Horse Breeds And Types

Horses From Spain: A Guide to History, Breeds, and Culture

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Embark on an enchanting journey to explore the magnificent horses of Spain. From the regal Andalusian to the sturdy Pottok, delve into the unique traits of each Spanish breed and the pivotal role they play in the rich Spanish culture.

Spain is renowned for its vibrant culture, rich history, and breathtaking scenery. However, one of the country’s most magnificent and iconic features is its horses. 

Spanish horses have played an essential role in Spain’s history and culture for centuries, and their impact continues to this day. 

The horses of Spain are renowned for their beauty, strength, and intelligence, making them a popular choice among equestrian enthusiasts worldwide.

In this article, we will delve into the 17 native horse breeds that come from Spain. From the elegant Andalusian to the sturdy Pottok, the diverse breeds of Spanish horses each have their unique characteristics and traits.  Many of these horses fall under the Baroque type horse.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of these magnificent animals, their origins, and how they continue to play a vital role in Spanish culture today. 

Join us on a journey to discover the beauty and wonder of these magnificent creatures.

The Breeds of Horses from Spain

black Andalusian

For centuries, Spain has been renowned for its exquisite horses, producing some of the world’s most beautiful and unique breeds. 

These horses are not only treasured in Spain but are also admired and sought after by equestrian enthusiasts worldwide.

From the well-loved Andalusian to the lesser-known Jaca Navarra, Spain is home to an impressive range of horse breeds, each with its distinctive characteristics and traits. 

But the influence of Spanish horses extends far beyond their homeland. Many worldwide horse breeds have been shaped and influenced by Spanish horses, including the American Mustang, the Paso Fino, and the Peruvian Paso. 

In this section, we’ll delve into the diverse and rich world of Spanish horse breeds, exploring their origins, unique features, and contributions to the equestrian world.

Join us on this journey as we celebrate the beauty and legacy of Spanish horses.


The Andalusian horse is a beautiful and elegant breed that originated in Spain and has been around since the 15th century. This breed is highly regarded for its grace, intelligence, sensitivity, and docility.

The Andalusian horse is known for its versatility and athleticism, making it suitable for a wide range of disciplines. Its pleasant temperament makes it easy to work with, and it is appropriate for riders of all skill levels.

The Andalusian horse has a distinctive appearance, with a powerful and compact build, and a short, broad neck. It has a long and flowing mane and tail, with a shiny and silky coat that can come in various colors, such as gray, bay, black, and chestnut.

The breed’s physical characteristics make it a great choice for dressage, driving, jumping, and other equestrian activities.

The temperament of the Andalusian horse is gentle and calm, making it an excellent choice for beginners and children. The breed is also very intelligent and trainable, which makes it easy to teach and work with. Andalusian horses are sensitive to their rider’s cues, which helps create a harmonious partnership between the rider and the horse.

Andalusian horses have been used throughout history for a variety of purposes, including riding, war, and agriculture. Today, the breed is primarily used for dressage, exhibition, and pleasure riding. They are also used for equestrian sports, such as show jumping and eventing.

The Andalusian horse is a versatile and graceful breed that has been around for centuries. With its agreeable temperament, athletic ability, and distinctive appearance, it is a popular choice among riders of all levels.

Pure Spanish Horse

The Pure Spanish Horse, also referred to as Pura Raza Española (PRE), is a distinct horse breed originating in Spain. These horses are renowned for their rustic, sober, and tough demeanor, combined with an energetic, noble, and docile temperament, making them an excellent riding and working horse.

They are quick learners, making them easy to train. While the Andalusian horse is a sub-strain of the Pure Spanish Horse breed, they differ in their physical characteristics.

The Pure Spanish Horse has a flat or slightly convex nose, small ears, and a substantial neck, giving it a regal appearance. Their elegant and graceful gait, combined with their balanced structure, makes them an impressive sight to behold.

These horses have been utilized for various purposes throughout history, including in battles, bullfighting, and dressage, due to their agility, intelligence, and trainability.

Today, they continue to be used in a range of activities, including riding, racing, and exhibition.

The Pure Spanish Horse is a unique breed with impressive physical characteristics, a noble temperament, and a rich history of use in various activities.

Spanish Trotter

One of Spain’s native horse breeds, which is well-suited for trotting races and general riding, is the Spanish Trotter.

This breed is primarily bred on the Balearic Islands, with a concentration on Mallorca, but can also be found on Menorca and Ibiza.

