This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Arab: the Horse of the Future

by Hon. Sir James Penn Boucaut

The Khamsat Vol 10 Num 4 Nov 93

The author, in Australia at 73 years old on his beloved stallion Rafyk (1890) by Azrek x Rose of Sharon.

Ed. note: While this book is very old and hard to find, it is much enjoyed by those who have the opportunity to own it. It primarily focuses on the value of Arabian blood within the equine species. It was published in 1905 (before the founding of the Royal Agricultural Society and before the Davenport importation) and sounds a call of alarm to the Western and European world regarding the importance of preserving the qualities of the Arab horse – the war-horse qualities, the athletic ability, the intelligence, the disposition, and the hardiness, and so forth. I have always enjoyed this book and thought it best to share this chapter with you as it gives numerous accounts from many varied sources regarding what was most valued about these war horses of the desert. Mr. Boucaut was prime minister of South Austrialia and owned and imported some of the first Arabians to come to Australia (1891) among which was the 100% Blunt stallion Rafyk (1890) by Azrek x Rose of Sharon. He was a great admirer of the Arab and shares some useful information here with us. The scope of this chapter is rather broad in that is also includes mention of other middle eastern Arab derivatives such as Barb and Turkoman, but most often he distinguishes. The important point of his chapter is to illustrate what a magnificent horse was created by the Arab culture and to remind us in Al Khamsa what oriental qualities we are obliged to preserve.



BISHOP HEBER, in his “Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India,” says:

‘My horse is a nice quiet, good-tempered little Arab, who is so fearless that he goes without starting close up to an elephant, and so gentle and so docile that he eats bread out of my hand, and has almost as much attachment and as coaxing ways as a dog.’ My guests frequently notice the strange coaxing ways of my stallions, and my unbroken mares love to be petted, coming up around you for that purpose in the paddock. although unbroken, and only handled when being weaned, they eat thistles out of the hands of the children of one of my men.’

Captain Shakespeare, in his “Wild Sport in India,” says that the Arab is the very best horse under the saddle that can be had in India for all general purposes.

Mr. H. Chichester Hart, in ‘Scripture Natural History,’ writes of the Syrian horses of to-day, that, no matter what the nature of the country, nothing comes amiss to them, and there is probably in the world no more sure-footed beast of burden to be found; that they are docile and spirited and willing to the last extremity. Certainly these are Eastern horses, truly Arabs, though not the very best of Arabs, not being of the pure desert breed. They are often spoken of as Syrian Arabs.

Mr. Sydney Galvayne, in his article ‘War-Horses, Present and Future,’ says of Arab ponies that there was not a very large number of these valuable ponies sent from India to Africa, but what were sent made a great name for themselves and fully maintained their reputation for endurance and strength.

The Rev. E.J.Davis, in his ‘Life in Asiatic Turkey,’ writes that even hard work and starvation cannot tame his spirited little horse, which, in spite of being in bad condition owning to hard work and insufficient food, has never once stumbled, never been sick, and has borne the longest and most difficult marches with the utmost fire and spirit.

Mr. A.G. Hulme-Bearman, in his ‘Twenty Years in the Near East,’ refers again and again to the excellence of the Syrian pony upon which he crossed Lebanon, 8,000 feet, through snow up to the girths, then Anti-Lebanon, 6,000 feet, and after a few days’ rest the pony took him back just as readily. A writer on the retreat from Moscow speaks of the Cossack pony (Eastern) as living on what it could get by scraping the snow with its feet, in pursuit ‘indomitable, not to be fatigued, relentless.’

Mr. Adye writes that it was, of course, the Arab descent of the little animal so much in vogue in India which accounts for its excellence; and truly wonderful were the capabilities of the little hunters (some of them only 13.2) on which the redoubtable sportsman Major Shakespeare speared hog, bear, and even leopards, over broken and rocky ground intersected by nullahs and other obstacles, which render pigsticking in certain parts of India the most difficult and exciting of all forms of hunting from the horseman’s point of view. This corroborates what General Tweedie says, as above mentioned, in referring to which I have mentioned other instances of this wonderful capacity of turning and twisting, which alone could render such sport safe and possible. Mr. Ker, in his book ‘On the road to Khiva,’ says that the Khirgiz, with Eastern horses, sit motionless on their saddles, aligned ‘as if on parade.’ Suddenly the foremost darts off at full gallop, and then, wheeling in mid-career, comes like a thunderbolt, all in one mad whirl of flight and pursuit.

‘Bruni,’ in the Astralasian (September 6, 1902), testifies that the (Indian records abound in proofs of the marvellous services rendered by the small horse, and notably by the Arab, and that on every hand the evidence was strongly in favour of the Arab and Arab cross for army purposes, and that of the value of the Arab cross we have had ample proof in Australia, because for endurance they had no equal.

Dean C. Worcester, of Michigan, U.S.A., writes of the Philippine ponies as having originated from the Andalusian horse or Barb, and, being well formed, sure-footed, and remarkable tough, making excellent saddle-horses.

Mr. George Flemming writes of the wonderful endurance of the Tartar pony; he gives one instance of the Russian courier, who used to ride from Pekin to Kiakta — 500 miles — in twelve days, rest two days, and return in fifteen, and quotes a book by the Emperor Kienloong, published in Paris in 1770, translated by a Jesuit Father, alluding to those for racing as having a swiftness beyond comprarison. These Tartar horses have been crossed again and again with Arabs.

Mr. Adye says that General Walker, Military Attache to Berlin some years ago, when probably English cavalry were better mounted than now, was much exercised to account for the superior endurance of the Prussian troop-horses over the English. He was given as the chief reason the nearer affinity to pure Arab blood. He says that, when favouring the Arab, he was asked, Why go to the Arab when the English thoroughbred was a perfected Arab? To which he replied that the Arab was much hardier, that the thoroughbred was a more useful animal a hundred years ago than he is now, and he expressed his regret that the Arab was not properly appreciated in England; and then he prophetically added:

‘Some day, perhaps in some future campaign, in which he happens to be brought into direct comparison with our present trooper, and is found to be going on for months after the latter is hopelessly done up or dead, we may have our eyes opened to his extraordinary merits.’

This was written before the Boer War. Alas that he should have been so accurate! To say that the English thoroughbred is a perfected Arab is nonsense, the jargon of the bookmakers; he is an Arab deteriorated — deteriorated by his being bred for sprinting, and spoiled by base blood.

In the Leisure Hour (May, 1902), W.J.Gordon, in ‘The Horse-Supply of the World‘ writes that in the Napoleonic wars the Russian horse (an Eastern horse), lived while the French horse died; that the only others that stood it were the little Arabs from the islands of the Levant. And he says that in the Austrian army much of the quality of their horses was due to careful breeding, especially in those from Hungary, which had a strong infusion of the Arab. And he shows the excellence of the Arab as a sire by the fact that the small Burmese tat, sturdy and sound, is, since the introduction of Arab stallions, developing into that useful but larger breed, the Indo-Burmese. And he adds that the riding-horses of Persia and Syria (allied races to the Arab, if not pure Arab, for the Arabs conquered all those countries) are better in quality than even the rough customers like Burnaby’s wonderful Arab, which he bought for 5 Lbs.

Chamber’s Journal (September, 1901, p. 609) says that the Connemara ponies are geatly indebted to the infusion of Arab blood, as also are the Orloff trotters and the Achil pony.

Mr. Wilfred Blunt stated to his purchasers at his sale at Crabbet Park, in July, 1901, that the British Government had at last entered its name on the list of his customers, that the Scotch Breeding Commission had taken three of his best stallions to improve the ponies of the western Highlands, and that the Government of India had decided on reorganizing its military studs, and true Arab stallions were to be used.

The Register (August 14, 1901) states that at this sale the Dutch Jockey Club of Java bought some Arab stallions.

Mr. C.B.Fisher states that he believes that the Arab and Timor are the only two pure breeds there are. Where comes in the purity of the boasted thoroughbred if this belief of one of the most experienced and respected breeders of horses in Australia is well founded?

