo Arab X
Anglo-Arabs are extremely high-maintenance horses. Stabling is a must for most of the year. Leaving aside the weather, these horses are desirable targets for thieves. Horse passports are a deterrent but many documents can be forged. They will also need feeding and owners should be prepared to give them a lot of food even if they are not being worked. This is a combination of the fact that they are thin-skinned animals who need a lot of food as fuel to keep warm and the fact that they are equine athletes with high metabolisms. They also tend to like a lot of attention. This means that exercising them simply by turning them out is simply not an option, except for the very oldest of horses. They will need ample turn-out time, even in winter, which means they will need to be well rugged-up and they will also need regular exercise under saddle. Ideally this will be at least daily if not twice daily. On the plus side, their fine, silky coats mean that the regular grooming they require is never going to require the same sort of effort as it can for the hardy native breeds. They also tend to be fairly easy to handle around the stable and yard.
Click 'Like' if you love Anglo Arab Xs.