ARAB HORSES. From the fact of the im portation of Arabian horses into England, many years ago, for the purpose of improviug the blood of the English horse, many persons suppose the Arab to be the type of all that is excellent in that noble animal—the horse. Others again suppose , that Arabia is the native country of the horse. This again is a fallacy. The horse of Arabia is a rather small, compact horse, possessed of great bottom, that is capable of going long journeys, and of continuing many hours in action at a moder ate rate of speed. He is docile, spirited, sagacious, attached to his master, a strong constitutioned, active, intelligent animal, capable of enduring considerable hardship, and of continuing a jour ney, without food or water, to a far greater extent than the more artificially reared horses of enlight ened nations. Our Morgan horses come nearer the Arab in these respects than any other of our better bred horses. Yet in every trial with the modern-bred racer, even on the Arab's own des erts, the English blood horse has left him behind. He can neither carry the weight, nor, to use a racing term, "stay the pace." There is no evi dence that there were horses in Arabia 900 years before the time of Christ ; for then, while Solomon brought silver and gold and spices from Arabia, he brought his horses from Egypt; in fact, in the fourth century after Christ, 200 Cappadoeian horses were sent by- the then Roman Emperor, to one of the most powerful of the Arabian princes, as being the most acceptable present he could offer. So late as the seventh century after Christ, there were but few horses in Arabia, for when Mahomet attacked the Koreish near Mecca, he had but two horses in his army, and although vast numbers of camels and sheep were carried away and immense plunder in silver, not a single horse is mentioned as a part of the spoils; in fact, the most credible testimony would seem to show that the horse was gradually introduced into Arabia at a compara tively late period from Egypt, from whenee, also, the adjoining Asiatic countries, derived their horses, and that from the same stock has also sprung the stock of horses in the whole south eastern portion of Europe. What the Arabians have excelled in is in keeping their race of horses pure, by the most careful breeding, and attention to keeping the blood pure and without stain of intermixture ; hence, when crossed upon other stock, the pre-potency of the blood has always shown itself. This has been especially shown in the English race-horse, and yet to-day so intel ligently has this sub-family of horses been bred in England and America, that a further admixture of Arabian blood would prove disastrous to the stock. In England, an allowance of one stone (fourteen pound) is made in favor of the Arabians, in racing for the Goodwood cup, and yet none have ever won it. In India, a differenee of from fourteen to twenty-one pounds is made in the carrying weights in favor of Arabian horses over English blood horses. Captain Shakspear, in his work on Wild Sports in India, gives a minute descrip tion of the Arab horse as it is found in India, as follows: The points of the highest caste Arab horse, as compared with the English thorough bred, are as follows: the head is more beautifully formed, and more intelligent ; the forehead broad er; the muzzle finer; the eye more prominent. more sleepy-looking in repose, more brill i ant when the animal is excited. The ear is more beautifully pricked, and of exquisite shape and sensitiveness. On the back of the trained hunter, the rider searce ly requires to keep his eye on anything but the ears of his horse, which give indications of every thing that his ever-watchful eye catches sight of. The nostril is not always so open in a state of rest, and indeed often looks thick and closed; hut in excitement, and when the lungs are in full play from the animal being at speed, it expands greatly, and the membrane shows scarlet and as if on fire. The game-cock throttle—that most exquisite for mation of the throat and jaws of the blood-horse —is not so commonly seen in the Arab as in the thorough-bred English race-horse, nor is the head quite so lean. The jaws, for the size of the head, are perhaps more apart, giving more room for the expansion of the windpipe. The point where the head is put on the neck is quite as delicate as in the English horse. This junction has much more to do with the mouth of the horse than most people arp aware of, and on it depends the pleasure or otherwise of the rider. The bones, from the eye down towards the lower part of the head, 'should not be too concave, or of a deer's form; for this in the Arab as in the English horse denotes a violent temper, though it is very beautiful to look at. Proceeding to the neck, we notice that the Arab stallion has rarely the crest that an English stallion has. He has a strong, light, and muscu lar neck, a little short, perhaps, compared to the oi her, and thick. In the pure breeds, the neck runs into the shoulders very gradually; and gen erally, if the horse has a pretty good crest, comes down rather perpendicularly into the shoulders; but often, if he is a little ewe-m cked, which is not uncommon with the Arab, it runs in too straight, and low down in the shoulders. The Arab, however, rarely carries his head, when he is being ridden, so high in proportion as the English. He is not so well topped, which I at tribute to the different way he is reared, and ta his not being broken in regularly, like the English horse, before he is put to work. His shoulders