The Spanish Trotter was developed through crossbreeding of local horses with foreign breeds such as the French Trotter and Orlov Trotter to enhance the local horse’s trotting ability for races that became popular in the mid-1800s.

In terms of physical appearance, the Spanish Trotter stands at a height of 15.7 – 16.7 hands. This breed has a muscular and robust body, with strong legs and a long, narrow head.

The Spanish Trotter’s coat color can vary, but it is usually solid, with bay, chestnut, and black being the most common.

The Spanish Trotter is a well-tempered breed, with a docile and friendly disposition. Their pleasant demeanor makes them ideal for general riding and as a family pet.

Today, the Spanish Trotter is primarily used for trotting races on the Balearic Islands, but it is also utilized for general riding purposes. Its unique qualities, physical appearance, and docile temperament make it a valuable breed both locally and internationally.


One of the notable horse breeds from Spain is the Asturcón, a rare and ancient breed originating from the region of Asturias in northern Spain. The breed has been documented since Roman times, highlighting its longstanding history in the region.

The Asturcón is a small horse or pony with a small but heavy head featuring a straight profile and a thin neck. The breed is known for its large mane, adding to its distinctive appearance. In terms of temperament, the Asturcón is gentle, calm, easy-going, and obedient.

One of the most remarkable features of the Asturcón is its sure-footedness, making it an excellent mount for rugged terrains. The breed is also known for its stamina, making it an ideal mount for various activities, including leisure riding, trekking, and sports.

Although the Asturcón is a rare breed, efforts are being made to preserve the breed’s unique characteristics and ensure its survival for future generations to enjoy.

With its long-standing history and unique features, the Asturcón is undoubtedly a fascinating addition to the list of Spanish horse breeds.


The Galician Horse is a small but mighty breed that originates from the northwestern region of Spain.

Genetically similar to the Garrano breed of northern Portugal, this ancient breed is known for its strength, stamina, and agility. With a short body, strong legs, and straight profile, the Galician Horse has a distinctive appearance.

In terms of temperament, the Galician Horse is kind, amiable, and tolerant with people, but also protective of their foals. This breed has a rich history of being used as a war-horse and for agricultural purposes, but nowadays it is mostly raised for shows.

Overall, the Galician Horse is a unique and versatile breed with a long history in Spain.

Alongside other Spanish breeds like the Andalusian and the Pura Raza Española, the Galician Horse adds to the diverse and fascinating equine heritage of this country.


The Burguete is a Spanish horse breed that originates from the autonomous community of Navarre in northeastern Spain.

This breed is a heavy draft horse and is listed in the Catálogo Oficial de Razas de Ganado de España, which is the official catalog of livestock breeds in Spain, as an autochthonous breed in danger of extinction.

The Burguete is primarily raised for horsemeat and is one of four Basque breeds of horse, with the others being the Jaca Navarra, the Pottoka, and the Euskal Herriko Mendiko Zaldia or Basque Mountain Horse.

The Burguete breed is the result of crossbreeding indigenous Basque mares of the Jaca Navarra breed with foreign stallions of Trait Breton, Postier Breton, and Percheron breeds, and later with Ardennes and Comtois stock.

The breed received recognition from the national government in 1979, when it was included in the official catalog of livestock breeds in Spain.

In terms of physical characteristics, the Burguete is a heavy draft horse with a powerful and muscular build. They have a broad chest, a short neck, and a thick mane and tail. The breed’s coat is usually chestnut in color, and they have sturdy, strong legs with hard hooves.

The temperament of the Burguete is described as calm, docile, and hardworking, making them ideal for heavy workloads such as plowing fields or pulling carts. Despite their strength, they are also known for their grace and agility.

The Burguete is a heavy draft horse breed that originates from Navarre in northeastern Spain.

They are listed as an autochthonous breed in danger of extinction and are primarily raised for horsemeat. Their calm and docile temperament, along with their strength and agility, make them ideal for heavy workloads.

Jaca Navarra

One lesser-known horse breed from Spain is the Jaca Navarra, which hails from the northeastern autonomous community of Navarre. Despite its relatively small size, this breed is considered to be a light-draft horse due to its heavy and compact conformation. The Jaca Navarra is well-muscled and has strong, sturdy legs and joints. It has a short neck, small ears, and short, slim legs with small, sturdy hooves. These horses are typically bay, black, or chestnut in color.

While the Jaca Navarra has a powerful build, it is known for being an undomesticated breed, making it difficult to train. However, those who are successful in training this breed find them to be rewarding animals to work with.

