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Spanish History
Ursus and His Dynasty
Edited with Photos by Lisa Goodwin-Campiglio

The following excerpt is from WAR HORSE TO SHOW HORSE by Gladys Brown Edwards.  It is from an article that Mrs. Draper wrote for the "Western Horseman" in the 1930's.

“On the finca of Jose M. Ybarra (owner of the Ybarra Steamship lines), a group of mares with foals was brought in for our inspection.  At this finca they wre using as their No. 1 stallion, the magnificent URSUS, at that time 24 years of age.  He came into the patio like a three-year-old, head and tail carried high.  One could never guess his age from his gait and appearance.  URSUS was imported from Russia by the Spanish Government, and sired many champions as well as some of the fastest Arabians of Spain.

The Ex-Duke of Veragua, Chistopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon, the only living descendant of the original Christopher Columbus) treated us to a truly gorgeous show of trained Arabians.  His stud was composed of animals from Arabia, England, Poland, and France, as well as Spain.  One of his most highly prized was a son of the above mentioned URSUS - SIRIO III by name.  Grand Champion Arabian Stallion of Spain in 1930.  At that time Cristobal was offered 150,000 pesetas ($15,000) for SIRIO III.

The Ex-Marquis of Demecq, perhaps the largest breeder of Arabians in Spain, and from whom we subsequently made our purchases, brought them out in splendid array.  For many years, the eminent horseman, Senor Don Pedro of Domecq and Rivero, (the Ex-Marquis of Domecq) has been most influential in improving the Arabian horse in Spain.  He influenced the importation of many fine horses, including ORNIS in 1912, foaled in Russia in 1909.  ORNIS is a three-quarter brother of the famous SKOWRONEK of England, being sired by IBRAHIM, out of SIKORA.  The dam of SIKORA was YASKOULKA, also the dam of SKOWRONEK.  Froof of the keen selection lies the fact that SKOWRONEK did not go to England for some time after ORNIS had be imported to Spain.”
© Draper/1930’s
Note: Typographical errors as published

Ursus 1908 bs (Dahman Amirch d.b. x Hagar) 

In the study of Ursus and his use, it is very important to remember the time frame and that Ursus, although imported by the Yeguada Militar, was not used by them to any extent.  They did however purchase several of his sons bred by Del Cid and Domecq. And of course they confiscated some of his bloodline from Veragua.  However, Ursus (imported in 1912) was not used until 1923.  Even then it was the private breeders who apparently found the desired "Nick" for him. 

In particular the same Jose Maria Ybarra who purchased Ursus as "Deshecho" in 1928---produced Gandhy in 1931.  Gandhy was sold to the YM in 1935 (Civil War years) but was not used by the YM until 1943.  Even then the Military bred sons were used for "Remounts".  It was not until the birth of Malvito 1949, bred by the Yeguada Militar, that this line was used on Military mares and then only two---Ural and Ociosa ---producing Cantinera II, Dacia and Comedia II.

Earlier, Habiente, a chestnut stallion born 1944, bred by the YM, was used extensively by the Military but for breeding horses for the Remounts. (Once in the Calvary Remounts stallions were not used for breeding, nor were they bred prior to being selected for Remounts. They were not gelded---they simply were never bred).

The Yeguada Militar did not use this line (Ursus) until well proven by the private breeders. And until they obtained a breeding quality stallion out of the mare line that they wanted which was Sambry---hence the chestnut stallion Maquillo and his dynasty. 
© EG-C / 2-II-03

Habiente cs (Gandhy X Veranda) 

Three Gandhy Sons: Habiente, Malvito and Maquillo
as commented on by Jim Porcher

"For me, from their pictures, these three horses are virtually interchangeable.  In the past, I have also felt this way about their get or the way the three produced and, thus, have always kind of looked at them as all three one and the same.  However, further study has lead me to believe that they were three distinct and different individuals and should be treated that way in pedigree study.  They are very similar horses but history has shown that they should be treated uniquely.

Malvito and Maquillo: Gandhy sons out of Nana-Sahib daughters

Malvito, bay stallion (Gandhy X Egina by Nana-Sahib)

Maquillo, chesthut stallion (Gandhy X Famula by Nana-Sahib)

And, when you look at their pedigree, it makes sense that they would look very much alike.  Malvito is out of a Nana-Sahib daughter, as is Maquillo.  It could be argued that Maquillo is line-bred Ursus since his dam was an Ursus granddaughter.  Habiente is out of Veranda, a "de Veragua" mare.  Since Nana-Sahib was a Razada son, one of the main sire's of the Duke's at the time, then it could be speculated that all three of these stallions are at least 3/4 brothers, maybe closer with Habiente and one of the other two, depending on who Veranda was actually by and out of.

 [According to Cristina Valdes (Yequada Valjuanete), the only stallions used during this time were Razada and Sirio III. Posters note] 

For me, I have always felt that these were the most important horses in modern Spanish pedigrees.  That is to say, these are the horses, and Congo, that modernized the Spanish horse of today. They are the ones that moved the type of horse away from that "just off the boat from Bagdad" look.  Granted, many of the older horses prior to these three were very nice horses (for their day), and played vital roles in the development of the Spanish horse but I really feel that these were the first of the modern type.

