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Arabian Horses: What Are They Used For?

Last updated: April 22, 2022

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

I was surprised to learn that there is a horse facility near us specializing in Arabian cutting horses. I’m familiar with the sport but typically see quarter horses competing at these events, so finding out Arabians also compete in cutting made me wonder what other equine activities you can use this breed for?

The Arabian horse is a versatile breed used for many purposes. They were initially bred as war horses, but their usage expanded to include endurance racing, polo, dressage, western cutting, and trail riding. Breeders often cross them with different horses to improve breeds.

Arabians are a light horse breed with thin bones, but don’t let their delicate appearance fool you; they have incredible strength and stamina. Their athletic ability, intelligence, and fiery temperament make them useful for many equine activities.

Picture of a gray arabian horse.

What Arabian horses are used for.

Arabian horses are well known for endurance racing, trail riding, and ranch work, but they’re also popular worldwide as rescue and recovery support, police mounts, and rehabilitation therapy programs.

Arabian horses are used in Polo

Success in polo depends on the rider’s ability, but the most crucial aspect to success on the field is the horse they ride. The athletic ability and training of a polo pony can radically change the course of a game.

And one of the top breeds in polo is Arabians because of their endurance and quickness. I also like that they are lower to the ground than Thoroughbreds, the other popular polo pony used in the sport, which is a descendant of Arabians.

The term “polo pony” comes from historical size limits, although today’s polo horses come in all sizes, some as tall as 16 hands. Although each player’s preferred breed is determined by personal taste, horses require a unique set of abilities not found in any other horse sport.

When it comes to polo, riders are constantly changing horses. Some players will ride eight different horses during one match because of how much energy they need and the endurance required of their steeds, while an Arabian has been known for its ability to stay on the pitch longer than other breeds due in part to having greater endurance.

Arabian horses are used in Racing

The Arabian is the original racehorse that can trace its roots back to ancient times. Speed and endurance were coveted, and horses were selectively bred for these traits. A fast horse was prized and a symbol of status.

Even though Arabian horses are adaptable horses who may be employed in various equine sports activities, they are the undisputed champions of endurance racing.

In reality, the Arabian horse is the most popular breed competing in endurance racing contests. Marathons are a good analogy for endurance events. Some of the most challenging endurance events might last many days.

The Tevis Cup is a famous endurance race that lasts for the entire day and covers up to 100 miles. In the United States, endurance races generally last 50 to 100 miles. Frequent veterinary checkpoints are included throughout the races to assess if the animal is fit for duty. The horses who win are generally ones that have a good vet clearance history.

In the meanwhile, Arabian flat track racing began in North America back in 1959. The sport has grown significantly since its inception. Arabians compete at more than 700 all-Arabian races throughout America each year.

They typically compete at a similar distance to Thoroughbreds. Arabian racehorses may be seen at some of the best racetracks in the United States and Canada. Arab racing has gained popularity among bettors. Significant increases in cash prizes have also been seen as the prominence of Arabian racing grows.

The Arabian Jockey Club was founded in the United States to create interest and help it continue to prosper. Attendees at Arabian horse races may experience the thrills of the race and the sheer brilliance of this historic breed.

The Darley Awards, which were founded approximately a decade ago, recognize the best Arabian thoroughbreds. In this resurrected sport, this coveted prize honors outstanding purebred Arabian breeders, riders, and trainers.

The Arabian Cup Championships, which consists of six graded values races, is one of the most critical milestones on the Arabian racing schedule. This fantastic event, which takes place every fall, has put Arabian thoroughbreds on the map in the racing world. If you enjoy racing, I encourage you to check out your local racetrack’s Arabian horse races.

Arabian horses were used in warfare

Arabian horses are the original warhorses used to travel across desserts, attack unsuspecting enemies, and quickly retreat. In other parts of the world, they were employed for transporting troops and hauling war carriages.

Arabians are depicted serving in the military in numerous artworks from Ancient Times, the Romans, Antiquity, and Mesopotamian. In numerous conflicts, Muslim troops rode Arabian horses.

The majority of them were brought to the battleground by Arabian horsemen when they took control of the Italian Peninsula in 720 AD. In numerous battles, the Saudis fought for the Ottomans.

Arabian Horse are used to improve other breeds

The Arabian horse is one of the most celebrated breeds in history for its speed, refinement, and endurance. These qualities are responsible for improving many other breeds such as the Thoroughbred, Percheron, Appaloosa, and just about every warmblood and riding horse.

