Choosing Spain Horses for Dressage

spain horses

Selecting an ideal horse for dressage requires more than simply finding one with perfect conformation; you need one with “corazon,” which signifies its desire and spirit of wanting to work with you.

Andalucian horses can often be seen at festivals, flamenco performances, fashion campaigns or high-profile fashion shoots – yet their presence remains deeply embedded within Spain’s people’s hearts.


The Marismeno is an extremely rare horse breed originating in Spain. These heavy draft horses can perform multiple tasks such as plowing fields and pulling carts. Their sturdy builds make them suitable for harsh environments.

The Marismeno was first recognized as a breed in 2003, and now enjoys protection by the Spanish government from extinction. They can usually be found living near Guadalquivir River and Donana National Park marshes where their unique life includes semi-feral conditions with free roaming rights.

Marismeno horses have managed to retain much genetic diversity despite their feral status, and boast an appealing combination of calm intelligence. As such, this breed makes for an excellent equestrian sport experience such as dressage or cross-country endurance riding – not to mention herding cattle work or cattle herding duties! Additionally, Losino horses from Los Angeles in Spain offer another small but elegant and hardy option perfect for riding by children and petite adults alike.


Menorquin horses, more commonly referred to as purebred Menorcan horses, originate on the Spanish Balearic island of Menorca and are famed for their elevated and elastic movements that make them exceptional riding partners. Although not at day four of Cheltenham Festival or any horse race, Menorquin horses are the stars of traditional Menorcan festivals and often perform Doma Menorquina style dressage movements during these celebrations. At times you’ll also see them competing in contests that date back to medieval times, such as ensortilla – in which knights ride through an enclosed ring suspended from a pole or rope; rompre ses carotes – two jousters attempt to break each other’s wooden shield using lances; and correr abracats – where riders compete against one another at spear throwing.

Menorquin horses are highly adaptable breeds, making them great choices for dressage, driving and general riding. Officially recognized as an indigenous breed in 1989 and listed in Spain’s Catalogo Oficial de Razas de Ganado de Espaa as autochthonous endangered breeds, this versatile breed also makes an excellent addition to stud farms or breeding programs.


Named for its close association to’retuertas’ of Donana National Park in southern Spain where animals gather to drink water, this rare breed is one of Europe’s oldest living relatives of the Iberian horse which went extinct many years ago, as well as being an ancestor to contemporary breeds such as Lusitano and Menorquin horses.

Retuertas horses can now only be found wild in Donana National Park and Campanarios de Azaba Biological Reserve, thanks to Rewilding Europe – a conservation charity which works towards counteracting the decline of wild horses across Europe.

The vineyards on this estate are planted around an old 12th-century abbey and protected from hailstorms by ancient pine groves that provide natural protection. For their winemaking operations, gravity system and special rack system make transferring barrels from level to level simple and straightforward.

Winemakers in Guardia produce beautiful wines. We tried the 2016 Blanco de Guardia, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc with Verdejo and a bit of Godello aged five months in French oak barrels; its light body was filled with delicious pear aromas.


Pottoka Ponies are Basque pony horses known for being sure-footed and powerful animals, typically standing from 11.1-13.2 hands high in height. Their heads may be straight or slightly dished with intelligent eyes; their bodies have long backs with short croups, strong hindquarters, broad bodies with well-developed hindquarters and thick, deeply-based tails ranging in colour between bay, black or chestnut and even piebald features.

Pottokas have lived in Euskal Herria mountains for centuries. Thought to be descended from horses depicted in Paleolithic cave drawings, they can be raised with care by conscientious breeders to become gentle, generous companions that can be used for many different equestrian disciplines, including dressage, jumping, driving, cross country and endurance riding.

In 1970, a Stud Book was created, with horses divided into two types. Purebred horses in Book A are classified as semi-feral for nine months of the year within herds or harems of mares, foals and stallions while those belonging to Book B contain at least 50% pureblood Pottok blood.


The Andalusian horse breed is an elegant, light gaited beauty prized for both beauty and competitive ability. Once used as work horses, today it is widely admired for both. Boasting an elegant light gait with long flowing mane and tail; easy riding experience for novice riders; piaffe, canter pirouette, capriole are some of its signature moves in classical dressage competition.

Andalusian horses (known as Pura Raza Espanola or PRE) have traditionally been bred to possess three characteristics. These include correct conformation, quality movement and “typiness”, or remaining true to its type and exhibiting true representation of its breed. These standards are maintained through regulation and registration processes.

In order to properly care for an Andalusian horse, be sure to provide ample turnout and exercise. These athletic horses enjoy bonding with humans and require challenging work that keeps their minds active and keeps them feeling fulfilled. Though they can be challenging horses to train, patience and consistent instruction can help overcome challenges as can significant grooming due to their thick manes and tails.