I attribute this to Nana-Sahib since he, or possibly his sire, shows up on all three of these pedigrees on the bottom side.  It was the breeding of Ursus, a very important horse but certainly not a horse that we would look twice at today, to the Nana-Sahib daughters that produced these stallions who were actually balanced, had correct rear angulation, good length of neck, laidback shoulders, and more triangular heads, thus laying the ground work for the Spanish horses to follow. The only other horse that had as much influence on the "look" of the Spanish horse would be Congo.  He was an Ursus grandson on the bottom side, so it could be argued that it is really Ursus whose influence is being felt here, but I think that you kind of have to look at pedigrees in eras and, certainly those old horses are a much more antique look than the horses like Malvito, Maquillo, Habiente, and Congo." 
©JP / 4-XI-04

Congo 1941 grey stallion (Ilustre X Triana By Ursus)

Jim further commented on Gandhy himself:

"This horse has no angulation in the stifle and it is too straight.  If he had any length of hip he would be considered post legged, and in my book, that is what I would call him.  In my opinion, the key to this horse as a sire is his dam.  Gomara, while ewe necked, light in bone and over at the knees, had some wonderful angles and good length in both the hip and shoulder, as well as a long neck, poorly placed and shaped as it was.  She also traces to Van-Dick so she gets a little gold star for having him in her pedigree, too.

Gandhy 1931 grey stallion (Ursus X Gomara)

When bred to Ursus, who is out of a Polish-bred mare, Gagar, and by Dagman-Amirch who was imported from the desert by the Poles, it seems that those structural problems which show up on this horse phenotypically, are not that prevalent when he is bred and that, genotypically, he throws back to his Polish heritage or at least he throws back to the correctly angled horses in his ancestry.

Granted all three of the stallions mentioned are somewhat blocky in the muzzle but we don't really see that poor rear angulation, or lack thereof, in Maquillo, Malvito or Habiente and they all three have much more hip than their sire.  The lack of depth of hip, on Gandhy, is probably from Ursus because he was also very light of hip although he did have a little more angulation than his son.

Gomara 1921 grey mare (Alfange X Bablionia)

For me, I would have to give a lot of credit to Gomara for the success of Maquillo, Malvito, and Habiente although I still go back and say that their success is directly related to the mares that they were out of and the genetic combination that happened when Gandhy was crossed on those particular mares.  Again, while Ursus was an important and powerful sire, it seems that the quality of Gomara plays a more important role here because she is the one with depth of hip and length of shoulder and well as more correct angulation and that angulation seems to show up more often than the post legged or lack of angulation of Gandhy.  And, while she was ewe-necked, Ursus fixed that by raising the placement up and giving those descendents beautifully shaped necks even though he is probably the source for that boxy muzzle."
©JP / 1-II-03

Lisa’s comment:

"This is a stallion which although he has long cannons especially in the hind, is higher in the croup than the withers, has a boxy muzzle and appears camped out in most photos produced, some of the most used and important breeding sires in Spain (Maquillo, Malvito, Habiente and Xamir). The dam lines used were desert bred mares: Sambry, Selimieh, Veranda (most probably Crabbet orientated) and the Polish import Kebrebassa, respectively." 
© EG-C / 1-II-03

Lisa further points out that Jose Maria de Ybarra's breeding program concentrated on the then currently popular lines imported from Poland. In the 1912 era he was using Fregoli, a son of Van-Dick.

Van-Dick also known as Wan Dyck, 1898 grey stallion imported from Poland.  His line survived only through the female side.

Vasco De Gama, 1885 grey stallion (Woltyzer X Comtesse Julie), sire of Van-Dick.

For the next decade from 1931 to 1940 he used Ursus and the Van-Dick son Tunecino, and outbred to Sawak the Second.  By 1935 he was using Gandhy also. Although he bred Soliman in 1938 (Ornis son), we must remember two things here. Soliman was a bay.  This was not a popular color at that time.  Nor presumably could he hold a candle to the stallions Jose Maria de Ybarra used during the following decade from 1941 to 1951.  These were Gandhy and the Gandhy son, Tetuan, with Ilustre being used as an outcross.

Tunecino 1912 grey stallion (Van-Dick X Farja I db.)

The last decade of his breeding program from 1951 to 1959/61, he used Congo and by 1957 was using Malvito.  As we know the present Ybarra lines are heavy in the Gandhy /Ursus/Polish breeding.  The desert lines were being used basically as an outcross to balance the pedigrees and the results with added refinement.  In that respect the Yeguada Ybarra e Ybarra is now using Garbo bloodlines which have smoothed out the overall topline, tightened the loin area, emphasized the strong hip and refined the head triangulation with much improvement in the muzzle area. 
© EG-C / 1-II-03

Garbo 1965 grey stallion (Orive X Baldosa by Maquillo)

Copyright © 2004 by the Spanish Arabian Horse Society. 
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Created 12/12/2004