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Guest writers

Clair Thunes
Summit Equine Nutrition

Clair Thunes

As an equine nutritionist Dr. Thunes has worked with a wide range of horses from lactating mares to competitive dressage horses, and with a variety of physiological problems including insulin resistance and muscle myopathies, and she is happy to work in conjunction with your veterinarian. Dr. Thunes believes in finding the right balance between the horse\'s diet and needs and the client\'s resources. She works with both individual horses or an entire barn and enjoys working with owners to find the optimal feeding solutions. Services provided include diet evaluation and formulation, hay analysis interpretation, custom supplement formulation and farm visits. Dr. Thunes also offers phone and email consultations. Dr. Thunes can be contacted at 916-248-8987.

Articles by Clair Thunes:

IMPROVING STALLION FERTILITY

WEANING YOUR FOAL

FEEDING THE THIRD TRIMESTER MARE

Charles Wilhelm
Ultimate Foundation Trainings

Charles Wilhelm

Charles Wilhelm is internationally known as America’s most respected horse trainer and is the creator of Ultimate Foundation Training, an equine training technique that combines the best of traditional, classical and natural horsemanship into a methodology that is applicable to every riding discipline.

His training facility located in Castro Valley, CA, offers extensive hands-on learning programs for every level of horsemanship, from novice through trainer.  His programs truly reflect his motto “Success Through Knowledge”.

Articles by Charles Wilhelm:

ULTIMATE COLT STARTING::
Introduction to De-Spooking and Sacking Out

ULTIMATE COLT STARTING::
Training Month IV - Continuing Linework & First Bath

ULTIMATE COLT-STARTING:
Training Month I - A Good Mind & Haltering

ULTIMATE COLT-STARTING:
Training Month II - Leading & Picking Up Feet

ULTIMATE COLT-STARTING:
Training Month III - Basic Linework

TOOLS:
The Role of Equipment in Horse Training

PREPARING YOUNG HORSES FOR THE VET & FARRIER

ARTICLES of interest

How To Find Your Dream Horse or Future Breeding Prospect in Todays Market

There has never been a better time to buy your dream horse or future breeding propect. Whether you are a breeder seeking new proven performance bloodlines or a rider searching for your dream equine partner. Many great horses are available and with the volume of horses on the market, how do you find the right one without getting overwhelmed?



To begin this process you must remember that your dream-horse requirements often change over time. Qualities in your dream horse that you sought after in your youth, now may look totally different 20 years later. Qualities and attributes you bred for 10, 5 or even 2 years ago may have changed over time. 

The List: Defining a Plan

How many people have a defined plan for attending a horse show, but no defined plan when it comes to buying a young prospect to add to your breeding program or finding your dream riding horse? 

For the Rider:

