Europe - Spain

Photo supplied by the Andalusian Horse Association of Australia Inc. - Victoria

The southern region of Spain gives the Andalusian its name. Considered an ancient breed its origin is not clear. It is believed that the primitive, native Sorraian pony was crossed with large numbers of Barb horses when Muslin invaders arrived in 711. When the Muslims left in 1492 Spanish horses started to regain interest in the western world. The Andalusian became the preferred horse for European monarchs and great riding masters. The Andalusian influenced other European breeds like the Lipizzaner, the Fredriksborg, the Friesian, the Holstein and the Connemara. In the 16th century the Conquistadores took the Spanish horse to the Americas where it became the foundation for the majority of new breeds. Over the centuries the survival of the Andalusian was aided by remote monasteries, especially by the Cartesians. In dangerous times horses from great studs were taken there for protection. The Cartesians became skilful breeders producing high quality horses and ensuring the purity of the breed. The once popular spotted strains were responsible for founding the Appaloosa breed in America.
The International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association is the largest Andalusian organization in the world with over 850 members, dedicated to education, preservation and promotion of the breed.

compact, elegant, muscular body
Head: medium length, lean head; broad forehead, large, kind, oval eyes; well placed ears
Neck: thick, fairly long, elegantly curved
Shoulders: well sloped, well defined withers
Body: short, strong body; short back; broad chest; well sprung ribs; medium length, rounded croup; very broad, strong, rounded hindquarters
Legs: medium length limbs, clean cut, strong, elegant
Mane & Tail: long and luxuriant; low set tail, held tightly against body
Color: predominantly grey and bay, including a purplish grey
Height: 15 to 15.2hh
Temperament: gentle, sensitive, intelligent, willing, easy to train
Qualities: elegance, lofty paces, proud bearing, agile, strong, athletic

The Andalusian is considered as one of the most elegant horses, which is well suited for the demanding movements of the high school or haute ecole with its proud bearing, lofty paces and enormous presence. The Andalusian's gentle, willing nature and agility make it an excellent all-round riding horse. In Spain the breed is often used as a police horse.