The Spanish Horse in Literature

horse andalusian

The World's Finest Horses and Ponies

Edited by Colonel Sir Richard Blyn
George G. Harrap & Co. LTD. London 1971
On Carthusian Horses


In 1476 Don Alvaro Obertus de Valeto left 10,000 acres of land to the Carthusian Monastery in Jerez, where monks had a number of fine mares. Horse-breeding activities had already started at another Carthusian Monastery in Seville, and in 1490 a third was founded at Cazallo. These three monasteries were the cradle of the Andalusian breed. . .

...their horse became famous, and those bred at the Jerez Stud later became known as Andalusian Carthusians. The ancient Stud Farm still exists in Jerez...no mare was ever sold.

Andalusian Carthusians are still bred in Spain. A few were successfully hidden from Napoleon's rapacious armies during the Peninsular War, but the majority of the remaining descendents of the Andalusians are Zapateros from the Stud founded by the family of Zapata. This herd was successfully concealed from the invading French, and after 1915 surplus animals were sold to less fortunate Andalusians breeders at high prices.

On Lusitanos


Portugal shares many breeds with her neighbor, Spain. In fact, most breeds in the Iberian Peninsula are common to both countries . . .There still exist representatives of the old Portuguese Breed the Lusitano, which used to meet the requirements of the Army Remount Division for supplying cavalry regiments. Lusitanos were also used for light farm work. . .

This breed is of great antiquity and has a somewhat controversial origin...often used for the Portuguese bullring.

On the Alter Real

The Stud was founded by the House of Braganza in 1748 in Vila de Portel, whence it moved to its present site in 1756, coming under the direct administration of the Royal Household shortly after 1770. It was started with some 300 Andalusian mares, almost all of them from the area around Jerez de la Frontera in Spain where the finest Andalusian horses were to be found...

...the Stud flourished and its fame continued until 1821, when it was sacked by the Napoleonic invaders who stole the finest animals...reorganization was begun by the introduction of heterogeneous Arab stallions and horses from England, Normandy, and Hanover. These experiments with alien blood caused the breed to begin to deteriorate...

A further effort was made to re-establish the breed by the introduction of Andalusian Thoroughbreds [purebreds] to this time the Alter owed its best qualities to the foundation stock of Andalusian Thoroughbreds.

The Encyclopedia of the Horse

Foreword by David Broom
Barnes and Noble Books 1998

Andalusian Breed Description


This famous long-established breed traces back at least to the Moorish occupation of Spain, when Barb horses from North Africa were introduced to the Iberian Peninsula. The horse that resulted from this mingling of the invaders' Barbs with the indigenous stock was to become the foremost horse of Europe, remaining as such until the eighteenth century. The Andalusian also exerted a great influence on other European breeds - most notably the Lipizzaner.

Cordoba was an early center of organized breeding and is still one of the principal centers, together with Seville and Jerez. The Andalusian is an active horse of enormous presence, combining agility and athleticism with a gentle, docile temperament. It has a characteristic hawk-like profile, a luxuriant mane and tail - which is often wavy - and a spectacular, high-stepping action.

The Complete Book of the Quarter Horse

A Breeder's Guide and Turfman's Reference
by Nelson C. Nye
Arco Publishing Company, New York, 1964


Origin of the Quarter Horse

The Moors brought the Quarter Horse's ancestors with them when, under Tarik, they overran Spain. The Mohammedan conquest was begun in 634. The Moslems, by 696, had completed domination of most of North Africa, entering Spain in 710. Their cavalry was composed largely of Berbers, whose horses had come from Syria, Egypt, Nubia, Zeneta, Barbary, and Arabia. The great preponderance of these were Barbs, a race of desert-bred Oriental horses known for their speed and endurance. Of Tarik's twelve thousand horsemen, only twelve were Arabs, and everything considered, it seems unlikely that many others were mounted on purebred Arabian horses.

