swordwhale’s musings: turks, barbs and arabians (horses that is)

A friend posted a pic from Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind…which is the story of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the ancestors of the Thoroughbred breed.

…or maybe he was a Barb.

Or a Turkomen/ Turk.

One of the other ancestors of the Thoroughbred was the Byerly Turk, and another, the Darley Arabian… or was he the possible Barb? No wait, that was the Godolphin…eh…

Barbs, Turks and Arabs originate somewhere eastish, desertish, and are noted for hardiness and endurance.

There they diverge like Robert Frost’s paths in a wood.

The short course in horse genetics:


(I’ve had several)…

Dishy face, small muzzle, high set tail, flagged like a banner… short back, round, solid and large feet for its size… fuel efficient (desert!).

Crossed with anything else, the Arabian characteristics come through…

this is a Welsh/Arab cross (Bazraf at an SCA event in the 80s)…

This is a mustang/Arabian cross that I still have…

yes, she is sticking her tongue out…

this is the idealized Arabian…

Image result for arabian horse


now some Barbs…

Image result for barb horse

Straight or slightly Roman nosed profile rather than dishy face, low set tail rather than high, sloping croup rather than flat. Deep girth but narrow chest, hardy and fuel efficient.

This mustang could be a barb…

here he is younger

and this one…

Barbs originated in North Africa, found its way to Spain, and then to the Americas as the first breed to go feral here.

Which is why you find certain strains of mustangs that look like Spanish Barbs (in the Americas:  the Spanish Colonial Horse). Domestic breeds like the South Carolina Marsh Tacky and the Florida Cracker Horse are SCHs. So are the ponies of the Outer Banks. The Chincoteague ponies may have started as barbs, but have had a lot of other blood mixed in, including Mustang and Shetland pony.



Some interesting comparisons between Arabians and Turkomans here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkoman_horse

Basically, it’s a horse that’s trying to be a greyhound. And it’s extinct. Except it has descendants: the Thoroughbred and notably, the Akhal Teke…

Image result for akhal teke

Related image

Image result for akhal teke

and yes, they look like they’re made of metal… the individual hairs in the coat are different from other breeds…




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