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Arabian Horses: Are They Fast, Expensive, or Gaited?

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I recently toured an Arabian cutting horse training facility with my grandson. After we left, he had many questions: are they fast, gaited, or expensive? I didn’t have all the answers, so I researched Arabian horses, and this is what I learned:

Arabian horses are fast; they can run upwards of forty miles per hour, quicker than most other horse breeds. They are expensive, but not the most costly of all horses. And finally, Arabians are not naturally gaited, even though some bloodlines of Arabians are gaited.  

Arabian horses are cherished for their speed and good looks. But there is a lot more to this special breed beyond good looks and quickness.

Picture of an Arabian horse,

Are Arabian horses fast?

Arabian horses are considered the third-fastest horse breed in the world. That’s pretty amazing when you think that there are anywhere from 150 to 217 distinct horse breeds.

The horse breeds faster than Arabians are Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds; researchers in a 2006 study confirmed this.

Picture of an Arabian horse,

What horse breed is the fastest?

The researchers looked at videos of the three breeds’ races and calculated acceleration and speed at different intervals and distances. They concluded that Quarter horses are the fastest horse breed. Thoroughbreds were slightly slower, and Arabians were substantially slower than both.

Quarter horses averaged faster speeds and accelerated throughout their races. Thoroughbreds were fastest in the middle of their races and slowed in the final stretches of their races.

Arabian horses are known for their endurance; however, they tended to slow as Thoroughbreds do in races. But in long endurance races that last 100 miles or more, Arabians excel.

Arabian horses and endurance racing

Endurance racing is popular worldwide and is a recognized equestrian sport of the FEI. At an endurance race, you’ll see many different horse breeds, but Arabians dominate the sport.

Arabian horses have been selectively bred for thousands of years in the Middle East’s harsh desert regions. Breeders developed them with great endurance to cover the vast areas with limited forage.

Arabian horses not only sustained but thrived in the desert. Horse owners took pride in their animals and frequently raced them to determine the best bloodlines.

Because of the extensive distance between tribes, it was essential to have horses that could travel long spans fasts. Thus the races were often more than one hundred miles.

Similar races are still run today and are known as endurance races or endurance rides. These contests test both rider and horse and may take multiple days to complete.

Picture of horse racing on a track,

How long can Arabian horses run?

Arabian horses can maintain a running pace longer than any other horse breed, two and one-half miles. Most other racing breeds, such as Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses, can’t last past two miles.

Arabians typically have a slight build and are shorter than Thoroughbreds, which gives them an advantage over the larger breed. Both breeds are fast in long races, but Arabians can sustain a running pace longer.

Arabian horse racing.

Arabians run standard races as well as endurance races. Their races are restricted to their breed and are not as populous as Thoroughbred or Quarter horse races.

We don’t have sanctioned Arabian horse racing in Louisiana; however, there are many locations in California and a few others with sanctioned Arabian horse races. You can click on this link for a list of tracks around the country that host Arabian horse racing.

Are Arabian horses expensive?

Arabian horses are expensive horses; their average price is about 5,000 dollars. However, a horse’s price is determined by its pedigree, age, training, and ability. Not all horses of the same breed cost the same.

The Arabians we saw at the cutting horse facility were extremely expensive. Some were offered for sale well over 50,000 dollars. Of course, these horses were finished and ready for competition.

I also knew a person that rode Arabians in polo competitions. He paid dearly for a finished Arabian polo pony. In competitive equine eventing, a well-trained horse is worth a lot, and people spend big money for a winner.

With the above in mind, there are also some Arabians for sale at reasonable prices. Click here to visit the website. The link will bring to the section selling Arabians, where you can find horses for sale at all price levels and various training and breeding.

In the 1980s, purebred Arabian prices skyrocketed, and many people thought of them as an investment to get rich quickly. During this time, the market multiplied but the growth didn’t last.

Picture of an Arabian horse,

You can read a good story about the Arabian horse market’s rise and fall by clicking on this link.

What is the most expensive Arabian horse?

Padron, a Dutch-born stallion, is the most expensive Arabian horse; he was syndicated in 1982 for eleven million dollars. He was a real-world champion, claiming titles in Europe and North America. His command of the arena, exceptional movement, and striking good looks made him legendary.

After arriving in the United States in 1978, he won the Canadian National Championship in halter in 1981 and the U.S. National Champion Stallion title in 1982.

Padron had a successful stud career, siring over 50 winners of national competitions.

The most expensive Arabian mare.

Pepita, a 10-year-old mare, sold at auction for 1.6 million dollars. This mare was the National Champion Senior Mare in Poland and had superior breed conformation.

Her ability to pass champion qualities to offspring is one reason for Pepita’s high selling price. One of her daughters has already made the cover of magazines displaying the superior characteristics she inherited from her mother.

I’m sure Pepita’s new owners expect a bright future for her as both a broodmare and a competitor.

The most expensive horse breed in the world.

Thoroughbred racehorses are the most expensive horses in the world. Although Arabian horses are expensive, they don’t come close to the prices that elite Thoroughbreds sell. For example, 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus sold for $70 million.

At the 2020 Keeneland Yearlings Sales, the average price for the yearlings sold was $101,643, and the sale topper was a colt by Tappit, it brought 2 million alone—fifteen horses not yet two years old, sold for over 1 million dollars apiece.

The Keeneland Yearling sale is the premier auction for racing prospects in the World.

Are Arabian horses gaited?

Arabian horses are not a gaited breed, even though some might be gaited. Horses are individuals, and there are ones that display traits not typical of their breed. You can click on this link to read about a couple of Arabians that are gaited.

Gaited horse breeds naturally travel in specific footfall patterns where one of their feet is always on the ground. This style of moving creates a smooth ride because there is little fall between the animal’s steps.

Gaited horses also use less energy when traveling, allowing them to travel longer and further than traditional non-gaited horses. There are many types of gaits, such as flat walk, running walk, and four-beat.

Popular gaited horse breeds include the Tenessee Walking horse, Paso Fino, Spotted Saddle horse, Missouri Fox Trotter, and the Icelandic Pony. These breeds are all naturally gaited, the Arabian is not, but there is a bloodline of gaited Arabians.


Arabian horses are fast, but not the quickest horse breed. They are also an expensive breed, but not the most costly, and they are not naturally gaited, but some within the breed are gaited. I hope this provides the answers you need.

For more extensive information on each topic, click the links I provided. In those articles, you will find more is in-depth information about Arabian horses.

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