  • Brainstorm a list of attributes that you desire and do not desire; color, height, age, personality, temperament, training; be as specific as possible and be honest with yourself this is your list.
  • Now add to that list your goals. Bring up your own young horse, a safe riding partner, an easy to ride horse that allows you to make mistakes as you learn, do more local shows or travel extensively to top shows. One thing to watch for in this list is what you see your goals as for the moment, may change as well. Victoria, who at 62 was looking for her last riding partner purchased a 4 year old gelding from ADP with solid basic training to school and ride on the trails. He was so super easy to train and ride, she decided to do more showing than she had originally planned for. Goals easily change when the attributes list is more defined.
  • As specific questions regarding your needs: Is the horse smooth to ride?Is the horse safe? How much training does the horse have? Is the horse suitable for an Amateur? Does the horse have a willing attitude undersaddle?
  • Put Answers to Questions. You have dreamed of raising your own weanling or owning a cetain breed? Has the weanling received any ground training to make handling them easier. Erin, a professional Natural Horsmanship trainer had been dreaming of owning a PRE horse. She chose to visit ADPs farm because of our shared interest in proper ground training and handling of the young horses and our level of care best matched hers. She narrowed down her choices to two fillies. In the end, she chose the one that best fit her attributes list.  Even if your not a trainer like Erin, there are a host of professionals that can assist you with training of your young horse once they are home with you. Victoria, who's horse was of riding age, decided to spend a very wet winter with no where to ride attending clinics with natural horsemanship trainers and taught her horse many new things which in turn strengthend the bond between them.
For the Breeder:
Foal production estimates from 2010-2011 are down as much as 30%+ depending on the segment of the market your breeding for. Sounds scary now, but what about the future? What will these reduced numbers mean regarding the availability of good quality breeding stock and riding horses three to five years from now? The most likely answer is higher prices due to lack of supply? Don't get left behind, it takes 11 plus months to produce a foal for sale.
  • Now has never been a better time to plan for the future. The purchase of a weanling filly now that will be put into production 3 years from now is a sound business breeding goal. 
  • Prices have never been better for adding that high performance bloodline from a proven stallion into your herd. Diana a PRE dressage oriented breeder who purchased one of ADP's fillies by Noble GF out of an Ebanisto/Imperioso mare spent many months researching bloodlines and viewing videos and photos. Being a dressage oriented breeder, she focused mainly on horses that where currently competiting in dressage and horses that showed the best gaits possible to be successful.  After narrowing down her list, she began searching specifically for those breeders producing foals that met her criteria leading her to ADP.
  • With the reduction in the number of mares being bred; some breeders are selling top quality Revised mares that are proven producers with some of these mares selling with breedings as well. The same principles apply; is this mare a good match for my stallion? How many foals has she had? Typically a mare can produce 7 foals in her breeding lifetime. A young proven broodmare is an excellent investment. If she sells with a breeding, ask the breeder if you can defer the breeding to the following year? And if so, is there frozen semen incase the stallion is no longer available?  
  • Buying a future stallion? In this down market the most interesting point to be made is that colt sales are steady both in sales and price. Pam an Arabian breeder had been contemplating switching over to the Spanish PRE horse. She considered both fillies and colts. She had three sport horse type arabian mares of excellent quality, so decided on a colt to eventually breed to her mares for the Arabian Sport Horse market. She had already defined her plan and made a list of must haves. Her main must have, was a stallion prospect that she was responsible for training and showing him. At 5'10" she needed a tall PRE horse and with dressage as her riding discipline, one with good competitive gaits. After contacting ADP and viewing videos of our colt Galeo by Noble GF, she decided he was the one and bought him from the videos alone. This was only possible because she had a defined plan, knew her must haves and summarized her criteria. (see below)  

Creating Your Plan: Separate Categories and Summarizing Your Criteria

Now that you have a defined plan on what you want, now is the time to categorized your must haves and wants. These steps are suitable for both those looking for a riding partner or breeders investing in their business.
  • Your first category will be the "must have" items. Use your brainstorm list to help you organize this category. Try to reserve this category for your most "can't live" without criteria as this category will most likely NOT change, even when emotions begin to play on you. Nick, a professional horse trainer knew he wanted a black horse. A rare color in the PRE breed. That was his must have that was not going to change under any circumstances. Next he wanted to train and ride in dressage, but he also participated in the PRE breed halter competitions. Through word of mouth, Nick found out we had a 6 month old homozygous black colt by our champions PRE dressage stallion, Noble. After visiting ADPs farm and visiting with Noble, Nick knew he had found the horse that met his must have attributes. Today they have successfully shown in halter competitions and are now training under saddle.
  • Your second category will be the "like to have" criteria. Keep this list as short as possible. If the sex of the horse is not a huge determining factor for you, it could go in this category. Is safety your number one priority over the level of training the horse is showing at? If so, then amount or level of training can go here.
Now summarize your hard criteria into a statement and refer to it daily for a while and refine your must haves until you are certain and committed that it is truly what you want. Once you are satisfied that the criteria are right, create a checklist to use for screening horse ads and questions to ask the seller so that you get specific answers. Reminder: If you are still looking at horses for sale online that do not fit your summary or must have criteria; you need to go back and reevaluate your list. It can also become a bad habit to look at everything and if you are determined to find your Dream Horse or next breeding prospect you must make a conscious effort to look at only those horses that fit your criteria.  

