Often clients are somewhat puzzled regarding the value of our PRE – Pura Raza Española – Andalusian horses and therefore it is useful to explain what factors influence prices.
HORSES FOR PRE (Spanish Pure Breed – Andalusian) MORPHOLOGY SHOWS
- CORRECT CONFORMATION ACCORDING TO THE BREED STANDARDS SET BY THE STUDBOOK AUTHORITIES (ANCCE)
- QUALITY OF MOVEMENT
These are qualities that the PRE horse should show in the eyes of the Spanish judges at the “Concursos Morfológicos” – the Conformation Shows for Pure Breed Spanish horses. The traditional movement of the PRE horse is upward and forward, and this more pronounced knee action has become more in demand lately, also in the world of International FEI dressage.
Mares, stallions and young stock with an important show record can be very highly priced as will those animals that have passed the second phase of the breeding approval revision named “Reproductór Calificado”.
As for types, you will find the true baroque horse is getting more difficult to locate as breeders focus more on producing the modern type of horse of a lighter build and with forward reaching movement and a natural extension at the trot.
Bloodlines are obviously of influence on the requested price. Horses that carry the brand of well known stud farms or descend from famous ancestors will have these factors reflected in their prices.
TRAINING LEVEL AND FEI DRESSAGE MOVEMENT
As the Spanish Pure Breed horse becomes a more familiar sight in the FEI dressage show ring , amateur riders from all over the world come to Spain looking for a PRE horse often with an advanced training level . The comfortable movement of these horses, together with their intelligence and their outstanding temperaments, make them ideal for the more mature dressage rider, or for those riders that have lots of obligations in their lives and can not afford to risk a spill! Experienced riders are also very much interested in purchasing top quality young horses with international competition potential – these horses are rare – just as rare as they are in other breeds.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality horses with advanced training and hence their prices are high. The international demand is much larger than the production. Training a horse is costly and time consuming, therefore only the best quality horses will receive further training. Many dressage horses already have been sold by the time that they reach a medium level and young horses showing quality FEI dressage movement will often leave the country as soon as they can be shown under saddle. As a consequence the quality of movement and the training level are both factors that will certainly influence the value.
The average height of the Spanish Pure Breed– Andalusian – horse has increased over the past years. Nowadays 16/16.1 h.(1.63/1.65 m) is a common size. PRE horses have a wide girth, which implies that their bodies take up the length of the rider’s leg and therefore even if these horses do not reach the height of the warmblood breeds, tall adult riders will feel comfortable on them. Horses measuring over 16.3h./1.70m. are rather an exception. Breeders will usually price the taller horses at a higher level. On the other hand while medium size horses of approx. 15.2 – 15.3 h / 1.58 – 1.60 m, used to be the original size for the breed, these horses are now hard to find and much in demand by many lady riders. It is unusual to find the medium and smaller size horses trained to an advanced level, so if required a special search might be required . PRE -Andalusian horses have a wide built and a large girth so the medium sized horse can also be ridden by taller riders .
The coat colour can also be of considerable influence on the price. Although some breeders have focussed to produce black stock, few top quality black mares and stallions are available and thus they are priced at a higher level. Over the past years horses with diluted colours (buckskin, perlino, palomino etc) have become fashionable mainly for breeding purposes and are often being sold at exclusive prices, although nowadays they are more reasonably priced than several years ago as there is a greater choice available at present . Chestnut coloured horses are rare and the demand obviously pushes their prices up too, specifically of chestnut coloured mares as they are being used to produce diluted offspring.
Besides a few exceptions mares are traditionally not ridden in Spain and are used almost exclusively for breeding. Quality well moving broodmares, or those with special bloodlines or colours, can be just as expensive as – if not more expensive than – their male counterparts.
The influence of the dam on the foal is dominant in this breed. Therefore a Stud farm in Spanish is called “Yeguada“ derived from the word Yegua=mare which reflects the recognized importance of the mare on the offspring. Mares that do not have specific characteristics of importance can be obtained at reasonable prices.
PRE PURCHASE VETERINARY EXAMINATIONS AND SANITARY TESTING.
The standards set for pre purchase veterinary examinations have increased over the years. More and more tests are being carried out and the technical development of digital X-ray equipment show any radiologic change in detail. A far cry from the black analogical pictures we used to send abroad by Fedex many years ago! So the radiographic findings or their absence do have an influence on the price. Clients have to be careful not to set out to buy perfect radiographs, instead of a perfect horse! It is also important that the veterinary surgeon in their home country is familiar with the breed and experienced in evaluating the report, videos and radiographs received from the Spanish vet who carried out the examination .
Many countries outside the European Economic Community ask for sanitary tests in order to permit the import of horses from foreign countries. Specifically the testing for the presence of antibodies to piroplasmosis in the blood will exclude a considerable number of healthy horses from exportation. Horses that test positive to piroplasmosis will have their price reduced compared to those that show negative results. .
THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IN SPAIN
The complicated situation of the Spanish economy over past and present years and the increasing fiscal pressure obviously have had influence on the pricing. Due to their main businesses encountering problems as a result of the economic changes, many gentleman breeders, who represented perhaps 95% of the total of Spanish breeders, have either stopped breeding or have reduced their stock and production and are not investing in the training of horses so the number of horses that respond to the search characteristics set by potential clients has been reduced .
The search for quality horses, well bred, well raised, correctly started or with advanced training and capable of succsesfully passing a pre purchase veterinary examination, has become a frustrating and time consuming task both for brokers and their potential buyers. Finding horses that fulfill clients’ expectations is more difficult than ever now. Prices are possibly more realistic nowadays than they used to be ten or more years ago, but like when you are buying clothes, a car, or a property, good quality always has a price tag to go with it.
Raising a horse or keeping it in training costs at least 6000 euros a year if the breeder/owner keeps the horse at his own facilities (feed prices are soaring right now and the increasing heavy droughts followed often by torrential rains are a menace to the harvests ) . This cost will be even considerably more if the horse is sent to a professional rider, which is often the case nowadays as most breeders do not employ riders anymore. Also competing at shows is very expensive in Spain thus the number of horses that actually participate at shows is very reduced therefore.
Remember that when calculating the price of a new born foal, this should already reflect the investments made prior to its birth, like the purchase of the mare and stallion (or the purchase of semen), feeding the mare for a full year, vet’s expenses, staff , facilities, electricity, water, insurance, loss of income from foals that are not born with good health or horses that do not fulfil the expectations for a successful sale , etc
So, keeping all the above in mind, if you are looking to purchase a quality horse from Spain, be aware that you are going to buy a rare commodity which will be reflected in the price tag!
Copyright Miriam Frenk 2023 – this text is not to be reproduced without permission from the author.