🐎 The Andalusian Horse Breed

Average Height

The average height of an Andalusian horse is usually around 15.2 hands.

Colors

  • Black
  • Grey
  • Bay

Conformation

The Andalusian is known for its long, heavy neck and thick mane and tail. Andalusians have small ears and a flat or slightly convex nose, a broad forehead and large eyes. The shoulders are well-sloped and the whithers well defined. The chest and hindquarters should be broad and the tail should be low set. The Andalusian has medium length limbs and energetic action.

Temperament

Proud but docile. Andalusians are intelligent, very willing, and learn quickly.

Members of this breed often excel in the following disciplines:

  • Dressage
  • Jumping
  • Driving

Breed History

The Andalusian was named for the Spanish province of Andalusia, where it originated. The breed is descended form the Iberian horses of Spain and Portugal, which in turn were influenced by Celtic, Carthaginian, Germanic, and Roman horses.

The Andalusian’s Iberian founders are mentioned in various historical texts dating as far back as Homer’s Iliad, written in 1100 BC. Xenophon, a Greek cavalry officer who lived in or near 450 BC, also praised the “gifted Iberian horses” for their role in the Spartan’s defeat of Athens. In the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), the Romans were defeated by the Iberian cavalry, and more than 1,200 years later William the Conqueror rode an Iberian horse into the Battle of Hastings (1066).

As the middle ages progressed, heavier breeds of horses that were capable of carrying fully armored knights began to gain favor as war mounts. The Iberian/Andalusian horse was disfavored until the advent of firearms, when a more agile horse became desirable over the cumbersome, slow-moving heavy breeds.

This new type of warfare ushered in a new era for the Andalusian horse, when it became known as the “royal horse of Europe.” During this period, Andalusian horses were present at nearly every European court. The Andalusian played an integral role in the new grand riding academies that were forming throughout Europe, where the art of dressage and high school riding was born. Andalusian horses became subjects of praise all over the continent: “[The Andalusian] is the noblest horse in the world, the most beautiful that can be,” wrote the Duke Of Newcastle in 1667. “He is of great spirit and of great courage and docile; hath the proudest trot and the best action in his trot, the loftiest gallop, and is the lovingest and gentlest horse, and fittest of all for a king in his day of triumph.”

The Andalusian horse was the foundation breed for the Lipizzaner horses used in Vienna’s Spanish Riding School. The breed’s influence is truly international; it also played a founding role in the development of the Irish Connemara, most German warmblood breeds, the Cleveland Bay of England, and the Peruvian Paso of the new world.

US Breed Association:

International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association
101 Carnoustie N. Ste 200
Birmingham, AL 35242
ialha.org