One thing to consider about your dream horse is the "soft" attributes; these are the qualities that only you can justify that make your dream horse so appealing. In the end that helped Erin choose one filly over the other, was the soft attributes. The soft attributes should not be overlooked as they play a big part of your "relationship" with your horse in conjunction with your plan.

Not to be forgotten is budget. Budget is a major consideration for most buyers and should be a part of your plan. You should consider your budget for an immediate purchase such as a riding horse or 3 month payment terms and 6 month payment terms for a younger propect. For the buyer looking at young prospects such as weanlings, the market is very favorable. Buying a foal while still at the dams side offers you the best possible opportunity to meet your defined plan, your must have criteria along with price and payment terms. Many breeders offer "pre-weaning prices" as the cost of maintaining the foal is at its lowest. Once weaned prices start to rise as the horse ages, continues in some type of ground training program and as nutritional needs change.

Once you have a written plan and have a better understanding of what you want in your dream horse or new breeding prospect, begin your research and retest your budget for reality. Is your search ending up with the right choices within your current budget? If you increase your budget are you finding more horses to choose from that better meet your criteria? Over the course of a year that several thousand dollars less you paid could have been spent towards a horse that better met your criteria or that young horse from the reputable breeder that was very well cared for and had received extensive ground training. 

Planning, research and follow-up are keys for finding your dream horse or your next breeding prospect in this market. 

 

 

 

 

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The 8 Best Basic Ground Manners and Skills to Teach Your Young Horse

Think about this, everyday your older horse is lead from his stall or pasture, required to stand tied, accept being groomed and touched all over his body, accept the saddle pad, saddle, bridle and perhaps leg wraps. How much thought do we really give to these daily activities and how did our horse get to this point of acceptance?



We know what to do with a mature riding horse regarding handling, feeding, farrier care, veterinarian care, training, but when it comes to a young horse we think we should handle them differently, right?

The answer to that is no and partly yes, except for riding them, your day to day handling is no different then that of an older horse.  The exceptions to this are how much time you spend performing these activities as young horses have a limited attention span, the level of training the young horse has already received prior to you acquiring them and how many new experiences the young horse has been introduced to.

Whether you handle your young horse everyday or a couple times a week, I have created a list of the top 8 basic ground manners and skills that should be reinforced with your young horse.

1) Lets Go For A Walk!

A horse that leads well, respects your space and is soft on the lead line is a pleasure to be with and to handle on a daily basis. This is where the most time spent with your young horse is of the greatest value.
Read the Article written by Charles Wilhelm on, Leading & Picking up the Feet, for more in depth advice on getting started or reinforcing what has already been taught.

2) Allow Every Body Part to be Touched:

Your horse should let you touch every part of his body. The ears, muzzle, sheath, legs, between his legs, chest, face and any sensitive areas.  When it comes time to treat your horse for an injury, a veterinarian exam, farrier care and more, the less fear there will be on his part.

For me, I start by having a well stocked grooming kit with all the basics supplies. I also include an inexpensive pair of clippers in mine, and incorporate them into my grooming regime. I may not clip the horse, but the noise and feel of the clippers vibration on his body becomes a part of his daily handling.

3) Stand Quietly to Have Feet Handled:

Horses need regular hoof care and they need their hooves trimmed every six to eight weeks. There are some simple techniques that can help you effectively and safely teach your young horse acceptance of picking up the leg and allowing it to be held up.  Don’t skip this step when you are handling your horse. Horses learn best by repetitive handling and by taking the time to incorporate picking up the feet and handling the legs will pay off with a well behaved horse when it comes time for the farrier to trim his hooves.

4) Accept Paste Wormers:

Horses on a good regular deworming schedule are less likely to have digestive and health issues. Incorporating a few simple techniques into your regular handling regime will make this process stress free for both you and the horse.  For me, touching the young horse around its mouth and gently inserting a clean finger into the mouth stimulates their response to open their mouth. John Lyons had a great trick for training horses to accept the paste dewormer, he suggested using a new and clean 60 cc syringe with its large hole opening, filling it with a pureed apple sauce (1 tbsp) and inserting the syringe as you would a paste dewormer at the side of the horses mouth and gently injecting the apple sauce into their mouth. Of course what horse would not enjoy a treat like that!

