Are Arabian Horses Fast? The Speed of an Arabian Horse

This article will provide you with in-depth information about the speed of Arabian horses and how their origins have affected their agility.

So, are Arabian Horses fast? Arabian horses have been recorded to run at a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour (65 km/h) and are considered to be quite fast. Arabians belong to the hot-blooded category, generally known for versatility and endurance. Although they fall behind the Thoroughbred and Quarter horse in terms of speed, they are known to keep up in endurance racing.

Let us now talk about the Arabian Horse’s origin, breed characteristics, rise to popularity, speed, endurance, and stamina.

Overview: Really… How Fast Are Arabian Horses?

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Arabian Horse is one of the oldest human-developed breeds of horses in the world with a rich history with humans.

They were initially bred for stamina, traveling long distances in the desert landscape.

These characteristics are still prominent in this breed.

So, are they fast?

Well, they are faster than cold-blooded horses, or work/draft horses, but they sure aren’t the fastest horse around.

Comparison of Arabian horse speeds with Quarter and Thoroughbred Horse

In 2006, a research was published in the Equine Veterinary Journal which compared the racing speeds of Arabian, Thoroughbred, and Quarter horses.

This research showed that although Arabians are one of the faster horses, the Thoroughbred and Quarter horses are much faster.

The general perception is:

Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds are great sprinters and are faster than Arabian horses over short distances.

Over longer tracks, Arabian horses shine due to their superior stamina and endurance.

But the study conducted in 2006 analyzed showed otherwise.

According to the study:

Quarter horses gained speed throughout the race, Thoroughbreds and Arabians lost speed during the last segment.

The results contradict the general perception that Arabian horses have superior stamina as they actually lost speed as the race came to an end.

The speed of an Arabian Horse

So, we have already discussed that Arabian horses have superior stamina but are not so good sprinters when compared with Thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses.

What’s more:

Arabian horses are primarily dominant in endurance racing. Not only do they have a compact body and a lean muscle structure to go with it, but they are also excellent at conserving energy while running.

Don’t let these stats lead you down, Arabian horses are still pretty fast, and have numerous unique attributes that make them one of the most popular breeds in the world.

Although second to Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses, Arabian horses are still pretty fast.

They are regarded as the third fastest horse breed and have a calm temperament, intelligence, and striking physique to go with it.

Arabian horses and endurance racing

Although Arabian horses are versatile horses and used in various equestrian sports, as well as recreational activities, they dominate the sport of endurance racing.

In fact, in a lot of endurance racing competitions, the Arabian horse is the most common breed participating.

Endurance races can be analogized with marathons.

Some of the longest endurance races can take up to multiple days.

Tevis Cup is a famous endurance racing competition, that can cover as many as 100 miles (160 km) and lasts one day.

Usually, endurance races in the US last either 50 miles or 100 miles.

The races consist of periodic veterinary checkpoints that determine whether the horse is fit to continue.

The winning horses are usually those that have a respectable vet completion record.

Arabian Horse Origin

The ancestors of Arabian horses were domesticated by early Arabian Bedouin tribes.

The horses formed a close relationship with humans and often lived in close proximity to each other.

They were initially bred to help humans survive in the harsh desert climate by providing them a means of transport.

Arabian horses are known for their calm and composed nature despite being a hot-blooded horse.

Purebred Arabian horses have a proud and striking form and boast strong bones, broad shoulders, and long arching neck.

They are known for their energy, courage, loyalty, and are the perfect option if one is looking for a life-long companion.

The Arabian horse is an extremely versatile equine, and was an indispensable asset during wars, owing to its superior stamina, calm nature, companionship and loyalty with humans, as well as endurance.

The Islamic empire and its expansion was perhaps the biggest catalyst to the Arabian horses’ popularity.

The expansion of the Islamic empire introduced the Arabian horse to the Middle-East, North Africa, and Spain.

Later, with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, the Arabian horse was introduced to the rest of the world.

