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The Spanish Horse Under The Bourbon Kings

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By D Juan Carlos Altamirano

This documented work shows the vicissitudes which the Spanish Horse had to live through during one of the most unsettled political and social  periods in the Spanish history. It covers the years from 1700, the year which coinsides with the arrival in Spain of the Bourbon kings, until the beginning of the 20th century. It explains the historical development of this breed of horses which, ever since its creation in the second half of the 16th century, kept expanding through continuous endogenous crosses carried out mainly by the Andalusian breeders. The aim was to try to uniform the rest of the equine population, based on the morfological and psychological characteristics for which the Spanish Horse had gained its status of being perfect. The book examines all different aspects of its evolution during those two centuries, placed in the historical, social, military and economic context in which it occured. In this way, it analyzes the various changes of regulations concerning horse breeding that were issued, and through which this horse breed was being controlled, ever since it had emerged from its cradle: the Royal Stud Farm of Córdoba. It describes its morphology during that period and the process which had led to the end of the religious orders´ predominance in horse breeding. It also clarifies the confusion existing around the supposed crossbreeding of the Spanish Horse in some moments in history, like those it endured during the French invasion, in which it found itself on the verge of disappearance. The subsequent arrival in Spain of new breeds of horses, like the Arab, the English Thoroughbred or the Norman, together with the tax grants they were being awarded, the Ordinances  concerning the breeding of mules issued in order to stop the progressive stagnation of the horse population, and the obtaining of the lusitano horse through crosses are amongst the other aspects also studded in this work.

We are talking here about a work of special interest, one that provides the key which allows us to understand, to large extend, the present situation of the Spanish breed. Furthermore, this book is the second part of the History and Origins of the Spanish Horse (Historia y origen del caballo español) which, only a year after it had been published, was regarded by the specialized press as one of the ³classics², and awarded with words such as ³fundamental², ³brilliant² and ³revolutionary work². In it, it has been shown and documented that the Spanish Horse was not the fruit of natural evolution, as it had been claimed, but the result of the first genetic megaproject in history undertaken in order to obtain a breed of horses whose characteristics had been layed out by the classical Greeks as being ideal for an equine. This was the project ordered to be carried out in the city of Córdoba, in 1567, by the king Philip II.

Chapter I.  Horse breeding in the first half of the 18th century.  

   1.1   Historical context. Philip V and horse breeding (1700-1746).
1.2   The prohibition of producing of mules and registration of ³stableboy².
1.3   Ferdinand VI (1746 -1759) and the reorganization of horse breeding.
The expansion of Purebred Spanish Horses to Portugal: The origin of the similarities between the Purebred Spanish Horse and the Lusitano Horse.

 Chapter II. Charles III and the development of horse breeding (1759-1788).

   2.1   Reorganization of horse breeding.
Stallions and mating services.
2.2   The expulsion of the Jesuits and the its effect on the expansion of Purebred Spanish horses.
2.3   The breeding of ³Purebred²  horse in Andalusia, Murcia and Extremadura and the prohibition of breeding mules
2.4   The change of the Old Regime; decline and revival of equestrian arts.

 Chapter III.The decline of absolutism and the purebred spanish horse.

   3.1   Carlos IV y los picaderos reales.
3.2   The last Ordinances on horse breeding of the 18th century.
Prerogatives of the Royal Stables of Cordoba.
3.3   Recommendations for crossbreeding Spanish Horses.
The rrots of the crossbreeding recommending.
3.4   Críticism of the horse breeding system during the 18th century.
The morphology of the Spanish horse towards the end of the Old Regime.
3.5  The Horse Register at the beginningof the 19th century and the new prohibition to breed mules.
3.6   Inventory of the horses at the Royal stables of Córdoba, 1802-1804.

 Chapter IV.The war of Independence, the advent of liberalism and the arrival of new breeds.
4.1   Ferdinand VII prior to the War of Independence, 1808-1812.
The first requisitions of horses following the advance of the French army towards Andalusia.
4.2   The Andalusian horse population following the Courts of Cádiz, 1812.
The return of the monarchy,(1813-1820)
The Constitutional Triennium and the arrival of draft horses in Andalusia, (1820-1823).
Arrival of Norman mares at the stables of Aranjuez.
The stud farm of the Infante Francisco de Paula de Borbón (Úbeda-Jaén).
4.3   Ferdinand VII’s second period of absolutism, draft horses and the Purebred Spanish Horse, (1823-1833).
The English thoroughbred (PSI).
English thoroughbreds: their influence on crossbreeding of draft horses and the first racecourses.
Arab horses and the legends about their origins.
Racial characteristics of the Arab horse and its similarity with the Spanish purebred.

 Chapter V. The evolution of the breed and the work of the stablemasters.

   5.1   Liberalization of the horse market under the regency of queen Maria Cristina (1834-1840).
Sale of Church land and decline of  breeding amongst monastic orders.
Public stallion stations.
5.2   Isabel II and the new organization of the Royal Palace stables, (1840-1870).
Morphological characteristics of the Spanish horse in the 19th century and equestrian renaissance.
5.3   The First Republic and sale of the Royal Stud farm (1870-1875).
5.4   Alfonso XII (1875-1885): his love of horses.
Importation of English thoroughbreds by the Spanish Royal Household.
Two Arab horses for the Spanish Royal Household.
Jacas for the Royal Household.
Recovery of the purebred Spanish horse
5.5   The regency of María Cristina of Habsburg-Lorraine, mother of Alfonso XIII (1885-1902).
Horse censuses.
The purity and revival of the Spanish purebred horse from the 19th to the 20th century.
The Creation of the Military Stud farm.

The book has 368 p. 21×28 pages, 150 gram gloss paper with 134 color and black and white photographs and ilustrations. Leather binding with gold engraved letters and jacket with color, plastic coated photograph with gold relief stamped title.