Some features of the head of Bedouin-type Arabians

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on June 10th, 2011 in General

The head of this mare illustrates several features to be found in old style (‘atiq), Bedouin-type Arabian horses in their homeland. I have seen these features in Bedouin-bred Arabian mares time and again. Some of them are commonly found in modern Arabian horses, like good distance between the ear and the eye, others less so:

— a large deep jowl: while “large” is easily understood, one can get an idea of the “depth” of a jowl by following the curved line of the jowl inwards (ie, towards the muzzle) as deeply into the head as possible.

— a lower lip extending slightly beyond the upper lip, like camels’.

— the back of the lower lip (towards the jowls) is arched inwards (concave), and the more prominently featured and the deeper that arch is, the better, from a Bedouin-type perspective.

— watery eyes: many horses (especially in the Straight Egyptian group) today have big, uniformly black eyes, “full”, which look like the eyes of small birds. It looks as if jet black ink is ready to spill out of the eye, if poked.

Bedouin-type eyes are different. Sure, they are blakc, but they look more like humans’ eyes, sometimes even to the point of displaying the white part. They need to look watery, as if the mare had just been crying, or as if water is ready to spill out, if the eye is poked.

Sure, the Bedouin-type eye needs to be large, but it needn’t protrude crudely out of the face, like in many horses today, who have bulging eyes, like cows. What ought to protrude is the eye socket.

Finally, the Bedouin-type eye needs to move you intensely, and bring out feelings from deep inside your body. It should truly reflect the mare’s soul, and you should be able to read in it a complex mix of feelings and emotions, like courage,wisdom, patience, kindness, awareness, tolerance, wit, readiness to do things, all at the same time, and much more.

I can’t read anything complex in many show horses’ eyes these days, except probably the general feeling of kindness associated with all animals. The shape of the eye is still there, but the soul inside seems gone.

By the way, the mare in the photo is Fin DeSiecle CF (Jamboree x Bonne Fortune by Dharanad), an asil Kuhaylah Hayifiyah at Pamela Klein in Virginia, last Sunday.

4 Responses to “Some features of the head of Bedouin-type Arabians”

  1. Good post, I am glad that my horses stand up well to these criteria :).
    I am sorry, because I know that it is acceptable, but I have never liked the look of a visible sclera…but fate has taken a hand and the foal I bred last year (who has, of course, stolen my heart) has this feature so I have learned to love this too !
    The dish is a strange thing, ‘classic’ Arabian in so many people’s view and something I like to see to a dignifed extent (NOT a seahorse head of any colour… that post nearly made me laugh but it was just too sadly true). However, using my horses as an example, one, a beautiful gelding has a clear dish, another, a mare, a straight profile, yet to me the mare has a FAR more ‘Arabian’ head… she just looks, without any question at all, like royalty, that dignified, wise, benevolent look that makes you feel like the most humble nobody who is blessed to be in her presence.
    When I think about it this ‘look’ is actually composed to an extent, of the features detailed in this post… it would be nice for some judges to read this, maybe we would move away from seahorse breeding!

  2. Thank you Edouard and Fin was pleased to know she is being used as an example of something good to strive for in our breeding.

  3. very well put, the eyes are the gateway to the soul

  4. I had the opportunity to see some of Pamela’s horses in April. She does have some fine horses and she is so knowledgeable and dedicated! I thank her for her willingness to offer her help and expertise in a humble but capable manner to those of us learning. Keep the pics coming Pam!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>