Fire Branding

Fire branding is done in Spain to show where the horse was bred. For mares, the brand is applied on the RIGHT side of the hip. For stallions, the brand goes on the LEFT side.  The brand is normally a letter and a shape that is representative of the breeder who bred the mare and stallion. Branding is a way of showing one's pride in their breeding program.

Typically, when fire branding a horse, a veterinarian or assistant is used and they medicate (sedate) the horse. Some ranches make their own branding iron and use their own resources to brand. I've seen first-timers make a terrible mess of their fire-brand. The branding is still painful since it is done with a hot iron. Significant scarring, hair loss, and disfiguration can occur if the brand is not done correctly. 

Freeze branding is a good alternative to fire-branding. It is relatively painless and can be applied with only a twitch on the horse's nose. The horse will not react and there is no bleeding or deep scarring. On dark-haired horses, the freeze brand is applied just enough so that eventually the hair turns white where the brand was put. Since the Andalusian is largely a grey breed, a white brand on a white horse does not work! However, an experienced freeze brand person should be able to brand your grey horse by applying the brand longer, so that the brand will cause all the hair follicles to be killed. Thus resulting in a black line - similar to a surface scar - where the brand was applied. 

I've seen both fire-branding and freeze-branding. I don't think its necessary to fire-brand Andalusian horses in the U.S. This type of disfiguration and pain should not be performed on our wonderful horses. Both my mares came with fire-brands which were rather lightly scarred. I chose to have my horses freeze-branded with a better, more noticeable brand. This was for the purposes of theft control rather than "bragging rights".

Noviero DD stands in front of his dam who carries the firebrand of the Denham Ranch (D R with a crown over it)

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