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It is not mere chance that the Potro square is our most precious square and the biggest one is “La Corredera” or that “El Caballo Rojo” (The Red Horse) is the most famous restaurant of the city or that the road that connects the city to Cerro Muriano is called “the Horse road”. Saying Pure Spanish Horse and Andalusian Horse is denoting the same thing. The Andalusian Horse, or should we say the Córdoba Horse (on account of its origin), after centuries of care and meticulous breeding would earn the title of Pure Spanish Horse.

Therefore speaking of Pure Spanish Horse always relates to Córdoba. Even under Roman rule horses from the peninsula were very valuable, especially the ones coming from the Baetica, of which Córdoba (Corduba) was the capital, from Corduba the horses were sent to the furthest corners of the Empire.

In much the same way, the Spanish horse would not loose its excellent name after the Muslim invasion, quite the contrary. Numerous Arabian Horses were brought then and bred with the Pure Spanish Horse resulting in beautiful, small and elegant horses. The are still some archives that speak of the fame of Al Haquen and Almanzor mares.

Such was the importance of horses coming from the South of Spain that from the XIIIth to the XIXth century the Kings prohibited Pure Spanish Horses mares to be crossed with donkeys. A “Royal Line” in the South of Spain acted as a frontier to crossbreeding in order to safeguard the purity of the breed.

Today, right where Al Haquen I’s Stables used to be, the Royal Stables stand proud. It was Felipe II who charged its construction in the XVIth century, although the coat of arms we can see today belongs to Carlos III, as in 1751 a fire destroyed most of the building and, thus, it had to be rebuilt by that mentioned monarch. From the Royal Stables the Pure Spanish Horse was distributed all over Spain but also to the European nobility. A lot of the best Horse breeds nowadays have Pure Spanish Horse blood in them: the Friesian Horse, the Pure Blood Lusitano, the Mustang, the Peruvian Paso, the Criollo Horse, the Kladruber or the Lipizzan.

Even Cervantes mentioned these famous Pure Spanish Horses in the first part of El Quijote and in El Auto de la Virgen de Guadalupe. Other authors from the Golden Century also praised the quality of these Andalusian Horses in their texts. From Lope de Vega to Góngora… and to Lorca in XXth century who said the Royal Stables of Córdoba were “the Cathedral for horses”.

It is also, in a way, the seed of the University of Córdoba for in 1847 the first university of the city was founded. This was the Veterinary Faculty which acquired an excellent reputation for its dedication to horse breeding and related academic papers.

The Royal Stables of Córdoba were still serving as a stable for the Spanish Army stallions up until 1995, when the Army moved to Écija. As of today the entire building is home to the Córdoba Ecuestre Association, and it is open for the general public. The visit is free of charge and one can contemplate real Andalusian Horses, real Pure Spanish Horses. The Association also organizes equestrian shows.

As a matter of fact, these next days the city organizes, in the Royal Stables of Córdoba, the “Córdoba Horse Fair” (CABALCOR), one of the most important Horse events in the country. I am certain this is the best time to visit the site and enjoy the numerous equestrian shows.


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