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6 April 2022

Arabian Horses – between myth and reality

Legends and tales narrating the origins of the Arabian breed are surrounded by a halo of magic and blend with the history of these horses and the Bedouin desert tribes.

Allah said to the South Wind: “Become flesh and I will turn you into a new creature in honour of my sacred Name and the defeat of my enemies, so that you may be the servant for all those who submit to me.”

And the Wind replied: “Lord, may your will be done.”

Then Allah took a handful of the South Wind, breathed over it and created the horse, saying: “Your name will be Arabian, virtue will reside in the tuft on your forehead and you will carry on your rump the booty taken from your enemies”. 

One of the stories from the “Black Tents” tells of King Solomon, son of David, who was so enamoured of his mares that forgot the hour of prayer to his God while admiring them. To atone his mistake, he ordered them all to be killed. Five mares were saved from this massacre; one was pregnant and gave birth to a male, the progenitor of the breed. The names given to the five mares sought to describe their qualities as follows: KOHEILAN with beautiful black eyes like the girls who used “Kajal” to highlight their eyes; OBEYAN carrying her tail proud and high like the cloak of the “Abaya” Bedouins; DAHMAN with a very dark “Duhm” coat; SHUWAIMEH with a freckled “Shama” birthmark, the so-called “mark of the Prophet” from the blood left on the neck of the mare as the wounded Prophet made an escape; SAGLAWIEH and her joyful, impulsive “Sagla” gait at the gallop. This was how the five most important Arab thoroughbred families came into being.

Yet legend also tells of the prophet Muhammad, who owned and was very fond of a herd of mares. One day, he decided to put them through a very tough test to verify their submission and courage. He left them without water for several days and, when he freed them, all the mares went to the nearest stream to drink. Shortly before they reached the river bank, the prophet called them: only 5 of these, despite their thirst, returned to their master. Five mares thereby founded the breed.

It was Muhammad again who made the breeding of pure “Asil” into religious dogma. It is written i the Koran: “If a man is unable to maintain his religious duties, he should keep an Asil horse for the glory of Allah and his sins will be forgiven. Whoever reared an Asil horse for the Holy War will be saved from the fire of hell on the day of resurrection.”

A horse of a thousand legends which has by now become a splendid, elegant reality.

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