Spanish Barb

If you’re looking for a horse that is considered both beautiful and versatile, the Spanish Barb just may be the perfect breed for you.

This versatile breed is well-suited for a variety of activities, from dressage and jumping to trail riding and hacking.

Learn more about the history, appearance, and temperament of the Spanish Barb horse in today’s blog post.

Spanish Barb Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Spanish Barb:

Height (size) 13.3 – 15.0 hands high
Colors All solid and roan colors as well as pinto patterns
Country of Origin United States of America
Common Uses Western disciplines, ranch work, endurance, dressage, driving, jumping

Spanish Barb Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Spanish Barb has an ancient origin: after the Muslim conquest of Spain in 711, the native horses of the Iberian Peninsula were crossbred with the agile desert bred African Barb, also known as the Berber horse.

By the end of the Middle Ages this horse had achieved worldwide fame and was in high demand among European Royal Stud Farms, and it was precisely this horse that the Spanish conquistadors brought with them to the New World starting in 1493.

Today’s Spanish Barbs are a direct remnant of those original Iberian saddle horses from the Golden Age of Spain and are a treasure chest of genetic wealth and desirable qualities from long ago.

D.P. Sponenberg

The Conquistadors were the first people to use the Spanish Barb, followed by the mission fathers, Native Americans, and finally the cowboys.

The Spanish Horse was very important in Spain’s colonization efforts in the Americas, both in terms of exploration and settlement.

Originally brought to the Caribbean islands, the Spanish Barb was later introduced into what is now the United States, Mexico, and South America.

Attacks on Native American herds carried out by the United States government in the late 1800s resulted in the loss of the vast majority of these horses.

Also as large European breeds were brought into the herds, the Spanish blood was diluted.

In the middle of the 20th century, the first efforts to preserve the remaining horses were started on private lands with horses gathered from ranches, reservations, and remote areas of the west.

Today around 3,000 Spanish Barb horses exist, and they are listed as ‘critically rare’ by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and The Equus Survival Trust.

These horses are now recognized as a part of the larger group of horses known as North American Colonial Spanish horses.

They should not be confused with the wild mustangs managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Many modern breeds of the United States may trace their ancestry back to the Spanish Barb.

Alternative Names

“Spanish Mustang”


Sensible, quiet, intelligent, easy to train

Physical Characteristics

The profile is straight or slightly convex, the forehead is broad, and the muzzle is small.

The eyes are expressive.

The neck is arched, and broad at the base, and the shoulder is long and sloped.

The back is short to medium in length, and the loin it strong.

The croup is rounded or slightly angular, and the tail is medium to low tail set.

The hooves are extremely tough.

The mane and tail are abundant, especially in the stallions.

The Spanish Barb may have a smaller chest and a somewhat angular croup, reflecting more Barb ancestry, or he may have a wider chest and a rounder croup, reflecting more Iberian ancestry.

The Spanish Barb should have a balanced appearance whether it leans more toward the Barb type or the Iberian type.


All solid and roan colors as well as pinto patterns

Height (size)

13.3 – 15.0 hands high






600 – 900 lb (270 – 400 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Western disciplines, ranch work, endurance, dressage, driving, jumping



Popular Traits




Country of Origin

United States of America


African Barb, Iberian horse