The Jaca Navarra has been used for various purposes throughout its history, including as a workhorse on farms and as a mount for herding and hunting.

Despite its challenges in training, this breed has a storied history in Spain and remains an important part of the country’s equine heritage.


The Hispano-Árabe is a beautiful horse breed that hails from Spain. It is a result of cross-breeding between Andalusian and Arab horses, resulting in a well-proportioned, muscular, and compact horse with a slender silhouette.

Despite some variation in appearance due to its diverse bloodlines, the Hispano-Árabe is known for its elegance, compact build, and harmonious conformation, with light and airy movements.

One of the most striking features of the Hispano-Árabe is its intelligent, able, capable, and alert temperament. This breed has an excellent work ethic, and its intelligence makes it easy to train.

This makes the Hispano-Árabe a versatile horse that can excel in a wide range of activities.

The origins of the Hispano-Árabe date back to the cross-breeding of Arab and Andalusian horses in Spain. The result was a horse with exceptional qualities that soon became popular throughout the country.

Today, the breed is still widely used for various activities, including dressage, show jumping, and endurance riding.

Overall, the Hispano-Árabe is a breed that is both beautiful and capable, with a unique blend of traits that make it stand out among other Spanish horse breeds.


The Hispano-Breton is a heavy draft horse breed that originated in Spain.

It was developed in the 1930s through the crossbreeding of local Spanish mares with French Breton stallions, which gives it a mixed ancestry.

The breed was primarily created for farm work, but today, it is bred mainly for its meat.

The conformation of the Hispano-Breton is similar to the Breton, which falls into three different breed types with slightly different physical characteristics. The Hispano-Breton has a straight profile, a short and muscular neck, a straight back, a wide and muscular body, and short thick legs with light feathering. The hair of the mane and tail can grow thick and long, and be wavy.

The Hispano-Breton’s coat can come in a range of colors, with flaxen chestnut being the most common. Other colors include bay, black, brown, roan, and silver-dapple. The mane and tail may have flaxen, mealy, sooty, or grey coloring.

The breed’s height ranges from 14.1hh to 15.1hh.

While the Hispano-Breton was recognized only during the 1990s, it has gained popularity in recent years, particularly for recreational riding. However, its primary use is still as a meat breed.


One of the fascinating horse breeds from Spain is the Losino. This ancient breed hails from the Losa Valley in Castile and León, located in northern Spain.

The Losino is a resilient horse that has evolved to withstand the harsh mountainous terrain of its place of origin. This breed is believed to be the last remaining representative of the Castilian horse, which developed naturally in the Iberian Peninsula since the last ice age.

The Losino is a hardy horse that requires minimal upkeep to thrive, making it an economical choice for farmers and breeders. While it may not be refined in appearance, the Losino has a balanced build, a straight or slightly convex profile, and a sleek black coat with no markings or a small star on its forehead. Losinos are known for their even-tempered and affectionate nature, making them faithful partners for a range of activities.

This horse breed has played an essential role in Spanish history and was used as cavalry mounts, packhorses, for herding and farm work, and for breeding mules.

However, due to the industrial era rendering horses increasingly unnecessary, the Losino population began to decline. From the mid-1980s, concerted efforts have been made to gather and breed the remaining Losinos, ensuring that this special breed continues to thrive. T

he Losino is a unique breed that represents a vital part of Spain’s cultural heritage and is worth admiring and preserving for generations to come.


One of the beautiful horse breeds from Spain is the Mallorquín, which originates from the island of Mallorca. These horses are known for their calm and docile temperament, making them a great choice for riders of all levels. They have a lean build and are typically black in color.

The Mallorquín has a refined head with a convex profile, thick, short, arched neck, upright manes, and refined bone structure.

This breed has its origins in Spain and is considered to be one of the most elegant and intelligent horses in the world.

In terms of uses, the Mallorquín is well-suited for various activities, such as pleasure riding, dressage, and show jumping. Additionally, their strength and endurance make them ideal for farm work and agricultural activities.

Overall, the Mallorquín is a strong, rural, and very sedate horse breed that has gained popularity for its beautiful appearance, gentle temperament, and versatility in various equestrian activities.


One of the unique horse breeds from Spain is the Marismeño, which is a rare breed found in the marshes of the Guadalquivir River in Southern Spain. This horse is known for its strength and powerful hindquarters, as well as its fine but sturdy legs. Its straight head and wide chest give it a distinct appearance.

