How did the
French knight's horse, extinct since the late seventeenth
century, come to be re-created in the late 1980's?
First came Hamid Hill Farm's
stallion, Embajador IX, imported from
Spain. His owner, Allan H. Hamid, had done extensive
historical research on medieval warhorses.
The Barb horse, introduced to
Europe by the Moorish invasions from North Africa, made a
major contribution to the genetic base of the indigenous
horses of the Iberian Peninsula and France. Blood-typing
studies done by Dr. E. Gus Cothran of the
University of Kentucky confirmed the genetic link.
In their breeding program,
the Hamids selectively combined the genes of the Andalusian of
Spain and the Percheron of France to re-create the phenotype
of the noble knight's horse.
With proud, young horses of
consistent conformation already flexing their muscles and
flaunting their style and
power, it was time to establish the
breed. In 1991 Linda and Allan Hamid of Woodbury, Connecticut,
founded the Spanish-Norman Horse
Registry, Inc. to record the
pedigrees of these unique horses representing centuries of
selective breeding. The Hamids envisioned a high
caliber competition horse, thus the motto, "the warhorse
of the ages as the sporthorse of today." The knight's
horse had to be powerful, valiant, agile and obedient in the
midst of the chaos of battle. Likewise, a modern performance
horse must be strong, courageous, athletic and trustworthy to
face the challenges of international competition.
Breed Registrar, Linda
Osterman Hamid, explains her pride in exporting a
Spanish-Norman to Europe:
"It brought us tremendous
satisfaction to sell a Hamid Hill Farm, Ltd. gelding to France.
Agincourt H.H.F., by first foundation sire Embajador
IX, was purchased by Monsieur Apfelbaum of Paris and is his
outstanding field hunter.
The Spanish-Norman embodies
the regal heritage of its noble ancestors: majesty, power and
great presence. The breed combines the elegant beauty,
boldness and natural collection of the Andalusian and the
size, strength and bone density of the Percheron.
Another Spanish-Norman horse
has gone to the country of his heritage.
stallion Soldado H.H.F. is now located in
southern Spain. His owner, the excellent equestrienne, Petra
Sherman, states: "Soldado H.H.F. is a true joy. We ride
for hours in the beautiful countryside, through the olive
orchards, almond groves and vineyards. It's always a memorable
and moving experience."
Endowed with the unique
combination of presence with docility, the Spanish-Norman
possesses outstanding character and temperament, qualities
essential to a successful performance horse. Spanish-Normans
potential to excel in a variety of disciplines including
jumping, cross-country, dressage and driving. This enormous
versatility is an important attribute of the breed.
Noted jumper trainer and
exhibitor, John Blair of Fox Gate Farms in Tivorton, Rhode
Island, praises the Spanish-Norman for "its natural
ability, tractability, and good mind." Blair showed Sir Norman of
Tivorton for former owner Joanne Fiola. The gelding,
originally named Guerrero (Warrior in Spanish) by breeder
Anthony Pagano of South Salem, New York, was the 2001 High
Point Trophy winner of the Spanish-Norman Horse Registry, Inc.
With great success, Blair
showed Sir Norman throughout New England at the 3'6",
3'9" level in jumpers. "The horse always gave 100%." Blair adds: "Sir Norman is a brave, fun horse
with an amazing personality. He had a real following at the
shows and constantly craved attention and affection from his
fans. He was fired up, anxious to jump one minute, then a real
pet, wanting to be touched the next."
Spanish-Normans are known for their sincere affection for
humans, a willingness to please and strong work ethic.
The Spanish-Norman is a rare
and exclusive breed. It is not easy to find many mature,
trained horses on the market. Owners tend to keep their
Spanish-Normans for a lifetime. Breeders sell young stock. In
the event of a change of ownership, trainers try to keep
Spanish-Normans in their barns.
Victoria Overholser of Ten
Oaks Farm has been training and competing the mare Serafina
PCF and the gelding Star of Orion for the McKinnon family of
Lenoir City, Tennessee. Serafina does well in Third
Level dressage and also wins at Novice Level Eventing and
Jumper Stakes classes. Overholser lauds the
Spanish-Normans: "I find their desire to please and
steady disposition leads to success in a variety of
disciplines, from eventing to dressage to show jumping. I
enjoy fox hunting both horses in the winter as
The largest breeders of
Spanish-Normans in the world are Bernice Parker and Allan
Steer of Saskatchewan, Canada. They have produced more than
forty Spanish-Normans sired by four different Andalusian
stallions out of registered Percheron mares. Bernice Parker
comments: "Our customers have horses competing all over
North America. I have yet to keep one for myself, as the
demand is so strong. It brings us great pleasure to follow the
careers of our sale horses. Owners keep us up-to-date on the
accomplishments of their Spanish-Normans and I post the
results and photos on our website, SporthorseCanada.com.
Our clients all compliment their Spanish-Normans on their very
trainable minds and superior temperaments, a great tribute to
The Canadian-bred Bracchus, a
four-year-old gelding, owned by Jim and Jan Lee of Lutz,
Florida, is competing in driving. Bracchus won the driving
championship at the Florida State Fair and also pinned in
Hunter Under Saddle classes.
The 'Ambassador' of the breed
is the Spanish-Norman stallion Romantico H.H.F., owned by
Hamid Hill Farm, Ltd. Romantico H.H.F. was
invited to be
a celebrity guest performer at BreyerFest, July 2005, at the
Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Breyer honored Romantico
H.H.F. in a special-edition, collector's horse
model in fine
porcelain. Romantico H.H.F. has also
represented the breed in Freestyle Reining. Romantico and
trainer Garry McAllister won 4th place in the Freestyle
Reining Open at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in
October 1999. They won 6th place in the Invitational Freestyle
Reining at the U.S.E.T.,
'Festival of Champions,' in June
2000. Romantico H.H.F. is the sole American-bred horse of
Spanish descent to have ever won a United States Equestrian
H.H.F., in authentic armor, has presented exhibitions at the
Polo Club, Equine Affaire and various charity events.
Spectators are transported back in time to the days of
chivalry and pageantry.
Registry, Inc. invites you to share the experience of this
extraordinary breed with the recent release of a DVD on the
Spanish-Norman Horse. The ten-minute DVD offers a
comprehensive view of the Spanish-Norman horse, and features breed 'Ambassador' Romantico H.H.F.
The educational and entertaining DVD
includes the history
of the Spanish-Norman horse and characteristics of this rare
For more information on
this DVD please visit the official
Spanish-Norman Horse Registry, Inc. website or call (203)