5) Lets Go for a Drive!

A horse that won’t load into a horse trailer isn’t just frustrating but can be dangerous for the handler.  You may not plan on leaving your property with your horse anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t learn to get on a trailer.  Emergencies can happen and a horse that won’t load onto a trailer could cost you and your horse valuable time in getting treatment.

Once a month, make a commitment to loading your horse in the trailer.  For me, I load the horse, with the goal of him quietly exploring the trailer and then I offload him. The time spent inside might be a minute or two to begin with and building up more time as his confidence and familiarity with the trailer becomes established. If you are having problems, seek professional advice and or training, this is one area where the expense of professional training pays off.   

6) Wait/Stop/Whoa!

There is nothing worse than having a 1,000 lb horse trample over you while exiting his stall, pasture or turnout gate. Taking the time to teach your horse to wait is a valuable lesson and will benefit you at feeding time, at the mounting block and when unloading from the trailer.

7) Catch Me if You Can:

There is nothing more frustrating than wasting valuable time with the veterinarian or farrier while you pursue your horse around his pasture or paddock.  I will make a point to walk around the pasture checking the fencing and so forth while completing ignoring my horse. My presence in the pasture or paddock does not always mean work!  I also will take the horse from the pasture or paddock and feed him an apple or his grain in a bucket and then return him to the pasture or paddock.  Spending time with me can be fun and rewarding and does not always mean work for him.

8) Stand Tied: 

Standing quietly to be tied, whether to a hitching post, beside the trailer or in cross ties is essential.  You will want to tie your horse to groom, clean their hooves, and tack up or just to keep him safely secured. 

Learning to stand tied is an important part of your horses training and needs to be done in a safe manner, if you have no experience teaching a horse to be tied, please consult with an experienced trainer or better yet, spend the money to have your horse trained in this aspect. Accidents can and do happen without the proper skills or supervision required.

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The Weanling and Yearling Years: Question & Answer Forum

Dear Reader,

When you are in the horse business, you get asked a lot of questions, not just about the PRE breed, but about weanling and yearling care, training, feeding, and buying a young horse. I would like to share some of the emails that I have received with you in hopes of providing you with more information about the PRE horse and buying a young horse. I have modified the questions and answers and put them in more general terms that would apply to the public. I hope you enjoy them and if you would like to send me a question, I will answer it right here on our Q&A Forum.



Q. I am considering buying a weanling. I own an older gelding and this will be my first young horse. What are some of the things I should look for in buying a weanling?

A weanling is a great choice for someone looking to rear and train their own horse. Raising your own young horse is such a rewarding experience and the two of you will share a bond that is harder to establish with a mature horse. Weanlings can also be a better buy regarding price than a young horse that is 3 years and older. I am assuming you like a particular breed and perhaps you are attracted to a certain stallion or mare.  Learning as much as you can about the mare and stallion is a great starting point. Ask for video and good pictures of both the mare and stallion if possible. Does the stallion have a show record or in training for the sport you desire. What about his temperament? Does he have any glaring conformation faults?  Has the mare produced other foals with this stallion? If so, are there any pictures or videos available of past offspring for you to view?  Does the mare have traits that you like, such as a nice head, conformation, temperament?

Ask the owner if you can visit the farm and see the weanling in person and if available the dam.  What you see as far as temperament and type is pretty much what you will get when he or she is mature.  There are three times that you can see the future conformation of a young growing weanling, at 3 months, 9 months and as a yearling. When young horses enter their long yearling year and into there 2nd year, they can sometimes hit some awkward growth phases; a good example of this is being croup high.

What kind of training has been done with the weanling? You will be far ahead of the game if your weanling can lead, pick up his feet, stand to be groomed and load in a horse trailer. If he has any additional training, that’s great, but the basics are the most important. What kind of physical condition is he in, has his hooves been trimmed on a regular basis, does he look healthy and bright eyed, what kind of feeding program is he on.

