In the notoriously slow-growing business of breeding horses. Raul Bucio's Andaurora Ranch isn't the oldest name in the Pura Raza Española world. But the Modesto program's devotion to quality and the strict standards set forth by the Spanish studbook have made it a leader, role model and a catalyst for the right kind of growth as the Spanish horse's popularity expands by leaps and bounds.
Started in the early 2000s, Andaurora Ranch's program is based on a bay mare herd with strong Military and Escalera lines, (curently) two herd stallions and various outside stallions. The bay sire Gavilan IV was bred by Pedro Maza and imported from Spain, and the more recent acquisition, the bayo (buckskin) Tuno PM, was also imported from Spain, bred by Paco Marti. The mares and stallions will enable Andaurora Ranch to produce beauty, movement and color long into the future.
Raul had been a "horse guy" before discovering the P.R.E. "We had Quarter Horses, an Arabian and a Friesian. An eclectic mix, I know!" he admits. A visit to Camass Andaluz in the Sierra Foothills transformed his role in the equine world in one fell swoop. "We were presented with four beautiful stallions and were led through pastures with plump, pregnant, elegant mares," Raul recalls. "We were taken by the tractability of the stallions, the affection of the mares, both toward us and toward the foals that were on the ground.
"From that moment on, we were committed," Raul says.
Producing horses that adhere to breed standards is a top priority. Toward that end, all of Andaurora's horses go through the extensive process of becoming registered with the studbook in Spain, currently administered by LG ANCCE. This many-phased endeavor begins with inscription, in which blood samples verify that the offspring are the genetic progeny of the mare and sire, both of whom must be, at a minimum, registered as breeding stock. Upon verification, the foal is issued a "Carta" or passport that confirms it is an offspring of two specific P.R.E. horses.
The second step is valoration. At 3 years old or older, a candidate undergoes a veterinary examination to confirm the horse's fidelity to the breed standard. The exam includes measurements, movement evaluation and observations of faults. If approved, the horse receives approval as breeding stock. A sticker will be placed in the Carta to verify that the horse has passed and is confirmed as a breeding animal.
The third step is qualification, during which another exam considers x-rays, a movement evaluation and breeding functionality of a mature horse to ensure that it is exceptional. Andaurora counts qualified horses among its family.
Other steps are offered, but the three steps noted above are primary.
Dressage suitability is another Andaurora priority. "We are seeing more and more PRE horses competing successfully in dressage," Raul notes. "Andaurora expects that our horses will present three correct gaits and an ability to be trained according to the dressage training scale. We see the P.R.E. being well accepted within the discipline, particularly in the higher levels of dressage. We attribute that to their temperament and ability to collect."
Quality is much more important than quantity, but Andaurora is doing its part to fulfill demand for these spectacular horses. They typically produce between 15 to 20 babies per year. The Ranch has horses for sale in all age brackets, but has found that most of their sales are in young horses.
Good breeding decisions are just the beginning at Andaurora as youngsters are supported in their development in numerous ways.
Ample acreage allows the Ranch to grow its own hay to meet ideal nutritional requirements and horses benefit from management's constant consultation with experts in breeding, competition and overall well-being. That approach is good for their own horses and also for fans of the breed, whether newcomers or veterans. Andaurora Ranch hosts valorations regularly, plus clinics and various events at which visitors are welcome. "We enjoy the opportunity to introduce the P.R.E. horse to those who have an interest," Raul explains.
The Andaurora horses compete regularly and their appearances and accomplishments are posted on the Ranch's Facebook page and website.
For more information visit, www.andauroraranch.com or the Ranch's Facebook page, for the latest information and many beautiful photos of the Andaurora Ranch horses.