Our Baroque Breeds

Andalusian - Origin Spain

Breed Information

The Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE (pura raza española), is a horse breec from the Iberian Peninsular, where its ancestors have lived for thousands of years. The Andalusian has been recognized as an distinct breed since the 15th century, and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries. Throughout its history, it has been known for its prowess as a war horse, and was prized by the nobility. The breed was used as a tool of diplomacy by the Spanish government, and kings across Europe rode and owned Spanish horses. During the 19th century, warfare, disease and crossbreeding reduced herd numbers dramatically, and despite some recovery in the late 19th century, the trend continued into the early 20th century. Exports of Andalusians from Spain were restricted until the 1960s, but the breed has since spread throughout the world, despite their low population. In 2010, there were more than 185,000 registered Andalusians worldwide.

Strongly built, and compact yet elegant, Andalusians have long, thick manes and tails. Their most common coat colour is gray, although they can be found in many other colors. They are known for their intelligence, sensitivity and docility. A sub-strain within the breed known as the Carthusian, is considered by breeders to be the purest strain of Andalusian, though there is no genetic evidence for this claim. The strain is still considered separate from the main breed however, and is preferred by breeders because buyers pay more for horses of Carthusian bloodlines. There are several competing registries keeping records of horses designated as Andalusian or PRE, but they differ on their definition of the Andalusian and PRE, the purity of various strains of the breed, and the legalities of studbook ownership. At least one lawsuit is in progress as of 2011, to determine the ownership of the Spanish PRE stud book.

The Andalusian is closely related to the Lusitano of Portugal, and has been used to develop many other breeds, especially in Europe and the Americas. Breeds with Andalusian ancestry include many of the warmbloods in Europe as well as western hemisphere breeds such as the Azteca. Over its centuries of development, the Andalusian breed has been selected for athleticism and stamina. The horses were originally used for classical dressage, driving, bullfighting, and as stock horses. Modern Andalusians are used for many equestrain activities, including dressage, show jumping and driving. The breed is also used extensively in movies, especially historical pictures and fantasy epics.


Andalusians stallions and geldings average 15.1 1⁄2 hands (61.5 inches, 156 cm) at the withers and 512 kilograms (1,129 lb) in weight; maresaverage 15 1⁄2 hands (60.5 inches, 154 cm) and 412 kilograms (908 lb). The Spanish government has set the minimum height for registration in Spain at 15.0 hands (60 inches, 152 cm) for males and 14.3 hands (59 inches, 150 cm) for mares — this standard is followed by the Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders of Spain (Asociación Nacional de Criadores de Caballo de Pura Raza Española or ANCCE) and the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia. The Spanish legislation also requires that in order for animals to be approved as either "qualified" or "élite" breeding stock, stallions must stand at least 15.1 hands (61 inches, 155 cm) and mares at least 15 1⁄4 hands (60.25 inches, 153 cm).

Andalusian horses are elegant and strongly built. Members of the breed have heads of medium length, with a straight or slightly convex profile. Ultra convex and concave profiles are discouraged in the breed, and are penalized in breed shows. Necks are long and broad, running to well-defined withers and a massive chest. They have a short back and broad, strong hindquarters with a well-rounded croup. The breed tends to have clean legs, with no propensity for blemishes or injuries, and energetic gaits. The mane and tail are thick and long, but the legs do not have excess feathering. Andalusians tend to be docile, while remaining intelligent and sensitive. When treated with respect they are quick to learn, responsive, and cooperative.

There are two additional characteristics unique to the Carthusian strain, believed to trace back to the strain's foundation stallion Esclavo. The first is warts under the tail, a trait which Esclavo passed to his offspring, and a trait which some breeders felt was necessary to prove that a horse was a member of the Esclavo bloodline. The second characteristic is the occasional presence of "horns", which are frontal bosses, possibly inherited from Asian ancestors. The physical descriptions of the bosses vary, ranging from calcium-like deposits at the temple to small horn-like protuberances near or behind the ear. However, these "horns" are not considered proof of Esclavo descent, unlike the tail warts.

In the past, most coat colours were found, including spotted patterns. Today most Andalusians are gray or bay; in the US, around 80 percent of all Andalusians are gray. Of the remaining horses, approximately 15 percent are bay and 5 percent are balck, dun or palomino or chestnut. Other colors, such as buckskin, pearl, and cremello, are rare, but are recognized as allowed colors by registries for the breed.

In the early history of the breed, certain white markings and whorls were considered to be indicators of character and good or bad luck. Horses with white socks on their feet were considered to have good or bad luck, depending on the leg or legs marked. A horse with no white markings at all was considered to be ill-tempered and vice-ridden, while certain facial markings were considered representative of honesty, loyalty and endurance. Similarly, hair whorls in various places were considered to show good or bad luck, with the most unlucky being in places where the horse could not see them – for example the temples, cheek, shoulder or heart. Two whorls near the root of the tail were considered a sign of courage and good luck.

The movement of Andalusian horses is extended, elevated, cadenced and harmonious, with a balance of roundness and forward movement. Poor elevation, irregular tempo, and excessive winging (sideways movement of the legs from the knee down) are discouraged by breed registry standards. Andalusians are known for their agility and their ability to learn difficult moves quickly, such as advanced collection and turns on the haunches. A 2001 study compared the kinematic characteristics of Andalusian, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses while moving at the trot. Andalusians were found to overtrack less (the degree to which the hind foot lands ahead of the front hoof print) but also exhibit greater flexing of both fore and hind joints, movement consistent with the more elevated way of going typically found in this breed. The authors of the study theorized that these characteristics of the breed's trot may contribute to their success as a riding and dressage horse.

A 2008 study found that Andalusians experience ischaemic(reduced blood flow) diseases of the small intestine at a rate significantly higher than other breeds; and stallions had higher numbers of inguinal hernias, with risk for occurrence 30 times greater than other breeds. At the same time, they also showed a lower incidence of large intestinal obstruction. In the course of the study, Andalusians also showed the highest risk of laminitus as a medical complication related to the intestinal issues.


Early Development

the noblest horse in the world, the most beautiful that can be. He is of great spirit and of great courage and docile; hath the proudest trot and the best action in his trot, the loftiest gallop, and is the lovingest and gentlest horse, and fittest of all for a king in his day of triumph.

—William Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, 1667

The Andalusian horse is descended from the Iberian horses of Spain and Portugal, and derives its name from its place of origin, the Spanish region of Andalusia. Cave paintings show that horses have been present on the Iberian Peninsular as far back as 20,000 to 30,000 BCE. Although Portuguese historian Ruy d'Andrade hypothesized that the ancient Sorraia breed was an ancestor of the Southern Iberian breeds, including the Andalusian, genetic studies using mitochondrial DNA show that the Sorraia is part of a genetic cluster that is largely separated from most Iberian breeds.

Throughout history, the Iberian breeds have been influenced by many different peoples and cultures who occupied Spain, including the Celts, the Carthaginians, the Romans, various Germanic tribes and the Moors. The Iberian horse was identified as a talented war horse as early as 450 BCE. Mitochondrial DNA studies of the modern Andalusian horse of the Iberian Peninsular and Barb horse of North Africa present convincing evidence that both breeds crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and were used for breeding with each other, influencing one another's bloodlines. Thus, the Andalusian may have been the first European "warmblood", a mixture of heavy European and lighter Oriental horses. Some of the earliest written pedegrees in recorded European history were kept by Carthusian monks, beginning in the 13th century. Because they could read and write, and were thus able to maintain careful records, monastics were given the responsibility for horse breeding by certain members of the nobility, particularly in Spain. Andalusian stud farms for breeding were formed in the late 15th century in Carthusian monasteries in Jerez, Seville and Cazalla.

The Carthusians bred powerful, weight-bearing horses in Andalusia for the Crown of Castile, using the finest Spanish Jennets as foundation bloodstock. These horses were a blend of Jennet and warmblood breeding, taller and more powerfully built than the original Jennet. By the 15th century, the Andalusian had become a distinct breed, and was being used to influence the development of other breeds. They were also noted for their use as cavalry horses. Even though in the 16th and 17th centuries Spanish horses had not reached the final form of the modern Andalusian, by 1667 William Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, called the Spanish horse of Andalusia the "princes" of the horse world, and reported that they were "unnervingly intelligent". The Iberian horse became known as the "royal horse of Europe" and was seen at many royal courts and riding academies, including those in Austria, Italy, France and Germany. By the 16th century, during the reigns of Charles V (1500–1558) and Phillip ll (1556–1581), Spanish horses were considered the finest in the world. Even in Spain, quality horses were owned mainly by the wealthy. During the 16th century, inflation and an increased demand for harness and cavalry horses drove the price of horses extremely high. The always expensive Andalusian became even more so, and it was often impossible to find a member of the breed to purchase at any price.


Spanish horses also were spread widely as a tool of diplomacy by the government of Spain, which granted both horses and export rights to favored citizens and to other royalty. As early as the 15th century, the Spanish horse was widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean, and was known in northern European countries, despite being less common and more expensive there. As time went on, kings from across Europe, including every French monarch from Francis l to Louis XVl, had equestrian portraits created showing themselves riding Spanish-type horses. The kings of France, including Louis Xlll and Louis XlV, especially preferred the Spanish horse; the head groom to Henry IV, Salomon de la Broue, said in 1600, "Comparing the best horses, I give the Spanish horse first place for its perfection, because it is the most beautiful, noble, graceful and courageous". War horses from Spain and Portugal began to be introduced to England in the 12th century, and importation continued through the 15th century. In the 16th century, Henry Vlll received gifts of Spanish horses from Charles V, Ferdinand ll of Aragonand the Duke of Savoy and others when he wed Katherine of Aragon. He also purchased additional war and riding horses through agents in Spain. By 1576, Spanish horses made up one third of British royal studs at Malmesbury and Tutbury. The Spanish horse peaked in popularity in Great Britain during the 17th century, when horses were freely imported from Spain and exchanged as gifts between royal families. With the introduction of the Thoroughbred, interest in the Spanish horse faded after the mid-18th century, although they remained popular through the early 19th century. The Conquistadors of the 16th century rode Spanish horses, particularly animals from Andalusia, and the modern Andalusian descended from similar bloodstock. By 1500, Spanish horses were established in studs on Santo Domingo, and Spanish horses made their way into the ancestry of many breeds founded in North and South America. Many Spanish explorers from the 16th century on brought Spanish horses with them for use as war horses and later as breeding stock. By 1642, the Spanish horse had spread to Moldovia, to the stables of Transylvanian prince George Rakoczi.

19th Century to Present

Despite their ancient history, all living Andalusians trace to a small number of horses bred by religious orders in the 18th and 19th centuries. An influx of heavy horse blood beginning in the 16th century, resulted in the dilution of many of the bloodlines; only those protected by selective breeding remained intact to become the modern Andalusian. During the 19th century, the Andalusian breed was threatened because many horses were stolen or requisitioned in wartime, including the War of the Oranges, the Peninsular War and the three Carlist Wars. Napoleon's invading army also stole many horses. One herd of Andalusians was hidden from the invaders however, and subsequently used to renew the breed. In 1822, breeders began to add Norman blood into Spanish bloodlines, as well as further infusions of Arabian blood. This was partially because increasing mechanization and changing needs within the military called for horses with more speed in cavalry charges as well as horses with more bulk for pulling gun carriages. In 1832, an epidemic seriously affected Spain's horse population, from which only one small herd survived in a stud at the monastery in Cartuja. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, European breeders, especially the Germans, changed from an emphasis on Andalusian and Neapolitan horses (an emphasis that had been in place since the decline of chivarly), to an emphasis on the breeding of thoroughbreds and warmbloods, further depleting the stock of Andalusians. Despite this change in focus, Andalusian breeding slowly recovered, and in 1869, the Seville Horse Fair (originally begun by the Romans), played host to between ten and twelve thousand Spanish horses. In the early 20th century, Spanish horse breeding began to focus on other breeds, particularly draft breeds, Arabians, Thoroughbreds and crosses between these breeds, as well as crosses between these breeds and the Andalusian. The purebred Andalusian was not viewed favorably by breeders or the military, and their numbers decreased significantly.