The Marismeño horse has a rich history, having originated from primitive horses that roamed around the marshes of Southern Spain. It is admired for its work ethic, intelligence, courage, adaptability, and astounding hardiness. These characteristics make it an ideal horse for work, as well as for riding and meat.

Despite being a domesticated breed, the Marismeño horse is said to have a docile temperament and often stands. It is appreciated for its ability to adapt to different environments, and its rusticity and disease resistance make it a valuable addition to any stable.

Overall, the Marismeño horse is a unique and versatile breed with a rich history and valuable characteristics. Its adaptability, hardiness, and work ethic make it a favorite among horse enthusiasts in Spain and beyond.


Among the various horse breeds from Spain, the Menorquín stands out as a breed of strong and energetic horses that originated from the island of Menorca.

These horses are known for their muscular and powerful build, and are well-suited for a variety of uses such as driving and different types of saddles.

What sets the Menorquín apart from other horse breeds is their valued suitability for traditional equestrian games in Menorca, which speaks to their athleticism and agility.

They are warm-blooded, noble and known for their excellent temperament, which makes them easy to train and ensures a smooth ride. Despite their reputation for having a fiery temperament, they have strong nerves and are very eager to work, making them a favorite for various activities.

Overall, the Menorquín is a breed of horse that is sensitive, friendly, and eager to learn, which makes them a beloved choice for horse enthusiasts who value a loyal and hardworking companion.


The Mérens is a unique horse breed that originated from the Pyrenees mountains in southern France, although it is also found in some regions of Spain.

These horses are typically small and light, and have adapted well to their mountainous environment. They are known for their sure-footedness in rugged terrain, which makes them popular with riders who enjoy trail riding and endurance riding.

Despite their small size, Mérens horses are known for their hardiness and stamina, which comes from their traditional semi-wild lifestyle in the mountains. This lifestyle helps to maintain the breed’s balanced temperament, which is gentle, docile, and reliable.

These horses are also known for their loyalty to their handlers, which makes them excellent partners for a variety of equestrian pursuits.

In recent years, there has been a trend towards breeding Mérens horses with a more sporting style, which has led to some variation in the breed’s physical characteristics.

However, the essential qualities of the breed remain the same, with Mérens horses continuing to be highly regarded for their hardiness, sure-footedness, and calm, willing temperament.


One of the fascinating horse breeds from Spain is the Monchino, a primitive breed that is native to the Valle de Guriezo in Cantabria.

Although their exact origin is unknown, they are closely related to the Iberian horse. Monchino horses have a slim build and small, hard hooves, which is typical of feral horses.

They can come in black and brown colors and are known for their adaptability to harsh environments.

Monchinos have a friendly temperament, and they are intelligent and easy to train, which makes them suitable for a variety of purposes. Despite being primarily feral horses, they are at risk of extinction. Due to their unique characteristics, they are an essential part of Spain’s equestrian heritage, and their preservation is critical.

Overall, the Monchino horse breed is a fascinating and important part of Spain’s diverse equine population. Their slim confirmation, small hard hooves, friendly temperament, and adaptability make them a valuable breed that is at risk of extinction.

Their use as feral horses highlights the importance of preserving and protecting unique equine breeds like the Monchino.


One of the lesser-known Spanish horse breeds is the Retuerta, an ancient breed that is mainly found in feral herds.

This breed is known for its sturdy, robust physique and a coarse appearance, with a gray or dark bay coat. Although it has a similar conformation to other Iberian breeds such as the Andalusian, the Retuerta tends to have a lighter frame.

Standing at around 16 hands, it is indigenous to Andalusia, Spain.

The Retuerta breed is not versatile and has a hard-to-train temperament, which makes it a challenging horse to handle. Due to these characteristics, it is not commonly used for riding or other sports.

However, the breed’s hardiness and resilience make it well-suited to grazing and living in semi-feral conditions.

Despite its limited use in the equestrian world, the Retuerta remains an essential part of Spain’s equine heritage.


One of the unique horse breeds from Spain is the Pottok. This breed is a semi-feral pony that has adapted well to the harsh living conditions of the Pyrenees mountains in the Basque Country.

The Pottok is a well-built animal with medium and proportionate measurements and a strong muscular temperament, making it a tough breed. Despite being small in size, ranging from 11.1 to 14.2 hands high, the Pottok is known for its hardiness and ability to live in wild, undomesticated herds.

The Pottok breed has its origins in the Basque Country, which is located in both France and Spain.

