By: Molly Stanley
From an address to the Arabian Breeder's Association, Scottsdale, Arizona,
February (? Circa 1995 - 2000).

Introduction:  Molly and Dave Stanley have been breeding the Spanish Arabian for three decades.  In that time, Molly and Dave maintained a breeding farm in Spain, as well as in the USA, and have made fifty-five trips to Spain to look after their horses there and in further study of the important Spanish lines.  Overall, Molly and Dave have owned about five hundred Spanish Arabians, and have imported ninety-nine to the USA.  Arabians produced by their breeding program have won over 80 National titles and High Score Awards, with a specialization in the Sport Disciplines. Molly will speak about some of the major sire lines of Spain.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Do we love a mystery?  Mystery stories can be good, but mystery names in our horse's pedigree can be alarming.   If you have no mental picture of that horse, or of the horse's lineage, it creates a type of 'black hole' in imagining offspring of that horse.  Pedigrees are important in making good breeding decisions.  Each of the names represents an animal that makes a genetic contribution to your foal.  I would like to make a slight change to an old saying, "The only inevitable things are death, taxes, and genetics."
You simply cannot escape them, so you may as well make them work towards your breeding goals.

After so many years have passed since the formation of the Spanish Stud Book in 1847 (which makes the SSB the oldest Stud Book), we can easily see that many stallions had a formative part in creating the modern Classical Spanish Arabian.  However, two major sire lines have emerged over the years as most influential, from two stallions quite different in color and type.  Those two stallions were:

1. URSUS, bay, a Kuhaylan,
born in Polish-Russia in 1908.
2. SEANDERICH, grey, a Saklawy,
born in Asiatic Turkey in 1912.

By this time, virtually all Spanish Arabians have both of these sire lines in their pedigree, so it doesn't seem as if there is an easy solution to the mystery.  But if we follow further, more becomes clear. We can take a look at these two sire lines in the form of photos of some representative offspring through many generations, and to the present day, as it should help you to 'see' the Spanish Arabian.  These sires (and others) certainly are important.  And, we must give all credit due to the approximately twenty-six mare lines
that have helped to shape the Classical Spanish Arabian we know, respect and love today.

The horses in the photos are the result of judicious and thoughtful breeding for many generations.  Also, Spain has had a system that allows private (Recognized) Breeders in Spain to select stallions from the Yeguada Militar for use with their mares, so most stud farms have seen strong influence from the Military horses. Dave and I were made 'Recognized Breeders' in Spain, as we had a herd of more than twenty-five mares, and so had several excellent Military stallions at our farm in Spain over the years. We were very fortunate to see all the Arabians in Spain through the graciousness of the Spanish breeders many times through the next two decades, and have always been impressed with the overall quality and temperament of the horses and their tendency to breed in a predictable way, due to their line bred pedigrees.

Here are some of the horses that have proven to have been most influential.  The sire lines presented here are:
(Click on horse name to see descendents.)


You can clearly see (although we admit to choosing offspring that typify the look of that sire) that this mystery can be solved.  It is very clear that the pre-potent sires have left us a map to follow - it only depends upon your preference, which will be evident to you from the photos - do you like the SEANDERICH or the URSUS look?  And also keep in mind that genetic traits, from phenotype to temperament and more, can be 'color linked' - that is an unending study.

The Spanish Arabian horse has always been bred by the Military State Stud, (Yeguada Miltar, or YM), and also by a small number of dedicated private breeders.  The number of Arabians in Spain varies, but is generally about two thousand.  The breeders host a National Championship Show most years.

It was in Spain that the techniques of Dressage were developed (Spanish Riding School).  The basics of reining and working cow were developed as methods to evade the bull by mounted bullfighters (Rejoneadores).  The most extreme form of jumping was practiced centuries ago, by the rejoneadores, who sometimes jumped their horse over the top of a charging bull.  We have seen this innate ability to handle unusual situations many times in the Spanish Arabian horse.

These good genes have been used successfully in out-crossing the Spanish Arabians, both to other lines of Arabians and also with other breeds of horses.  The Classical Spanish Arabian surely has made a profound impact on the Arabian world.  This quote from the article, 'Beware the Genetic Dead End', which speaks in favor of maintaining particular bloodline groups.

"One very good rationale for breeding pure is to protect the distant breeds as a unique source of repeatable and predictable combinations in cross breeding programs.  We are all wise to save homogenous groups because the loss of genetic diversity boxes in future choices.  This philosophy means that breeds need to be kept pure, need to be kept distinct. need to be valued for their uniqueness. We need excellent crosses, and we need
purebreds to produce that."  Dr. Phillip Spoonberg, DVM, PhD. - Equus magazine.
Note: Dr. Spoonberg is speaking of breeds, not sub groups within a breed.

For those interested in Spanish pedigrees, the sire line photos that you see today should resolve some of the mystery for you.  If you wish to go further, you can be your own detective by searching for particular names that have photos available.  We recommend your search of the SAHS (Spanish Arabian Horse Society) website where you will find a treasure trove of information at, many photos of very old ancestors, and many links regarding Spanish Arabians, worldwide. You can also look at (the encyclopedia of the Arabian Horse). More can be found
at, click on 'Ancestors'.

Note from Molly Stanley in 2008:  There are other stallions that would be an interesting study.  One stallion that definitely would be added to this article, had it been written today, would be the YM stallion ZACATECO (MARMOL X ESCALA II, by MAQUILLO), winner of the first WAHO trophy awarded in Spain, and rated First in the Stallions Book of the Yeguada Militar.

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