Andalusians only began to be exported from Spain in 1962. The first Andalusians were imported into Australia in 1971, and in 1973 the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia was formed for the registration of these Andalusians and their offspring. Strict quarantine guidelines prohibited the importation of new Andalusian blood to Australia for many years, but since 1999, regulations have been relaxed and more than half a dozen new horses have been imported. Bloodines in the United States also rely on imported stock, and all American Andalusians can be traced directly to the stud books in Portugal and Spain. There are around 8,500 animals in the United States, where the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) registers around 700 new purebred foals every year. These numbers indicate that the Andalusian is a relatively rare breed in the United States. In 2003, there were 75,389 horses registered in the stud book, and they constituted almost 66 percent of the horses in Spain. Breed numbers have been increasing during the 21st century. At the end of 2010, a total of 185,926 pura raza española horses were recorded in the database of the Spanish Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, y Medio Rural y Marino. Of these, 28,801 or about 15% were in other countries of the world; of those in Spain, 65,371 or about 42% were in Andalusia.

Strains and Sub-types

The Carthusian Andalusian or Cartujano is generally considered the purest Andalusian strain, and has one of the oldest recorded pedigree lines in the world. The pure sub-type is rare, as only around 12 percent of the Andalusian horses registered between the founding of the stud book in the 19th century and 1998 were considered Carthusians. They made up only 3.6 percent of the overall breeding stock, but 14.2 percent of the stallions used for breeding. In the past, Carthusians were given preference in breeding, leading to a large proportion of the Andalusian population claiming ancestry from a small number of horses and possibly limiting the breed's genetic variability. A 2005 study compared the genetic distance between Carthusian and non-Carthusian horses. They calculated a Fixation index (FST) based on genealogical information and concluded that the distinction between the two is not supported by genetic evidence. However, there are slight physical differences; Carthusians have more "oriental" or concave head shapes and are more often gray in color, while non-Carthusians tend toward convex profiles and more often exhibit other coat colors such as bay.

The Carthusian line was established in the early 18th century when two Spanish brothers, Andrés and Diego Zamora, purchased a stallion named El Soldado and bred him to two mares. The mares were descended from mares purchased by the Spanish king and placed at Aranjuez, one of the oldest horse breeding farms in Spain. One of the offspring of El Soldado, a dark gray colt named Esclavo, became the foundation sire of the Carthusian line. One group of mares sired by Esclavo in about 1736 were given to a group of Carthusian monks to settle a debt. Other animals of these bloodlines were absorbed into the main Andalusian breed; the stock given to the monks was bred into a special line, known as Zamoranos. Throughout the following centuries, the Zamoranos bloodlines were guarded by the Carthusian monks, to the point of defying royal orders to introduce outside blood from the Neapolitan horses and central European breeds. They did, however, introduce Arabian and Barb blood to improve the strain. The original stock of Carthusians was greatly depleted during the Peninsular Wars, and the strain might have become extinct if not for the efforts of the Zapata family. Today, the Carthusian strain is raised in state-owned stud farms around Jerez de la Frontera, Badajoz and Cordoba, and also by several private families. Carthusian horses continue to be in demand in Spain, and buyers pay high prices for members of the strain.

Influence on other Breeds

Spain's worldwide military activities between the 14th and 17th centuries called for large numbers of horses, more than could be supplied by native Spanish mares. Spanish custom also called for mounted troops to ride stallions, never mares or geldings. Due to these factors, Spanish stallions were crossed with local mares in many countries, adding Spanish bloodlines wherever they went, especially to other European breeds.

Because of the influence of the later Habsburg families, who ruled in both Spain and other nations of Europe, the Andalusian was crossbred with horses of Central Europe and the Low Countries and thus was closely related to many breeds that developed, including the Neapolitan Horse, Groningen, Lipizzaner and Kladrubber. Spanish horses have been used extensively in classical dressage in Germany since the 16th century. They thus influenced many German breeds, including the Hanoverian, Holstien, East Friesian and Oldenburg. Dutch breeds such as the Friesian and Gelderland also contain significant Spanish blood, as do Danish breeds such as the Frederiksborg and Knabstrupper.

Andalusians were a significant influence on the creation of the Alter REal, a strain of the Lusitano, and the Azteca, a Mexican breed created by crossing the Andalusian with American Quarter Horse and Criollo bloodlines. The Spanish jennet ancestors of the Andalusian also developed the Colonial Spanish Horse in America, which became the foundation bloodstock for many North and South American breeds. The Andalusian has also been used to create breeds more recently, with breed associations for both the Warlander (an Andalusian/Friesian cross) and the Spanish-Norman (an Andalusian/Percheron cross) being established in the 1990s.

Naming and Registration

Until modern times, horse breeds throughout Europe were known primarily by the name of the region where they were bred. Thus the original term "Andalusian" simply described the horses of distinct quality that came from Andalusia in Spain. Similarly, the Lusitano, a Portuguese horse very similar to the Andalusian, takes its name from Lusitania, an ancient Roman name for Portugal.

The Andalusian horse has been known historically as the Iberian Saddle Horse, Iberian War Horse, Spanish Horse, Portuguese, Peninsular, Extremeño, Villanos, Zapata, Zamoranos, Castilian, and Jennet. The Portuguese name refers to what is now the Lusitano, while the Peninsular, Iberian Saddle Horse and Iberian War Horse names refer to horses from the Iberian Peninsula as a whole. The Extremeño name refers to Spanish horses from the Extremadura province of Spain and the Zapata or Zapatero name to horses that come from the Zapata family stud. The Villano name has occasionally been applied to modern Andalusians, but originally referred to heavy, crossbred horses from the mountains north of Jaen. The Carthusian horse, also known as the Carthusian-Andalusian and the Cartujano, is a sub-type of the Andalusian, rather than a distinct breed in itself. A common nickname for the Andalusian is the "Horse of Kings". Some sources state that the Andalusian and the Lusitano are genetically the same, differing only in the country of origin of individual horses.

In many areas today, the breeding, showing, and registration of the Andalusian and Lusitano are controlled by the same registeries. One example of this is the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA), claimed to have the largest membership of any Andalusian registering organization. Other organizations, such as The Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders of Spain (Asociación Nacional de Criadores de Caballo de Pura Raza Española or ANCCE), use the term pura raza española or PRE to describe the true Spanish horse, and claim sole authority to officially register and issue documentation for PRE Horses, both in Spain and anywhere else in the world. In most of the world the terms "Andalusian" and "PRE" are considered one and the same breed, but the public position of the ANCCE is that terms such as "Andalusian" and "Iberian horse" refer only to crossbreds, which the ANCCE considers to be horses that lack quality and purity, without official documentation or registration from official Spanish Stud Book.

In Australasia, the Australasia Andalusian Association registers Andalusians (which the registry considers an interchangeable term for PRE), Australian Andalusians, and partbred Andalusians. They share responsibility for the Purebred Iberian Horse (an Andalusian/Lusitano cross) with the Lusitano Association of Australasia. In the Australian registry, there are various levels of crossbred horses. A first cross Andalusian is a crossbreed that is 50 percent Andalusian, while a second cross Andalusian is the result of crossing a purebred Andalusian with a first cross – resulting in a horse of 75 percent Andalusian blood. A third cross, also known by the registry as an Australian Andalusian, is when a second cross individual is mated with a foundation Andalusian mare. This sequence is known as a "breeding up" program by the registry.

Pure Spanish Horse

The name pura raza española (PRE), usually rendered in English "Pure Spanish Horse" (not a literal translation) is the term used by the ANCCE, a private organization, and the Ministry of Agriculture of Spain. The ANCCE uses neither the term "Andalusian" nor "Iberian horse", and only registers horses that have certain recognized bloodlines. In addition, all breeding stock must undergo an evaluation process. The ANCCE was founded in 1972. Spain's Ministry of Agriculture recognizes the ANCCE as the representing entity for PRE breeders and owners across the globe, as well as the administrator of the breed stud book. ANCCE functions as the international parent association for all breeders worldwide who record their horses as PRE. For example, the United States PRE association is affiliated with ANCCE, follows ANCCE rules, and has a wholly separate governance system from the IALHA.

A second group, the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE Mundial, has begun another PRE registry as an alternative to the ANCCE. This new registry claims that all of their registered horses trace back to the original stud book maintained by the Cria Caballar, which was a branch of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, for 100 years. Thus, the PRE Mundial registry asserts that their registry is the most authentic, purest PRE registry functioning today.

As of August 2011, there is a lawsuit in progress to determine the legal holder of the PRE stud book. The Unión de Criadores de Caballos Españoles (UCCE or Union of Spanish Horse Breeders) has brought a case to the highest Europian Union courts in Brussles, charging that the Ministry of Spain's transfer of the original PRE Libro de Origen (the official stud book) from the Cria Caballar to ANCCE was illegal. In early 2009, the courts decided on behalf of UCCE, explaining that the Cria Caballar formed the Libro de Origin. Because it was formed by a government entity, it is against European Union law for the stud book to be transferred to a private entity, a law that was broken by the transfer of the book to ANCCE, which is a non-governmental organization. The court found that by giving ANCCE sole control of the stud book, Spain's Ministry of Defense was acting in a discriminatory manner. The court held that Spain must give permission to maintain a breed stud book (called a Libro Genealógico) to any international association or Spanish national association which requests it. Based on the Brussels court decision, an application has been made by the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse to maintain the United States stud book for the PRE. As of March 2011, Spain has not revoked ANCCE's right to be the sole holder of the PRE stud book, and has instead reaffirmed the organization's status.


The Andalusian breed has over the centuries been consistently selected for athleticism. In the 17th century, referring to multi-kilometer races, Cavendish said, "They were so much faster than all other horses known at that time that none was ever seen to come close to them, even in the many remarkable races that were run." In 1831, horses at five years old were expected to be able to gallop, without changing pace, four or five leagues, about 12 to 15 miles (19 to 24 km). By 1925, the Portuguese military expected horses to "cover 40 km over uneven terrain at a minimum speed of 10 km/h, and to gallop a flat course of 8 km at a minimum speed of 800 metres per minute carrying a weight of at least 70 kg", and the Spanish military had similar standards.

From the very beginning of their history, Andalusians have been used for both riding and driving. Among the first horses used for classical dressage, they are still making a mark in international competition in dressage today. At the 2002 World Equestrian Games, two Andalusians were on the bronze-medal winning Spanish dressage team, a team that went on to take the silver medal at the 004 Summer Olympics. Today, the breed is increasingly being selectively bred for increased aptitude in classical dressage. Historically, however, they were also used as stock horses, especially suited to working with Iberian bulls, known for their aggressive temperaments. They were, and still are, known for their use in mounted bull fighting. Mares were traditionally used for la trilla, the Spanish process of threshing grain practiced until the 1960s. Mares, some pregnant or with foals at their side, spent full days trotting over the grain. As well as being a traditional farming practice, it also served as a test of endurance, hardiness and willingness for the maternal Andalusian lines.

Andalusians today are used for show jumping, western pleasure and many other classes at horse shows. The current Traveller, the mascot of the Univerity of Southern California, is an Andalusian. The dramatic appearance of the Andalusian horse, with its arched neck, muscular build and energetic gaits, has made it a popular breed to use in film, particularly in historical and fantasy epics. Andalusians have been present in films ranging from Gladiator to Interview with the Vampire, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life to Braveheart. The horses have also been seen in such fantasy epics as The Lord of the Rings file trilogy, King Arthur, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion , the Witch and the Wardrobe. In 2006, a rearing Andalusian stallion, ridden by Spanish conquistador Don Juan De Onate, was recreated as the largest bronze equine in the world. Measuring 36 feet (11 m) high, the statue currently stands in El Paso, Texas.

