Ayala Screams

BY - Mirko Nesurini
PHOTOS BY - ROBERTO BENZI - PAOLO MAZZO

Hearing him without an adequate introduction makes you worry, but then you realize that the aim of those screams is to calm the herd down.

Rafael Ayala Muñoz, owner

Rafael Ayala Muñoz, owner

The visit to the Ayala stud farm started with an intense auditory experience. It is the owner who, in the middle of a green field, screams like crazy. Soon he is joined by his horses. He tells us that every breeder has their own way to relate to the animals; the final goal is to calm them down, make them feel the human presence. The breeding farm is on a 120-hectare property divided into fenced pastures. In spring horses live by eating the grass, in summer they rest under the eucalyptus trees. Ayala, unlike all other breeders we have met, is the founder of the farm. A man with clear ideas and the physique for this type of activity. We don’t know if he has the patience this sector requires, but only time will tell. For now he has rushed into all things, imposing his name in the main competitions. Ayala, together with his four daughters, manages a representative business of products for equitation as well as the farm. The workforce employed with the horses is limited. A couple of men take care of nutrition and taming. Occasional services (veterinarian, blacksmith) are provided by external collaborators. The most important point for businesses like this is marketing. This subject is “home-made”, without big structures dedicated to the topic as in other organizations around the world. Nonetheless, goals are consistent. Where can customers be found for this number of products? How can economic values be defined? Is there a benchmark analysis? The answers remain a mystery to us, not only for this company, but for all the companies in the industry.

The Ayala line is relatively recent. It is not a historic breeding farm but was founded in 1985 by Rafael Ayala. The farm has won a lot both at SICAB as best breeder in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and in other competitions in Spain. The trophy room is truly impressive. The farm at one point had 600 specimens, today there are 200, 75 of which are broodmares used for reproduction. Mating takes place in freedom. This means that a stallion is given 20 or 30 broodmares and the task to entertain himself with them in January and May. From the different lots – as these small herds are called – available for a stallion, after 11 months the season’s foals are born. The original line comes from a great Guardiola horse, Educado X. Horses are both dapple-gray and chestnut. In this farm there is no difference, the only important thing is the quality of the horses. For many years in Spain quality was concentrated in dapple-gray horses for numerical reasons. Dapple-gray specimens were much more common than chestnut ones, and the species selection is also a matter of numbers. Today the difference in numbers of dapple-gray and chestnut horses is less, therefore the qualitative discriminant doesn’t exist anymore. The farm’s business is the sale in Europe and the world of untamed horses that are around 3 years old.

Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Spring 2014