The World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) recognizes three
separate breeds of the Arabian Horse. In North America, most
Arabian aficionados are acquainted with the purebred Arabian
and the Half Arabian breeds. But a large majority of people
world wide are unfamiliar with the third and rarest Arabian
Horse that is known as the Shagya Arabian.
Its origins derive from purebred desert Arabians that were
developed more than 200 years ago from selective breeding
and performance testing when the Austro Hungarian monarchy
needed a superior cavalry mount back in 1789. The ideal horse
had to be pre potent for its type so that it could be used
to improve other native breeds. As a result of an edict from
the Emperor, the Babolna stud farm was founded 36 miles west
The conditions for creating a superior breed were perfect
at the time, since the stud was managed by Hungarys talented
native horsemen, the Magyars, who had highly developed skills
as horse breeders.
By crossing quality cavalry mares of oriental type with imported
purebred Arabian Horses from Syria, in particular, with a
purebred Arabian stallion named Shagya, a new warhorse was
created. The breed was originally known as the Araberrasse
(Arab breed) or Arab Fajta Horse. The Magyars kept meticulous
records of the breeding program in their studbooks and English
Thoroughbred, Anglo Arabian and Lipizzaner blood was carefully
added. The breed was consolidated many generations ago so
that it breeds consistently true to type. Shagya turned out
to be such an influential stallion that eventually the breed
was renamed to Shagya Araber which was authorized by WAHO
at the 1978 convention at Hamburg. It is now known in the
United States as the Shagya Arabian.
Historically, the Shagya Arabian was bred in the Austro Hungarian
Empire, specifically in the main military stud farms of Bąbolna,
Radautz and Piber in Hungary. Later on, stud farms in Czechoslovakia,
Romania, and Bulgaria also bred Shagya Arabians. The Shagya
Arabians not only served as cavalry horses, they were also
used as parade horses for European royalty. Every royal guard
or officer regarded it a privilege to be able to ride a Shagya.
The Imperial guards of the Habsburgs in Vienna were always
mounted on elegant Shagya Arabians, and the Royal Guard of
Budapest rode the Shagya Arabian.
The breed was nearly wiped out during WWII, along with the
Lipizzaner, but one can still admire many statues in Hungary
commemorating the heroic deeds of these horses and their riders.
Currently, all Shagya Arabian breeding world wide is overseen
by the Internationale Shagya Araber Gesellschaft e.v. ( ISG)
and horse must be approved before being used as breeding stock.
In 2000, the total number of Shagya mares was estimated at
approximately 1,500 horses world wide.
In the United States, the Shagya Arabian faced a dramatic
birth by Adele Furby in Montana. In 1984, Ms. Furby rescued
a Shagya Arabian stallion named Bravo from the estate of a
Hungarian Countess who had stipulated in her will that 22
of her favorite horses were to be destroyed upon her death
so as to not fall into the wrong hands, and Bravo was on that
list. His paternal grand sire, GAZAL II, was considered the
Shagya Stallion of the Century in Europe and his son, GAZAL
VII, was pictured on the cover of a studbook. After correspondence
with ISG and some pedigree research, the ISG named Bravo as
the foundation stallion for the United States Shagya Arabian
breeding program and in 1986, Ms. Furby started the North
American Shagya Society (NASS) to help recover the rare Shagya
Arabian breed from near extinction. NASS is recognized by
the ISG as the only North American registry for Shagya Arabians.
Its registry is referred to as the Shagya Arabian Registry
of North America (SHARONA) and purebred Shagya Arabians registered
with SHARONA are eligible to be branded with a patented brand
showing the letters SH inside a circular 6 pointed sun.
After a visit to Europe, three Shagya Arabian mares, and
two young stallions were purchased by Adele Furby for import
to America in 1987 and those horses, along with 8 purebred
Arabian mares that she had selected in America became the
foundation for the purebred Shagya Arabian breeding program
in the United States on the largest and oldest Shagya Arabian
breeding farm in America.
However, the Shagya Arabian has been rather slow to establish
itself in the U.S. Following several new imports since 2001,
the breed is finally producing more quality horses and the
Shagya Arabian is rapidly finding new interest and new breeders.
What started out as only a handful is now an amazing number
of Shagya Arabians that are doing well in the sport horse
world. In 2002, three Shagya Arabian stallions were imported
from Europe as valuable new genetic material for the American
Sport Horse breeder who would prefer not to use the purebred
Arabian for crossbreeding. The Shagya breed is still very
rare and fewer than 250 horses exist in the U.S. as of 2008
with only 25 of these being approved stallions.
Those people familiar with Arabian horses who see the Shagya
Arabian for the first time are often not prepared to see a
large, very robust, oriental based horse with swinging gaits
and a quiet, calm nature. Shagya Arabians are taller, have
a larger rectangular frame, are stronger and possess better
riding horse qualities than purebred Arabians. The Shagya
Arabians combine the advantages of the Bedouin Arabian; elegance,
hardiness, endurance, and inborn friendliness toward humans,
with the requirements of the modern riding horse; sufficient
height, excellent movement and enormous jumping ability.
Shagya Arabians stand 14.3 to 16.1 hands high but are most
commonly found in the 15 16 hand range. They have a very harmonious
appearance with a wide forehead and concave profile that often
gives the head a very oriental look. The small, pointy ears
are situated high on top of the head and the eyes are very
expressive. The gracefully arched neck is often long with
a slight poll. The withers are prominent and reach far into
the back. The shoulders are large and sloping and the haunches
are short and strong. The croup is melon shaped, slightly
sloping and long, with a high tail attachment. The hooves
are small, well formed and hard. The mane & tail is abundant
and silky fine as is the rest of the body hair. They are predominantly
gray in color, but can be bay, chestnut or black, although
black Shagya Arabians are rather rare.
Shagya Arabians are known for having light, basic gaits and
a good jumping disposition and have also proven themselves
to be successful in open competitions against warmbloods in
dressage, jumping, and 3 day eventing.
Shagya Arabians are now being used to refine other warmbloods.
Following the European method of Warmblood Sport Horse breeding,
quality Trakehner, Dutch Warmblood, Thoroughbred, and Arabian
mares that have been approved by the American Trakehner Association
(ATA), the American Shagya Arabian Verband Inc. (ASAV), the
North American Shagya Society (NASS), and the International
Sport Horse Registry (ISR) are being bred to purebred Shagya
Arabian stallions. When the Shagya is used, the very first
generation shows refinement without the loss of size or bone
and the Shagya adds many of the good characteristics from
the Arabian. The offspring from these crosses are accepted
by most of the Verbands and the genes will modernize the sport
horse that is sought after today, but NONE of these crosses
may ever be used for purebred Shagya Arabian breeding.
The Shagya Arabian stud books have been closed for over 200
years and only purebred Arabian blood has been added. Currently,
purebred Shagya Arabians can have up to 9 purebred Arabian
ancestors out of the 16 ancestors listed in the 4th generation.
Before 1985, the ISG accepted Shagya Arabians with up to 12
Arabian ancestors, but now those are registered in the Appendix
book as part Shagya Arabians. Today, some Shagya Arabians
have four or five generations of straight Shagya breeding
before you will find a purebred Arabian in the pedigree.
Author Resource:-> Crystal is a writer for http://www.HorseClicks.com,
classifieds of Shagya Horses for sale