Olympic Spirit asked in PetsHorses · 9 years ago

Why do Arabians have one less vertebrae than other breeds?

Some girls on the equestrian team and I were hanging out today when we started yelling out random facts about horses while cleaning out our horses' stalls. When it was my turn I remembered a fact that my trainer told me years and years ago about Arabians. When I shouted out that Arabians have one less vertebrae everyone peered into my stall and looked at me like I was insane.

I know it's true...at least I hope it is. And I was just wondering why?


Thank you so much Gallop. I always appreciate your informative answers.

Update 2:

Wow Christine...that is something else. That's another fact to yell out during stall cleaning randomly. Thank you!

5 Answers

  • gallop
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Purebred Arabs actually have two less vertebrae. One less thoracic vertebra (and therefore one less pair of ribs), and one less lumbar vertebra (shorter loin). The shorter loin increases capacity to carry weight.

    The Arab rib cage is wide and barrel shaped to allow greater heart and lung room in the chest cavity for greater endurance. The shorter loin brings the stifle closer to the ribs, which requires the stifle joints to have more lateral angle which then means that the bones below the stifle angle medially. So, all Arabs have slight cow hocks to allow the stifles to move the hind legs freely forward without interference with the wider rib cage. The one less rib because of the one less thoracic vertebra also accommodates the stifles being able to move freely forward, without requiring excessive cow hocked angle and without requiring a long loin.

    Not all Arabs share the same number of vertebrae, and the spines of Arab crosses may vary as well.

    Source(s): Registered Nurse and 58 years with horses
  • 9 years ago

    You are right! Listen to Gallop- she knows what she is talking about! (as usual)

    Also, I have another fun fact for you about Arabians. I learnt recently from my teacher at my Equine course that Arabians are the only breed that can catch AIDS.

    Interesting, eh? Don't ask me why- I have no clue.

    They are just a interesting breed.....

    Source(s): opinion and knowledge!
  • 9 years ago

    I was told it was 1 less rib on both sides of the ribcage.

    I was told by my riding instructor. And my leader in 4H.

  • 9 years ago

    Yes and they also have one less pair of ribs.

    As to why... I have no idea... I guess they just didn't need them? :D

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  • it is true

    Source(s): i was told so... i believe
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