Large portions of this book BEDOUIN HERITAGE by Matthias Oster can be read free on this website. The seven pillars of the world of the Arabian horse can be discovered in full by ordering the book:
Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. Proverbs 9:1
This metaphor that can be found in the proverbs of King Salomon/Sulaiman Ibn Daoud from the Old Testament was used to illustrate the foundations or the supporting mechanism for the task of breeding Arabian horses. As will be shown in this book, the house, Arabic beit/bayt, refers to the black tents of Arabia, known in that part of the world since Biblical times. To set up such a house, more precisely the tent of the nomad Arabs, pillars are needed, so that it can be inhabited and can give shelter against sun or rain. In oriental culture the house at the same time is more than the place to live in. To remain on a Biblical example, the house of David comprises his whole family and also his descendants. The house of the Arabian horse is composed of the world in which it lived. This house has to be built anew from every generation of breeders, like the migrating Bedouins had to erect their tents in every new grazing land of their travels.
This book will hopefully give those interested in erecting their own tent of Arabian horses the needed material to rely upon.
“Towards the middle of the night I was awakened by the moon that shone with a frosty brilliance into the tent. The fire had burnt down and the smoke had blown out; the Arabs and the Druzes were lying asleep round the cold hearth; a couple of mares stood peacefully by the tent pole and gazed with wise eyes upon their masters within, and beyond them a camel lay chumping among the black stones. The strange and silent beauty of a scene as old as the world caught a heart and spurred the fancy even after sleep had fallen upon it again.” Gertrude Bell
Here are the seven pillars the author suggests to use:
The first pillar is the habitat in which the Arabian horse lived, the Arabian peninsula with its deserts and its adjacent regions. It shaped the Bedouin society and also the Bedouin horse. We will take a short look on flora and fauna and the climatic conditions and will see how the horse would be able to live there.
The Bedouin and his society is regarded as the second pillar. The Bedouin was the breeder of the Arabian horse, in his hands this race of horses was formed and preserved over many centuries. Therefore, we will continue with the Bedouin world, as we cannot understand this breed without understanding its breeders. Bedouin history, tribes and their society and culture will be discussed.
As the third pillar the author has chosen the strain, a specificity of the Arabian breed, the genealogy of the Bedouin horse based on the mother-line. This could also be part of the next pillar, but because of its importance it will be considered as an own pillar.
The fourth pillar to be erected is the Bedouin tradition on their horses, their legends and stories, their poetry, and what can be learned from it. We will discuss the power of poetry (Al Rasheed), especially in describing the role of the horse in badu society.
The fifth pillar of breeding Arabian horses deals with the horse itself, or its phenotype and genotype. How does or should an Arabian horse look like? What characteristics constitute the Arabian horse? What breeding principles have been handed down by the Bedouins?
The sixth pillar in the world of the Arabian horse comprises scientific and veterinary knowledge, a rather new field, and how a breeder can make use of it. This chapter should provide the owners of Arabian horses with practical guidelines in their daily work.
The seventh pillar is perhaps the most important and the pillar least understood and least influenced by modern men, and surely also the most controversial of all. Without it, all knowledge and understanding will not be complete. Breeding is taking part in nature, or in the words of the late Dr. Wenzler, head of Marbach State Stud, Germany, during the 1950´s and 1960´s: “Breeding is the humble partaking in the creation of God”. This last pillar will proceed from the question of breeding horses to a much more important aspect: The Arabian horse, a gift of God, not only to the Bedouins, but to all men. Emphasis will be put on the role of the nomadic societies for and the close connectedness with the revealed religions of the Middle East, which all share a common root and a common hope. A hope closely linked with the Arabian horse.