Coffee and toast for breakfast in downtown Cordoba before leaving toward Villafranca de Cordoba, a small village 20 km from the centre. Exiting the motorway, the road, between trees and olive trees becomes narrow and full of turns. We arrive at the Ribera Alta ranch at around 9:30 am, the dirt road toward the facilities is surrounded by fields, olive trees and in the middle of it a beautiful eucalyptus wood. Diego Obrero Solis, the company’s director, welcomes us as we arrive. The farm and the brand belong to a historical family of PRE breeders that descends from the Marquee of Carpio Diego López de Haro y Sotomayor to whom King Felipe II in the mid 1500 gave the task to found and manage the Caballerizas Reales de Cordoba. The Marquee was the person who originated, thanks to a careful selection, the Andalusian horse. However for a long time the family stopped breeding horses, focusing exclusively on its agricultural activity, mainly of olives harvesting for oil production.
Since 4 years the current Duke of Infantado Iñigo de Arteaga y Martín together with his son Iván de Arteaga have decided to pick up the activity of horse breeding again and some of their mares descend from that same line bred for King Felipe II by their ancestors. The architecture of the ranch is typical for Andalusia, immense pastures around the white walls decorated on top with warm colors. At Ribera Alta there are 26 employees, but in harvesting season the number increaes to 70 people. 5 collaborators’ families live inside the facilities. At present, the aim of the company, in terms of horse breeding, is to rebuild the line, generating foals who can become, in the future, the house stallions. Currently breeding is run through artifical insemination with stallions coming from other prestigious farms.
As of today, the Yeguada del Duque del Infantado has 21 horses, 12 females, 4 males and 5 foals, divided in 3 females and 2 males. The day to day activity here is developed in 1.460 hectares of land, between cultivation and spaces for the management of animals. Time goes by slowly, as it is Diego’s breeding philosophy, who explains “we are not in a hurry, we want to do things properly”. The beautiful broodmares can wander freely in the pastures together with their foals who are ablactated when they’re 7 months old and moved with the other foals of up to 1 and half years in their corral. After that age they are separated between males and females. The Yeguada Duque del Infantado is therefore getting back up with the scope of breedning and selling quality PRE horses, even if the sector today is suffering a deep crisis, as explained by Obrero “prices have drastically gone down, only a few survive only with horse breeding, many go ahead because of their unlimited passion and pure pride”.