Horses and horsemanship

Horses have a great status to Arabs and Muslims. Due to their high importance, Allah made an oath with them, saying: “By the running horses”. He made them as a decoration for Muslims by saying: “And horses, mules, donkeys to ride and as a decoration”. He urged Muslims to take them as shields protecting them from their enemies, saying: “and prepare for them as much power as you can provide and of horses in order to frighten the enemy of Allah and your enemy.

  • The Prophet (peace be upon him) praised them by saying: “Good is bounded by the foreheads of horses until the Day of Resurrection”. (Related by Muslim).

The Arabic and Islamic literature is full of great writings that reflect the importance of horses.

Horses has been the subject of bride, interest and source of love to Arabs who continued to respect and love them and that was obvious to those who read about their news.

Safiy-ud-Din Al-Hully once said:

One day when people celebrate their glory, so, you are one of the people of whom glory is proud. Their young youth used to ride the grown up horses, so a saddle and a cradle were the same to them.

Horses have various famous names such as Al-Jawad and Al-Hisan. The other name of a horse (Khayl) is derived from Al-(Khuyala‘) i.e. “conceit” because a horse always walks in conceit and beauty. As for the name Jawad, it is derived from the word Al-Joud which means generosity because a horse is generous in running fast toward the enemy to save his rider in the time of hardship. As for the word (Al-Hisan), it is derived from the word (Hisn) which means the fortified place where an equestrian takes shield from enemies in battlefields.

A horse will remain forever one of the most generous and good animals as horsemanship is one of the doughty deeds. Horsemanship is a great sport to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) exhorted by saying: “teach your children archery, swimming and horse riding”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to held races between horses.

The first race in Islam took place in the 6th years AH when the Prophet (peace be upon him) called for a race and the horse of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) had beaten all horses and taken the prize, which is legally permissible, unlike mortgage which is a kind of gambling.

Arabs are still keen to hold horseracing, which is a great fun for those who are trained and well-experienced where a unique relationship arises between a horse and its jockey by which they can understand each other in dynamic and harmonic way.

The sport of show jumping is one of the most enjoyable and thrilling sport, therefore, most horse-riding beginners look forward to the day in which they can pass their first obstacle with their horses.

In spite of the fun and challenge a person has when practicing this sport, no doubt it is still dangerous if the jockey is not trained enough or experienced to control his horse quite well.

So, anyone loves horse-riding should practice this sport for the sake of fun and enthusiasm. An equestrian must learn how to settle himself on the saddle and keep balance when a horse passes over the wooden obstacles to make it easy for the horse to jump with a simple move. An equestrian must learn to sit normally on the saddle when the horse jumps without losing balance. He must learn also how to grab the bridle and gradually improve himself.

An equestrian should be positive and calm to be able to increase the horse’s pace. The more confidence an equestrian and a horse have, the higher could jump and pass the obstacle. With continuous jump a horse performs over small obstacles, an equestrian starts to feel the paces of the horse to estimate the distance between obstacles. During the jump, a horse must pass through four consecutive stages which are heading to the obstacle and getting to it then getting ready for the jump followed by flying in the air and at last landing. In each stage, a horse takes a different position. An equestrian must be in balance and of full control over the situation and does not busy himself with anything else except his horse, especially during the consecutive jumping. The ideal position which enables an equestrian to jump perfectly is to follow the instructions and training rules to the extent that an equestrian and a horse would be one unit or one body.

It is not advisable that an equestrian try to jump as long as he is not experienced at the hands of an expert in order to give him all the factors that give him confidence and equanimity and make him of full control over the horse.

All different horsemanship sports benefit equestrians where he takes many qualities from the horse of which are the following: 
Patience, the ability to endure hardships, courage, enthusiasm, strong will, intelligence, common sense, the love for learning, devotion, sacrifice, loyalty, affection, kindness, compassion, vitality and good sporting activity, self-esteem, focus and precision and high motivation.

All these qualities are parts from the moral standard to which our religion exhorts to obtain self-esteem, sublimity and power.

May Allah bestow mercy over Abu Al-Tayyib when he said:

The dearest position in the world is on a saddle of a swift horse and the best company is a book.