Arabian Horse vs Normal Horse: In-Depth Comparison

Are you a horse enthusiast looking to learn more about the Arabian Horse and how it differs from a “normal” horse? Look no further! In this post, we’ll be diving into a comprehensive comparison of Arabian Horse vs Normal Horse, exploring their unique characteristics, history, and uses. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or just starting out, read on to discover the key differences between these two magnificent equine breeds.

Physical Differences

Horse with rig

Size and Build

The Arabian horse is generally smaller and more compact than other horse breeds. Arabian horses typically stand between 14.1 and 15.1 hands (which is a unit of measure equivalent to 4 inches) at the withers (the highest point of a horse’s back). Their build is relatively slender and muscular, making them agile and swift on their feet. On the other hand, a “normal” horse, like the English horse, may be taller and have a bulkier build, better suited for tasks like jumping or dressage.

Coat and Coloring

Arabian horses display a variety of coat colors, including gray, white, black, brown, roan, and tobiano patterns. These coat colors can be vibrant and striking, lending to the breed’s overall allure. In contrast, a “normal” horse may have a less diverse array of colors and patterns, which can vary depending on the breed.

Facial Features

One of the most distinguishing features of Arabian horses is their unique facial structure. They have a distinctive wedge-shaped head, arched neck, large nostrils, and a dished face — a concave profile that makes their foreheads appear more prominent. This elegant and refined appearance is a signature trait of the Arabian horse and sets them apart from other breeds. In comparison, a “normal” horse may have a more standard or straight facial profile, lacking the dramatic features of the Arabian breed.

Overall, the physical differences between Arabian horses and other breeds, like the English horse, can be notable in terms of size, coat color, and facial structure. These distinctions contribute to the unique elegance, nobility, and beauty that characterize the Arabian horse.

Temperament and Behavior

Brown Horse Isolated

The temperament and behavior of Arabian horses are quite distinct from those of other horses, with certain unique traits that set them apart. Often referred to as hot-blooded, Arabian horses are high energy and can be moody. This sensitivity can make them difficult for inexperienced riders, as they quickly pick up on any irritation or frustration from their rider, potentially leading to a more challenging ride(source).

Arabian horses are known for their strong bond with humans, resulting in a cooperative and responsive nature during training and riding. They are intelligent and quick learners, often demanding attention during interactions(source). While their alertness and skittish nature might be seen as a downside, this quality can be attributed to their origins as desert-bred horses, where staying alert to potential dangers was essential for survival(source).

In contrast, the temperament of other horses can vary greatly depending on their breed, environment, and age. Some breeds, like Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, display a more calm and gentle demeanor, making them ideal for beginners and leisure riders(source).

The difference in temperament and behavior can be further illustrated by comparing the following features:

Characteristic Arabian Horse Other Horses
Energy Level High Varies according to breed
Sensitivity High Varies according to breed
Intelligence & Trainability High Varies according to breed
Human Bonding Strong Varies according to breed

Both Arabian horses and other horses possess qualities that may appeal to different riders, depending on their experience and goals. The key is to understand the temperament and behavior of individual horses, so as to make the most informed decision when selecting the right horse for one’s needs.

Gaits and Movement

When comparing the gaits and movement of Arabian horses and other horse breeds, it’s essential to understand the differences in their natural and artificial gaits. Gaits refer to the orderly hoof fall patterns of movement a horse exhibits while in motion. The primary natural gaits are walk, trot, and canter (or lope), while artificial gaits include specific movements that some horses are trained to perform or are specific to their breed (Extension Horses).

Arabian horses are known for their exceptional stamina, balance, and agility. Their gaits tend to be smooth and comfortable for the rider. The breed’s natural gaits include a four-beat walk, a two-beat trot, and a three-beat canter (Horse Rookie). The walk is a lateral gait where the pattern typically goes right hind, right front, left hind, then left front. The trot is the next speed up from a walk, where the legs move in two diagonal pairs. Lastly, the canter is a three-beat gait where the legs move in a sequence that provides a rocking motion for the rider.

In contrast, other horse breeds might have variations in their natural gaits or might be trained to perform specific artificial gaits. For example, some horse breeds like the Tennessee Walking Horse and the Paso Fino are known for their unique, smooth gaits that create a comfortable, gliding ride for the rider (Pet Keen). These artificial gaits, such as the running walk, are often the result of selective breeding and specific training methods.

