For every war won, for every piece of history written, for every modern communication device, we forget to thank the unsung hero and the pioneer of early communication – horses. For centuries, we’ve been celebrating the victories of Alexander the Great and Napoleon, but we’ve forgotten the steads upon which they’ve led their enterprises. Arguably, without them, we wouldn’t have gotten close to achieving global communications and improved civilization as we have now. Among the earliest breeds of horses, the Arabian horse has quite the illustrious history. The earliest record of these horses was found in the desert plains of the Arabian Peninsula, where humanity first discovered of their many desirable traits, the most treasured of which was durability. From then on, Arabian horses were selectively bred and often brought up with great care, resulting in the Arabian horses we see today. Arabian horses have many distinguishable traits, such as:
- A broad forehead
- Large eyes
- A short muzzle
- A high tail carriage
- Typically come in bay, grey or chestnut colors.
Arabian horses can be split into many different strains, and each twist is renowned for various characteristics. For instance, the Kehilan strain is known for its masculinity and large chest cavity, whereas the Segwali strain is known for being feminine, elegant and is the speedier one of the two. Traditionally, the prized pure-bred strains of Arabian horses were used for raiding enemy tribes and going to war. In fact, they were so prized that the Bedouin, the first caretakers of these horses, that they often sleep in the same tent as families to prevent theft. Nowadays, however, with the world being in an era of peace, Arabian horses are no longer used for wars, but for endurance competitions and leisure.
Durability and Speed of Arabian Horses
Typically, Arabian horses are renowned for their durability, and can travel long distances without needing so much as a break for resting. This fact can be contributed profoundly to their genetic makeup- higher bone density than most breeds of horses, broad backs, which allow for high physical strength, and having one vertebra short (17 vertebrae) of healthy horses (18 vertebrae), which helps them lose heat quickly. Their endurance abilities are also evident from endurance racing competitions, for instance, during Copa, a tournament held in Chile in 2015, most of the horses competing were Arabian horses. However, how fast can an Arabian horse run? Arabian horses’ speed leaves much to be desired when compared to Thoroughbred horses and Quarter horses. A study conducted by students of Michigan State University in 2006 showed that Quarter horses were the fastest horses, with Thoroughbred horses close behind, and Arabian horses as the slowest of the three. Despite the Arabian horses’ renowned stamina, which allows for maintaining an even speed for long periods of time, the horses still tend to slow down in the final segment of the race. Further evidence pointing out Arabian horses’ lack of speed can also be found when one looks up the fastest horses in history, for instance: • Winning Brew, a thoroughbred horse, who is The Guinness World Record Holder for The Fastest Racehorse with a record of 20.57 seconds across a distance of 2 Furlongs.
- Secretariat, a thoroughbred horse, whose record-breaking win in the Belmont Stakes in 1973 is widely considered as one of the greatest races of all time, crossed a distance of one and a half miles with only 2:24 minutes.
- Black Caviar, a thoroughbred horse, was named WTRR World Champion Sprinter in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and could sprint a distance of 1km in 55.52 seconds.
- Frankel, a thoroughbred horse, who was undefeated throughout his fourteen-race career as a racehorse, and was ranked one of the best horses the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, achieved a record of 2:43 minutes for 8 furlongs.
It was difficult to find an Arabian horse who could compete with thoroughbred horses in a competition of short distance and speed. In the history of famous racehorses, there were virtually no Arabian horses at all.
Conclusion: How Fast Can Arabian Horses Run?
So, how fast can an Arabian horse run? From the pieces of evidence stated, one can safely conclude that Arabian horses may not be the fastest horses around, but that they are probably very durable, even in extreme weather. For a horse of high speed, one should adopt instead a thoroughbred horse, or a quarter horse, both of which are better choices than Arabian horses. However, for a horse of good temperament or great durability, an Arabian horse is highly preferred.