The Arabian horse is reputed to be the oldest and purest breed of horse in the world. Arabian Horse classes were first introduced into the HORSE OF THE YEAR program in 2000.

It has been said that the breed can trace its lineage back to the Seventh Century AD. Originally bred by the nomadic tribes of Central Arabia as a warhorse. The qualities of soundness, speed, endurance and the ability to thrive in the harsh desert environment were rigorously selected for. Additionally, as the horses shared the tents of their human family, the horses were required to be courageous in battle, yet docile and tractable at home.

It just so happens that the breed evolved into one of the most beautiful of all horse breed and has been used throughout history to upgrade almost every other breed of horse known to us today.

Since the formation of the New Zealand Arabian Horse Breeders Society in 1970 breeders have witnessed the breed increase from a few individuals to a vast number of sires and dams that are producing quality purebred and partbred Arabians which are in turn competing in a variety of disciplines.

As a result of judicious use of bloodlines our Arabian horses are sought after overseas. Polo ponies, show ponies, show jumpers and eventers.

When the New Zealand team won the Team Gold Medal at the World Endurance Championships in Dubai in 1998, they did so mounted on Arabian horses. Since then we have been exporting 'coals to Newcastle' as our endurance horses have been winging their way to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. Recently one stud exported a colt to the Royal Jordanian Stud of H R H Princess Alia of Jordan, to be included in the studs world famous breeding program.

These achievements are a source of pride to all Arabian enthusiasts here in New Zealand and auger well for the future of the most beautiful and versatile of breeds.



The oldest and purest of all horse breeds, the Arabian is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the world. With its very refined head and dished profile, expressive eyes, high spirits and unique floating action, it is undoubtedly the most exquisite of creatures.

Although the Arabian horse has certainly been bred with great care for many centuries, its exact origins are unclear. Ancient art suggests that the Arabian type lived as long ago as 3,000BC. Like the desert tribes with whom the horses have lived for so many centuries, it is superbly well adapted for the very harsh desert environment. It has extreme powers of endurance, tremendous soundness and the ability to thrive on the most merge rations. The Arabian's comparatively small size belies its weight carrying ability: it can carry a fully grown man with ease.

The Arabian has had a profound influence on the development of most of today's sporthorse breeds from racing Thoroughbreds (all Thoroughbreds can trace their ancestry back to just four Arabian type stallions) through to warmbloods.

The Arabian often appears to float over the ground. This remarkable action, coupled with a gentle temperament, makes it a very popular riding horse throughout the world. The breed's legendary stamina also makes it the perfect choice for Endurance riding, which at the top level involves covering distances of 100miles (161kms).

Arabian classes were introduced at the Horse of the Year show in 2000, and since then have gone from strength to strength.