The Shagya Arabian is a fairly rare breed of horse. It is a combination of the traditional characteristics of Arabians such as a hardy toughness, spirit and beauty, with the traits of a modern riding horse with a larger frame and more strength. It also possesses better jumping ability. These horses are usually grey in color with significant height. They are spirited and athletic, with a noble and collected body carriage. They have a spunky, people-loving temperament.
Shagyas were developed in Austria-Hungary over 200 years ago. People of the time needed a larger horse with the desirable characteristics of an Arabian.
They have the second oldest registry in the world next to the Hunt Club of England. The original breeders tried several different Arabian crosses to include the Thoroughbred, Spanish and Arab. After failing with these, they bred Arabians to native Hungarian mares. This cross proved successful this breed is now known as the Shagya. Among the farms breeding these animals were Kabijuk in Bulgaria, Managalia in Romania, Topolcianky in Czechoslovakia and Radutz in Hungary.
The Shagya gets its name from the stallion “Shagya” who was born in 1810. He was bred by the Bedouins in Arabia and then sold to the Habsburg monarchy. In 1836 Shagya became the breeding stallion at the farm Babolna. He shows up on most pedigrees to the present.
They were used mainly as Calvary mounts and driving horses until the introduction of the automobile. Early European royalty prized them as parade horses. The Imperial Guard of the Habsburg Monarchy always used this breed. Due to their adaptability and versatility, they have kept up with the times and become excellent sport horses and family-friendly mounts.
They are commonly found participating in activities such as dressage, jumping and eventing. They are very powerful and magnificent movers. They are a visually beautiful horse. As mentioned, they are usually gray in color, but there are black, chestnut and brown Shagyas. They are larger framed than a traditional Arabian. The registry rules insist that they must still look Arab with those refined and delicate features. They should have a small pretty head which can be
straight or dished in profile. They should have large, dark and intelligent eyes. Their neck should be long and crested connected to a good sloping shoulder. Their backs should be of medium length above good straight legs with powerful hindquarters.
Also known as the Hungarian Anglo-Arab, the Gidran Arabian is an extremely rare breed, with only about 200 specimens in the world today and are mostly found in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. They are powerful, graceful movers that excel at jumping. They are used primarily for eventing, dressage and jumping. To see them in action is quite a treat.
The Gidrans are similar in breed to the Shagyas. They were developed in Hungary at the Mezohegyes horse farm during the 19th century. The founding Sire of this breed was named Siglavy Gidran. He was bred to Arabian, Turkish, Spanish and Thoroughbred mares. This early breeding was quite a haphazard affair.
Originally the breed was developed as a Calvary horse with emphasis placed on two types of horse: one being heavier for pulling and work purposes and the other being lighter for transportation purposes.
The Gidran Arabian is a taller horse usually standing between 15.3 and 17 hands tall. They are a high quality and classy horse, though their temperament can be questionable. They are definitely not suitable for every rider.
They are almost always chestnut color. They also have the refined heads and necks but not as much as a traditional Arab. They should have a nicely proportioned neck, a sloping shoulder, a strong and longer back, deep heart girth and good bone structure.
For registration purposes, these horses must meet a standard which requires they be submitted to a stud book selection process. They must be Chestnut in color, have Thoroughbred, Arab, or Anglo-Arab bloodlines that are recorded in their pedigree for at least the previous four generations. They must also be over 15.2 hands tall.
At the time of writing this article, there is not yet a breeding program for the Gidran Arab Horse in Australia.