The history of the Spanish Horse is full of legends and stories, although there are references of the Andalusian horse from the pre-Romanesque period, the final terms of Pure Spanish Breed (PRE) horses will not sit until the management of horses hut made by Felipe II, allowing our breed to reach the peak.
The PRE horses have a very definite breed standard which allows them to distinguish themselves from the rest of the breeds. The breed prototype is well explained in the Specific Purebred Spanish Horse Stud Book Rules and Regulations (BOE nº 127, May 28, 2012) but we will try to explain the general characteristics of this fascinating breed. They have average volume and medium lines and with a profile that goes straight to sub-convex horses. Have good sexual differentiation and its conformation is harmonically proportioned and beautiful.
His movements with elastic, bright and lilting, distinguished by their ease of the collected gates and gathered prominent elevations and extensions.
The other strong point of the Spanish horse is temperament, are balanced, spirited yet noble and docile, extremely intelligent and with great heart which gives them great capacity for learning. Has great ability to adapt to the environment and good hardiness.
What is perhaps more characteristic feature of our PRE horse is the shape of its head to be provided and of medium length with a nasal profile straight to slightly convex, its ears are medium-sized, parallel, mobile and fully inserted. With a slightly prominent forehead, his eyes will be expressive and alive and triangular eyes.
Zorzal IX, PRE Andalusian Stallion. Photo: www.IDphotos.nl
The shape of your neck will be arched and muscular (less developed in mares) and shall consist of long, silky mane.
Ingenioso XX, Qualified PRE Stallion. Photo: Marta Nowakowska
The Andalusian horse is well balanced and with medium lines, its back will be consistent and muscular, they are a little wide and prominent, short and muscular with good integration with the croup and back cross back. The croup is rounded and slightly sloping and medium length and width. The tail low and well inserted between the buttocks and generally populated by abundant and curly bristles.
The back will be long, elastic, muscled and oblique, with a strong arm and good inclination attached to a powerful forearm. The croup end in a muscular thigh, an arched buttocks and long legs.
This is the general pattern, but everytime the market demands more competitive horses for both conformation and sport and due to this, the specialization has produced PRE horses with slightly different morphology according to the purpose. I would say that at the moment there are two different groups into the standard of the PRE horse: “Baroque and Sport”.
The “Spanish sport horse” tend to have more athletic look. The neck is arched and with a good insertion on the head and body, they use to be lighter and flexible to ease the flexibility and collection. We are looking for horses agile, strong and durable, so a good standing and back are a must. For dressage movements and elegance are important factors so we would try to select a morphology that leads to this end. The shoulder would be long, muscular and with a nice angulation in order to allow “shoulder freedom” and horses that not only has the typical knee action of the breed, they may have also a forward movement. The legs tend to be a little longer in proportion, the back not too short or too long (short backs use to be a bit stiff and too long make difficult to transmit the movement) and they need to have a powerful hind limb and croup that would be the engine that move the horse. Temperament is especially important in sport horses, they have to be willing, intelligent, noble and honest, with the classical brio of the Spanish breeds. In my personal opinion we have to select a sport horse but always keep in mind the essence of the PRE Andalusian horse, their look and their movement, if we do the mistake of try to look for a Spanish horse that look like a Warmblood, we would always have a bad warmblood and a mediocre PRE. Andalusian horses are our treasure and we have to preserve them.
Zafir IV, bred by Yeguada Aimaran and owned by Stal el Paradiso. Photo: www.IDphotos.nl
The “Baroque Spanish horse” is very desired for Conformation competition. They are bulkier, with a special attention to the characteristics of the breed, beautiful heads with triangular eyes, soft and slightly convex profiles, with the sparkle and the brio of the Andalusian horses. A good and solid conformation, a nice muscle development. We look for the aspect of the PRE horse that confers a good “Breed Fidelity”, these are mainly head, neck, croup and movements. We use to say in Spain that a horse with a good breed fidelity is the one that you see tied up in any corner and you immediately know is a PRE. But also there are more unspecific points in the Score Sheet that could give our horse the gold medal, limb alignment and back are aspects with a higher coefficient, so more and more the PRE Baroque horses are not only beautiful, solid and racial, are also horses with a good general conformation.
Baroque and Sport PRE horses advance together and even when they are slightly different they will always keep the breed essence that make our horses one of the most special breeds in the world.
NIlo XIX, stallion from Yeguada Aimaran. Photo: Marta NOwakowska