are not so flat and thin, and he is thicker through in these parts generally for his size, than the Eng lish thorough-bred horse. His girth does not show so deep, that is, he does not look so deep over the heart ; but between the knees and behind the sad dle, where the English horse vvry often falls off, the Arab is barrel-ribbed; and this gives him his wonderful endurance and his great constitutional points. This also prevents him from getting used up in severe training or under short allow ance of food. and in long marches. His chest is quite broad enough and deep enough for either strength or bot•om. The scapula, or shoulder blade, is both in length and backward inclination, compared to the humerus, or upper bone of the arm, quite as fine in the high-caste Arab ats in the English horse; while both bones are better fur nished with muscles, better developed, and feel firmer to the hand. But some of the very fastest Arabs have their fore legs very much under them ; indeed, so much that no judge would buy an English horse so made. Yet, whether it he that this form admits of the joints between these bones becoming more opened, when the horse extends himself, or whatever b,e the cause, it is a fact that blood-horses thus made are almost always fast horses. The upper part of their shoulder-blade seems to run back under the front part of the saddle, when they are going their best. This formation is most common in the lower-sized Arab, and apparently makes up to him for his deficiency in height. The very finest-aetioned Arabs have had this peculiarity of form. They are rather apt to become chafed at the elbow-points by the girths, and almost require to have saddles made on purpose for them. The elbow-point, that essential bone, which for sake of leverage should be prominent, is fine in the Arab, and generally plays clear of the body. The fore-arrn is strong and muscular, and is pretty long; the knee square, with a good speedy cut for the size of the animal, equal to the English horse; while below the knee the Arab shines very conspicuously, having a degree of power there, both in tbe suspensory ligaments and flexor tendons, far superior, in proportion to his size, to the English horse. These are dis tinct and away from the shank-bone; they give a very deep leg, and act mechanically to great advantage. The bone looks small, but then it is very dense, the hollow which contains the mar row being very small, and the material solid, more like ivory than bone, heavy, and close grainat The flexor tendons are nearly as large and as thick as the canon bone. The pasterns and their joints are quite in keeping with the bones above them, and are not so long, straight, and weak as those of the English horse. The feet are generally in the same proportion; but the Arabs themselves appear to be very careless in their treatment of them. The body or centre piece of. the Arab horse has rarely too great length. This is a very uncommon fault in the pure breed; and there is no breed of horses that are more even in this respect than the Arab. Behind this, -we come to• a great peculiarity in the breed—his croup. I might say an Arab horse is known by it; he is so much more beau tifully made in his hiud quarters, and in the way his tail is put on, than most other breeds. His loins are good; he is well coupled; his quarters are powerful, and his tail carried high; and this even in castes that have very little more than a high-bred stallion to recommend. them. The straight-dropped hind leg is always a recommend ation, and ahnost all racing Arabs have it; and this, when extended, brings the hind foot under the stirrup, and the propellers being of this shape give a vast stride without fear of overreach. The thighs and hocks are good; the latter very rarely know either kind of spavin or curbs. The points and processes are prei4minently well adapted for the. attachment of the mus cles, while the flexor tendons of the hind legs generally corre spond with those of the fore.
The hocks are not so much let down, nor the hind legs so grey hound-like, as in the thorough bred English horse. In stride, too, he is somewhat different, inasmuch as it is a rounder way of going, and is not so extended or so near the, ground, but is more like a bound. However, there are exceptions; and I have bred pure Arabs whose stride, for their size, was very extended, and quite like that of English race-horses. Ali Bey, .an acute and apparently disinterested Ori ental Writer, describes six dis tinct breeds of Arabs. The first " Dgelfe,'' found in Arabia Felix.
They are lofty in stature,. with long ears, narrow in. the chest, but deep in the girth ; swift, high-strung animals, and yet docile in temper, and capable of supporting hunger and thirst for a long time., The second breed, named " Seclaoni," is reared in the eastern part of the desert and resembles the "Dgelfe," but is not con sidered valuable. The third breed, " Mefki," is handsome, resembling the Andalusian horse in figure, but not remarkable for speed. The fourth, called " Sabi," resembles the ." Mefki." The fifth, named " Fridi," are quite common, but apt to be vicious. The sixth breed, named `!Nejdi," is from the neighborhood of Bussora; and considered equal to the first-named breed, the "Dgelfe," and either the first or last named will sell at two years old for about 2000 Turkish piasters 4160).