Source - Wikipedia

PRE Gelding - Southern Cross Calvaro owned by Cara Edwards

PRE Gelding - Southern Cross Calvaro owned by Cara Edwards

Friesian - Origin Friesland, Netherlands

Breed Information

The Friesian (also Frizian) is a horse breed originating in Friesland, in the Netherlands. Although the conformation of the breed resembles that of a light draught horse, Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size. It is believed that during the Middle Ages, ancestors of Friesian horses were in great demand as war horses throughout continental Europe. Through the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages, their size enabled them to carry a Knight in armour. In the Late Middle Ages, heavier, draught type animals were needed. Though the breed nearly became extinct on more than one occasion, the modern day Friesian horse is growing in numbers and popularity, used both in harness and under saddle. Most recently, the breed is being introduced to the field of dressage.


Spelling and Usage

In English, both the horse breed and someone from Friesland should be called a Frisian in British English. An inquiry with KFPS learns that they deliberately spelled 'Frisian' wrong because they specifically wanted to have their own brand name. From an email from marketing: "Het is een bewuste keus om Friesian te gebruiken in plaats van Frisian. We geven een ‘eigen’ merknaam aan onze mooie Friese paarden."

In short, any random horse from Friesland should therefore be named a Frisian horse, while the breed should specifically be named 'Friesian'.

Breed Characteristics

The Friesian breed is most often recognised by its black coat colour, however, colour alone is not the only distinguishing characteristic; Friesians are occasionally chestnut as some bloodlines do carry the "red" ('e") gene. In the 1930s, chestnuts and bays were seen. Friesians rarely have white markings of any kind; most registries allow only a small star on the forehead for purebred registration. To be accepted as breeding stock by the FPS studbook (Friesch Paarden Stamboek), a stallion must pass a rigorous approval process.

The Friesian stands on average about 15.3 hands (63 inches, 160 cm), although it may vary from 14.2 to 17 hands (58 to 68 inches, 147 to 173 cm) at the withers, and mares or geldings must be at least 15.2 hands (62 inches, 157 cm) to qualify for a "star-designation" pedigree. Horses are judged at an inspection, or keuring, by Dutch judges, who decide whether the horse is worthy of star designation. The breed has powerful overall conformation and good bone structure, with what is sometimes called a "Baroque" body type. Friesians have long, arched necks and well-chiseled, short-eared, "Spanish-type" heads. They have powerful, sloping shoulders, compact, muscular bodies with strong, sloping hindquarters and low-set tails. Their limbs are comparatively short and strong. A Friesian horse also has a long, thick mane and tail, often wavy, and "feather"—long, silky hair on the lower legs—deliberately left untrimmed. The breed is known for a brisk, high-stepping trot. The Friesian is considered willing, active, and energetic, but also gentle and docile. A Friesian tends to have great presence and to carry itself with elegance. Today, there are two distinct conformation types—the "baroque" type, which has the more robust build of the classical Friesian, and the modern, "sport horse" type, which is finer-boned. Both types are common, though the modern type is currently more popular in the show ring than is the baroque Friesian. However, conformation type is considered less important than correct movement.

The chestnut colour is generally not accepted for registration for stallions, though it is sometimes allowed for mares and geldings. A chestnut-coloured Friesian that competes is penalised. However, discoloration from old injuries or a black coat with fading from the sun is not penalised. The chestnut allele, a recessive genetic trait in the Friesian, does exist; in the 1990s, two mares gave birth to chestnut foals. The Friesch Paarden Stamboek began to attempt breeding out the chestnut colour in 1990, and today stallions with genetic testing indicating the presence of the chestnut or "red" gene, even if heterozygous and masked by black colour, are not allowed registration with the FPS. The American Friesian Association, which is not affiliated to the KFPS, allows horses with white markings and/or chestnut colour to be registered if purebred parentage can be proven. In 2014 there were eight stallion lines known to still carry the chestnut gene.

There are four genetic disorders acknowledged by the industry that may affect horses of Friesian breeding: dwarfism, hydrocephalus, a tendency for aortic rupture, and megaesophagus. There are genetic tests for the first two conditions. The Friesian is also among several breeds that may develop equine polysaccharide storage myopathy. Approximately 0.25% of Friesians are affected by dwarfism, which results in horses with a normal-sized head, a broader chest than normal, an abnormally long back and very short limbs. It is a recessive condition. Additionally, the breed has a higher-than-usual rate of digestive system disorders, and a greater tendency to have insect bite hypersensitivity. Like some other draught breeds, they are prone to a skin condition called verrucous pastern dermopathy and may be generally prone to having a compromised immune system. Friesian mares have a very high 54% rate of retained placenta after foaling. Some normal-sized Friesians also have a propensity toward tendon and ligament laxity which may or may not be associated with dwarfism. The relatively small gene pool and inbreeding are thought to be factors behind most of these disorders.


The Friesian originates in the province of Friesland in the northern Netherlands, where there is evidence of thousands of years of horse populations.

As far back in history as the 4th century there are mentions of Friesian troops which rode their own horses. One of the most well-known sources of this was by an English writer named Anthony Dent who wrote about the Friesian mounted troops in Carlisle. Dent, amongst others, wrote that the Friesian horse was the ancestor of both the British Shire, and the Fell pony. However, this is just speculation.

It wasn't until the 11th century, that there were illustrations, of what appeared to be, Friesans. Many of the illustrations found depict knights riding horses which resembled the breed, with one of the most famous examples being William the Conqueror.

These ancestors of the modern Friesians were used in medieval times to carry knights to battle. In the 12th and 13th centuries, some eastern horses of crusaders were mated with Friesian stock. During the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Netherlands were briefly linked with Spain, there was less demand for heavy war horses, as battle arms changed and became lighter. Andalusian horses were crossbred with Friesians, producing a lighter horse more suitable (in terms of less food intake and waste output) for work as urban carriage horses.

Historian Ann Hyland wrote of the Friesian breed:

The Emperor Charles (reigned 1516 -56) continued Spanish expansion into the Netherlands, which had its Frisian warhorse, noted by Vegetius and used on the continent and in Britain in Roman times. Like the Andalusian, the Frisian bred true to type. Even with infusions of Spanish blood during the sixteenth century, it retained its indigenous characteristics, taking the best from both breeds. The Frisian is mentioned in 16th and 17th century works as a courageous horse eminently suitable for war, lacking the volatility of some breeds or the phlegm of very heavy ones. Generally black, the Frisian was around 15hh with strong, cobby conformation, but with a deal more elegance and quality. The noted gait was a smooth trot coming from powerful quarters. Nowadays, though breed definition is retained, the size has markedly increased, as has that of most breeds due to improved rearing and dietary methods.

The breed was especially popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, when they were in demand not only as harness horses and for agricultural work, but also for the trotting races so popular then. The Friesian may have been used as foundation stock for such breeds as the Dole Gudbrandsdal, the Norfolk Trotter (ancestor of the Hackney), and the Morgan. In the 1800s, the Friesian was bred to be lighter and faster for trotting, but this led to what some owners and breeders regarded as inferior stock, so a movement to return to pureblood stock took place at the end of the 19th century.

A studbook society was founded in 1879 by Frisian farmers and landowners who had gathered to found the Fries Rundvee Stamboek (FRS) The Paardenstamboek ("horse stud book") was published in 1880 and initially registered both Friesian horses and a group of heavy warmblood breeds, including Ostfriesen and Alt-Oldenburgers, collectively known as "Bovenlanders". At the time, the Friesian horse was declining in numbers, and was being replaced by the more fashionable Bovenlanders, both directly, and by cross breeding Bovenlander stallions on Friesian mares. This had already virtually exterminated the pure Friesian in significant parts of the province in 1879, which made the inclusion of Bovenlanders necessary. While the work of the society led to a revival of the breed in the late 19th century, it also resulted in the sale and disappearance of many of the best stallions from the breeding area, and Friesian horse populations dwindled. By the early 20th century, the number of available breeding stallions was down to three.Therefore, in 1906, the two parts of the registry were joined, and the studbook was renamed the Friesch Paarden Stamboek (FPS) in 1907."

In 1913 a society, Het Friesch Paard, was founded to protect and promote the breed. By 1915 it had convinced FPS to split registration into two groups. By 1943, the breeders of non-Friesian horses left the FPS completely to form a separate association, which later became the Koninklijik Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland ( Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands KWPN).

Displacement by petroleum-powered farm equipment on dairy farms also was a threat to the survival of Friesian horse. The last draught function performed by Friesians on a significant scale was on farms that raised dairy cattle. World War ll slowed down the process of displacement, allowing the population and popularity of the breed to rebound. Important in the initial stage of the recovery of the breed was due to the family owned Circus Strassburger, who, having fled Nazi Germany for the Low Countries, discovered the show qualities of the breed and demonstrated its abilities outside of its local breeding area during and after the Nazi occupation


As use in agricultural pursuits declined, the Friesian became popular for recreational uses. Today, about seven percent of the horses in the Netherlands are Friesians.

The Friesian horse today is used both in harness and under saddle, particularly in the discipline of dressage. In harness, they are used for competitive and recreational driving, both singly and in teams. A traditional carriage seen in some events designed for Friesian horses is a high-wheeled cart called a sjees. Friesians are also used in ventures such as pulling vintage carriages at assorted ceremonial events.

Because of their color and striking appearance, Friesian horses are a popular breed in movies and television, particularly in historic and fantasy dramas. They are viewed as calm in the face of the activity associated with filmmaking, but also elegant on-camera.


Warlander - Origin Australia

Breed Information

History of the Warlander
During the crusades and later in the 'Eighty Year War', it is very probable that Iberian horses were bred to the native Friesian breed. 1  In the 1960’s, Spain lifted the ban on export of Iberians and the breed began to spread throughout the world. In 2010 there was an estimated 185,000 registered Iberian (Andalusian) horses world-wide.In the late 20th century, the Friesian started to leave its mould as a driving horse with stallions like the approved Lammert 260 Preferent - the first to reach Class Z dressage level (Fourth level equivalent) and USA's FPZV approved 'Jorrit' - the first Friesian stallion in the history of the breed to compete at Grand Prix level and finish his career listed at 6th place nationally against all breeds.  Popularity for the Friesian increased as never before and by 2012, there were estimated to be over 50,000 Friesian horses world- wide.The Warlander horse officially began in 1990 when West Australian Karen-Maree’ Kaye of the Classical Sporthorse Stud, a devotee of Classical Equitation, began a dedicated breeding program, penned the first breed standard and named the breed.

"The Warlander was named after my veterinarian - Dr WARwick Vale.

"I fell in love with the Friesian horse but at that time 'rideability' was not as evolved as it is now in the breed. The solution, in my mind, was to cross the Friesian with the most rideable of breeds - the  purebred Andalusian to improve collection and suppleness and perhaps attain a bit more bravery," says Karen-Maree'.Easier said than done, when both base breeds had limited bloodlines in Australia, however, when the first Warlander horse was born at Classical Sporthorse Stud he lived up to all expectations. “When he began his formal training at four years, he was willing and smart, functional, collected easily and a comfortable ride. I knew then that the Warlander was going to have a future,” says Karen-Maree’.

