With dramatic good looks and showy, high-stepping gaits, the Andalusian originated in what is now Spain. The Andalusian Stallions are favored for dressage because of their uncanny abilities in the airs-above-the-ground, piaffe, and passage. These horses offer elegance both in movement and in their physical traits, but they are also fabulous family horses because of their gentle ways and love of people.
Scientific & Common Names
Genus & Species - Equus ferus caballus
Common Names - Andalusian, Pura Raza Espanola (Pure Spanish Horse)
Andalusian Stallions stand between 15 and 16 hands in height. Most Andalusians are gray or white, but a few are bay. The most unusual color for an Andalusian is black. Their manes and tails are thick, full, and long. Andalusians have muscular, thick necks, broad chests, and small, refined heads.
Andalusian Stallions reach sexual maturity and are capable of breeding by the time that they are 2 years old. However, to get a better idea of the stallion's full-grown size and breed conformation before breeding him, most breeders wait until the stallion is closer to 3 or 4 years old. Breeders prefer to breed the best stallions to the best mares to produce the highest-quality offspring.
Andalusian horses are renowned for their docile temperaments and eagerness to please. For this reason, Andalusians are quite easily trained. Andalusians are intelligent, friendly, and kind.
Native horses of the Iberian peninsula were bred to the Barb horses of Moorish invaders during the eighth century. These crosses resulted in the Andalusian horse breed. Centuries later in the 1600s, in the Seville and Jerez areas of Spain, Catholic monks began breeding Andalusian horses, selecting for elegance and grace. These monks vigorously safeguarded the purity of the Andalusian blood lines, not allowing other horses to interbreed with their herds. In medieval Europe, Andalusians were used for war horses, but later on in history, royal courts began to use Andalusians for royal events because of their noble appearances and genteel comportment. As riding academies were established across Europe, the Andalusian became popular for dressage events. The Andalusian contributed to the creation of other horse breeds like the Peruvian Paso and the Lipizzaner.
There are around 8,500 Andalusians in the United States, making them very rare in North America. Worldwide, their numbers are around 30,000, but they are most popular in Spain, being recognized as the traditional horse for Spanish equestrian events, like bull fighting.