All registered Thoroughbreds trace back to three Arabian stallions, The Byerley Turk (1680s), Darley Arabian (1704) , and the Godolphin Arabian. These studs were crossed with native English mares to produce the very first Thoroughbred horses.

Similarly in France, they crossed their native stock with imported Arabian stallions to introduce more speed and endurance for warfare, riding, and farming. The result was the Percheron.

A lot can be said about what makes up a specific breed: its history tells us how it got that way; if we look closely enough at any horse’s genetics we will likely find traces of Arabian bloodlines.

Arabian horses used for transportation and carrying supplies

Nomad tribes used the earliest Arabain horses to traverse the deserts to seek water, shelter, and trade. As the breed’s popularity spread to other parts of the world, they made it possible for kings to expand their empires by traveling farther.

The strength and stamina of Arabian horses helped to introduce the concept of a global society, such as the Roman Empire. People could go further and faster with these horses. The horses made it possible for people to communicate faster and go farther. It was like a mail service that connected empires and linked societies.

Arabian horses are used in many equine activities

Arabians perform many equestrian activities well because they are smart and learn new skills quickly. They are excellent trail riding horses and compete in many equine events, both Western and English, like cutting, reining, jumping, and dressage.

Picture of an Arabian horse

Arabian horse characteristics

Arabian horses evolved in the Arabian Peninsula through selective breeding by Beduin tribes who used them as warhorses because they had endurance and speed, qualities needed to escape from danger during battles against other groups nearby.

The Arabian horse is intelligent, sensitive, and fiery. They are among the most intelligent breeds; this intelligence makes training easy, but they require guidance from an experienced equestrian. A mixed-signal will quickly frustrate these high-spirited animals who thrive on consistency.

Arabians are known for their unique sensitivity and the close relationships they develop with their owners. It is thought that these traits developed from the Beduin tribesman who treated their horses as one would a family member, bringing them in during bad weather and sharing food and water when needed most.

Historians speculate that Arabians likely developed their unique sensitivity from the Beduin tribesman who treated their horses as family members; one example of the close relationship is bringing them in their tents during bad weather,

The handsome features of an Arabian Horse are its most defining traits. It has a long arched neck, scooped face, and high-tailing carriage, giving the breed a regal air that oozes vitality and dignity.

Arabian horse temperament

Arabians are hot-blooded horses with lots of energy. They do not put up with poor treatment and will display stubbornness to their rider or owners in response. But this doesn’t mean they’re difficult to handle – often, the opposite is true: Arabs can be very gentle when treated well by someone who knows how to work with them.

Arabian horses have the perfect temperament for competitions; they are always ready to go and love to compete. And even though they are considered hot-blooded, they aren’t flighty, which is why they perform so well in equestrian sports like polo and racing.

Arabian horse height and weight

With a tiny head, big eyes, flaring nostrils, prominent withers, and a short back, the Arabian horse is petite compared to other horses.


Generally, Arabians are 14 to 15 hands tall. Their long slender legs and high head carriage make them seem taller than they actually are when viewed from a distance.


Most reference material lists the average weight of Arabians between 800 and 1,000 pounds. However, the Arabian horse is a lean animal with fine bones. In my experience, I’ve found most weigh around 800 pounds but can reach 900 pounds in the right conditions.

Arabians have one less veterbrae and tail bone compared to other horse breeds.

The Arabian horse is well known for its high tail set and short back. This could be because they have fewer thoracic vertebra (each vertebra is associated with a rib). The average horse has 18, and they have 17.

Colors of Arabian horses

The Arabian Horse Organization acknowledges bay, grey, brown, dark, and roan as coat colors. Whiteface decorations and stockings on the legs are other options for Arabians. Some lineages are noted for their distinct looks, like the Crabbet bloodline’s tall ankle socks and happy guys.

Because registries do not recognize dilution genes, purebred Arabians are never buckskin, beige, and palomino. Sabino is the only spotted characteristic presently carried in pure Arabian lines, and it is a sort of white design on the coat. Except for beneath white patches, the Arabian horse’s skin is dark. The horses’ black coloration shielded them from the scorching desert heat.

In summary

  • Acceptable colors: bay, grey, black, chestnut, and roan.
  • Non-Acceptable: Any dilution color such as buckskin, dun, cremello, or palomino
  • Spotted Color that is acceptable: Sabino

Below is a YouTube video with helpful information about Arabian horses.

YouTube video