The Arabian Horse – Nature’s Creation and the Art of Breeding

Hans Joachim Nagel

Large size volume: 540 pages in full color, containing 430 illustrations.
Bound by hand in leather made from cowhide, hand-embossed with gold. Additional protective book jacket featuring hot-printed gold embossing. Premium illustration printing paper quality, acid-free and bleached without the use of chlorine. Of this limited edition, only a hundred books were printed, all numbered consecutively, and hand-signed by the author.

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Book Details

Weight 2.3 kg
Dimensions 21.5 x 28.5 x 7 cm

About The Author

Hans Joachim Nagel

Hans Joachim Nagel

Hans Joachim Nagel, born in Germany in 1930, holding a Phd in social economy, has been travelling and working in the Arabian world as Business man and horse breeder for nearly 50 years. He was president of the German Arabian Breeding association (VZAP) for 20 years, 15 years president of Waho (World Arabian Horse Organization) and Founder of Katharinenhof stud, the famous breeding stud of finest straight Egyptian Arabian horses.

This book has been written with the intention to make people who feel an affinity to horses, acquainted with one of the special horse breeds of today, the Arabian horse. The Arabian is the oldest horse breed known and, in the past, has made a unique and essential contribution to the English Thoroughbred, the French Anglo-Arab and the existence of all warmblood horses as well including all other standard breeds of national or local importance. All of them carry a good portion of Arabian blood. How did it happen that this particular exotic horse, brought up in the deserts of Arabia, bred by nomads in one of the poorest environments on earth, could reach and play such an important role; and why did, again and again, some of the greatest horsepeople, at different times in history, get fascinated by these horses as a pure breed, as an original? This book tells the story of Arabian horses, where they come from, and where they acquired all their appreciated virtues.

Furthermore, this book outlines how rural nobles and important state studs, mainly in East Europe, as well as dedicated private breeders, handled this breed: either as a heritage of ancient times, or as a subject of breeding that required developing, putting the breeders’ own stamp on them, according to these breeders’ tastes, just the way the ancient Bedouin breeders used to do. No wonder that today, there is such a great variety of types existing within the breed. However, they now all share a common denominator, that essence which gave them their particular abilities and appearance – that special stamp that makes them Arabian horses.
Readers will find a lot of answers to questions such as these. They will also find interesting examples and ideas for breeding. Hopefully this will facilitate their understanding of why the fascination for this particular species and its outstanding qualities has never ceased.


I. The Arabian Breed

  • Living with Arabians
  • Arabia, the Historical Homeland
  • Arabians in the Middle East
  • Evolution and Features of the Arabian at Bedouin Times

II. Breeding Concepts of Important Arabian Studs

  • In Europe
    • The Polish Studs
    • Russian Arabian Breeding
    • Babolna State Stud /Hungary
    • The Crabbet Park/England
    • Weil/Marbach Stud /Germany
    • France – Country of Performance Horses
  • In Egypt
    • El Zahraa Arabian Stud/Egypt
  • In the United States
    • Ansata Arabians, USA
    • Al-Marah, USA
  • Shows, Breeding and Standard

III. A Breeding Concept in Detail

  • The Katharinenhof Approach
  • Breeding Aim and Historical Roots
  • Complications and Risks of a Closed Breeding Programme
  • Choices of Breeding Methods
  • Inheritance
  • Pure Breeding
  • Preferred Families in Egyptian Breeding
  • Katharinenhof’s Breeding Programme
  • Mare Families – Features
  • Stallions – Features and Influence
  • The Co-Operation Ansata Arabians/Katharinenhof
  • The Closed Breeding Programme
  • Generations and Sire Line
  • Following Sires and Generation Table
  • In-Breeding Index and Measurements
  • From the Past to the Present
  • Advice to a New Breeder
  • Epilogue


  • Pedigrees
  • Index of Horses and Persons
  • Reference Books
  • Reference of Illustrations
  • List of Paintings and Prints
  • Photographers

Read the chapters



Judith Forbis: “Since meeting Dr. Nagel in Egypt over 30 years ago, I have known him as a close friend and dedicated master livestock breeder. The natural beauty and ambiance of the Katharinenhof farm he built, the classic essence of the Egyptian Arabian horses he has bred, and the books he has authored, have won him international acclaim and my personal admiration. In addition, joint ventures between Ansata and Katharinenhof, especially through combining the bloodlines of Ansata Halim Shah and Hanan, have influenced breeding programs around the globe.

