An Interview with the managing owner of the Guardiola Stud Farm: Jaime Guardiola
Walnut Creek Ranch.
A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE STUD FARM:
Name: Herederos de Salvador Guardiola Fantoni
Situation: Utrera and the salt marshes of the Guadalquivir
Number of brood mares: about 30
Foundation mares of the stud: Centella IV, Barrillo , Relimpia, Victoriosa, Escribana, Educada III
Foundation stallions of the stud: Gorrón II, Maromo, Centella V y Educado I.
Most representative horses: Escapada II, Efusiva, Educado X, Cornetina, Camela, Maromito V, Centella V, Marciano e Hispano.
Colours: Grey, flea bitten grey, bay and black.
Genetic origins: Carthusian as the basic line, and Military Stud.
JAIME, TELL US THE HISTORY OF THE GUARDIOLA STUD:
I would like to start by making something clear, which is that I could have put the stud in my name, the stud farm of Don Jaime Guardiola Dominguez, but it was my brothers' and sisters' idea, and also mine, that at least in my generation both the bulls and the horses would keep my father's name and therefore we are still the heirs of Don Salvador Guardiola Fantoni, who was my father.
The history of the stud farm start many years ago. I remember when my father bought the stud of Roberto Osborne and I remember the names of some of the mares: Limonera, Sisona, Destinada, Cacica, Imperdible, and I also remember the names of the stallions Teruel, and Destinado, this last one was of a line of horses we have used a lot, the same as many other breeders for the quality of this family. I also remember a black horse called Zorrero, which I have seen in a pedigree recently. We are talking of the years 1942-43, which was when my father bought this line from Roberto Osborne. From this horse come our black horses, from this Zorrero as well as from Destinado. But the stud existed already in my grandfather's time. In Pinganillo I have kept hand written notes made by my grandfather, with the coverings of the mares, which mares had been used for the harvest over at Malavista , in Pinganillo etc., to read this makes me very sentimental, as you will understand. Later, my father bought from Roberto Osborne, who was a great friend of his from Estepa, the part of his stud that was pure Carthusian. The purchase was made in two lots, the first one in the year 1943, and the second one in 43 or 44. In total, there were fifteen mares and three stallions. The horses were in the salt marshes, running free, and the selection that was done consisted in bringing State stallions from the stallion depot, apart from our own stallions, always trying to bring stallions that came from the Carthusian lines and the Military Stud, so not to go outside these lines, as I believe that the blood lines have to be kept, both with the horses and with the bulls. It is easy to go outside the lines, but then to get back to the purity of the line is difficult. The criterions for selection were based upon primarily getting animals with a good morphology. The horse with not enough cannon bone and too small was taken away. Secondly that they were functional horses, with a good canter, that were useful for the work. Our employees showed us, because when the horses were put to work with the wild bulls or in the agriculture, any horse that was dishing or did not canter left the farm, because the farm workers did not want it. We are talking of Purebred Andalusians, not crossbreds.
I remember when I was a boy, a horse called Deseado, who was a real brute, when we collected the wheat in Galera, eighty kilo sacks, mark well you needed two or three men to load them. After the thrashing, the wheat was pulled on carts which sometimes got stuck in the sandy ground, then we went to get Deseado to pull them out. He pulled better than a mule.
The mares I have named were the mothers of the present stud, but already in my time there are mares that have to be mentioned and which any good aficionado know by heart, they are like the set up of my team. Between the flea bitten greys, which always have had a good image and somehow are the hallmark of the Guardiola farm, I must mention Barillo, who was Reserve Champion of Spain, with very high points of 85 or 86. Victoriosa and Relimpia have been great mares. Of the bay mares, I have to mention Becaria and Educada and then the daughters of these mares I have mentioned. I also would like to mention two mares, Escribana y Brincadora, who, although not the best morphologically gave many foals of an excellent quality, with a rough character, very hard, they never tired of galloping, very resistant, who were good for the work with the bulls.
I want to add that the mares my father bought from Roberto Osborne added to the number of mares already existing on the farm from my grandfather's time, some of them of Carthusian lines. The basic line of Guardiola is the Carthusian, to which then the breeder adds his notes, his character, in function with the destiny of the horses, if it is carriage driving, or other activities, like in our case, as we do agriculture and breeding of bulls, we have looked for horses that are useful for both, and this is what justifies that our horses have traditionally been very functional horses. Also, the whole family have been riders and we like functional horses.
