Spain is a beautiful country which is well known for its wine, weather and other such delightful things. It also has some very delightful horses! Here is a little more information about some of the Spanish horse breeds.
What You'll Learn Today
The Andalusian comes from the Iberian Peninsula, and it has changed very little from its ancestors over the years. It was originally used as a war horse because of its strong stature, great endurance and courageous temperament. They stand around 15 hands, and are usually bay or gray, though black, dun, palomino and chestnut do exist in smaller percentages. Today they are used for pleasure riding, showjumping and most other equine disciplines, and because of their striking appearance they are often used in films and on TV.
This ancient breed has been around since Roman times, and it is a Celtic type of horse which shows similarity to many other horses, including some of the Mountain and Moorland ponies of the UK. It stands around 12.3 hands, and is always black. The Asturcon has an unusual ambling gait, which is comfortable to ride.
A heavy draft horse from the Navarre region of Northern Spain, the Burguete’s breeding includes Percheron, Ardennes and the Comtois. It is listed as endangered, and most colors are chestnut, bay and black.
The Galician comes from North-West Spain, and it is thought that the breed originated from small horses brought by Celtic immigrants in the 6th century BC. It stands around 12 hands, and is always bay or black in color. These horses were once used for war and agriculture, and are now raised primarily for meat.
This breed has been around in Andalucia since around 1800,and was created by crossing Arabs and Andalusians. It is a well-proportioned horse, standing around 15.2 hands, and it has light movements which make it ideal for many equestrian uses like dressage, showjumping and traditional cattle herding. They are generally gray or dark colored.
Created by crossing the Andalusian with imported Breton draft horses, the Hispano-Breton is a heavier breed than many of the light Spanish types. They have a draft-type body, and generally stand around 15.1 hands. They roam semi wild, come in most colors, and are usually used for meat purposes.
This small horse has many names, and it comes from the Navarre region of Northern Spain. It is listed as an endangered breed, but many examples of them still exist, and some are left to roam wild at the Sabaiza estate. A breed register was opened in 2001, and efforts are being made to conserve this native Spanish horse.
The Losino shares bloodlines with many of the other Spanish ponies, and like many of these it is listed as endangered. Demand for its type declined in the mid 20th century, when a breeding programme was established to try to maintain its levels. The Losino stands between 13.2 and 14.2 hands, and is traditionally black. They are used as riding, sport and harness ponies.
This horse, along with the Menorquin, is widely regarded to be related to the now-extinct Catalan horse. It is a rare breed, indigenous to the island of Majorca, and it is generally between 14.2 and 15 hands. These horses can only be black to be registered by the breed. They were traditionally used as a riding horse, and were bred to the French and Orlov Trotters, to produce the Spanish Trotter.
Native to the marshes of the Guadalquivir River, the Marismeno has only been considered a breed since 2003. Not much is known about this breed, but it is thought that they derived from primitive wetlands horses that were crossed with North African horses. They are considered to be similar to the Baroque and PRE stature, and they are strongly built and intelligent.
Hailing from the island of Menorca, the Menorquin’s history is not certain. Some believe it to be of Berber origin; others see links to the Arabians, while still others believe it was brought to the island from central Europe. Whatever its roots, the Menorquin horse stands between 15.1 and 15.3 hands, and it is a well made horse with a tranquil temperament. This breed can only be black, and they are used for general saddle and driving uses, plus for the traditional festivals of Menorca.
This small rustic horse comes from Northern Spain or Southern France. From the mountainous regions of its creation it has retained a sure footedness and hardiness, yet it was noted in the French magazine Cheval Pratique as one of the 23 most beautiful horse breeds. They are between 14.1 and 15.1 hands, and may only be black. In the past they were used as packhorses or for farm and draft work, but the breeding selection has leaned towards a taller type and nowadays they are usually used for general riding, as well as driving, showing and three day eventing.
Monchino means “highlander”, and that is where these horses come from originally. It is listed as in danger of extinction, despite having been around for centuries. The Monchino is kept as a semi-wild animal; they roam mainly in Cantabria and are rounded up and sold for meat. They stand around 14.2 hands, and are generally bay or black, with some white markings. They are good harness and pack horses, and great for children to learn to ride on because of their docile tempers.
The Pottok is believed to have lived in the Pyrenees region for thousands of years, and some even claim that their ancestors are the horses painted in ancient cave paintings. They are small ponies, measuring between 11.1 and 14.2 hands, and they are generally bay with a smattering of brown and black. They were initially used as pit ponies and circus ponies, but nowadays they are usually used as children’s ponies.
According to one study, the Retuerta is considered to be one of the oldest European horse breeds, dating to 3000 years BP, and it is said to resemble the ancient Iberian horses that roamed wild in Spain before being tamed and domesticated. They stand about 16 hands, and although they were once used for agriculture they are now left to roam mainly wild in National parks in Spain.