We know of no Arabian horses in America until after the Revolutionary War. Even Thoroughbreds were relatively rare, especially in the North. Nonetheless, we can detect some Arabian influence on the course of horse breeding in early 19th century America.
The John Faed painting of George Washington receiving the salute at Trenton. His handsome homebred charger, named Blueskin, is a son of “Arabian” Ranger, an English Barb who originally stood in New England and was later moved south to Virginia. Whatever else Blueskin’s dam was, she was big and broad, because Washington here bestrides an animal of real substance. My guess is that Blueskin’s dam was Canadian or partCanadian. The artist is at pains here, however, to emphasize Blueskin’s Oriental ancestry— note the leopard-skin shabraque and tasseled browband.
Engraving after a photo of Calif of Cairo appearing in an 1859 issue of Harper’s Weekly magazine. Modern breeders of “show” Arabians need to study this image so that they can learn what an Arabian horse is supposed to look like. The Calif was an utterly beautiful animal, perfect in every point and with a lovely temperament, but a diplomatic gift gone to waste. Since there were almost no purebred mares in this country at such an early date and no registries or record-keeping of any type for partbreds, Calif of Cairo left no purebred descendants that we know of.
Engraving after a painting made by Edward Troye of the stallion *Mokhladi 1844 being led by his importer, Kentucky native A. Keene Richards in Arabian costume. Richards was the first American to import more than one purebred Arabian and the first to devise a systematic breeding program. Unfortunately, his program was destroyed by the Civil War.
A retrospective made about 1858 by lithographer John Hansen, showing Andrew Jackson as he might have looked with his troops in 1814. His charger shows typically Arabian conformation, and note the exotic fur pommel cover and tasseled headstall. Note also that the horse is not gray but a minimally spotted paint, revealing that while his sire might have been Arabian or part-Arabian, his dam may have been partChoctaw.