About the characteristic colours of the stud, as it comes from the Carthusian, we have the typical colours of this line, which is grey, bay and black. We all know that the black colour was not much selected, but nowadays, as the market demands, we are selecting it again. The dominant colours in our stud have been grey and bay. In 1949 there were five black horses pulling a carriage. I remember when King Mohamed V of Morocco came to Spain, our horse carriage met him, and there are photos from then of the king pulled by our five black horses.
WHAT IS IN YOUR OPINION THE SECRET OF YOUR SUCCESS, MAINTAINING WHAT WAS ALREADY GOOD OR CHANGING IT FOR BETTER?
Well, I would say in our home the criterions for selection has never varied, which is, functional horses, with temperament and useful. At home we continue using Andalusians for working the bulls, at the moment I have one working as "picador", Becario son of Centella V y Becaria, who is good for the trying of the bulls, and works and chases the cows, he runs like a crossbred horse. I have been Champion of Acoso y Derribo with purebred Andalusians, and I have done many tests with the bulls with these same horses.
I do believe that with the breed shows, us breeders have been stimulated to correct the defects we have had in our studs, because before, you didn't know your own defects, I mean, you did know but you did not get them compared so they were less evident, and you didn't think they were so important. Now, with the shows they are much more evident. For example, for the mares that perhaps had a good front end and a bad hind, you have been looking for stallions that would correct these defects. I definitely think that our horses today are better morphologically for the reasons I just gave, and perhaps they are more functional for the selection we have done. Earlier every breeder was king in his own home, he never looked at the others and believed that his horses were the only good ones. The shows are a lesson in humility, you can ask more than one breeder.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR ANIMALS?
Look, my biggest illusion is when an aficionado or a fellow breeder says to me: "I can see a horse from a distance and I know it is a Guardiola". With its defects and its virtues, our line is very defined. At a time like the present, with so many new breeders, to be able to maintain a definite line is an important achievement. I think the judges consider the Guardiola stud as one of the most typical of the breed, and it is fundamental to keep the breed characteristics, especially today as in the search for a more functional horse, some breeders have not been able to stick to it, unfortunately. You see many horses being champions and they are not typical of the breed, and mine are, you have Centella V, Camela, the flea bitten greys, who are very typical to the breed and morphologically very good.
FROM YOUR JUDGEMENT WHICH LINES OF MARES AND/OR STALLIONS ARE THE FOREMOST IN THE GUARDIOLA STUD?
The ones that really stand out are the offspring of Victoriosa, Relimpia, Becaria, Educada, they are mares that have had more than twenty years of life, they have been good brood mares with fifteen, sixteen or seventeen foals. But on the verge of all this, there is always one mare in the stud that is not one of the champions but has got the heart of the breeder, which in my case is Escribana, who was not the best morphologically, but dropped very important horses, Brincadora etc. Of the stallions, what can I tell you of Centella V. I think in the breed shows, the real champion stallion should be able to show an important number of quality offspring. I have been lucky to be able to do this with Centella V. Remember last year they offered an homage to this horse at SICAB, he was shown at 21 years of age with his offspring and his morphology, it made the breeder real proud. The stallion is the one who gives good offspring. Maromo has been another key stallion in our stud, stamping his offspring more than Centella V, with significant offspring like Centella V, Educado, Hispano VIII, Dominanta, Chorlito, Lejano, the last three with the brand of Dehesa de la Granja when I sold the horse to Jaime Pujol, all of them champions.
WHAT IS MOST DIFFICULT, GET TO THE TOP OR STAY THERE?
The good breeder has got to have clear ideas and keep them against all changing winds. What we sometimes see happen with new breeders, is because of lack of knowledge, and listening to advice from here and there and quick results that often end in resounding failures and laments. The good breeder is the one who, after two or three generations is getting a medium quality and a defined animal. Sometimes a new breeder wins the lottery and gets an important horse, but the difficult thing is to stay at the top. I think a clear case of this I have been telling you of how difficult it is to get there, but even more difficult to stay is the stud of my friend Jaime Pujol, who got very good horses from Maromo, and when Maromo died no more horses appeared with so much quality.
