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Spanish History
The Romance of Galero
by Molly Stanley


    In 1492, America was accidentally discovered by Spanish explorers.  In 1972, Spain’s Arabian horses were rediscovered by Americans, but it was no accident.
     The horse who sparked a renewed interest in Spanish Arabians that had begun with the Draper and Steen importations (of 1934 and 1965, respectively) was the Galero son *AN Malik.  *AN Malik was imported from Spain in 1972 by Jay and Dorothy Stream to their Greengate Farms in California.  During the following decade, more than two hundred Arabian horses were imported to the United States from Spain.  Of these, many represented the Galero dynasty.
     Galero was a grey stallion foaled in April, 1965, at the Cortijo de Vicos breeding farm near Jerez, Spain.  His sire was the chestnut stallion Zancudo, one of the most extensively used breeding stallions in Spain.  Galero’s dam was the grey mare *Zalema.


Galero, possibly the greatest sire of Spanish Arabians in modern times, his time was cut short.

     Like the other colts born that year at the breeding farm owned by the Spanish government’s Yeguada Militar, *Zalema’s 1965 colt was given a name starting with the letter “G,” and he was transferred with them at weaning time to an adjacent farm.  Then, at the age of two, the young stallions were moved to the stallion selection center at Jerez, where they were to be tested for athletic ability and speed, and evaluated for Arabian type and quality.
     Since the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, Arabian horse breeding in Spain has been controlled by the military, which maintains breeding and registration records as well as operating breeding farms.  In addition, there are eight military depots scattered throughout Spain.  The officers in charge of the depots choose their new breeding stallions from those at the selection center, but a private breeder also may petition to use a particular stallion at his or her own breeding farm for a limited number of breeding periods.
     Thus, Maripaz Murga de Heredia requested, and was granted, the use of the young stallion Galero.  When she saw him at the stallion selection center, he was a dark, dappled grey two-year-old with black mane and tail.  His presence and breathtaking trot particularly impressed her and, in 1968, Galero was bred to all the mares at her farm.  One of these was Chavali, who produced a colt named Makor the following year.  Later, this Galero son was used for breeding in Great Britian before being sold to the United States, where he is registered as *Makorr.


*Makorr, the sire of many champions in many different countries.
He was from Galero's first foal crop and an example of things to come.

     In 1969, Galero returned to the farm of Maripaz Murga de Heredia.  That year, among the mares bred to him was Ispahan (Alhabac x Chavali).  She was sold to Jean Marc Valerio, for whom she produced *AN Malik the following year.


*AN Malik, a Galero son and a Supreme Champion of Spain, 1972,his get have won over 20 National Championships or Top Tens in the States.  Undoubtedly the leading sire of Spanish Arabians.

     The Spanish government had the use of Galero the next breeding season and, in 1971, he went to La Aldara farm, owned by Diego Mendez.  The star of that season was the 1972 colt, Motamid (x Dacia, a Malvito daughter).  In 1975, Motamid won the three-year-old stallion class at the Spanish show.  In the late 1970’s, Motamid was loaned to Morocco for breeding.
     In 1972 and 1973, the military again bred Galero to its own and outside mares.  Then, from 1974 through 1978, Galero was assigned to the breeding farm of Luis Domecq Rivero.  Among the stallions sired by Galero during this period were Aljauf (x Freila, by Garbo) and Alambor (x Jaiba, by Garbo).  Aljauf, foaled in 1975, was Spanish National Champion in 1978 and won the World Cup Championships in Sevilla in 1981.  Sadly, both Aljauf and Alambor died during treatment for piroplasmosis, pending exportation to the United States.
     Almoradux and his full brother, *Brasil, both chestnut sons of Galero (x Fatima, by Bahram), were more fortunate.  Both were successfully exported to the United States.  *Brasil, imported by Sitting Rock Spanish Arabians and now at Cinderella Farms in Scottsdale, Arizona, was Spanish National Champion stallion and has been an English Pleasure champion in America.  Almoradux, registered as *El Moraduke in the United States, was U.S. top ten stallion and Canadian top ten stallion in 1979.


 *El Moraduke, by Galero and a winner of 15 Championships and Top Ten US & Canada.
Sire of the Reserve National Champion Mare, La Duquesa.