The Australasian (July 6, 1901) states that the breed of ponies which originally existed in Basutoland are supposed by the settlers to have been brought thither by Arabs from the northern regions of Africa, which is corroborated by a writer in the South Australian Register of June 10, 1901 on the Boer ponies, who says that, ‘as most of them are descendants of Arab stock, they are unrivalled for hard usage‘; and ‘Bruni’ writes (September 6, 1903) that ‘Boer ponies are said to be half-bred Arabs.’

These newspapers might have been more positive as to the Arab blood in these celebrated ponies, for Professor Wallace of Edinburgh, in his book on ‘The Farming Industries of South Africa,’ published 1896, after his official visit on the invitation of the Cape Government to report upon and advises as to those industries, show that these wonderful South African horses are for the most part of Arab blood. He states that the first horses at the Cape were imported, soon after 1650, by the Dutch East India Company, and consisted of Arabs and Gulf Arabs. Note that he distinguishes between Arabs of the pure breed, like Mr. Wilfrid Blunt’s, and the inferior breeds of the Gulf, such as are occasionally palmed off on India. Then he continues that, when inbreeding led to deterioration, the same company introduced Persian Arabs about 1688, that these became crossed with other stock, including Spanish horses (which, as I have shown, have a good sprinkling of Barb blood), and that recently the breed has been improved by crossing with Arab stallions.

On October 11, 1902, ‘Bruni’ writes:

‘Since I wrote on the Arab as a sire, I have received several letters from horsemen in widely different parts of Australia, bearing testimony to the value of the Arab as a sire calculated to improve the value of the Arab as a sire calculated to improve the stamina of our horse stock. The most interesting of these letters is one received from Mr. R.R.Hogarth, a resident of the north-west coast of Tasmania. He gives the following instance of the poweres of endurance of the high-class Arab:

“In December, 1900, my brother, weighing about 10 stone 7 pounds, rode a pony standing 12.2 hands from this place to Evandale Junction in one day. The distance is ninety-two miles. He left here at 4 a.m., and arrived at Evandale Junction at 8 p.m. He stayed an hour at Latrobe for breakfast, and another hour at Dunorlan for dinner, leaving the main-road a maile to call on Mr. W. Wyatt.”

To show that the pony was not injured by his long journey Mr. Hogarth rode him into Launceston and back — a distance of twenty-two miles — the next day. The road Mr. Hogarth describes as macadamized, and exceptionally hilly in parts. The pony was taken out of a grass paddock the day before he did the journey, having been running there for some time. The pony was by Dagobeirt, imported from New South Wales from a three-quarter-Arab mare by Maharajah, an Arab horse well known in the Evan dale district. The feat performed by this pony far exceeds the European military race of seventy miles, in which no less than thirteen of the competitors were killed. Of the pony himself Mr. Hogarth says:

“His walk and canter were perfect, while as to his trot — well, it was indescribable.”

An article in the South Australian Register, September 9, 1898, after quoting various favorable opinions, observes that in Febuary, 1862, at Calcutta, the Arab Hermit, though defeated, gave Voltigeur’s daughter such a stretching that the following day the mare had to be kept home, and the Arab proved the winner. Their hardiness was such that many an Arab has continued year after year to add to his laurels in spite of a thickened suspensory ligament.

Mr. De Vere Hunt cites with approval an authority which asserts that none but a people long possessed of numerous and well-trained chargers could have planted the victorious banners of Islam on the Pyrenees as well as on the banks of the Ganges. He might have added — ‘and carried them to China.’ He then sets out a letter from Lord Gifford, who was for twenty years a master of foxhounds, wherein the writer says that his little Arab was worth fifty of the gray, he rode him cub-hunting with Mr. Greaves, and he was active as a cat, and could put a leg anywhere. The horse was apparently not? an Arab.

In the South Australian Advertiser. it was lately stated that the Arabian horse has been used in developing the military horses of all the European countries, and that the thoroughbred had deteriorated to a mere shadow, while the Arab had remained the same and was increasing in popularity in Grat Britain.

‘Cecil,’ whom I have mentioned above, while supporting Mr. Day in supposing that the Arab could not improve the racehorse — as a racehorse — admits that: ‘For riding-horses, however, it is another affair.’ For the army and the general public that is the whole question.

Major Arthur Griffiths, in an article in the Fortnightly, September, 1898, writes that another great merit in the Egyptian cavalry is their horse-flesh, sturdy little Syrian Arabs which have done an immense amount of hard work, and, although small for their loads, are so strong and full of spirit that they have never been sick or sorry all the year.

At the Battle of Omdurman the Egyptian cavalry, mostly Arabs and Arab crosses, were out all day on September 1 from daybreak on August 31, and not in till 3 p.m., and on September 2 they were heavily engaged wih the Dervishes for several hours. They then advanced on Omdurman, and were sent in pursuit of the Khalifa; and the writer adds that it is really wonderful wht the Arab pony will do.

The passage from Mr. G.W. Steevens’ book above quoted as to the cavalry march to Omdurman shows the weight-carrying power of the Arab horse; for the ‘little Syrian’ is three-parts Arab — often, indeed, called Arab. This little horse with a light rider carried 18 stone on his back; with a heavy rider he carried 20 stone. I also cited the passage because it shows to demonstrat the utter inferiority of the English horse, ‘which had to be left behind at Cairo.’ Mr. Stevens was only describing what he saw. He does not appear to have had any idea of lauding the Arab. It does not appear that he knew how nearly Arab the little Syrian is, nor does it appear that he had any idea of disparaging the English horse. He was describing a picturesque scene, and the reference to the English horse seems to have been quite an aside. ‘Their own big, hungry chargers had to be left behind at Cairo!’

Dinah Sharp, in the New York Times, November 14, 1891, shows that the Arab has not deteriorated. She relates that Omar (who afterwards belonged to the late Empress of Austria, the finest horsewoman in Europe), travelled three days and nights over the hot and barren plains of the Arabian desert, with but 2 quarts of barley for food, and an occasional tuft of Sahara clover.

Miss Ella Sykes, in her recent work ‘Through Persia on a Side-saddle,’ writes that the horses they usually had were wiry little Arabs, about 14 hands high, plucky, enduring, and very easy to manage by their riders.

The Vienna correspondent of the Mail, recently wrote that the Hungarian horse had special qualities of endurance, which he attributed to his dash of the Arab blood, and that it was a great matter to have a certain strain of Arab blood in the troop-horse; for the Arab horse and the horse with the Arab blood will feed on indifferent forage which the English horse will not look at, and would retain condition when the latter was reduced to a bag of bones. The Hungarian horse had extremely hard bone, like the Arab, and consequently was seldom troubled with spavin, which was but too common among our own horses, whose bones are softer.

The Windsor Magazine, January, 1903, has it that the horses which are common to Hungary and Roumania are famous for their extraordinary strength, pluck, and sure-footedness. They both have a strong Arab dash.

In the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica‘ art. ‘Arabia,’ it is said that trained European racers would easily distance a thoroughbred Arab on any ordinary course, but for perfection of form, symmetry of limbs, cleanness of muscle, beauty of appearance, for endurance of fatigue, for docility, and for speed maintained for distances so long as to appear incredible, the Nedjie horse acknowledges no equal.

Mr. Harold Leeney, M.R.C.V.S., in the Live Stock Journal Almanack for 1898, writing a scientific article on the castration of horses, showing its desirablity, says that if exception — i.e., noncastration — could be made to any particular breed, he would say that the Arab was the one with fewest objections as an entire. No other reference is made to the Arab in the article, and this incidental reference of course testifies in an unusual manner to his docility. It is said that if they have never been at the stud they are perfectly quiet; and I believe that they are not usually gelded in Egypt. I often show off the docility of the breed to my guests by mounting — I ought to say, at seventy-three, by climbing on to — my old sire, now twelve years old, in the paddock, without either saddle or bridle, and I have done this though close to him on the other side of the fence was another stallion. I have riden him in great crowds and tents and shows and sports at Glenelg on Commemoration Day, and when he has got excited I have only had to speak to him to calm him down. This after several years at the stud.

