HISTORY AND BREED CHARACTERISTICS
This process was undertaken during the Renaissance; at the time, horse shows were fashionable and doctors attributed good health to riding and playing games with horses. Thus, equitation was commonly carried out by aristocrats. This new reality derived into the need for a breed that did not exist. It had to be a horse that was beautiful and agile, not at all like the medieval horses used for battle and transportation, ones that forsook esthetics.
Over the past five centuries, Purebred Spanish Horse breeding has undergone a number of major moments, some of which were critical; landmark events include the French Invasion in the 19th Century, and the Industrial Revolution that stripped the horse of its agricultural purpose. Nevertheless, a milestone was reached by King Alphonse III, who created a register for the Spanish Horse. Spain’s Civil War translated into complicated years for the breed, but it has slowly re-established itself. A common European Market allowed Spain to become the third most popular tourist destination. In 1972, the Association of Purebred Spanish Horses Breeders was founded; later, it became a national association (ANCCE). This fact translated into important backing for the breed, as there was an organization that safeguarded and defended its continuity worldwide.
The outbreak of African Horse Sickness in 1991 forced breeders to seek alternatives to the isolation they were suffering. That was when SICAB (the International Purebred Spanish Horse Trade Fair) was launched. As the years have come and gone, SICAB has become not only a national reference, but also an international one, welcoming stud farms from more than sixty countries where PRE horses are bred, and to house the very best of the breed.
The PRE has developed to unsuspecting limits. Its extraordinary qualities have adapted to market demands, while at the same time preserving its essence. This, in turn, has allowed
the breed to place its sights on top level competitions.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry, in one of his most renowned books—The Little Prince—stated that what is “essential is invisible to the eyes.” To a certain extent, this statement has become a cliché. We are charmed by the beauty of Spanish horses; they are the finest of the all; however, they have a number of traits that make them unique. Such advantages go unnoticed at first sight; they appear when you enter into contact with the horse. That is when rider and horse become one.
This breed has remained steadfast despite what may or may not be fashionable at any given moment. The purity of their bloodlines has been the seed for many others, and it has beenachieved thanks to tireless efforts of breeders and caretakers, who have watched over the breed, generation after generation, so that it offers the best characteristics. They have rejected anything that might contaminate their work or those aspects that fail to contribute to perpetuating the breed.
Abundant and silky manes together with tails moving in the wind, their elevated movements and rounded forms are but the outside shell of a wealth of qualities and characteristics. The breed’s huge ability to work, together with its emotional stability, its sense of responsibility and obedience are the pillars of a breed with infinite potential.