This breed is popular due to its docile and kind personality, willing and even-tempered temperament, and adaptability to its environment. In terms of use, the Pottok is often used for leisure riding and driving, as well as in local festivals and traditional Basque sports.

Overall, the Pottok is a breed that stands out due to its adaptability, hardiness, and even-tempered temperament, making it a unique and valuable breed from Spain.

The Cultural Significance of Spanish Horses

horse statue in spain

Spanish Horses In Traditional Spanish Events

Horses play a crucial role in the traditional events of Spain, and the Andalusian breed is particularly famous for its unique features.

These horses are known for their beautiful long manes, impressive presence, and powerful paces, making them a popular choice for festivals and competitions.

Some of the most important events in Andalucia, such as the Feria de Abril, El Rocio, and the Running of the Bulls, rely heavily on the participation of horses. The Seville Spring Feria is one of the most prestigious festivals in the region, and it attracts some of the best horses from miles around. These horses compete in various parades and competitions, showcasing their beauty and strength.

The Jerez Feria is another notable event that features a range of equestrian competitions, including dressage, showjumping, carriage driving, and traditional Doma Vaquera competitions. These events allow breeders to showcase their horses’ unique attributes and capabilities, making them important opportunities for horse enthusiasts and breeders alike.

One of the most famous events celebrating Spanish horses is the SICAB (International Pure Bred Spanish Horse Event), which is organized by the National Association for Purebred Horse Breeders (ANCCE).

This event attracts breeders from around the world who come to showcase their stallions, mares, and youngsters. The horses are judged based on their physical attributes and their suitability for breeding, making SICAB an essential event for the breeders and fans of the Andalusian horse.

Additionally, Campo Abierto is a display organized by Alvaro Domecq that features the best of Spanish equestrianism. This event is a testament to the importance of horses in Spanish culture and showcases the unique and breathtaking skills of riders and their horses.

In conclusion, the beauty and strength of Spanish horses have made them a central part of traditional events in Spain, such as the Feria de Abril, El Rocio, and the Running of the Bulls.

The popularity of these horses is celebrated through festivals and competitions, where they are judged for their unique qualities and abilities. With their tumbling manes, strong paces, and impressive presence, Andalusian horses have become an integral part of Spain’s rich cultural heritage.

Spanish Horses In Bullfighting

Horses play a crucial role in Spanish bullfighting, particularly during the first stage of the fight. The picadors, who are mounted on blindfolded horses, enter the ring and provoke the bull to attack them.

The aim is to plunge a lance into the bull’s neck, weakening its strong neck muscles. The use of horses is an integral part of the spectacle, but it comes with a significant risk to the animals.

During traditional Spanish bullfights, picadors stab the bull in the muscles of its neck while on horseback. The horses used in these fights are typically breeds such as Lusitano, Anglo-Arabian, Hispano Arab, or horses with a mix of Breton or Pecheron. They may receive training to ignore specific impulses, depending on the type of bullfight they will be used for.

In the past, horses wore protective blankets to minimize damage, but since 1928, they have not been allowed to use any form of protection. As a result, horses involved in bullfighting are at significant risk of injury, including broken ribs and damage to internal organs.

In Seville, Spain, two teams of muleteros are present to drag out both dead bulls and horses from the ring.

Rejoneo, a form of bullfighting, is centered on fighting on horseback. The principal fighter, called a rejoneador, is mounted on a highly trained horse and uses a short broad blade fixed to a shaft called a rejón to kill the bull. In this type of bullfighting, the horseman tries to work as close as possible to the bull’s horns while keeping both his mount and himself from injury.

Unlike heavily protected picador horses, rejoneador horses wear no padding, making them more vulnerable to injury.

In conclusion, while horses play a vital role in Spanish bullfighting, their use comes with significant risks to their well-being.

The breeds used in bullfights are typically strong and well-trained, but they still face the danger of serious injury, and it’s important to remember that their involvement in bullfighting is a controversial issue.

Horses Of Spain In Equestrian Sports Such As Dressage And Show Jumping

Horses from Spain, particularly the Andalusian horse, have had a significant impact on the world of equestrian sports such as dressage and show jumping.

The Andalusian horse, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse (P.R.E.), has been a breed of choice for riders and trainers for centuries due to its versatility, docile character, and excellent conformation for dressage and show jumping.

One of the key strengths of the Andalusian horse is its high ability to collect and extend, which makes it suitable for any form of dressage riding.

The breed’s long neck gives it excellent athleticism and stamina, which is highly desirable in show jumping and dressage events. The Andalusian horse’s conformation has barely changed over time, and its suitability for dressage and show jumping has remained consistent over the years.

