Half-Arabian Horse Breeds


Sometimes in life you can put two things together that are great on their own and get a match made in heaven, like peanut butter and chocolate. The Half-Arabian is a cross that builds on the strengths of the purebred Arabian—athleticism, stamina, intelligence—and adds qualities from another breed to create horses suited for specific disciplines.

The United States Equestrian Federation website describes the Half-Arabian as a custom-created show horse. From reining and cow work to English pleasure and park classes, as well as all-around competitions, Half-Arabians can match any interest.

The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) currently has 348,971 registered Half-Arabians. To be eligible for registration as a Half-Arabian or Anglo-Arabian with the AHA, the following criteria must be met. (Other registries that accept part-bred Arabians may have different requirements.)

A Half-Arabian must have one registered Arabian parent. The other parent may be 1) a purebred of another breed; 2) a grade horse; or 3) a Half-Arabian.

An Anglo-Arabian cross may be Arabian x Thoroughbred; Anglo-Arabian x Arabian; Anglo-Arabian x Thoroughbred; or Anglo-Arabian x Anglo-Arabian, as long as there is no more than 75 percent or less than 25 percent Arabian blood in the offspring.

Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians compete in the same classes at AHA-approved events and are eligible for awards through the association.

Here’s a look at four popular Half-Arabian crosses.


Around 1750, French breeders began crossing their Thoroughbred mares with Arabian and Turkish stallions. Through the early 1800s, selective breeding resulted in a recognized standard, and the Anglo-Arabian breed requirements were formally established in 1880.
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The Arabian-Morgan cross, known as the Morab, is an American original and can be registered with the AHA, the International Morab Breeders Association (IMBA) and/or the Purebred Morab Horse Association (PMHA).
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National Show Horse

A relatively new American breed, the National Show Horse (NSH) and its registry began in 1981. Originally, the NSH was an Arabian-American Saddlebred cross, resulting in the quintessential English show horse excelling in saddle seat classes such as park, English pleasure and equitation.
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The Quarab is the cross of an Arabian with either a Quarter Horse or Paint. With American roots, Quarabs were bred starting in the 1960s.
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All of the Half-Arabian crosses offer the best of both worlds. From English to western and trail riding to eventing, there’s a Half-Arabian ready to experience the adventure with you.

KARA L. STEWART is a freelance writer and horse owner based in Colorado.

This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!


  1. We have found the reverse happens too. The worst qualities of each. The Morab seems to work the best. Along with the anglo. The Quarter horse cross has been less successful for us.


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