August 22, 2008 | | Comments 0

Shagya Horse

Shagya Horse

Shagya Horse

Discovering the Shagya Horse

Not many people realize it but there is definitely more to the Arabian horse breed than meets the eye. One detail that is unfamiliar to many is the emergence of the Shagya Arabian breed. Although there is definitely some conflict over the correct classification of the horse type, a lot of horse enthusiasts see the Shagya as a class on its own.

Arabian Heritage

The Shagya has a strong and regal bearing. It owes part of its majestic appearance to decades of directional breeding and partly to its ancestors, the desert Arabian horses. Although Shagya horses do descend from Arab horses, they did not originate from the same arid region. The first Shagya horses were really born in Hungary. It was in the late 1700s that the breeding of Shagya horses was begun by the Austro-Hungarian nobility.

The program continued well into the 1800s. Horse breeding was mainly conducted in stud farms, among the most popular of which were Babolna and Radautz. Most Shagya breeding farms were particularly known for their carefully kept and monitored records. It is the system in these early stud farms that has ensured the purity of the Shagya bloodline.

The original objective was to breed horses that were especially suited to riding. Among the desired traits were therefore strength, endurance, hardiness and physical appeal. To create this ideal breed, Arabian horses were brought into the breeding studs. These horses were paired with mares that also already carried some Arabian influence. To improve the traits of the horses, The Lipizzaner and Thoroughbred breeds were also introduced. The resulting offspring across generations were then interbred to ensure the purity of the unique Shagya horse type.

The name of the breed is derived from a foundation horse by the name of Shagya. This particular horse embodied the desirable traits breeders were looking for. It was not until more than a century after the birth of this stallion though that the Shagya horse type came to bear his name. At first, the Shagya horses were simply known as part bred Arabian horses. The name of the horse type was eventually changed to clearly distinguish these Austro-Hungarian horses from desert Arabians.

Today, the distinction continues. Shagya horses may be considered purebred Shagya but not pure bred Arabians. In some cases, it can be argued that the Shagya is a sub breed of the Arabian breed.

Shagya Horse Traits

The Shagya shares similar traits with its pure Arabian ancestors. Just like purebred Arabians, Shagya horses are lean, sleek and compact. Many Shagyas however are taller and have broader builds than their Arabian counterparts because of the influence of other breeds. In any case, the Shagya truly does the Arabian breed great honor with its proud and stately appearance.

In the past, these horses were mainly used for riding and pulling carriages. Today, these horses join the ranks of other horse breeds in the show or competition ring. They can be used for driving, dressage, endurance sports and eventing. Of course, you can also simply enjoy pleasure rides with this excellent horse.

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