Andalusian Stallions Make Dressage Debut Under John MacPherson

Dressage fans will enjoy something a little different this season as competitor John MacPherson will be showing Andalusian stallions for owner La Finca del Rio .

The stallions will make their dressage debut under MacPherson of Georgetown, ON, who has been training three La Finca del Rio -owned Andalusian horses since last fall. Llamativo VI is a 12-year-old stallion bred in Costa Rica while the friendly and impressive Baturro XII is a 10-year-old purchased in Granada , Spain . The youngest of the three stallions, Amoroso XLIII, is a six-year-old that was bred at the famed Escobar Barrilaro farm outside of Seville , Spain . The Roman numbers that follow each of the stallion's names designate that they are PRE (Pura Raza Espanola) registered breeding stallions in Spain .

Baturro XII only began his formal dressage training in the fall under MacPherson, but his ability to learn quickly has MacPherson hoping that they can progress through the levels fairly rapidly. At just six years of age, Amoroso XLIII will begin his competitive career this year at first level.

Although MacPherson, who operates John MacPherson Stables, has been traveling regularly to Spain for the past seven years in order to conduct clinics, training the Andalusian horses owned by La Finca del Rio marks his initial experience working first-hand with the breed.

“Their temperament and work ethic really did surprise me,” admits MacPherson who represented Canada at the CDI Sydney, Australia, in 2002, and has also competed in several Can-Am Challenges held at CDI-W Dressage at Devon , PA. “They have a desire and a willingness to work, and they naturally have an ‘on the bit' frame and head carriage. I realize that the Andalusian doesn't move over its' back the way a warmblood does, but the Andalusian has the advantage in the precision and the collection work. With these stallions, I have been concentrating on getting the consistency, softness and steady rhythm you want in the dressage ring.”

When Huntley and Vinetta Andrews, the owners of La Finco del Rio , which translates from Spanish to ‘the farm of the river', were introduced to MacPherson through a mutual friend, they made the decision to send three of their horses to him for training.

“We've always been a very private farm and the horses had never been off of the property,” notes Vinetta Andrews. “When we met John, we were impressed by his professionalism and decided the time had come to take our breeding program to the next level by getting our stallions into the show ring. We want to help educate people about a breed that is very different from the horses that you would typically see competing in dressage in Canada .”

During the 1990's, the Andrews lived in Costa Rica and it was there that they first encountered Andalusian horses.

“When we were living in Costa Rica , riding became our social life,” explains Vinetta Andrews. “I had never ridden before we went to Costa Rica and the first time I rode, they put me on an Andalusian stallion. I was so impressed by these horses and we knew we wanted to make them a part of our lives. I started as an older rider and these horses really took care of me, and I have heard the same comments from people whose young children are just beginning to ride.”

When the Andrews moved back to Canada , three horses they had purchased while living in Costa Rica soon followed, arriving in the spring of 1997. A buying trip to Spain that fall resulted in the purchase of four others, and a breeding program was born. La Finca del Rio , located in Indian River , ON , just outside of Peterborough , currently offers five different bloodlines for breeding purposes and has become the site of numerous inspections by the Cria Caballar of Spain who are responsible for maintaining the registries and studbooks for all Spanish-bred horses.

“Our main focus is to promote the breed and to let people know what a wonderful animal the Andalusian horse is,” states Vinetta Andrews, who uses the horses on her farm for driving as well as trail riding. “They are such nice, dependable horses. They are listening, they want to please, and they are paying attention to their rider.”

For more information on the Andalusian horses owned by La Finca del Rio , please e-mail

Photo copyrighted: Clix Photography

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