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The Spanish Horse

At first sight, the Purebred Spanish Horse, or Andalusian as it was known, takes your breath away with his sculptural beauty, proud bearing, natural high action and docile loving temperament.


He is strongly built, yet extremely elegant with cat like agility, and whilst he presents a picture of splendid animation, he is at all times, amenable to the person riding or handling him.


He is a horse of extreme character and his eagerness to please in all he does makes him a truly magnificent mount or driving horse.


These magnificent Spanish horses are once again becoming very sought after and are proving themselves in competition dressage, driving, show jumping, endurance, demonstrating great versatility.


The Spanish horse is believed to be the most ancient of all horse breeds, owing none of it’s makeup to any other breed.


The breed has been commonly known as the Andalusian, but in Spain it's known by the name Pura Raza Espanola (abbreviated to PRE). This simply means the Pure Spanish Race. The term Andalusian is now used for Spanish horses without full PRE papers.


The Spanish horse has a compact conformation with a strong neck, powerful hindquarters and tough hooves, making it extremely resilient, flexible and agile. Combine this with it’s trusting and kind disposition, the horse quickly became the premier mount for royalty and grand riding academies alike.


Their gaits are brilliant, energetic, cadenced and elastic, with marked elevation and a clear facility for collection.


They can best be described as a noble and docile breed that quickly establishes a close understanding with their rider/handler and extraordinarily comfortable to ride.


At one time the breed was threatened with extinction, probably due to their popularity as a warhorse. An export ban was put in place until the early 1960's in order to preserve this most ancient of breeds.






The Carthusian Monks founded the most famous Hierro del Bocado stud, back in the 15th Century. These horses are known as Carthusians or Cartujanos and are much revered and sought after. They have very classically baroque looks with high elevation and a kind temperament. Some of the most well known Bocado breeders in Spain are Cardenas, Guardiola, Terry, Pallares and Lovera.


The Ecsalera bloodline is famous for the breeding of bays with less elevation, but with the powerful extension that is sought after for the dressage arena today.


Yegauada Militar is the Spanish Military Stud in Jerez, home of Evento, the Olympic dressage stallion.


The breeding of PREs is carefully and strictly regulated in Spain by ANCCE, who have taken over from The Jefatura de Cria Caballar.


The ancestry of many Spanish horses can be traced back through the Stud Book to the famous Cartujano lines established some 600 years ago by the Carthusian Monks.


Every foal has to be identified and parentage verified by DNA testing, and they are microchipped before they can be inscribed into the Stud Book of Spain. Once they reach the age of 3 years or over, they must attend a grading (Revision), carried out by an inspector of ANCCE. Once they have passed, they are classified as Approved for Breeding (APTO) and their stock can then be entered into the Stud Book. This ensures the purity and correctness of the breed. Representatives from Spain come to the UK annually to carry out this process. 

The breed is currently experiencing a surge of interest around the world, although numbers are still relatively small compared to the majority of breeds.


A large number of horse breeds owe their existence to the Spanish Horse. Notably all the American breeds such as Quarter Horse, Paso Fino and Appaloosa.


It has also made an impact on the horses in Europe, having been used to improve and create the warmbloods.


Another obvious breed is the Lippizaner from the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna. Spanish Horses were taken to Austria in the 16th Century in order to create this classical equestrian school.


Many breeds in the UK such as the Connemara, Welsh and Cleveland Bay owe much to the Spanish Horse too.


The Portuguese Lusitano originates from the same gene pool as the Spanish Horse. The Portuguese then started their own, separate stud book in order to breed the characteristics they specifically required.

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