My opinion on Polish Arabians is a lot like my opinion on European warmbloods. These breeds suffered heavy casualties during the wars, and (as I mentioned in my post about Polish Arabian stallion Fetysz), the Janów Stud, like many others, lost about 80% of their breeding stock (x).
By the time the wars ended, mechanisation had replaced many roles for horses, so the surviving bloodstock weren’t graded back up to accomplish the same range of tasks they previously had. That’s how the modern era of ultra-typed light riding breeds in Europe began, and (combined with the contemporary popularity of halter shows) is one of the reasons why many contemporary horses have less versatility than their esteemed antecedents.
Such is the case with Huckleberry Bey, though there are Polish bred Arabian horses who display greater resemblance to the cavalry bred Polish Arabians of old.
Huckleberry Bey displays some good athletic traits, with a good shoulder, a short back, and a reasonable hip. However, he’s carrying a little too much of a muscular bulky build on too light weight of bone, his neck is not ideal, and I’d need to see several photographs of him standing in a square stance from different angles, to judge his legs correctly. Sire Bay el Bey was over at the knee, which makes me inclined to a little suspicion that there aren’t more stationary photographs of Huckleberry Bey.
Huckleberry Bey’s sire Bay el Bey:
Huckleberry Bey’s sire Bay el Bey was influential in producing horses with “long, arched necks that are set on very high” (x), though this legacy is a limiting factor in the athletic potential of their offspring:
- Both stallions have relatively long necks, which means their necks are weaker and less flexible in comparison to a horse with a shorter neck.
- Both stallions appear bull necked with incorrect muscling in their neck (note: the greater bulge of muscle at the upper vertebrae), but I am inclined to suspect this is because of them being trained to pose in poor posture, as Bay el Bey’s neck musculature seems superior in his ridden work.
- Based on the bull neck musculature it appears that both stallions were worked in improper postures, however both have an underlying conformation fault in their necks. Their arched necks are the inverse fault of hammer-headed necks, and this fault seems to be called an “arched neck” (x) though that term is so generic as to cause obfuscation when trying to find more information about it. In the case of arched necks, the upper part of the s-curve is longer and more articulated, and the lower part of the s-curve is comparatively short and unpronounced. This means that they have less flexibility at the base of their neck, making it harder for them to lower their head. Hammer-headed necks are relatively common in wild and feral horse populations as poll flexibility isn’t as much of a requirement of horses in the wild, however arched necks are exceedingly uncommon in wild and feral horse populations, as it effects the ability of horses to use their head and neck as a counterweight for shifting their balance and changing directions at speed.
- Huckleberry Bey displayed the same head set used in Saddleseat, which might lead to intervertebral disk disease (x). It is unclear as to if intervertebral disk disease is a risk for all horses who demonstrate this posture, or just the horses who demonstrate this posture without having an arched neck as a result of their inherent conformation.
Huckleberry Bey displayed some positive traits for athleticism, and some negative traits for athleticism. He gets heralded as being quite athletic for a halter horse because he was an English Pleasure champion (x), but that fact doesn’t count for much, because he would seriously struggle at anything other than flatwork. The athletic success of his progeny therefore would be highly dependent on which traits breeders decided to emphasise.
- If he was crossed to mares with heavier weight of bone, without as much disproportionate bulk at the shoulder, and with moderate necks, the offspring could be quite nice (especially if out-crossed to a different breed, with a more equal sized hindquarter, like Morgans).
- However if he was crossed to halter bred Arabian mares who also had light refined bone weight and a bulkier body, with long arched necks, the offspring could have more deleterious conformation.
So really it could go either way depending on the intentions of the breeders who crossed to him (breeding for athletic ability, versus breeding for a pretty paddock pet). Asil Arabian stallion Vice Regent CF is an example of a better athletic type than Huckleberry Bey.
As your filly is several generations removed from Huckleberry Bey, unless there were multiple crosses to his line, it’s likely that she has received only a minor inheritance from him. I do not know what the overall nature of her breeding has been, so I can’t comment on her own athletic ability.