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Spanish Arabian Horses
by Sharon Meyers 1996

One of the oldest Arabian registries in the world is the Spanish Registry. Their stud book dates back to 1847 and the first registered Arabian was a bay colt named Abayoul db.  The Spanish Military (War Office) were in charge of horse breeding for many decades and the Yeguada  Militar Stud was initially established  to improve the local Spanish horse population. Of course, Arabians were the obvious choice for upgrading these horses, and for this purpose,  Arab horses were imported from the desert, France and Poland. Then in 1908 the decision was taken to create a Purebred Arabian breeding herd. Spain was to reap a wonderful harvest from their thoughtfully selected Arabian seed stock. Even so, there were several distressing episodes which sorely tested this country’s fledgling breeding endeavours.  Take for instance the importation of Ursus (Dahman  Amir db x Gagar) from the stud of Count Branicki, Poland in 1912.  This dark bay stallion was purchased by the Yeguada Militar for the princely sum of 60,000 pesetas - an absolute fortune for those days! Back in Spain during a sitting of Parliament, a socialist member asked the Minister of War why such a high price was paid for a horse? The Minister stated he had no knowledge of the purchase.  Due to the massive uproar created by the Opposition over this statement, the Minister resigned, and the final repercussion was the fall of the Spanish Government!

The tragic murder of the Duke of Veragua during the Civil War (1936 - 1939) was another devastating set back for Spanish breeders.  Acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest authorities on the Arabian horse, the Duke of Veragua was also the last  male -line descendant of Christopher Columbus. The foundations for the Duke’s Valjuanete Stud were acquired from Marques de Domecq, which comprised the stallion Sirio 111 (Ursus  x Siria) and a  handful of top-class mares. Three mares were obtained from the Yeguada Militar.  The boisterous grey stallion Razada (Shahzada x Ranya) was purchased from H.M.V Clark’s Courthouse Arabian Stud in England.  Interestingly, Razada’s sire Shahzada (Mootrub x Ruth Kesia) was exported to Australia, where his descendants are still sought after by astute Endurance competitors today. The Duke also obtained five precious Skowronek daughters from Lady Wentworth of the Crabbet Stud, England, along with the mares Insilla (Naseem x Nisreen), Amusheh (Rasim  x Arusa), and Ranya  1 (Nasik x Riyala). Sadly, many of these splendid horses perished in the Civil War. Nationalist troops rescued the remainder of the Duke’s herd and moved them to the Yeguada Militar in Cordoba. Many were eventually purchased by the Yeguada from the Duke’s heirs. One such stallion was the celebrated Nana Sahib (Razada x Jalila). His stable mate turned out to be Barquillo and for some obscure reason these two stallions hated each other.  Eventually they broke loose from their stables and confronted each other in mortal combat. It was impossible to separate them and the tragic consequence was the destruction of Nana Sahib due to two broken front legs.

At the beginning of this century the Yeguada Militar crossed the  imported desert bred stock with their Poland horses and one of the  mares which resulted from this successful  combination of bloodlines was the grey Divina, born in  1918. She was the third foal of the bay 1907 mare Navin (Mustafa db grey 1898 x Fatima db grey 1903).
Divina’s sire was the handsome grey 1898 Wan Dick (Vasco Da Gama x Hela), bred by the Branicki family of Poland, where he was registered as Van  Dyck. Wan Dick was imported into Spain by the Yeguada  Militar in 1908 and died there in 1925.  His sire line went back to Wernet, a desert bred grey sold by the dealer Glioccho  to the Russian General Naruszkin.  In 1836 Wernet was acquired by Count Wladyslaw Branicki for  Bialocerkiew.

Divina was the dam of the following:
• ILUSTRE,  a 1923 grey stallion by Seanderich
• JABA, a 1924 grey  mare by Eco - exported to Cuba in 1929
• LABERINTO, a 1925  bay stallion by Eco
• MARAVEDI, a 1926 grey stallion by Eco
• OBLONGA, a 1928 bay mare by Eco
• RABINA, a 1930 chestnut mare by Bagdad

Divina’s influence through the Spanish bloodlines was mainly due to her son ILUSTRE and her daughter RABINA.  Ilustre sired the grey 1941 handsome stallion Congo (from  Triana). Congo went on  to sire many influential horses, including the  1952 grey stallion Tabal (from Hilandera) and the  1958 chestnut stallion Zancudo (from Yaima), who was a  prolific sire. Two of Zancudo’s well-known sons were  the grey full brothers Galero (from Zalema) 1965 and Jaguay 1968. Tabal sired Jacio, a grey 1968 stallion from the beautiful  mare Teorica and Jacio was  arguably one of Spain’s greatest sires.

Divina’s daughter Rabina had three foals and her first was Barquillo, a 1938 grey stallion by Eco (Seanderich  x Varsovia).  Barquillo was the sire of the stallion Orive (from Galatife) and the grandsire of the grey 1965 stallion Garbo (Orive/Baldosa).  Barquillo also sired some  particularly lovely mares  which included Teorica (from Galatife), Ociosa (from Imelina)  and her full sister Uyaima, the  dam of the famous mare ESTOPA.  Barquillo’s sire Eco (from  Varsovia) was a grey 1919 horse who  was sired by Seanderich, a grey born in 1902 and imported by the  Yeguada Militar in 1908 from Baghdad. Seanderich was sent to a stallion Depot where he remained for many  years before finally ending up at the Yeguada Militar itself, well after his  son Eco was entrenched there.

May the world rejoice in the legacy which Divina and her descendants have bequeathed us, as these horses  have been the touchstone of Spanish and Spanish-related breeding  establishments  universally. Some have even reached legendary status. To catalogue all these horses would be extremely time consuming. Listed below is a  small representation of these bloodlines - which I am sure  any Arabian enthusiast would  instantly recognise.

• ESPERADA (Tabal x Berlanga)
• ESTOPA (Tabal x Uyaima)
• EL SHAKLAN (Shaker  El Masri x Estopa)
• ESTASHAN (Malik x Estasha)
• AMIR EL SHAKLAN (El Shaklan x Sascha)
• SIDI  BRAHIM (Jacio x Dalia IV)
• FIGUROSO (Tabal x Bahia 11)
• GG SAMIR (Jacio  x Alhaja)
• AN  MALIK (Galero x Ispahan)
• GHADAMES (Jacio x Lopaz)
• MAKOR (Galero  x Chavali)

References:  (and required reading for any pedigree buff)
Maxwell, Joanna (1983)SPANISH ARABIAN HORSE FAMILIES  1898-1978,Gloucestershire,  Alexander Heriot & Co. Ltd.
Fahlgren, Britta (1991)THEARABIAN HORSE FAMILIES OF  POLAND,Gloucestershire,  Alexander Heriot & Co. Ltd. 

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