This article on Baroque horses provides lots of background information on Andalusians, Lusitanos, Lippizans, and Friesians.
When I first began looking into buying an Andalusian horse, I had to do a lot of research to understand more about the breed and the registries. Hopefully, I can explain some of what I have learned so make this more understandable. First of all, the terms Andalusian and PRE (Pura Raza Espanola) are pretty much interchangable. There are people who will argue that one is more appropriate than the other, but for the most part they refer to the same horse.
There are basically three registries for Spanish horses: ANCCE, IALHA, and the Foundation for the Pure Spanish horse. ANCCE is the Asociacion Nacional de Criadores de Caballos Pura Raza Espanola. This is the original registry from Spanish. This registry does not register any horses that are not pure Spanish. The IALHA is the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association. This group registers Andalusians, Lusitanos (Portuguese horses), as well as half-Andalusians. This registry is based in the US. Another registry based in the US is the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse. This group is more similar to ANCCE in that it does not register crosses.
It is also important to know that both ANCCE and the Foundation “inscribe” horses when they are first registered (usually shortly after birth). Then later they are “revised” to determine if they are of breeding quality. If they are shown to be of breeding quality, their papers will be marked “apto”. Often a seller may say that they have the “carta” in hand, that is the ANCCE registration. This is important because the carta usually takes time to process (and it’s proof that the horse is truly Pura Raza Espanola). All registries require horses to have DNA on file and be parentage verified, which means that their DNA matches with their parents. The IALHA papers will be marked with an S for Spanish horse or P for Portuguese horses.
I personally am a Board of Director member of IALHA for Region 5 (which includes Texas, Mexico, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana). I love the IALHA and am excited about our National Show coming up in Forth Worth in October. I am also a member of the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse. My PRE horses are registered with ANCCE, IALHA, and the Foundation (although on my newest horses I’m still waiting on the paperwork). In my area, there are more events hosted by IALHA which made it easier to become more involved. Rumor has it that there will be more events in the future put on by the Foundation in the area. I’m hoping that this is true! There are a few more groups that focus on the Andalusian horse, but these three organizations actually have horse registries. Finally, a note on the registries….you must have patience! All three of these registries don’t seem to get in much of a hurry about processing registrations. They don’t have the staff of the AQHA, so don’t expect a quick turn around on a horse’s paperwork.
There is a definite learning curve anytime you are even considering purchasing a horse. Make sure that you understand the registries of the breed before you buy. In cases of many of the European breeds, the differences are not often quite as clear. I hope this information has shed a bit of light on the Andalusian horse registrations and explained some of the important terms. If you run into a term you don’t understand, please feel free to e-mail me or post a comment here. I’ll do the best I can to help.