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The Dark Side of Arabian Horse Breeding: Extreme Appearance over Function

Concerns Over Extreme Breeding in the Arabian Horse Breed

1.1 Unique Characteristics of the Arabian Horse Breed

The Arabian horse breed is known for its natural beauty and elegance. One of its unique characteristics is the dished face, which is a concave shape from the forehead to the nose. The breed standard also calls for a slender throat-latch, which is the area behind the jawline. These features are considered desirable and are often sought after in breeding programs.

1.2 Veterinarian Concern over El Rey Magnum’s Extreme Breeding

In recent years, there has been growing concern over extreme breeding practices that compromise the welfare of the animal. One such example is El Rey Magnum, a champion Arabian stallion known for his exaggerated dished face and narrow nostrils. While he may have won awards for his appearance, veterinarians have raised concerns over his functional breeding and breathing problems.

El Rey Magnum’s appearance was achieved through a selective breeding process that prioritized aesthetics over function. His narrow nostrils are a direct result of his dished face, which makes it difficult for him to breathe properly. This can cause serious respiratory problems and is a clear example of how extreme breeding practices can compromise the welfare of the animal.

The Risk of Accepting Defects as Necessary Breed Characteristics

2.1 Congenital Defects in the Arabian Horse Breed

The Arabian horse breed is not immune to congenital defects. These defects are present at birth and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Despite this, some breeders accept these defects as necessary breed characteristics. This is a worrying trend that can lead to serious health problems for the animal.

Examples of congenital defects in the Arabian horse breed include fatal defects such as dwarfism and cerebellar abiotrophy. Dwarfism is a condition that results in a disproportionately small horse that is prone to joint and bone problems. Cerebellar abiotrophy is a neurological condition that affects coordination and balance. These defects are not only painful but can also be fatal.

2.2 Conflicting Opinions on El Rey Magnum’s Appearance

El Rey Magnum’s appearance has sparked a polarized debate within the Arabian horse community. On one side, those in favor of his appearance argue that he is the epitome of a halter horse – a type of competition that judges horses purely on their appearance. They argue that as long as he continues to win awards, his appearance should be accepted as a breed standard.

On the other side, those against his appearance argue that function should always take precedence over appearance. They believe that extreme breeding practices like those used to achieve El Rey Magnum’s appearance are unethical and prioritize aesthetics over the welfare of the animal.


In conclusion, extreme breeding practices pose a significant risk to the welfare of the Arabian horse breed. Breeding animals that prioritize appearance over function can lead to serious health problems.

It is important to remember that while appearance is important, function should always be prioritized. As we continue to admire the natural beauty and elegance of the Arabian horse, we must also be mindful of the impact that our actions have on their welfare.

El Rey Magnum: Controversy Over Extreme Appearance

El Rey Magnum is a well-known Arabian stallion who has won numerous competitions, including the title of “most beautiful head” at the Arabian Breeders World Cup. Despite his successful career, there has been growing controversy around his extreme appearance and the breeding practices used to achieve it.

3.1 El Rey Magnum’s Success in Arabian Horse Competitions

El Rey Magnum has been highly successful in Arabian horse competitions, winning the Supreme Championship twice at the Arabian Breeders Classic, as well as numerous other awards. His most distinctive feature, the extreme dished face, has often been the focus of judges, who cite it as a defining characteristic of the breed.

However, his appearance has also sparked controversy within the Arabian horse community, with many arguing that his appearance is detrimental to the breed’s welfare.

3.2 El Rey Magnum’s Breeding Value and Industry Acceptance

Despite the controversy surrounding his appearance, El Rey Magnum has significant breeding value and is in high demand for outside breeding. His semen costs up to $10,000 for a single breeding, making him one of the most expensive Arabian stallions in the world. This demonstrates that the industry is still placing a high value on extreme appearances, despite growing concerns about welfare.

The industry’s acceptance of El Rey Magnum’s extreme appearance is driven in part by the promotion of the dished face as a desirable feature in the breed. The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) defines the breed standard and has allowed for a more exaggerated dished face over time.

This change in the breed standard has progressed over the years and has resulted in the need for an extreme look being the norm in the Arabian breed. In addition to the AHA, the Arabian horse industry as a whole has also promoted the dished face as a desirable trait.

This can be seen with the increasing number of competitions that focus on appearance, such as halter classes. In these competitions, the emphasis is placed on the horse’s appearance, rather than its function.

This puts pressure on breeders to produce horses with extreme appearances, even if it compromises the animal’s welfare. Industry acceptance of El Rey Magnum’s appearance has also been driven by his success in competitions.

Winning awards at high-profile shows has solidified his place as a desirable stallion for breeding. However, this also perpetuates the notion that appearance is more important than function.

The industry acknowledgment of El Rey Magnum’s apparent beauty, despite his breathing problems and functional difficulty, implies that it is acceptable to breed horses that prioritize appearance over function.

In conclusion, El Rey Magnum’s success in competitions and breeding demand highlight the industry’s focus on appearance over function. Despite widespread concerns about the welfare of animals bred for extreme appearance, the Arabian industry has yet to take significant steps to address these issues.

The acceptance of El Rey Magnum’s extreme appearance and its promotion by the industry raise important questions about the future of the Arabian horse breed. It is essential for breeders and industry associations to prioritize the welfare of the animals when making decisions that affect the breed’s future.


  • Q. What are some unique characteristics of the Arabian horse breed?
  • A. The Arabian horse breed is known for its dished face, slender throat-latch, natural beauty, and elegance.
  • Q. What are the risks associated with extreme breeding practices?
  • A. Breeding animals that prioritize appearance over function can lead to serious health problems and compromise the welfare of the animal.
  • Q. What is the industry’s acceptance of El Rey Magnum’s extreme appearance driven by?
  • A. It is driven by the promotion of the dished face as a desirable trait and the increasing focus on appearances rather than function in competitions.
  • Q. What should Arabian horse breeders prioritize when making breeding decisions?
  • A. They must prioritize the welfare of the animal and consider the long-term impact of their actions on the breed’s future.

Final thought: The welfare of the animal should always be a priority in breeding practices, and it starts with acknowledging the risks and implications of focusing solely on appearance.

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