When I first started learning about the Spanish horse breed, I was directed to this book by several friends. The translated version is the one most often found in the United States. While not a cheap book, it is a beautiful addition to any library. The pages are full of beautiful photographs featuring the Spanish horse and pieces of Spanish poetry that center on this respected animal.
The first part of the book is an overview of the history of the Spanish horse which is greatly entangled with the history of Spain itself. The Spanish horse was bred to work cattle. Agility, temperament, and hardiness are traits that define this breed. Senor Llamas also dedicates a section in this first part to the confusion between the PRE (Pura Raza Espanola) and Andalusian distinctions. The proper name for the Spanish horse according to this author is PRE or Pura Raza Espanola. Andalusian horses are named for this particular region in Spanish, but in many breed associations these horses may included horses that have Lusitano (Portuguese) bloodlines as well. A true PRE does not have any bloodlines from the Portugal region.
The second part of the book is dedicated to very detailed descriptions of the correct conformation or morphology of the Spanish horse. The author gives written descriptions combined with pictures of correct conformation and poor conformation. This section of the book is of extreme value to breeders when evaluating conformation. This also gives judges and competitors some very clear guidelines of the PRE horse. Terminology for common issues in conformation is provided in English as well as the native Spanish terms along with definitions. Owners of horses that hold registration papers from the Cria Caballar (ANCCE) will find this section a great tool for deciphering several sections on their documents.
Despite being slightly dates (written in 1989), this book is a must-have reference for Spanish horse owners. I find myself referring to it regularly. Every time I pick it up, something new catches my attention. I particularly enjoy the Spanish sayings and poetry. One of my favorites is by Miguel Higueros that begins:
Quiero que seas garrochista
quiero que seas de los nuestros,
Quiero que patees la dehesa
en tu caballo campero.
The poem goes on to describe the rich country life that the father desires for his son. The horse in Spain is a great source of tradition and dignity. This is the Spanish Horseputs these sentiments beautifully through words and pictures in the pages of the book.