The Andalusian horse (as it is known in the UK) is more correctly known as the Pura Raza Espanola (PRE).
It is one of the oldest pure breeds in the world with its stud book going back several hundred years. The PRE stands behind many well known breeds such as the Thoroughbred, Hackney, Lippizaner, Connemara and the American Quarter Horse.
The PRE is always registered in Spain. The mother stud book used to be controlled by the Spanish Government's military division but this task has been transferred in recent years to a private organisation, ANCCE. Horses born in the UK are registered with the Spanish stud book through the UK office of the British Association for the Purebred Spanish Horse (BAPSH). The Spanish stud book is only concerned with purebred horses, i.e. those whose parents are also registered in the stud book but the UK registry will also recognise Partbred horses and horses that are of a PRE type (usually a PRE that has no paperwork) and these are welcomed at the shows with Iberian classes.
When buying a Spanish horse be very clear about its provenance. Whereas in the UK the Andalusian and PRE are deemed to be the same, in Spain, an Andalusian is ANY horse that comes from the province of Andalucia and is not necessarily a PRE! All PREs are DNA tested for parentage before being admitted to the stud book.
Before breeding for the first time, both parents need to be Graded to ensure that they are of sufficient quality. The Grading is carried out by an official Spanish veterinary Surgeon appointed by ANCCE who comes to the UK once a year (usually in May) to examine all the horses put forward. In the past, a horse that passed the Grading had its passport stamped 'Apto' (meaning 'suitable') but now they have a 'Registro de Reproductores' sticker applied to the passport. Foals born to ungraded parents cannot be registered in the Spanish studbook. In recent years a higher level of grading was introduced that requires more stringent adherence to type and also radiographs of the legs for soundness. These horses are graded 'Calificado'.
The procedure to be followed during the Grading is detailed on the BAPSH website and is often revised slightly each year. The horse must be at least 3yo and be at least 152cm high if a mare and 154cm if a stallion. There are now upper height limits also.