Colon de Carvajal Marquesa de Avella
Valjuanete was once the oldest stud in Spain for the breeding of brave
bulls for the corrida – they were known as the “Veraguas” – which my uncle
inherited along with the stud. But he had little enthusiasm for the
bulls, so slowly but surely he sold them all and began to breed Arabian
horses. Along with his profound knowledge of horses – Lady Wentworth,
in The Authentic Arabian Horse, said he was “one of the world’s authorities
on Arabian Horses” – he had an excellent location for this work so the
venture bode well from the start.
Five Skowronek daughters:
Jalila (Rasima), Namira( Nessima), Nasieda (Nasra), Reyna (Rissla by Berk),
Shelifa (Selima). Dr.
Pino can be seen, second from left.
from the days of Veragua, with the barn and stables of Valjuanete in the
After carefully analyzing what was available in the 1920’s, Veragua decided
to focus on England for buying stock to cross with the Arabians he had
bought in Spain. After long discussions, aided no doubt by his high
powers of persuasion, he got the five SKOWRONEK daughters from Crabbet
Stud that he had chosen right from the beginning. I am told that
Lady Wentworth later wrote a note in her agenda saying that she never should
have sold those mares. Even though he paid very high prices, now,
with the perspective of time, one must say that the beauty and quality
he acquired was priceless.
This SKOWRONEK blood represents one of the most important components in
Spanish pedigrees today, but at the time it was concentrated in one stud:
REYNA (ex Rissla), who had been champion at the Richmond show in England
as a yearling; JALILA (ex Rasima); SHELIFA (ex Selima); NASIEDA (ex Nasra),
full sister to NASEEM; and NAMIRA (ex Nessima). Also from England,
from H.M.V. Clark, came one of our most famous stallions, RAZADA (Shahsada
x Ranya), champion of all breeds in the Spanish National Show of 1930.
Another English stallion he bought, ALJUN (Rasim x Mejamieh), was soon
exported to Portugal and has no descendants in Spain. In 1934 he
imported the four-year-old INSILLA (Naseem x Nisreen) from England, but
unfortunately this mare disappeared during the war.
(Skowronek x Rissla) had been champion as a yearling at the Richmond Show
before importation to Spain by Veragua. She was dam of KASHMIR, one
of Spain’s most important stallions.
taken at palace of San Mateo, Madrid
(Skowronek x Nessima), is shown in Madrid with Vincente Largo.
(Skowronek x Rasima), was dam of the outstanding stallion NANA SAHIB, who
founded one of the most important bloodlines in Spain.
In the old Spanish stud books we can find a long list of imports that Veragua
bought, but later resold. He kept only those completely suitable
for his breeding program, and was quite definite on that point. The
five daughters of SKOWRONEK, the mare INSILLA, and the stallion RAZADA,
together with the horses he bought from the Marques de Domecq, were the
foundation of his stud. The latter group of horses was purchased
when the Marques de Domecq sold out his stud completely, most of which
were bought by my uncle Cristobal. Thus he acquired his other main
stallion, SIRIO III (Urus x Siria), and some excellent mares such as ABADAN
(Egipto x Elmira), AIDA II (Seanderich x Incauta), AIXIA II (Tunecino x
Erato), BENI AMER (Fondak x Siria), CADIZ (Ursus x Euterpe), CAFTAN (Ursus
x Erato), GURNAK (Cairo x Incauta), and INCAUTA (Seanderich x Baraja).
mare AIXIA II (Tunecino x Erato), dam of ARAC III, photo in Valuanete
mare AIDA II (Seanderich x Incauta), born in 1928 and bought by Veragua
that same year.
Duke of Veragua in Valjuanete with the mare CADIZ (Ursus x Euterpe), an
To complete his foundation stock Cristobal Colon bought from the Yeguada
Militar the mares DERIVA (Van Dyke x Farja II), DUQUESA (Vissir x Motesen),
EUTERPE (Korosko x Zarife), and FIANZA (Korosko x Agata), and also some
others which he soon sold.
Again, it is well-known that he paid a high price for the mares of Domecq
– in fact, an old groom used to measure the sum by saying one could buy
three good cortijos (farms) with that money! But once again it was
worthwhile, and uncle knew that. With these purchases, together with
the mares from Yeguada Militar, he had at Valjuanete all the existing bloodlines
at that time in Spain.
I must emphasize that in those days all the breeding of Arabian horses
in Spain was in the hand of real connoisseurs – they all knew a lot about
horses, and it was because of them that we all now own the very good existing
breeding lines. Their level of knowledge set a very high standard
of quality, and that is why, although we have a small number of Arabians
compared to other companies, the percentage of outstanding individuals
is very high.
