Three Decades Breeding Spanish Arabians
Dave and Molly Stanley have enjoyed a straight Spanish breeding program for three 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.
As Molly tells it, “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 of the Spanish Arabians, 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 three decades, the bloodstock that is continuing to produce National Champions. The Stanley Ranch Spanish Arabian program is unique in that, over the years, they have owned five hundred twenty straight Spanish Arabians. The horses currently maintained at Stanley Ranch are a distillation of the lines that have proven most successful in garnering more than eighty National awards since 1992. They also take the family hunting in the winter.
Molly closes by saying, "We thank these wonderful Spanish Arabians, who always have given whatever was asked of them."