The Carthusian, Cartujano and Bocado Horse

...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

The Carthusian, Cartujano, and Bocado Horse is one and the same.

Various titles have been given to this old breed, which dates back to the 1400's.

It is an offshoot of the purebred Spanish horse and is one of the purest-bred strains of equine remaining in Spain. (1)

It claims to be the oldest sequence of pure bloodstock in all of Europe.

There are less than 3% of pure Cartujano horses in the PRE, or Pura Raza Espanola, in Spain.

Only 500 pure Cartujanos exist in Spain today, and roughly 82% of the PRE has Cartujano blood.(2)

An interesting, exciting history surrounds the breed, which was developed at a monastery in Andalusia.

Legend has it that one of the monks’ land tenants couldn’t pay his rent, and so gave the monks an in-kind payment of some mares and colts. (3)

Two monks, Brother Diego and Brother Andres, then bought a stallion from a soldier, and the stud threw a very exceptional colt with significant grace and beauty.

“Esclavo,” the foundation stallion, was said to have had warts under his tail, and allegedly passed this feature along to his progeny.

The horses had a fine, stream-lined quality, rather delicate and pretty in appearance.

But, a horse that didn’t have the warts as the notable feature was questioned on the breeding, and whether it truly was from the original Exclavo bloodstock. (4)

There was also another wart feature, that of a horn, a small protrusion of calcium up on the forehead, like a unicorn.

The monastery stud farm was called “Hierro del Bocado,” hence the name Bocado Horse, and the monks carefully guarded the breeding stock and the Esclavo bloodlines. (5)

A French invasion and war decimated the breed, as the monks were removed and forced out of their own monastery.

In 1810, the breed was saved when the founder of a hospital bought 3 studs and 60 mares.

He hid them all away in “Brena del Agua.” (6)

From this stock, the present day Cartujano-Bocado-Carthusian came forth.

Other famous Cartujano foundation stallions were Furioso, Juglar, Nevado III, Descarado II, Capitan III, Bilbaino III and Destinado II.

It is classed as an offshoot of the Andalusian, and not an actual horse breed unto itself. (7)

In modern times, it is still raised at the Rancho Fuente del Suero, in Jerez, Spain, within site of the original founding monastery.

The colts are born dark and the coat changes gradually into gray as it grows.

The Cartujano-Bocado-Carthusian Horse is considered a Warmblood and comes in at 15HH to 16HH high. (8)

Colors are mostly gray, but grayish-roan, roan, dark dapple gray, and even bay and black can be seen.

The head is elegant and pretty, on a nicely arched neck, and they have a nice trapezoid outline.

A long straight back ties on to a high tailset, with a square chest, and muscular hind quarters.

The legs are long and elegant, although some of them have square legs with a heavy appearance.

Their attitude is nice, and although they can be a bit temperamental, they are very durable. (9)

A nice-looking animal.

Hope I got that right- - a 3-in-1 horse, with offshoots, warts, and a couple of monks thrown in.

More next week, so come on back.

Leaving you, as always, with the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1-6: Internet/ Skyhorse Cartujano Ranch, Texas, USA

7-9: “A Pocket Guide to Horses & Ponies,” by Corinne Clark