WHO GIVE MORE IN A STUD, THE STALLIONS OR THE MARES?
Indisputably, you have to have good mares, because with bad mares it is difficult to get better, and if you get something good out of a bad one, where do you get? To sixty points? To seventy points? The difficulty lies in reaching eighty points and staying there. To achieve this you must start with a brood mare of eighty points, and even so, it is difficult to stay there. One has to consider that a good mare normally give good foals, but not with all stallions, therefore the breeder has to be very watchful and must know to recognize when a mare gives well with one certain stallion, and when this is the case one has to keep it there and stop trying. This has been the case with Centello V and Escapada, for example. If the crossing does not work one must continue trying. Then there are also mares well in the breed, which means, they transmit the breed, they define their foals very much.
IF YOU HAD TO REFRESH YOUR STUD WITH ANY BLOOD LINE, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
We have been looking for the Carthusian line, and we have never gone outside this line. My stud of Andalusians comes basically from this line and we would have to refresh with this line, in that case.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF CONSANGUINITY?
Consanguinity has got its risks. It is evident that sooner or later it is necessary to refresh the blood in a stud, but it is hard work for a good breeder to go to somebody else's stud to look for new blood. This happens with the horses and the bulls. But it is necessary to do. Our family did always go to the Military Stud where they had many and good stallions, but unfortunately they leave a lot to desire nowadays. With consanguinity what you achieve is accentuating some things for good, but also for bad. For example, if you are looking for very convex profiles and you abuse of the consanguinity you may get too far, and you get abnormal horses. To get black horses, of which I had very few, I crossed fathers with cousins, brothers with sisters, etc. and I think these are not the best lines of my stud, but it is also true that the black horses have come from worse animals, apart from mine who are very pure and you have Marciano, who was breed champion in Jerez, and who was black. The professor Aparicio Macarro once took Marciano with him to show to some of his students and he said to them, look, a black horse but one who is within the limits of the breed standard. This was flattering for me. But in general the black horses are not within the breed, there is a lot of arab in this colour.
WHAT TYPE OF HORSE ARE YOU PLANNING TO BREED FOR THE FUTURE?
A more functional horse, one that can carry the riders. Earlier a rider weighed sixty kilos but nowadays any rider weighs eighty or ninety kilos. Also, they have to get taller. Before, a good horse was 1m 55, but if you bring that out on the market nowadays, nobody wants it. About the type of movements of the Andalusian, I want to make clear that they have always been the same, there is nothing new to invent here. About this exist many stories and theories from people interested in the fantasy of the functionality. It is enough that the horse has got strength in his hind legs, that he bends at the knee and has got a free shoulder and is able to canter, this is the simple truth, and is what the Spanish and the German like. We are not going to invent a new type of movement that is now abundant in the rings and that you don't know if you are seeing Andalusians or what breed it is. They all move the same, and they are all lacking the breed type.
FROM YOUR JUDGEMENT, WHO ARE THE ACTUAL CLIENTS AND WHO ARE THE FUTURE CLIENTS OF THE ANDALUSIAN MARKET?
Well, I think that the commercial horse or the no commercial horse, it depends on the client who wants to buy the horse. This may be from the father who wants to give his daughter a horse because she passed her graduation, to the dressage competition rider. All horses do not come out the same from the breeder, I have sold horses of all colours, from real stars to bad horses, and sometimes they pay more for bad horses than for good ones. Sometimes they want the bad ones. There are clients for all tastes, but at the moment it seems that the functionality and the European market is the new channel for the commerce of the Andalusian. But, there may come a client who wants a horse for carriage driving who is not looking for this "very functional" horse. Functional, what for? For what the client wants of the horse. Perhaps the functionality the horse needs to have is something else.
It is also true that I have noticed an important change in the buyers of horses nowadays compared with the buyers from yesterday. Now they are much better informed, they know more, luckily, so we avoid the risk of their thinking they have been cheated. Well, I would never try and cheat anybody in my life, with a horse that is an article of luxury, but there can always be some reserve or a bit of resentment. Today they look at the extremities of the horse, if he is standing correct, if he is well shod etc. It is better when people know what they are talking about, because otherwise they buy the horse of you, then some smart guy comes around, tells them a couple of things, and they think you have cheated them.
