In addition to being a great tourist destination, Spain also boasts some of the finest horse breeds in the world.
Spanish horse breeds originate in the Iberian Peninsula, where they were developed over centuries.
Spain has a rich history of breeding horses. The country is home to some of the most famous horses in the world, such as the Andalusian horse, the Lipizzaner stallion, and the Basque pony.
Meanwhile, Spanish breeders continue to produce high-quality horses.
In addition, horses have always played a major role in the history of Spain. From the noble steeds ridden by Roman emperors to the warhorses of the Spanish Civil War, they’ve been at the heart of the nation’s culture.
Royal Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders’ Association (Real Asociación Nacional de Criadores de Caballos de Pura Raza Española) was founded in 1972 and currently consists of over 700 members. Its main objective is to promote the breeding of horses in Spain.
The association organizes competitions and awards prizes to the winners to achieve its goals.
If you live in Spain, chances are you’ve seen some of these beautiful animals at a local fair or rodeo.
Spanish Horse Breeds
1. Andalusian Horse
You can’t forget the Andalusian breed once you’ve seen one. It attracts attention with its long, flowing mane and tail as well as its active, beautiful gaits.
This specie has enjoyed enduring popularity throughout the years’ thanks to its beauty and seemingly limitless capability.
Andalusians are sturdy, compact horses with an average height of 15.1 hands. Mares weigh somewhat less, at about 900 pounds, than stallions and geldings, which typically weigh around 1,100 pounds.
In addition, the coat colors of the Andalusians have changed over time from the variety that was originally available. Today, Andalusians are most likely to be bay or gray, though chestnut, dun, minimal black, and palomino colors occur. However, It is possible to register Andalusians with rare buckskin or cremello colorations.
The Andalusian has extreme versatility, making it a suitable mount for jumping, western pleasure, dressage, trail riding, English pleasure, and even driving.
Due to its striking design and powerful presence, it’s a common option for parades and demonstrations.
The Hispano-Arabe is also among the Spanish horse breeds. This breed originated in Andalusia in the 19th century. It is the result of cross-breeding the Arabian and the Andalusian.
Moreover, It took until 2002 for the breed standard to be issued. Additionally, because this horse is a hybrid, there may be significant variations in its look.
They have a small head, medium-sized ear, flat forehead, and large and round eyes. Their neck is extended and slightly arched along the top line. Also, they have muscular thighs, with a long rump and ample.
The breed is incredibly docile, agile, active, and responsive. It is resilient, steady, and powerful and can get through challenging circumstances without much help. The horses are simple to handle, easy to train, and cooperative with riders and handlers.
The Pottok or Basque pony is native to the Basque mountain area in the Pyrenees region. Although its origin is unknown, the old breed has probably existed in the area for thousands of years. They are thought to be the offspring of the horses in prehistoric cave drawings.
Some of their physical characteristics include; Long back, short neck, small ears, short and slim legs, small and sturdy hooves, and thick winter fur reaching up to 10cm. They stand between 11.1 and 14.2 hands tall, and weigh about 772lb.
In addition, pottoks are shy, gentle, willing, kind, docile, and intelligent. They live in territorial herds comprising 10 – 30 mares. Also, they’re quite a healthy breed with no specific issues.
Pottocks were formerly used as pit ponies and circus horses, but now people use them as competition, riding, and performing ponies. Above all, they’re enduring, adaptable, and even-tempered.
Among the Spanish horse breeds, is the Hispano-Breton. This breed results from cross-breeding the native Andalusian with the imported Breton draft horse. It is mainly found in the Castile and Leon areas of Spain.
They have a strong build and are about 15 hands tall. Most people often use them for agricultural work. These horses roam freely yet are a rare breed at risk of extinction.
5. Galician Horse
The Galician horse is believed to have descended from the horses that Celtic immigrants brought to the region in 500 BCE. The breed has continued to live in the area, but during the 1980s, stallions from other breeds were introduced.
This breed stands at 12 to 14 hands and weighs between 360 to 600 pounds. They have a short, compact body and muscular legs; their colors include bay and black.
Galician horses are amiable, kind, tolerant of people, and protective about their foals. They’re strong and capable of surviving in rugged terrain. People mostly use them for riding, meat production, and tourism.
6. Paso Fino
This breed owes its ancestry to the several horse breeds that Christopher Columbus used in the Dominican Republic, including Barbs, Andalusians, and Spanish Jennets. The Paso Fino swiftly rose to popularity among landowners thanks to its smooth gait, which made long journeys easy.
A Paso Fino’s average height is 13.3 to 14.2 hands, though some horses can be as tall as 15.2 hands or as short as 13 hands.
You can find this breed in any color, and horses of all colors can be registered. These horses usually have distinctive long, flowing manes and tails.
In addition, Paso Fino is a highly versatile horse. They excel in many disciplines and activities, including competitive trail riding, parade riding, endurance riding, mounted shooting, drill team competitions, and so much more.
Paso Finos are smart and people-oriented, and you can train them in many different disciplines. Because they are heavily bred for the show ring, they tend to be spirited, elegant, and forward-moving.
Merens are also among the Spanish horse breeds. It is a horse breed native to Southern France and Northern Spain. People and goods have been moved around the mountains on these sturdy horses for years.
Merens have an average height of 14.1 to 15.1 hands, though some may be smaller. Although they have elegant and sporty builds, they’re famous for their strength and can only be registered if they’re black. Nowadays, people use them for riding and driving.
The Menorquin horse is Native to the Balearic Islands in Spain, and unfortunately, it’s at risk of extinction. Though their history is unclear, many believe they’re related to the Arabian, Andalusian, and Thoroughbred.
They’re strong and athletic with arched necks and elegant, medium builds. Also, they come in black or a variation of black, while white markings on the legs and the forehead are acceptable for registration. They have a highly rhythmic and flowing movement.
Menorquins are intelligent, curious, obedient, cheerful, and serious under the saddle. They’re agile and versatile with no health issues. People use them for dressage, general riding, and show horses in traditional Menorcan festivals.
The Asturcón is a rare breed of pony that dates to Roman times and is among the Spanish horse breeds. They’re also called the Asturian pony and are quite known for their unusual ambling gait that is comfortable to ride.
This breed ranges in height from 11.2-12.2 hands; they have a straight profile, deep chest, and strong legs. They generally come in colors of brown and black with minimum markings of white.
These horses have calm, easy-going, and obedient personalities. They’re resourceful, easy to maintain, and can survive in extremely harsh conditions.
The Burguete is a heavy draft horse native to the Navarre region of northern Spain. Unfortunately, this breed is so rare and in danger of going extinct, with only a few left.
These horses have strong, powerful builds, and their bodies are well muscled and compact. They’re typically chestnut, bay, or black.
11. Jaca Navarra
Jaca Navarra is among the Spanish horse breeds and is native to the northern region of Spain. They have a sturdy build and are capable of living in extremely harsh environments.
The Jaca Navarra is so uncommon that only a few hundred of them are left. They’re in great danger of extinction as only a few of them are left in the wild. Nevertheless, breeders are trying to preserve the breed through various means.
This small breed of horse is originally from the Losa Valley. These ponies stand between 13.2 to 14.2 hands, and though they have a graceful build, they’re still tough.
These horses come in black or variations of black. Adults and children use them for riding and driving. Sadly, there are a few hundred left, but efforts are being made to preserve them.
Spanish horse breeds are among the finest horses you can find. However, aside from appearance and athletic talent, a horse’s temperament is undoubtedly its most important quality.
This is because it affects how trainable the animal is and your relationship with them. Thankfully, the breeds discussed in this article are well-mannered. Thanks for reading!