Americanization of the Andalusian by Robert Vavra

I thought I would share this with you. Robert Vavra, world famous horse photographer, was interviewed in 1992 for an article in “Conquistador” magazine.

He was asked, “How do you see the Spanish horse fitting into the American scene?” And he replied....

“That’s a very complex question and I couldn’t answer fully even if this entire interview were devoted to only that subject. One of the wonderful things about America is free enterprise. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if America weren’t still the land of opportunity. However, free enterprise can also be destructive. Having money and the freedom and power to move it, doesn’t mean having the taste and wisdom to breed good Spanish horses . . . I am very against taking something like the Spanish horse and “Americanizing” it . . .

I question, for example trying to breed the Andalusian into an oversized straight moving horse when in Spain its grace and charm came with a different kind of animal. . . It bothers me to see native costume classes that look like a Woolworth’s combined Halloween and Christmas remnant sale. If people want that, there should be two classes, a fantasy class and a native costume class. It bothers me to see a group of Americans with Andalusians in a parade looking more like a gathering of Mennonites because of their improperly down turned hats. But it is true you can’t argue with taste.

Worse, the negative side of free enterprise allows uninformed or ignorant or naïve breeders to breed stallions that if graded properly, would be judged unfit for anything but producing mules. This means that there are without a doubt going to be a few good horses bred in this country with a deplorable number of awful ones. However, it would be unfair not to mention that there are some very knowledgeable and responsible American breeders of Spanish horses who every year produce wonderful horses.”

Then he was asked, “Do you think there is a solution to this?” And he replied . . .

“It’s a very big problem but I always have hope. The only solution I see is to do what American owners of German Warmbloods do. In the case of the Spanish horse, you would bring to key American cities the group of Spaniards who grade horses there and have them do the same here. On the part of the American breeders it would have to be a voluntary kind of thing. But everyone would know that those horses that had been taken to the grading and passed it would be worth more and there would be some kind of guarantee in using them for breeding.

It is very complex because breeders in Spain are usually wealthy with many horses. Here you have a number of modest breeders with only several horses. So if in a grading, if their foal crop of ONE doesn’t pass the grading, that’s devastating, but so is breeding a lot of unfit horses and producing more of the same. It may be an unfair reality that good taste most often comes with education and old money.

Look at the Sevilla fair. Before democracy came to Spain, it was the most spectacular display of elegant horses and riders in the world . . . But after Franco fell and there was new money in Spain, a new middle class, the traditional class and good taste of the fair suffered, both in horse flesh and in the way people dressed. One has to choose what one prefers. I don’t like snobbishness or classism, but neither do I like seeing a common, poorly decked out horse ridden in Sevilla Fair by someone in an ill-fitting suit. Again, beauty depends on the eye of the beholder.”

Skyhorse Ranch - Andalusian horse breeder in Texas with Andalusian horses for sale. Breeders of PRE Pura Raza Espanola horses with cartas from Spain. Selling black, grey, and bay Andalusians. Recommend Andalusian stallions at stud. Pictures, history, facts, and info. Spanish Andalusian horse farm. Bloodlines from Spain in the USA.

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