In fact, the Andalusian horse has been recognized as an individual breed since the 15th century, and it has been used for various equestrian activities, including driving, bullfighting, and stock horses. However, it is in dressage and show jumping where the breed has truly excelled.

It was not until 1996 that the first P.R.E. competed in an Olympic Dressage competition, and in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Spanish dressage team won the team silver medal with three of their four members riding P.R.E. horses.

This success further highlights the breed’s suitability for dressage and its significant contribution to equestrian sports.

Overall, horses from Spain, especially the Andalusian horse, have played a vital role in equestrian sports such as dressage and show jumping.

Their versatility, excellent conformation, and suitability for various riding styles have made them a favorite among riders and trainers alike, and their impact on these sports will undoubtedly continue for many years to come.

Spanish Horse Riding Styles

grey horse from spain

Spain has a rich history and culture of horsemanship, with various styles of riding and disciplines developed over time. 

The Spanish style of riding emphasizes the harmony between horse and rider, with precision and practicality as key components.

The traditions and culture of the Andalusian people strongly influence the work they give to their horses, and the horses themselves are known for their fire and passion.

The Spanish horses have proven themselves to be talented performers, bringing finesse to the mundane tasks of everyday work.

Doma Vaquera

One of the most well-known styles is Doma Vaquera, which is a type of equitation designed for working cattle ranches.

This style of riding originated from the handling of fighting bulls in the Spanish countryside, and has evolved into a popular competition discipline.

In Doma Vaquera, riders perform a series of movements at the walk and gallop, demonstrating agility and precision as they quickly change pace and perform pirouettes, passes, and turns.

The rider carries a long pole called a garrocha, which is used to test bulls and work cattle. The horse must be obedient and willing, and the rider should never use force.

Doma Clasica

Another style of equitation in Spain is Doma Clasica, which is a type of classical riding based on the principles of dressage.

This style of riding emphasizes the horse’s balance, suppleness, and responsiveness to the rider’s aids.

In Doma Clasica, riders perform a series of movements in a 20m x 60m arena, demonstrating the horse’s collection, extension, and lateral movements.

The horse should be light and responsive to the rider’s aids, with a fluid and harmonious movement.

Doma de Trabajo

Doma de Trabajo, or Working Equitation, is a relatively new equine sport that has gained popularity in Europe and South America.

This discipline tests the functionality and performance of horses and riders, incorporating dressage, obstacle courses, and cow-cutting.

The horse and rider are supposed to be dressed in the native tack and attire of their country, and the obstacles are based on everyday working environments, such as crossing bridges, jumping barrels, and passing through gates.

The course is repeated for speed, and the fourth stage is a team test of cow-cutting, where riders must cut a group of cows from a herd and place them in containment.

Lusitano horses, known for their agility and heart, have dominated the European and World Championships in Working Equitation, thanks to generations of using horses to work cattle and perform agricultural duties.

The Future of Horses from Spain

bay horse from Spain

Spanish Horse Breeding And Preservation Efforts

Spain has a long history of horse breeding, with a number of different breeds originating in the country. The current state of Spanish horse breeding and preservation efforts is varied, with both positive and negative trends.

One positive trend is the rewilding efforts in the Iberian Highlands, where a thriving wild horse population can be found.

The local rewilding team is working to reintroduce wild and semi-wild herbivores, including the endangered Serrano horse (caballo serrano), in order to enhance the diversity, resilience, and functionality of wild nature.

The Serrano horse is an endangered breed that is believed to be closely related to the Losino horse and has its origin in one of the three primitive horse ecotypes of the Iberian Peninsula.

Although the breed was considered extinct in 2011, recent surveys have identified enough animals to safeguard its continued existence. This rewilding effort is an important step towards preserving the natural habitats and endangered horse breeds in Spain.

In addition to the rewilding efforts, the National PRE Breeders’ Association of Spain (ANCCE) manages a breeding program for purebred Spanish horses (PRE).

The objective of the program is the selection and preservation of the breed. The register of stud farms and collaborating stud farms is updated annually on Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Breeding programs and performance tests for genetic assessment are also established to preserve genetic variability. The creation of the PRE Stud Book in 1912 by Spain’s Ministry of Defense Breeding Service has also contributed to preserving the breed.

