by Arlene Magid
The history of the Arabian horse in Spain is one much affected by war and revolution in the first half of this century. The Spanish Civil War of the 1930s resulted in lost records and deaths of horses, but the lovers of the Arabian were determined that they survive, and Spanish Arabians are now key elements in many worldwide breeding programs. The Stud Book Espanol was first compiled by the Horse Breeding Department of the Spanish Army in 1847, and continues to this day. Multiple breeds are registered, including
Thoroughbreds, Andalusians, and Anglo-Arabs. The Arabian section of the first volume records 36 stallions and 12 desertbred mares, the latter imported in the name of Queen Isabella II but few purebreds were bred from them and none of their lines have survived. Other imported stallions (mostly from France) were registered in succeeding volumes but none were used for purebred breeding. Finally, in Volume XI of the stud book the imports from the desert and from Poland made on behalf of the Yeguada Militar(the Spanish military) were recorded, and the breeding of purebred Arabians was more established. The horses of the 1905 and 1906 importations are the ancestors of present day Spanish Arabians. Subsequent importations were made from Egypt, France, and Britain (the well known Crabbet stallion Rijm went to Spain but did not breed on significantly) and an importation of seven stallion and 13 mares from the desert came in 1927.
Many of the mares of this group and all the stallion save Bagdad (who died in the Civil War) were disposed of when Spain became a republic in 1931. Private breeding was begun in Spain in 1910 at the stud of the Marques de Casa Domecq but the first private importations with influence on modern stock were those of the Guerrero brothers in 1923 (mostly French horses, though the Egyptian stallion Sawah The Second is still found in pedigrees today). Early Spanish purebred breeding thus had two elements: the military and the private studs. The most significant sire lines that have continued up to the present day are those of the Poilish Ursus (who came from the Bialocerkiew Stud in 1912 as a four year old) and the desertbred Seanderich (who arrived in Spain as a six year old in 1908). One of the most important private breeders before the Civil War was Cristobal Colon, the Duke of Veragua (and a direct descendant of Christopher Columbus). He began breeding purebred Arabians in 1926, and added the blood of Crabbet horses to the Spanish gene pool with his importation of 12 mares and two stallions from that stud. The group included the Skowronek daughter Jalila(whose daughters *Rasmina and *Rose of France were imported to America from England) and Reyna (a full sister to *Rifala, the dam of *Raffles). Jalila's son Nana Sahib (by Razada, also imported from England) figures prominently in many Spanish pedigrees. The Duke also acquired all the mares of the Marques de Domecq.
Just before the Civil War, breeding in Spain by private breeders and the Yeguda Militair was flourishing, with 900 foals registered in just two ywars 1932-1934. Also, the first Spanish Arabians were exported to America. These were bred by the Marques de Domecq and imported by James and Edna Draper in 1934, and included the mares *Meca, *Menfis *Nakkla , and *Barakat, as well as the stallion *Ras El Ayn . They proved highly influential in American breeding(four U.S. National Champion Mares trace in tail female to *Meca alone!) but left no straight Spanish descendants as *Ras El Ayn was not bred to the mares. A relative of theirs, Beni Amer, did breed on well in Spain, and she is the dam of the good broodmare sireFabuloso. Later American imports who descend from her include her granddaughter *Palabrita (brought to the U.S. in 1965), *Abha Jafif (imported to America in 1978), and *Rabadilla (imported to America in 1965). *Abha Jafif is the dam of National winner sire *Abha Nadir and*Rabadilla is the granddam of multi-national champion english pleasure WN Astra. The Spanish Civil War lasted six years, and during it (1935-1943) only 606 Arabians were registered. At least 700 Spanish Arabians died during the war, and the very important Veragua Stud was burned to the ground, and all breeding records were lost. Fortunately some of the mares and foals were moved to safety, but once the foals were weaned there was no way to fully identify them. Consequently, dam lines in many Spanish pedigrees end with the "Veragua mares"--a group of mares most of whose names begin with "Ver" and who are considered purebred but without specific pedigree records. For example, the noted Spanish sires Jacio and Galero trace to the Veragua mare Veracruz, born in 1934 but whose pedigree record was lost. All of these Veragua mares most likely have Crabbet lines due to the Duke's large importation from that stud.
