The Arabian is known as the most beautiful of horses, and has been celebrated as such in centuries of literature and art. Nobility of spirit is another hallmark of the breed. Even the word for “horse” in Arabic means to “walk with pride” indicating a noble bearing has always been an important characteristic of these desert horses.
Certainly the beauty and pride of the Arabian has attracted the eye of generations of horsemen throughout history, and has been an important element in contributing to the longevity of the breed.
The original purpose of the Arabian was as a desert warhorse. While camels provided meat, milk, leather, and transport for the desert peoples, horses were much faster and more maneuverable. This made them ideal for the type of surprise raids that were the hallmark of Bedouin warfare. Over time these horses adapted to their desert environment, resulting in qualities that make them unique among all equine breeds. Since pasture was scarce, Arabian horses had to be exceptionally hardy, learning to survive on such non-typical feeds as dates and camel’s milk. Even today, Arabian horses are quite healthy and require less feed than horses of a similar size.