     *Ataturk (Galero x Acacia, by Corinto) was foaled in 1977 at the Manas de la Hoz breeding farm in northern Spain, whose owner, Maria Angeles Bravo de Delclaux, had purchased his dam in foal to Galero.  A few years later, *Ataturk was imported by Collins Country Arabians of Rancho, California, which had previously purchased the ill-fated Alambor.
     In 1979, Galero was again used by the military, but was bred to just a few mares.  At the end of the breeding season, he was returned to Diego Mendez, where he spent the 1971 season.  Three Galero foals were produced the following year as the result of late-season breedings by Mendez.  In 1980 and 1981, Galero was again used at Mendez’ La Aldara farm, but was assigned to the Mazarrazin stud farm of Antonio Saez de Montagut for 1982.
     During February and March, 1982, Galero settled eight mares at Mazarrazin.  Unfortunately, the breeding season was cut short and Galero’s spectacular career as a sire ended suddenly with his disappearance during the evening of March 28, 1982.
     The farm staff of the respected and admired Yeguada Mazzarazin finished their nightly rounds, and retired for the evening.  Security at the Yeguada was tight – the success of the various agricultural enterprises engendered certain risks in the south of Europe, and though not fearful, the staff was aware of the weight of their responsibilities.
     As the early dawn light crept into the courtyard of the Yeguada, the first stirrings of the awakening staff were frozen by the news – the stables housing the premier stallion Galero and two junior stallions were empty.  The sound of galloping hooves was heard. One of the younger sons had escaped and returned in a lather, a piece of broken halter still hanging from his head.
     The alarm was sounded.
     The future of the Spanish Arabians was forever altered.
     Fields, roads and nearby farms were canvassed to no avail.  The Guardia Civil , an excellent police force charged with patrolling the rural portions of Spain, were called.  Panel trucks and vans capable of transporting horses were halted and searched.  Every conceivable avenue was inspected and put under surveillance; the slaughterhouses processing horsemeat for shipment to France were notified with a description of the handsome Galero and his indentification mark – the YM brand of the Military State Stud of Spain.
     The frontiers and borders were put on alert; the news of the disappearance spread like a shock wave across Spain.  Everyone plunged into a concerted effort to find Galero quickly.
     That the initial disappearance left no trace was a deep surprise to the searchers.  That despite the best efforts of the police, the military investigators and the civilians, no clues as to the present whereabouts of the beautiful and remarkable stallion was simply incredible.
     Galero belonged to the people of Spain, and as the frustration of the search continued, the principle of honor began to spur the investigators anew.
     Facilities of all breeds were instructed to post watchers for the smallest clue, any indications that Galero might yet be found.  Each passing day had a double edge; renewed expectations were met with shattering disappointment.
     As the weeks grew into months, the horse fraternity of Spain assumed an attitude of stunned disbelief that such a noticeably beautiful Arabian stallion carrying the brand of the Military could remain undetected in all of Spain.
     The speculation that provided the desperate hope of the continued search now bore down ominously on the disheartened:  was it possible that the search had become too intense?  Was the price of detection so great that the only alternative now facing the thieves was the quiet destruction of this priceless treasure?
     As the years have passed, waning hope began to dim and, finally, flickered out.
     Galero would be twenty this year. (note: this article was published in Arabians, June, 1985)  His portraits bear mute testimony to a refined and elegant presence.  Spanish breeders note with a mixture of excitement tinged with sorrow the extreme type and delicate sculpture of his profile; deep and powerful musculature with a swan like neck arching gracefully from a balanced shoulder.  Strong loins and deep hip; the finely molded legs that bore his ancestors across the harsh deserts.  And the eyes, they say, magnificent, deep and dark eyes that viewed and reflected the mysteries of his centuries-old blood.
     Fortunately, Galero’s story does not end with his mysterious disappearance.  His get are said to have inherited many of their sire’s best qualities, including beauty, good disposition, long neck and level croup.
     Galero’s trotting action, with good extension of the forelegs and exceptionally good flexion of the hocks, also has been inherited by many of his descendants.  This high-stepping trot often is attributed to Congo, who sired both Galero’s sire and dam.
     Congo was bred in Spain by D. Jose Maria de Yabarra and sold to the National Stud in 1945.  Congo’s sire, Illustre, was sired by the desertbred Seanderich and out of Divina, a daughter of the Polish stallion Wan-Dick.  Congo’s dam, Triana, was out of Facina who, like the dam of Illustre, was a Wan-Dick daughter.  Triana was sired by Ursus, another Polish import, and Triana’s dam was out of Motasen, a desert-bred mare.
     Zancudo, sire of Galero, was one of Congo’s best known sons, Zancudo’s dam, Yaima, was by Camelo, a Nowik son.  Nowik was imported to Spain from Poland in 1908.  His sire was desertbred and his Polish dam, Yancharka, was by Hussar and out of Swietna.  Imported to Spain by the government, Nowik was later owned by the Marquis of Domecq and then by the Duke of Veragua.