Mr. W.G.Palgrave says that it is well known that in Arabia horses are much less frequently vicious or refractory than in Europe. Why, that is in the breed! Then he adds that this was the reason why geldings there were so rare. Miss Sara Linard, in her recent book on the horse, 1902, quotes a horse – parade described in the Daily Graphic of October, 1896, where four young ladies rode four Arab stallions, which, she says, before going to the stud are entirely safe, and which she also says is the case with Arabs only, ‘who know how to behave themselves as gentlemen.’ Many young ladies, visitors at my farm, from six or seven up, love to give my stallions sugar. But they are pure-bred. They are ‘gentlemen.

I have read that the docility and the cleverness of the breed are such that, in Arabia, they lead the animal to bite and keep in the path those which stray. Now, it so happened that, when the grass began to spring, the horses, working bullocks, and cows, at Kingsford, where I used to be stockkeeping in the forties, used to wander — there were no paddocks — and it was my duty to go out in the morning and bring them home, sometimes a distance of three or four or more miles. There was always a tendency in cattle and horses under these circumstances to edge off from a man on foot, and so surely as any of the other horses, or any of the cows or bullocks, did this, my old stock-horse, half Arab, as I have said, was as prompt as a cattle-dog to rush out and bring them back by a nip. I often used to wonder how he acquired the habit. This was, of course, when he ‘wasn’t on‘ himself for a gallop. Occasionally some of those uncanny creatures which entered the Gadarene swine possessed him, and at such times he was the ringleader. that was when the ‘old Adam‘ came out; but he would not ordinarily allow any of the others to lead or to depart from the right path.

In Dr. Liddon’s ‘Tour in Egypt and Palestine in 1886,’ a description is given of a Bedouin Sheikh, a worthy descendant of Sir Walter Scott’s Saladin. When he struck his spear into the ground, his horse stood and watched him like a dog. When he returned after his rounds, his horse lay down and gave a low whinny, then the Sheikh lay down by his side, making a pillow of the horse, and they both slept, apparently, for half an hour. The Sheikh again went his rounds, and the horse, finding his master had no further intentions of going to bed, got up and stood by the spear all night. My groom often lies down between the legs of my stallions, which then walk round him inquiringly and caressingly, apparently pleased at his confidence.

Mr. R. Fitzroy Cote, a considerable author, in his ‘Peruvians at Home,’ says that at the Lima bullfights all the horses permitted to enter the arena must be of pure Arab blood, and owing to their sagacity and the agility of their riders they seldom fail to escape the bull’s horns. Mr. Cote was not writing up the Arab horse, and only mentions him incidentlally; but doubtless the Peruvians had discovered his wonderful powers of twisting and turning, which have been illustrated in his boar-hunting in India.

The great traveller J.S.Buckingham, who at one time commanded a ship which made a long stay at each of the great marts of trade in the Persian Gulf, in giving an account of the trade there to India, and explaining the easy mode in which horses might thence be shipped, says that it was the usual thing for Arab horses to sleep standing, and to do so for years in succession, without ever lying down except when sick.

‘Bruni’ points out, on the authority of Mr. W.G. Hughes of Texas, that the foundation stock of the celebrated Mexican mustangs was the Moorish horses (Barbs) turned loose by Cortes. Desiring to breed from these mustangs, Mr. Hughes travelled over a large part of the United States, and finally found the horse he wanted in Nimrod, by a pure Arab sire, Nimr.

As showing the growing favour of the Arab, the racing gentlemen notwithstanding, the Ladies’ Field, October 28, 1902, has an advertisement that ‘a perfectly-shaped child’s pony 11.3 hands, rising five, like a miniature Arab, jumps high,’ was for sale. A racing man would probably laugh at this, but even supposing the man or woman who inserted this advertisement had been impressed by some drawing-room or fashionable novel, none the less does it show that the present general trend of opinion towards the Arab which ‘Bruni’ testifies to. It shows a belief that Arab blood is a recommendation, that there is a growing recognition of the excellence of the breed, a belief that it is the best that can be obtained in horse-flesh, and breeders who want to sell will be wise if they note it. If it be only a straw, it is the sort of straw which shows the way the wind is blowing. It demonstrates, in fact, that belief in the Arab is ‘sinking in.’ Can anyone wonder at it when he reads the facts collected in this little book?

‘Faneargh,’ in the Sidney Mail, writes that the old stockhorse of the overlanders of the early forties and fifties were largely bred from Arabs, that these old horses were of wonderful stamina, and their staying powers were marvellous.

The Register, September 7, 1901, reminds the public that the Arab horse stands cold as well as heat, and will eat anything that is given to him; that on half-rations or less his brave heart carries him through almost all imaginable difficulties; that it is difficult to overweight him, and he has always been more appreciated by foreigners than by Englishman — of course because of sprinting.

Professor Watson writes that the African horses were smaller and shorter in the body than those bred in Australia, and, as most of them were descendants of the Arab stock, they are unrivalled for hard usage.

At Waterloo the Emperor Napoleon was mounted on Marengo, a beautiful little Arab, only 14.2 hands, and when wounded Napoleon mounted his white Arab mare Marie; and in another sketch of Napoleon it is stated that Marengo was brought by Napoleon from Egypt in 199 (sic), and riden by him at Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram, in the Russian Campaign, and at Waterloo, and that his skeleton was still in the Royal United Service Institution.

The German Emperor at the army manoeuvres in 1902 led the cavalry ‘mounted on his Arab charger.‘ He may be a poet, but he is no dreamy simpleton. He is probably the hardest-headed man in Europe.

Lord Roberts at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was mounted on ‘his celebrated Arab.’ Lord Roberts is not a drawing-room General, but, as stated by Lieutenant-Colonel Maude in Macmillan, May 1, 1902, ‘a perfect horseman– one of the best in India — a man of the widest experience as to what hores can do in the field.’ Colonel Maude states that General Roberts rode his Arab all through the Candahar forced march — ‘a type of the highest class of Arab.’ By special permission of Queen Victoria, this horse, Voronel, wears an Afghan medal with four clasps, and the Cabul-Candahar star.

Abdur Rahman, late Amir of Afghanistan, writes in his autobiography (one of the most remarkable books of the day, 1900):

‘At the end of our march both men and hroses were well-nigh exhausted. I myself cooked some meat and distributed it among the men, who were almost fainting; the horses meantime lay down, unable to rise again. Only one horse, my own Arab, remained standing.’

Abdur Rahman was fighting for his life, and, like the Bedouin, had to rely on his horse for his preservation. The odds on the Cup and the Stud book were nothing to him. A racing sprinter would have been destruction to him. He wanted fact, not fancy; solid work, not delicate prettiness; and it can be hardly suggested that the German Emperor did not know a good horse. Why did they ride Arabs when the pick of the whole world was at their service?


The Arab: the Horse of the Future (Part III)

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Arab: the Horse of the Future

Articles of History:

FROM THE PAST: Excerpted from


by Hon. Sir James Penn Boucaut The Khamsat Vol 10 Num 4 Nov 93

Edward III. was a great warrior.

Captain Thomas Brown, 1830, says in his book that the Turkomans trace all their best horses to Arabian sires. They believe that the race degenerates unless ‘refreshed,’ and they are therefore most anxious to obtain fine Arabian horses. They live upon plunder, and march from 70 to 105 miles a day for twelve to fifteen days together without a halt. They have been known to go 900 miles in eleven successive days. Yet a sprinter would run away from them for a sprint — but for a sprint only. Where would be the sprinter at the end of the fifteen days of 100 miles a day?

The use of the Arab by the Turkoman is further alluded to by Mr. Henry Norman, M.P., in his book on ‘All the Russias,’ fifty years after Captain Brown wrote. He says that the Cossacks on the Armenian frontier are supplied with rifles by the Government; their wiry little horses are their own. Russia has imposed peace on the Turkoman, so, in spite of Imperial commissions and the importation of Arab stallions, the fleet and tireless Turkoman horse, with his flashing eye and scarlet nostril, is extinct for ever. Alas that it should be so! All honour to Mr. Wilfrid Blunt for his keeping the pure breed alive!