When it comes to movement, Arabian horses are known for their refined and fluid motion, making them ideal for disciplines such as endurance riding and dressage. Their lighter body structure and strong hindquarters enable them to cover ground more efficiently and with greater agility than heavier horse breeds. In comparison, other horse breeds may excel in different disciplines due to their unique movement patterns and physical characteristics.

In summary, Arabian horses and other horse breeds exhibit differences in their gaits and movement patterns, which can influence their suitability for specific equestrian disciplines. Understanding these differences can help riders make informed decisions when selecting a horse for their specific needs and preferences.

History and Origins

Horse in the autumn field

The history and origins of both Arabian horses and other breeds play a significant role in understanding their unique characteristics and differences. In this section, we will explore the origins of the Arabian horse and its influence on other breeds, providing valuable insights into these magnificent animals.

Arabian Horse

The Arabian horse is considered one of the oldest and most influential horse breeds. While its exact origins are obscured by the sands of time, it is widely believed to have originated in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula around 3000 BC. The Bedouin tribes share a long and storied history with the Arabian horse, maintaining meticulous ancestral records to ensure the purity of the bloodlines.

The Arabian horse is renowned for its speed, stamina, beauty, intelligence, and gentleness, which have contributed to the development of numerous modern light horse breeds. Throughout history, Arabian horses have been spread across the world via war and trade, leaving an indelible mark on various cultures and shaping the development of other breeds by lending their unique traits(Wikipedia).

Other Breeds

While Arabian horses have significantly influenced modern equestrian breeds, it’s essential to note the history of other distinct lineages. According to a study, almost all contemporary horse breeds can be traced back to two ancient Middle Eastern lines brought to Europe approximately 700 years ago. This knowledge helps unravel the complex genetic origins of modern horses and provides insights into the historical practices of trading, gifting, and stealing horses in that era.

Many breeds, such as Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and Appaloosas, have been shaped by the infusion of Arabian bloodlines. As a result, these breeds now exhibit some aspects of the Arabian’s valued qualities — such as endurance, grace, and robust bone structure (Horse Illustrated). From the conquests of ancient empires to peaceful trade and cultural exchanges, Arabian horses and their influence on other breeds have left an enduring legacy on the equestrian world.

Genetics and Breeding

Arabian Horse in Sunshine

Arabian horses are known for their unique genetics and distinct characteristics, which sets them apart from other horse breeds. These ancient horses possess rich genetic diversity, which has resulted from crossbreeding with various breeds and geographic distributions over time (source).

Arabian horses hold a dominant position in the equine world due to their excellent endurance, speed, and agility. Contrary to popular belief, Arabian horses did not contribute genetically to the modern-day Thoroughbred (source). In terms of breeding, Arabian horses are often crossbred with other breeds to enhance specific traits while maintaining their inherent qualities.

One significant aspect of Arabian horse genetics is their susceptibility to certain disorders. For instance, Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is a common genetic disorder among Arabian horses, characterized primarily by insulin resistance, obesity, elevated leptin, high blood lipids, high blood pressure, and chronic laminitis (source). Researchers are continually studying and investigating these genetic disorders to improve the overall health and well-being of these majestic animals.

Genetic research on Arabian horses has also revealed important information about their racing performance. Scientists have identified specific genes that contribute to success in Arabian horse racing (source). This genetic information can be useful for breeders and trainers to optimize the performance of Arabian horses in the racing industry.

In conclusion, the genetics and breeding of Arabian horses showcase their unique characteristics, strengths, and vulnerabilities. This valuable genetic information can be utilized to preserve the integrity of the breed, improve their health, and enhance their performance in various equine disciplines.

Uses and Disciplines

The Grey Arabian Horse Beautiful Potrait

The Arabian horse and the normal horse are both versatile breeds that excel in various equestrian disciplines. However, they have their respective strengths and characteristics, which make them suitable for specific activities. In this section, we will explore the uses and disciplines in which each breed excels.