     Galero’s dam, *Zalema, also was sired by Congo.  Her dam, Galatife, was a famous broodmare who was sired by Gandhy (Ursus x Gomara) and out of Veracruz.  Veracruz was one of seventeen fillies bred by the Duke of Veragua whose pedigrees were lost during the Spanish Civil War.  After the Duke was murdered in 1936 and his breeding records destroyed, his surviving horses came under the protection of the government.  During this unsettled period, the Vergua foals were weaned and, after they had been separated from their dams, indentification was impossible.  Because of the fine bloodlines owned by the Duke, however, the fillies were retained for breeding and given names starting with “Vera” (for Veragua).  In addition to many other fine Arabians, the Duke had imported five Skowronek daughters to Spain, including full sisters to Naseem and to *Rifala (dam of *Raffles).  Veracruz was undoubtedly a fine well-bred individual, although her bloodlines are unknown.  Unfortunately, she produced only one foal (Galatife).  However, Galatife produced ten foals that later became important in Spanish breeding programs.
     Galero’s pedigree is a blend of the two most prominent sirelines in Spain, representing both Seanderich and Ursus in almost equal balance.  The stallion Seanderich appears twice in the fifth generation and once in the sixth, while Ursus is found three times in the fifth generation.
     Seanderich was a grey desert-bred stallion imported from Bagdad in 1908.  He was unusual in that both his sire and dam belonged to the same family strain (Saklawi).  Because of his type, prepotency, and widespread influence on Spanish breeding programs, Seanderich has been called ‘the Skowronek of Spain.”
     Ursus was imported to Spain in 1912, when the Spanish government purchased him from his Polish breeders, Countess Maria Branitzkaya, a daughter of Count Potoki (breeder of Skowronek).  The sire of Ursus was a desert-bred stallion that had been imported to Poland; his dam was Gagar (by Gamganego).
     Galero’s pedigree also reveals linebreeding to a third stallion, the Polish import Wan-Dick (Van Dyck) who appears six times in the sixth and seventh generations through his daughters Divina (twice), Facina (twice), Asiatica, and Varsovia.  Although used extensively for breeding in Spain, Wan Dick (Vasco de Gama x Hela) is today only found in Spanish pedigrees through his female descendants.
     The Spanish Stud Book (Vol. XXXIX) lists the following Galero sons foaled in Spain:  Aamir, Abab, Abakan, Aben, Abha-Pahlu, Abigal, Ab-Jaraf, Alambor, Aljauf, Almanzor, *Almoradux (*El Moraduke), Arbekoa, Ataturk, Brasil, Casabel, Cen, Diaman, Don Diego, Elat, El-Hania, El-Namib, Fagal, Freigal, Jartum, Kadsura, Karaffs, Karcade, *Makor (*Makorr), *Malik (*AN Malik), *Malikitoa, Maliknoa, Moralejo, Motamid, Navarone, Negal, Nogalero, Ocabo, Octabo, Pakistan, Panama, Postosi, Rif, Salabar, Tartufo, Tudor, *Vendavales, Zahor, and Zireg.  *Greengate Galero, another Galero son, was imported in utero and foaled in the United States.
     Of the Galero sons imported to America, *AN Malik (x Ispahan) is the most famous.  *AN Malik, of course, got a head start on the other Galero sons by being the first imported.  To date, the get of *AN Malik have won more than one hundred show championships and had several wins at the national level in Canada and the United States.  Among his famous daughters are AN Marietta (AN Fayrosa), U.S. reserve national champion mare and Canadian top ten mare in 1978; AN Mi Juanella (AN Fayrosa), Canadian top ten mares in 1979; and WN Mi Kerida (x *Sabiduria), Canadian reserve national champion mare in 1979.  The latter mare later sold for $500,000 at auction, at the time a record price.
     *AN Malik also is well represented by champion sons.  AN Mago (x CC Montessa) was U.S. top ten stallion and Canadian top ten stallion in 1980.  LH Garcia (x LH Tasha) won the U.S. national stallion futurity class in 1984.  The appropriately named Top Contender (x Rho-Sabba) was U.S. national champion futurity stallion the year before that and was reserve champion stallion at this year’s Scottsdale show, making him a top contender for the U.S. national championship in 1985.  In addition, this stallion’s young sons and daughters are already doing well in halter classes.
     In addition to *Malikitoa, who is owned by Lasma Arabians of Scottsdale, *AN Malik has another full brother, Jaguay.  Jaguay is an important sire in Spain, whose chief representative in the United States is *Nilo (x Arilla), Spanish National Champion Stallion in 1979.
     Several Galero daughters, including *Namibia, *Otra, *Rahh, *Abha Scheherezade, and *Thaktika, have been imported to America for use in Spanish breeding programs.  However, it is the Galero sons, who are being used in both straight Spanish breeding programs and for outcrossing, who are making the greater impact on Arabian horse breeding in America today and promise to continue doing so in the future.


Octavo, a Galero son bred by the Yequada Militar and a premier sire in Spain.


Thamil, a Galero grandson and numerous time National Champion Stallion of Spain
as well as the sire of several multi-National Champions, including Borneo.

Copyright 2004 by the Spanish Arabian Horse Society. 
All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author. 

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