Great minds think alike

Over the next two decades Karen-Maree’ was approached by people around the world, who had achieved the same positive results.Well respected USA Iberian breeder Nia Ridley established the first studbook - International Warlander Society and Registry  which went on to be operated in USA by Constance Davenport until its closure in September 2012.Constance Davenport of Immortal Farms (USA) was integral to taking the Warlander horse past the first generation proving that Warlander to Warlander (F2) breeding 'did' produce the same type and quality as the first generation (F1).After the IWSR's closure the Warlander Studbook Society started (taking all existing registrations from IWSR) and then began a global push to gain recognition and exposure.Instrumental to the breed’s development and recognition in Europe is Alexandra Green of Green-Horn Ranch (Warlander-Franken) in Bavaria. Alexandra put her full efforts into achieving full paperwork according to European standards for the breed. This was attained in 2010 with the Bayerischer Zuchtverband fuer Kleinpferde und Spezialrassen.

This is when the Warlander horse officially became a breed.

What makes the Warlander horse unique is that it is racially correct in the first generation (F1 -50/50%). This can only be replicated again when two 50/50% or two 25/75%  Warlander horses, each carrying a higher percentage of Friesian or Iberian, are bred together. Alexandra also saw the importance of breeding the Warlander past F1 and worked tirelessly for many years to achieve successful Warlander to Warlander breeding; again proving that the F2 horses did not lose any size, vigor or phenotype of the first generation.Warlander horses in Europe are judged by the European judging system, which classifies horses up to breeding approval including performance testing. Alexandra’s young stallion Anubis von Greenhorn was the first Warlander stallion in the world to achieve breeding approval status through this system in 2012.Whilst Warlander horses have evolved in a huge geographical area, the breed has generally remained very consistent in type due to the strict regulations of the mother studbooks for the base breeds and the Warlander studbook. Today the breed is registered in over a dozen countries world- wide and breeders are utilising premium horses within the base breeds to improve the Warlander.


In USA in 2011, Vaquero Ranch’s Warlander stallion ‘Hummer’ became the IFSHA World Grand Champion Stallion. Used extensively for commercial work including the face for Guerlian’s men's fragrance ‘Habit Rouge’ he also appeared in the Lord of the Rings, a Chevy commercial, music video and print works.In Australia Shepherds Hill Larry became the first Warlander to receive a SPORT predicate after he won an Advanced World Cup Level National Championship in 2011. The next year he went on to show his ability under saddle on the USA pilot movie ‘Frontier’.In 2015, Ray Ariss (USA) who bred the Warlander mare 'Sabrina' owned by Karen Hollis - rode to her 5th World Championship at her first show.Some 'cow sense'  was inherited as proven by F2 Warlander gelding IF Michaelangelo who at his first national USA show, won multiple half Iberian titles in various disciplines such as Reining, Western Pleasure and Open English Show Hack as well as the High Point All - Around National Title and two gold medals for Movement to boot.There are many more success stories but one thread remains constant with the Warlander story – everyone who meets them is blown away with their amazing nature, which will always remain the focus of Warlander breeding.1 KFPS - http://english.kfps.nl/HetFriesePaard/Hetfrieschepaard/Historievanpaard.aspx

The Studbook

WSS (global mother studbook) was established to 'globally' racially standardise the breed and create a strong platform for future development. WSS governs the official breed standard thus creating a benchmark to ensure the highest of standards remain consistent internationally.

Humane practices, ethical conduct and quality of service are a priority and members must adhere to a 'Code of Conduct'. The studbook utlises the latest digital technology in order to deliver documentation and data quickly and has been firmly established with limited bureaucracy; it is staffed rather than volunteer based and can't be manipulated by any individual. The opportunities are equal for everyone and there are no politics. ​

Breed Philosophy

WSS has a great respect for the unique qualities of both base breeds and will never presume that either should be or could be improved or changed. The objective of WSS is to capture the best and separate attributes from both and blend into one animal.The future of the Warlander lies past the first generation where each individual must be analysed to ensure the core values of the Warlander remain intact. Education is key in ensuring absolute transparency from breeders to avoid introducing genetic defects into the population. 

The future of the studbook will see more focus on F2 breeding and beyond. There will come a stage where registrations for F1 will only be accepted under special circumstances.

WSS will only base the performance ability of the Warlander in certain disciplines on 'actual' achievements.Warlander horses are competing and winning in official dressage, World Cup driving, Reining and World Level Show classes. World-wide, there are many trained to the highest levels of Haute école / Doma Clasica / Alta Escuela. They are used for commercial work - movies, television, commercials, print media and extreme sports (Jousting).The Warlander is not being bred or marketed  to take place or take away from any proven breeds and registries who have already established their horses as supreme representatives in Olympic disciplines. 

The Warlander is being bred for lovers of Baroque horses, who prize the unique attributes of both the Friesian and Iberian.

Source - Warlander Studbook Society

Main Studbook Warlander horse Australia - CS Invictus bred and owned by Classical Sporthorse Stud

Main Studbook Warlander horse Australia - CS Invictus bred and owned by Classical Sporthorse Stud

Lusitano - Origin Portugal

Breed Information

The Lusitano, also known as the Pure Blood Lusitano or PSL (Puro Sangue Lusitano), is a Portuguese Horsebreed, closely related to the Spanish Andalusian horse. Both are sometimes called Iberian horses, as the breeds both developed on the Iberian Peninsular, and until the 1960s they were considered one breed, under the Andalusian name. Horses were known to be present on the Iberian Peninsular as far back as 20,000 BC, and by 800 BC the region was renowned for its war horses. The fame of the horses from Lusitania goes back to the Roman Age, which attributed its speed to the influence of the West wind, who was considered capable of fertilizing the mares. When the Muslims invaded Iberia in 711 AD, they brought Barb horses with them that were crossed with the native horses, developing a horse that became useful for war, dressage and bull fighting. In 1966, the Portuguese and Spanish stud books split, and the Portuguese strain of the Iberian horse was named the Lusitano, after the word Lusitania, the ancient Roman name for the region that modern Portugal roughly occupies. There are four main breed lineages within the breed today, and characteristics differ slightly between each line.

Lusitanos can be any solid colour, although they are generally gray, bay or chestnut. Horses of the Alter Real strain are always bay. Members of the breed are of Baroque type, with convex facial profiles, heavy muscling, intelligent and willing natures, with agile and elevated movement. Originally bred for war, dressage and bullfighting, Lusitanos are still used today in the latter two. They have competed in several Olympics and World Equestrian Games as part of the Portuguese and Spanish dressage teams. They have also made a showing in driving competitions, with a Belgian team of Lusitanos winning multiple international titles. Members of the breed are still used in bullfighting today.


Horses were known to humans on what is now the Iberian Peninsular as far back as 25,000 to 20,000 BC, as shown by cave paintings in the area. Among the local wild horses originally used by humans were the probable ancestors of the modern Lusitano, as studies comparing ancient and modern horse DNA indicate that the modern "Lusitano C" group contains maternal lineages also present in wild Iberian horses from the Early Neolithic period. These ancient horses were used for war, with clear evidence of their use by Phoenicians around 1100 BC and Celts around 600 BC. It is believed that these invaders also brought horses with them, contributing outside blood to the ancestry of the modern Iberian breeds. By 800 BC, the alliance known as Celtiberians had been formed by the Iberians and Celts, and from this point on the horses bred in this area were renowned as war horses. Xenophon, writing around 370 BC, admired the advanced horsemanship and riding techniques used by Iberian horsemen in war, made possible in part by their agile horses. Legend claimed that mares of the area were sired by the wind (hence their amazing swiftness, passed onto their foals), and one modern hypothesis suggests that the bond between Iberian humans and horses was the initial inspiration for the centaur,which was believed to come from the area of the Tagus River. Later invasions into the area by Carthaginians and Romans resulted in these civilizations establishing stud famrs that bred cavalry horses for the Roman army from local stock.

When the Umayyad Muslims invaded the Iberian peninsula in 711 AD, their invasion brought Barb horses, which were crossed with native Iberian horses. The cross between these two breeds produced a war horse superior even to the original Iberian horse, and it was this new type that the Conquistadors introduced to the Americas. Called the Iberian war horse, this ancestor of the Lusitano was used both on the battlefield and in major riding academies throughout Europe. Bull Fighting on horseback and displays of high school dressage were common entertainment for the Portuguese gentry.

Mitochondrial DNA studies of the closely related modern Andalusian horse, compared to the Barb horse of North Africa, present convincing evidence that Barbs and Iberian horses crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in each direction, were crossbred with each other, and thus each influenced the other's maternal bloodlines. While Portuguese historian Ruy d'Andrade hypothesized that the ancient Sorraia breed was an ancestor of the Southern Iberian breeds, including the Lusitano, genetic studies using mitochondrial DNA show that the Sorraia is part of a genetic cluster that is largely separated from most Iberian breeds. One maternal lineage is shared with the Lusitano, however, Sorraia lineages in Iberian breeds are relatively recent, dating to the Middle Ages, making the Sorraia an unlikely prehistoric ancestor of the Lusitano.

Prior to modern times, horse breeds throughout Europe were known primarily by the name of the region where they were bred. The Lusitano takes its name from Lusitania, an ancient Roman name for the region that today is Portugal. A very similar horse, the Spanish Andalusian, originally described the horses of distinct quality that came from Andalusia in Spain. Some sources state that the Andalusian and the Lusitano are genetically the same breed, and the only difference is the country in which individual horses are born. The Lusitano is also known as the Portuguese, Peninsular, National or Betico-lusitano horse.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, horses moved continually between Spain and Portugal, and horses from the studs of Andalusia were used to improve the Portuguese cavalry. Portugal's successful restoration war against Spain (1640–1668) was in part based on mounted troops riding war horses of Spanish blood. During the reign of Phillip lll of Portugal (also Philip IV of Spain), Portuguese horse breeding reached its lowest point. The Spanish passed laws to halt the country's production of cavalry horses, and what stud farms did exist were run in secrecy with horses smuggled or stolen from Spain. These secret farms, however, provided the base for the modern Lusitano. In 1662, when Charles ll of England married Catherine of Braganza of Portugal, the royal dowry included Portugal's Tangier and Bombay garrisons. These garrisons included large groups of Portuguese cavalry, mounted on Iberian horses.

Prior to the 1960s, the Iberian-type horse was called the Andalusian in both Portugal and Spain. In 1966, the Lusitano name was adopted by Portugal after a studbook separation by the two countries. The revolutions of Portugal's African colonies resulted in the near economic collapse of Portugal. The landed class attracted political agitators, estates were vacated, and stud farms were broken up and their horses sold to Spain. However, the best lines were saved through the efforts of breeders, and breeding soon increased. Today, Lusitanos are bred mainly in Portugal and Brazil, but maintain a presence in many other countries throughout the world, including Australia, the United States, Great Britain, South Africa, and other European countries. Crossbred horses of partial Lusitano blood are popular, especially when crossed with Andalusian, Arabian or Thoroughbred blood.

Strains and Sub-types

The Portuguese stud book recognizes six horses (five stallions and one mare) that are called the "heads of lineage". These six horses are the foundation horses of the three main breed lineages: Andrade, Veiga and Coudelaria Nacional (Portuguese State Stud). Although each line meets breed standards, they differ from each other in individual characteristics. The six foundation horses are:

  • Agareno, a 1931 Veiga stallion, out of Bagocha, by Lidador
  • Primorosa, a 1927 Dominquez Hermanos stallion, out of Primorosa II, by Presumido
  • Destinado, a 1930 Dominquez Hermanos stallion, out of Destinada, by Alegre II
  • Marialva II, a 1930 Antonio Fontes Pereira de Melo stallion, out of Campina, by Marialva
  • Regedor, a 1923 Alter Real stallion, out of Gavina, by Gavioto
  • Hucharia, a 1943 Coudelaria Nacional mare, out of Viscaina, by Cartujano

Alter Real

The Alter Real is a strain of the Lusitano which is bred only at the Alter Real State Stud in Portugal. The stud was founded in 1748 by the Portuguese royal family to provide horses for the national riding academy and royal use. The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art (Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre) uses these horses exclusively in their performances. The strain was developed from 300 Iberian mares imported from Spain in 1747. When Napoleon invaded Spain in the early 19th century, the Alter Real strain deteriorated due to the introduction of Arabian, Thoroughbred, Spanish-Norman and Hanoverian blood. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries the strain was re-established with the further introduction of Spanish blood.

