Spanish Equestrian Terms Explained

A helpful list of specialist terms and abbreviations relating to the Spanish horse and tack.

Agarrador: A short leather strap attached to a vaquera saddle to aid mounting

Alta Escuela: Literally “High School”. Spanish riding discipline, an extension of classical dressage (Doma Classica). High School movements include Spanish walk, piaffe, levade and other “airs above the ground”.

Amazona: Sidesaddle. Also used to describe a type of skirt worn for Spanish sidesaddle riding.

ANCCE: La Asociación Nacional de Criadores de  Caballos de Pura Raza Española. Stands for The National Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders of Spain and is the international parent association founded for Purebred Spanish Horses, responsible for the administration of the Registration Book for the Purebred Spanish Horse at international level. They have replaced FESCCR.

Apto: literally “Suitable”. A horse that is approved for breeding. Only the offspring of two Apto PRE parents can be registered as PRE – although they will need to pass a grading examination before they in turn can be classified as “Apto”.

Baticola: Crupper

Barbada cadenilla: Curb chain

Bocado: Bit. All are black iron, irrespective of the discipline. Traditionally  the vaquera style is used for all disciplines. This has a ported mouth-piece and long cheek pieces joined with a bottom bar. Only a single set of reins is used. Also allowed for D. classica is the pelham style or the Alta Escuela, which is similar to the double bridle. Both use double reins.

Caireles: Dangling jewelry (usually silver), worn on trouser legs.

Calanes: Small velvet hat. Part of 18th Century Spanish dress.

Calzon: Trousers. C. campero have turn ups. C. paseo have no turn ups but five caireles per leg

Campera/Campero: Country (in the rural sense). “Chaquetilla Campera” – a short jacket, also known as a Vaquera jacket, with five buttons on the front and five on each sleeve. “Calzon Campero” – Country-style riding trousers, dark coloured with white turn ups

Camisa: Shirt.

Capriole: An Alta Escuela movement. A movement where the horse jumps from a position where weight is carried on the hind legs, kicks out with the hind legs and lands more-or-less on all four legs simultaneously.

Chaquetilla: A jacket. The C. campera has a rounded collar and no lapels. There are five front buttons and five sleeve buttons. Only the top button is fastened.

Cobra: A group of three or five mares, linked together by neck straps and shown (usually in-hand) by a single handler. Mares in Spain are generally not used as riding horses. Cobras shown by a mounted handler are rarely seen outside Spain.

Courbette: An Alta Escuela movement. The horse jumps forward with raised forelegs, landing on the hind legs only.

Cria Caballar: See “FESCCR”.

Culottes: Are not correct dress Spanish ridden classes.

Doma Classica: Classical dressage.

Doma Vaquera: Spanish riding discipline, with skills based on traditional cattle-herding.

Espuelas: Spurs. Spanish spurs are black iron with rowels. Competitors are eliminated if they mark their horses with the spurs. Leathers should be brown, or white if for vaquera competition. Never black.

Estribos: Stirrups. Must be of the black iron coal-scuttle type for Doma Vaquera. English style may be used for D. classica or the black iron Espanola style.

Feria: Carnival parade

FESCCR: Fondo de Explotacion de los Servicios de Cria Caballar y Remonta. FESCCR used to be the Spanish state studbook authority which controlled the breeding and registration of PRE horses throughout the world. The responsibility for the studbook now lies with ANCCE.

Garrocha: Literally “lance” or “spear”. Riding with a long pole. Often seen in Doma Vaquera displays.

Grupera: A pillion pad fiteed on the crupper for ladies to sit on when riding ‘a la grupa’ Ladies sit to the left with the dress draped over the horses quarters.

Hispano-Arabe: or H-A. A recognised crossbreed between PRE and Arab. H-As must contain at least 25% PRE blood, and have their own studbook and register.

Iberian: A generic term applied to any horse originating from the Iberian peninsula. This includes both PREs and Lusitanos.

Levade: An Alta Escuela movement where the horse takes weight on dropped haunches, dropping the quarters and raising the shoulders so that the back is at an angle of up to 35 degrees, with forelegs tucked in.

Lusitano: A breed of horse originating in Portugal. Although originating historically from the same basic stock, the Lusitano is a separate breed with it’s own studbook.

Manta Estribera: Long length of material draped in front of the saddle and tied in place by thin leather strips. Traditionally made of sombre coloured woollen material and used as a scarf. Often seen in Spanish colours in ferias.

Mantilla: Numnah or saddle cloth. They are not used under vaquera saddles. They are always square cut and coloured to match the rest of the tack and complement the rider’s turnout.

Mosquero: Fly fringe, made either of leather strips or horsehair tassels, attached to horse’s browband.

Muserola: leather covered metal noseband fitted with two rings and used with a set of reins for training vaquera horses.

Panuelo: Long length of satin or silk material worn around the waist. Usually polka-dot patterned.

Paseo: “Paseo a caballo” – a horse ride. “Chaquetilla Paseo” – Spanish riding jacket, short embroidered, double-breasted. “Calzon Paseo” – Spanish riding trousers, grey striped or dark with no turn ups

Pechopetral: Breastplate

Polainas: Half chaps. Traditional ones are laced with leather tabs and no metal fittings. They are worn with Paseo trousers ( no turn ups)

PRE: Pura Raza Española – literally “Pure Breed of Spain”. A full-blooded Spanish horse with verifiable parentage.

Riendas: reins

Serreta: A training and control aid featuring a serrated metal nosepiece and three metal rings. For showing in-hand the nose piece is plain metal covered in soft leather and only has one ring.

Sombrero: A flat topped hat with a wide stiff brim. Worn pulled over the forehead and touching the right eyebrow. It may have a chin strap.

Spanish Walk: A slow walking gait in which the front legs are raised high at each step.

Très Sangres: Literally “three bloods”. A part-bred horse mixing PRE, Arab and Thoroughbred bloodlines. Much-prized for Doma Vaquera.

Zahones: Full chaps worn over both campero or paseo trousers. The working style are plain (liso) or discretely tooled (Huelva). The highly decorated style (Repujada) are only worn at the feria