Arabian Horse Dictionary
Glossary of Arabian Horse Terms:
Abu: "Father of..." it is also used as a form of emphasis, such as Abu El Urgub, "the father of hocks;" or Abu Farwa, "the father of chestnuts."
Anglo-Arabian: A cross between a registered purebred Arabian and a registered Thoroughbred.
AJC: The abbreviation for the Arabian Jockey Club.
Artificial Insemination: A breeding method by which collected semen from a stallion is deposited into the uterus of a mare through the use of a pipette.
Authorized Agent: A person other than the recorded owner who has the authority to transact business with the Association and sign documents on behalf of the recorded owner with their permission.
Bedouin: A person of a nomadic tribe usually in the Middle East countries often referred to as the first people who bred Arabians, maintaining the purity of the Arabian breed.
Bint: Arabic for "daughter of," such as Bint Mabrouka, or daughter of Mabrouka. "Bint Bint" in a pedigree means "granddaughter of." Bint is usually applied to show parentage in a pedigree.
Blood: Literally "Eastern blood." A bloodhorse, before the Thoroughbred breed, was a horse of mostly Arabian, Barb or Turkish blood. "Thorough-blood" was the same thing, as was "thoroughly-bred" which was shortened to "thoroughbred."
Bloodlines: Lineage; pedigree.
Blood typing: A process through which blood is taken from a horse and analyzed at a laboratory. Blood type testing is used as a tool for verifying parentage by the Association.
Cold Blood: Horses of northern regions originally, slow and heavy, and ancestral to draft breeds. The opposite of hot blood (southern horses of the Middle East and North Africa, of which the Arab is most famous).
Colt: An ungelded male horse of not more than four years of age.
Conformation: Body structure of the horse.
Cross-bred: A cross between two breeds.
Dam: A female parent of a horse.
Desert bred: Refers to a horse or pedigree whose ancestry can be traced to the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East region who did not keep written breeding records, but rather passed this information from generation to generation by word of mouth.
Dish faced: Concave below the eyes—sometimes seen only in profile, but can also be dished directly below the eyes, on the face. In certain horses the profile may appear dished due to a bulging forehead (jibbah) combined near the nostrils with a bump on the nasal bone. In others, even though the forehead may be flat, the whole profile appears dished, because the muzzle is higher than the rest of the profile. The concave depression in the facial profile of many Arabian horses is called the "afnas" in Arabic.
Dressage: Dressage is an equine discipline and training method that emphasizes harmony between horse and rider. Dressage riders perform a pattern of required movements at specific letter points in an arena. There are nine levels of increasing difficulty with tests at each level, and judges mark each movement from 0-10 and award points for balance, rhythm, impulsion, submission of the horse and the rider's position.
Eastern: Applies to horses of Arab, Barb, Turk or similar breeding. Used frequently in the early days of the Thoroughbred.
Embryo Transfer: A breeding method by which an embryo is flushed from a donor mare and implanted into another (recipient) mare for development and foaling. Although the embryo is matured in a host mare its genetic makeup is that of its natural parents.
English Pleasure: A riding style under saddle with full bridle.
Equitation: The skill of riding a horse.
Equine: Refers to a horse or horses.
Equestrian: Of or relating to horseback riding or horseback riders.
Ex: Meaning "out of" in Latin and meaning the same thing in "horse language." It is often abbreviated to "x," as in "*Bask x *Gawra." When the sire of the dam is added, it is preceded with a "by," thus: *Bask x *Gawra by Doktryner."
Export Certificate: A document issued by the Association for a horse leaving the United States for another country. This document identifies the horse and enables the horse to return to the United States without going through the import registration process.
Filly: A young female horse not more than four years of age.
Flea Bitten: A term used to describe a grey horse with little spots of brown or black over its coat.
Foal: A colt or filly under a year of age. If still with its dam, it is a suckling foal; if weaned, it is termed a weanling, or weanling foal. For more precise identification, it is either a colt foal, suckling colt, or weanling colt, or filly foal, etc., as the case may be.
To foal: As a verb, "to foal" means to give birth to a foal, and so on, with "foaled," "foaling," etc. Or a horse "was foaled" on a certain date.
Foaled: Gave birth.
Foaling date: The day, month and year that a horse is born.
Formal driving: English pleasure horse (sometimes a park horse) shown in light harness pulling a buggy. Judged on manners, quality of the horse and smooth, responsive performance.
Freeze marking: A permanent, virtually painless, unalterable means of identification that causes the loss of color in the hair or completely stops hair growth where the mark has been applied. No longer performed by the Association.
Gaits: Leg movement and speed of movement: walk, trot, canter and gallop.
Gelding: A male horse, regardless of age, that has been castrated (surgical removal of the testes).
Get: Short for "beget" as a verb. As a noun, it refers to the entire offspring of a stallion. This word should never refer to the produce of a mare. Females do not "beget."
Girth: A band that passes underneath a horse to hold a saddle in place; the area behind the front legs extending underneath the horse.
Grade: A horse which may have a purebred parent; usually it is one having only a small amount of blood of some pure breed. Not the same as Halfbred, half Thoroughbred, or Half-Arabian, etc., in which one parent is purebred, or Crossbred, in which two breeds are combined.
Half-Arabian: One parent must be a registered purebred Arabian and the other parent must be a horse not registered as a purebred Arabian or Thoroughbred.
Half-bred: When capitalized, this means a horse which is half Thoroughbred and registered in the Halfbred Stud Book. When not capitalized, it can mean a horse of any mixture, but having one purebred parent.
