Equestrian theme has always been close to my heart. Horses come in all breeds, shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common: their inherent beauty!
‘ The Arabian horse is a breed of horse that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. It is also one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses in the Middle East that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses have spread around the world by both war and trade, used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance, and strong bone. Today, Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse.
The Arabian developed in a desert climate and was prized by the nomadic Bedouin people, often being brought inside the family tent for shelter and protection from theft. Selective breeding for traits including an ability to form a cooperative relationship with humans created a horse breed that is good-natured, quick to learn, and willing to please. The Arabian also developed the high spirit and alertness needed in a horse used for raiding and war. This combination of willingness and sensitivity requires modern Arabian horse owners to handle their horses with competence and respect.
The Arabian is a versatile breed. Arabians dominate the discipline of endurance riding, and compete today in many other fields of equestrian sport. They are one of the top ten most popular horse breeds in the world. They are now found worldwide, including the United States and Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, continental Europe, South America (especially Brazil), and their land of origin, the Middle East.’*
The history of the Polish-Arabian horse is complex and fascinating.
16th century: Writings in Poland mention pure-bred Arabians. Used by the Turkish army, they’re taken by Poles as spoils of war.
1699: Poland’s truce with Turkey, so – no more spoils of war. Poles travel to the desert to purchase Arabians from tribesmen and use the horses to upgrade their own, local stock. The offspring are used for cavalry, farm work and carriage pulling.
World War I: Polish Arabian studs nearly decimated. “Of the 500 Arabian broodmares in Poland in 1914, only 25 still lived in 1918” (“History’s Hooves,” March/April 1998 print edition, Saudi Aramco World).
1921: Poland has regained its independence following the war. A new Arabian breeding program is established at Janów Podlaski Stud.
1920s: The Arabian Horse Breeding Society is formed in Poland; its first Stud book is published.
1930s: A few Americans import Polish Arabians (notably, Henry B. Babson of Chicago and J.M. Dickinson of Tennessee).
World War II: Poland loses 89 percent of its broodmares (“History’s Hooves”). More than 80 percent of Janów Podlaski’s horses perish in the 1939 war campaign; the Stud is severely damaged. But some horses are saved by Polish horsemen determined to keep the Polish Arabian in Poland.
Post-World War II: Hungary sends Arabian mares to Poland to help rebuild Poland’s breeding program. The Polish Stud also uses Russian Arabians for that same purpose.
Late 1950s: British breeder Patricia Lindsay buys Polish Arabians for her own program and becomes a purchasing agent for Americans. *
Nowadays there are three state Studs – Janów Podlaski, Michałów and Białka.