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23 February 2019   
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French Anglo Arab

Anglo-Arab refers to a combination of Arab and Thoroughbred blood and the Arab horse society in Great Britain rules that they have no other blood in their pedigree other than Arab and Thoroughbred. The French Anglo-Arab has the same ruling but also must have at least 25% of Arab blood. The most usual combination is to put a pure bred Arab stallion to a thoroughbred or Anglo-Arab mare.

France has been a notable producer of Anglo-Arabs since the beginning of the 19th century. The French Anglo-Arab dates back to two eastern stallions, Massoud an Arab and Aslam believed to be of Turkish origin. Both were imported from Syria and crossed with three English Thoroughbred mares, Daer, Comus Mare and Selim Mare. These three filly's became the foundation stock of the first French sports horse. Originally used by the military and as a riding horse, the breed went on to become a very successful competition horse, winning at Olympic standard.

Pierre Jonqueres d'Oriola, the dual Olympic champion favoured the French Anglo-Arab, the most famous being his Grand Prix and Nations Cup horse Marquis 11 and Ali-Baba with whom he won his first Olympic title in Helsinki in 1952. Since than the French Anglo-Arab has gone on competing and winning at top level in dressage, show jumping and three day eventing. They have been successful performers in European championships and Olympic events.

Many of the studs in France continue to specialise in breeding the French Anglo-Arab, in Pompadour they have imported stallions from North Africa and Syria. The aim of crossing Arab and Thoroughbred blood is to produce a horse with some of the speed and elegance of the thoroughbred along with the endurance and hardy soundness of the Arab. It is also hoped to achieve the slightly calmer Arab temperament. Over the years with the careful use of selective breeding, the French have been successful at achieving this aim.

Crossing an Arab stallion with a thoroughbred mare often produces the largest horses, and though the height and conformation vary, the average size is between 15.3 and 16.3h.h. The head is usually more thoroughbred than Arab with a straight profile, alert well shaped ears and bright expressive eyes. It has a long elegant neck and it is generally higher in the wither than an Arab; good sloping shoulders; a short back and strong body with a deep girth and chest; the quarters are slightly long; the limbs are strong and fine with good hard well-shaped feet. Overall the breed is slightly sturdier than the thoroughbred. The French Anglo-Arab has had a relevant influence on the development of the Selle Francais, a more recent French sports horse.

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