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Southern California CMK Heritage News

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Guest Editorial ~ Spring & Summer 2007
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In Praise of the Riding Horse
by Rick Synowski 1992
(Reprinted with permission from CMK Heritage Catalogue III. Photos are of three Crabbet Arabians imported to the United States around 1900.)

*RodanThe Arabian horse evolved these past thousands of years as the supreme riding horse and progenitor of all modern riding horses. Every aspect of conformation and breed type related to his function as a riding horse. The Arabian evolved ont only to serve its purpose with wondrous efficiency, but with beauty and grace to please the eye and thrill the soul.

Just what has made the Arabian "suitable for riding?" Trainers of world-class hunters and jumpers look initially to the mind of the horse. According to Davenport, the Bedouin looked first to the horse's face, judging him as they would a man. Not only had the Arabian been gifted with a kindly, gentle disposition and great intelligence, but with a unique capacity to communicate with his human friend. I stress "friend" as the Arabian is selective as to whom he is willing to have this special communication with. Many are the stories one hears of an Arabian's ability to "read the mind" of his human companion, of the quickness to learn and eagerness to perform in these instances.

*Rumeliya The Arabian was bred to possess a natural balance under saddle. This is observable in watching an Arabian being ridden (properly), the impression being that of an efficient movement with artistic style ~ an athlete performing with the beauty of a ballet dancer. Astride such a horse there is the feel of power executive effortlessly. Agile and responsive to a light touch, the horse responds in seeming oneness of mind and body with the rider.

Structure is likewise important to suitability as a riding horse. Paramount should certainly be leg structure: joints and feet of ample size, relative proportion of length of bone, slope of pasterns, development and placement of tendons ~ each of these factors determines the horse's ability to perform efficiently, gracefully and without discomfort or pain. Length and angulation of shoulders and hindquarters determine length and power of stride; the purpose being to cover the most ground with the greatest efficiency and least effort, and again with the style of a classical dancer. The neck of the Arabian, with its natural arch and cleanness of throatlatch, with windpipe of good size, aids the horse to breathe efficiently while maintaining a relatively high carriage of the forehand to maintain proper balance for both horse and rider.

*Jahil A glance at the cover of one of the slick magazines a couple of years ago made an indelible impression on me; pictured was the National Champion Stallion, and the image was startlingly like that of a toy dog. The breed would seem to be rapidly moving in such a direction, like many dog breeds, evolved as working animals but now suitable only for the show bench. Popular representatives of the Arabian appear to be unsuitable for riding, whether because of structure, disposition, intelligence or all of the above. Those that are ridden in the shows make an "unsuitable" impression, because of crippling training practices, including shoeing, which directly conflict with the horse's natural structure, balance and movement.

One wonders whether the Arabian as the supreme riding horse is coming to rapid extinction. I've recently had the opportunity to view Arabians in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Idaho and California. Arabian horses are still being bred and raised, properly trained and ridden, as the riding horses they were meant to be. One doesn't see them much in the magazines or at shows, but you will find them on CMK breeding farms.

Rick Synowski

(Editor's note: Winter, 2004-2005): We thank Rick Synowski for his generous sharing of this inspiring article with us. To see today's CMK riding horses in action, please visit our Southern California CMK breeding farms. For more information, articles and photos of the CMK riding horses on a world-wide basis, please take advantage of the offer available to you to purchase your own personal copies of the CMK Heritage Catalogues.  ~spm)

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This website space is provided by Arieana Arabians as a courtesy to advocates for advancing the CMK Heritage here in Southern California. For information on posting your SoCal CMK Heritage news, announcements, and Classified Ads please contact:

Suzi Morris
30685 Calle Chueca
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-1601
Phone: 949-248-1260

Good Luck Horseshoe

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Copyright 2003-2007. Website designed and maintained by Suzi Morris. All rights reserved. This page created for the Southern California CMK Heritage News on January 22, 2005. Current as of April 20, 2007.