Without question the Arabian horse is an ancient breed. While its distant history remains a matter of mystery, as a breed it became prized when found among the Arab horsemen of Arabia that we call the Bedouin. In the context of these migrating tribes and the harsh environments in which they lived, a special kind of horse was created. The very survival of these tribes depended on horses that could be ridden fast and hard for long distances in hot arid climates over difficult terrain and often with limited sources of food and water. The result was a horse of modest, efficient size, with superior physical capabilities and a unique kind of beauty that nature seems to bestow on animals in the wild. Being selectively bred and tested under such harsh conditions, the Arabian horse became a breed of not only superior qualities but a breed able to impart its influence very strongly when crossed on breeds of other nations.
Whether through warfare with Europeans, Ottomans or other foreign forces, this prized "war horse" of the Bedouin proved itself a successful weapon. Soon foreigners would seek some of these desert "war horses" for use in upgrading and improving their own horse stock, which ushered in the beginning of worldwide interest in the Arabian horse.
Today's Arabian bloodlines are an amalgam of many different exportations from the Arabian Desert as well as exchanges between nations. Each nation that acquired these original Arabians would eventually become breeders of Arabian horses creating bloodlines for their own needs that today are often referred to by their nationalities.
The major nationalities of Arabian horses are summarized here.