Why Iberian horses are booming in Britain more than ever *H&H Plus*

We’ve seen Iberians excelling in international dressage with Spanish and Portuguese riders, but they are growing in popularity with amateurs in the UK, too. Tessa Waugh charts the growing interest

Thirty years ago, there were very few Iberian horses in Britain and if you wanted to ride one, you needed to travel to Portugal or Spain. More recently, British riders have become increasingly interested in Iberians and many more are being imported and bred here in the UK. There are now several competitions exclusively for them in dressage and showing, and numbers of competitors are rising in both disciplines. So why are Iberians drawing such plaudits and how do they differ from other breeds?

Virginia Draper (pictured) traces her interest back seven years, to a trekking holiday in Andalusia. The holiday started a love a air with Diamante, the PRE (Pura Raza Española, or Pure Breed Spanish) stallion she rode on that occasion and several more times when she returned to the area.

“His owner, Donna, always joked that I should take him home because it would be cheaper than all the holidays,” she laughs, and three years later she did.

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