As a teenager in College Station, Texas I had been given an assignment in one of my high school classes to write a “term paper” as they were called. I chose to study the life and art of the Spanish painter named Velazquez. I was thrilled to be able to put horses and art together. However, the paintings that I saw did not depict an equine that resembled the quarter horses in my day to day experience in Brazos County. Those arched necks and long wavy manes and extremely collected postures were quite different from our modern cow ponies. Years later I ran across pictures and writing of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, with their Lippizaner horses. There they were again, the Velasquez horses. So when we began to study Spanish and Portuguese horses as a part of our journey with the Texas Ladies Aside, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves also studying classical dressage and seeking out Andalusian horses in the US of A.
I even discovered that there is a cowboy school of horsemanship in Spain, the Doma Vaquera. Now, I was in hog heaven! Well, as you can easily imagine, we are now involved with breed shows, and we own a stallion and mares, and we are beginning to use Andalusian (Spanish) and Lusitano ( Portuguese) horses for ranch work. After more than a millennium of breeding for livestock work and bullfighting it sort of makes sense that they are yet another terrific ranch working horse! Even if they do look funny to those of us who grew up with quarter horses. Actually. I’m starting to get used to how they look– ‘cause, “pretty is, as pretty DOES!”