An Ancient Breed
What little I know about Arabian horses, their skin is black, even if their hair is white. This helps them with protecting their skin in the desert. The are likely to have originated from this area and many of the horse breeds of today have Arabian ancestors. Arabian horses are a bit shorter than horses than I am used to at home, but they are still considered horses, not ponies. I have a friend who competes with an Arabian and it is absolutely beautiful and lively and strong and I can see why it has been loved and trusted by many for thousands of years.
One thing I wanted to do on my trip to Oman was to see Arabian Horses during my visit. I have a friend with her own, but I wanted to see them in their own "habitat" which is hard to explain, but it felt like they were right there close to their ancestry and there would be something magical about experiencing them in the land of their origins. This seemed like a tall order for the tour company that set up my trip, but they worked their end of it and found a stable outside of a bird sanctuary in Muscat that would humor me for an hour or so.
My lesson was not actually supposed to be a lesson. It was supposed to be a "horse demonstration". I was not sure what that was, but it was suggested that insurance would not allow for me to ride a horse. I set my expectations, and was settled with the fact that I would just se the horses and ask questions. We spent about an hour waiting for our appointment to show up for a "horse demonstration". During that time we were allowed to go into the stables and look at the horses. There were Arabian horses and crossbreeds throughout, and I am not really educated enough to know the difference, but it was nice to look at the animals and some were pretty friendly. When the guy finally showed up, he was not sure what to so he suggested a horseback riding lesson, which was pretty cool.
At home I have mostly only rode western because either I am on a pay-per-hour trip on vacation and they are all western because it is easier or because that is what friends have and we are not planning to jump any hurdles. Of course the horse may have other plans. That is how poorly I ride. The instructor snapped me into shape pretty fast for pity of darling Mina the horse who patiently wandered the ring as I learned how to communicate and ride English with a jaunty cap that kept sliding, sharp boots, and a thingy-dingy to hold on to. Poor Mina. Poor Instructor.
The strength of my legs and the rigidity of my spine finally gave away and Mina praised whatever higher power horses have and I called it a day, but it was such a great experience to have a little formal training and to have it in the Gulf where the horses' ancestry is so rich in the culture's history for centuries. It is certainly not what most visitors do, and I have no knowledge of how one might even begin to set something like this up since my tour company set up a "horse demonstration" and I ended up with a lesson, but what a wonderful gift this opportunity was.