Growing source for Pura Raza Españolas homebreds and imports builds breed’s presence in Open dressage and other disciplines.
Tina and Shae Lovazzano weren’t looking to become big-time breeders when they went horse shopping in Spain back in 2013. They were both accomplished dressage competitors and longtime fans of the Pura Raza Españolas on which they pursued their passion. They fell in love with handsome, all-white Tracio on that trip. When they found out he was a stallion, and a much-decorated one at that, they thought they might dabble in breeding.
The Lovazzanos still don’t see their program as a “big time” breeding operation, but their “boutique” endeavor is gaining significant show ring success and a growing fan base among amateur riders who take the sport of dressage seriously and love having an enjoyable partner to share it with.
To accommodate demand for these horses, the Lovazzanos’ Dancing Kings Farm has grown significantly at its locations in the Peninsula area’s Morgan Hill and in Woodside. They recently imported from Spain a second stallion, Liron Su, to increase the options available to breeding clients. And they’ve brought on noted Spanish horse expert Manuel Peña to oversee the program’s growth.
The human and equine additions serve Dancing Kings’ intent to be an all-inclusive program for breeding, importing and producing top quality PREs, explains Shae. “This way we have the opportunity to be hands-on from conception to the finished product of a well-trained and sound dressage horse.”
Manual Peña brings a lifetime of PRE experience. He is originally from Spain, where he won numerous titles on the highly competitive circuit where the breed originated and is held to the highest possible standards.
His resume even includes taking three horses to Champion of Champion status at the SICAB in Spain, which is the highest honor available in the ANCCE show world.
(SICAB is the Salon Internacional Del Caballo de Pura Raza Española, aka the biggest PRE competition and trade fair in the world. And, ANCCE is the Assocacion Nacional de Criadores de Caballos de Pura Raza Española, Spain’s national PRE association and official manager of the PRE studbook.)
“He has presented over a 100 PREs in the morphology competitions and is a highly respected member of the PRE world,” Shae explains. “DKF is so honored to have his expertise while guiding our breeding program to produce the best possible offspring and to respect the breed. With his knowledge and experience, he is a true asset to our business.“
The new stallion, Liron Su, is a great complement to stablemate Tracio. The 2008 sire achieved much success with a Spanish national dressage team rider before coming to Dancing Kings. The gorgeous 16.2-hander is PRE approved and currently campaigning at Prix St. Georges with Tina.
He has three strong gaits and excellent conformation and is an absolute pleasure to ride, she reports. “Liron has an amazingly sweet character. He’s very easy to ride with a
great mind and trainability. He has shown his excellent character in competitions even when he’s surrounded by many other horses, including mares.” He has a brilliant copper bay coat color, with an overflowing jet-back mane. He is color tested “E/e A/A.”
Tracio brings the ANCCE’s most elite standards to Dancing Kings Farm. He has the studbook’s highest honor for overall quality: the “calificado,” which means he is “qualified” by the ANCCE Qualified Tribunal. He is actually “triple qualified” by the organization and has been awarded the “green performance ribbon” and recommended as breeding stock for dressage by the ANCCE.
Tracio’s combination of bloodlines and performance record make him a rare PRE sire.
His origins are 100% Guardiola, one of the most famous lines in the breed. His father, Martelillo IV, and his mother, Hipaca II, are originally from the unsurpassed Guardiola stud. His great grandsire, Maromo, is a well-known and respected Guardiola sire. And the legendary Terry Bacado stud, Gorron II, shows up four times in Tracio’s pedigree.
In dressage circles, however, the best bloodlines don’t mean much without a performance track record to back them up. Tracio’s 16.3HH frame reflects excellent breed type and great suitability for dressage. His uphill build and frame is ideal for the discipline and combines with a pronounced and long withers, a nice topline and a long croup—all ideal for dressage at every level. He has strong, solid bones and overall structure for a remarkably durable constitution.
Perhaps best of all, though, is his character and temperament. That’s the part of the PRE’s nature that Shae and Tina first fell in love with and Tracio exemplifies those qualities. Under saddle, he moves forward willingly and is responsive to light aids and to learning the ever more difficult movements of the Grand Prix level at which he now competes.
He debuted in Open Grand Prix with a 62.3% score and has continued to impress judges and audiences in Open dressage and breed competitions. At his first show in the U.S., he scored a 70% in the FEI Prix St. Georges and he went on to be the Great American Insurance/USDF Region 7 Championships Intermediate I Champion.
In breed competition, he’s been equally awesome. At the Andalusian World Cup last September, he was Intermediate I Champion and helped Shae to FEI Young Rider Champion. He also earned ANCCE Best Movement Section 12 champion honors. And he’s been champion of the USPRE High Point Grand California Series.
PREs are especially good for amateurs with dressage goals ranging from non-competitive to highest-level competition. “That’s because of their sweet temperament and athleticism,” says Shae. “Many high quality PREs will have very strong gaits with suspension, reach and an active hind. A huge addition is how comfortable they are to ride. Many amateurs enjoy their easy, smooth-to-sit gaits. They are soft in the bridle, bendable and super supple, making it a fun ride. They are not only beautiful but tend to be very safe for all riders.
“They are so willing and love to work and bond with their owner,” she continues. “They aim to please their owners and are very smart with their training. They have a natural inclination for the piaffe and passage work for later in their dressage career.” In addition to their growing popularity in the competitive dressage court, PREs have a versatility that makes them suitable for many other disciplines. Working equitation, cowboy dressage and competitive trail riding are a few additional careers that they are perfectly suited for.
Dancing King Farms stretches the definition of “boutique” horse source by offering a wide range of homebreds and imports of various ages and experience levels.
Whatever clients are looking for, they’ll find a healthy and sound horse and DKF’s trademark “amazing gaits, easy trainability, safe temperament and sweet character,” Shae comments. Most have a vet exam report and a full set of x-rays at the ready, making the purchase process easier for buyers. “We have had many success stories from the clients we have sold our horses to,” Shae explains. “Most of them have gone on to be competitive in the dressage ring with scores in the 70s. We pride ourselves on making a perfect match of horse and rider to enjoy for many years to come.”
From their modest mission of finding a suitable horse for themselves when they first found Tracio in Spain, the Dancing Kings founders have grown their program far beyond that. But the core of their mission stays the same: sharing their passion for the breed they are happily determined to preserve and promote as an ideal equine partner.
Tracio is all-white and color tested EE/Aa. He’s homozygous for black, heterozygous for grey and he can produce black, bay, grey and buckskin babies.
Tina and Shae fell in love with Tracio when they met him in Spain. Many others have joined his fan club since he arrived here in 2014, began competing and became available for breeding in early 2015. “Soon after we imported Tracio, our business started taking off,” says Shae. Tina and Shea have both earned their USDF gold medals and both are equally addicted to the PRE breed. They knew they’d found a niche in the American market when they began taking Tracio and their carefully selected imported horses into the dressage world.
“PREs are now becoming very recognized and competitive in the Open dressage circuit by some international riders including Sabine Schut-Kery and Nicholas Fyfe,” Shae notes. “These horses have huge personalities and truly are a joy to be around every day. Every person I talk to says once they have owned a PRE they will never go back to any other breed.”
For more information, visit www.dancingkingsfarm.com.