The Arabian horse is the epitome of grace and beauty; its long lashed eyes twinkle like shining stars! Arabian Horses are the most beautiful horses in the world. They are considered to be one of the lightest and swiftest horses in the world. They are renowned as well for their elegance, refined shape, intelligence and speed. They have a uniquely shaped head and always hold their tail up high. The most characteristic colours of the Arabian horses are Black, glossy Chestnut, distinguished Grey and Bay coat. These horses are also known for their bravery and loyalty and form a close bond with their owners. I was told that when the head of AL Balqa Tribes in Jordan Sheik Majed Al Adwan died, his loyal steed died of sorrow only a week after!
Arabian horses are one of the oldest breed of horses in the world as noted in many ancient inscriptions. The first reference made to the Arabian horse was in Persia around 500 B.C. and the oldest known fossil of a horse skeleton was found in Egypt dating back as far as 1600 B.C. Prophet Isma’il called them “Banat Alreeh” meaning ‘daughters of the wind’. These magnificent horses were used by the Muslim conquerors who reached as far as Andalucía in Spain and were also shipped to Europe by the Ottomans. As mentioned in the Arabian horse breed description
“The prophet Mohammed made them a cornerstone in his ‘Holy Wars’. Mohammed improved his army by elevating the horse to a sacred level and has been quoted for making reference to the horses many qualities over one hundred times; praising them, encouraging his followers to have them and describing the different varieties; their signs, beauty and immense speed. They are also mentioned in the Holy Qur’an mentioning their great qualities and describe them as the prised possessions of Prophets David and Suleiman as well as prized possessions of kings and pharaohs”.
The famous Italian writer and explorer Carlo Claudio Camillo Guarmani wrote a book, in the 19th century, describing the five main Arabian bloodlines or families: ‘Ekhailan’, ‘Ebian’, Saqlawi’, ‘Hmadani’, and ‘’Hadban’. According to the legend "Al Khamsa" refers to the five favourite horses of the prophet Muhammad (AD 570-632). It is said that a tribe of Bedouin, after a long journey in the desert, released their mares to run to an oasis to quench their thirst. In order to test their loyalty the mares were called back to their masters before reaching the water and only five returned faithfully without drinking. These became the five original favourite mares of the Bedouin, and each was given a name whose strain it would be carried carry on by its descendants. The term "Al Khamsa" signified purity of bloodlines to the Bedouin, as it does today to supporters of Al Khamsa. After the successful publication of this book; the kings of France and Italy requested him to select the best breeds in order to improve their personal stables, furthermore the world traveller Sir Lewis Pelly in his book ‘A journey to Riyadh in central Arabia’; described the Arabian Horse as the most beautiful breed of horses that he had ever seen in his life. Arabian Bedouin tribes have always been fascinated by the great Arabian horse. They have bread these horses for centuries and they hold a special place in their hearts and with similar importance to their own children. Many poems have been made about the Arabian horse signifying its importance but the advent of new technology and the creation of modern transportation means has caused many people to pay less attention to this great animal. However, until this day many famous Royal families and breeders are still infatuated with the Arabian horse and will pay Millions of Dollars to own the best of the breed. Some well known Arabian collectors are the Ruler of Dubai Sheik Muhammad Bin Rashed Al Maktoom, Princesses Haya and Alia Al Hussein of Jordan , Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Saud , Prince Sultan Bin Abdel-Aziz and Prince Saud Al Sha’lan of Saudi Arabia.
One of the most famous modern artists to be infatuated with Arabian horses is The English artist Peter Upton who, among other things, has lived with Bedouins in the desert in Arabian countries including Jordan. The agility and beauty of Arabian horses inspired this artist and he captured the charm of these horses in his sketches. He also produces marvellous paintings that fascinate the onlookers.
Peter Upton is an experienced artist that managed to capture the essence of these magnificent creatures and reflect their majestic form and beauty in his artworks.
According to Al Muthaf Gallery Upton published and authored five books, 'The Classic Arab Horse' 'Desert Heritage; 'The Arab Horse , poems joint book with his brother 'Rhyme Intrinsic' , ‘Out of the Desert’, 'Drinkers of the Wind.
Peter Upton held his solo exhibition entitled the “The Arab Horse: an equine work of art”, at the Mathaf Gallery in London (57 Jermyn Street, St James's, London SW1Y 6LX ), on Tuesday 16 September 2014.