Despite these positive efforts, horse meat production has increased in Spain over the last decade. From the total registered equine farms, 15.3% of horses are bred for meat production, with most located in north-western regions such as Asturias,

Castile and Leon, Galicia, Basque Country, and Cantabria. As a result of current animal management and movements, 81% of horse meat produced in Spain comes from this region.

While the demand for horse meat may be driving this trend, it is important to recognize the impact it may have on the breeding and preservation efforts for Spanish horse breeds.

Overall, the current state of Spanish horse breeding and preservation efforts is a mixed bag.

While there are positive efforts to preserve endangered breeds and promote genetic diversity, the increase in horse meat production may have negative consequences for these efforts.

It is important for the horse industry in Spain to balance the needs of both commercial production and preservation to ensure the sustainability of Spanish horse breeds for generations to come.

Challenges Faced By Breeders And Trainers

Horse breeders and trainers in Spain face a variety of challenges that can make it difficult to maintain the quality of their horses and the success of their businesses.

One of the most significant issues is the military’s management of the studbook, which controls breeding and registration practices. Breeders in Spain often feel frustrated by this lack of autonomy, as they are unable to make decisions about their breeding programs and registrations independently.

Another significant challenge faced by breeders in Spain is the recent economic crisis, which has caused a significant shift in the availability of PRE horses for sale. Many breeders have gone out of business due to the economic challenges they have faced, and few new breeders are willing or able to take on the significant financial and educational investment required to produce quality Spanish horses.

As a result, the production of Andalusian horses has decreased, while demand for Spanish horses suitable for FEI/British dressage has increased.

Despite these challenges, the National Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders’ Association of Spain (ANCCE) has been working to manage the interests of its members since its founding in 1972.

Spanish breeders are still dedicated to selecting their breeding stock to increase the size of horses and improve their ability for extended gaits, while also preserving the purity of the breed and its typical traits, such as temperament.

Horse breeders and trainers in Spain face several challenges, including military control of the studbook, economic instability, and difficulty finding new breeders willing and able to make the investment in producing quality Spanish horses.

Despite these challenges, the ANCCE and breeders themselves are working hard to maintain the purity and quality of the breed, while also adapting to the changing demands of the market.

Potential For Future Growth In The Industry

Spain’s equestrian industry has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, with the horse breeding business playing a significant role in contributing to the country’s GDP. The industry is currently responsible for almost 7400 million euros or 0.59% of GDP, which indicates that the equestrian sector in Spain is a considerable contributor to the economy.

The Deloitte study from 2013 highlighted that the economic impact of the horse feed industry is over 557 million euros annually, which further emphasizes the importance of the equestrian industry in Spain[1]. It is also worth noting that the Spanish equine industry represented 0.51% of the national GDP in 2012, contributing over 5,000 million euros to the economy.

There are currently 22 companies in Spain that produce equestrian goods, employing over 400 people with an average monthly salary of €1800[1]. The potential for growth in the equestrian sector in Spain is significant. The business of horse breeding is already a relevant sector with a promising future, but it still has a considerable margin for growth.

Spain’s equestrian industry has the potential to contribute even more to the economy. There is a growing interest in the sport of horseback riding in Spain, which could provide an additional boost to the equestrian industry.

If more people begin to participate in the sport, it could lead to an increase in the demand for equestrian goods and services, further fueling growth in the industry.

In conclusion, Spain’s equestrian industry is poised for significant growth in the future. With the horse breeding business already a major contributor to the country’s GDP, and the growing interest in horseback riding, there is a significant potential for the industry to contribute even more to the economy.

Spain has an important margin for growth, and the equestrian industry can take on greater relevance in the coming years.

FAQs About Horses From Spain

black horse from Spain

q) What is the origin of horses from Spain?

A) Spain is a country with a long and rich history when it comes to horses. The Andalusian horse, which is one of the most well-known breeds of horses from Spain, has its origins in the Spanish province of Andalusia. The breed gets its name from the region, where it was first developed.

The ancestors of the Andalusian horse were the Iberian horses that were found in Spain and Portugal. These horses are depicted in cave paintings in Iberia, which date back to 30,000 BC.

During the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, these horses were highly valued and admired for their strength and beauty.

However, it was during the period of the Moors in Spain that the Andalusian horse really started to flourish. The Moors, who were skilled horsemen, recognized the value of these horses and worked to develop the breed further.

After the Moors were driven from Spain in the fifteenth century, the Andalusian horse enjoyed a period of great popularity, influencing almost all other American and European breeds.

In addition to the Andalusian horse, there are also wild horses that have run free in Spain for millennia. These horses are descendants of the ancient Sorraia, which once roamed freely in the region. While these horses are not bred for any particular purpose, they are still considered to be an important part of the country’s equestrian heritage.