IF YOU HAD TO TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENT TYPE OF CLIENT ACCORDING TO THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, HOW WOULD YOU DIFFER, FOR EXAMPLE, THE EUROPEAN CLIENT FROM THE AMERICAN?
The European client is normally people with very defined criteria, looking for a very functional horse well in the breed standard. The South American client is much more varied, there are those who are only looking for a beautiful and spectacular horse, even though the breed shows are educating some of them towards the functionality. The North American market is very serious and from my point of view may be a market with an excellent future as the Spanish breed is not so extended. But we do need to enter on a good note, which for me consists in a good promotion and waiting for the clients to come. My experience is that it is a market that pays good prices for the horses.
DO YOU THINK THAT DRESSAGE IS A PASSING FASHION, OR SOMETHING THAT WAS NEEDED IN THE ANDALUSIAN AND THAT WILL STAY?
Passing no, it was not known before. We breeders of Andalusians of the south, we bred our horses for bull fighting (rejoneo), carriage driving, parades in the fair, to work with the cattle, and dressage was an unknown discipline. Since a couple of years it is getting known, and we breeders are trying to adapt our horses to this discipline, and I think we will succeed, the proof is in the success of our horses in the Olympic games. Selection and time will do the rest. I remember as a young boy, here was a man called the Marques de Contadero, who was the Lord mayor of Sevilla and was my mother's brother, and all the horses he had were given as presents from my father, being the brother in law, and the horses of the Marques de Contadero were very famous, as I said, I remember as a young boy that transportation in Sevilla was with horse carriages. My mother was brought to mass, we were brought to school etc., I am talking about the 50's. How graceful are the horses of the Marques de Contadero! were the shouts we heard from the men who were having coffee at the bar La punta de Diamante, which we passed every day with the horses, and the clients of the bar could see our faces reflected in the clean and brilliant shoes of the horses who were dishing very much. This is the horse that was selected in those days, spectacular and dishing. Today the dishing is a defect for the forward going, and we are selecting to get rid of it and we see now very few horses dishing. Dishing is a defect, but I think if the horse has got strong hind legs, it is a defect of medium degree.
Dressage is an important challenge for the breeders, in the same time an opportunity because it can be a new important channel for the horse commerce. We cannot loose the breed type, and the hurry to produce functional horses is giving us breed champions with the tail in the air and protruding eyes. I would give a horse in the ring that is not in the breed type at least one minus one point, or I would use a correction factor so that in the total sum of the different regions I could avoid that this horse became champion. I think the note for fidelity to the breed ought to carry more weight than the others, because we must not forget that we are judging a breed, and its future stallions, and consequently this factor ought to weigh more than others, like if the horse can do good extensions. Coffee must be coffee, but not coffee with milk. Sometimes you see champions in the ring, that I don't think the judges would be capable of using for their own mares, if they had any. For me, as I said earlier, for a horse to be a champion stallion and of the breed, there had to be horses of at least 10 to 12 years of age, already with proven defined offspring that on top win in the rings. That is the good stallion, that is the champion of stallions. That is how it is done abroad, where they judge the stallions on the quality of their offspring.
DO YOU THINK THE ANDALUSIAN CAN GET TO BE A PROFITABLE INDUSTRY, OR DO YOU THINK IT WILL CONTINUE BEING A BAD BUSINESS?
This is like in bullfighting, where there are three or four who get rich, and then there are two thousand who don't have any success. In horse breeding, the one who breeds well and has good products, will always be fine, but one must also think that breeding, as we always have said at home that breeding is not a good business, it is not a profitable business. In the long run it gives you an image and what it does not give in money is compensated by other things that makes it worthwhile being a breeder, but profitable, it is not a profitable business not even for us strong breeders. Nowadays one has to spend much more money to show horses at a breed show than before, to show them well, prepare the horses etc., because this is becoming tremendously competitive and for the breeders with big farms, who have got the horses loose in the salt marshes it is a tremendous effort to prepare them for showing, well trained, well fat etc,. taking in all the problems with colics, mares not getting pregnant, heart failures etc. all consequences of fattening the horses up for showing. This is what happened with my mare Camela, who died of heart failure for being fat while being prepared for SICAB. If it had not been for SICAB she would still be grazing in the salt marshes having foals.
