Retuerta horse: A Complete Breed Profile

Retuerta Horse, also referred to as “Caballo de las Retuertas,” is an exceptional Spanish breed native to Andalusia and known by their official Spanish name of “Caballo de las Retuertas.” They enjoy an exceptional history within Donana National Park which encompasses Huelva and Sevilla provinces – thus standing as a testament to Andalusia’s rich natural history.

This population with deep ties dates back over three centuries as they exclusively inhabit this national park which also boasts exclusive status within Donana National Park boundaries! This breed stands as an icon that represents this region’s rich natural heritage.

Retuerta horses have significance far beyond their rarity. Representing an indigenous breed from Andalusian soil, their presence symbolizes both ecological and cultural aspects of its landscape. Conservation efforts at Donana National Park and Campanarios de Azaba Biological Reserve serve to highlight their value as living symbols of Spain’s equine history and biodiversity conservation efforts.


The Retuerta horse breed of Spain boasts an intricate and rich history that parallels that of their ecosystems in which they reside. Considered living representatives of Iberian horses that roamed Spain prior to domestication, its name, Retuerta, is taken from its unique geographical feature known as Donana National Park’s Retuertas which form an unique marshy habitat.

Gene research by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) has unearthed evidence that Retuerta horses are among Europe’s oldest equine breeds, dating back approximately 3000 years. Although originally used for agricultural work, they eventually fell out of favour as more productive breeds became more available; by 1980 only around sixty Retuerta horses remained, signalling an urgent situation regarding their survival.

Now, Donana National Park spans across Huelva and Sevilla provinces and hosts significant populations from Huelva to Sevilla provinces; others can also be found at “Campanarios de Azaba” reserve in Espeja. However, by 2012 their numbers had drastically reduced to only 150 horses living there due to natural disasters; their survival amidst potential catastrophes remains fragile.

wildlife experts devised an urgent conservation strategy in response to this urgent situation, translocating 120 horses into the “Campanarios de Azaba” reserve in order to preserve genetic diversity and safeguard Retuerta breeding programs. This measure shows a commitment not just to conserving Retuerta horses but also the diversity they represent as part of biodiversity and cultural heritage.