Armed with this information, picking a weanling can be easier than you think. Once you have chosen a weanling to purchase; follow through with a pre-purchase exam and make sure the weanling has received all the necessary vaccinations before transport.

Q. I want to buy a young horse, maybe a weanling or yearling but I don’t own my own farm or land. What kind of boarding situation can I safely put a young horse into?

We are loosing rural land to urban development on a rapid basis and many horse owners are faced with this situation, but I have always found that if you look and ask around there are places within a reasonable drive that offer pasture boarding. You could even inquire at retirement boarding facilities.  In an ideal situation open pasture boarding is the best. Young horses need space to run and play, assisting them in developing strong bone and muscle. If they can be pasture boarded with other young horses, they can continue to develop the social behavior through play that they need.  The pasture board does not necessarily need to be multiple acres of space, but perhaps one or two acres with 2 to 4 horses on it.  The next best situation is a large paddock ¼ to ½ acres in size for two young horses with a run in shed which allows freedom of movement.  I have also known owners to board their young horses in large stalls with access to all day turnout paddocks.

Some people may disagree about stall boarding with turnout, but in Europe they are faced with even fewer opportunities for year round pasture boarding and many young horses are kept in a stabling situation with some type of turnout.

When you have found a place, make sure the horses look well cared for and in good health. Inquire about what type of hay they feed and how often. Ask if they feed any type of grain or supplement and do they have a regular vet and farrier visit the farm. You will also want to check the fencing, making sure that it is appropriate and safe for young horses.

Q. I am considering buying a PRE horse. I don’t mind buying a young horse, but the prices are higher than other breeds, why is this?

If you where to look at the number of horses registered at birth with the AQHA, Thoroughbred or a Warmblood registry and compare that to how many PRE horses are registered at birth, the answer would be very clear.  The PRE or Andalusian as they are best known in the U.S., are a rare breed, not only here in the United States, but in the motherland, Spain.  The PRE was the most sought after breed for many years and highly valued by its owners and even during its height of popularity there where still not as many as other breeds.  As time passed and effects of civil war, the role of the horse and the art of riding turned to sport, the breed slipped in popularity and growth. Over the last 15 years, and particularly after the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where two PRE horses competed in Dressage Competition, their popularity was once again on the rise. As the demand for a PRE capable of competing in dressage grew, and people became more aware of the breed and its attributes, the demand outstripped the supply.

If you go to purchase a Quarter Horse or a Warmblood horse the market is inundated with this breed and the competition for sales keeps the price relatively low. The PRE horse is less dominate in the market and as more people discover this breed and its outstanding attributes combined with an exceptional temperament, our horses sell at a young age with fewer choices being available for older horses.  Knowing as much as possible about the mare and stallion of the perspective weanling and visiting the farm of the breeder, buying a weanling or yearling PRE is a great choice for someone looking to get into the breed within a certain price point. You will not be disappointed when that young gangly horse grows into the most beautiful and majestic animal you could hope for.

Q. I have a yearling and I have been working on all the ground skills, but I want to do more with my young horse. Do you have any suggestions?

This is a great question, because many people think you buy a young horse throw it out to pasture until its three and bring it in when its time to ride. These people are really missing out on some great opportunities for having some fun with their young horses. Besides the continued bond and intimate relationship you build by handling your young horse on a regular basis, there are fun and easy training games such as going over poles, tarps, water, taking your young horse on a trail by either hand walking them or to pony them off another horse. All of these activities contribute to a well rounded and better educated horse for the future. If you are more into competition, there are many opportunities there as well. You can participate in the United States Dressage Federation Sport Horse Breeding classes, the IBC (Individual Breed Classes) classes, the PRE halter classes, a trail class for young horses in hand, and any open breed show that offers classes for young horses in hand.

What I like most about participating in some type of organized event, is that you set small training goals for yourself and your horse in preparation for the show, contributing to his overall training and future preparation as a riding horse. You will be shocked at how fast those few years pass by, and before you know it you are preparing to ride!

I will follow up with more questions and answers next month. If you have a question, and you would like me to answer it here in our Q & A Forum, drop me an email at elohec@sbcglobal.net.