DO YOU CONSIDER THE GENETICS OF THE CARTHUSIANS A HIGHLY VALUED RESORT FOR CONSERVING THE PURITY OF THE ANDALUSIAN? DO YOU THINK IF THE STUD DISAPPEARED SOMETHING WOULD HAPPEN TO OUR BREED?
The purebred Andalusian is a breed, and the Carthusians are only one part of this, the whole breed is not the Carthusians. Other studs that do not descend from the Carthusians as the Escalera stud, do not depend on them. Well now, those of us who have blood lines and origins from the Carthusians which seems to be the most typical of the breed, I think we should keep it. As a fact, if I had to refresh my blood lines, I would do it with the Carthusian, because my origins are from this brand and I have to go back to this line. I repeat that not all Carthusians are typical of the breed, but it is true that it's where there is the highest degree of fidelity to the breed. I think that the genetics of the Carthusian have been the base in the past, and to be frank, the good studs come from there. Romero Benitez, Roberto Osborne, Terry, the Pallarés, Conde de Odiel etc, are the best lines of the breed.
DO YOU THINK THAT THE ANDALUSIAN WAS A CREATION BY THE CARTHUSIAN MONKS OR BY THE KING PHILLIP II?
By Phillip II? Could as well be by a clown. A genuine product from the Andalusian land should be created by a priest? Or by a monk? Or by whom? Who did you say? By the Carthusian monks or by Altamirano? The Andalusian horse is a product of the land, as well as the Iberian pig, and more from here in Andalucia and the salt marshes.
DO YOU THINK THAT THE MORPHOTYPE OF THE FRONT-NOSE PROFILE OF THE ANDALUSIAN IS SUBCONVEX OR STRAIGHT?
The technicians say that both are admitted, the straight and the subconvex.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH, JAIME
Interview used permission from Equiandalusian News - http://www.equiandalusian.com/
Salvador Guardiola Fantoni founded his stud farm in 1943 with mares and stallions from the Roberto Osborne stud farm in Estepa.
Today, his heirs continue the family tradition on their farms, one of which is located only five kilometers from Utrera "El Pinganillo" while the other "Los Isletones" is in the Guadalquivir marshlands.
The first awards were earned at the Select Livestock Exhibit of the 1944 and 1945 April Fairs. Some of the most recent awards were obtained at the National Championship as well as those held in Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Málaga and Madrid. To mention a few:
CANTELLA V - National Champion.
NADAL - Reserve Champion Stallion.
EDUCADO - Breed Champion, National Runner up, First Place in the Functionality Contest.
CENTELLA VI - Reserve Champion Stallion.
HISPANO VIII - Breed Champion.
BARRILLA - First Place for more than 7 year old mares and Breed runner up.
CAMELA - Breed Champion, "Campeonísima" Trophy (Grand Champion) runner up, First place 3 year old mares and best movements
CORNETINA - Breed runner up.
ESCAPADO II - Andalusia (Regional) runner up.
ESCAPADA II - Breed runner up.
At both Seville and Málaga contests, the stables earned the Best Livestock Operation Award (Premio a la Mejor Ganadería).
Thanks to above average quality, we have received a Diploma from the Cria Caballar offices in 1979 and in 1991.
Many of our horses appear in LIMPRE, the Official Book of Merits.
Selection has been based on the functionality during cattle and farming operations without forgetting morphology.
andalusians for sale, black andalusian spanish stallion
By Lanys Kaye-Eddie
Salvador Guardiola Fantoni founded his stud farm in 1943 with mares and stallions from Roberto Osborne Stud Farm in Estepa. Today, his heirs continue the family tradition on their farms, one of which is located only 5 kilometers from Utrera, El Pinganillo, while the other, Los Isletones, is in the Guadalquivir marshlands. The first awards were earned at the Select Livestock Exhibit of 1944 and 1945, and recent awards are earned in Seville, Jerez, Malaga and Madrid.
" this farm has many offspring of the incredible bay stallion Centella V - who was a champion of Spain, and was represented at the championship at 18 years old, and very much admired. He is an extraordinary horse, great power and strength. The Guardiola horses are inclined to be very substantial, great bone, and slightly convex heads - they are often fairly line bred, which makes the breed truer in many cases. Many are bay and black, although they do not specialize."