Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arabians Make A Come Back!

Arabians Make A Come Back!

The most majestic of horse breeds, the Arabian is making a comeback in numbers. Arabians carried ancient kings and soldiers into battle in the time of the Ottomans. Their breed gave rise to the race horses we see today, thoroughbreds. An Arabian can be identified by its seahorse-shaped head and slender body. They hold their tails high and have the most spirit out of all the equine breeds.

Scientists are breeding Arabians through embryo transfer at Al Shaqab facilities in Doha, Qatar. There is a beautiful facility where 55 foals have been born via embryo transfer. Stallions are brought into a room and shown fertile mares to get them to produce sperm which we obtain and freeze in nitrogen until used. Some of the horses are not allowed to be ridden. Al Shaqab is not only a gym for horses by having treadmills, pools, showers. There are competitive teams who train there including jumping, dressage, and endurance. Beginner riders are welcome through the riding school offered. All the exercising stations are designed to help the horse’s muscles in a particular way before they return to their clean, cool, dry stalls. They are athletes. Al Shaqab was founded for research advancements and innovation. It is a non-profit organization.This establishment uses science to produce kind, beautiful, athletes for not only competition, but companionship.

Check it out by watching this clip!



Posted by Jen Silva (3)


  1. Now was this species of horse on the decline, or endangered prior to this process? It sounds like this breed of horse was on the cusp of endangerment and this procedure could be their ticket to survival. Even if these horses are being bred for the sole purpose of sport and competition, the process of in vitro fertilization can prove to be an invaluable solution to many species in decline. Panda could certainly benefit, as could many species of jungle cat that are endangered.

    - Jeff Keating (2)

    1. Arabians are not a rare breed. There are not as many pure breeds anymore, but i wouldn't say a pure bred arab is endangered. I really think that this facility is for innovation. They are not trying to "bring the species back". If the arabian horse started to go extinct it would be heartbreaking. I own an arab and i plan on owning more in the future. They are special animals.

      Posted by Jen Silva

  2. I always wonder, though, if species are in decline, are we messing up the natural process of the world by using laboratory techniques and human-bred selection to keep species alive? On the surface it seems like we may be doing a great thing by keeping some species from going extinct, but are we? and good for whom? I'm not saying it is bad that we found a way to save the Arabian horse, but I think that there's a lot more to think about than most people realize when it comes to new advancements in science and reproduction and the effects it may have on the future.

    Posted by Laura Moro (2)

  3. I think it is great that scientists are helping to save a species from going extinct. But if the only animals in the fertilization program are horses from this one facility, that would significantly limit the number of horses involved. If there are only a few members of the species that are actively breeding, that would severely limit the genetic diversity. When there is less variation and a smaller gene pool, that can lead to genetic diseases which can cause the population to decline even further.

    Posted by Erica Fitzpatrick (1)

  4. This sounds like a great pathway for cloning and replicating breeding of animals, such as talented (successful) animals, ex. winning race horses such as Secretariat. But I personally think that test tube breeding should not be used with animals, I believe nature should run its course. I agree that with a small gene poo,, mutations from inbred breeding are bound to arise. Human interference just seems like it can cause more harm than good in the long run.

    Taylor Pirog

  5. This is a cool article I never thought that they'd be able to bring back a species using this method. Are they selling the horses or just keeping them at the facility? How many do they plan on making this way? I wonder if they could do this for other animals that are endangered in zoos and try to bring them back.

    Posted by Nicco Ciccolini

  6. Do you know what caused the original decline in Arabian horses in the first place?

    Also, this programs seems pretty nice for the horses. I'm curious about the swimming part though. I would think that an animal adapted to run on solid wide plains would feel uncomfortable in a medium like water.

    Posted by Joseph Frimpong

  7. I have the same question as Joesph, what caused the population of Arabian to initially decline? And why do they want to increase the population now? I find the method they use to reproduce this species very interesting and unique.

    -Hermann Kam

  8. This is intriguing, if pure bred horses are being produced in labs, is this affecting the natural process as past comments have noted? If Arabians are interbreeding with other species, that would diversify their gene pool, so they're less likely to have certain diseases and other factors. As other species have shown, a less diverse gene pool could have negative repercussions such as wolverines.

    Posted By Andy Zou