Fantasia and Barb Horse

The Equestrian Tradition of Northern Africa

The Barb Horse


Barb Stallion from Algerian National Stud
The Barb Horse, originally bred in Northern Africa, is the ancestor of many famous horse breeds, as e.g. :

Pura Raza Espanola (Andalusian Horses)
Spanish Barb
American Quarterhorse
English Thoroughbred
Paso Fino
Peruvian Paso

Barb Horses, imported to Europe, have frequently been taken for arabian horses by Europeans, because most inhabitants of Northern Africa were muslims and spoke the Arabic language.

A famous example for this error was the celebrate "Godolphin Arabian", one of the ancestors of the English Thoroughbred, who was indeed a Barb Stallion. He was given as a gift to the French King by the Moroccan Sultan, but for several reasons his worth was not properly estimated. He was working as a cart horse in Paris, when the famous English breeder, Lord Godolphin, bought him and took him to England.
In newer literature, he is correctly referred to as the "Godolphin Barb".
This story has been subject of a novel by Miss M. Henry (titled "King of the Wind" ), and also of a Hollywood movie with the same title.


Logo of the OMCB

The number of pure Barb Horses is decreasing, due to the economic situation in its original countries. To help against this problem, the World Organisation of the Barb Horse (OMCB: Organisation Mondiale du Cheval Barbe) was founded in Algeria in 1987.

Members are the original countries Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, together with some other European breeders' associations. President of the OMCB is Dr. Joundy, General Director of the Moroccon National Studs. Seat of the Organisation's Administration and Financial Department is Algeria. Due to unfortunate political circumstances in Algeria, since the beginning of the nineties the work of the organization has decreased to a minimum.

Actually, it is almost impossible to get information on the Barb Horse, except from several commercial enterprises from Europe (France and Germany) dealing with horse breeding and trading.

From material of various sources, I have tried to extract the Barb Horse Breeding Standard.

I also tried to put together an overview of the Barb Horse Bloodlines

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All texts, pictures and backgrounds by Markus Huenenberger