Half Arabian and Anglo-Arabian


This Half Arabian/Saddlebred mare has a pleasant head and trim legs for distance riding. Henry Gruber

Arabian Horse Association

10805 E. Bethany Drive

Aurora, Colorado 80014


The Arabian horse has captivated people for centuries with its beauty and courageous heart. It was bred to thrive under harsh desert conditions and serve its master with unwavering loyalty. This endearing horse became a treasure and a vital part of the Bedouin family and was cherished above all other possessions. The Arabian’s personable nature and innate desire for human companionship have continued as hallmarks of the breed.

As the oldest of all the light breeds and foundation stock for most, the Arabian is unique. It carries bloodlines that trace back a thousand years, making it the purest breed of horse in the world. The purity of its bloodlines enables it to complement any breed with which it is crossed and endows it with prepotency, or genetic strength, to further pass on desirable traits to offspring, such as stamina, refinement, intelligence, and trainability.

Crossing purebred Arabians with other breeds is not a new concept, as this is how all light horse breeds developed. Horsemen through the ages used the Arabian as a fundamental building block in their breeding programs. The tradition of upgrading a breed through the inclusion of Arabian blood has produced some outstanding horses.

Today, Arabian ancestry can be found in many recreational breeds. Lipizzaners, Thoroughbreds, Welsh Ponies, Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, Morgans, Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walking Horses, and many others can trace their origins to the Arabian.

Half Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses have also proven to be popular. There are 340,000 Half Arabians and 10,000 Anglo-Arabians registered with the Arabian Horse Association (AHA).

The Unique Half Arabian

Horses have increased beauty, endurance, willingness, and intelligence when crossed with an Arabian. They are bred to fulfill a variety of needs, providing riders with unlimited choices for pleasure or performance. The multipurpose Half Arabian is a refined, willing, and able athlete. It can compete and win prize money at local, regional, and national levels, which makes it highly marketable for breeders and owners.

Half Arabians are the result of one registered Arabian parent and a parent of another pure or mixed breed. Grade horses can also be bred to a registered Arabian and produce a foal that can be registered as a Half Arabian.

A wide variety of performance and pleasure Half Arabian horses have evolved. The combinations are as numerous as there are breeds of horses. For a classic saddle-seat equitation horse, the Arabian/Saddlebred is perfect. Besides the Saddlebreds, English enthusiasts also find exciting horses among the Hackney crosses.

For dressage, there is the expressive Arabian/warmblood. The growth of Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, and Sport Horse divisions makes this cross popular because it is a lighter, elegant, and more responsive horse. The addition of the Sport Horse Nationals to AHA national competitions provides a great showcase for these super athletes.

For a nimble reiner or cutter, the Arabian/Quarter Horse might be the ticket. Avid fans of reining, trail riding, cutting, and working cow events like how Half Arabians can maneuver, respond, learn quickly, and outlast other working western horses. Since the Arabian ranks as the top breed for endurance and other distance riding sports, many Half Arabians compete successfully in these sports also.

When the distinct beauty of the Arabian horse is mixed with one of the color breeds, it produces flashy horses like the Arabian/Pinto, which turns heads wherever it goes. The Arabian adds eye-catching refinement to Buckskin, Palomino, and Appaloosa horses as well.

Whatever the preferred cross is, the Arabian can be counted on to add stamina, intelligence, beauty, and a willing attitude. With more than 300,000 Half Arabians in North America, there is one with the look, way of going, and personality to fit everyone.

Half Arabian Standards

The Half Arabian cross is an effort to infuse the mental and physical attributes of the Arabian with that of another breed. The goal is produce a horse that embodies the positive characteristics of the Arabian along with the positive attributes of the other breed.

Outcrosses to numerous different breeds have been successful. There is no stipulation as to what other breed with which an Arabian must be crossed to produce a Half Arabian. The only criterion is that one parent must be a purebred Arabian.

When crossing the Arabian with a working type horse, such as a Quarter Horse or Paint, the hope is to achieve a horse that has a strong working type body with a relaxed attitude, perfect for events such as Reining, Western Riding, and Working Cow classes.

