Studbook History


Since animals were first domesticated, differences between individuals of the same species were noted and used selectively to improve stock for a specific purpose.

Private studbooks have existed since the early 17th  century, but were not always reliable. Over time individuals, often with the aid of their governments, established breeds and studbooks for those breeds that were important to the people of that region.

The first official horse studbook was the “General Studbook for Thoroughbred Horses” set up in England in 1791. The American Stud Book dates from 1897 and includes foals from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and parts of Mexico. By the end of the 19th century both Spain and Portugal had started to focus on their separate bloodlines and studbooks.

Iberian Horse Studbook History

The term “Andalusian” has long been used to refer to the classic Iberian-type horse from the South of Spain, Andalucia. It is an age-old regional term that was in popular use in the early 1960s to describe a broad group of horses that included those bred along the Spanish/Portuguese border.  Many of the early US imports from Spain were called “Andalusians” so that name was used in the founding of the first US studbooks.

  • 1889 – Portugal created a record of horse breeds within the country
  • 1912 – the original “official register” for pure Spanish horses – PRE (Pura Raza Espanol) – was created in Spain as the formal responsibility of the Ministry of Defense and was part of the Cria Caballar.
  • 1942 – the first official Lusitano Studbook was established in Portugal. A number of Spanish PRE horses were brought into the Portuguese Studbook during this time.
  • 1966 – the Studbooks of Spain and Portugal formalized their language and breed definitions to make it clear that horses born in Portugal were called Lusitano, and horses born in Spain were called PRE. This allowed the two breeds to develop into a separate and distinct types.
  • 1967 – management of the Lusitano studbook transitioned to the Portuguese Association of Purebred Lusitano Horse Breeders (APSL) which still manages that studbook, while the Spanish Ministry of Defense continued to manage the PRE Studbook.
  • 2007 – the government of Spain turned over the management of the PRE Studbook to the National PRE Breeder’s Association of Spain (ANCCE).

Andalusians and Lusitanos in the United States

The following account of the Andalusian horse in the US and the development of the IALHA was compiled in 2006. We are indebted to Nadine Tilley, who played a significant part in both, for sharing this history.

 The first record of an Andalusian imported into the US was in 1964 and the American Andalusian Horse Association (AAHA) was formed about the same time. In 1966 that organization was incorporated in New Mexico as a private Registry. Horses were entered into the first US registry based on verification from a set of studbooks brought from Spain.

In 1977 a group of likeminded breeders met to discuss and develop a new organization which they named the International Andalusian Horse Association (IAHA). By 1979 they had filed for tax-exempt status and started to maintain a new Registry owned by the membership.

In 1980 the first IAHA Studbook was printed and distributed. In the meantime, the AAHA was continuing to maintain its own private studbook. During the early 1990’s there were several efforts to merge the two organizations and the studbooks.

During that time the American Andalusian Horse Association (AAHA) changed its name to the American Andalusian & Lusitano Association. Finally, in 1995 both organizations approved the merger and the new organization became the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association – the IALHA.

Our registry rules were being written and expanded in those early years to ensure that the horses accepted for registration were traced in an unbroken line to the studbooks of Spain and Portugal. In 1993 we added a studbook and registry for Half-Andalusians and Half-Lusitanos with the requirement that one parent must be a purebred.

At the same time rules were developed to protect the owners and breeders of our horses. Requirements for microchips or individual freeze brands and blood typing were added in 1992 & 1993 and full DNA parent verification in was required by 2000. These rules help to ensure the identity of the horse, its accurate pedigree, and value for the owner.

function of studbook

The Function of a Studbook

The words “Studbook” and “Registry” are often used interchangeably, however the IALHA manages both. A Studbook is a record of the pedigree of each horse and a Registry connects the individual horses in the studbook to their breeders and current owners through a process of documentation.

The first function, the Studbook, assures the identity of horses accepted, meeting our strict criteria of DNA parent verification, pedigree research, micro-chipping, and recording markings.

The Registry protects the breeders and owners of our horses by ensuring that appropriate signatures are in place when transferring a horse from one owner to the next. Every professional registry requires a chain of ownership for each horse to document transfers of ownership from one person from the next.

IALHA Studbook Eligibility

Breeders and owners of our horses are protected by our process of assuring that all the appropriate paperwork and signatures are in place when registering a horse – foal or adult, domestic or foreign bred.

Those who sell a registered horse are responsible for providing the buyer with the original certificate that contains accurately completed fields.  Buyers are responsible for examining the certificate to ensure its accuracy and that the seller and the owner listed on the certificate are one and the same.  If a discrepancy exists, the seller of the horse should produce a Bill(s) of Sale that traces the ownership to the person listed as owner on the certificate.

Periodically we encounter horses which are sold  “IALHA Registration eligible” but for whom there is no signature of the stallion owner or the owner of the mare, documenting that the horse was actually bred under the auspices of two registered owners. Offspring of horses that do not have an ownership documentation trail are not registerable unless and until the last registered owners of both the sire and the dam complete and sign all of the appropriate paperwork.

These situations can occur when an IALHA registered horse is given away or sold without papers. Other times, a horse is sold but the new owner fails to complete payment and therefore never receives the signed Registration Certificate.

Our registry staff will assist by making a good faith effort to locate and contact prior owners, but are not always able to obtain the necessary information, which is why it is always best to obtain this information prior to finalizing the purchase of a horse.

Imported Andalusians and Lusitanos or those with foreign registration documents from either APSL or ANCCE and a select few other registries (who meet our strict documentation requirements including parent verification, microchipping and clear ownership documents) are eligible for entry into our studbook.

When purchasing a horse with foreign registration documents, it is best to inquire whether we are able to accept them. A copy of the original registration documents from the foreign registry is required.  Additionally, if the person applying for registration is not displayed on the foreign registration papers, a bill of sale issued from that person is necessary.  The IALHA Registry Board is frequently faced with situations in which individuals who have purchased a horse discover that the documentation of ownership is not in order, complicating the ability to register.

The IALHA Registry Board and Registry staff diligently uphold our Registry rules and processes to ensure that the registration papers we issue are of the highest quality, guarantee the purity and identity of each horse and accurately document its breeder and owners.

This is why the IALHA Registration process and Studbook are respected around the world for their judiciousness and reliability.