THE EXCELLENCE OF THE
JOHN J. JOHNSON
"The animal which has been of the greatest importance to
the Spaniards of all those brought to these Indies [the Amer-
icas] is the Horse; because with its aid they have been able to
make so many and such notable conquests, have discovered so
many regions and have spread in so short a time through so
many and extensive lands."' So wrote the Jesuit father Bernab6
Cobo in the seventeenth century. The following translation of
a XVI century authority is presented for the purpose of perhaps
throwing a little light on the origin of the horses which Cobo
credited, and rightly, with playing so important a part in the
conquest of the Americas, and for the evidence which it may
furnish regarding the excellence of the original Spanish stock.
In 1580 Pedro Fernandez de Andrada, in praising the stock
whence these horses sprang, emphasized four points, namely:
that the Spanish horsemen held their mounts in high esteem,
that the Spanish horse was of excellent stock, in fact the best
in Europe, that the best horses of Spain came from Andalucia,
and that, although some writers were of the opinion that the
Spanish horse had been improved by the introduction of the
Arabian stock, he and others had reason to believe that the
opposite was true.
The above views are especially interesting in the light of
modern writings concerning the Spanish horse in the Americas.
Present day historians, for the most part, are in accord with
Fernandez de Andrada's first three conclusions. But the same
historians would perhaps distress this Spanish caballero by their
common acceptance of the thesis that the original horses of the
*A translation of Chapter XXIX from Pedro Fernandez de Andrada's
work entitled De la natvraleza del cavallo (Seuilla, 1580).
xBernab Cobo, Historia del Nuevo Mundo (Seville, 1867-1907), Sociedad
de bibli6filos andaluces, ser. 1, v. 19:2, 350.
[ 250 }
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/. Accessed January 30, 2015.