American Andalusian Horse Parody

All American Iberian Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association (AAIALHA) Press Release – April 17, 2020

by Donna DeYoung

In North America, the popular Purebred Iberian Essence (PIE) horse is making a statement. Like many modern show horses, the PIE is not a breed in the strict sense. Instead, it’s a horse of Iberian heritage that comes from many different bloodlines. All bloodlines, like the famous bullfighting horses of Lusitano, the magical dancing stallions of Spain, and the American version derived from blending the Lusitano and Spanish horse, are considered equal when registering with AAIALHA.

Organized breeding of the PIE has been going on for centuries. It was only recently, though, that AAIALHA members were able to register their horses as “American PIEs” and thus gain the distinction that this Americanized horse so much deserves.

The American PIE is superior to the native horses from which the American stock grew. In Spain, the native horse was known as the Pura Raza Espanola (PRE). PIEs are in much more demand today and are of better quality than PREs of years ago. The superior quality of PIEs over PREs was officially acknowledged in a letter to Spain dated April 2006 in which American breeders made it clear that the “breeders from the Americas have worked very hard to produce superior stock.” As we all know, Spain’s response to this letter and the others that were sent was to end the PRE program in America. The PRE bloodline is now considered an extremely rare form of the PIE. If you happen to own a PRE, your horse must be flown to Spain and back at great expense in order to gain your Spanish papers. Since all PREs descended from PIEs originally, AAIALHA feels there is no need to offer separate recognition to the PRE horse and to do so is an effort in vain. The other native horse, the Puro Sangue Lusitano from Portugal, is recognized as one of the founding bloodlines of the PIE.

The AAIALHA has designated four types within the American PIE bloodline, each with its own criteria. This concept allows the PIE to be specialized for specific tasks and yet keep its designation as “made in America” and “the best of Spain and Portugal”. The pleasure horse has remained the most prevalent type. Blessed with a full mane and tail, colors of all types including pinto and appaloosa, the pleasure horse is within anyone’s budget. Prices often start at $1,000 for a purebred PIE foal. One of the most popular colors today is the palomino PIE which is called a “Crème PIE.”

The second type, the dressage horse, is also popular. Several shows are held each year in which PIEs compete against other PIES in “PIE in the Sky Contests”. These contests are similar to classical dressage yet very different from USDF dressage. In PIE dressage, winging is not counted against, short, choppy gaits are the norm, and a horse is never required to stretch down on a loose rein. A score of 50 out of 100 in PIE dressage is considered superior.

Of course, the showiest type of PIE is the Fruit PIE. Fruit stands for “Fun Rail Use Iberian Trotter”. Fruit PIEs are known for their flashy high stepping gaits, strongly dished faces, pointed ears, and refined bone. In order to judge Fruit PIE contests, the judge must have previously been rated as an Arabian or Saddlebred judge. Classes at Fruit PIE shows include saddleseat, country pleasure, Iberian pleasure, racking, three-gaited, sewing-machine gaited, five-gaited, and show hack.

One of the newest PIE types to be recognized is the Pony PIE. Pony PIEs must be no taller than 14 hands. This bloodline is particularly popular with youth riders and families.

What does the future of the American PIE hold in America? Breeders are encouraging the AAIALHA to allow minute infusions of Arabian, American Saddlebred, and Hackney horses into the bloodline. These additions, they argue, can increase the knee action and animation already present in the Fruit PIE and can add beauty to the Pleasure PIE. It remains to be seen how this new bloodline addition will add to the superiority of the PIE made in America.

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