The Legend of the Bloody-Shoulder
The Foal

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This version of the legend features a miraculous foal.

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 offspring.

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.


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