The same holds true with other crosses, such as Saddlebred or Dutch Harness crosses for English type mounts, and warmblood or Thoroughbred crosses for hunter or hack type horses. It is important that these horses still retain the attractive Arabian look and trainable disposition. This is not to say, however, that the outcrosses do not have an attractive look or good disposition. It merely means that the desirable look of a Half Arabian horse is similar to a purebred Arabian, but also embodies the positive virtues of the outcross.

A Half Arabian must have one registered purebred Arabian parent, either sire or dam, and the other parent may be a grade horse, a Half Arabian, or a horse registered with another breed. The purebred parent must be registered with either the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), or the Canadian Arabian Horse Registry. A mule, hinny, or any animal other than a horse is not eligible for registration. Horses conceived and born in the United States or Mexico can be registered with the AHA. There are no restrictions regarding height.

The AHA gives Half Arabian and Anglo-Arabian registration numbers from 1A to 9A, depending on how much Arabian blood is present. Horses with one purebred Arabian parent and one non-Arabian parent would be considered Half Arabian (1A). Horses with one purebred Arabian parent and one parent that is Half Arabian are considered three-quarters Arabian (2A). Those from one purebred parent and a three-quarter purebred parent are considered seven-eighths Arabian (3A), and so on up to 9A.

A horse that competes in Half Arabian classes should not be marked down for displaying Arabian characteristics, such as high-set tail carriage. The Half Arabian Halter Division is judged on conformation quality, substance, and Arabian type, in that order. The horse may show characteristics of any other breed, but the foregoing three qualities take precedence in adjudication of in-hand classes over breed type.

Half Arabian In-Hand Division classes may be divided into Stock/Hunter and Saddle/Pleasure type. This makes it easier to compare apples to apples (so to speak) when judging. In classes that are not divided by discipline, however, no preference should be given to one outcross or the other. The aforementioned judging criteria must always be observed.

The Anglo-Arabian Athlete

A picture of the ultimate sport horse would be one that is substantial, strong, and agile. Add the Arabian’s courage, heart, and work ethic, and that is the jumper, eventer, and endurance or dressage horse dreams are made of—the Anglo-Arabian.

The Anglo-Arabian possesses combined traits of two extremely athletic breeds: Arabian and Thoroughbred. The Arabian adds its stamina, intelligence, and refinement, while the Thoroughbred contributes its great racing ability and larger size.

Since the breed is a cross between these two superb light horses, it often expresses great courage and a willing attitude. It has the athleticism, strength, and aptitude for rigorous equestrian events inherited from the Arabian’s mental focus and soundness in combination with the Thoroughbred’s size and speed. Two great breeds, one extraordinary sport horse!

For a performance potential in a recreational mount, the Anglo-Arabian delivers. Its willing attitude gives active owners a quality horse for everyday riding.

As a true adrenaline delivery machine, the Anglo-Arabian also gives experienced riders the power on demand needed for strenuous equine sports. For the recreational rider who wants quality and a high fitness potential, an Anglo-Arabian is a durable horse with heart, making an excellent choice.

Anglo-Arabians offer a range of capabilities, and each model embodies qualities making them more than just a horse to ride. They are serious contenders as great sport or show horses, excelling at Olympic events and disciplines that require outstanding ability. They have the speed, heart, and stamina for Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) disciplines that require superb athletic talent. Worldwide, they make perfect hunter/jumpers and eventers. Anglo-Arabians have the size for long extensions, but remain easily maneuverable. They have the substance and strength for clearing obstacles, but are neither slow nor bulky in their way of going.


The Anglo-Arabian has the capabilities for distance competitions. Henry Gruber

Additionally, they have the intelligence and temperament for the painstaking demands of dressage. Anglo-Arabians project a nimble elegance and command attention with their charismatic presence. They captivate spectators and judges alike with their fluid movement and responsive attitude.

Despite its blue-blooded image, the Anglo-Arabian expresses its true form over long distances. Whether competing in a world-class endurance race over 100 mountainous miles or running 15.5 miles across the flatlands, the Anglo-Arabian is perfect. In distance riding, it is a high-octane horse that is always eager to see what is around the curve or over the next fence.

In England, the Anglo-Arabian is used for fox hunts, steeplechases, and other sporting events. In Spain, riders appreciate the horse’s courage in testing the stamina and fighting spirit of bulls destined for the ring. France dedicates a breeding program of Anglo-Arabians to develop finely tuned sport horses that has evolved into the Selle Francais. Many international and Olympic equestrian honors awarded to France for eventing, show jumping, and dressage have been won on famous Anglo-Arabian horses.

