By Edouard Aldahdah
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..