“My treasures do not click together or glitter. They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night.”
Like the land from which they hail, both the Arabian and Barb (Berber) horse are shrouded in mystery, myth, legend and intrigue, however evidence has proven that both of these ancient breeds are amongst the oldest in the horse world.
Allah created the horse from a handful of South wind, saying:
“Thy name shall be Arabian, and virtue bound into the hair of thy forelock… I have made thee master thy friend. I have given thee the power of flight without wings.”
Developed in a desert climate and prized by the nomadic Bedouin people, this close relationship with humans created a horse breed that is good-natured, quick to learn, and willing to please. The Arab horse is also known for being athletic, smart and courageous possessing spirit, strength, endurance and speed.
Surviving the rugged conditions of the desert, the Arabian horse was able to survive on little food and water, genetically only the horses able to survive under these harsh conditions lived making them the perfect companion for long treks through arid land.
Fast, agile and extremely courageous, the Barb was a favoured mount for the Berbers and was originally a prized warhorse. As the Berbers conquered new lands, the horses left behind were bred with native stock, thus the Barb is second only to the Arabian as being one of the world’s modern foundation breeds. The blood of the Barb flows through the veins of many breeds, including the Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, Standardbred and Mustang.
The Barb is a swift & powerful desert breed, built more for mountainous desert, making them surefooted and able to cover terrain most horses wouldn’t or couldn’t. They possess a high amount of stamina and are able to travel over long distances even when food supplies are limited, again making it an ideal companion for long desert trails!
The first horse I rode on the Sable d’Or ride was this beautiful honey coloured Arabian mare, she possessed each and every one of her ancient breed’s characteristics. Despite being over 20 years old and carrying a foal she flew across the sand as if she were flying. Although I did keep her very contained, I can only imagine the speed this little lady is capable off, and she is the type of mare that would give her all, even if it was to her own detriment. She is an amazing horse to ride and makes a wonderful companion, very lucky to have had the opportunity to ride this little lady before she retires from the trail work.
Each of the horses I rode on this trail were amazing, Rena truly has a magnificent array of equines. There is however always one that captivates you more than others, and for me, that was Dahlia. There is something incredibly special about this little mare. She certainly is not an easy ride, has a few quirks and complications……but I always find these horses the most rewarding and they eventually make the best companions once you find the correct buttons so to speak! Still only young (5.5 years), Dahlia is a ball pf energy, never standing still, not for one second, she is constantly on the move…….makes grooming, tacking and mounting an interesting experience, but once you’re in the saddle it’s worth it! She is still at a stage in her career where she needs a little guidance and help to get her over some of the trickier terrain, but is very quick to learn and eager to please and listens to her rider incredibly well. Although she comes across as “difficult”, she is a sensitive little soul and really benefits from calmness and gentleness…………a true little gem.
I completely fell in love with this Arab stallion’s independent personality. He is incredibly cool, calm and collected……….he has the attitude of a horse who has seen it all and done it all and has nothing to prove to anybody. Being an independent creature myself I admire and applaud him! Not the fastest of the bunch, he likes to amble along at his own pace behind the pack………but take him away from the group and he immediately comes to life, he likes to forge his own path, horse after my own heart. Quashmash is the type of horse that you could happily travel independently with for miles and miles and miles………..lone ranger!
There is only one word I could possibly use to describe Samra……adorable! This little Berber mare is not one of the fastest, but she tries her hardest to keep up with the big guns! My favourite memory of Samra is galloping along the beach we passed Ginia, one of the other horses…….well she was so proud of herself she was squealing and snorting in delight, she wanted everybody to know that she was indeed a little racehorse! Samra is the type of horse that you can’t ask too much off………if you ask too much she backs off and almost goes the opposite direction………but if you gently encourage, coax and ask a little each time she gives so much. Watching her run free with her best friend Bahia was so much fun…..they galloped, cavorted and frolicked along the beach, loving life completely!
Sable d’Or Ride, Morocco, November 2017.
Author: Janine Whyte (Indiananeeners Globetrotting Cowgirl.)