Captain Brown says that the horses of Turkey are principally descended from those of Arabia, Persia, and Barbary, have great fire and spirit, are extremely active, and he cites Mr. Evelyn as describing one sent to England as a perfect beauty, spirited, proud, nimble, turning with swiftness, in a small compass, and then quotes great authority as saying that nothing can surpass the Arab’s gentleness, and that his obedience to his master and groom are very great.

Captain Brown also says that in the Mysore country the Princes and people of rank have a superior breed sprung from Arabian blood, and that the Mahratta country has also long been celebrated for its horses, which have much of the Arabian blood in them.

He refers to the East India Company as keeping very fine stallions, generally of the English blood. He says that the produce of these are good parade horses, with more show than the Arabians, but they were unable to stand the same fatigue, nor had they the same mettle. This is corroborated by the Australasian, March 2, 1904, fifty-four years afterwards, which states that at the great Durbar at Delhi there was a ten days’ polo meeting, that the English ponies first gave in, the Australian lasted a day or two longer, but the only ones who stayed throughout the match were the Arabs! Yet they have neither staying power, courage, nor docility! O tempora, O mores.!

And Captain Brown sums up by saying that of late too little attention has been paid to the introduction of foreign Arab or Eastern stallions, asks where can we find such horses at the present day, either as racers or stallions, as Eclipse, Childers, King Herod, Matchem, and others; and attributes the present failure to the departure of our present racers from the foreign blood — in other words, that since racing men have abandoned the use of the Arab their horse is failing.            

Sir Samuel Baker, in his ‘Tributaries of the Nile‘ writes;

‘Never was there a more perfect picture of a wild Arab horseman than Jali on his mare. Hardly was he in the saddle than away flew the mare, whilst her rider, in delight, threw himself almost under her belly while at full speed, picking up stones from the ground. Never were there more complete centaurs than these Hamran Arabs: horse and man appeared to be one animal, of the most elastic nature, that could twist and turn with the suppleness of a snake.’

Further, in speaking of a particular horse Aggahr, in hunting a lion, who flew along as easily as a cat, he says that Aggahr’s gallop was perfection, and his long easy stride as easy to himself as to his rider; there was no necessity to guide him, he followed an animal like a greyhound, and sailed between the stems of the trees, carefully avoiding the trunks, so as to give room for the rider.

And once a Hamran,’ so Sir Samuel relates, ‘who was hunted by a rhinoceros who unexpectedly charged, clasped his horse round the neck, and, ducking his head, blindly trusting to Providence and his good horse, over big rocks, fallen trees, thick thorns, and grass 10 feet high, with the infuriated animal in full chase only a few feet behind him, the horse doubling like a hare.’

that is nearly as bold and as manly and as dangerous a sport as to run 800 yards on a smooth level sward for a ladies’ purse, with silks and satins fluttering along the lawn!

Sir Samuel also describes a lion-hunt, where his horse Tetel stared fixedly at the lion and snorted; but Sir Samuel patted and coaxed him, when within about 6 yards from the lion, the horse facing the lion with astounding courage, both keeping their eyes fixed on each other, the one beaming with rage, the other with cool determination. Sir Samuel then dropped the reins on his horse’s neck — a signal which Tetel perfectly understood — and he stood as firm as a rock, for he knew his rider was about to fire. Tetel never flinched, Sir Samuel fired, and the lion dropped dead. But what is that compared to the noble achievement of a jockey in winning a town plate?

Yet one more incident from Sir Samuel’s book: ‘Roder Sheriff, on a bay mare, facing an old bull elephant waiting a good chance to charge, slowly and coolly advanced till within about 8 yards of the elephant’s head, who never moved; the mare snorted, gazing intently at the elephant, watching for his attack. Sir Samuel for an instant saw the white of the elephant’s eye, and called out, “Look out, Roder — he’s coming.!” as, with a shrill scream, the elephant dashed upon the mare and her rider like an avalanche.’ Roder sheriff had never won a Derby, so, of course, you suppose the benighted man was killed! Not so, however. In Sir Samuel’s words, ‘Round went the mare as on a pivot, and away over rocks and stones, flying like a gazelle.‘ For a moment Sir Samuel thought that all must be lost; but he describes how Roder watched the elephant over his shoulder, and lured him on till the horsemen behind came up and hamstrung him. Yet of such mares we are gravely told that they have neither speed, stamina, nor docility!              
Caulincourt, Duke of Vicenza, when ambassador to Russia in 1807, saw a review of the Horse Guards raised by Paul I., the finest corps of horse in Russia, and reported that their Arabian horses ‘were of immense value.’

In the ‘Souvenirs of Military Life in Algeria,’ by the Comte De Castellane, he says of a hawking-party that ‘the Arab horsemen were mounted on the fleet mares held in unbounded estimation.’ Of one mare he says: ‘Her action was so light that she might, according to the Arab phrase, have galloped on a women’s bosom.’ Of course, a jockey or a racing trainer would sneer at this, naturally: he is so wise in horses — ‘one of the knowing ones.’ Yet I think that the opinion of a French officer, often dependent on his horse for his life, engaged in war, with as brave warriors as there are in the world facing him, might be fairly considered to be rather more valuable than that of men engaged only in sprinting races, as to which horse is the better for the ordinary purposes of humanity.

Mr. George Flemming, in ‘Travels in Mantchu Tartary,’ says that the Russian courier used to ride one pony 500 miles to Pekin in twelve days, rest a day, and return in fifteen, on the most unfavourable sort of forage. He relates that their own rides had been long and without intermission, and their ponies looked none the worse, though they were eight or ten hours in the saddle daily, doing forty or forty-five miles a day, and travelling nigh 700 miles of rough country, nothing less than that average on miserable fare — bran and chopped straw.

Whether Tartar or Turkoman or Mantchu, all those ponies have been indebted to the Arab cross.

Mr. John Hill, in the Live Stock Journal Almanack, 1903, writes that he was much impressed by the foals and young stock of, amongst others, the Arab Mootrub, and, again, that it is surer by far to breed up from the beautiful little Exmoor mare with th eMootrub cross on top. Further, that two very beautiful younsters were shown from Exmoor dams and an Arab sire. He speaks of a beautiful little pony as a typical Arab in miniature, a clear proof of the Eastern ancestry of the Welsh mountain pony. In ‘The Breeders’ Directory’ and in the advertisements of the same book are several announcements as to Arab sires.

Mr. Winwood Reade says that Cyrene, in Northern Africa, was ‘famous for its Barbs, which won more than one prize in the chariot-races of the Grecian games. ‘ Further on he says that the Berbers of the Carthaginian army were a splendid Cossack cavalry.

I give in Appendix II. the testimony of several large horse-breeders in the interior of Australia to the excellence, docility, and endurance of Arab stock got by pure stallions.

Sir Edward Creasy, in his ‘History of the Ottoman Turks,’ relates that when Mahomet II, heard in 1451 of the death of his father, Amurath II, ‘he instantly sprang on an Arab horse and galloped off towards the shore of the Hellespont.’ and he says that the Sultan Amerath, when making in 1638 a triumphal entry into Constantinople,’ rode a Nogai charger, and was followed by seven led Arab horses with jewelled caparisons.’ Nogai is between the Caspian and the Black Sea, in the country of the Kirghiz, whose horses were partly Arab.

The first of these extracts from Sir Edward shows the reliance placed by the successsful Sultan on the Arab horse at a great crisis, for often, if not mostly, many of the candidates were massacred straight away by some rival claimant. The second extract proves the admiration shown for him, and the honour always done him by a great conquering race, who conquered by the endurance, the speed, and the docility of their horses.

General Sir Thomas Edward Gordon, Military Attache at Teheran, says that the Persian horses are small, but very wiry an enduring, capable of very long journeys. On one occasion, owing to some great man having got the post-horses ahead of him, he was driven to continue the use of those he had been using for ninety-six miles right away, with only three hours’ rest at one place and one hour’s rest at another.

He was shown the Royal Stud racehorses, Arabs from Arabia, and riding horses, deer-like Arabs of the best blood.

According to Madame Waddington, wife of the French Ambassador, the Russian Emperor Alexander III, always rode his little gray Cossack horse. He rode it at his coronation, and some days afterwards at a review.