In the early 20th century, with the 1910 revolution that ended the monarchy, the Alter Real strain faced extinction, as records were burned, stallions were gelded and the stud discontinued. Ruy d'Andrade, a specialist in Iberian horse breeds, saved two stallions and several mares, and was able to re-establish the strain, turning his herd over to the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture in 1942, when the stud was reopened. The Portuguese state has maintained ownership of the stud, and continues to produce horses for use in high school dressage.


Today, outside of Portugal and Spain, breeding, showing and registration of both Lusitanos and Andalusians are often closely linked. One example is the Australasian Lusitano Horse Association of Australasia (LHAA), which shares responsibility for the Purebred Iberian Horse (an Andalusian/Lusitano cross) with the Australasia Andalusian Association, as well as hosting a combined National Show for the two breeds in Australia. The LHAA was formed in 2003 to register and promote the Lusitano breed in Australia and New Zealand, and in June 2005 signed an agreement with their parent organization, the Portuguese Associação Portuguesa de Criadores do Cavalo Puro Sangue Lusitano, to follow that association's rules and regulations. The LHAA maintains two studbooks (for the purebred Lusitano and the purebred Iberian) and a crossbred registry for horses with one Lusitano parent. An example of a combined registry is the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA).

Characteristics and Uses

Lusitanos are generally gray, bay or chestnut, though they can be of any solid color, including black, dun and palomino. Only bays are bred at the Alter Real stud. They usually stand 15.2 and 15.3 hands (62 and 63 inches, 157 and 160 cm) high, although some stand over 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm). Members of the breed have narrow, but well-proportioned, heads with profiles that are slightly convex. The necks are thick and arched, leading to well defined withers, shoulders that are muscular and sloping and a deep, broad chest. The horses have short, strong backs and rounded, sloped croups, leading to a low-set tail. The legs are sturdy and muscled. Lusitanos are known as powerful horses, noted for their intelligence and willing nature. The breed's gaits are agile and elevated, but generally comfortable to ride. The Lusitano differs from the Andalusian through having a more sloped croup, a lower-set tail, and a more convex head profile. The mane and tail are extremely thick in both breeds.

The ancestors of the Lusitano were originally used for classical dressage, driving and bull fighting on horseback. Today, Lusitanos are seen in internationdisciplines, including high-level combined driving competition. In 1995, a four-in-hand team driven by Belgian Felix Brasseur won the FEI Driving World Cup, and took the World Championships in 1996. In 2002, there was a Lusitano on the World Equestrian Games bronze-winning dressage team that went on to collect a silver medal at the 2004Summer Olympics. In 2006, the entire Portuguese dressage team rode Lusitanos at the World Equestrian Games, as did one Spanish dressage competitor. The Belgian Brasseur took the gold medal in four-in-hand driving at the same competition with a team composed solely of Lusitanos.

They are still used for mounted bullfighting today, in a form where the bull is not killed and it is considered a disgrace to the rider if the horse is injured. Horses bred for this sport must be agile and calm, remaining in the control of the rider even when confronted by a bull. Between 1980 and 1987, Lusitanos were used for breeding Colorado Ranger horses, although these crosses are no longer allowed by the breed registry. An Alter Real stallion, taken to Brazil prior to Napoleon's invasion, was a foundation stallion of the Mangalarga Marchador breed.

Source - Wikipedia


Lipizzaner - Origin Lipica, Slovenia

Breed Information

The Lipizzan, or Lipizzaner (Croation): Lipicanac, Czech: Lipicán, Hungarian: Lipicai, Italian: Lipizzano, Slovene: Lipicanec), is a breed of horse originating from Lipica in Slovenia. Established in 1580, the Lipica stud farm is the world's oldest continuously operating stud farm. It is also closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria, where they demonstrate the haute ecole  or "high school" movements of classical dressage, including the highly controlled, stylized jumps and other movements known as the "airs above the ground." The horses at the Spanish Riding School are trained using traditional methods that date back hundreds of years, based on the principles of classical dressage.

The Lipizzan breed dates back to the 16th century, when it was developed with the support of the Habsburg nobility. The breed takes its name from one of the earliest stud farms established, located near the village of Lipica (spelled "Lipizza" in Italian), in modern-day Slovenia. The breed has been endangered numerous times by warfare sweeping Europe, including during the War of the First Coalition, World War l and World War ll. The rescue of the Lipizzans during World War II by American troops was made famous by the Disney movie Miracle of the White Stallions. The breed has also starred or played supporting roles in many movies, TV shows, books, and other media.

Today, eight stallions are recognized as the foundation bloodstock of the breed, all foaled the late 18th and early 19th centuries. All modern Lipizzans trace their bloodlines to these eight stallions, and all breeding stallions have included in their name the name of the foundation sire of their bloodline. Also classic mare lines are known, with up to 35 recognized by various breed registries. The majority of horses are registered through the member organizations of the Lipizzan International Federation, which covers almost 11,000 horses in 19 countries and at 9 state studs in Europe. Most Lipizzans reside in Europe, with smaller numbers in the Americas, Africa, and Australia. Generally grey in color, the Lipizzan is a muscular breed that matures slowly and is long-lived.


Most Lipizzans measure between 14.2 and 15.2 hands (58 and 62 inches, 147 and 157 cm). However, horses bred to be closer to the original carriage-horse type are taller, approaching 16.1 hands (65 inches, 165 cm). Lipizzans have a long head, with a straight or slightly convex profile. The jaw is deep, the ears small, the eyes large and expressive, and the nostrils flared. They have a neck that is sturdy, yet arched and withers that are low, muscular, and broad. They are a Baroque horses, with a wide, deep chest, broad croup, and muscular shoulder. The tail is carried high and well set. The legs are well-muscled and strong, with broad joints and well-defined tendons. The feet tend to be small, but are tough.

Lipizzan horses tend to mature slowly. However, they live and are active longer than many other breeds, with horses performing the difficult exercises of the Spanish Riding School well into their 20s and living into their 30s.


Aside from the rare solid-coloured horse (usually bay or black), most Lipizzans are gray. Like all gray horses, they have black skin, dark eyes, and as adult horses, a white hair coat. Gray horses, including Lipizzans, are born with a pigmented coat—in Lipizzans, foals are usually bay or black—and become lighter each year as the graying process takes place, with the process being complete between 6 and 10 years of age. Lipizzans are not actually true white horses, but this is a common misconception. A white horse is born white and has unpigmented skin.

Until the 18th century, Lipizzans had other coat colors, including dun, bay, chestnut, black, piebald, and skewbald. However, gray is a donimant gene. Gray was the color preferred by the royal family, so the color was emphasized in breeding practices. Thus, in a small breed population when the color was deliberately selected as a desirable feature, it came to be the color of the overwhelming majority of Lipizzan horses. However, it is a long-standing tradition for the Spanish Riding School to have at least one bay Lipizzan stallion in residence, and this tradition is continued through the present day.


The ancestors of the Lipizzan can be traced to around 800 AD. The earliest predecessors of the Lipizzan originated in the seventh century when Barb horses were brought into Spain by the Moors and crossed on native Spanish stock. The result was the Andalusian Horse and other Iberian horse breeds.

By the 16th century, when the Habsburgs ruled both Spain and Austria, a powerful but agile horse was desired both for military uses and for use in the fashionable and rapidly growing riding schools for the nobility of central Europe. Therefore, in 1562, the Habsburg Emperor Maximillion ll brought the Spanish Andalusian horse to Austria and founded the court stud at Kladrub. In 1580, his brother, Archduke Charles ll, established a similar stud at Lipizza (now Lipica), located in modern-day Slovenia, from which the breed obtained its name. The name of the village itself derives from the Slovenian word lipa, meaning "Linden Tree."

Spanish, Barb, and Arabian stock were crossed at Lipizza, and succeeding generations were crossed with the now-extinct Neapoliton breed from Italy and other Baroque horses of Spanish descent obtained from Germany and Denmark. While breeding stock was exchanged between the two studs, Kladrub specialized in producing heavy carriage horses, while riding and light carriage horses came from the Lipizza stud.

Beginning in 1920, the Piber Federal Stud, near Graz, Austria , became the main stud for the horses used in Vienna. Breeding became very selective, only allowing stallions that had proved themselves at the Riding School to stand at stud, and only breeding mares that had passed rigorous performance testing.

Foundation Horses

Today, eight foundation lines for Lipizzans are recognized by various registries, which refer to them as "dynasties". They are divided into two groups. Six trace to classical foundation stallions used in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Lipizza stud, and two additional lines were not used at Lipizza, but were used by other studs within the historic boundaries of the Habsburg Empire.

The six "classical dynasties" are:

  • Pluto: a gray Spanish stallion from the Royal Danish Stud, foaled in 1765
  • Conversano: a black Neapolitan stallion, foaled in 1767
  • Maestoso: a gray stallion from the Kladrub stud with a Spanish dam, foaled 1773, descendants today all trace via Maestoso X, foaled in Hungary in 1819
  • Favory: a dun stallion from the Kladrub stud, foaled in 1779
  • Neapolitano: a bay Neapolitan stallion from the Polesine, foaled in 1790
  • Siglavy: a gray Arabian stallion, originally from Syria, foaled in 1810

Two additional stallion lines are found in Croatia, Hungary, and other eastern European countries, as well as in North America. They are accepted as equal to the six classical lines by the Lipizzan International Federation. These are:

  • Tulipan: A black stallion of Baroque type and Spanish pedigree foaled about 1800 from the Croation stud farm of Terezovac, owned by Count  Janković-Bésán.
  • Incitato: A stallion of Spanish lines foaled 1802, bred in Transylvania by Count Bethlen, and sold to the Hungarian stud farm Mezőhegyes 

Several other stallion lines have died out over the years, but were used in the early breeding of the horses. In addition to the foundation stallion lines, there were 20 "classic" mare lines, 14 of which exist today. However, up to 35 mare lines are recognized by various Lipizzan organizations.

Traditional naming patterns are used for both stallions and mares, required by Lipizzan breed registries. Stallions traditionally are given two names, with the first being the line of the sire and the second being the name of the dam. For example, "Maestoso Austria" is a horse sired by Maestoso Trompeta out of a mare named Austria. The horse's sire line traces to the foundation sire Maestoso. The names of mares are chosen to be "complementary to the traditional Lipizzan line names" and are required to end in the letter "a".

Spanish Riding School

The world-famous Spanish Riding School uses highly trained Lipizzan stallions in public performances that demonstrate classical dressage movements and training. In 1572, the first Spanish riding hall was built, during the Austrian Empire, and is the oldest of its kind in the world. The Spanish Riding School, though located in Vienna, Austria, takes its name from the original Spanish heritage of its horses. In 1729, Charles VI commissioned the building of the Winter Riding School in Vienna and in 1735, the building was completed that remains the home of the Spanish Riding School today.

Wartime Preservation

The Lipizzans endured several wartime relocations throughout their history, each of which saved the breed from extinction. The first was in March 1797 during the War of the First Coalition, when the horses were evacuated from Lipica. During the journey, 16 mares gave birth to foals. In November 1797, the horses returned to Lipica, but the stables were in ruins. They were rebuilt, but in 1805, the horses were evacuated again when Napoleon invaded Austria. They remained away from the stud for two years, returning April 1, 1807, but then, following the Treaty of Schonbrunn in 1809, the horses were evacuated three more times during the unsettled period that followed, resulting in the loss of many horses and the destruction of the written Studbooks that documented bloodlines of horses prior to 1700. The horses finally returned to Lipica for good in 1815, where they remained for the rest of the 19th century.

