Use and characteristics of the Anglo Arabian
Registration standards vary between different nations, but essentially when vendors sell an Anglo Arabian horse, it will be the offspring either of registered Anglo Arabian parents or of a first cross between registered Thoroughbred and Arabian horses. A minimum of 12.5% Arabian blood is required for registration (25% for some registries). Committed long-distance riders often buy an Anglo Arabian for competing, since they combine the endurance of the Arabian horse with the turn of speed of the Thoroughbred. They are generally elegant horses too, with graceful conformation and a lightness of movement which is very appealing in equitation classes. They stand between 15.2 hands (62 inches/157 cm) and 16.3 hands (67 inches/170 cm) high and are often chestnut, bay or grey.
Origin and history of breeding Anglo Arabian Horses
In the nineteenth century, Anglo Arabians were popular choices for cavalry mounts and were very successful in the growing sport of polo. France is one of the greatest producers of Anglo Arabians. The origins of the breed there may lie in medieval times, with crosses of local mares and imported horses, a type which would in later centuries become known as “half-bred Anglo-Arabs” when crossed with Thoroughbred stallions. Breeding focussed on specific locations such as Navarre, Bearn, Gascogne, Tarbes and Villeneuve-sur-Lot, and the proto-breeds often adopted the local name, being called Navarrine, Tarbenian and so on. The recorded history of the French Anglo Arabian began in the nineteenth century when imported Syrian and Turkish stallions were crossed with Thoroughbred mares. The daughters of this cross became the foundation mares of the French breeding programme. Today, the hub of Anglo Arabian breeding in France is the Pompadour National Anglo-Arab Stud in Arnac-Pompadour, former location of the famous Limousin mares, but specialist studs can be found throughout the country. The French Anglo-Arabian has one of the oldest studbooks in France, began the standards for the breed worldwide, and has been influential on the Selle Français, the leading French sports horse. The modern French Anglo Arabian has a look that clearly distinguishes it from both the Thoroughbred and the Arabian. Their heads are neat but not usually overly dished, and they have the compactness of the Arabian frame combined with an increase in height resulting from the Thoroughbred genes. In the UK, the term Anglo Arabian was at first strictly applied to first crosses of Thoroughbred and Arabian and no other ancestry was allowed. In France, however, regulations allow for an ancestor of another breed four generations earlier.
Anglo Arabians in equestrianism
Anglo Arabians are not simply beautiful horses; they are also great performance horses. They are most popular as riding horses, especially among riding club enthusiasts. They are fast, too, being used for racing in France. They participate in eventing, dressage, show jumping, and endurance. In summary, as a medium height, medium weight horse for the more advanced rider, they are hard to beat.