Barb Horse

Like the Arabian horse, the Barbary horse, or Barb, is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. Some experts believe that the Barb, a graceful, athletic, and very energetic horse, evolved from an ancient breed found originally in Libya and Pesia. According to John Gilmer Speed, together with the Arabian, the Barb "is one of the most interesting and most important specimens of the equine race. These horses, in the perpetuation of established european and American types are also important today. From these two types, have sprung by a mingling of these ancient bloods with other strains, all of the reproducing horse types, including the Percheron of France, the Orlof of Russia, the Thoroughbred of England and the Morgan of Vermont".

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Barbs and Arabians accompanied the Moors to conquer Spain. Iberian horsemen developed the Spanish Barb, a sure-footed creature with great stamina. Those horses helped the nation conquer others around the world. The Barb played a major part in the development of the Andalusian, and was just as influential in the development of the Thoroughbred and a dozen or more European breeds.3

[Photo of Barb horse]

Standing about 14 to 15hh, the Barb is immensely tough and combines considerable speed over short distances with great endurance over longer ones. It is not a racehorse, but is very fast. Traditionally, Barbs are bay, dark bay, or black in color. Gray was introduced by crossing with Arabians.

[Photo of Barb horse]
Photo courtesy of


  1. Encyclopedia of the horse. Elwin Hartley Edwards
  2. The Basics of Western Riding. Charlene Strickland
  3. Ultimate Horse. Elwyn Hartley Edwards
  4. Horses and the Mystical Path: The Celtic Way of Expanding the Human Soul. Adele Von Rust McCormick, Marlene Deborah McCormick
  5. The Horse in America: A Practical Treatise on the Various Types Common in the United States, with So by John Gilmer Speed

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