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Can Arabian Horses Do Show Jumping?

Strong, Agile, Fiery, Energetic, Intelligent, and Beautiful are some of the words used to describe the Arabian horses. These horses excel in the showing ring due to their beauty and grace, win endurance races due to their energetic and athletic nature, and excel at other disciplines because of their intelligence and kindness.

Yes, Arabian horses are more than capable of competing in show jumping. They are a very versatile breed and excel in almost all the disciplines worldwide, due to their athleticism, versatility, competitiveness, and energy. Many riders use Arabian crossbreeds to introduce athleticism and versatility to other breeds.

This interesting breed of horses deserves their own spot in the spotlight of our blog. They look different, they do well in all disciplines, they are highly intelligent and all-round great horses. Let us go into more detail on one of the world’s oldest hotblooded breed of horses.

History of the Arabian Horse

The oldest horse breed and what they were used for

The Arabian horse is one of the world’s oldest purely bred horses (they were around as long as 5000 years ago). The Egyptian pharaohs used these horses as harness horses to pull their chariots. This led to the Egyptian empire growing in size and strength, and the Arabian horse aided in the joining of empires as well. Arabian horses were used in battle, races and as status symbols.

These horses also lived in along with the desert tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. The Bedouins bred them as war horses for long treks over the desert and quick camp raids. Notable historical figures owned and rode Arabian horses – Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and George Washington.

The harsh desert environment led to the Arabian horse’s evolution with large lung capacity, big airways, thin skin, and small hooves. All these conformational traits made them more than capable of enduring these harsh environments.

Arabians became closer to humans when they had spent thousands of years living alongside the nomads in their tents, sharing their food and water. This is also why Arabians are sought to be perfect companions and family horses. This also led to their high intelligence.

History is rich in stories about great warriors, kings, and pharaohs with their beloved Arabian Horses.

Their beauty led to these horses being a symbol of class and power. Their extreme endurance earned them a spot in the dominant champion breed for endurance.

Their influence on other sport horses:

Almost all modern breeds of horses can be traced back to Arabian heritage. The Arabian horses were used to introduce athleticism, endurance, speed, and other traits to the other breeds. During the seventh century A.D, the Prophet Mohammed played a vital role in the use of Arabians around the world for breeding. He strongly believed that the Arabian horses had to be honored and respected as they became a religious symbol in their culture.

There were 3 great war mares that were sought after by many. Their daughters and granddaughters were sold for legendary prices as these mares carried stories of war, courage, endurance, and speed.

During the 16th – 19th centuries, royal families in Europe started Studs for the breeding of Arabia horses. Emissaries were regularly sent out to Arabia and Near East to acquire new stock for their breeding programs. The popularity of these horses in Europe grew. President Ulysses S. Grant of the United States was the first to import Arabian horses into the USA; this is where the breed’s popularity picked up in America.

The Godolphin Arab and the Darley Arab were also two of the three foundation stallions (the other being the Byerly Turk) that gave rise to the thoroughbred breed in England. They were brought to England in the late 17th century and were crossed with English and imported mares.

In Russia, the Arabian horses influenced the Orloff Trotters. The Percheron breeds in France can also be traced back to the formidable Arabian. The Morgan breed of America is also progeny from the Arabian horse, and through the Arabian influence in the Thoroughbred, the Trotter was bred.

Other breeds that were influenced by Arabian horses:

  • American Saddlebred
  • American Quarterhorse
  • Trakehner
  • Welsh ponies
  • Australian Stock Horse
  • Appaloosa
  • Colorado Ranger Horse

Conformational Traits

They are compact and relatively small. They have a smaller dished head with wide-set large eyes. They also possess wide withers and large lungs that improve their air intake and breathing. They usually have fewer vertebrae (23) and ribs than the norm (24), which gives rise to the shorter back.

They have strong legs and small hooves – to move more easily through the desert sand. Their coats, mane, and tails are notably fine and silky. They have an open jowl and long graceful necks. Their croups are flatter, and they carry their tails high up. The Arabian horse has a wide chest and barrel to provide for ample lung space. These horses are overall athletic, well-built, and suitable for many different disciplines.

Versatility in all Disciplines

The famous traits of Arabians gave rise to a very versatile and athletic horse. They have a kind disposition, stamina, intelligence, and high trainability, which make this breed a jack of all trades. These horses dominate the show and endurance disciplines.

They have exceptional balance and agility, which make them perfect for show jumping. Their endurance helps them with Eventing. Their flowing paces and rhythm make them excel at Dressage, and their unique beauty wins showing classes. These horses also do well in Western riding Disciplines.

These are the disciplines that the Arabian horses are mostly used in:

  • Endurance
  • Showing
  • Dressage
  • Show jumping
  • Eventing
  • Arabian Races (United States)

Some well-known Arabian horses in Show Jumping

Katharine and Avonbrook Odin

The first time she jumped an Arab over a one-meter oxer was at the 2013 Crabbet Convention with her Stallion Marcus Aurelius.

In 2016, she became affiliated with British Showjumping riding one of Marcus Aurelius’s part-bred sons – Avonbrook Odin. This pair made it to 1.05m with a 1.15m jump-off.

Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus

This pair is currently jumping and competing in the CCI**** eventing. Even though he is an Anglo-Arab, it once again proves that the traits of the Arabian horse are crucial for sports horses. Lauren gives a lot of credit to his Arabian traits, such as his hardy hooves, mannerisms, and overall build.

Interesting facts

  • The Arabian horse is one of the most popular breeds in the USA
  • The highest price paid for an Arab stallion was $350 000 – His name was Cometego
  • The first Arabian Showing Show was held in California in 1945
  • The first Arabian horse races were held at Laurel, Maryland, in 1959
  • The Bedouins only used Arabian mares for hunting and war because they would not nickel at the other horses and alarm the enemy.
  • The Bedouins traced their breeding through the mare lines; it was believed that only an “Asil” mare could carry one to victory in the war (“Asil” mares were purebred)
  • They have fewer ribs and vertebrae – they have 17 ribs, 5 lumbar vertebrae, and 16 tail vertebrae – where the normal horse would have 18 ribs, 6 lumbar vertebrae, and 17 tail vertebrae.
  • Arabian horses vary from 14hh to 15.2hh – but they are not considered a pony at 14hh. This is due to their appearance, breeding, and genetic features.
  • Arabian horses have a very dense bone structure for their size, which makes them measurable against the bigger horses.
  • Due to their history of living in harsh environments, Arabian horses do well with little food.
  • The maximum speed of the Arabian horse was recorded at 65km/h (40mph)
  • Their thin skin and high tail carriage allow for heat dissipation and cools them down faster.
  • They have more slow-twitch muscle fibers in their bodies, allowing them to save oxygen in the system and use it more effectively.


In conclusion, as we said at the beginning of this article, yes, Arabian horses can do and excel in the showjumping ring due to their athleticism, versatility, competitiveness, and energy.

They also do well in almost all other disciplines. They do well in the showing ring due to their beauty and grace, win endurance races due to their energetic and athletic nature, and excel at many other disciplines because of their intelligence and kindness.

Anrie Diedericks

I've been around horses since I was 6 years old and started competing at the age of 9. Horses are my greatest passion and I am thrilled to be able to share my 23 (and counting) years of experience and knowledge with you.

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