Foundation and New Generation Hispano-Árabe
The Hispano-Árabe horse is an indigenous Spanish breed that had been “breeding true” for
hundreds of years with consistent, replicable and predictable characteristics even when occasional
out-crossing* occurred to improve the breed.
* [ historically no concern was given with respect to % of Arab or PRE blood and it was natural to add
PRE bloodlines to improve the quality of the working Hispano-Árabe stock horses as required]
The regeneration plan that Spain instigated when the Hispano-Árabe was on the critical point of
extinction due to its low numbers of breeding horses, required special allowance of “outside” blood to
improve the overall health and vigour of the breed.
Historically the Hispano-Árabe has its foundation in two purebred breeds; the Arabian and the Pure
Spanish Horse of Andalusia. The regeneration plan for the Hispano-Árabe involves “re-infusing” the
breed with new bloodlines from the parent pure breeds.
In a normal breed improvement plan the simple breeding of existing Hispano-Árabe horses with the
permitted Arab or Pure Spanish horses would be the system operated. However the Hispano-Árabe
breeding stock numbers were so critically low that a more radical recovery programme had to be
A responsible crossbreeding process to produce hybrid F1 and F2 Arabian x Pure Spanish horses
was agreed upon with the intention that over time these “new” Hispano-Árabe horses would be bred
with each other and with the original Hispano-Árabe bloodlines.
In order not to monitor the influence of the parent bloodlines of these horses a percentage blood
ratio of Arabian: Spanish was agreed upon which permitted a minimum of 25% Arab blood and
maximum of 75% Arab blood**. As a further evaluation strategy all existing original Hispano-Árabe
breeding stocks regardless of actual Arabian blood content were graded for entry to a Foundation
Stud Book and rated as being a baseline 50% Arab.
** [this has since been revised as successive generations proved that the hybrid stock were
genetically ‘fixing’ to the breed standard and not diversifying into characteristics of specifically one
parent breed or the other]
For owners breeding first (F1) and second (F2) generation “new” Hispano-Árabe horses by the
permitted crossbreeding programme the production of Hispano-Árabe appears to be a very simple
endeavour. However as some early owners discovered when the grading stage was involved, their
horses failed to meet the standard for approval in the breeding register.
To produce a Hispano-Árabe it is not a simple matter of taking “any” Arabian and breeding it to
“any" PRE horse. Both of these pure breeds within their own acceptable breed standard have a
range of phenotype profiles. In the UK we have a far greater diversity of Arabian horses than Spain
has had in her history of the breeding of the Hispano-Árabe. The Pure Spanish horse in its recent
history has also been selected to diversify into a heavyweight and a lightweight phenotype.
For our UK breeding programme to increase our production of viable Hispano-Árabe young stock
that will pass grading we have to be selective in using the heavier profile Pure Spanish horses and
Arabians of Spanish, Polish, Russian and old Crabbet type.
The evaluation criteria that Spain has been fine tuning over the last 30 years takes into account a
reasonable range of profile diversity with-in the new breeding programmes but is ultimately travelling
towards a more fixed breed type.
Here in the UK I have the only foundation Hispano-Árabe bloodlines and eventually the progeny
descending from Piyayo will be bred across and infused into the new Hispano-Árabe stock just as
foundation lines in Spain are being used to fix the breed there.
The arbitrary classification of the original foundation horses as 50% Arab carries with it a loaded
dice concept to the breeding programme with respect to the effect or influence these horses will have
upon the Hispano-Árabe stock of true quantifiable Arab ratio.
For example Piyayo on paper is listed in the closed Foundation Stud Book as 50% Arab. In reality
when the Arab Horse Society was interested in registering him with them for his sports capability they
could not trace even the required proven 7% Arab they needed to validate him. His pedigree
www.allbreedpedigree.com/piyayo tells the truth about just how much Arab or Spanish influence he
carries. But as his genetic coding is the result of generations of blending it is no longer a simple
matter of one or other of the parent breeds having a predictable stamp. To quote the Spanish 'he is
Hispano-Árabe; neither Arab nor Pure Spanish. Just what he is Hispano-Árabe.'
The predictable stamp that he passes down on the out-breeding programme is the original
Hispano-Árabe influence. So his two daughters; one out of a Polish Arabian mare and one out of a
PRE mare while registered as respectively 75% and 25% Arab are in phenotype nearer to 50% and
1% Arab.The original Hispano-Árabe fixed genotype from Piyayo gives all his line a distinctly different
profile to other Hispano-Árabe (from new F1 breeding lines) horses of the same documented
This difference is occurring in Spain even more so given that they have more foundation bloodlines.
However the influence of these horses in Spain has already started to be integrated by the
foundation bloodlines at various points being breed with the new Hispano-Árabe stock thus steadily
resulting in a levelling off, and as intended fixing of a breed standard.
Failure of this country to expand the breed here and to make full use of the only foundation horse
available (Piyayo produced three Hispano-Árabe colts/potential stallions from unrelated Arabian
mares; none of them were inscribed onto the Hispano-Árabe stud books due to deliberate actions by
the appointed registrar of the time) and to expand its F1 breeding programme means that we are
dealing with breeding programme that will be dominated by outcross bloodlines and take far longer to
fix the breed standard.
In Spain the Hispano-Árabe breed is still on the critical register for survival so it is highly unlikely that
quality breeding horses will find their way here to help improve our genetic pool. Although with
Calificardo grading now opening the door to AI this new avenue of breed improvement is something
we are negotiating with Spain.
In the meantime without implementing a draconian breeding programme I hope that anyone
considering breeding Hispano-Árabe horses will make use of our help and advice in order to ensure
the production of viable Hispano-Árabe horses. Of course apart from breeding to meet the regulations
of the parent Studbook and phenotype there also has to be consideration about function, the
inheritable multi sports ability of the breed. Taking that into consideration given that the UK does not
have the natural fitness selection of cattle ranching on horseback to test our horses, we have worked
to source both PRE and Arabian stallions that either have or are proving themselves in the various
fields of ridden work, thus hoping to divest these skills onto our F1 Hispano-Árabe and provide the
future generations a versatility comparable to the horses being regenerated in Spain.
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