The first evacuation of the 20th century occurred in 1915 when the horses were evacuated from Lipica due to World War I and placed at Laxenburg and Kladrub. Following the war, the Austro-Hungarian Empire  was broken up, with Lipica becoming part of Italy. Thus, the animals were divided between several different studs in the new postwar nations of Austria, Italy, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The nation of Austria kept the stallions of the Spanish Riding School and some breeding stock. By 1920, the Austrian breeding stock was consolidated at Piber.

During World War II, the high command of Nazi Germany transferred most of Europe's Lipizzan breeding stock to Hostau, Czechoslovakia.The breeding stock was taken from Piber in 1942, and additional mares and foals from other European nations arrived in 1943. The stallions of the Spanish Riding School were evacuated to St.Martins, Austria, from Vienna in January 1945, when bombing raids neared the city and the head of the Spanish Riding School, Colonel Alois Podhajsky, feared the horses were in danger. By spring of 1945, the horses at Hostau were threatened by the advancing Soviet army, which might have slaughtered the animals for horse meat had it captured the facility.

The rescue of the Lipizzans by the United States Army, made famous by the Disney movie Miracle of the White Stallions, occurred in two parts: The United States Third Army, under the command of General George S.Patton, was near St. Martins in the spring of 1945 and learned that the Lipizzan stallions were in the area. Patton himself was a horseman, and like Podhajsky, had competed in the Olympic Games. On May 7, 1945, Podhajsky put on an exhibition of the Spanish Riding School stallions for Patton and Undersecretary of War Robert P.Patterson, and at its conclusion requested that Patton take the horses under his protection.

Meanwhile, the Third Army's United States Second Cavalry, a tank unit under the command of Colonel Charles Reed, had discovered the horses at Hostau, where 400 Allied prisoners of war were also being kept, and had occupied it on April 28, 1945. "Operation Cowboy", as the rescue was known, resulted in the recovery of 1,200 horses, including 375 Lipizzans. Patton learned of the raid, and arranged for Podhajsky to fly to Hostau. On May 12, American soldiers began riding, trucking, and herding the horses 35 miles across the border into Kotztinz, Germany. The Lipizzans were eventually settled in temporary quarters in Wimsbach, until the breeding stock returned to Piber in 1952, and the stallions returned to the Spanish Riding School in 1955. In 2005, the Spanish Riding School celebrated the 60th anniversary of Patton's rescue by touring the United States.

During the Croation War of Independence, from 1991 to 1995, the horses at the Lipik stable in Croatia were taken by the Serbs to Novi Sad, Serbia. The horses remained there until 2007, when calls began to be made for them to be returned to their country of origin. In October 2007, 60 horses were returned to Croatia.

Modern Breed

The Lipizzan breed suffered a setback to its population when a viral epidemic hit the Piber Stud in 1983. Forty horses and 8% of the expected foal crop were lost. Since then, the population at the stud increased. By 1994, 100 mares were at the stud with and a foal crop of 56 was born in 1993. In 1994, the rate of successful pregnancy and birth of foals increased from 27 to 82% as the result of a new veterinary centre. In 1996, a study funded by the European Union Copernicus Project assessed 586 Lipizzan horses from eight stud farms in Europe, with the goal of developing a "scientifically based description of the Lipizzan horse". A study of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was performed on 212 of the animals, and those studied were found to contain 37 of the 39 known mtDNA haplotypes known in modern horses, meaning that they show a high degree of genetic diversity. This had been expected, as it was known that the mare families of the Lipizzan included a large number of different breeds, including Arabians, Thoroughbreds, and other European breeds.

The Lipizzan International Federation (LIF) is the international governing organization for the breed, composed of many national and private organizations representing the Lipizzan. The organizations work together under the banner of the LIF to promote the breed and maintain standards. As of 2012, almost 11,000 Lipizzans were registered with the LIF residing with private breeders in 19 countries and at 9 state studs in Europe. The largest number are in Europe, with almost 9,000 registered horses, followed by the Americas, with just over 1,700, then Africa and Australia with around 100 horses each. The 9 state studs that are part of the LIF represent almost one-quarter of the horses in Europe. Sâmbăta de Jos, in Romania, has the greatest number of horses, with 400, followed by Piber in Austria (360), Lipica in Slovenia (358), Szilvásvárad in Hungary (262), Monterotondo in Italy (230), Đakovo-Lipik in Croatia (220), and Topoľčianky in Slovakia (200). The other two studs are smaller, with Vučijak in Bosnia having 130 horses and Karađorđevo in Serbia having just 30. Educational programs have been developed to promote the breed and foster adherence to traditional breeding objectives.

Because of the status of Lipizzans as the only breed of horse developed in Slovenia, via the Lipica stud that is now located within its borders, Lipizzans are recognized in Slovenia as a national animal. For example, a pair of Lipizzans is featured on the 20-cent Slovenian euro coins. Mounted regiments of Carabinieri police in Italy also employ the Lipizzan as one of their mounts. In October 2008, during a visit to Slovenia, a Lipizzan at Lipica, named 085 Favory Canissa XXII, was given to Queen Elizabeth ll of the United Kingdom. She decided to leave the animal in the care of the stud farm.

Training and Uses

The traditional horse traning methods for Lipizzans were developed at the Spanish Riding School and are based on the principles of classical dressage, which in turn traces to the Ancient Greek writer Xenophon, whose works were rediscovered in the 16th century. His thoughts on development of horses' mental attitude and psyche are still considered applicable today. Other writers who strongly influenced the training methods of the Spanish Riding School include Federico Grisone, the founder of the first riding academy in Naples, who lived during the 16th century, and Antoine De Pluvinel and Francios Robichon de la Gueriniere, two Frenchmen from the 17th and 18th centuries. The methods for training the Lipizzan stallions at the Spanish Riding School were passed down via an oral tradition until Field Marshal Franz Holbein and Johann Meixner, Senior Rider at the School, published the initial guidelines for the training of horse and rider at the school in 1898. In the mid-20th century, Alois Podhasky wrote a number of works that serve as textbooks for many dressage riders today.

The principles taught at the Spanish Riding School are based on practices taught to cavalry riders to prepare their horses for warfare. Young stallions come to the Spanish Riding School for training when they are four years old. Full training takes an average of six years for each horse, and schooling is considered complete when they have mastered the skills required to perform the "School Quadrille". There are three progressively more difficult skill sets taught to the stallions, which are:

  • Forward riding, also called straight riding or the Remontenschule, is the name given to the skills taught in the first year of training, where a young horse learns to be saddled and bridled, learns basic commands on a longe line, and then is taught to be ridden, mostly in an arena in simple straight lines and turns, to teach correct responses to the rider's legs and hands while mounted. The main goal during this time is to develop free forward movement in as natural a position as possible.
  • Campaign school, Campagneschule or Campagne, is where the horse learns collection and balance through all gaits, turns, and maneuvers. The horse learns to shorten and lengthen his stride and perform lateral movements to the side, and is introduced to the more complex double bridle. This is the longest training phase and may take several years.
  • High-school dressage, the haute ecoleor Hohe Schule, includes riding the horse with greater collection with increased use of the hindquarters, developing increased regularity, skill, and finesse in all natural gaits. In this period, the horse learns the most advanced movements such as the half-pass, counter canter, flying change, pirouette, passage, and piaffe. This is also when the horse may be taught the "airs above the ground." This level emphasizes performance with a high degree of perfection.

Although the Piber Stud trains mares for driving and under saddle, the Spanish Riding School exclusively uses stallions in its performances. Worldwide, the Lipizzan today competes in dressage and driving, as well as retaining their classic position at the Spanish Riding School.

"Airs Above The  Ground"

The "airs above the ground" are the difficult "high school" dressage movements made famous by the Lipizzans. The finished movements include:

  • The levade is a position wherein the horse raises up both front legs, standing at a 30° angle entirely on its hind legs in a controlled form that requires a great deal of hindquarter strength. A less difficult but related movement is the pesade, where the horse rises up to a 45° angle.
  • The courbette is a movement where the horse balances on its hind legs and then essentially "hops", jumping with the front legs off the ground and hind legs together.
  • The capriole is a jump in place where the stallion leaps into the air, tucking his forelegs under himself, and kicks out with his hind legs at the top of the jump.

Other movements include:

  • The croupade and ballotade are predecessors to the capriole. In the croupade, the horse jumps with both front and hind legs remaining tucked under the body and he does not kick out. In the ballotade, the horse jumps and untucks his hind legs slightly, he does not kick out, but the soles of the hind feet are visible if viewed from the rear.
  • The mezair is a series of successive levades in which the horse lowers its forefeet to the ground before rising again on hindquarters, achieving forward motion. This movement is no longer used at the Spanish Riding School.

In Popular Culture

Lipizzans have starred or played supporting roles in many movies, TV shows, books, and other media.

The 1940 film Florian stars two Lipizzan stallions. It was based on a 1934 novel written by Felix Salten. The wife of the film's producer owned the only Lipizzans in the US at the time the movie was made. The rescue during World War ll of the Lipizzan stallions is depicted in the 1963 Walt Disney movie Miracle of the White Stallions. The movie was the only live-action, relatively realistic film set against a World War II backdrop that Disney has ever produced.

In the feature film Crimson Tide, a discussion between the two main characters over whether Lipizzans came from Spain or Portugal, and whether they are born white or black, is used to represent the film's suppressed racial conflict and the dividing of the world between two main powers during the Cold War.

Television programs featuring the Lipizzans include The White Horses, a 1965 children's television series co-produced by RTV Ljubljana (now RTV Slovenija) of Yugoslavia and BR-TV of Germany, rebroadcast in the United Kingdom. It followed the adventures of a teenaged girl who visits a farm where Lipizzan horses are raised.

Many books and poems mention or star Lipizzans. In 2011, the Dutch writer Frank Westerman published a book on the history of the 20th century through the perspective of the Lipizzan horses, Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse. In the 2004 novel The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, Lipizzan horses and the Spanish Riding School are key elements of both the plot and the setting.Lipizzans and the Spanish Riding School also play a crucial role in Mary Stewart's 1965 novel Airs Above the Ground and Marguerite Henry's 1964 children's novel White Stallion of Lipizza. In the 1960s, the Slovene poet Edvard Kocbek wrote a poem dedicated to the Lipizzan horses. On June 21, 2011 Annie Wedekind released "Mercury's Flight: The Story of a Lipizzaner Stallion" through Breyer Horses as part of The Breyer Horse Collection book series.

In a first season episode of The Angry Beavers, "Fancy Prance" Norbert confesses to Daggett that his lifelong dream is to become a Lipizzaner stallion. Former concert promoter Gary Lashinsky owned the World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions until they filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and permanently closed. A new movie based on the World War II evacuation of Lipizzaners from a Nazi breeding farm was expected to hit theaters in December 2016.

Source - Wikipedia

Excalibur's Conquest owned by Leesa Collishaw

Excalibur's Conquest owned by Leesa Collishaw

Spanish Mustang - Origin USA

Breed Information

The Spanish Mustang is an American horse breed descended from horses brought from Spain during the early conquest of the Americas. They are classified within the larger grouping of the Colonial Spanish horse, a type that today is rare in Spain. By the early 20th century, most of the once-vast herds of mustangs that had descended from the Spanish horses had been greatly reduced in size. Seeing that these horses were on the brink of extinction, some horseman began making efforts to find and preserve the remaining "Spanish Mustangs" drawing stock from feral and Native American herds, as well as ranch stock. The breed was one of the first to be part of a concerted preservation effort for horses of Spanish phenotype, and a breed registry was founded in 1957.

