Moroccan Barb breed information
Moroccan Barb horse general information
COLORAlthough the original colorations were bay, dark bay, and black, these have for the most part been replaced by gray
SIZEThe Moroccan Barb averages in the range of 14.2 - 15.2 hh
ORIGINNorth Africa - Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia
USESThe Barb, is typically used as a horse for light riding
INFLUENCEAlthough it is unlikely that the breed's true origins will ever be revealed, what is certain is that the Barb has had more influence on the development of equine breeds throughout the world than any other horse except the Arabian horse.
As with the Arab horse, it was the spread of Islam which led to the forerunners of today's Barbs reaching Europe from the early 8th century onwards. Once established on the Iberian peninsula the Barb horse played a major role in the development of the Andalusian (as well as the Lusitano), which subsequently became one of the major influences in horse breeding all over the world.
Among the many historical references to "Barbary" horses perhaps the most famous in Roan Barbary, belonging to King Richard II of England. During the 16th century, Henry VIII imported a number of Barbary horses into England and a century later the Barb played an important part in the evolution of the Thoroughbred.
Despite its importance as a progenitor of other breeds, the Barb has achieved less widespead renown than the Arab, no doubt because it lacks the Arabian horse's unique visual appeal, being much less refined and generally less impressive in appearance. Nevertheless it has the same boundless stamina and endurance, the same ability to thrive on meagre rations, the same sure-footedness and an impressive turn of speed over short distances.
TEMPRERAMENTThe barb has an exceptional mental, calm and explosive at the same time. Lymphatic at rest, it bubbles as one requests it, it’ s a false cold temperament combined with a true intelligence.
Moroccan Barb description
This is an athletic breed. The head is rather long with prononuenced jaws and a straight or convex profile, lively eyes, flared, open nostrils, and curved, mobile ears.
The head is tapered, wide from eye to jaw, small at the muzzle. The neck is of the medium length and muscular with a natural arch; the withers are prominent and long; the back is short and straight; the croup sloped with a low-set tail. The quarters are powerful with smooth musculing; the shoulder is very long, sloping and wel-musculed, the chest is long and very deep, giving great depth to the heart and lungs. The legs are slender and solidly built with broad joints and well-defined tendoms; the hoovers are small and well shaped with tough horn.
Moroccan Barb history
There is considerable controversy over whether the Barb and Arabian horses share a common ancestor or if the Arabian was a predecessor of the Barb. It is possible that a native horse of the region was influenced by the crossing of multiple "oriental" breeds, including the Arabian horse, Turkmenian or Akhal-Teke, Caspian horse, with Iberian horses brought back from Europe by the Moorish invaders after they conquered southern Spain. Today there are several varieties of Barb, including the Algerian, Moroccan, and Tunisian.
When imported to Europe, they were sometimes mistaken for Arabians, even though they have distinctly different characteristics, in part because their handlers were northern African Islam who spoke Arabic. The Godolphin Arabian, which was one of the foundation sires of the Thoroughbred breed, was actually an Arabian stallion, but, due to his Moroccan origins, was sometimes called the Godolphin Barb.
The Barb is now bred primarily in Morocco, Algeria, Spain and southern France, although, due to difficult economic times in its homeland, the number of pure-bred Barbs is decreasing. The World Organization of the Barb Horse, founded in Algeria in 1987, was formed to promote and preserve the breed. However, due to political situations, it is difficult to say how much of an increase in numbers or purity the breed will have
Moroccan Barb fun facts
The great stamina of the Barb is exemplified by the influence it has had on many of the great Spanish horses, themselves known for hardiness. Born in the desert climates of North Africa, the horse was ridden by Berber horsemen and as such had a great effect on the Muslim Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The horse's agility and toughness shows in its many influenced breeds: the Thoroughbred, the Connemara Pony, and the Criollo to name just a few.
Barb Horses are popular in North African festivals recalling the military past of those countries.