Veraqua was very clear as to what he wanted. I used to go to the
farm with him very often, and when he had made up his mind that a certain
horse did not satisfy him completely, he would point to it and say, “By
the way, I don’t want to see it tomorrow.” And the next morning the
horse would leave Valjuanete for good. He would get rid of not only
the individual, but all its produce.
The palace of San Mateo was our home in Madrid, and uncle had boxes for
the stallions and colts there. There was an indoor arena in which
to work the horses, and the most beautiful harness room, where has some
true museum pieces such as an ancient South American saddle with all metal
parts made of silver.
All the horses in Madrid were exercised every day, and those broken to
ride were ridden every day too. We used to sit in the house many
mornings in front of a big window on the arena and watch the horses.
We sometimes rode there too, buy my sisters and brothers and I preferred
to ride in the open spaces of the countryside.
RAZADA was a beautiful sight. He was trained in Haute Ecole and had
such presence that he was most impressive. RAZADA had a very strong
temper and did not like everybody. Poor Captain Xifra, the professional
rider who had to work him each morning! He was a magnificent rider,
but he was really in trouble sometimes with RAZADA! On the other
hand, the few people RAZADA liked could do anything they wanted with him.
(Shahzada x Ranya), shown as the Duke of Veragua accepted the Cup as
Champion, All Breeds, at the 1930 show.
One of these was Vincente Largo. Vincente was a young groom, the
fourth generation of the Largo family to work with my family. He
had been born in the Castle of Higares, my parents’ farm, as had his parents.
Vincente says he owes his life to RAZADA. When the Civil War started
in 1936, the house of San Mateo was expropriated by the militiamen of the
republic. Many persons were killed, including my uncle and my father.
But the horses were thought to be useful, so they kept the young groom
on – especially when they discovered that they could not handle RAZADA!
But one day a soldier shot RAZADA – we don’t really know why – and Vicente
disappeared on the spot. After the war, Vincente came back to Valjuanete
and stayed with us until he retired in 1982.
My uncle never had an automobile of his own. He said that as long
as he could avoid owning one, he would stick to his coaches and carriages.
He had a beautiful collection of them and his coachmen were known all over
Madrid. They were able to execute the most difficult maneuvers and
gallop into the narrowest places without a scratch.
My uncle watched the male horses every morning in Madrid, and then hired
a car almost every afternoon to take him to Valjuanete.
Sometimes we accompanied our uncle on these trips, and whenever we commented
on the beauty of his horses or that his immediate answer was, “God bless
him!” We teased him a lot about this, because he never blessed us!
Dr. Pino, the veterinarian, was a very important and familiar part of the
stud. He visited every day, whether the horses needed it or not.
I remember once he looked in on a new import and found him terribly sick.
Dr. Pino prescribed a diet of fruits which unfortunately the poor horse
never got to eat because he died shortly thereafter. The funny part
of this incident was that my mother – who knew nothing about the horse
– went to my father and told him she was quite worried that the cook was
getting too old and had lost his head, because he had ordered an unbelievable
amount of fruit, far too much from any point of view!
I could tell hundreds of stories about my uncle and his horses, but perhaps
this anecdote best reveals his knowledge and study of every detail of horses.
Some visitors came to visit him, and they purported to be experts on the
Arabian horse, though they were so only up to a point. So my uncle
brought out two excellent colts that were very similar, and asked his visitors
which was the better. They discussed the matter for a long time but
finally gave up, as it was extremely hard to judge. So my uncle told
them which was the better, and they asked why. He answered quietly
that they were both equal except for one thing: one had a couple
of millimeters more distance between the eyes!
When our civil war started in 1936, as I said before both my uncle and
my father were assassinated in Madrid. It was the month of July,
so the stallions were back in Madrid after their brief stay at Valjuanete
to service the mares. The mares at the stud, which had become one
of the front lines in the war, were taken by the army and sent to Moratella
At the end of the war I inherited Valjuanete. I remember my first
visit there with my husband in 1939 – the highest wall left standing was
about two feet high. In spite of the disastrous state of things,
I wanted to continue breeding.
My brothers and sister sold their part of the horses to the Army, but I
recovered the maximum number I could take at that moment – eight mares
– and started all over again. REYNA and JALILA, my two favorite SKOWRONEK
daughters, were still alive, but were in very bad shape, so I could not
afford to take them. The only mare I got back from the very old stock
was CAFTAN (Ursus x Erato). Vicente Largo came back, and from the
Castle of Higares that then belonged to two of my brothers came Angel Alonso,
together with his father who had worked for my father before in Higares,
and two of his brothers. So with all of these marvelous people we
started the task of reconstructing Valjuanete, a task not finished yet.