Lieutenant-Colonel Prejevalsky, a Russian, says the Mongol riders go at full speed across the desert like the wind, and their horses possess wonderful powers of endurance on very indifferent feed; they will live where other horses would perish. The great traveller, Captain Wood (J.N.), says the same.

Colonel Ramsay says that the Parsees give immense prices for high-caste Arabs, and that Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy has superb English carriage horses, but they cannot stand work in the Bombay climate. That is what Mr. Carwardine, a well known Australian stock-owner, tells me of the Kimberley climate in North-Western Australia — that only Arabs can stand work there. Colonel Ramsay also describes the funeral of a grandee of Spain at Valencia, where ‘there were some splendid turn-outs — Arabs of the purest breed.’ And he speaks of his own regiment, the 14th Light Dragoons, as ‘splendidly mounted on Gulf Arabs.’

Colonel Durand describes a horse he had in India as perfectly untiring, having sinews of steel, a bold, intelligent eye, and feet of flint – he never rode his equal on a hillside — and he goes into ecstasies over his other wonderful qualities, with his ‘easy wolf’s canter, eating up mile after mile without a check, a present fit for a king.’ He says that none but the Arab could show such a combination of courage, fire, endurance, and general temper. His bold heart was the only one he trusted in implicity.

Mrs. Frances Macnab, in her ‘Travels in Morocco,’ writes that she could not say that she ever met with a horse in Morocco which had any faults or ill-temper to be compared with other horses, and they would walk all day without food. In her own horses there was not a scrap of vice in his whole nature.

Mrs. G.R.Durand, wife of the British Minister to the Shah of Persia, in her book writes that the Bakhtiari horses are often beyond price, of pure Arab race, as hardy as beautiful; quite extraordinary in the way they carry their riders over rocks and stones — they scarcely ever make a mistake, and their legs seem to be as hard as steel. A little black mare ‘carried her rider as if she had wings.’ Mrs. Durand herself had a little gray Arab, who used to come into her dining room and stroll round the table, pushing his head over their shoulders and whinnying gently for bits of bread. At a Simla dinner-party he came round the table just like a big dog.

Mr. J.H.Sanders shows that tradition had always affirmed that the Percheron, the most active and beautiful of all heavy breeds, is indebted to the Arab for his good qualities, and that recent research in France proves it. What the Darley Arabian was to the thoroughbred, that, says Mr. Sanders, was the gray Arabian Gallipoli to the Percheron. The American Percheron Stud-Book attributes the starting-point of the breeed to the overthrow of the Arabs by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in the year 732, which left the fine Arab and Barb steeds of the defeated Arabs in the hands of the victors. It also show that the infusion of Arab blood was strengthened by the finest of Arabian stallions brought back by the Crusaders, and was kept up at irregular intervals by many Franch nobles down to 1820. the form and other distinctive marks of the Arab, says Mr. Sanders, were thus stamped upon the Percheron.

The Arab breed, he says, was also the foundation of the celebrated breed of Orloff trotters established by Count Orloff, who imported a gray stallion named Smetauxa, from Arabia, to whom a Danish mare was bred, from the progeny of which cross the breed was founded.

And the now equally celebrated breed of American Morgan trotters is also mostly indebted to the Arab blood for its excellence, through Grand Bashaw, a Barb imported into America from Tripoli. In fact, says Mr. J. H. Sanders, this Oriental blood, wherever introduced, in all nations and all climates, has been a powerful factor in effecting improvement in the equine race. Yet, says Mr. Day, for practical purposes this same noble creature is as extinct as the dodo. O tempora, O mores!

Marco Polo noticed the superb qualities of the Arab in A.D. 1260. He says that excellent horses were bred in Yemen and taken to India, and numbers of Arab chargers were despatched from Aden to India, and ‘fine horses of great price‘ were sent to India from Persia. Colonel Yule has a footnote that these latter horses were probably the same class of ‘Gulf Arabs’ that are now sent, which, as the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica‘ says, are not equal to the pure Arabian.

Old Marco also speaks of the great excellence of the horses of Turcomania and Badakshan, remarkable for their speed, which go at a great pace even down steep descents, where other horses neither would nor could do the like, which subsist entirely on the grass, and are very docile. And he describes how the Turkomans pretend to run away in battle, turn in the saddle and shoot, the horses doubling hither and thither, just like a dog, in a way that is quite astonishing.

He also mentions several instances of the marvellous endurance of these Eastern horses. One accomplished 900 miles in eleven days, and another went from Teheran to Tabriz, returned, and went again to Tabriz, within twelve days, including two days’ rest, a total of 1.100 miles. And he tells us that the Tartars, from converse with the Assyrians, Persians, and Chaldeans, acquired their manners and adopted their religion. He should have included the Arabs, for the religion was certainly theirs; and he might also have added that the Tartars acquired many of the Arab horses. In truth, I rather think that it was the Arabs, and not the Assyrians, Persians, or Chaldeans, that Marco ought to have referred to.

And Laurence Oliphant says that these Turcoman and Badakshan people attained to some degree of civilization by reason of their commercial relations with the Arabs, and that his experience proved that their ponies possessed great pluck and powers of endurance.

Long before Marco Polo’s time far Easstern Asia was on the watch for Arab horses. Knei Shan (probably Khojend towards Merv) was ‘celebrated for its horses of divine race.’

China went to war with the Great Wan in 104-103, and again in 109-98 B.C., for the possession of this country and its horses, which were undoubtedly Eastern horses — most probably Persian Gulf Arabs.

In ‘The History of Russia‘ (Bohn’s Library) the success of the Tartars is attributed partly to their ‘being masters of the provinces which produced the finest horses.’

Mr. Shaw, in his ‘Visits to High Tartary,’ frequently refers to the handsome horses. He describes a sport where a dead goat is thrown on the ground, and the horsemen try to pick it up without leaving the saddle; when one succeeds he is chased by the others, doubling and turning, their hands seldom on the reins, banks and ditches jumped while they are half out of the saddle, galloping with one another, trusting entirely to their steeds when tugging with both hands at the goat. But, says he, ‘the Toorkee horses seldom make a mistake.’

The Rev. Dr. Henry Lansdell(1893) writes of his travels in Central Asia, that, fearing his horse would slip, he dismounted, but found that was for the worse, since the horse proved the surer footed, and he had to remount and trust to the animal.

Sir Henry Layard describes clouds of Bakhtizari and Arab horsemen in mimic fight, pursuing each other, bringing up their horses on their haunches at full speed, firing guns as they turned in their saddles, and performing various feats.

Sir Henry was once chased, and his horses were weary, having been nearly twenty-four hours without rest; but, says he, ‘they were sturdy beasts, and eluded their pursuers – it was wonderful!” The horses were able to bear great fatigue, and required little nourishment. Could Carbine have saved him?

He describes Mehemet Taki Khan’s magnificent and beautiful Arab mare of pure blood, and the exercises of his horses of the finest Arab breeds — galloping to and fro, wheeling in narrowing circles, while their riders, discharged their guns from behind, picked up objects at full speed, or clung at full length to one side of their horse, in order not to offer a mark to the enemy, and so on. How would these exercises suit your thoroughbreds, or your cavalry horses which ran into the streets at Winchester, and into the sea at Southampton?

Mr. Selah Merrill, of the American Exploration Society, writing of his journeys in Syria and Palestine, says that on one occasion he was ten hours and forty minutes in the saddle, and that on another occasion he was seventeen hours in the saddle one day, and fifteen hours the next; that the horses had a remarkable faculty of finding the way, and that, when riding in a difficult place, if you trusted entirely to your horse, you were almost certain to pass it in safety.

The Rev. Hugh Price Hughes, describing his journey to Jordan and the Dead Sea, writes (1901) that his chief dragoman was ‘magnificently mounted,’ as also were the four Arabs who were his escort. They put their splendid Arab horses through pretty and skilful performances.

A recent special correspondent writes in the Land of Arabia– Ararat, that the region was celebrated for its breed of horses, high-spirited, well bred, and noted for great endurance.

Disraeli writes in one of his letters:’Hunted the other day, and was the best man in the field, riding an Arabian mare.’ They rode much more cruelly in those days.

