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.