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Reading a Pedigree

Whether you plan to breed, compete or enjoy Arabian horses for pleasure, a pedigree is a valuable tool that can help you understand more about your horse and their history. Each pedigree is a record that details the ancestors of a certain horse. In many cases an Arabian horse’s predecessors can be followed back to the desert.

The pedigrees of all registered Arabian and Half-Arabian horses are available on the Arabian Horse DataSource, as well as being printed on their registration papers - these are the best and most accurate sources of information. Other webpages such as the All Breed Database and Pedegru also have pedigree information, though their accuracy is not guaranteed as they are not official records and anyone can amend them.

Below is the pedigree of US Reserve National Champion and sire of National Champions, Padrons Psyche, taken from DataSource.

Beneath each horse’s name is their unique Arabian Horse Association registration number, and their coat color.

By looking back at each generation the sire (father) and dam (mother) of the horse can be identified, as well as the maternal and paternal grandparents, and beyond. Commonly, the terms by and out of are used to describe the relationship between sire and dam and their offspring. For example, Padrons Psyche is by Padron, and out of Kilika.

Every Arabian horse has both a sire line and a tail female line or dam line. The sire line runs along the top of the pedigree tracing from the sire, to the grandsire, to the great grandsire and so on. The tail female line follows the dam to the granddam to the great granddam and onwards. Both the sire line and tail female line can be traced back to one final ancestor known as the foundation sire on the top and the taproot female on the bottom.

In addition to being important for breeding and purchasing decisions, pedigrees can be fun and interesting to study. By understanding the horses of the past that contribute to a given individual, breeders and enthusiasts alike can better speculate and even predict what the horse itself, or its future offspring, may have to offer.

For more information check out these FAQs on the Arabian Horse Association website.

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