Foundation Sires of Australia: Influence of the Arab Horse II

The Australian Bloodhorse

Douglas M. Barrie

The Foundation Sires of Australia: Influence of the Arab Horse

Featured Image: Nazeer Farrib

See also:

Nazeer Farrib was a ‘high caste Arab, painted in watercolours by Edward Winstanley, Sydney 1846. (Courtesy of Mitchell Library, Ref. Z ML 282).

Horses from the Middle East played an important part in the early development of the English Thoroughbred. There were many Arab horses brought to Australia in the 1790s and the early 1800s. Most of the Arabs brought here came from India, usually Calcutta. Many were actually Persian horses although some Australian breeders imported some exceptional fine horses and mares directly from the deserts of Arabia.

Douglas M. Barrie’s The Australian Bloodhorse, first published in 1956, is a detailed and exhaustive study of the origins and history of the Australian Racehorse. The product of years of patient research and diligent study it provides an accurate and fascinating guide to thousands of our pure-bred horses since the beginning of settlement. The book fully encompasses and encapsulates the horse’s role in Australia’s development, overlanding, exploration, bushranging, romance and at war.

Thoroughbred Sire Lines

All racehorses in the Western World, including Australia trace their sire lines to the three great English foundation sires: Eclipse, Herod and Matchem.

Eclipse: Direct descendent of the Darley Arabian

Herod: From the line of the Byerley Turk

Matchem: Foaled in 1749. Matchem was the earliest of the three English Thoroughbred Foundation Sires and was a grandson of the Godolphin Arabian

Most of the imported stallions prior to 1820 were Arabs, the few exceptions being Young Rockingham, Northumberland, Washington, Wellington (a grandson of Rockingham, by Highflyer, by Herod), and The Governor. The Napoleonic Wars and the difficulties in sea transport limited supply chain. As the country opened up from 1813 the horse assumed much more importance in the emerging and rapidly expanding development of the nation.