Overall, the history of horses in Spain is a long and fascinating one. From the ancient Iberian horses to the magnificent Andalusian breed, Spain has been home to some of the most beautiful and well-loved horses in the world.

Q) How are Spanish horses trained?

A) Horses from Spain, particularly the Andalusian breed, are known for their remarkable elegance, intelligence, and willingness to learn. These horses have been trained for centuries in Spanish riding schools, where they undergo a rigorous program of classical dressage, carriage driving, and Doma Vaquera.

One of the most famous riding schools in Spain is located in Jerez, where Andalusian horses are trained in dressage.

This involves a more sensitive style of riding, as these horses are known to be quite sensitive and willing. It is important to avoid blocking or overriding them, particularly when they are young.

If trained well, Pura Raza Española (PRE) horses will constantly evolve and improve over time. As they mature, their natural movement and reach tends to improve and become even more impressive. This evolution is a testament to the intelligence and adaptability of these remarkable horses.

One of the most iconic movements in Spanish riding tradition is the Spanish walk, which is still trained and performed today.

Although this movement is not included in competitive dressage, it complements the carriage and movement of Spanish horses beautifully. It is said to help the horse learn to open up its shoulder movement, benefitting both the horse and rider.

Overall, training horses from Spain requires a delicate touch, respect for the horse’s sensitivity, and a commitment to excellence.

With the right training and care, these horses can achieve remarkable things and become some of the most elegant and impressive animals in the world.

Q) How can I visit a Spanish horse ranch?

A) If you’re planning a trip to Spain and want to experience the country’s rich equestrian culture, a visit to a horse ranch is a must. Luckily, there are several ways to do so depending on your preferences.

For those who want a more immersive experience, BookRanchVacations and BookHorseRidingHolidays offer dude ranch vacations that include horseback riding and other outdoor activities.

During these vacations, you’ll have the opportunity to explore beautiful horse trails through natural parks or along Spain’s stunning beaches. You’ll also get to spend time with horses and learn what it’s like to work on a ranch in Spain.

These vacations are perfect for travelers who want to combine their love for horses with their love for the great outdoors.

If you’re short on time or prefer a day trip, there are many equestrian ranches that offer great day packages. These packages typically consist of a private day trip around inland Andalusia in small groups, with a long horse ride included. Some packages even offer a morning visit to a bull farm before stopping for sherry at a local restaurant.

If you’re looking for an even more immersive experience, consider the Andalusian Countryside Day Trip from Cádiz.

Finally, for those who are particularly interested in horses, a visit to Yeguada Cartuja-Hierro del Bocado is a must. This stud farm offers visitors the chance to experience PRE stallions, foals, and broodmares in an intimate setting. If you’re a qualified rider, you can even reserve a riding lesson with one of the amazing Andalusians.

Overall, there are plenty of opportunities to visit horse ranches in Spain and experience the country’s rich equestrian culture. Whether you want a full ranch vacation or just a day trip, there’s something for every traveler.


dapple grey Spanish horse

The horses of Spain are a magnificent and significant part of Spanish culture and tradition. With a variety of unique breeds, each with their own physical characteristics and temperament,

Spanish horses have a rich history and continue to play important roles in traditional events, equestrian sports, and bullfighting.

The different riding styles developed in Spain also showcase the versatility and skill of both the horses and riders.

While there are challenges faced by breeders and trainers, efforts to preserve and grow the industry offer hope for the future of these beloved animals.

For those interested in experiencing the wonder of Spanish horses, visiting a ranch or attending traditional events is a great way to immerse oneself in this rich and vibrant culture.

Cheers, Kacey

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Disclaimer Notice: Please be aware that horseback riding and related equestrian activities carry inherent risks. The advice and experiences shared on this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional training or advice. Ensure your safety and that of your horse by wearing appropriate gear, practicing safe horse handling, and consulting with certified equestrian professionals. Remember, each horse is unique, and techniques may vary accordingly. Always prioritize safety, respect, and patience in your equestrian endeavors.

Kacey Cleary Administrator
Kacey has been an equestrian since 1998. She was a working student at several eventing and dressage barns. She has owned horses, leased horses, and trained horses. Kacey received an A.S. in Equine Industries from UMass Amherst, where she rode on the dressage team. She was certified with the ARIA and is licensed to teach riding in MA. She has been a barn manager and has run her own horse farm.
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