Vision, patience, perseverance, and strength of character are required to ride the seesaw highs and lows encountered on a master breeder’s lifelong journey. Always looking forward, Dr. Nagel continues to evolve his unique herd, travel the world, and share his valuable knowledge based on years of experience. In the historic chain that forever binds Arabian horse breeders together, he has forged a memorable and lasting link.”

Judith Forbis, Ansata Arabian Stud (May 12, 2012)


Ali Shaarawi: “The Arabian Horse by Dr Nagel is a wonderful book that explains the history of the Arab horse in a logical way which makes lot of sense, also it shows us how the Arabs are not one type and the differences between them which makes it easier for every one to choose his horses that fits the purpose he needs.

The author gave us a big deal of his long experience telling us about the families of the Arab horses in every country and the development of them to fit the selection of the breeders explaining his personal ideas in breeding. All this makes this book really valuable for anyone that wants to learn about the Arab Horses.”

Ali Shaarawi, Cairo, Egypt


Sharzad Amir Aslani: “Once again, a masterfully written book by Dr.Hans Nagel regarding the history of the Arabian horse. This time, the author is sharing with honesty and integrity his lifetime journey and experience through the Arabian breed. What an admirable and valuable gift to the Arabian horse lovers worldwide! Hans Nagel books have always been a source of inspiration for breeders and horse owners.

I remember the day when a single copy of ‘Hanan’ found its way to Iran. Passing from one hand to another, people were able to learn more about the philosophy of Katarinahof. Their curiosity was understandable as they wished to know more about the birth place of Mubarak, a Salaa el Dine son who was changing the face of the breed in our country.

“The Arabian horse” is an excellent book for the horse owner, both the novice horse breeder for which this is a must and the experienced one, as a remarquable educational reference book about horse families and different breeding approaches. Illustrations and photos are beautifully chosen with text rich in history of the Arabian horse, foundation bloodlines, proper conformation, selection of behavior and much much more.

This was a long awaited book from one of the most esteemed breeders of the Arabian breed whose vision has always been considered as “avant garde”.

Sharzad AMIR ASLANI Tehran, Iran


Girolamo Di Benedetto: “There is no way to learn more about the life and work of a man than by reading the book The Arabian Horse, Gift of nature and the Art of Breeding , which was published recently.

It is a life related with simplicity and wisdom, an existence enriched by intuition, by the science of diplomacy, marked by adventurous travels and difficult mediations among nations, by meetings with tribes, princes, Bedouins, sheiks, robbers and warriors who face bloody clashes in the saddle of courageous and kind horses.

In the book’s precise and detailed examinations, the reader seeks wings to fly to the place where the attempts and results of choices and genetics roam. And in order to understand and achieve the greatest prize of all: Salaa el Dine.

This, in fact, is the problem of our “art” of breeding: we breed too, and yet, hoping for a miracle, we always dream of getting “our” Salaa el Dine… So we read and re-read the pages of this latest work of Hans Nagel in a loving attempt to steal the secrets for obtaining one of the Egyptians which was the fruit of his art.

In recognizing Nagel’s role as a master, I feel like I have become a great supporter of his book, which will certainly meet great success and become indispensable for every breeder.”

Girolamo Di Benedetto, Partinico (PA – Sicily – Italy)


Joe Ferriss:

Dr. Hans Nagel’s new book: The Arabian Horse, Nature’s Creation and the Art of Breeding

Every good book on Arabian horses is a gift to us all in the amalgam of knowledge of this oldest breed of Equine. Dr. Nagel’s latest book is such a gift. True to his comfortable style of writing, Dr. Nagel opens his new book with the Sir Frances Bacon quote: “You will not master nature unless you obey it.” This is a fitting reminder that living with, understanding, and breeding Arabian horses, is inextricably intertwined with understanding nature, something that was central to the life of this breed’s creators, the Bedouin tribes.

This book systematically lays out the tools for understanding the Arabian horse beginning with a prologue that informs us as to why the Arabian horse exists today in a modern world that does not depend on horses for its progress. Nagel then presents the book in two parts: first, Traveling from East to West and second, A Breeding Concept in Detail.

The first part begins with section I on the Arabian breed, discussing the touching subject of living with Arabians, which enhances our enthusiasm for what follows.

