Spanish Spots


Horses of spotted Appaloosa-type and pinto patterns appear in Spanish art as early as A.D. 1109 and recur frequently for the next three centuries (i.e. 1400's). Great quantities of Oriental blood were introduced into Spain centuries prior to the birth of Christ.

Periods of civilization and/or invasion of the peninsula include those of the Iberians (originally from north of Africa), peoples of the Alamanni, Basques (province of Navarre), Carthaginians, Celts, Cimbrians, Franks, Greeks, the Moorish invasion of 172-175 A.D., the Muslim invasion of 711 A.D., Ostragoths, Phoenicians, Romans, Suebi, Teutons, Vandals, Visigoths, and perhaps some others (and not in order given). Each of these civilizations brought horses that had an influence on the native horses of Spain. These were to become the foundation of the Spanish ancestor of the Andalusian, also known as the Spanish Barb or Spanish Jennet (Genet).

The new types were called St. Petersborgs or Fredericsborgs, referencing the area of their origin or to the name of the royal breeder who kept them. Selected for color traits, raised in royal studs, the spotted horse came to be as a result of "fashion and fancy" of the mid to late 1600's. Royals favoring the spotted horse in military parade use include Frederic the Great (1712-1786), Empress Elizabeth of Austria, King Christian V (1684), King Christian VI (1745)

King, Philip II (1527-1588) of Spain set out to create a breed of horses. The Spanish Barb/Jennet contributed to the development of many European breeds through the tradition of "Royal Studs", grand stables and collections of breeding horses supported by money from the crown of a country. The gift of Spanish "Andalusian" 9 stallions and 24 mares in 1580 by Phillip II to his Uncle Ferdinand in Austria were added to the Austrian Royal Stud, which developed the Lipizzaner. "Pluto" and early Lipizzaner sire, was said to be prolific at throwing spotted color in his offspring. Antiques paintings of the horses of the famed Spanish Riding School (Lipizzaner horse) show a lot of blanket pattern horses in the broodmare herd dated to this era.

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