Sections of this page are excerpts from "The Purebred Spanish Horse (P.R.E.)" ANCCE

About the Breed

The true origin of the Spanish Horse is not a certain science; what is known is that in the pre-Roman era, there were already references to horses in what is today known as spain.

Roman authors such as Plutarch, pliny the Elder and Seneca speak of the Hispanic horse as a beautiful, docile, arrogant and brave horse, ideal for war and for the sports that were carried out in the circuses at that time.

During the reign of King Philip 11, the equine realm of his Kingdom was organized, laying down definitive bases so that the Purebred Spanish Horse was able to reach its peak during subsequent years. This was possible with the creation of the Royal Stables in Cordoba, where he gathered together the best stallions and mares from all the provinces bordering the Guadalquivir River, which at that time, were the most productive in the breeding of horses.

Thus, the Royal Stud Farm was created, which after time became known as the National Stud Farm. A multitude of horses were exported to the American continents; these horses played a decisive role on its exploration, and were the origin of and the basis for most of the breeds that have subsequently been raised there.

In Europe, Spain was enjoying its Golden Age; at that time, the most treasured gift from a Spanish monarch was one of the nation's magnificent horses. Spanish horses soon earned repute and were decisive in the birth of many Central European breeds. There are currently more than 1,300 Purebred Spanish Horse breeders in Spain, and more than 400 throughout the rest of the world. Remember that there are about 80,000 horses throughout the whole world, bred in more than 60 countries.

Breeds such as the Lipizzaner, Lusitano, Paso Fino and the Warm-bloods of Central Europe all owe their ancestry to the Spanish Horse.

Important data about the purebred spanish horse

    It is also known by its initials (P.R.E.). Those known as Carthusian horses are a family (or line) within the Purebred Spanish Horse breed. graphic description and microchiped at weaning, evaluation as breeding stock as a 3 year-old, assignment of a registration code in the Stud Book, etc. The passport produced by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and ANCCE is the only documentation that guarantees that the animal is a Purebred Spanish Horse and it fulfills all the requirements for the identification of equines as established by the European Union.'

    There is only a single Registration Book which is authorized, internationally, to produce the official documentation for Purebred Spanish Horses. This is the one and only guarantee for breed purity and which applies the internationally accepted controls for the race: DNA confirmation of the paternity, completed graphic description and microchiped at weaning, evaluation as breeding stock as a 3 year-old, assignment of a registration code in the Stud Book, etc. 'The passport produced by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and ANCCE is the only documentation that guarantees that the animal is a Purebred Spanish Horse and it fulfills all the requirements for the identification of equines as established by the European Union.'

    According to the breed description in the PRE Stud Book, all colors are permitted except piebald or skewbald.

    This is permitted for all PRE/APTO breeding stock. When both parents are PRE/APTO, the progeny is eligible for registration in the Spanish Stud Book. Please note, this only refers to Cria Caballar issued passports to 2007, and ANCCE issued passports from 2007 to current. PRE Mundial passports are not eligible.

    Three classes of breeding stock exist within the Purebred Spanish Horse selection scheme:

    Basic breeding stock

    It is necessary to request the evaluation from the organization which administers the Stud Book, ANCCE. Purebred Spanish Horses undergo this evaluation, during which it is decided if they are suitable for breeding, as of the age of three, and the requirements are:

    Stallions must measure more than 1.52 m. at the withers (1.50 m. in the case of mares).

    There must be no sign of a fallen or broken crest, or a Ewe neck.

    They must be neither monorchide nor cryptorchide.

    They must remain true to the breed pattern.

    As of that moment, their descendants will be registered in the Stud Book. If they do not pass this evaluation, they retain their original registration papers; they continue to be considered as Purebred Spanish Horses, but lack the right of having their progeny registered. If a horse's registration papers have not been stamped and signed to prove that said horse is approved as breeding stock, it means that said horse has not yet passed its evaluation legitimizing its use for breeding purposes within the breed's legal selection scheme.

    Any horse that does not pass this evaluation may be presented a second time, if the owner should so desire.

    Qualified breeding stock

    Having passed the basic approval, the breeders can present their animals for an additional evaluation, at one of the 'Tribunals for Qualified Breeding Stock (TQB) in which their conformation and natural paces are analyzed.

    Requirements in order to pass the evaluation as qualified:

    • The stallions should measure more than 1.55 m. at the withers (1.53 m. for the mares)
    • They must gain an average of over 70 points, with no judge awarding them less than 5 points for any of their conformation
    • They must undergo an X-ray examination, which must discard any possibility of osteochondrosis, osteoarthritis and various bony problems.
    • Stallions must undergo an examination of their reproductive apparatus, which must discard any defects that would affect their reproduction or which could be hereditary, such as monorchide, cryptorchide, inguinal or scrota1 and other hernias, as well as a semen count, to verify their fertility.
    • Mares must have given birth at least once or be in foal, and have undergone a scan of their reproductive apparatus, to discards any congenital anomalies or transmittable defects.

    Any stallion that passes this evaluation may use artificial insemination on a limited number of mares per year (the covering certificates being limited), and any animal that passes it may then go on to the next level of quality in the selection scheme.

    The selection scheme for the Purebred Spanish Horse is currently, and has been for several years, in operation. ANCCE is a direct collaborator with the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. Fruit of the selection scheme, two new figures have arisen within the reproduction of the PRE, having passed a series of tests and having proven the ability to transmit characteristics to their descendants; which are:

    • a Young Recommended Breeding Stock
    • a Elite Breeding Stock


    When a Purebred Spanish Horse is born it must undergo a series of specifically designed controls to identify it:

    • Its parentage is determined by DNA.
    • a Internationally accepted graphic forms are completed very carefully.
    • The animal is given an identification number in the registration book.
    • An identification microchip is inserted into the animal's neck.

Conformational characteristics of the breed

The official definition describes it as" an average sized head, which is rectangular, fine, with a straight or slightly concave profile; mobile ears of a medium size, well placed and parallel; a forehead wide, flat or slightly convex, big bright triangular eyes with an expressive look.

Of average length and size, lightly arched and muscular (less so, in mares). Well inserted at the head and body. Abundant and silky mane.

Trunk Proportionate and robust. The withers unobtrusively wide and obvious. Solid and muscular back. Wide, short loin, muscular and somewhat rounded, well joined to the back and to the croup.

Located between kidneys and the withers, this is where the impulsion created by the hindquarters is transmitted to the forehand. It should be flexible, fairly short and sufficiently wide in proportion to the rest of the animal's body, and it should be very slightly concave.

This should be of average length and width, rounded and lightly sloping. The tail should be low-set and placed between the two buttocks; it should consist of abundant, long and often wavy hair.

This is formed by the six lumbar vertebrae, and the muscular mass that covers them, between the back - and the croup. The lumbar region of the PRE is short, rather wide and very sensitive to the touch.

A long muscular, sloping and elastic shoulder. Strong humerus with a good inclination. Potent forearm, of average length. Well developed and lean knee.

Well muscled thigh, lightly rounded and muscular buttock and long leg. Strong, wide and clean hock.

Agile, high, extensive, harmonic and rhythmic. With a particular predisposition for collection and turns on haunches.
To complement all these conformational characteristics, the thing most outstanding about this breed is its versatility. This is due to the union of the following factors: mental balance, harmony, intelligence and will to work.

The PRE is a well balanced and resistant horse. Longsuffering and energetic, noble and docile, which adapts itself with ease to diverse uses and situations. It is very responsive to the rider's aids and has a good mouth, and therefore is obedient, with an easy understanding between it and the rider and is extraordinarily comfortable.