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taller horses

Bette wrote,
"...Since the larger Arabs are a
newer phenomenon, there are, of
course, less of them to choose from.
larger Arabs I am referring to those
15.2 and above..."

I'm not so sure they are a "newer
phenomenon" although it's true they
aren't the norm. When the Hungarians
went looking for pure desert blood
(starting in 1789) to produce the
breed that became the Shagya, they
traditionally came home from these
excursions with 16 hand (and some
larger, some smaller) Arabians. They
primarily did their searching in
what at that time was known as Syria
(not up on my geography, am not sure
if present day Syria corresponds
with that day Syria). The Shagya
stud books, which are still in
existence and available for all to
see in Babolna, date back to 1789
(the only older studbook in
existence is the English TB) and
very careful measurements were taken
of each and every horse that passed
criteria for breeding whether pba
arab or the resulting Shagyas used
for further development of the
breed. Other records were kept track
of also as to whether the horse had
a dependable temperament, not
spooky, easy keeper, endurance,
jumping, etc. Anyway, heighth was
only ONE consideration (correctness
was more important than heighth) and
they certainly seemed to "come home"
with a number of desert bred
arabians that were in the 16 hand

As a side note, the Hungarians never
tried to breed a larger horse than
16 hands "on purpose". The desired
size was 15 to 16, of course for
going into battle, carrying a
soldier and all his gear. It is said
that they "knew" that attempting to
breed a horse (on purpose) larger
than 16hh was to ask for leg
problems. It is said that the taller
heavily influenced arab horses' legs
had a tendancy to "break down" with
the rigors of going to battle. Face
it, not even endurance is comparable
to "going to war" on a horse for
months on end. Necessity is the
mother of invention and so armed
with what they knew about horses and
war conditions the Hungarians kept
all the important things in mind, ie
legs, conformation, correctness,
good proportions, good movement,
good feet. And when a larger than 16
hand horse happened, that was fine
if all else was in place, but they
didn't breed for size on purpose as
the only criteria. Their very lives
depended on the horse under them and
they bred accordingly. The average
size was, of course, around 15.2,
with substantial bone and full

So what I'm saying is that there is
nothing wrong with size as long as
the other things are all in place.
Like Heidi says, breed for the
"right stuff" and when size happens,
oh joy! The genetic books I have
looked at (for horses AND other
livestock) continuously warn of the
dangers of breeding for ONLY one
trait. Examples include bird dogs
where that "brilliant nose" is
borderline on hysteria, the Paints
with too much white can produce the
lethal whites, pigs that are bred
for faster growing are neurotic and
have a higher death rate than
traditional "old" breeds, hereford
cows (and similar breeds) are more
neurotic with excessive white on
their face than cows with little
white on their faces. Horses also
entered into this discussion in the
book with excessive white (NOT GREY)
being more nervous. Also bone in
horses was discussed, the finer the
bone the more "reactive" or
"nervous" the animal usually was,
the more bone, the calmer the animal
tended to be.

A formula for the centimeters to
hands thing and vice versa...

Say 16 hands = 64 inches.
64 inches x 2.54 cm - 162.56 cm

I think this is the right formula,
although you need to reverse it.
It's been awhile since I used it. To
read the Shagya studbooks from
Europe I have to translate to see
just what the actual size is since
they only use centimeters. :) If
this is wrong, please correct me,

OK, flame away.

Toni and Shagya O'Biwon
Central Oregon

We can't "performance test" the way
they did back in the 1800's. They
had problems with this. Their
general feeling was that the Arab
was never meant to be that big,

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