THE ROYAL STABLES OF CORDOBA

 

(Spanish / English / Français /Deutch)

 

Introduction

The discovery of America in 1492, which coincided with the expulsion of Muslims from Spain following the  conquest of Granada, enabled the Spanish monarchs to form one of the greatest empires of history. Following centuries of warfare, the Catholic Kings unified the   territories of Spain and laid the foundations for the ensuing empire. During the first half of the 16th century, their grandson Charles V continued in their footsteps, thus tapping the economic potential of the newly annexed lands of America for the benefit of extending the power of the Spanish monarchy throughout the world.

Years later, 16th century peace, together with the riches coming from America, enabled Charles´ son Philip II to indulge in horses, which may have been his greatest   passion, and to develop for himself and for the world the Spanish pure bred horse. This is thus a breed created by royal command by cross-breeding horses and mares in the city of Cordoba beginning in the year 1567.

For centuries it was believed that the Spanish horse was the result of the natural evolution of the horse species as it adapted to the Andalusian geographic environment. But in fact the beautiful and noble animal was the product of a major genetic, economic, social and above all, cultural project. The Spanish pure breed was prefabricated during the second half of the 16th century as a result of specific social factors. The features and conservation of the breed were also greatly conditioned by cultural factors. In the course of time the people of Andalusia have forged an identity which has shaped their history. Their special way of life and characteristics were shared with the Andalusian horse, which thus also became part of the Spanish cultural heritage.

As residents of a Renaissance court, the nobility, formerly engaged in warfare, devoted most of their time to feasts and spectacles. Doctors, however, recommended they should engage in some form of exercise so as to stay healthy. It was suggested that they should take up activities similar to those they used to be engaged in as Medieval warriors. Doctors of the times believed that such activities were an essential part of the condition of nobles, and that if they abandoned them their health would be at risk. As a result, many equestrian games and tournaments were created as exercises intended to replace former warring activities, and general equestrian techniques were improved. These leisure activities enabled nobles to continue practising for war and at the same time to stay fit. The King himself supported these activities by creating riding schools where the monarch and his nobles could practice the equestrian exercises of the newly created High School.

In order to execute the new dressage exercises established in Naples by Federico Grisone, Philip II decided to create a horse able to execute these airs with the perfection and grace required. The horses of the times were not suited for such gaits. They were too heavy and lacked appropriate characters, given that they had been selected for the sole purpose of being used for transport, with no aesthetic considerations in mind.

The creation of the Spanish horse, based initially on a simple royal command arising from social and medical considerations, eventually turned into one of Philip IIıs biggest and most cherished projects. The Spanish pure-bred became the symbol of the empire ³over which the sun never set². It is striking that this project, the Kingıs least known for centuries, is presently the one he is most famous for all over the world.

The book has 160 pages of 24,5 x 30 cm., 150 gram gloss paper with 80 color and black and white photographs and 8 illustrations of the most important horses pictures of the world y 2 documents. Leather binding with gold engraved letters and jacket with color, plastic coated photography with gold relief stamped title.

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