There are approximately 400,000 Arabian horses registered with the Arabian Horse Registry of America, Inc. Of that total, about 4,600 horses are owned by 1,800 owners in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The Arabian horse is the world's oldest, purest breed and they have been used as the foundation horse for developing most of the light horse breeds. Of the roughly 170 recognized breeds of horse, 138 have Arabian blood coursing through their veins.
The Arabian horse is without equal. They were bred for millennia to gallop for a hundred miles to raid a neighboring Bedouin tribe, fight in a hand to hand battle and then gallop a hundred miles back home with the spoils of the battle, while being allowed to drink once in three days and given a handful of dates to eat. Above all, these horses were bred for their inordinate intelligence and their sweet, dependable dispositions because many Bedouins housed them together with their families in their tents.
As early as the 1500s, European breeders began using the Arabian horse to improve their domestic stock and to develop new breeds of horse with specific physical characteristics: draft horses that were quick, but capable of carrying a knight and his armor, riding horses, carriage horses, race horses, military remounts, etc. The Jockey Club allowed Arabian horse blood into the American Thoroughbred until 1947, and incidentally, all gray Thoroughbred horses trace back to a single gray Arabian stallion named, Alcore, including Silver Charm. There have been recent discussions in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse circles to reopen their stud books to Arabians in order to improve leg bone, tendons and hooves. And, last September, the American Warmblood Registry (AWR) reopened its stud books to Arabian stallions to improve their breed.
Several countries, notably Russia, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Germany and England maintained breeding farms devoted to breeding pure Arabians. But not all registered Arabians are the same.
Because the Arabian horse was taken from it`s indigenous environment centuries ago and was used as a foundation horse for so many breeds, including the Arabian breeding farms of Europe, most of the horses registered today as "purebred" Arabian cannot trace their backgrounds, in their entirety, to the desert. As a matter of fact, less than four percent (4%) of all registered Arabian horses can reasonably trace every single background line to the original Bedouin tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. These horses are called Al Khamsa, which, in Arabic, means "The Five" referring to the five main horse breeding Bedouin Tribes. At Hidden Hollow Preserve, you will see fourteen registered Arabian horses, nine of which are Al Khamsa.