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 was the dam of the following:
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)
References: (and required
reading for any pedigree buff)
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