The Anglo-Arabian is a mixed horse breed with Arabian and Thoroughbred ancestry. These horses are also known as Anglo-Arabs.

Unlike other part-bred Arabians recognized by breed societies, these horses do not require a purebred Arabian parent to be registered. To qualify as an Anglo-Arabian, horses must have between 25% and 75% Arabian blood.

The resulting cross is a popular sport horse with speed and stamina that combines the talents of both breeds. However, Anglo-Arabs can also inherit a predisposition to health problems found in Thoroughbreds and purebred Arabians.

This breed profile will discuss the history, characteristics, health problems, and nutritional needs of the Anglo-Arabian breed. Keep reading to learn more about feeding and caring for Anglo-Arabian horses.

Anglo-Arabian Horse History

All Thoroughbred lines today trace back to the breed’s founding Arabian sires. Crossing Thoroughbreds back to Arabians first gained popularity in France. Today, Anglo-Arabians are recognized worldwide for their athletic abilities.

Origin

The English Thoroughbred originated with three Arabian Stallions imported from the Middle East to England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Godolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian, and the Byerley Turk. [1]

In the mid-18th century, French breeders began importing Arabian stallions to cross with English Thoroughbred mares. The first French studbook published in 1833 registered English Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and their crosses. [2]

Breeders initially sought to establish a French Thoroughbred breed. While imports of English sires were not possible during the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonapart returned with several prominent Arabian stallions after his Egyptian campaign.

The term Anglo-Arabian first appeared in French publications in 1848 with a description of the breed as an intermediary between English and Arab breeds. This was followed by formal breed standards that were published in 1880.

Historic Use

The French used early Anglo-Arabians as racehorses and cavalry mounts. When horses became obsolete in modern warfare, breeding directions shifted to producing sport horses.

Several Anglo-Arabians competed in the Olympic Games in the first half of the 20th century. These horses helped win historic medals for France in show jumping and eventing.

Their most enduring historical contribution is the influence of Anglo-Arabians on the development of modern warmbloods. These horses refined and enhanced the athletic abilities of old-fashioned bloodlines.

The Anglo-Arabian stallions Matcho, Inschallah, and Ramzes are in many top German and Dutch bloodlines. These horses also helped form the Selle Francais warmblood breed in France. [3]

Breed Registry

The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) accepts Anglo-Arabians for registration in North America. The foals of registered purebred Arabians and registered Thoroughbreds are considered Anglo-Arabians.

However, crosses between two Anglo-Arabian parents are also acceptable if the offspring has 25% to 75% Arabian blood.

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Breed Characteristics

Like other mixed breeds, the characteristics of the Anglo-Arabian can vary between individuals depending on their ancestry. However, the ideal Anglo-Arabian combines the desirable traits of Arabians and Thoroughbreds.

Conformation

Anglo-Arabians are typically taller than the average Arabian. These horses have an average height of 15.2 to 16.3 hands. They are slightly less refined, but Anglo-Arabs should still have small, fine heads with a slightly dished profile.

Their conformation should resemble an intermediary between a Thoroughbred and an Arab. They have compact and robust bodies with sturdier builds than Thoroughbreds, but still share the breed’s long and elegant neck.

Other characteristics of Anglo-Arabs include deep chests, solid bone, prominent withers, rounded croups, and lengthy hindquarters. Their movement is smooth and flowing with good scope and speed.

Colours

Any coat colour is acceptable in the breed. The most common colours in Anglo-Arabians are:

  • Chestnut
  • Bay
  • Gray

Temperament

Anglo-Arabians have ideal temperaments for sports that require endurance, stamina, durability, and intelligence. These horses have excellent work ethics and can advance quickly in their chosen discipline.

Most Anglo-Arabs have playful and energetic personalities. However, the breed’s sensitivity may not be suitable for timid riders or handlers.

Disciplines

Anglo-Arabians can participate in part-Arabian classes at breed shows organized by the AHA. The breed is so popular that some events separate Anglo-Arabian classes from other crosses.

Eventing is the most popular discipline for this breed. Anglo-Arabs frequently competed at the top level of the sport throughout the 20th century. These horses still occasionally appear on Olympic eventing teams.

Anglo-Arabs can have successful careers as hunters, jumpers, and dressage horses. They are also suitable for endurance racing, but many owners simply enjoy their horses as versatile pleasure mounts.

Anglo-Arabian Horse Health

Anglo-Arabians can inherit a predisposition to common health problems found in their parental lineages. But with proper care, these horses can have long, healthy lifespans.

Genetic Diseases

Arabian horses and related breeds are prone to certain inherited genetic diseases. Genetic testing can identify carriers of these conditions to make informed breeding decisions and reduce the future incidence of these diseases.

Cerebellar abiotrophy

Cerebellar abiotrophy is a neurological condition that causes head tremors and ataxia in affected foals. This defect is found almost exclusively in Arabians.

Studies show most carriers in different breeds, including Anglo-Arabs, have at least 50% Arabian blood. [4]

Lavender foal syndrome

Lavender foal syndrome is a fatal condition found primarily in Arabian horses. Severe neurological abnormalities and a dilute lavender coat characterize this condition.

Lavender foal syndrome is also known as coat colour dilution lethal. [5]

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency

Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is a genetic defect of the immune system in Arabian and part-Arabian horses.

Affected foals appear normal at birth but rapidly develop clinical signs of respiratory distress, diarrhea, and fever. They do not survive past six months. [6]

Occipitoatlantoaxial Malformation

Occipitoatlantoaxial malformation is a developmental disease characterized by abnormal cervical vertebrae and subsequent neurological damage. Researchers identified an autosomal recessive variant in Arabians, but several genetic mutations are likely involved. [7]

Myostatin Gene

The Thoroughbred influence has given some Anglo-Arabians increased athletic ability partly due to specific mutations in the myostatin gene. This gene affects skeletal muscle development and muscle size and has been associated with better exercise performance.

However, not all Anglo-Arabs have these variants, so not all horses share this athletic aptitude. [9]

Health Problems

Thoroughbred horses and related breeds have a reputation for poor hoof quality. Yet one study comparing Anglo-Arabians with other unrelated breeds found these horses had healthy hoof morphology and well-conformed hooves. [8]

The Anglo-Arab’s small head and dished face may increase the risk of dental problems due to teeth overcrowding, but these horses typically have fewer issues than purebred Arabians. [10]

Most of the common health problems found in Anglo-Arabians with performance careers are associated with the increased stress of training and competition. Gastric ulcers and joint problems were the most commonly reported issues in one study of eventing horses. [11]

Anglo-Arabians that participate in performance disciplines are also prone to respiratory problems such as Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH). This condition frequently goes undiagnosed, but can lead to poor exercise tolerance and reduced stamina.

Care and Management

All Anglo-Arabian horses need quality