Discovering Rare Andalusians in Carthusian Horses
History buffs would likely remember a defunct order of monks known as the Carthusians. This order has lent its name to what is now known as the Carthusian horse. Although the name of this horse sub breed suggests a strong connection to the monks, the real story of the Carthusian horses begins before they were ever associated with the monks.
The Carthusian Horse Story
The Carthusian is not considered a distinct horse breed. It is instead regarded as a sub class that correctly belongs to the Spanish Andalusian mother breed. Among all Andalusian types however, the Carthusian horses are considered to have the purest and oldest bloodlines. Of all the horse breeds, the Carthusian breed has one of the most dramatic stories. Its tale of origin is also uniquely specific with names of individuals associated with it still remembered and documented.
The Carthusian-Andalusian breed began when a colt was born in the stables of Andres Zamora. The colt was the offspring of an old stallion El Soldado and came to be named Esclavo. He was so perfect in many aspects that he sired many other exceptional foals. Some of the horses sired by Escalvo came to the possession of Pedro Picado who gave some of them to the Carthusian monks.
It was in the monastery that the succeeding descendants of Esclavo came to be known as Zamoranos. They were strictly mated only with each other, resulting in a pure Andalusian breed. As the history books record it, the monks staunchly refused to have the horses’ bloodline mixed with other horse breeds even when there was a royal order to break the pure bloodline.
When the monks were disbanded, some of the Carthusian horses were taken in by Juan Jose Zapata. It was Zapata who ensured the survival of the Esclavo bloodline. He continued to breed the horses without mixing them with other breeds. Hence, the Carthusian horses of today, maintain an exclusive and pure bloodline.
Carthusian Horse Distinguishing Traits
The Carthusian horse has distinct features. It also however shares many of the different descriptive traits applicable to other horses specifically the Andalusian horses. Like some other breeds it has a convex head profile, an arched neck, a wide chest, sloping shoulders and a muscular body. It also stands 15 to 16 hands tall and can come in black, grey or chestnut.
There are however two traits that clearly set the Carthusian apart from other horse breeds. It has warts under its tail and it has protrusions on the forehead which clearly appear like the beginnings of horns. It is the warts that mainly distinguish a pure Carthusian. Horses without the warts are not considered as belonging to the line of Esclavo.
The Carthusian Horse Today
There are continuing efforts to preserve the old bloodline of the Carthusian. Unfortunately though, these horses are rather rare. Among the horses that still exist, not more than an astonishing 3% are pure Carthusians. The horses however continue to be bred in Badajoz and Cordoba. These horses remain a crucial part of Spanish horse history and truly deserve to have their bloodline preserved.