I was fortunate to be invited to join a good friend on her trip to Spain to ride a horse she had been researching the past few months. How quickly did I pack, you ask? Yes, immediately!
Although it was only a seven-day trip with five days in Spain, it exceeded our expectations. My experience with shopping for horses (and purchasing) has always been to ride a prospective horse 2 or possibly 3 times if I’m lucky, and the trainer to ride once. Sound familiar?
I would like to share our experience with BRH Stud in Peñaranda de Bracamonte, Spain (about 2 hours NW of Madrid). This program is run by Enrique de Benito, who has been breeding Iberian horses for 30 years with the goal of developing horses that have extremely good minds in addition to excellent confirmation. He does this with P.R.E’s and Lusitanos and at times, will cross breed the two. We were impressed by the horses in his barn, which did have incredible minds and were safe for us amateurs to ride. My friend rode five horses on the first full day, and I rode two horses at the end of the week.
My friend had already researched a particular horse at Enrique's barn and had him send x-rays to her, which she shared with her local veterinarian to ensure the horse had no issues before we arrived. We preplanned a tentative vet visit for a PPE during our stay if all went well, and she enjoyed riding the horse.
To make a long story short, she had 3 days of riding the horse, had the vet conduct the prepurchase exam, sent all the results (including more x-rays) to her vet in California who gave her a thumbs up within hours and Voila- She told Enrique she would purchase the horse!
What we learned through observations and actual hands-on lessons from Enrique’s world-class dressage trainer, Daniel Perez Gonzalez regarding how ALL the horses are being trained, making them excellent dressage FEI prospects for amateur riders like us was paramount to our learning. Furthermore, Enrique was extremely forthcoming with his expertise on horses and how he has formulated his breeding program over the past 30 years.
I could go on about the hospitality, generosity of loaning a car, taking us out for amazing meals and showing us all of babies and mares in other parts of Spain. There was much more, but don’t get me started!!!
Are you horse shopping? I highly recommend getting in touch with BRH Stud and making your way to Spain . . .
ORIENTAL (5 year old breeding stallion)
My friend and her new horse Oceano - sporting her myMareCo headband and getting ready for her ride!