Four Decades Breeding Spanish Arabians
Dave and Molly Stanley have enjoyed a straight Spanish breeding program for four decades, and have imported ninety-nine Spanish Arabians to the USA. During that time they traveled to Spain 57 times to study the breeding programs there, and to maintain the Stanley Ranch breeding farm near Sevilla. Though they have bred other lines of Arabians in past years and find merit in them, the Spanish Arabian comes closest to their personal ideal for a number of reasons.
Molly says, “We find them consistent as breeding animals. The mares are good mothers who get in foal readily, deliver easily, and nurse their foals well. Fortunately with Spanish Arabians, we have a high percentage of good-natured horses to deal with (including the stallions) and our breeding program stays with the lines that have good character. We participate in breeding, riding and showing as a family, with all ages and abilities included, so this characteristic of the Spanish Arabian is significant."
"Characteristics we looked for initially—and continue to foster in the Stanley Ranch stock—are the deep hips (the engine) and the high-set necks with good flexion at the poll. The lovely balance and movement and marked athletic ability enable them to stay in the winner’s circle. We prize highly their minds—very trainable with excellent sense and high obstacle negotiating ability. Deep heart girth gives them the staying power to do the job successfully. Good bone, exceptionally good forearm/cannon bone ratio promotes soundness and gives them the possibility of working on into their teens."
Daughter Lisa Stapleton (who is the breeding manager and primary show rider) adds, “We should mention the willing attitude and good work ethic of the Spanish Arabian, together with their overall soundness, as it goes a long way to inspire the investment of time and money necessary to have a competitive show career all the way to the National level."
Dave and Molly feel fortunate to have accumulated, over the course of time, the bloodstock that is continuing to produce National Champions. The Stanley Ranch has owned, in the USA and Spain, over five hundred fifty Classical Spanish Arabians. Ninety-nine have been imported, but some wonderful mares purchased from the Yeguada Militar of Spain were unable to make the trip to the USA due to a piroplasmosis titre. So the Stanleys established a stud in Spain, as the offspring of those mares (the amazing KADOFA being one good example) were usually free of piro and could be imported to continue their bloodline in the USA. Four daughters of KADOFA, each by a different sire, were imported, and all became Regional Champions, and three went on to become National Champions in Sport Horse classes. One daughter of KADOFA, *IBERIA (by GEBEL TARIK), is granddam to the exceptional Spanish Arabian Sport Horse stallion CZANTIAGO+//, Supreme Champion in-hand as a 2 year old, and continuing his winning ways in the Arabian show ring and as an ‘approved’ sire for several Sport Horse breeds, which requires rigorous testing of temperament, work ethic, and talent for dressage, jumping, and cross country work. CZANTIAGO+// is setting new boundaries for Arabians—he is a horse appreciated by horsemen and used as a stallion across breeds. Several warmblood mares are in foal to CZANTIAGO+// for 2014, as well as Arabian mares being exported to Spain in foal – the land of his ancestors. It is a full circle.
Recently Dave and Molly have outcrossed with some Warmblood breeds to produce a somewhat bigger Sport Horse, which is desired by some riders. But don’t ever forget *BOUGANVILLEA (FILIPO X *RIAD), a 14.1 hand mare produced at Stanley Ranch in Spain and imported as a yearling, who went on to become Molly’s Field Hunter for 10 years. Then, at age 17, *BOUGANVILLEA went to the show ring and won, in the space of one season, the Region III Jumper Championship, the Canadian National Jumper Championship, and was 3rd in the US Nationals Jumper Class (won that year by another Stanley Ranch horse, *DISCOTECA, daughter Lisa’s special show horse). The Stanley Ranch horses overall have garnered more than ninety National awards. They also take the family riding and hunting in the wintertime.
Molly closes by saying, "We thank these wonderful Spanish Arabians, who always have given whatever was asked of them."