Star stallion: Habanero XLI

By: Horse Deals

Star stallion: Habanero XLI
Star stallion: Habanero XLI

Meet Habanero XLI, the outstanding proven dressage stallion, who is also one of less than 30 black Calificado graded PRE stallions in the world

As one of the leading breeders and producers of the PRE (Andalucian) horses for more than 20 years, Naomi Vance-Webb of Meadowbrook PRE Stud in Surrey, is a passionate ambassador and authority on this noble breed.

From its ancient origins as a war horse chosen for intelligence and agility, in modern times this breed is increasingly much sought after on the international dressage stage.

According to Naomi, who bought the magnificent 14-year-old black Calificado stallion Habanero XLI in 2010, the most important criteria when selecting a stallion is type, movement and temperament, which Habanero XLI has in abundance.

"We are lucky enough to have the only Calificado stallion in the UK who is also one of less than 30 black Calificado elite graded PRE stallions in the world," says Naomi. "This elevated breeding status allows his progeny to be registered into the stud book when reproduced by AI.

"The Calificado status requires significant assessment by a panel of specially selected judges in Spain and covers three separate sections which are a complete clinical assessment, including a full set of clean X-rays, conformation and ridden assessment, which Habanero achieved when he was just five years old."

Bred by Jose Delgado Zaforteza in Barcelona, Habanero is graded with several of the leading studbooks, including ANCCE (Asociacion Nacional De Criadores De Caballos De Pura Raza Espanola) and BAPSH (British Association For The Purebred Spanish horse, allied to ANCCE.

In his first UK outing in 2010 at the UK National Breed Championships, Habanero won every class he entered, including the seven-year-old-plus stallions class, joint highest Movement, Reserve National Champion Stallion and overall UK National Functionality Champion (combined Morphology, Movement and ridden sections).

Having more than proved his superior status in the show ring, he went on to also forge a successful dressage career at top level.

Having competed in showing and dressage in his native Spain, Habanero has competed up to intermediate I level in the UK and will be ridden by international dressage rider Amy Stovold this season.

In 2012, Habanero was seventh in the Prix St Georges Freestyle at the Espayo British Dressage National Championships in 2012 (the highest result ever achieved by a Spanish horse in the UK) and selected to represent Britain at Hartpury CDI3* with Andrew Gould (the only PRE horse to ever be selected to represent GB in an international 3* dressage competition).

According to Naomi, Habanero’s movement, type and outstanding temperament make him a the ideal choice for any mare.

"In my opinion, there is not a mare I wouldn’t cover with him," she says. "He is unusual in that he has an excellent walk, great extension to his very powerful trot and a fabulous rhythmical canter, so his paces are not what one would typically imagine of a Spanish horse. 

"He has everything – looks, power, movement, temperament and almost, most importantly, trainability

"I have had a lot of stallions in the past, but Habanero is a true gentleman in every sense of the word," she says. "The superior grading status he achieved at aged only five, confirms how important he is in the PRE world."

Since Naomi bought Habanero three years ago, she has sold his semen all over the world, and he has offspring in USA, NZ, Australia, Germany, Sweden, UK and of course Spain.

According to Naomi, all offspring have inherited his beautiful head and outstanding movement, as well as his presence and temperament. 

"To find a horse with that ‘look at me’ attitude that is so gentle, is quite rare!" she says. "One of the largest breeders in the USA had a foal by him in 2012 (named Londres as a tribute to our Olympic Games) and she said he is the best foal, by far, of all those she bred in 2012.

"The majority of his offspring are being used for either dressage or showing and as foundation stallions and mares for other stud farms across the world, although the oldest of his sons is still only eight years old (and in the UK). 

This particular horse was purchased for our own UK driving world champion Karen Scott-Barrett and was used as one of her pairs.

"One of his daughters is champion mare of Australia and he has several sons and daughters in the USA winning in the show ring.  Most are being used for breeding as his bloodlines are very sought after and he is rare in his correctness for a PRE. 

"He has a large number of offspring in Spain which are being produced for dressage and the show ring, including at the world championships in Seville (Sicab)."

With more than 160 foals already on the ground so far, Habanero is proving a popular choice worldwide and one of the most prolific PRE sires of his generation in the world.

"He is a truly noble character -- the gentlest and kindest horse I have ever known," says Naomi proudly. "Andrew Gould’s six- year-old son has ridden him and he has also been ridden by a very disabled lady who had lost her confidence.  He really is the perfect gentleman."