The Barb is an ancient breed that was established in the Fertile Crescent of Middle Asia. The fast and agile Barb was a favored mount for the Berbers. In fact, the animal draws its name from this group of “barbarous” people. The Barb was originally a prized warhorse, which explains its worldwide distribution. As the Berbers conquered new lands, the horses left behind were bred with native stock. Barbs were most plentiful along the coast of Africa and the Moors used them to invade Spain. The horses were later taken by the Conquistadors to the New World and “liberated” by American Indians. Blood of the Barb flows through the veins of many breeds, including the Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, Standardbred and Mustang. Few original Barbs remain in the world; most were gathered from the wild in the United States by Barb Horse Registry founder Richard Painter in the 1950’s to recreate the original type.

The Barb is a stocky, yet expressive horse standing 13.2hh to 15hh and is found in many colors, including dun and palomino. The Barb has fewer lumbar vertebrae than other horses and sixteen or seventeen rather than eighteen ribs.

For more information:
International Society for the Preservation of the Barb Horse & Barb Horse Registry,


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