The Hon. Sir James Penn Boucaut, 1905.

The Arab: the Horse of the Future (Part II)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Arab: the Horse of the Future

Articles of History:

FROM THE PAST: Excerpted from


by Hon. Sir James Penn Boucaut
The Khamsat Vol 10 Num 4 Nov 93

Circassian Warriors, 19th century engraving courtesy of Judith Forbes.

In the autobiography of General Sir Harry Smith, of Aliwal, a very great soldier of wonderful energy, reference is frequently made to his celebrated Arab horse Aliwal, which carried the veteran in all the battles of Gwalior and Sikh campaigns in 1847, accompanied him to the Cape, returned with him to England, afterwards served him faithfully in his commands at Davenport and Manchester, and was in his possession for eighteen years. It is related that on the anniversary of the Battle of Aliwal, when there was a full-dress dinner at the General’s house, someone would propose Aliwal’s health, and Sir Harry would order him to be sent for. The groom would lead him all round the dinner-table, glittering with plate, lights, uniforms, and brillent dresses, and he would be quite quiet, only giving a snort now and again, though when his health had been drunk, and the groom had led him out, you could hear him on the gravel outside prancing and capering.

Sir Harry writes:

‘I had one little Arab, not 14 hands, descended from Arabs; he never gave me a fall, and I never failed to bring the brush to his stable when I rode him; but with all the other horses I have had some awful falls, particularly after rain, when the sand is saturated with water and very heavy.’

It is further written of the General that he usually rode his little Arab Aliwal, and always when the troops were in line he would suddenly put his horse into a gallop and ride at the line, as if he were going to charge through them; that the men were, of course, well up to this trick, and stood perfectly steady, and the little Arab always suddenly halted within a foot of the line.

The following epitaph on his horse by Sir Harry, in his own handwriting, is still preserved:



‘Sir Harry rode him in the Battles of Moodkee, Ferozesshahur, Aliwal, and Sobraon. He was the only horse of the General Staff that was not killed or wounded. He came from Arabia to Calcutta, thence to Lahore; he was marched nearly over India, came by ship to England. He was twenty-two years old, never sick during the eighteen years in Sir Harry’s possession. As a charger he was incomparable, gallant, and docile; as a friend he was affectionate and faithful.’

Is this all a romantic dream? Can the opinion of a racing gentleman founded upon ‘sprinting,’ or of a stable youth founded upon ‘tips,’ or of a ‘dandy’ of Piccadilly, or of the ‘best boy’ of a Melbourne barmaid, be placed against the practical experience of all these great soldiers?

In the Franco-Prussian War the Arab again proved his sureriority. The Times of February 24, 1871, gave an account of the entry of General Bourbaki’s army into Berne, and the distress of both men and horses, but it qualified this as to the Arabs by adding that

undoubtedly the Arabs justify the established reputation of their breed for endurance by the very tolerable condition they presented and the comparative elasticity of their paces.’

Mr. W.G.Palgrave, in his ‘Central and Eastern Arabia.’ vol. II., says of some horses then before him, that never had he seen or imagined so lovely a collection. their stature was indeed somewhat low–he did not think that any came up to 15 hands; 14 appeared to be about their average — but they were so exquisitely well shaped that want of greater size seemed hardly, if at all, a defect. He says that they appeared a little, a very little, saddlebacked — just the curve which indicates springiness without weakness; every other part, too, had a perfection and a harmony unwitnessed, at least by his eye, anywhere else — an air and step that seemed to say, ‘Look at me: am I not pretty?’ Their appearance justified all reputation, all value, all poetry.

Captain Burnaby, in his Ride to Khiva, says of horses of the Kirghiz, that no horses that he has ever seen are so hardy as these little animals. He bought one with saddle and bridle, 14 hands, for 5 Lb. Of excessive leanness, and by his description only fit for the knackers, which in England would not have been considered able to carry his boots, yet, in spite of quite 20 stone on his back, he never showed the least sign of fatigue. There is Arab blood in these horses, or they are of a kindred breed. All over the steppes Arabic words are used, showing the influence of the Arabs in the past; indeed, they overran much of this country.

In July, 1270, a French expedition (the seventh Crusade), under Louis IX. attacked Tunis. Mr. Pellissier, writing in 1844 on this Crusade, says that the Arabs attacked the French Crusaders every day, and that

if one pursued them they fled; but when the French returned to their quarters, tired out by a bootless chase, the Arabs turned round and assailed their pursuers with arrows and javelins. This is exactly how they treat us today.’

In the latter sentence he referred to the Arabs under Abd-el-Kader in Algiers. It was as bootless a chase for the French cavalry to try to catch the Arab horses in Algiers in 1840 as it was for the same cavalry to try to catch the Arab horses in Tunis in 1270; 600 years had not lessened the difference in merit between the two breeds: the Arab was still facile princeps.

General De Wet could furnish instances yet sixty years later of other European cavalry having bootless chases after Arab horses. In 1535 the Emperor Charles V. attacked Tunis with success, and amongst the terms of the treaty of peace which was made it was provided that the suzerainty of Sprian was to be recognised by a yearly present of twelve horses. No such term would have been made unless the horses had been known to have been of unusual excellence. You don’t take coals to Newcastle nor Arab horses to Arabia. But you send them elsewhere. Another Bey of Tunis, Ahmed Bey, in 1842, sent, amongst other things, a present of an Arabian horse to Louis Philippe, King of the French. So that we have three Kings of France in three far-apart periods receiving presents of Arab horses from the Bey of Tunis, and there are scores of other instances where an Arab horse has been deemed worthy of being a present to be received by one Sovereign from another. Was I not justified in saying that it was childish of my unknown friend, above referred to, to say that there is neither speed, stamina, nor docility, in the Arab horse?

Napoleon Bonaparte, in his ‘Observations on Egypt.’ states that although discipline made 1.000 of the French cavalry superior to 1.500 Mamelukes, yet man for man the Mamelukes were the better — ‘two of them were able to make head against three Frenchmen,’ because they were better armed and better mounted; and Sir Edward Creasy says that Napoleon is the best writer on the subject of Egypt that a general or statesman can consult.

The Mamelukes were probably Arabs, but were certainly mounted on Arab horses, and Cook’s ‘Guide to Egypt‘ cites Warburton as stating that the Mamelukes were the most superb cavalry in the world. Major Upton says in effect the same with reqard to the present age:

The real armour of the Bedaween horsemen, offensive and defensive, is the speed of his mare.’

Polybius wrote that it was the superiority of Hannibal’s cavalry which gained him all his victories. That cavalry was Numidian — that is, Arab.

‘Thormanby,’ in a book on The Horse and his Rider, whom I should by no means take to be an Arab enthusiast, affirms that the Arab is in many respects entitled to take the lead among all breeds of horses; that his pace is rapid and graceful; that his is hardy, and can continue traveling at the rate of from fifty to sixty miles a day; that it is proved beyond doubt that for slow, continued work the Arab is immeasurably superior to his English brethren. that distance is the mileage that one of Mr. Quin’s Arabs at Tarella, New South Wales, bought of me, went day after day during the great drought about the end of the nineteenth century, with, I believe, only native grass, or what was left of it. Is that properly to be called ‘slow’?

“Thormanby’ can, clearly, have meant ‘slow’ only as opposed to short sprinting with light weights; in fact, he admits as much in almost the very words that I hears applied to Mr. Quin’s stallion, that an Arab seems at his own pace to be able to go for ever. But I deny that his pace is slow; it is very fast, as many a defeated army has discovered. ‘Thormanby’ describes two Arab horses sent to him from Bombay to Lucknow, which did not reach him for five months, having marched continuously, with many vicissitudes, continual forced marches, and irregularly and scantily fed, still arriving in perfect trim, and continuing to do fast work throughout the hot season. I note particularly the word ‘fast,’ which is the author’s. ‘Thormanby’ might therefore have said more in the previous passage than to say the Arab was immeasurably superior for ‘slow’ continual work! He fairly enough says that, all things considered, he sould prefer in the Indian or Egyptian climate an Arab to any other horse, habituated as he is from infancy to scanty food and water, and to enduring heat and rough usage, and above all with sounder legs and feet — a good tempered, willing and docile slave, and a rare agent to traverse a distance in an open country. Another passage from “Thormanby’ shows how ill adapted the ordinary horsey man, used to the ‘leggy, weedy creature who would fall over a straw,’ is to judge of the merits of the Arab. Says ‘Thormanby’ of five Arabs of the ordinary stamp — by ‘ordinary,’ I take it, he means Bombay Arabs of the old style, not pure-breds of the desert —

To an eye accustomed to European horse-flesh they would have looked, perhaps, at the first glance like a lot of screws; but when you came to examine them closely, you found undeniable points about them, and a look of gameness that showed it was, at any rate, no plebeian animal that you had before you.’

