About Carthusian Horses
Carthusian (also known as Carthusian-Andalusian, and
Carthujano) horses originated in Spain. They were created when the Zamora
brothers purchased a stallion by the name of El Soldado and bred him to two
mares. A colt and a filly were produced, and the colt (a dark gray) was named
Esclavo and went on to become the foundation sire of the Carthusian breed.
Esclavo went on to produce many offspring, which were sold to breeders in
Jerez, Spain. One group of mares sired by Esclavo around 1736 were sold to Don
Pedro Picado, who then gave part of them to a group of Carthusian monks in the
settlement of a debt and sold the rest to Antonio Abad Romero where they were
absorbed into the main Andalusian breed. The stock given to the monks were bred
into a special line, known as Zamoranos, and specific breeding of the
Carthusian horse was established by the 1400s.
Throughout the following centuries, the Zamoranos bloodlines
were guarded by the Carthusian monks, to the point of defying royal orders to
introduce outside blood from the Neapolitan horse and central European breeds.
They did, however, introduce Arabian and Barb blood to improve the strain. By
the 1700s and 1800s the Carthusian strain was beginning to become well
established. The Carthusian monks sold a large number of horses to Don Pedro
and Juan Jose Zapata, which were subsequently purchased in 1854 by Don Vincent
Romero y Garcia, a Jerez landholder. Through his breeding expertise, Don
Vincent improved the breed quality without introducing outside blood. Today,
the Carthusian strain is raised in state-owned studs around Jerez de la
Frontera, Badajoz, and Cordoba.
The stallion Esclavo is said to have had warts under his
tail, and his characteristics were passed on to his offspring. Some breeders
felt that without the warts, a horse could not be of the Esclavo blood line.
Another characteristic sometimes seen in the Carthusian is the evidence of
"horns," actually frontal bosses thought to be inherited from Asian
ancestors. The descriptions of the "horns" vary from calcium-like
deposits on the temple to small horns behind or near the ear. Unlike the warts
beneath the tail, the horns were not considered proof of Esclavo descent.
They are used for riding and are 15.2 hh. Carthusian horses
are not a separate breed from the Andalusians, but are a distinct side branch
of that breed and usually considered the purest strain remaining. They are one
of Spain's most prestigious lines and have one of the oldest stud books in the
Their predominant color is gray. Some Carthusians are
chestnut or black. Their head is light and elegant with a slightly convex profile,
broad forehead, small ears, and large, lively eyes. Their neck is well
proportioned and arched; their chest is broad and deep; their shoulders slop;
their back short and broad; their croup is sloped; and the legs are sturdy with
broad, clean joints. Nearly all members of this breed have good conformation.