I don't own horses,
horses own me
AHAA Spanish Competition AHAA Spanish Competition Alphaville

AHAA National Secretary

PO Box 266, Torquay 3228 VIC

03 5263 3402


They are intelligent but you have to build a relationship; then they become your best mate

Forget about the Melbourne Cup for a moment! Paul Brown, the President of the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia (AHAA), rode his first horse when he was 58. He simply felt in love.

Why would you bring Andalusian horses all the way from the other side of the world?
Because they have the best qualities for Australian wide open spaces: the Spanish or Andalusian horse is a very intelligent and versatile one, maneuverable, strong and agile; these are qualities needed when used for bullfighting in Spain. Without a doubt, the Andalusian horse is one of the most important breed of the world.

When did all start?
The Australian Government banned importing horses for around 200 years. When the embargo was lifted in the 1960s, there was a business man that aspired to breed the ideal horse in Australia: Ray Williams. So he imported the first Andalusian horse to Perth; a decade later, the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia was born.

How did they transport them?
Back in the day, by ship. But nowadays it's very common to transport horses by plane. For example, when insemination is not accepted, the pure breed horses travel back and forward to mount! It costs around $10,000 to fly a horse from England to here. Melbourne Cup transports around six or seven horses for the race.

What does the AHAA exactly do?
This association holds the Stud Books in Australasia for the Purebred Spanish Horse, the Australian Andalusian, the Hispano-Arabe and the Partbred Andalusian. The National Stallions at Stud List is a free service to members who are looking for a stallion for their mares. Among other things, we also run shows and seminars promoting this unique and ancient breed, and we organise European Dressage Tournaments and National Championships.

Are the members Spanish or Australians?
We have only a few Spanish citizens in the association but most of us see ourselves as honorary Spaniards or Spanish groupies! We all own lots of Spanish stuff: pictures, clothing, music and, of course, all the saddles, bridles and bits and pieces our horses use when they are being shown.

Do you speak Spanish?
My instructor, Jose (what else), is a Spaniard who rode with the Royal School of Equestrian Art in Spain before migrating to Australia. He teaches us to ride but so far has had little success in getting us to speak Spanish!

What's special about training an Andalusian horse?
They are not difficult to train but you have to do it patiently. They have a long life as they can ride up until their 20s, so you normally wait until they are four years old to start riding. They are intelligent but you have to build a relationship.

Are they as stubborn as some Spaniards?
Yes, I guess so (laughs). Within the first few months, they test you. Then you get around and you become best mates!

Do you bet on horses?
No, although I understand how so many Australians can get carried away! Melbourne Cup is such a major event, as horses have always played an important part in our history, as Australia was explored by horse.

How did you end up as a President of the AHAA?
My late wife and I decided twenty five years ago that there must be more to life than what were doing. We retired, moved out of Sydney, spent wonderful time together, got involved with horses and became obsessed with them ever since; so I don't own horse, horses own me. After she died, it was my horses that ushered me through the grief that followed, for which I am eternally grateful.

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