Barb horse

The Barb horse is one of the oldest and primitive like breed in the world.

It originated in Morocco, North Africa around the 8th century in an area once known as Barbary.


This breed along with the Arab has been significantly used worldwide to improve other breeds.

The breed may have had more influence on the racing breeds throughout the world than any other horse except the Arabian.


Image  by Alexander Kastler

As with the Arabian, it was the spread of Islam, which led to the forerunners of today's Barbs reaching Europe from the early eighth century onwards.

Once established on the Iberian peninsula, the Barb-horse played a major role in the development of the Andalusian (and the Lusitano), which subsequently became one of the major influences in horse breeding all over the world.


Pictures horse by Miyako

Many of the horse and pony breeds of today are descendants from Spanish horses which itself was crossed with the Barb.

The typical height ranges between 14 – 15.2hh and the colour is solid in Grey, brown, bay, chestnut and black.

The head is quite large and plain and often seen with a Roman nose, a powerful front end, shoulders are upright, high withers, short back, sloping quarters and the tail is set low.

It is hardy with clean legs, and small, round, sound hooves.


The Barb has many important qualities such as stamina and endurance. They have the ability to thrive on small rations.

Although not as graceful as the Arab, it is however, tough and strong, capable of great speed over short distances and renowned for its soundness.

The Barb now bred primarily in Morocco, Algeria, Spain and southern France; although due to difficult economic times in its homeland, the number of purebred Barbs is decreasing.

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