Fast forward to today:

Arabian horses are popular for endurance racing all over the world. But it is safe to say that Arabian horses aren’t going to win against Quarter horses or Thoroughbred in short distance racing. If someone prefers a fast horse, they should consider a Thoroughbred or a Quarter horse.

In the history of fastest racehorses, there are virtually no Arabian horses that have won the title.

If you are looking for a horse with good temperament, cooperative nature, and durability, an Arabian horse would be your best bet.

Apart from that, Arabian horses are famous for their beauty, striking posture, graceful nature and high-set tail..

History of the Arabian horse and its influence on other breeds

As previously mentioned, Arabian horses were bred to thrive in the harsh desert climate and were originally used as a desert war horse.

Let’s talk in more detail about the attributes they developed that make them so hardy.

First off:

They learned to stay healthy and require less food than other horses.

They have good hoof structure as well as dense bones and short backs.

But how do they get such extraordinary stamina?

Well, they have thin skin and high tail carriage that helps dissipate heat faster from the body.

Moreover, they have plenty of slow-twitch muscle fibers that allow them to save oxygen and use it more effectively, increasing their stamina and helping them sustain speed over long distances.

Additionally, their respiratory system is evolved in such a way that it provides them with tremendous lung capacity.

These are the traits that enable Arabian horses to outlast other breeds.

Because of these unique attributes, Arabian horses initially gained popularity.

Today, almost every modern horse breed has influences of Arabian horses.

Arabian Bloodline has played a part in the development of every modern light horse breed, such as:

  • Thoroughbred
  • Orlov Trotter
  • Morgan Horse
  • American Saddlebred
  • American Quarter Horse

And Warmblood breeds such as the:

  • Trakehner

Arabian bloodlines have also influenced the development of:

  • Welsh Pony
  • Australian Stock Horse
  • Percheron draft horse
  • Appaloosa
  • Colorado Ranger Horse

Arabian horses were bred with other breeds to add agility, stamina, strength, and overall improved health.

The results were outstanding, and the resulting breeds were fast, agile, had increased stamina, better health, and life expectancy.

The dietary needs of the Arabian racehorse

Carla Broekhuizen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr

Although Arabian horses were bred in deserts initially and were able to survive on a diet of dates and camel milk, an Arabian horse bred for endurance racing has totally different needs.

If an Arabian horse is being bred for racing, it is important to realize the extent of stress it will be put through, coupled with the nutritional needs of its growing body.

Feeding an Arabian horse is a very complicated subject, and one of the most important aspects of its health and performance.

To enable the horse to perform at its best, it needs the right “octane”

Diet is even more important when the Arabian horse is young. A perfectly balanced diet plan will ideally fulfill all nutritional needs, reduce fatigue, and ensure proper growth until the Arabian Horse matures.

What does proper growth mean?

It means that the horse:

  • Is able to grow strong bones without any developmental bone or joint problems
  • Performs well in racing
  • Will still be able to migrate to the stud or show ring once it retires from racing

An Arabian horse’s diet consists mainly of grass and hay.

These horses also appreciate treats like:

  • Raisins
  • Apple pieces
  • Peppermints

Do not feed horses any part of tomato or potato plants, though!

Lastly, overfeeding can be detrimental to your horse.

Therefore, a dietician or veterinarian should be consulted when deciding on the which feed and portions to provide your Arabian racehorse.

Related Questions

What horse is the fastest? Quarter Horses are famous for being the fastest horses in the world with a maximum recorded speed of 55 mph.

They are followed by Thoroughbred horses which excel in longer races and Arabian Horses which are mostly known for their endurance.

Are Arabians good horses? Arabians are great horses for racing and horse shows.

They are highly intelligent and display commendable endurance.

Training an Arabian horse is also quite easy for someone who has some experience with horses.

Arabian horses can surely work as good beginner horses, but there are more suitable options for beginners, such as the Quarter-horse, that is calmer as it belongs to the warm-blood category.

Are Arabian Horses expensive? Yes, Arabians are one of the most expensive horse breeds in the world.

Their prices vary with locality, training, and physical features, but the average price seems to be $10,000 on average.

Though depending on where you live in the world, you might even find one for $500.

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