...By 1650 Spanish Guale [Florida] had 79 missions, eight tows, and two royal ranches. These ranches were perpetuating the blood ...of horses...when the Chickasaw Indians began trafficking in horses with the Carolina planters...

...With the joining of Janus 1222 with the Chickasaw (Barb) mares the Indians had introduced into Virginia and the Carolinas, the foundation of our present breed was laid . . .

The Horses of the Conquest by R.B. Cunninghame Graham

First published in England 1930

On Conquistadors and Their Horses

"For, after God, we owed the victory to the horses"

The love of horses pervaded every class and all conditions of the Spaniards of the time . . .

"The horse is a generous animal, well-bred and high-spirited. When he leaves the stable, he prances in a way but little fitted to the narrowness of streets, dancing to one side and the other, arching his neck to show how well he knows the bit. He seems to understand the beauty of his trappings, and that he is obliged to show his spirit and strength."

from Sermones, Obras, Dogmaticas, Obras Morales, Rectorica Ecleisiastica by Fray Luis de Granada.

"...the noble properties of the warlike Horse, most noble amongst all the animals, and useful in many ways for the service of mankind; defense and bulwark of kings and princes . . . This most noble beast is the most beautiful, the swiftest and of the highest courage of domesticated animals. His long mane and tail adorn and beautify him. He is of a fiery temperament, but good tempered, obedient, docile, and well-mannered. The Latins call him 'Equus', and in Spanish he is named 'Caballo.'"

from Albeiteria by Pedro Conde - Colors of Horses

...horses are known but by the color of their coats. A man speaks of his Bayo (cream colored), his Overo Azulejo (slate and white piebald), Lobuno (wolf-colored), Gateado (cat colored), his Pangare (light bay with a fern-colored muzzle), his Zaino (dark brown), his Doradillo (golden bay), or his Overo Negro (piebald)...Tordillo (gray), Colorado (bay), Rosillo (roan), and Moro (blue roan)...

Origin of Conquistador's Horses

Without doubt, most of the horses of the first Conquistadors came from the plains of Cordoba; then as now the great horse-breeding part of the peninsula. Cordoba is but a short way from Cadiz, Seville, and San Lucar, the chief ports of embarkation for the Indies. Thus, throughout all the republics of South America, the general characteristics of the native horse are very similar. In certain places the type assimilates more to the barb, as in the province of Aragua in Venezuela and the country Lima...The same may also be observed in the valley of Mexico, but on the whole, from California down to Sandy Point, the type is uniform. Thus, a horse from the plains of Venezuela or northern Mexico, place in an Argentine corral, would hardly be distinguishable...

A Portuguese Horse

...horses brought by the Portuguese or perhaps by the gypsies who were exiled from Portugal [to Brazil] . . .is of slight build, rather low in stature, its tail and mane long. It is proof against every privation, short commons, and hard work. The horse of the Sertao is as plain-looking as a Khirghiz pony. He has few vices, seldom shies, and hardly ever bucks. His eye only brightens when he is about to gallop; after a gallop he seems to shut his eyes and doze...


Dark and Dashing Horsemen

by Stan Steiner 1981

On the Arab Conquest of Spain


So decisively did the Berber horsemen defeat the army of the Visigoth King Rodrigo that after the battle of Rio Barbate the king disappeared from history; he simply vanished. "Indeed, the Moslems found the king's white horse who was mired in mud with its gilded saddle adorned with rubies and emeralds," wrote the Arab historian Ibn el-Athir, but all they could find was "one of his half boots."

...The horses of the Berber nomads were not the magnificent Arabian horses of the legends...a tough little breed of scrawny-legged, short-bodied animals with too-large heads, they appeared to be somewhat misshape. But they ran with the agility of cheetahs, had the tenacity of mules, and they were as sure-footed as mountain goats...

Today these horses are known as Barbs, from the Barbary Coast of Africa.

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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