The Spanish Mustang as a modern domesticated breed differs from the feral free-roaming mustang. The latter animals are descended from both Spanish horses and other domesticated horses escaped or released from various sources; many run wild in Herd Management Areas (HMAs) of the western United States, currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Some feral herds also exist in Canada. DNA studies indicate that Spanish breeding and type does still exist in some feral Mustang herds, including those on the Cerbat HMA (near Kingman, Arizona), Pryor Mountain HMA (Montana), Sulphur HMA (Utah), and Kiger HMA.


History of the Breed

The Colonial Spanish Horse developed from animals first brought from the Iberian Peninsular to the Americas during the conquest and establishment of the Spanish colony of New Spain in what today is Mexico. As the conquest of Mexico progressed during the 16th century, horse herds spread north and crossed the Rio Grande. Over the next one hundred years, horses in the Americas were stolen and traded by the Apache, Comanche, and later the Utes and Shoshone to various tribes across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.

On the brink of extinction in the early part of this century, the Spanish Mustang is one of the first breeds developed from a planned conservation program to save the descendants of these Spanish horses. This effort is mostly attributed to Robert E. Brislawn of Oshoto, Wyoming, and his brother Ferdinand L. Brislawn of Gusher, Utah. Credit for the preservation effort also goes to Gilbert Jones and Ilo Belsky. They gathered horses from feral Mustang herds, Native American herds and ranch stock from throughout the west, chosen because they had a Phenotype that indicates Spanish ancestry. Two full brothers, Buckshot and Ute, were among the first foundation stallions, sired by a buckskin stallion named Monty and out of Ute Reservation blood on the dam's side. Monty, captured in 1927 in Utah, escaped back to the wild in 1944, taking his mares with him. He was never recaptured. Ultimately, the Brislawns and Lawrence P. Richards formed a registry, the Spanish Mustang Registry, incorporated in 1957. Due to assorted differences of opinion on what horses to accept into the registry, Jones formed the Southwest Spanish Mustang Association in 1977, and other offshoot registries formed later. A 2006 study found that the Spanish Mustang, as well as horses from the Sulphur Springs and Kiger HMAs have DNA haplotypes that indicate origin from horses of the Iberian Peninsular.

Spanish Mustang Characteristics 

Spanish Mustang stands from 13.2 to 15 hands (54 to 60 inches, 137 to 152 cm) in height, with horses over 15 hands not favoured. They weigh between 650 and 1,100 pounds (290 and 500 kg). They are smooth muscled with short backs, rounded rumps and low-set tails. The coupling is strong and horses are to be well balanced and smoothly built with an "uphill" build. The girth is deep, with a well laid back shoulder and fairly pronounced withers. They possess a straight or concave facial profile and wide foreheads. Necks are fairly well crested in mares and geldings and heavily crested in mature stallions. Chests are moderately narrow but well-defined. Chestnuts are small or missing altogether, particularly on the rear legs. Ergots are small or absent. Feet are round and hard and legs are to be of correct conformation, though hind legs may be set under a bit. Cannons are short and bone is rounded. Some individuals are gaited, with a range of different footfalls accepted. Paddling or winging out are not a fault unless there is interference or it is caused by a lack of straightness in the leg.

Spanish Mustangs exist in many colours, due to the wide range of colors in their Spanish ancestors. They are commonly found in bay, chestnut, black and gray. Other colors seen less commonly include the appaloosa and paint patterns and solid colors such as grulla, buckskin, palamino, cremello, isabella, roan and perlino.

Spanish Mustangs are known for their stamina and hardiness. The breed is known for its long-distance ability, and is ridden by some endurance riders. The Spanish Mustang is also used to compete in a variety of English and Western riding events.

Source - Wikipedia

Grey Feather (Ikkitsi Peta x Prairie Feather) IMP USA owned by Willowvale Spanish Mustangs Australia

Grey Feather (Ikkitsi Peta x Prairie Feather) IMP USA owned by Willowvale Spanish Mustangs Australia

Morgan - Origin USA

Breed Information

The Morgan horse is one of the earliest horse breeds developed in the United States. Tracing back to the foundation sire Figure, later named Justin Morgan after his best-known owner, Morgans served many roles in 19th-century American history, being used as coach horses and for harness racing, as general riding animals, and as cavalry horses during the American Civil War on both sides of the conflict. Morgans have influenced other major American breeds, including but not limited to the American Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walking Horse and the Standardbred. During the 19th and 20th centuries, they were exported to other countries, including England, where a Morgan stallion influenced the breeding of the Hackney horse. In 1907, the US Department of Agriculture established the US Morgan Horse Farm near Middlebury, Vermont for the purpose of perpetuating and improving the Morgan breed; the farm was later transferred to the University of Vermont. The first breed registry was established in 1909, and since then many organizations in the US, Europe and Oceania have developed. There were estimated to be over 175,000 Morgan horses worldwide in 2005.

The Morgan is a compact, refined breed, generally bay, black or chestnut in color, although they come in many colours, including several variations of pinto. Used in both English and Western disciplines, the breed is known for its versatility. The Morgan is the state animal of Vermont and the State horse of Massachusetts and the state mammal of Rhode Island. Popular children's authors, including Marguerite Henry and Ellen Feld, have portrayed the breed in their books; Henry's Justin Morgan Had a Horse was later made into a Disney movie.


Breed Characteristics

There is officially one breed standard for the Morgan type, regardless of the discipline or bloodline of the individual horse. Compact and refined in build, the Morgan has strong legs, an expressive head with a straight or slightly convex profile and broad forehead; large, prominent eyes; well-defined withers, laid back shoulders, and an upright, well arched neck. The back is short, and hindquarters are strongly muscled, with a long and well-muscled croup. The tail is attached high and carried gracefully and straight. Morgans appear to be a strong powerful horse, and the breed is well known as an easy keeper. The breed standard for height ranges from 14.1 to 16.2 hands (57 to 66 inches, 145 to 168 cm), with some individuals over and under.

Gaits, particularly the trot are "animated, elastic, square, and collected," with the front and rear legs balanced. A few Morgans are gaited, meaning they can perform an intermediate speed gait other than the trot such as the rack, foxtrot, or pace. The United States Equestrian Federation states, "a Morgan is distinctive for its stamina and vigor, personality and eagerness and strong natural way of moving." The breed has a reputation for intelligence, courage and a good disposition. Registered Morgans come in a variety of colors although they are most commonly bay, black, and chestnut. Less common colors include gray, roan, dun, silver dapple, and cream dilutions such as palomino, buckskin, cremello and perlino. In addition, three pinto color patterns are also recognized: sabino, frame overo, and splashed white. The tobiano pattern has not been noted in Morgans.

One genetic disease has been identified within the Morgan breed. This is Type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy, an autosomal dominant  muscle disease found mainly in stock horse and draft horse breeds caused by a missense mutation in the GYS1 gene. Morgans are one of over a dozen breeds found to have the allele for the condition, though its prevalence in Morgans appears to be quite low compared to stock and draft breeds. In one study, less than one percent of randomly tested Morgans carried the allele for this condition, one of the lowest percentages amongst breeds in that study.

Two coat colour genes found in Morgans have also been linked to genetic disorders. One is the genetic ocular syndrome multiple congenital ocular anomalies (MCOA), originally called equine anterior segment dysgenesis (ASD). MCOA is characterized by the abnormal development of some ocular tissues, which causes compromised vision, although generally of a mild form; the disease is non-progressive. Genetic studies have shown that it is closely tied to the silver dapple gene. A small number of Morgans carry the silver dapple allele, which causes cysts but no apparent vision problems if heterozygous, but when homozygous can cause vision problems. There is also the possibility of lethal white syndrome, a fatal disease seen in foals who are homozygous for the frame overo gene. At present, there is one mare line in the Morgan breed that has produced healthy heterozygous frame overo individuals. The American Morgan Horse Association advocates genetic testing to identify carriers of these genetics, and advises owners to avoid breeding horses that are heterozygous for frame overo to each other.

Breed History

Justin Morgan

All Morgans trace back to a single foundation sire, a stallion named Figure, who was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1789. In 1792, he was given to a man named Justin Morgan as a debt payment. The horse later came to be identified by the name of this particular owner, and "the Justin Morgan horse" evolved into the name of the breed. Figure is thought to have stood about 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm), and to have weighed about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). He was known for his prepotency, passing on his distinctive looks, conformation, temperament, and athleticism. His exact pedigree is unknown, although extensive efforts have been made to discover his parentage. One historian notes that the writings on the possibility of his sire being a Thoroughbred named Beautiful Bay would "fill 41 detective novels and a membership application for the Liars' Club." In 1821, Figure was kicked by another horse and later died of his injuries. He was buried in Tunbridge, Vermont.

Although Figure was used extensively as a breeding stallion, records are known to exist for only six of his sons, three of whom became notable as foundation bloodstock for the Morgan breed. Woodbury, a chestnut, stood 14.3 hands (59 inches, 150 cm) high and stood for many years at stud in New England. Bulrush, a dark bay the same size as Figure, was known for his endurance and speed in harness. Best known was Sherman, another chestnut stallion, slightly shorter than Figure, who in turn was the sire and grandsire of Black Hawk and Ethan Allen. Black Hawk, born in 1833, went on to become a foundation stallion for the Standardbred, American SAddlebred and Tennessee Walking Horse breeds, and was known for his unbeaten harness racing record. Ethan Allen, sired by Black Hawk in 1849, is another important sire in the history of the Morgan breed, and was known for his speed in trotting races.

Breed Development

In the 19th century, Morgans were recognized and well known for their utilitarian capabilities, thereby being the chosen breed for families that needed a horse or horses which could pull a plow all day in the fields on Saturday, drive the family carriage to church on Sunday and carry its master to work on Monday. It found favor in and was used extensively for harness racing, carriage driving, and trotting races due to the breed's speed and endurance in harness. They were also heavily used on wagon trains moving west, stock horses on cattle ranches, by the US Army as cavalry mounts and harness horses pulling artillery pieces and supply wagons. Approximately 10,000 Morgans were acquired from the state of Vermont during the Civil War to help fulfill the wartime requirements for the military. They found their way into the gold fields during the Califonia Gold Rush (1848–1855). The Morgan was saw its first documented collective use as a military mount during the Canadian Rebellion ca 1838 when representatives of the First Kings Dragoons came over the border into Vermont in a search for those "American horses." Many of these Morgan horses were taken back to England at the close of the campaign in Canada.

The Morgan trotting stallion Shepherd F. Knapp was exported to England in the 1860s, where his trotting ability influenced the breeding of Hackney horses. During this period, numerous Morgan mares may have been brought west and integrated into Texan horse herds, which influenced the development of the American Quarter Horse breed. The Morgan horse also was an ancestor of the Missouri Fox Trotter. By the 1870s, however, longer-legged horses came into fashion, and Morgan horses were crossed with those of other breeds. By the late 1800s to early 1900s, the Morgan as a breed with its old style characteristics which made the breed the most utilitarian and sought after breed in the US was beginning to lose its identity. In the early 1900s,the US Government, recognizing the potential loss of the original American breed and source genetics for military stock, established a Morgan horse breeding program initially at the Burlington Agricultural station, then at Weybridge Vermont, for the specific purpose of re-establishing the breeds prominence as a utilitarian working breed. This program was continued into the 1940s when it was terminated and the Morgan stock dispersed around the country.

Daniel C. Linsley, a native of Middlebury, Vermont, published a book Morgan Horses" in 1857, the first work documenting the origin and history of the breed. Colonel Joseph Battell, also a Middlebury, Vermont native, published the first volume of the Morgan Horse Register in 1894, marking the beginning of a formal breed registry. In 1907, the US Department of Agriculture established the US Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge, Vermont on land donated by Battell for the purpose of perpetuating and improving the Morgan breed. The breeding program aimed to produce horses that were sound, sturdy, well-mannered, and capable of performing well either under saddle or in harness. In 1951, the Morgan Horse Farm was transferred from the USDA to the Vermont Agricultural College (now the University of Vermont).

