Arabian and Standardbred –“Hot-Blooded” and Very People-Oriented Horses
The Arabian and Standardbred horses are popular breeds for driving. It is amazing how elegant Arabians and Standardbred horses look in front of a carriage and how easy they can be trained.
I had myself once the chance to drive a single Standardbred on a Marathon carriage and was almost shocked on how fine hand movements this horse reacted during the drive.
The Arabian Horse is extremely versatile and also used as a driving horse.
The Standardbred is a harness racing horse that can easily be re-trained for pleasure driving after retiring from the race track.
The Arabian horse has been developed in a desert climate by the Bedouin people in Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Iraq.
Arabian bloodlines are crossed into almost all horsebreeds in the world and it is worldwide one of the most popular and most traded horsebreeds.
The Arabian is a very intelligent horse with an outstanding stamina. It has got a fine head with a concave or “dished” profile, a broad forehead, large eyes and nostrils and a small muzzle. The neck is arched, the body is compact with a short back, a long level croup and a tail that is naturally worn high.Some have 5 lumbar vertebrae instead of normally 6 in all other horses and 17 pairs of ribs instead of 18. Its shoulders are well laid-back and the well-angled hip is deep.The bones are very strong, it has got sound feet and a very good quality hoofhorn. The bodysize measured at the wither is 14.1 – 15.1 h.h, but Arabians in Europe and America can reach up to 16 h.h, as in these regions taller horses are preferred.
Haircolour is usually bay, gray, chestnut, black and roan.
Arabian horses are very sensitive and intelligent, they have got a naturally good disposition and they learn very quickly. If poor handled and not well-trained they can learn also bad habits quite quickly.
Arabians are very versatile horses: they are used for horse racing, dressage, show jumping, hunting and – of course – driving competitions. Their best field is the endurance riding or -driving.
The Standardbred has been developed in North America as a harness racing horse. Its predecessor was bred out of crosses between English Thoroughbred, Norfolk Trotter, Hackney, Morgan and Canadian Pacer.
“Hambletonian 10”, the great-grandson of “Messenger”, an English Thoroughbred, is known as the founding sire of that breed.
Today nearly every trotter or pacer originates from this bloodline.
The Standardbred has got an excellent temperament. It has got a long body with very powerful shoulders and even more powerful hindquarters. The hindquarters are taller than the forehand. The legs are solid. The Standardbred is stockier than the Thoroughbred, but is very sound and sturdy. The size can vary from 14.1 h.h up to 17 h.h. The haircoat is usually bay or brown, other colours are seen.
The Arabian and Standardbred are very people-oriented breeds and easy to train. If Standardbreds are used as pleasure horses they are easy to re-train, but you should have somebody experienced beside you for this, as commands on the race-track are quite different to those used for normal driving or riding.
Standardbreds have all the usual gaits and can be encouraged to perform comfortable gaits like amble, rack, stepping pace and others.
A trotter moves its foreleg in unison with the opposite hindleg. A pacer moves its foreleg in unison with the hindleg of the same side.
The Standardbred is the fastest trotting horse in the world and its main use is harness racing.
Once re-trained from its former racing career, it makes a very good driving horse and surprisingly a good riding horse, too.
Arabian and Standardbred horses are very intelligent horses. This means on the one hand that they learn very fast. On the other hand can they pick up bad habits and manners with the same speed.
Due to their temperament Arabians and Standardbreds need to be worked on a regular basis. Otherwise they can become quite “firy” and it gets rather hard to control them.
Being worked regularly brings driver and horse closer together. With time each “party” learns more about the other side and trust can build up. Once a horse like the Arabian and Standardbred trusts you, you have a friend for life! This might be true for other breeds as well, but with Arabians and Standardbreds especially, as these breeds are very people-oriented.