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THE OUTDOOR ALMANAC

Migrations

September 23, 2003

The line between horse and human has blurred for Barbara Currie, president of the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse. "We are quite proud to have added our blood to so many breeds," says the owner of 35 Andalusians, commonly known as the pure Spanish horse in the United States. "The mustang is our direct descendant." She compares the appeal of the breed to the allure of a certain junk food. "These horses are like potato chips: You have one, you need two. You have two, you need 10. We always call it the happiest addiction." "We" are the owners of the 5,000 Spanish horses in the U.S., about 150 of whom will compete with their majestic horses -- think of them as the merry-go-round version come to life -- at Celebration 2003, the fourth annual national championship for the pure Spanish horse, on Friday and Saturday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara. Saturday is the best day for the uninitiated because they will be able to see traditional exhibitions, such as Western and English riding, as well as the seemingly fantastic -- in the cabriole, the horse jumps straight up while its legs become parallel to the ground. The breed dates to the 16th century, when Philip II of Spain set out to create the ideal horse. Columbus introduced the horse to the New World on his second voyage, but those left behind intermingled with other breeds, so the "pure" among them died out. Spain had so few of the horses that it would not allow them to be exported until the 1960s. Today, about a third of the pure Spanish horse owners in the U.S. live in California. Events begin at 8 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday and continue into the evening. Upper-tier seating is free. For information, call (323) 650-9028 or visit the Web site www.andalusian foundation.com.

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