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The Andalusian - P.R.E. Pura Raza Espanola, The Pure Spanish Horse

 Prehistoric Cave Art - Spain
Cave paintings of horses have been found on the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Spain which date from 20,000 to 30,000 BC and in caves of Altamira and Canforos de Penarubia in North Eastern Spain dating back to 5,000 BC. These prehistoric horses have long been considered to be the foundation of the Andalusian. We now know that these horses from pre history were the predecessors of the majestic horse we call today, the Pure Spanish Horse.

The Pure Spanish Horse is called the Andalusian. Since early history, horses were named after their place of origin. Any horse which came from Andalusia, regardless of its breed, was called Andalusian. However, it is important to know that the Pura Raza Espanola is the result of one of the greatest breeding undertakings in history.
In 1567, King Philip II, a passionate horseman, decided to cross breeds that existed in Spain at that time in order to create the best horse possible. The success of this undertaking was based on a thousand year search for what was considered the perfect horse, as described in the writings of early horsemen, Simon of Athens, Xenophon and Columela.  The place chosen for this breeding facility was the Andalusian city of Cordoba.  Stables were built and 1200 mares were bought. The results were spectacular. The outstanding qualities of the Spanish horse captivated the world. It symbolized an empire and a culture that had achieved what the world had longed for, the perfect horse. The new breed was officially given the name, Spanish Horse. A stud book, called the Registro de caballos espanoles, was created to record the pedigree of all Spanish Horses in order to preserve the purity of the breed.

The Spanish Horse became the “royal horses of Europe” and was ever present at every Royal court. Riding academies were formed in countries across Europe including Austria, France, Italy and Germany. It was in these academies where dressage and high school riding began. This great horse was the favoured mount due to its impulsion, forward motion, its agility and intelligence. The Spanish Horse served as the foundation for the Lipizzaner and contributed to the development of most of the German warmbloods, Ireland’s Connemara, England’s Cleveland Bay, and many of the breeds developed in the New World such as the American Quarter Horse and the Peruvian Paso.

 Cessa & Toni





 Nepenthe M

Today’s Spanish Horse is as versatile as it has ever been. Wherever or whatever, the Spanish Horse is found to display it’s proud, brave, intelligent and docile temperament, qualities that have been sought and prized for thousands of years.

The elegant and strongly built Pura Raza Espanola stands 15.2 to 16.2 hands high. They are predominantly white or various shades of grey. They may also be bay and rarely black, dun or palomino.

“It is the noblest horse in the world, the most beautiful that can be. He is of great courage and docile; hath the proudest trot and the best action in his trot, the loftiest gallop, and is the lovingest and gentlest horse, and the fittest of all for a king in his day of triumph.” –The Duke of Newcastle, 1667


For further information on
The History of the Pure Spanish Horse, visit:

El Caballo Español - The Andalusian Horse
                             by: Jan Carlos Altamirano


 written by Donna Nearing

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