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ARTICLES ON THE WEB

Riding Magazine May 2013- Power It Up!
by Erin Lohec
Spanish Olympian Daniel Martin Dockx visits Bay Area with productive clinic for PRE enthusiasts

Riding Magazine, December 2011-The Gallop: Marketing Manestays
by Kim F Miller
Erin Lohec interviewed by Kim Miller for article on marketing strategies.

Horsemans News
by
Advertising

Riding Magazine, May 2011 - Andalusian Dressage Partners
by Kim Miller
Brilliant, beautiful horses take breeder from sulking to success.

Riding Magazine, May 2009 - Andalusian Dressage Partners
by Kathleen Burke Jensen
Northern California program is a Noble endeavor promoting Pure Spanish dressage horses.

All Things Horse & Hound, The Magnificent Andalusian
by Michael Russell, Platinum Quality Author
Featuring photographs of Noble GF owned by Andalusian Dressage Partners, Erin Lohec

Frequently asked questions

Q. I would like to buy my first PRE horse for dressage training and competition. How do I evaluate a PRE horse as a good candidate for dressage, especially if it is young?

The young PRE prospect should be evaluated just as you would any other breed for riding. First you want to look at the temperament of the prospect and its willingness to work with you either on the ground or under saddle. Secondly you want to evaluate the young prospects conformation for correctness for its age.  Some young horses appear a little cow hocked when they are at a certain age, especially if they have long legs, or might be croup high at the time you look at them. Knowing as much as you can and what is acceptable conformation in a young horse would be very helpful (Forecasting Foals for Dressage, by Hilda Gurney). Third, you want to evaluate the young prospects gaits.  This is where most people new to the PRE horse have some difficulty or lack of confidence in assessing their gaits. When considering a young PRE horse for dressage and analyzing their gaits you want to look for ground covering forward movement, the two elements of any good dressage prospect.  In the trot, I like a certain amount of lift in the knee with extension (reach) of the foreleg and good activity in the hind legs. You want to see the animal move with fluidity and good rhythm (tempo) across the ground, not with short choppy strides. You want to look for a balanced and ground-covering canter with push from the hind legs and reaching forelegs and that it shows good rhythm and cadence. In the walk you want to look for good forward activity in the four beat rhythm. 

The PRE horse even at a young age articulates (flexes) its joint’s, more, which allows them to be a naturally smoother riding horse.  Through their conformation, they naturally step or reach under themselves with the hind legs more compared to other breeds. These inbred abilities are refined and developed further once under saddle, allowing them to excel at the collected trot and canter and the collected movements of canter pirouettes, passage and piaffe.

I personally like a certain amount of knee lift as long as it is combined with the extension of the foreleg and the hoof being placed in front and not underneath itself when it contacts the ground. If you have ever watched any video or seen a well trained PRE horse performing a lengthening or extension then you will appreciate the quality, brilliance and beauty of those movements which are due in part to the amount of knee lift with reach of that given horse.
 

A good PRE like any breed should be pleasing to the eye, move with attributes you like and be a good willing partner to work with.  Contacting PRE breeders who breed for the dressage market and understand the conformation, gaits and fluidity of movement necessary for competition would be a good place to start.


Q. I have noticed that many PRE male horses are stallions. Is there a rule against gelding a PRE male horse?

To a person new to the breed it would appear that way, but the truth is many breeders don’t geld their colts for several reasons; first they are generally very good tempered and easier to handle than other intact male horses, its country of origin and the culture surrounding the PRE breed has always been to keep colts intact as riding horses, even if they don’t plan on using them as breeding stallions, and many breeders here in the U.S. hold to that tradition and also do not want to geld their colts for fear of losing a potential sale as a stallion prospect or fear of reducing the horses market value.

Each breeder has their own idea of what a good stallion prospect is, and we all adhere to the standards of the breed. For me personally, they must possess all the following qualities that are worth reproducing; a good temperament, correct conformation, beauty, and good gaits (movement). If they have a rare color gene for our breed that is an asset but not a necessity.

Many experienced riders prefer to ride stallions for their appearance, elegance, power, and beauty and have the confidence to handle and keep a stallion.  But there is a great need within our breed for more high quality geldings.

