Everything about Kabylia

When the Berber horses put an end to the 1914-1918 War

Barbe horse

Originally, the “Barb” horse, Berber in this case, was used as a war horse by the Moors, Numids, Carthaginians and Julius Caesar to conquer the Gauls.

This horse shone for centuries and particularly in 1870, amidst the disasters of the Franco-German war. But it was particularly during the first world war of 1914-1918, in Macedonia, when he brought the proof of his exceptional qualities. And more recently, the German army will open the gates of Moscow with Barbs requisitioned in Tunisia by Rommel.

It’s a false cold temperament combined with real intelligence.

Called a Barbary horse by the Roman authors more than 2000 years ago, the Barb has always been bred in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria in Morocco and for a long time in France. Physically very enduring and easily withstanding all privations, he left the countries of the cradle of race very early on to radiate in Italy, Spain and France under the saddle of poorly known warriors, thus referred to as Barbarians, which was similarly attributed to the Berber horses.

According to several hypotheses, it is said that its admission to North Africa dates from the 2nd millennium BC, but bones of horse species dating from 4000 years and more were discovered in deposits in Algeria. Add to this cave paintings and engravings depicting horses that were discovered in the Hoggar, Tassili and Kabylia.

It is believed that the Libyans inaugurated the tradition of chariot games and honor given to charioteers, especially women, who gave birth to the myth of Athena (Tineiht, now Neith in Egypt, Athena in Greece and Minerva in Rome), goddess of war and reason, symbolized at the same time by the victorious young girl during the chariot games.


In any case, in North Africa, the horse is an integral part of human life in all its history. Strabon (58 BC, 25 AD) reports in his writings how the Numidian horsemen of North Africa “rode their horses’ without brakes’, i. e. without harnesses, without hooks, without biting, which is remarkable. Only sometimes a rope around the neck could be used to slow down or to steer a few horses.”

As early as 1550, in Venice, a book containing a chapter on “The description of Africa” speaks of the Berber horses “These horses are called in Italy: Barberi, and so it is in all of Europe, because they come from the “Barbaria”. They are of a species born in the country…”. This country is North Africa. It is remembered that King Louis had stallions from Barbaria imported for his provinces of Xaintonge and Auvergne.

The Berber horse possesses an exceptional mind, calm and explosive at the same time. Lymphatic at rest, it bubbles as soon as it is solicited, it is a false cold temperament allied to a true intelligence.

Although there has never been a systematic study on this subject, several anatomical publications state that the Berber horse would have only five lumbar vertebrae instead of six like the other horses. Having only five mobile lumbar vertebrae gives the advantage of less tiring the muscles to support a load. This does not interfere with the suppleness of the back, quite the contrary since the muscles do not tetanize. This anatomical feature of the majority of barbs plays a large part in the endurance that is known to them. Enduring, sober, frugal, resistant to all climatic variations, Berber Stallion remains the horse of outdoor and leisure par excellence, ideal setting for equestrian tourism and endurance

It is rather reddish brown and gray in Tunisia, rather gray in Algeria, rather gray and bay in Morocco with all the variants of these families of dress. It is always effective and pleasant to ride. Clogs rather small, cylindrical and hard, a croup “in pulpit”, a short neck, the Barb has a bearer and effective horse morphology. The Barb is at the origin of the breeding of the Spanish Pure Race, but also of the English Thoroughbred. He gave birth to Godolphin Arabian, who was the leader of one of the most prodigious filiations of English thoroughbred.


It is the land qualities of the Barbes who, thanks to a severe selection by the sporting event, allowed the English to make the English Thoroughbred. The pedigrees of Matchem, Herod and Eclipse prove this.
The Berber horse is not in itself contested; in his “History of the Horse”, the great hippologist Ephrem Houel spoke of it in these terms: “The Barb Horse is larger than the Arab, its head is a little longer. Its chest is magnificent, its limbs are strong and nervous, its whole is wonderful of grace and elegance. He has a safe footing, fast running and nevertheless easily bends to the most complicated work of the merry-go-round. ”

The great war of 14-18 was the years of death and suffering; the French people paid more than others in Europe for freedom. In this period as in 1870, it was the Cavalry of Africa and its Berber horses who saved the honor of the troops on horseback. It offered France the last victory of the war: Uskub (Skoplje -Macédoine); September 29, 1918. It was the most beautiful (for with capitulation of the enemy). This light cavalry had the best troop saddle horse.

After the rupture of the Germano-Bulgarian front by the infantry at Dropopolje, the African Cavalry Brigade was thrown at the enemy’s rear, on the evening of the 21st of September, by the general-in-chief. It is composed of African hunters and the marching regiment of the Moroccan Spahis: 2,000 horses. Objective Uskub, railway node behind the front. The brigade will reach the Danube where the General Armistice will arrest it, less than 50 days later. But on 26-27 September, 1918, the incredible was the raid of 2,000 horses across the mountains of Macedonia, climbing 2,000 meters, through goat trails.

By this masterpiece of maneuvering infiltrations on the rear, this light cavalry invests and took Uskub on 29 without strike. The retreat of the German army was cut off and capitulated. That same day (29) Bulgaria asks for the Armistice. General Jouinot-Gambetta wrote: “Our Berber horses are admirable (to climb) the terrible slope.” In anticipation of his strategic maneuver, he had assembled and prepared this cavalry in the region of Monastir in Tunisia. These horses were produced in the equestrian establishments of North Africa.

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This entry was posted on 13/10/2017 by in Historie, Science and tagged , , , , , , .


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