The Spanish Horse

Spanish Horse of Kings

In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the purebred Spanish horse was the horse of choice of the European kings. Such a horse was one of the finest gifts a royal house could offer to another.

Its nobility, beauty and intelligence was in fact so treasured that many new breeds were created out of it, for example the Lippizaner of Austria and the Knabstruper of Denmark. And when the conquistadors went to South America, they brought their horses from Spain with them across the seas. Unsurprisingly, the ancestor of most American horse breeds is therefore the purebred Spanish horse.

The Spanish Horse is Making An International Comeback

After being completely forgotten for a couple of hundred years, the purebred Spanish horse is now making a strong come back all over the world.

Various Breed Names for the Spanish Horse

The official breed name of the purebred Spanish horse is Pura Raza Española, or PRE. The breed is also known as the Andalusian horse, especially in the US and Australia. 

Breed Characteristics 

The purebred Spanish horse is appreciated the world over for its great beauty and noble character. It is famous for its unsurpassed gentle nature.

For example, Spanish stallions are not castrated. As they have little to none stallion behaviour, stallions are typically kept and ridden together with both mares and other stallions, without any problems at all.

Current Use

The breed is popular for pleasure riding and parades, as well as for classical dressage. They are also used for jumping and eventing, and are also much appreciated as beautiful carriage horses.

The last decade or so, the breed has become increasingly popular as a high performance dressage horse. PRE Andalusians are today competing in all dressage classes, all the way up to international Grand Prix.

Some individuals have even made it all the way to the Olympic Games, horses such as Fuego de Cardenas (London 2012), Grandioso III (London 2012), Oleaje (Silver team medal, Athens 2004) and Invasor (Silver team medal, Athens 2004).

The Serious-Minded Spanish Horse

The Spanish horse is a good choice for children and young riders. They are very seriously minded and love their job of helping their riders feel fantastic. Because of this, they make excellent pleasure riding horses even for very young persons, or people who do not like the idea of having to fight with their horse and worry about getting hurt by it. In Spain, you often see children and young riders proudly riding their purebred steeds in the local shows and competitions.

Spanish horses make fantastic partners for children and young riders in competition. Their good nature and ease in handling is remarkable and puts them aparts from ponies and other breeds of horses. Their gentleness is something that many children and their parents particularly appreciate about their purebred Spanish horses. 

It is also a breed of choice for women taking up riding in their later years. They appreciate the comfort of riding and great ease of handling. An added benefit is that the risk for accidents when dealing with these horses is greatly reduced compared to other breeds.

Photo on the Top of Page

Carles V on his purebred Spanish horse in a painting by the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck. Held by the National Gallery in London. © Creative Commons Attribution License