I encourage potential buyers to consider gelding a colt when their main use of the animal is showing and pleasure riding. I personally will geld a colt to market him strictly for that purpose. There are challenges in owning a stallion, such as difficulties in finding boarding that allows stallions, handling and maintaining a stallion, and safety.  Even though PRE stallions are known for their exceptional temperaments, they are still a stallion and will act like one at any given moment.

Have a question about the PRE horse that you do not see answered here, send me an email and I would be happy to help you learn more about this incredible breed.


Q. What does the name P.R.E. or Pura Raza Espanola mean?

When the official Spanish Stud Book of our breed was first organized in 1911, the name given to this registry was “Caballos de Pura Raza Espanola” — Horses of the Pure Spanish Breed.


Q. What is the difference between the name Andalusian and P.R.E.?

The name “Andalusian” was used interchangeably in the past with “Spanish Horse” when describing this breed. The name “Andalusian” fell out of favor in Spain when the breed expanded from its ancestral birthplace in the province of Andalusia, to throughout the entire nation of Spain. So as not to show partiality to the breeders in Andalusia, the horse became know as el caballo de Pura Raza Espanola, the P.R.E. The term Andalusian is still heavily used in the U.S. today. It is the most recognized term for the Spanish horse whether it is registered in the official studbook of Spain or registered only through U.S. registries such as I.A.L.H.A. or the newer Mundial registry.


Q. Are all Spanish horses a P.R.E.?
No. Those who have qualified for inclusion by virtue of birth from registered and approved for breeding parents have the opportunity to be included into the official Spanish studbook of Spain, which is managed by ANCCE. Early registration of horses in North America combined the P.R.E. (Pura Raza Espanola) the P.S.L. (Puro Sangue Lusitano) and the S/P (the cross of both) into one registry. What is important to understand is that both Spain and Portugal have distinct separate and proud national registries that are not open to horses of any other breed. There are many horses being bred and offered for sale under the name of Spanish or Pure Spanish or Andalusian, but an approved P.R.E. will have the proper documentation of a Passport or Carta or have papers indicating a foal has been inscribed into the studbook. There are many breeders in the U.S. who want you to believe that even though their horses or foals may not be registered with the official Spanish studbook and that it is not important is a false statement. Like any well bred Warmblood horse, inclusion into the studbook and the level of status reached within that studbook is a testament to the correct breeding of the animal and adherence to breed standards.

Q. What is inscription and revision? (The process of studbook acceptance)

To be eligible for this process the foal must have parents that are in the main studbook. Inscription is the term used to describe the process of inspection, which is performed by an approved veterinarian of the studbook and must be completed for the horse to be included in the registry of births. The foal must have their genetic profile completed that states the foal qualifies as an offspring of both the parents and have been micro chipped. After the requirements are met the foal will be issued a Spanish Passport “Carta”. Revision is the term used to describe the process of inspection that must be done for the horse to be included in the main studbook, which takes place between the ages of 3-5 years old. Those horses that meet the requirements are accepted into the main registry and are given basic breeding approval.


Q. What kind of temperament does the P.R.E. horse have?
This is a very important question for many reasons. I can tell you that the official mantra that you will read on just about any breeders website is that the P.R.E. horse has been carefully bred for their exceptional temperaments and any horse showing an undesirable temperament was not allowed to breed. There are two means to achieving this goal; 1st a breeder must willingly not breed an animal with an undesirable temperament. 2nd by participating in the studbook procedures of inscription and revision a horse must be visually inspected by a grading committee representative from Spain for breeding approval. On a personal level, as a breeder I am very aware of my market and who buys my horses. As I stated about my goals as a breeder and the kind of horse that I want to produce, temperament is of great importance to me, along with a willingness to work, good conformation and athletic ability allowing their owner many years of enjoyment and success. This is why it is so important for a buyer to understand and appreciate the value of a Spanish horse that has been accepted and approved for breeding in the official studbook of Spain. But the most important decision of all is choosing a breeder who breeds the type of Spanish horse you want, allows you to visit their mares and the perspective weanling and who has you and the horses best interest at heart.

