Awesome Beauty and Grace
“I quickly fell in love with horses. They are so beautiful and boast a unique gracefulness.”—TOMASZ, AN EXPERT HORSE BREEDER.
MANY regard horses as the most beautiful of animals, favored for their grace and their unbridled energy as they rear up on their hind legs, pound the ground with their hooves, snort proudly, and charge forward courageously. They truly are a thing of beauty.
Over the centuries, across a variety of climatic zones and diverse terrains, numerous breeds of horses have been developed. The purebred Arabian horse is viewed as one of the most handsome of breeds. It is classed as hot-blooded, with energy, speed, stamina, and intelligence that make it good for use in sports.
Interestingly, Poland, a Central European country, enjoys a rich tradition of breeding these spirited steeds. In the eyes of breeders and experts alike, some of the most valuable Arabians with the best of bloodlines have links with Poland. Why is that? This and other questions have been put to horse breeders and authorities in the field.
How Enthusiasts View the Breed
To begin with, let us find out a bit more about the purebred Arabian. This breed has always been associated with the Middle East. Tomasz, an expert horse breeder, explains: “For centuries Bedouin tribes cultivated and preserved the purity of the Arabian horse. Thanks to strict selection and the painstaking care of the breeders, the prized Arabian breed was created. Most commonly, these horses are gray, bay, or chestnut in color; occasionally they are black.”
Żaneta, an Arabian fancier, says, “They are extraordinarily beautiful and are thought to be the purest and oldest of all horse breeds.” They are known not only for their fiery temperament but also for their courage and stamina. The Arabian’s strong lungs—encased in its broad, deep chest—make it ideal for long-distance riding.
From Arabia to Poland
“How did Arabians actually get to Poland?” we ask Tomasz, who owns a stud farm here. “They may have first come in the company of an emissary of the king, who was returning from one of his numerous trips to the 16th-century sultanic court of Stambul,” he explains. “What is beyond any doubt, though, is that the Polish breeding program dates back to the late 18th century.” Izabela Pawelec-Zawadzka, an expert Arabian-horse breeder, highlights the role of a certain Count Wacław Rzewuski. As an authority on Oriental culture, he “became the instigator and organizer of import expeditions to bring horses from Arabia,” bringing 137 purebred horses to Europe.
Rzewuski’s persistence and zeal led to the founding of the first Polish Arabian stud farm in Janów Podlaski, East Poland, in the year 1817. “The beginnings looked promising. Qualified breeders looked after the horses,” explains Tomasz. “But the two world wars, which raged throughout the heart of Europe, wreaked havoc on the Polish stud farms. The majority of the horses died, ran away, or were rustled.” However, some time after the second world war, the breeding program was successfully resumed.
The Arabians are now raised in at least 30 Polish stud farms. Two hundred years of tradition guarantees the best-quality horses. Poland has thus become one of the most prominent centers for Arabian-horse breeding, attracting experts and enthusiasts in droves from all over the world to the prestigious annual shows and auctions.
Day-to-Day Care of the Arabian
Raising high-quality horses with distinguished pedigrees requires that breeders provide well for the needs of the animals. Małgorzata, another stud-farm owner, explains: “The care of the Arabian is a complex matter. We need to provide a balanced feeding program appropriate to the hot-blooded horse in order to maintain its levels of fitness and its good looks. Heavily pregnant mares require special attention.”* What kind of feed is best for the Arabian?
Małgorzata continues: “We start the day by feeding the horses hay, which provides all the nutrition necessary, including essential vitamins and minerals. Oats mixed with chaff or cut straw are especially nutritious; barley and wheat bran are also good. But the horses actually prefer juicy green fodder—grass or alfalfa as well as potatoes, carrots, and beetroot. In winter, breeders often buy ready-mixed fodder rich in protein. As part of their diet, Arabians also need salt licks—lumps of salt containing minerals or herbs that cool down their fiery temper. It has to be said, though, that even the best hay or fodder is no match for a grassy pasture. And one last thing, the horses need to have access to clean water at all times—they will not touch dirty water.”
Proper care of the Arabian includes giving unfailing attention to its hide and hair. That calls for careful cleaning, gentle massaging with special brushes, and stroking by hand. There is more, though, as Tomasz explains: “Daily cleaning of the hooves is crucial, as it prevents various types of disease, including cancer. We have to be especially vigilant when it comes to the horse’s eyes, nostrils, lips, and ears.” Żaneta adds: “In order for the horse to be fit and to look elegant, it needs room to run and also sand, mud, or grass to roll in. When a horse perspires after trotting or galloping, it must be covered with a blanket and then cleaned afterward.”
Experts stress the importance of being sensitive to the specific needs of each horse. Małgorzata puts it this way: “It is believed that Arabians have a sixth sense—they value human company, being touched and embraced. Such human expressions build the horse’s trust in its rider to the point that it becomes completely devoted to that person. They are known to neigh with glee in response to a smile, an embrace, or a special treat—such as a carrot or a piece of sugar. Those who love horses have real fun looking after them.” Tomasz describes his passion for them: “I quickly fell in love with horses. They are so beautiful and boast a unique gracefulness. But earning their trust is not easy. It took me many years.”
The Future of the Horse
From time immemorial, people have been thrilled at the sight of the beauty, speed, agility, strength, and intelligence of horses, especially the Arabian breed, and have forged a unique bond with them. Sadly, that same bond has been exploited to vile ends in wars, during which hundreds of horses breathed their last. Under the rule of God’s Kingdom, however, people will use horses for only honorable purposes—all to the praise of their Creator, Jehovah God.
The breeder can decide when a mare will foal. Generally, she can foal every year, but from time to time, she cannot. In her normal life span of 25 to 30 years, a mare will give birth to between 15 and 18 foals.
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Mare and foal
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Day-to-Day Care of an Arabian Includes
1. Careful brushing of its hide and hair
2. Cleaning of the hooves
3. Human expressions of affection
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Stallions playing in the snow