Arabian Horse

The Arabian horse is a versatile breed known for its speed, stamina, beauty, intelligence, and gentleness Britannica. This makes them suitable for many equestrian disciplines, ranging from casual riding to competitive sports. Some major areas where the Arabian horse excels include:

  • Endurance Riding: Arabians are known for their incredible stamina, which makes them ideal competitors in endurance events. Their ability to cover long distances at a consistent pace is unparalleled, as mentioned by Horsey Hooves.
  • Show Jumping: Although they may not be as physically strong as other breeds, Arabians possess great agility and athleticism, making them capable show jumpers.
  • Dressage: The intelligence and grace of the Arabian horse make it an excellent choice for dressage. Their ability to learn quickly and perform intricate movements smoothly allows them to excel in this discipline.

Normal Horse

The term “normal horse” can refer to various breeds, each with its unique combination of traits and abilities. However, when comparing to the Arabian horse, we can look at the versatile Quarter Horse as an example. The Quarter Horse is known for its speed, quiet temperament, and adaptability Horse&Rider. Some areas where the normal horse excels include:

  • Reining: Due to their calm temperament and physical strength, the Quarter Horse excels in the discipline of reining. They are highly trainable and can master the precise movements required in this sport, as mentioned by Horse&Rider.
  • Western Riding: Quarter Horses, along with other breeds commonly referred to as “normal horses,” are well-suited to Western riding. Their versatility and adaptability make them an ideal choice for disciplines such as cutting, roping, and barrel racing.
  • Trail Riding: The even temperament and sturdy build of breeds like the Quarter Horse make them excellent trail riding companions. They can navigate various terrains and remain calm under pressure, offering riders an enjoyable and safe experience.

In conclusion, both the Arabian horse and the normal horse excel in numerous equestrian disciplines. While they have unique characteristics that make them ideal for specific activities, it ultimately depends on the rider’s preferences and the individual horse’s abilities. When properly matched, both breeds can provide a rewarding and enjoyable riding experience.

Health and Lifespan

Brown Arabian Horse in Green Field

Comparing the health and lifespan of Arabian horses to that of other horse breeds can provide valuable insight for horse enthusiasts. Generally, Arabian horses have a reputation for being a healthy and durable breed. They have an average lifespan of 25 to 30 years, which is similar to the general horse population. However, there are instances of Arabian horses living well into their 40s, which is a testament to their potential for longevity when provided with proper care and maintenance.

The Arabian breed is known for having longer lifespans than average, which is likely due to their capabilities for speed, stamina, and adaptability. They are less prone to certain health issues when compared to larger horse breeds such as Draft Horses and Warmblood Horses. This is an important factor to consider when evaluating the overall wellbeing of different horse breeds.

Arabian horses originated in desert environments and developed physical and mental traits to survive in harsh conditions. These traits include a leaner body with a large lung capacity for efficient respiration and strong, resilient hooves that are well-suited for navigating rough terrain. These inherent characteristics contribute to the overall health and durability of the breed, setting them apart from many other types of horses.

While Arabian horses are known for their excellent health and extended longevity, it is important to provide them with appropriate care to ensure they thrive. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, proper exercise, and good housing conditions are essential components for maintaining the health of an Arabian horse. Attention to grooming and hoof care is also crucial, as this breed can be susceptible to certain hoof ailments and skin conditions.

In conclusion, the Arabian horse breed boasts a remarkable ability to maintain good health and enjoy a long lifespan when compared to other horse breeds. Their inherent qualities, combined with proper care and attention, contribute to their overall health, making them an attractive option for horse enthusiasts looking for a dependable and long-lived equine companion.


In comparison, Arabian horses and other breeds have distinctions in characteristics, history, and applications. Arabian horses, originating from the Arabian Peninsula, are renowned for their speed, stamina, and beauty (Britannica). As one of the oldest horse breeds, they have contributed to the development of many modern breeds of light horses (Horsey Hooves).

Arabian horses, when compared to other breeds, are generally smaller in size, usually standing between 14-15 hands at the withers and weighing between 800 to 1,000 pounds (Horsy Planet). Their skeletal structure also sets them apart, as they typically have one fewer rib and vertebra (Horsy Planet).

While other breeds of horses may possess different capabilities and strengths, the unique features of Arabian horses have led to their worldwide popularity in various equestrian sports and recreational activities. In summary, understanding the differences between Arabian horses and other breeds allows horse enthusiasts to make informed decisions when selecting a horse for specific purposes or simply appreciating the diversity within the Equus caballus species.