Frequently Asked Questions

Spanish, Iberian, PRE, Andalusian…… isn’t it all the same thing?

Not at all . The ‘true’ Spanish horse is known as a PRE (Pura Raza Española). The PRE is registered in the Spanish Stud Book, which until recently was controlled by the Military and Government of Spain but is now administered by ANCCE. To qualify for entry into the stud book, both parents must also be entered in the stud book and they must have been ‘graded’ by an official designated by ANCCE as being fit to breed (The passport will be labeled APTO or Registro de Reproductores). In the U.K. these horses are more generally known as ‘Andalusians’ but strictly speaking the term ‘Andalusian’ would also include horses of a PRE type that were not necessarily eligible for entry into the State Stud Book. The term ‘Iberian’ describes horses that come from the Iberian peninsular, namely all Spanish and Portuguese horses. If you want to own a fully registered ‘Spanish’ or ‘Andalusian’ horse then you must ensure that it is a ‘PRE’.

Who are ANCCE?

The National Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders of Spain (Asociacion Nacional de Croadores de Caballos de Pura Raza Española) and it is the international association founded to promote the PRE Horse.
At the beginning of 2007 the ANCCE took over the administration and management of the PRE Horse worldwide studbook from the FESCCR, creating a subsection for this purpose, called ANCCE-LGPRE.
As such it is officially recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture as the entity that represents the breeders and owners of PRE Horses from all over the world. Due to this, ANCCE is the official representative before the Ministry of Agriculture when deciding on the measures affecting the breed, such as breed improvement and selection, requirements for registration, competitions, etc.
ANCCE also is the representative of the PRE horse on various national and international equestrian bodies, such as the World Breeders Federation of Sport Horses (WBFSH)

Are these the horses that the Spanish Riding School use?

No – the Spanish Riding School use Lipizzaners, which are descended from the PRE but are a separate breed with their own studbook in the UK and in Europe.

What’s an Hispano Arabe?

An Hispano-Arabe is a horse with PRE and Arab blood – there must be a minimum of 25% Arab blood to allow the horse to be registered as an Hispano Arab (Há).
There is a separate studbook for the Há horses, administered by the UEGHá in Spain, and they have their own Gradings, and classes at the National Championship show, etc.

What is FESCCR and who or what is Cria Caballar?

FESCCR stands for ‘Fondo de Explotacion de los Servicios de Cria Caballar y Remonta’ and this used to be the Spanish State Studbook Authority for the Pura Raza Española and Hispano-Arab. Cria Caballar is the older name for FESCCR. The work of FESCCR is now undertaken by ANCCE.

What does APTO mean?

APTO literally means ‘suitable’, in this case, for breeding. It means that the horse has passed the grading examination & that its offspring can be registered. The grading examination is an annual event in the UK and is carried out by a veterinary surgeon appointed by ANCCE. More recently ‘Registro de Reproductores’ has been used by ANCCE to denote a PRE that is approved for breeding. If a horse is approved for breeding, this will be noted in its passport.

These horses are only really any good for party tricks, aren’t they? Not serious competition horses?

No – they can be serious competition horses, just look at Invasor, ridden by Rafael Soto Andrade, who was placed 6th overall at the World Equestrian Games in 2002 in Jerez. Also the Spanish dressage team won the team bronze medal – only one member of the team was riding a warmblood!
In the UK the PRE is starting to get very good results in affiliated dressage with scores over 70% and qualification for major championships. It is all down to the training – if you train tricks then that is what you get, if you train dressage that is what you get…..and this is the joy of these horses, their trainability!

I’d like to show my horse, but I don’t have any of the special tack or fancy dress.

Most classes for PREs will allow you to wear either Spanish costume or English. There are classes which are only for Spanish tack but they will state this in the schedule if this is the case.

I know that there are breeders in the UK – but how easy is it to buy a PRE horse in Spain and import it? And what are the pros and cons of doing it?

How long is a piece of string? It can be very easy to buy from Spain or it can be very hard. BAPSH Ltd would not recommend going to Spain on your holidays & coming back with a PRE – do your research before you go. BAPSH Ltd would recommend using an agent to deal with the Spanish seller (& again do your research – get references on the agent before asking them to find you a horse, ask around as there are plenty of owners in the UK who have already gone this route). Using an agent will cost you a bit more but will probably give you far more choice of horses to look at & cut out a lot of hassle.
BAPSH Ltd recommend that you always look for a new horse in the UK first – the risks are less (no breeder/seller wants to get a bad reputation for selling a dodgy PRE or non-pedigree PRE because the word soon gets around) & it will probably work out cheaper, taking into account import costs, plus you can spend more time with your potential new horse before making a decision to buy and if it turns out to be a horror then you have at least a chance of sorting something out with the seller. You will be protected by UK laws if you buy in the UK. Of course, there is much more choice available in Spain and that is what normally sends people to Spain to buy. However, don’t expect to buy anything other than a stallion in Spain if you are after a riding horse. Mares are rarely ridden and colts are rarely gelded.

Ad Hill 2005, updated 2019