A former Duke of Newcastle, one of the best judges of horse-flesh then in England, shows how few people can judge an Arab accurately. He thought very little of the Godolphin Arabian!

‘Thormanby’ points out that the wild-horses of America, both North and South, have descended from Andalusians imported by the first settled Spanish settlers, and that they are fine animals, very hardy, and when caught soon docile. He describes the common amusement of the Mexicans and South Americans in charging like lightning, and stopping so suddenly that the horses’ feet will exactly touch the wall, and even at times will tremble over a precipice, and yet wheel round in safety.

This is of a piece with the description given by Layard and many others of the Eastern Arabs, who would stop in full charge with their spears so close to his face that an accident would have caused his death. I have cited Major-General Tweedie’s references to this, and those of several others.

‘Thormanby’ relates a story of Sir R. Gillespie on the Calcutta racecourse, when a tiger had escaped. A Bengal tiger is no kitten to play with. Sir Robert called for his Arab, a small gray, and attacked the tiger with a boar-spear, which was in the hands of one of the crowd. Immediately the tiger saw Sir Robert, he crouched for a spring, at which Sir Robert instantly put his horse in a leap over the tiger’s back and thrust his spear through the animal’s spine.

This grand and fearless little fellow was afterwards given as a present to the Prince Regent. Though he was like all his race, a born war-horse, cool in the presence of the tiger under a rider that he knew, and not afraid of jumping over him, et, alas! he could probably not have won a half-mile race with 5 stone on his back! How sadly degenerate! Nevertheless, he was not quite ‘so extinct as the dodo‘ on that occasion!

Mr. W.K.Kelly, the traveller, in his book on ‘Syria,’ 1844, says that the Bedouin and his horse should be seen together. When the rider’s feet are on the ground, he creeps listlessly about, and the horse stands tamely, looking hungrily after the few blades of grass. but when the Bedouin springs into the saddle an electric energy seems breathed into the man and horse. The horse makes the air whistle with his speed, while his streaming tail often lashes his rider’s back.

This is exactly what Madam Ida Pfeiffer writes in her ‘Travels in the Holy Land,’ about fifty years ago. She said that at first sight they looked anything but handsome. They were thin, and generally walked at a slow pace, with their heads hanging down. But when skilful riders mounted them they appeared as if transformed. Lifting their small, graceful heads with fiery eyes, they threw out their slender feet with matchless swiftness, and bounded away over stock and stone, with a step so light, and yet so secure that accidents very rarely occurred. It was quite a treat to see them.

Madam Pfeiffer and Mr. Kelly both dwell on the arab’s powers of endurance. Mr. Kelly says they are most remarkable. His on more than one occasion carried him for sixteen or eighteen hours at a stretch without food, and once he cantered him from Hebron to Jaffa, nearly fifty miles, without pulling bit. At the end of such a journey, Arab horses, he says, get only a few handfuls of barley, no bedding or grooming, and generally the saddle is not removed. They are sure-footed and exceedingly sagacious, and exhibit a wonderful degree of activity and fleetness. then he cites Baron von Taubenheim, first equerry to the King of Wurtemberg, who, writing to a friend, reminded him what an anglomaniac he (the Baron) was, but said that nevertheless from henceforth he should set the Arab horse above every other, from experience of his extraordinary performances. The Baron describes the horrible roads of Lebanon — rocks over which the horse has often to mount or descend two or three at a step, loose rolling stones, a track running jaggedly and unevenly along the verge of a precipice. Yet along such roads as these the Arab goes on without flagging from six in the morning till eight at night, and he averred that he never discovered the least flagging, even in the last quarter of an hour, and for many days he literally never took hold of the reins.

The Rev. Dr. Porter, in his “Five Years in Damascus,’ refers to these dreadful roads of Leganon, which, he says,

are startling when your steed assumes a vertical attitude or passes along a precipice brink, where a false step would hurl him hundreds of feet below.’

After many other instances of endurance, cleverness, bottom, and docility, Baron Taubenheim says that he knows that vanity would make him in his own country again seek out a six-foot-high English horse, but that he also knows that the Arab is capable of doing much better service. For the day of battle he should, perhaps, make choice of an English hunter, but for a whole campaign, says he,

give me one Arab in preference to two English horses.’

He also says that a traveller feels amazement ot think that in such a country men can trust themselves upon horses where you would expect to see them mounted only on goats. Those horses don’t fall over a straw. The Baron’s vanity which he speaks of gives you a part of the key to the Anglomania vanity, the desire of being on a tall horse — the vanity of the horsey youth in top-boots and knee-breeches, whom the Times satirizes as a ‘tendollar amateur’; the vanity of the Piccadilly masher prancing before the dames in the Park; the arrogant vanity of the insular mind, which thinks that nothing can be good which is not English. The other part of the key to this absurd Anglomania is the gambling.

In another place Mr. Kelly says that it is only in the East that you can form a just idea of the Arab horse, and he devotes a full page to enlarging on his merits, his beauty, his gentleness, his picturesque form, his caressing manner to his groom, his playfulness, his inquisitive attention, evincing as much certainty, force of character, and varied play of feature, as the emotions of mind on the face of a child. Many of my guests have noticed and spoken of this caressing manner shown by my young horses, as also their inquisitive attention and wonderful appearance of intelligence. It has been stated that an Arab would prefer his horse to be stolen rather than injured in a long and heavy chase, and that he has been known to rejoice, by reason of his pride in her, when his favourite mare has carried the thief safely away from his pursuit. If he is to be kicked, he hopes that it will be by a horse of pure breed!

Dr. Porter writes of the arrival of a stranger who drew up after a very rapid pace, whose mare stood patient and gentle without symptom of weariness or quickness of breathing, but with expanded nostril and proud eye.

‘I could see,’ said Dr. Porter, ‘why the Arab loves his horse.’

Mr. Frederick Drew, in his book ‘The Northern Frontier of India,’ says that Baltistan is one of the homes of polo, which is so ancient a game that it was played in Constantinople in the middle of the twelfth century.

‘The ponies of the Baltis,’ he says, ‘may be taken fairly enough to embody the experience of generations of players as to the right kind of animal. They stand about 12.3 or 13 hands, rather large-boned for their size, of compact make, broad chest, deep shoulder, well-formed barrel, well ribbed-up, good hind-quarters, and a small, well shaped head.’

This well describes a small Arab; anyhow, the creature to which Mr. Drew refers is an Eastern horse, and certainly more or less crossed with the Arab.

Mr. W.P.Hogg, an American gentleman, in his book ‘The Land of the Arabian Nights,’ After several casual and cursory remarks as to ‘handsome Arab horses,’ ‘a mettled Arab.’ ‘a beautiful full-blood Arab horse,’ and their ‘wonderful endurance,’ and so on, describes his inspection of the stables of the Pasha at Babylon, where there were a score of the finest Arab horses, and naively says that, although he is not especially a horse-fancier, he would fully appreciate the present were the Pasha to give him one of those beautiful animals, so intelligent, docile, and graceful in every motion. Everybody seems to notice their beauty.

The Hon. F. Wallpole, in his book’The Ansayrii,‘ writes of an Arab mare he was shown of the Anazeh:

‘She was worthy of the pen of a Warburton or a Lamartine: clean gray, with black mane and tail, silvered at the end; her skin thin as a kid glove, and the long hairs fine as that which drops over the shoulders of beauty. The eye was bright, wild, and flashing; the nostrils full, almost bell-shaped; tall and strong, yet light and active, she well deserved her name — The Beautiful.”