The first thing we rebuilt was some of the box stalls. There was
so much to do for the horses, so much machinery to buy, an irrigation system
and so on, that we did not start to build our house until 1927, almost
20 years later!
From the beginning we always tried to get stallions to Valjuanete that
were straight Veragua. From the Yeguada military we got three stallions
that had been born in Valjuanete – IFNI (Razada x Reyna), NANA SAHIB (Razada
x Jalila), and KASHMIR (Razada x Reyna). Later on, we got such wonderful
stallions as KARABE (Nana Sahib x Rizosa), JAECERO (Barquillo x Egina),
HABON (Nana Sahib x Yalina), and HABANO (Nana Sahib x Saboya), which we
alternated with stallions we had bred by that time.
(Razada x Jalila) as a young colt. He became one of the most important
stallions in Spain.
For 1966 we had the luck to have MAQUILLO (Gandhy x Famula) at Valjuanete.
We wanted some GANDHY blood, results have proven that MAQUILLO has
been as good or even better than his sire. MAQUILLO is the sire of
MOTASEN II, one of our loveliest mares. Daniel Gainey saw MOTASEN
II when she was young and was quite interested in her. He called
her the mare with the feminine face, and he was right, that is her look.
MOTASEN II is the dam of *RUMADII, now in the USA, and of INGLESIA, a marvelous
grey filly, National Reserve Champion of Spain in 1981 and first in the
1981 European Championships. INGLESIA will be a very important and
basic part of our breeding program in the future.
After MAQUILLO, we had one of his sons, FARBO (ex Zara). But the
stallion we really wanted was being used by the Yeguada Militar, and for
the longest time they wouldn’t let him go. In the meantime we got
one of his sons, IALU (Zancudo x Ociosa) for one year. And then the
great news came! We could have ZANCUDO!
So in 1973 ZANCUDO (Congo x Yaima) arrived at Valjuanete. He was
not well and did not look well, and we were rather scared. But we
soon found out that being a horse of the desert, ZANCUDO was not suited
to the humid climate in which he had been, and after one month in Valjuanete’s
very dry climate he recovered completely. He was strong as a young
colt and we could forget all the instructions we had been given.
The Yeguada left him for the winter in another dry area of Spain, their
stallion depot at Alcala de Henares, so all his problems disappeared.
(Congo x Yaima), shown at age 19 at Valjuanete. ZANCUDO belonged
to the Yeguada Militar and has been one of the most successful stallions
of more recent days. He served at Valjuanete for five years, and
they have kept 16 daughters and one son, the largest group of ZANCUDO descendants
at a single stud. ZANCUDO died in 1980.
ZANCUDO served in Valjuante for five years. He was a wonderful stallion
that not only transmitted his most beautiful movement, long neck, immense
eyes and a long list of other good things, but his affable temperament
as well. He was a lovely horse with a bright intelligence – he knew
very well when he was being watched and at that moment would start to show
off. He knew he was beautiful, and liked to stand looking great –
mostly when there were any visitors he did not know!
He left us good memories and a great number of descendants, some of which
have been exported to the USA. We have kept one son, RASHID (ex Salina),
who is just like his sire, and 16 marvelous daughters. He was the
sire of the beautiful chestnut stallion KARIM (ex Zaila), National Reserve
Champion of Spain in 1979, and of INGLESIA, and of ZAILINA, a full sister
to KARIM who like her brother has the most delightful action. ZAILINA
was European Reserve Champion in 1980 at Ascot (England). She is
also an important part of our future breeding program.
III (Sirio III x Holail) was exported in 1935.
(Razada x Incauta) was born in 1930 and exported to Venezuela at the age
RITLA (Jeruan x Rissla) was imported from Crabbet in 1934, Veragua did
not breed her and she has no descendants in Spain.
(Vilayeto x Euterpe) with Vicente Largo in Valjuanete.
foal from the days of Veragua.
young colt ALMUDAFAR II (Sirio III x Incauta), foaled 1934, was a favorite
of the Duke’s,
disappeared in the War.
III (Almudafar x Aixa) as a young colt, at the San Mateo Palace in Madrid.
(Siro III x Fianza) as a young filly. She was dam of FAMULA who was
dam of MAQUILLO, one of the best stallions Spain has had.
(Razada x Reyna) as a yearling, photo taken in the San Mateo Palace in
© 2004 by Cristina Valdes
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