Barb Horse

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Barb Horse

900-1,000 lb
Medium build, muscular
20-25 years
Best Suited For
All levels of horse owners, trainers, and riders
Eager to learn, gentle, docile, and willing
Comparable Breeds
Arabian Horse, Thoroughbred Horse
Barb Horse Breed History

It is believed that the Barb Horse, which is also known as the Berber Horse, originated from northern Africa’s coastal region, which used to be referred to as the Barbary Coast.

There is also a bit of controversy surrounding whether Arabian horses and Barb horses share a single common ancestor, or if the Arabian is a predecessor of Barb horses. In fact, when the Barb Horse arrived in Europe, the breed was initially mistaken for the Arabian Horse, even though barb horses didn’t really share any of the physical characteristics of the Arabian, aside from being similar in size.

Barb horses are ideal for general riding.

Berber invaders in the early part of the 8th century ended up taking their horses into Europe. There, they bred their horses with Spanish horses and developed the Andalusian Horse.

The Barb breed became highly valued throughout Europe after the 14th century. Noble families there had large racing stables. Meanwhile, in England, the breed was utilized to develop the beloved Thoroughbred for horse racing.

Like the Arabian Horse, the Barb Horse likely has had a lot of influence on racing equine breeds. It is believed that this breed probably had more influence on racing horses than any other horse breed, but the Barb’s influence could also be seen in several other equine breeds, such as the Appaloosa, the American Quarter Horse, the Mustang, the Paso Fino, and the Argentinian Criollo.

Today, the Barb Horse is primarily bred in Spain, Algeria, southern France, and Morocco. There are also different varieties of the Barb Horse, and these include the Moroccan Barb, Tunisian Barb, Abaco Barb, and Algerian Barb.

Breed Traits
The Barb Horse has a willing personality, so it can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, these animals have been successfully used in both agriculture and the military. They are also ideal horses for general riding, and they can even be used in competitive equine sports.

Barb horses are wonderful to work with because they have an eagerness to learn, which makes them easy to train. They are also gentle and docile in nature, making them a wonderful equine companion for horse owners, riders, and trainers of all levels.

The Barb Horse likely had a lot of influence on racing breeds.

Overall Description

The Barb Horse features a straight or slightly convex profile, and a neck that is slightly arched. You will also notice that these horses showcase flat, upright shoulders.

The front of this horse’s body is powerful, with high withers. Also, the hindquarters are sloping, narrow, and rounded, while the back is medium or short in length.

You will also note that the croup could be slightly angular or rounded. The tail is set low and, like the mane, it is full. This horse also has slender legs that are clean and hardy, and the feet are durable and narrow, while the hooves are round and small.

Barb horses will have ears that are moderate or short in length, and they can be notched at the tip as well. The eyes are expressive, the head will taper towards a small muzzle, and the forehead will be broad.

The gait of the Barb Horse allows it to gallop much like a sprinter. These horses also have a high amount of stamina, and they are able to travel over long distances even when food supplies are limited. The breed’s movement is agile, and it is also resistant to droughts.

Overall, this horse has an appearance that can be described as smooth and balanced. There is depth of body and neck, a distinctly refined head, well-set and clean legs, and roundness of hip that combine to make this an attractive breed.

The Barb Horse has a willing and docile personality.

Barb horses are usually solid colored, and common colors for this breed include brown, black, sorrel, chestnut, gray, and bay.

The most common color is gray, but shades of buckskin, dun, grullo, and roan are also possible. And the Spanish Barb, in particular, can be found in all equine colors, including tobiano and overo.

Grooming Requirements

Grooming the Barb Horse regularly is a great way to bond with your animal, as well as ensure that it will remain healthy and clean. After all, regular grooming sessions will even help to prevent a variety of skin problems and other conditions, such as thrush.

If your Barb is involved in dressage, you definitely need to spend extra time thoroughly cleaning and smoothing the coat, including the thick mane and tail.

Some of the tools that you should have in your equine grooming kit include a curry comb, a shedding blade, a dandy brush with stiff bristles, a body brush with soft bristles, a hoof pick, a brush specifically for the mane and one for the tail, and a rub rag.

Washing your horse with equine shampoo can thoroughly clean the skin and coat, but be gentle and don’t use too much soap, which can be irritating and drying to the skin and hair. Replenish lost moisture and shine by using an equine conditioner after shampooing.

Photo credit: Berberstute Zafira Al Saïda/Wikimedia; Laurent Nguyen/Wikimedia; Notwist/Wikimedia
Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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