Military Use

Morgans were used as cavalry mounts by both sides in the American Civil War. Horses with Morgan roots included Sheridan's Winchester, also known as Rienzi, (a descendant of Black Hawk). Stonewall Jackson's "Little Sorrel" has alternately been described as a Morgan or an American Saddlebred, a breed heavily influenced by the Morgan. While Morgan enthusiasts have stated that the horse Comanche, the only survivor of the Custer Regiment after the BAttle of the Little Big Horn, was either a Morgan or a Mustang/Morgan mix, records of the U.S. Army and other early sources do not support this. Most accounts state that Comanche was either of "Mustang lineage" or a mix of "American" and "Spanish" blood. The University of Kansas Natural History Museum, which has the stuffed body of Comanche on display, makes no statement as to his breed. All sources agree that Comanche originated in the Oklahoma or Texas area, making his Mustang background more likely.


There are four main bloodlines groups within the Morgan breed today, known as the Brunk, Government, Lippitt, and Western Working "families." There are also smaller subfamilies. The Brunk Family, particularly noted for soundness and athleticism, traces to the Illinois breeding program of Joseph Brunk. The Lippitt Family or "Lippitts" trace to the breeding program of Robert Lippitt Knight, grandson of industrialist Robert Knight and maternal great-great grandson of Revolutionary War officer Christopher Lippitt, founder of the Lippitt Mill. Robert Lippitt Knight focused on preservation breeding of horses descended from Ethan Allen II and this line is considered the "purest" of the four lines, with the most lines tracing back to Figure and no outcrosses to other breeds in the 20th or 21st centuries. The Government Family is the largest, tracing to Morgans bred by the US Morgan Horse Farm between 1905 and 1951. The foundation sire of this line was General Gates. When USDA involvement ended, the University of Vermont purchased not only the farm, but much of its breeding stock and carries on the program today. The Working Western Family, abbreviated 2WF, have no common breeder or ancestor, but are the horses bred to be stock horses and work cattle, some descended from Government farm stallions shipped west.


In 1909, the Morgan Horse Club was founded, later changing its name to the American Morgan Horse Association. During the 1930s and 1940s, there was controversy within the registry membership as to whether the stud book should be open or closed; this mirrored similar controversies in other US breed registries. The result of these discussions was that the stud book was declared closed to outside blood as of January 1, 1948. In 1985, the US and Canadian registries signed a reciprocity agreement regarding the registration of horses, and a similar agreement was made between the US and Great Britain registries in 1990. As of 2012, approximately 179,000 horses had been registered over the life of the association, with over 3,000 new foals registered annually. It is estimated that between 175,000 and 180,000 Morgans exist worldwide, and although they are most popular in the United States, there are populations in Great Britain, Sweden and other countries.

The American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) is the largest association for the breed. In addition to the AMHA, since 1996, there has also been a National Morgan Pony Registry, which specializes in horses under 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm). There are several other organizations that focus on specific bloodlines within the Morgan breed. These include the Rainbow Morgan Horse Association, begun in 1990, which works with the AMHA to develop and promote unusually-colored Morgans, such as those with the silver dapple and cream genes. The Foundation Morgan Horse Association registers those horses bred to resemble the stockier type seen in the late 1800s and early 1900s, before crossbreeding with the American Saddlebred became common. Two other membership based organizations, both devoted to preserving the old-time Vermont or "Lippitt" strain of Morgans, also exist. The first, the Lippitt Club, was started in 1973, and the second, the Lippitt Morgan Breeders Association, was founded in 1995. The Lippitt Morgan Horse Registry, Inc., was formed in 2011. It registers and maintains a dna data base with pedigrees of Lippitt Morgans. There are also associations for Morgans in several countries besides the US, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Sweden, Austria and Germany. In Middlebury, Vermont there is a museum dedicated to the history of the breed.


The Morgan breed is known for its versatility, and is used for a number of English and Western events. They have been successfully shown in many disciplines, including dressage, show jumping, western pleasure, cutting and endurance riding. They are also used as stock horses and for pleasure riding and driving. They are frequently seen in driving competitions, including combined driving and carriage driving. Morgans were the first American breed to compete in the World Pairs Driving competition, representing the US. They can be seen as mounts for 4-H and Pony Club participants and theraputic riding programs, due to their gentle disposition and steady movement.

There are Morgan-only shows held throughout the US, as well as an "open competition" program run by the AMHA that gives points based on competition success at all-breed shows. The first annual Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show  was held in 1973 in Detroit, Michigan and in 1975 moved to its current home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Over 1,000 horses compete in the show each year. In 1961, the Morgan horse was named the official state animal of Vermont, and in 1970, the official state horse of Massachusettes.

In Literature and Film

The children's book, Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry, published in 1945, was a fictional account of Figure and Justin Morgan. It was a Newbery Honor Book in 1946. A movie based on the book was made by Walt Disney Studios in 1972. Both the book and the movie have been criticized for containing a number of historical inaccuracies and for creating or perpetuating some myths about both Justin Morgan and Figure. One equine historian stated, "these should be looked upon not as true happenings but as entertainment vehicles."[self-published source]

Ellen Feld, a children's author, is also known for her "Morgan Horse" series. Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse, won a Children's Choice Award in 2005, following the 2004 award for its sequel, Frosty: The Adventures of a Morgan Horse. These awards were given by the International Reading Association and the Children's Book Council.

A Morgan horse is the subject of the poem, The Runaway by Robert Frost. In the poem, the speaker observes "A little Morgan" colt who has been left out in a mountain pasture during winter and seems to be afraid of the falling snow.

Source - Wikipedia


Azteca - Origin Mexico

Breed Information

 The Azteca is a horse breed from Mexico, with a subtype, called the "American Azteca", found in the United States. They are well-muscled horses that may be of any solid colour, and the American Azteca may also have pinto coloration. Aztecas are known to compete in many western riding and some english riding disciplines. The Mexican registry for the original Azteca and the United States registries for the American Azteca have registration rules that vary in several key aspects, including ancestral bloodlines and requirements for physical inspections. The Azteca was first developed in Mexico in 1972, from a blend of Andalusian,
American Quarter Horse and Mexican Criollo bloodlines. From there, they spread to the United States, where American Paint Horse blood was added. 


Breed Characteristics

The three foundation breeds of the Azteca are the Andalusian (defined by the Mexican registry as either Pura Raza Espanola or Lusitano), American Quarter Horse, and Mexican Criollo or Criollo militar. They were chosen to produce a breed that combined athletic ability with a good temperament and certain physical characteristics. Azteca stallions and geldings measure between 15 and 16.1 hands (60 and 65 inches, 152 and 165 cm) at the withers, while mares stand between 14.3 and 16 hands (59 and 64 inches, 150 and 163 cm). The ideal height is 14.3–15.1 hands (59–61 inches, 150–155 cm). Both sexes usually weigh from 1,000 to 1,200 pounds (450 to 540 kg). The facial profile of the breed is straight or convex and the neck slightly arched. Overall, they are well-muscled horses, with broad croup and chest, as well as long, sloping shoulders. Gaits are free and mobile, with natural collection derived from the Andalusian ancestry of the breed. The breed is found in all solid colours, although gray is most often seen. White markings are allowed on the face and lower legs by breed associations. The American Azteca registry also allows non-solid pinto coloration.


According to the breed standard of the Mexican registry, Azteca horses cannot have more than 75 percent of their parentage from any one of the foundation breeds (Andalusian, Quarter Horse and Mexican Criollo); Criollo blood may be no more than 50%, and only from unregistered mares within Mexico. Horses are classified in one of six registration categories, designated with letters A through F, depending on their parentage. Only certain crosses between the different classes are permitted. In Mexico, Azteca horses must conform to a strict phenotype standard established by the Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA), the Mexican agriculture ministry, which requires inspection of foals at seven months for the issue of a "birth certificate"; a foal that does not meet the breed standards may be denied registration even if both parents are registered Aztecas approved for breeding. Full registration and approval for breeding are subject to a second and more detailed inspection at age three or more, and granted only to those horses that fully satisfy the requirements of the standard.

In the American Azteca registry, horses with American Paint Horse (APHA) breeding are also allowed. However, horses with more than 25 percent Thoroughbred blood in their pedigrees (common in many Paints and Quarter Horses) within four generations cannot be registered. American Aztecas have four categories of registration based on the relative degree of blood from each foundation breed, seeking an ideal blend of 3/8 Quarter Horse and 5/8 Andalusian. Unlike their Mexican counterparts, they do not have to go through physical inspections before being registered.


The Azteca was first bred in 1972 as a horse for charros, the traditional horsemen of Mexico. Antonio Ariza Cañadilla, along with others, was instrumental in the creation of the Azteca horse as the national horse of Mexico and with its official recognition by the Mexican Department of Agriculture on November 4, 1982. Ariza used imported Andalusians, crossed with Quarter Horses and Criollos and began to breed the foundation horses of the Azteca breed at Texcoco, Mexico. Early in the Azteca's history, breeders realized the need for a unified breeding program in order to produce horses that met the required characteristics. The Azteca Horse Research Center was created at Lake Texcoco, and in partnership with breeders developed the phenotype of the breed today. The first official Azteca was a stallion named Casarejo, who was a cross between an Andalusian stallion named Ocultado and a Quarter Horse mare named Americana. He was foaled at the Centro de Reproduccion Caballar Domecq in 1972.

The Associacion Mexicana de Criadores de Caballos de Raza Azteca, or Mexican Breeders Association for the Azteca Horse, is the original breed registry and still maintains the international registry. The International Azteca Horse Association and its regional affiliates was formed in 1992. The majority of Aztecas are found in Mexico, and the Mexican association had registered between 10,000 and 15,000 horses as of 2005, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture. The Mexican registry adds approximately 1,000 horses per year.

The Azteca Horse Registry of America was formed in 1989 for registering the US portion of the breed, followed by the Azteca Horse Owners Association in 1996 as an owners association.This registry has slightly different registration and breeding rules, and is not approved by the Mexican government to register Azteca horses. The American registry, now called the American Azteca Horse International Association, allows the use of American Paint horses, which are essentially Quarter Horses with pinto coloration, if they have less than 25 percent Thoroughbred breeding. However, the US registry does not incorporate Criollo bloodlines. The Mexican registry allows only the blood of Quarter Horses, Andalusians and Criollos in its registered Aztecas.


Because of the breeds that make up the Azteca, they are known for their athleticism. They have been seen in competition in western riding events such as reining, cutting, team penning and roping, as well as english riding events such as dressage and other events such as polo and bullfighting. They are also used for pleasure riding.

Source - Wikipedia

 TVS SPANISH STORM - Owned by Karene Matthews

TVS SPANISH STORM - Owned by Karene Matthews

Hispano Arabe - Origin Spain

Breed Information

The Hispano-Árabe is a Spanish horse breed originating from the cross-breeding of Arab and Andalusian horses. 


The Hispano-Árabe has been bred in Andalusia since about 1800. The current breed standard was published in 2002, and modified in 2005. Since 2008 the stud book has been held by the breeder's association, the Union Española de Ganaderos de Pura Raza Hispano-Árabe (UEGHá). At the end of 2010, a total of 5835 horses were registered, of which approximately 60% were in Andalusia. The breed is considered a "Raza Autóctona en Peligro de Extinción", or autochthonous breed in danger of extinction.

Hispano-Árabe horses can also be registered with the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia and with the British Association for the Pura Raza Hispano-Árabe.


The Hispano-Árabe is well-proportioned and harmoniously made, with a slender outline and light movements. Due to the origins of the breed, there is considerable variation in appearance, which however does not in itself constitute a reason for disqualification from registration. It is usually either grey or dark-coloured.:472

Males average 158 cm (15.2 hands) at the withers and 450 kg (990 lb) in weight; females average 155 cm and 400 kg.

Source - Wikipedia