Q. Why is it so hard to find a P.R.E. (Andalusian) under saddle?

As of 2006 there are approximately 10,000 horses of Spanish descent in the U.S. Of those 10,000 even fewer are inscribed and or revised with the official Spanish Studbook of Spain. There simply aren’t enough horses in the country to have a plentiful supply of riding age horses. Those owners with P.R.E. horses under saddle rarely part with them.

Most people shopping for a P.R.E. (Andalusian) end up realizing that a young horse is the way to go and end up really enjoying the bond and connection they develop until the horse is of riding age, and when that time comes the transition to riding is seamless. (See Why Buying a Foal from ADP is a good investment)


Q. Why are P.R.E. horses more expensive?
Any horse that has gone through the rigores approval process of Inscription and Revision for breeding purposes by the official studbook grading committee, will be more valuable than a horse that has not been through the process or let alone denied approval. Another factor is the goal of the breeder and what he wants to produce, a Spanish horse that was bred for more modern competitive sport such as dressage with competitive gaits and inbred ability, will be the driving forces in the purchase price. As more riders discover the talent and ability of the modern P.R.E. horse for competitive dressage, the majority of our buyers are opting to select one of our high quality foals that we have bred. What price do you put on quality? A carefully bred and approved P.R.E. weanling from champion bloodlines may cost a little more, but the best usually does. Wanting the most from your horse and your investment of money and time and being able to reach and exceed your goals while riding a well bred and willing equine partner is a worthwhile investment.

Q. How do they mature?
The P.R.E. (Andalusian) horse will continue to grow height wise until almost five years old and will continue filling out until the age of eight. With training, the P.R.E. horse becomes even more impressive with their solid muscles, arching necks and strong loin allowing them to truly show off their spectacular movement.

Q. How old does a P.R.E. (Andalusian) need to be before you can begin riding?

The training of any young horse takes place right after birth with an introduction to the halter, being handled and touched all over their bodies and being restrained. At three months of age, Andalusian Dressage Partners progressive training program goes as follows: foals are introduced to a more structured training process with our Foundation trainer and learn all the basic necessary skills a foal (and horse for that matter!) should know and understand; giving to pressure, leading, loading in the trailer, standing for the veterinarian, being handled, groomed, picking up his feet for the farrier, introduction to water and bathing and learning to stand tied. During the yearling and two year old time, many of the foals are shown in hand for a positive early show experience. At two they are introduced to the bit and wearing a bridle, which is mandatory for participation in United States Dressage Federation, Dressage Sport Horse Breeding classes (USDF DSHB). At the age of three depending on the individual horse, they are introduced to a more structured process of preparation for being ridden at 3 1/2 years. They are introduced to wearing a bridle and saddle and balancing side reins. They are lightly longed in a 60 meter round pen with good footing to reinforce the voice commands previously learned, developing their balance and to build strength. Progressing to a rider on their back, from there the under saddle training progresses at a light and moderate rate until the age of 4.


Q. Do I need a special trainer experienced with Spanish horses?
Correct training is the same no matter what the breed. It is more important that you have a good working relationship with your trainer. Someone who is going to support you in your training & riding goals, a trainer with experience training young horses is helpful.

Q. What does the P.R.E. horse excel at?
A P.R.E. horse is a well-rounded athletic riding horse. They excel in dressage because of their classic conformation and high trainability. They are agile and balanced in their movement, even at an early age. The P.R.E. horse has excelled in show jumping, cattle work, reining and carriage driving as well. They are generally calm and confident in their temperament and make excellent amateur competitive horses, trail horses and youth mounts. At Andalusian Dressage Partners our breeding emphasis is on dressage capability; we have a clear understanding of the conformation, temperament, balance and fluidity of movement needed to be a successful dressage horse. Our breeding program combines the bloodlines of the past and the natural ability for the collected work, but with modern competition in mind; producing a well rounded athletic horse with the ability to perform the extended movements while retaining its natural talent for the upper level work of piaffe and passage.


Andalusian Dressage Partners
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