The next group of Spanish Arabians to come to America were the Steen imports, brought in in two groups in 1965, but not registered until 1966. Charlie Steen had discovered uranium deposits in America, and the resulting wealth caused him to develop an Arabian ranch in Nevada. His imports comprised 24 mares and two colts, and sparked further interest in Spanish horses from American breeders. Most notable among the mares were *Agata III (dam of Canadian Reserve National Champion Stallion Talagato), National winner producers *Oromana and *Sabiduria and *Salina (all of whom were owned by entertainer Wayne Newton late in their lives). Both of the stallions of the importation, *Zurhama de Washoe and *Barich De Washoe, sired National winners. *Barich De Washoe was for many years one of the most important Spanish sires, with 28 National winners to his credit. His best cross was with linebred *Raffles mares, and his prepotency was probably the result of being a double grandson of Malvito (himself a descendant in sire line from the Polish import Ursus). Another importation in 1965 was that of John Rogers (famed as owner of the great Crabbet stallion *Serafix), and both of the mares, *Dinorah III and *Yamina, produced National winners by *Serafix.
Until the Steen group was resold, there was little publicity for Spanish imports until the World Arabian Horse Conference was held in Spain in 1972. There Jay Stream, president of W.A.H.O, saw the gorgeous stallion *AN Malik, who was named Spanish National Champion as a yearling. He imported him after the conference, and thus began the renaissance of Spanish breeding in America. *AN Malik, a son of Galero, became the all time leading Spanish sire of champions. Stream owned a number of Egyptian related mares as well as mares of American breeding, and he was a superb nick with them, as well as with the surviving Steen mares (several of which were then owned by Wayne Newton). Other notable Stream imports from Spain included *El Moraduke (a U.S. Top Ten Stallion and sire of U.S. National Champion Mare La Duquesa), *Osaka (a Canadian Top Ten English Pleasure winner and sire of multi-National Champion Dressage Windfal), and *GG Samir (sire of over 20 National winners). The Streams also imported the lovely mare *Abha Hamir++/ on lease from her breeder Marieta Salas, and she became a U.S. National Champion Mare and U.S. National Champion Pleasure Driving winner.
Another significant importer and breeder of Spanish and Spanish related Arabians was Bru Mar Ba Arabians of California. In addition to their ownership of *Barich De Washoe for much of his stud career, they imported *Vallehermoso, *Nilo, and *Aribid++--all sires of national champions in performance. They also imported Canadian National Champion Western Pleasure AOTR *Uranio+/ and *Zlabiya, whose daughter Bint Zlabiya (by *Barich De Washoe) produced the national halter winners Shaia and Brumarba Sunshain, both by the Egyptian import
*Simeon Shai. Another significant importer of Spanish Arabians was SZED Spanish Arabians, importes of the national winner sires *Szed Jador and *SZ Gual Ermes. SZED maintained farms in both Spain and America, as have the Stanleys of Stanley Ranch in Nevada. The Stanleys have been very active in promoting the Spanish Arabian in the show ring, as well as to owners of other breeds (they field hunt on their horses). Notable Stanley Ranch imports include the stallion *Diamante(sire of two national champions) and mares including the National winners *Iberia, *Bouganvillea, *Galaxia, *Jezabel(by *Diamante), *Joyamia(by *Diamante), and *Discoteca, all National winners in hunter/jumper or hunt pleasure competition.
Spanish Arabians today flourish in select breeding programs worldwide. Because of their concentrated gene pool, they have been particularly valuable as outcrosses. The blend of Spanish and Egyptian lines has been especially popular, with one of its most famous representatives the highly successful show horse (with national wins on three continents) *El Shaklan, also a sire noted worldwide for the beauty and presence of his get (1994 U.S. National Champion Stallion Eternety and 1997 U.S. National Champion Stallion*Fairview Klassique are grandsons of *El Shaklan). Spanish horses are appreciated for their calm temperaments, intelligence, correct conformation, huge eyes, and athletic ability. In recent years many pure Spanish horses have won on the national level in the hunter/jumper division and in hunt pleasure, as well as in western pleasure. Spanish related horses have done very well also, with such winners as 1998 U.S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion Magnum Psyche (whose dam is straight Spanish) and 1998 U.S. and Canadian National Champion Western Pleasure CA Hermoso++, who won his titles in his first year of showing under saddle, and who is also a U.S. Top Ten Stallion and Stallion AOTH.
All of our breed histories were commissioned by Jamal Arabians with Arlene Magid. No reproduction can be made from these without the express written consent of Jamal Arabians and the Author.
For More Information Please Contact Arlene Magid