Andalusian horses are willing to work hard for their riders and they have incredible intelligence and are very quick to learn. From jumping and driving, to perfect pleasure riding and from classic dressage to parades, this very versatile horse will participate in anything requested by its rider quite happily. The overall picture of the Andalusian is a horse of great balance and beauty, standing between 15 and 16.2 hands, the colouring of this graceful beast borders between grey and bay coats but other colours are admissible in the Andalusian Horse Associations. In Spain, only grey, black and bay are accepted by the Studbook, and no chestnuts or other coloured horses are admissible.
Andalusian is the term used for this beautiful horse which originates from the province of southern Spain it takes its name from - Andalusia. They originate from the rugged, hilly areas of the Iberian peninsular and are one of the most ancient of horse breeds. They developed a reputation in southern Spain and were originally highly regarded as a horse suitable for the cavalry due to their agility and courage, but became less favoured as a warhorse when time changed and knights wore heavy armour and needed heavy horses to carry them. Andalusian horses gained popularity again amongst cavalrys with the introduction of firearms when a fast agile horse was needed. During the Renaissance grand riding academies were formed across Europe where dressage and high school riding evolved.
In America the breed is called ' the pure Spanish horse' but there isn't an actual official breed of Andalusian, since the Spanish Horse Breeders Association stopped using the term in 1912. The official name for the breed is now Pura Raza Espanola, which means 'the pure Spanish breed' in Spanish.
With a large head, a straight profile and a forehead which is very wide, the large dark eyes of the Andalusian always seem to look for instruction. Their nostrils are large and their ears are medium, well-placed and separated but also very mobile. They have an ample and muscular jaw with a generous arch at the edge and their neck is proportionate to their body and well tied in. They are famous for their glorious long abundant manes and although sometimes they can look heavy, they always look elegant.
The crest is well-developed and the throat latch is clean, their withers are very round and in an ideal specimen, their shoulders should be long and sloping. They have a very strong back and their chest is strong and broad, the croup is rounded and the tail is set low, lying very close to the body and is abundant and long like the mane. Their legs are strong and clean cut due to their straight flat bones and large joints and their cannons are short, pasterns of good size and sloping and the hooves are round, sturdy and compact.
The Andalusian is famed for its high knee and short stride action and they are docile and calm but incredibly quick to catch on. Their walk is showy, their trot an act of perfect proportions and a canter which is really smooth and spectacular. They are used as general riding horses, but have been used for bullfighting, classic riding, high school work and dressage. Their movement is agile and elevated, harmonious and cadenced they are suitable so perfectly for dressage, being both fiery and proud, but at the same time docile and tractable. They have an easy response to command and have very sensitive mouths. They interact intimately with their riders and work well with other horses.