Luis Javier Sánchez Navajas He is an expert in breeding and reproduction of PRE (Purebred Spanish) horses, which works in La Carreña, a farm located in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz). We will explain why the importance of the work of a breeder the size of Don Luis Javier, which has the responsibility of preserving the purity of the best breed of horses in the world. A treasure of Spanish heritage.
The Spanish horse The first genetic project in history
The Spanish horse is, in truth, the product of the first genetic project in history undertaken to obtain a breed of horses with certain specific morphological and mental characteristics. It began with the Royal Order of November 28, 1567, by which the king Philip II he ordered the royal horse master in Córdoba, Diego López de Haro, buy 1,200 mares and the stallions necessary to create a new breed of horses obtained by mixing the existing breeds then.
Until that time the human being used to look for specimens that only served as a means of transport, giving little importance to the form. At that time they embarked on the task of realizing a type of horse that had been idealized for centuries. The horse model that was sought had been described about four hundred years before Christ by the ancient Greeks, as Simon of Athens, Xenophon, and later by Columella Y San lsidoro of Seville, who argued that the perfect horse should possess characteristics such as: «Small head, black eyes, small and straight ears, flexible neck, thick and not too long, thick mane, wide chest, round belly, high movements, long tail, silky, wavy and round croup». This horse model, nonexistent until that time, was represented in drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures by all civilizations known as an ideal prototype for an equine. And it was this model, mythified for more than a thousand years, that King Felipe II ordered to create in the city of Córdoba.
One of the main characteristics sought by the new breed of horses was the nobility, to offer maximum security to the king for whom and for whom it was created. Its creation was something very good because it made it possible to see, through the principles of dressage developed recently, the beauty of the natural movements of the horses in all their splendor. The good character of these new horses compensated the poor technique of the riders at that time.
In 1606, Solomon of the Broue, student of Juan Bautista Pignatelli, I consider that: «Comparing the best horses with each other (…) I put the horse of Spain first, and I give my vote as the most beautiful, the most noble, the bravest and the most worthy of being ridden by a great king». This search for nobility was precisely the reason why the most characteristic coat of the Spanish horse was gray, since during the 16th century, and until the scientific revolution in the 17th century, it was believed that there was a correlation between the color of the coat and The character of the animals.
The result obtained by the royal horse master Diego López de HaroIt was so extraordinary that the specimens produced, contrary to what the king announced at the beginning of the project, were initially intended only for the exclusive use of the Royal House that used them as gifts for monarchs, nobles and foreign clerics. For Garsault, horse master of the king of France Louis XIVThey were the best horses in the world.
The revolution caused by the appearance of these animals, by making it possible to practice dressage and, of course, to establish it in their movements, meant that there was no king or noble who did not want to cross their mares with Spanish stallions. Due to this, specimens were sent to different countries such as Germany, Italy, Sweden, France and Austria, among others. From their crosses, races such as the Kladruber, the Lusitano or the Lipizzaner were born that served as the basis for the creation of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. That is how William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, one of the greatest horse masters of the time, referred to the Spanish horse: «Everyone knows it regardless of where they come from, the weather or province. The horses of Spain are the most intelligent, and to such an extent that it surpasses all imagination. If you know how to choose a Spanish horse well, I tell you that it is the noblest in the world and its jogging action is the most beautiful. Therefore, I say that the Spanish horse is the best horse in the world ». In the same way, George Louis Leclerc, count of Bufón, wrote in 1749 about the uniqueness of this breed: «The horses of Andalusia seem to be the best of everything (…) they are very energetic, docile, beautiful, elegant and flexible; thanks to the fact that Spanish horses are preferred to everyone else in the world ».
François Robichón de la Guerniere, director of the Royal School of Tuileries in 1773, wrote about Andalusian dance horses that: «All authors have always given preference to the Spanish horse because it is considered the best of all horses for dressage, due to its agility, elasticity and cadence».
As we have indicated, there were many circumstances that favored the creation of the Spanish horse, however, there was one that proved to be essential for the continuity of this breed over time. These are certain aspects of the identity of the Andalusians who developed a very unique way of life. They transmitted part of their idiosyncrasy to the horse, so it became worthy of being part of the Spanish cultural heritage. By obtaining what had been a myth until then, the Andalusian people took its importance and significance to such an extent that, from that moment, the symbiosis between the horse and the rider became part of the life of Andalusia.