Breed Report: Carthusian

The Carthusian is considered to be the purest strain of the Andalucian.


The Carthusian is considered to be the purest strain of the Andalucian and consequently is also known as the Carthusian Andalucian (and as the Carthujano).  Being one of Spain’s oldest breeds, it owes its purity to the work of Carthusian Monks, believe it or not.  Today, it is bred at state-owned studs in Cordoba, Jerez and Badajoz (all of them Spanish cities).

ORIGIN:  Spain

ENVIRONMENT:  Desert and semidesert, also open habitat including grassland, moor and heath

USES:  Riding and sports

HEIGHT:  15.0 hh (60 in)

COLORS:  Black, chestnut and gray


The foundation Carthusian stallion was bred by the two Zamoras brothers who purchased an old stallion named El Soldada for their herd of Spanish mares.  It is said that one of the brothers recognized the stallion as his old cavalry horse!  The first colt they produced was the dark gray Esclavo.  He had a lot of offspring and, in 1736, a group of his mares were given to Carthusian Monks as settlement for a debt.  The monks, determined to protect their horses’ purity, even defied royal orders and refused to introduce outside blood.  The line they preserved became known as the Zomoranos.  In 1854, Don Vincent bought as many of the Zomorano line as he could find and continued to improve the breed, still without using outside blood.


The breed is renowned for its conformation:  It has a fine head set on a muscular neck, and round, muscular quarters.  Its shoulders are sloping while its chest is deep, and its back short and broad.  The head is elegant and noble.  The mane is luxuriantly abundant.  A unique feature sometimes displayed in this breed is two small, horny growths, either on the temple or by the ears, as can be seen in the image below.

If I had a horse like this I would name it Silver Dragon.

Carthusian Featured

Debby Sly: Encyclopedia of Horses.  Bath, UK 2008, p. 204

2 comments on “Breed Report: Carthusian”

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