In the United States, the Anglo-Arabian has won top awards from national organizations in both endurance and dressage.

Anglo-Arabian History

Early in the history of the Arabian horse in America, directors of the Arabian Horse Registry were sure that the best way to promote Arabians in the United States was to get the U.S. Army interested in using and breeding them. They spent a lot of time, money, and energy proving that Arabians made the best cavalry horses by staging cross-country endurance races. Arabians consistently won the races pitted against the cavalry’s Thoroughbreds, which it had been utilizing. This convinced the army of the Arabian’s tremendous endurance ability, and in the 1920s, it added Arabian horses to its breeding program. Thus began the first significant introduction of the Arabian/Thoroughbred horse to North America.

Thereafter the Arabian/Thoroughbred cross continued to flourish, producing a superior breed known as the Anglo-Arabian. Serving as both transport and tank, the Anglo-Arabian has the speed and stamina to gallop endless miles across harsh territory and the courage to ride into battle.

Eventually, the army held the studbooks for the Anglo-Arabian. When the army discontinued its horse-mounted cavalry after World War II, it sold the Half Arabian and Anglo-Arabian breed registries to what is now the AHA. The Anglo-Arabian grew from a few hundred horses in 1951 to ten thousand that are now registered.

Anglo-Arabian Standards

An Anglo-Arabian possesses distinct traits of both breeds. The Arabian intelligence, refinement, and stamina mix well with the Thoroughbred’s famed size and speed. The ultimate creation is an aristocratic athlete with competitive clout.

Recognized as a separate breed, Anglo-Arabians have their own registry through the AHA. To be eligible in the Anglo-Arabian Registry, the horse must be the result of one of the following crosses:

• Purebred Arabian and Thoroughbred

• Anglo-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian

• Anglo-Arabian and Thoroughbred

• Anglo-Arabian and Arabian

An Anglo-Arabian may be a combination of Arabian and Thoroughbred blood, with no less than 25 percent or more than 75 percent of Arabian blood. Any more would qualify for registration as a Half Arabian, as long as one parent was a purebred Arabian.

Parents must be registered Arabian, Thorough-bred, or Anglo-Arabian horses. The resulting foal must be no less than 25 percent Arabian and no more than 75 percent Arabian. If the foal is more than 75 percent Arabian, it is still eligible for registration within the Half-Arabian Registry, as long as one parent is a purebred Arabian.

The Anglo-Arabian Halter Division is judged on conformation quality, substance, and Arabian type, in that order. The horse also may show characteristics of the Thoroughbred, but the aforementioned three qualities take precedence in adjudication of in-hand classes over breed type.

Height: The Anglo-Arabian is generally 15.2 to 16.3 hands.

Colors: Any solid color is allowed, although several sabino patterned horses are registered.

Disciplines: Anglo-Arabians are eligible for competition in all Half Arabian classes. They excel at jumping, eventing, endurance, dressage, and recreational riding.

Classy Competitors

Why do breeders create hybrid horses such as the Half-Arabian or Anglo-Arabian? It is human nature to try and create something new and different. Some might even call it improving on a breed, although others may say this is not true. Either way, no one can argue about the popularity and interest in Half Arabians. Many Arabian enthusiasts who have purebreds also have Half Arabians and appreciate them both.

Most modern breeds of light horses are derivatives of a cross between an Arabian horse and another breed; this includes the Thoroughbred and the American Quarter Horse. Were it not for innovative breeders, there would not be some of the outstanding breeds of horses enjoyed today.

Although many appreciate their Arabian horse crosses, whether registered or not, there are more recreational and competitive options with a registered horse. Oftentimes it is also easier to sell one that is already registered. A Half Arabian or Anglo-Arabian horse that is registered with another breed can be double registered, thereby adding increased value and marketability for resale.

The AHA continues to administer the Arabian, Anglo-Arabian, and Half Arabian Registries. It offers more opportunities to compete, earn recognition, and win prize money than any other partbred registry or organization. Horses compete in halter, performance, endurance, and competitive trail riding.

There is a world of enjoyment for those involved with the Arabian, Half Arabian, or Anglo-Arabian.

Credit: Arabian Horse Association

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