Differences between males and females in Bahraini Arabian horses

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 4th, 2017 in Bahrain, Bahrain, General

Again, elevating this other quote Laszlo relayed from Valerie Noli-Marais’ 1972  article in Arabian Horse News, because it’s very relevant to the discussion about the pronounced male-female difference in Arabian horses, but also to other earlier discussions on dished profiles:

”The stallions are between 14.3 and 16 h.h., very masculine, short-backed and compact, with long powerful necks, with prominent crests, good withers, broad and deep chests, and tremendously powerful quarters. Top-lines are good and tail carriage is truly magnificent. the legs apart from disfigurement by the shackling,are excellent and dry with large flat knees,short pasterns and large strong hooves…

The mares are smaller, 14.2 to 15 hands high, feminine, with finer heads,more to our western taste. Some had quite good dished profiles, although this factor is not mentioned in the traditional standards.

When questioned about the “dish”, it was apparent that this was not sought after or bred for, but happened to be present in some horses. It is tolerated in mares but not in stallions.”..

She certainly knew how to identify and describe the good points in an Arabian horse. Her last sentence, about the dish being tolerated in mares but not in stallions, certainly rings a bell, in the  context of Arabian horse breeding in Syria/Lebanon.

Radwan Shabareq always reminds how not one Alepine breeder ever took his mares to the grey Kuhaylan Khdili stallion which ‘Aqaydat Bedouin Abbud ‘Ali al-‘Amud had sent to Aleppo in the 1980s, despite his hailing from one of the most — if not the most — reputable and esteemed strains of Northern Arabia. Breeders believed his dished head made him “too pretty”, and “like a mare”.

Today, far too often, one really has to peek between the hind legs to be able to tell if some of the modern Arabians are stallions or mares..

4 Responses to “Differences between males and females in Bahraini Arabian horses”

  1. My personal experience is quite limited, but I have ridden mares, mostly Davenports, and only a couple of stallions, all Davenports. The view from on top is most different. The stallion necks were a pyramid, as wide as the shoulders at the base, and the muscle attachments up around the occiput is so muscled that the ears appear short.

    Charles, to make a point, would put two of the horses he had ridden and shown a lot in a horse trailer, for one to to observe from the rear. The mare’s rear would be square, and much larger and more muscular than the stallion’s rear.

    We used to bet each other during a foaling, when we got our hands on the front legs just above the feet, whether it was a colt or a filly. We were usually right!

  2. Like the type. No dish

  3. I once asked Charles whether he thought mares and stallions move differently, and as I recall, he said he’d never really thought about it, but he mentioned that stallions are broader in the shoulders, while mares are broader in the hips, and he said maybe that would make a difference if you looked for it.

    Frank Hannesschlager told me that seeing Fairy Queen, who had been ridden and shown, in the mare pasture next to broodmares who had never been ridden made obvious the difference in muscular development in the hindquarters resulting from riding and exercise.

    Jeanne, you are right about the shape of the necks when you are in the saddle and looking down at them. Davenport stallions I’ve ridden include Mariner, Brimstone, Portico, Sir, Prince Hal, Pericles, HB Octavian, Brass Band CF, Janan Abinoam, Atticus, Audobon, Cobalt KH, Mi Majest Prince, Sportin Life, Mandarin CF, Ibn Alamein, Plantagenet, Persuasion, Anchorage, and Dubloon CF.

    I’ve ridden fewer Davenport mares, but they include HB Delilah, Lotus, Fair Naomi UF, Attabi CF, Fairfax KH, Periwinkle CF, Murkaa, Maefah, Petit Point CF, and Locket CF.

    More than thirty years ago, I used to trail ride with someone who was active with Arabian show horses. She told me that she wanted to get a yearling colt, and in choosing him she was going to pick an extremely feminine looking colt in the hope that he would grow up to look “refined” and with a slender neck. It made no sense to me to select for feminine looking males, but I think that’s what the Arabian show horse breeders have done, probably going back to the 1960s or 1970s. Another friend of mine told me that as a child she saw a famous Arabian sire born in the U.S. in the 1950s who is now widely spread in show horse pedigrees. When the owner asked her what she thought of him, she said, “He looks like a mare!” The owner just laughed. “Out of the mouths of babes…”

  4. I agree with the article.

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