The legend of the Bloody Shoulder Arabian was born hundreds of years ago when nomadic tribes of
Bedouin people wandered the deserts of what is now the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Mesopotamia
and Persia. This story was handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Whether or not
it actually happened no one knows. Bedouin warriors prized their horses, especially the mares, even
above their wives and their children. As a stallion might call to other horses and alert the enemy camps
of approaching raiders, the warriors would ride their quieter mares into battle, instead.
The Legend tells us that on one such occasion a Bedouin warrior saddled up his most prized mare who
was heavy with foal. As the Desert Arabian Horse was (and still is) a tough, hearty animal, he saw no
problem in taking her into battle. When the band ofraiders arrived at the enemy camp, the warrior
dismounted to loot the tents and do hand-to-hand combat on foot. He let his horse to find a secluded
place to rest. fFter a few hours, the warrior hunted down his mare only to find she had foaled, giving birth
to a strong healthy filly in his absence.
The mare ran half-heartedly with her new foal following, but she slowed more and more as the foal
struggled to keep up with her. The enemy was quickly gaining on them so the warrior pressed her to run
harder, but she would not. In a moment of desperation, the warrior took his lance, turned to the foal and
pierced it through the shoulder. The wounded foal faltered and fell, blood pouring down its shoulder. The
mare realized the foal would no longer be following her. She took a deep brath, filled with sorrow, and in
a renewed burst of speed, loyally carried her merciless rider into the safety of his camp.
The next morning, after the Bedouin and his mare had rested, the warrior awoke to a most astonishing
sight; there through the door of his tent, he could see a small day-old filly standing quietly at her mother's
side. Hardly able to believe his eyes, the warrior approached the little horse-- the same foal he had
supposedly killed the night before-- and rubbed his hand over the wound. There was no injury to be
seen, just a patch of blood-stained hair. Not only had the place where the lance entered somehow
healed, but the foal had miraculously found its way to camp following the scent of its mother.
Recognizing this to be a sigh from Allah, the warrior humbly vowed to take special care of and raise the
foal as a treasured gift from God. The foal never lost its blood-stained shoulder, and when she became
a mother, she would pass on her special marking, as well as her courage and endurance, to her
This version of the "Legend of the Bloody Shouldered Arabian" was composed by Kathleen Moody with
the help of Diana Johnson, owner of Bint Al Bahr Arabians and breeder of classic Egyptian horses. It was
used by Breyer for their "Freedom" bloodmarked Arabian model.
Edited by A. Tadlock to include details that Breyer removed for young audiences
.Once upon a time many years ago in the desert of Arabia, there was a Bedouin warrior who owned a
very special Arabian mare - a mare he rode into a battle and to whom he entrusted his life.
Theirs was a very special relationship, a bond of trust, love and mutual respect. Either would have given
his life for the other. In fact, their bond of trust was so strong that the mare often "read her master's
thoughts," doing exactly what he needed at exactly the right time , allowing them to win many battles and
to be the envy of all the Bedouin tribes.
Years passed and one day in a fierce battle the master was severely wounded, falling across the neck
and shoulder of his beloved war mare. Although her master was unconscious and she was miles from
home, the mare carefully balanced him across her shoulder, carefully carrying him toward home. She
went for days without food or water to return her master to his family.
When the courageous mare finally arrived at the encampment, she was exhausted and weak, her
master was dead. As the family carefully removed the master's body, they saw that the mares shoulder
was heavily stained with his blood, leaving a distinct red mark on her shoulder.
Although they had lost their leader, the Bedouin family was eternally grateful to the mare for delivering his
body from battle. They knew that the long journey had been very difficult for the courageous mare, and
they were very concerned for her because she was heavily in foal.
Finally the time of her foaling arrived, and there was great concern for the cherished war mare. But when
the long-awaited foal was born, he was healthy and vigorous and healthy and of exceptional quality. He
also bore the identical "bloody shoulder" that his mother had from her master's blood.
It was then that the tribe realized that Allah had rewarded this mare and their tribe for their courage,
loyalty and faith and that the bloody shoulder was a reminder of his favor.
Since that time, hundreds of years have passed, but once in a great while there is a mare of exceptional
courage beauty, quality, and courage who foals a very special foal graced by God with the bloody
shoulder. The Bedouins have continued to believe this is a sign of Allah's favor. Who are we to disagree?
Long ago on the sands of a great desert lived a Bedouin chieftain by the name of Ahmed and
his tribe. In the tents of Ahmed was his most prized possession, a beautiful grey mare who was
renowned throughout the desert as the fleetest and most beautiful horse in the world. Many
people coveted the mare, and kings and chieftains had tried to acquire her, but Ahmed could not
be persuaded to part with his beloved mare.
Ahmed decided to breed his mare, and searched the desert for a suitable mate for her. After a
time, the mare was bred to the premier stallion in the Sultan's stable. Months went by and the
time for the mare to foal grew near.
Riding across the desert one day, several miles from his tents, Ahmed was seen by a group of
robber Bedouins. Fearing that he would lose his beloved mare as well as his life, Ahmed turned
and raced toward his tents, knowing in his heart that the mare, heavy in foal, could never
out-distance the bandits. The mare seemed to realize that she was running for her master's life,
and slowly, very slowly, she began to gain ground on her pursuers. Shots rang out and bullets
peppered the sand around them as the distance gradually widened.
They were almost out of rifle range when at last a shot rang out. A bullet pierced Ahmed's heart,
and he fell forward over the neck of his beloved mare. The mare never slackened her stride, and
carried her master back to his tents on their final ride together.
Ahmed's people gathered around the mare and removed his lifeless body from her back. Down
one of her shoulders, his blood had dried a nasty brown in the desert heat. There the mark
remained, for no one could remove it.
That night in the tent of her dead master, the mare foaled. The foal was acclaimed by all as a
perfect specimen of the Arabian breed, and on his shoulder was the same rusty red mark that
his dam bore.
And so it came to pass that every great horse descended from that mare carried the mark of the
bloody shoulder, and it was a thing greatly prized in the desert.
I am sure my little Bird just has a few extra large spots, but its fun to think that some far distant
relative was one of these lovely mares. These are beautiful stories anyway. When I was a girl I
believed my pony was a Chincoteague Pony, for no good reason other than the story of the
horses itself. Now Bird is a descendant of a Bedouin Warriors gallant mare. The mark is what
caught my eye. She also has the large spot over her left eye. She is cool anyway.
Spotted Acres Toms Painted Delight