Half-Brother (or -Sister): In "horse language," a half brother to a certain horse is out of the same dam only—as the Bedouins say, "out of the same womb." This distinction is made in order to give due credit to exceptionally good broodmares. To give proper relationship to a horse which is by the same sire as another, the term is exactly that: "By the same sire."
Hand: Unit of measurement to express a horse’s height from withers to ground; a hand is four inches.
Hot Blooded: Of Eastern blood, such as Arab, Barb, Turk, etc. It may also refer to a horse of hot temperament.
Hunter: A horse specially trained for use on a hunt (i.e., fox hunt).
IBN: Arabic for "son of."
IAHA: The abbreviation for the International Arabian Horse Association.
Imported horse: A horse brought from a non-US country to the United States whose owner desires registration with the Association. An imported horse is usually foaled in a non-US country and registered with a non-US source or studbook authority.
Imported in Utero: Describes a foal which was imported into the United States while in the mare, but foaled in the United States.
Inbreeding: Breeding closely related horses to obtain a desired trait. Examples of inbreeding include: parent to progeny, full or half-siblings to one another, breeding first cousins, uncles to nieces and/or aunts to nephews, and grandparents to grandchildren.
Jibbah: Arabic word for the bulge in the forehead often seen in Arabian horses. At one time it was thought that such a bulge indicated a larger brain, but instead it indicates larger sinuses.
Jumper: A horse that is trained to jump fences, hedges or other obstacles; shown over fences with a fault system (i.e., knocking down a fence results in four faults). The horse may work against time and fence heights.
Linebreeding: A form of inbreeding; breeding related individuals where there is a high relationship to common ancestors in a pedigree usually three to four generations in the past.
Mare: A female horse five years old or over.
Mitbah: Arabic term for the throatlatch or attachment of head and neck. The word means "the place where the throat is cut" since it is the same for camels, sheep, and goats, and they are the ones for whom it is taken literally. A fine and long mitbah is much desired in an Arabian horse.
Muzzle: The area encompassing the horse's lip, chin and mouth.
Markings: Configurations of solid white hairs contrasting with the surrounding coat color.
Natural breeding: A controlled breeding process through which a stallion and mare are mated without the use of artificial devices.
Om: Arabic word for "mother of."
Park: A show class where the horse is shown in full bridle and saddle seat attire, possesses more animation than English pleasure. Judges expect a performance comprised of style, presence, finish, balance and cadence.
Pasture breeding: A breeding process through which a stallion and mare(s) are left together in a pasture for an unobserved mating.
Pedigree: Chart of a horse’s ancestors; the bloodlines or lineage of a horse. An ancestral line using genealogy to distinguish purity in Arabian horses.
Produce: The verb "produce" means to give birth when applied to animals or "to bring forth." The synonym is "to bear." As a noun (accent on the first syllable) it means the offspring of a female animal, in this case a mare, as distinguished from the get of a stallion. The difference between "produce" and "get" can be summed up like this: "The produce of this fine mare includes the get of several leading stallions."
Progeny: The collective offspring of a sire or dam.
Sclera: The white part of the eye including the dark colored portions. Although a desirable trait in the Appaloosa breed, it is not desirable in the Arabian breed.
Sire: The male parent of a horse.
Spayed mare: A female horse who has had some or all of the reproductive organs removed through surgical techniques and can no longer reproduce.
Stallion: An ungelded horse at least four years of age (five on the racetrack, or with Thoroughbreds, whether raced or not). A stallion is a sire after his first foal arrives. He is a proven sire only when his get have won races or performed any other type of rigorous work (i.e., proven that his get are worthwhile). This term is now loosely used in the Arabian industry to mean only that a stallion is fertile, or has sired at least one foal, so in such cases "proven sire" means little.
Stock horse: Shown in western pleasure and performs sliding stops, spins, figure eight’s, flying change of leads. These horses are agile, willing and show no hesitation in performing these acts.
Strain: In Arabian horses, it has the old Bedouin meaning, in which the strain, or family, traces back in time to a certain mare. It may descend from a mare of a famous breeder, or a mare with an unusual trait or characteristic—such as the "old, well-trained mare of Jedran" or whoever, or a dark mare, or even a filly which had been nursed by a donkey. Only if the family is very strong, and bred to stallions of the same bloodlines, would a strain continually retain a certain type. In other words, the strain remains the same through all generations—if the original mare was Maneghi, so would all her descendants be of that strain, regardless of the many strains represented in the rest of the pedigree, or their differences in type.
Stud: A breeding farm where stallions are stood for the purpose of breeding mares.
Stud Book: A record of information about individual registered horses including pedigrees, foaling dates, colors, names and progeny. The Association publishes the Arabian Stud Book. Non-US registries around the world also publish stud books listing horses registered in their countries. The Association’s Arabian Horse Bookshelf CD-ROM contains horses published in all stud books from around the world, and traces pedigrees and progeny information back and forward through all countries of origin.
Trail ride: Riding a horse in a leisurely way following a trail or road which may possess obstacles such as bridges or logs. Usually referring to recreational horseback riding in open country.
Trust: An abbreviated term for the Arabian Horse Trust; also a declaration by an owner that from a given date, specified property will be held in trust for beneficiaries.
Western pleasure: A show class where horses shown in western tack are required to maintain steady speeds at all gaits and move freely and are judged on manners, performance and conformation.
Weaning: The time of the year when foals are separated from their dams. Most farms wean at six months or earlier.
Weanling: A young horse of either sex that has been weaned but not reached his first year.
Yearling: A horse that has reached its first birthday but has not yet turned two years old.