In ‘Modern Persia.’ C.J.Wills, M.D., describes a fourteen-hand pure-bred Arab which he bought, with a huge scar of a spear-wound a foot long on his shoulder, otherwise perfect, of angelic temper, but small by the side of the Persian horses, as all pure Arabs are; his muzzle almost touched his chest as he arched his neck, and his action was very high yet easy; he seemed an aristocrat; his thin and fine mare and tail were like silk.

He says that he had that Arab ten years; he never was sick, and he never had to strike or spur him; a pressure of the knee and a shake of the rein would make him do his utmost. And he was a fast horse.

“Small as he was, he carried my 12 stone comfortably, and as a ladies’ horse he was perfect, having a beautiful mouth, while he followed like a dog, and nothing startled him or made him shy.’

He speaks, too, of the Arabs which come from Bagdad as all that the heart can desire, except as to size, being seldom more than 14.2. Which is the better — 14.2 that can carry one, or 16.2 that cannot?

The Australasian, April 2, 1904, in showing that the success of mule-breeding largely depends on the sire, says that the best mules in America are by Jacks descended from Catalonian sires imported from Spain — introduced to Spain centruies ago by the Moors, and always carefully bred. Who can doubt that this excellence is owning to the Arab stock owned by the Moors, which made the Andalusian jennet celebrated? Who can doubt after this the prepotency of the Arab sire, and his ability to benefit any breed he mates with, when even his hybrids became famous? Mr. Sydney Galvayne also testifies to this excellence of the American mule.

Captain R.V. Davidson, formerly of the Indian Staff Corps, writing of boar-hunting in India in the Wide World Magazine, says that

he and Bethune Temple were on Arabs, and could count on their turn if it came to jinking,’

and that when again and again

the active brute, scenting danger, jinked away to right or left, his stanch little Arab followed him like a cat.’

Mr. F.C. Webb, M.I.C.E., in his “Up the Tigris to Bagdad,’ relates that they took on board three splendid Arab horses, which he would not have written if the Arab is only what some of the racing gentlemen affirm. An observation like this — by the way, as it were — is almost better testimony than a designed panegyric.

Professor A.B. Davidson gives a very celebrated line by Imrulquars, an ancient Arabian poet, describing the skirmishing of the horse and the irresistible impetus of his charge:

Attacking, fleeing, advancing, backing at once,

Like a block of rock swept down by the torrent from a height.’

He gives part of another poem, in which is the line:

‘My heart is with the horsemen of Yemen.’

The reader asks why I cite this. Because I am not writing for the ‘knowing ones,’ and I desire to show beyond all cavil that, at all times, in all countries, amongst all peoples, the Arab horse was famous. Such fame could never have been achieved for a breed that did not deserve it.

M. Tisset, in relating his travels in ‘Unknown Hungary,’ says that all along the Turkish frontier, and especially in the upper military borderland, a small race of horses of Barbary origin is found well suited to those rugged and rocky countries, which corroborates the statements that the Hungarian horses are largely indebted for their excellence to Arab blood.

Count Henry Krasinski, a Polish soldier, in the ‘History of the Cossacks of the Ukraine,’ says that their horses are small in make, but extremely vigorous, and proof to all kinds of fatigue, clear all difficulties of the ground, carry their riders everywhere with facility, and are, like their masters, content with the most meagre fare; and he describes them as hovering round the enemy like a vapoury cloud, augmenting, fading away, or dissipating entirely again, to form into shape when required. This fortifies the accounts I have given of the Arabs of Tunis in the third Crusade, and of the Arabs of Algiers recently in the time of General Daumas.

These Ukraine horses are Eastern, and, if not pure Arabs, have been imporved by Arabs, and are of a kindred race. Count Krasinski states that at the great annual fair in the government of Volhynia 1000,000 horses often to be seen from all parts of Russia, Poland, Austria, and Turkey, and even Persia. The Kurdish mountains as well as Asia Minor were celebrated for their breed of horses in the time of the prophet Ezekiel (xxvii. 14).

In Mr. E.H.Parker’s ‘Thousand Years of the Tartars‘ it is stated that Tukuhum of Koko-nor, one of their rulers, who reigned in the sixth century, obtained a number of splendid Persian mares for breeding purposes, and their young obtained great repute for swiftness. Of course, these were ‘Eastern horses,’ and yet not up to the level of the pure desert-bred Arab.

Mr.W.B.Harris, in his ‘Journey through Yemen,’ states that the Arabian King Tubba-el-Akran took an expedition to Samarcand, and afterwards, in A.D. 206, Abou Kariba, another Arabian King, invaded Chaldea, and defeated the Tatars of Adubijan, so that all this country from Arabia to China was saturated with the blood of Arabian horses.

I see by the London Daily Telegraph, February 6, 1904, that the Sultan of Morocco sent a present of six pure Arabs to President Roosevelt from Fez, one for the President himself, the others for his wife and children, the one for himself being a pure white thoroughbred. In ancient times white horses were most esteemed; e.g., Herodotus says that the Sicilians paid an annual tribute of 360 white horses, Arabs or Arab crosses, to Darius, King of Persia. Sicilian horses, of course, came from Africa (Barbary, etc), just opposite. Other instances are given of the preference for white horses; Arab horses have always been deemed worthy of being gifts from royalty to royalty. Incidentally several instances appear in this little work. I may summarize a few more which I have come across in casual reading:

In the year 800 Haroun al Raschid sent a present of five Arabs to Charlemagne. In the tenth century the Grand Vizier presented to the Caliph fifteen Arab horses of the best breed.

In 1131 Alexander I. presented an Arabian horse to the Church of St. Andrews. Mehemmed Khan, governor of Balk, presented Shah Abbas, amongst other presents, with fifty horses of Turkestan. The Imaum of Muscat sent a present to King William Iv. of some horses of the purest breed of Arabia.

Megder, a Tartar Prince, one of the great conquerors of history, sent a present of Tartar horses to the Chinese Emperor about 200 B.C. In A.D. 635 the Turkish Khan sent a present of horses to the founder of the Tang Dynasty in China.

When Ibn Batula visited Sarunda in Asiatic Turkey in 1332, the Sultan presented him with a dress of honour and riding-horses. They never thought of sending pigs or oxen or Suffolk punches, admirable in their way as these creatures may be, and all these horses from Cyprus, and Edward III. purchased fifty Spanish steeds (of course Barbs), and got special permission for their safe transport through France and Spain.

Edward III. was a great warrior. Did he not know the value of the creature he purchased?

Major Butler in his Great Lone Land, describes a wonderful little horse of the prairies whose endurance could not be excelled day by day. He feared that he must give out; but not a bit of it! he still held gamely on, seldom traveling less than fifty miles a day, nothing to eat but the grass, and no time to eat but the frosty night. these prairie horses were descended from Spanish importations — Andalusians, i.e., Arabs or Barbs.

Count Rziewuski (Russian ) says that Asiatic horses are of one family, different from the European horses, except the English, which have much Arab blood, and that Napoleon did his best to improve the horses in France, but they were far inferior to English horses. This was in the middle of last century. The Count could not say that now. The Count also stated that the Poles had spared no expense in introducing Arab stallions, and gives many instances. Why were the English horses of that day superior to the French? Plainly, because up to that time the English had used the Arab very much more than the French, as the Stud-Book shows and as Count Rziewuski states. Why are thy inferior now? Because they have fallen off from the use of the Arab.

M. Chateaubriand, in his Travels in Greece, testifies to the hardihood of the Arab horse, and enters at length into what hardships he can stand, and says that a horse of well-known noble blood ‘will fetch any price,’ while you can get an ordinary horse for 80 or 100 piastres.

Major Denham, on losing a fine Arabian, describes how keenly he felt the loss, and says that although he was ashamed of it, yet he was some days before he could get over it; the animal had been his support and comfort through many a dreary day and night. Almost all riders of Arabs have felt the same sort of affection. As several authorities have observed, ‘the Arab is always a gentleman.’