Nagel then establishes a context for the breed in the chapters: Arabia-The Historic Homeland, and Arabians In The Middle East. He illustrates the role of the desert environment in the nomadic Bedouin setting that shaped the breed. Here he also explains his ideas on how the nature of environment and culture across the whole of Arabia has impacted the various types of Arabian horse, divided generally into the “Northern” and “Southern” a premise he related in his earlier book, Hanan (1998). He shows how those types were later distributed in the Middle East and can be identified to this day.

Section I concludes with a fascinating chapter on Evolution and Features of the Arabian at Bedouin Times, offering provocative thoughts on the development of unique Arabian features cultivated by nomadic Bedouin culture, desert environment and selection for survival.

All that is presented in section I offers a proper foundation for Section II: Breeding Concepts of Important Arabian Studs. Here exemplary Arabian horse breeding programs are illustrated including Polish Studs, Russian Studs, State Stud of Babolna, Crabbet Stud of England, Weil/Marbach Stud of Germany, and French Arabian breeding programs. This is followed by Egypt, mainly the government stud of El Zahraa, and then for the United States two of the longest surviving Arabian breeding programs are discussed: Al-Marah Stud and Ansata Arabian Stud.

These analyses of various studs, help to model bigger picture thinking about the whole Arabian breed’s development in the modern world. This then leads to a chapter on Arabian horse shows, breeding, and standards that is a critically important piece for understanding some of the realities of today’s global Arabian horse community. Like so many other livestock breeds the show ring inevitably leads to a single “standard” and it is not forgiving of much variation, yet variation is inherent in the versatile Arabian, which explains its wide audience. It is inferred here that the Arabian breed has much more to offer than the constraints of the show ring, an important point to remember. For Section II, the chapter on Conclusions creates the sense of interconnectivity for every breeding effort reviewed in this section. All of this paves the way for the second part of Dr. Nagel’s book.

The Second Part of this book gives us the anatomy of Arabian horse breeding as illustrated through the personal experience of Dr. Nagel’s Katharinenhof Stud. It is divided into three sections which are instructional tools for the breeder: The Katherinenhof Approach which relates the stud’s philosophy; The Katherinenhof’s Breeding Programme, which explains in detail and charts the organization and mechanics of the stud’s breeding program; and Advice to A New Breeder, which will help anyone who chooses any bloodlines or types of Arabian horses to make informed and positive decisions in thoughtfully breeding them.

The Annexes [Appendices] of this book give key pedigrees for the Katherinenhof Stud as well as sire line chart illustrating some of the patriarchy of Salaa El Dine (Ansata Halim Shah x Hanan) world wide.

This 540 page book is incredibly rich in content and is punctuated profusely with wonderful photos and art that make this story enriching and visually satisfying for anyone who loves Arabian horses or wishes to learn more about them. It is a must for any library. I am sure it will become one of my most well worn books with so much to see every time it is opened.

Realizing how important books about the Arabian horse are in our body of knowledge, I can only conceive of this analogy: If we were all Bedouin sitting around the campfire discussing the Arabian horse in detail, we would want all of the elders to participate in the discussion and it would be very incomplete without the presence of Dr. Hans Joachim Nagel. In his latest book he has brought much wisdom to the “majlis”.

Joe Ferriss, USA


The Arabian Magazine • The World Edition February 2014

The Arabian Magazine • The World Edition February 2014


Desert Heritage Magazine 2014

Desert Heritage Magazine


Clothilde Nolet:

The book Dr Nagel gave us to read is a «must have» in every breeder and passionated Arabian horses lovers library.

He is the combination of two great ideas: you always have to look back in the past to perpetuate your ideal in the future.

Dr Nagel, as a well known breeder and searcher, is one of the European « pioneers » who went in Egypt to discover the history of the breed and select some incredible individuals to rejuvenate the blood we had at that time in Europe.

By selecting and discovering what Egypt had to offer, he made a big step forward into Arabian breedings in western countries. Also he had decided to choose a very special way of breeding and stick to it for a very long time period, as well as Mr Babson for example has made in the USA. His unique approach has definitively created attraction among the arabian horse industry in general.

His book reveals us the history of the breed and its general standards, all lines incorporated, focusing on the important National studs in Europe who had founded the legacy we have today available through the world. This first part is very interesting, wether you are a novice or a beginner in arabian horses.
The second part is for me a true testimony to genetics and how you can select the horses that fit your standards. Through the years he had tried and bred some very interesting individuals who have proven what they can bring to the breed, he explains us in several chapters how to make this selection and what is important for him, and consequently for us, to breed the Egyptian Arabian Horses.

A huge applaus for this book!

Clothilde Nolet