The Andalusian Horse, also known as the pure or purebred Spanish horse is a horse well-known for its versatility. The horse has its origins in the Iberian peninsula and its history originates from prehistoric times thousands of years ago.
Andalusian horses are known for their long and flowing manes and tails. These Iberian horses from Spain and Portugal have been used for diplomacy with Spanish kings gifting them to kings across Europe. Known for its stamina, the horse has been used for dressage, riding, show jumping, and leisure uses.
Known as pre pura raza española, this ancient horse’s ancestors existing in prehistoric times. This horse breed has been influenced by different cultures like the Celts, Romans, German tribes, and the Moors who ruled over the Iberian region. This Andalusian breed derives its name from Andalusia, a well-known region in Spain.
Carthusian monasteries initially bred these horses. Originally used as a war horse, the Spanish horse or PRE is related to the Lusitano horse of Portugal.
By the 15th century, the Andalusian breed was a distinct one and used to develop other breeds. Salomon de la Broda, the head groom to Henri IV of France said that he would give first place to this Spanish horse thanks to its beauty, grace, and courage.
The horse was given to other royal families as gifts. They were seen in the riding academies of many European countries. In the 19th century, wars led to a depletion in the bloodline. But a hidden herd allowed the restoration of the breed. Norman blood was added with Arabian blood to increase its strength. In 1962, the Spanish horse or pre pura was exported to other countries.
The Andalusian horse is known for its elegant, elevated movement. Its compact body and its slightly convex profile are its key characteristics. Warts under the tail and front bosses (resembling horns) are other characteristics observed in many Andalusian horses.
The horses are intelligent and can quickly learn difficult moves, which make them ideal for use in dressage and other events.
This horse breed can have metabolic problems. Hence, their diet needs to be properly regulated. They need quality hay and sufficient supplements. Too much grazing can be a problem sometimes in this horse.
This is why these horses are usually fed a special vitamin and mineral supplement. It has low calories and low starch. It also has a yeast culture to ensure proper digestion of fiber and prevent problems.
Breeding And Uses
The International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) is the organization that registers Andalusian horses. It registers around 700 new foals each year. The Spanish ministry had recorded more than 185,962 of these horses in its database as of 2010. 15% of these horses were in other countries.
The Carthusian Andalusian is regarded as the purest strain of the Andalusian horse. These horses are in demand and fetch the highest prices in the market.
The horse is used for dressage, jumping, trail riding, and also as a mount for bullfighting.
This horse weighs between 900 and 1,100 pounds.
The height of the Andalusians stallions and geldings is fifteen one and a half hands, which is 61.5 inches or 156 centimeters. The average height of the mares is fifteen and a half hands (154 centimeters or 60.5 inches).
To be registered as an elite breeding horse, stallions must be at least 15.1 hands (61 inches or 155 centimeters). The mares should be 15 and one fourth hands, which is 153 centimeters and 60.25 inches.
What Breeds Make Up The Andalusian Horse?
The Iberian horses are the ancestors of the Andalusian horse. It is related to the Lusitano of Portugal. The Spanish Jennets were used by the monks at the Carthusian monasteries as bloodstock.
In 1822, Norman blood and Arabian blood was also added to the Spanish horses to give them more stamina to be able to pull gun carriages.
The Andalusian horse has influenced other breeds including the Hanoverian, Holstein, Oldenburg, Knabstrupper, Azteca, and the Alter Real.
The color of the Andalusian horse is likely to be grey or bay. Dun, black, chestnut, and palomino colored horses are also found. There are instances of cremello, pearl, and buckskin colored horses being found.
What Do They Look Like?
This horse is slightly convex in appearance with a large well-defined head. The horse has an arched neck that is broad and long. The withers are well-defined. The chest of this horse is huge.
The back is broad but short. The croup is well-defined and the hindquarters are strong and broad. The legs are strong and do not have any feathers. The most distinguishing characteristic of this horse is the thick and long mane and tail.
A high knee action is a defining characteristic of the Andalusian horse.
What Is An Andalusian Horse Used For?
They are used for many purposes. Initially used in war, the athletic and strong horse is multi-talented. The versatility of the horse makes it useful for different purposes.
The horses were known for their speed from the 17th century onwards. Being military horses, they were used in battles since they were agile and could run fast. They were considered one of the fastest horses of the time.
Andalusian horses are used as riding horses. As a dressage horse, it has taken part in international events. The horse has been part of teams that won the silver and bronze medals at the World Equestrian Games. The horse is used in high school dressage training.
They are used in different show events. These horses take part in show jumping and also in Western pleasure events. Andalusian horses have taken part in movies. They have been seen in movies like Cinderella, Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, Witch and the mountain, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. The horses have also been seen in Braveheart, Gladiator, Interview with the Vampire, and King Arthur.
They are used in bullfighting as mounts for the fighters. This is because they are strong enough to be able to work with the aggressive bulls in Iberia. The horses are also used for trail riding. They are also used in show jumping but may not compete in international events.
Where Do They Live?
Andalusian horses are found in many places in the country. It is found in large numbers in Spain, the country from where it originated. It is also found in Portugal, UK, and other European countries where the horse was gifted to the royals.
The horse is found in the Americas and is popular in the USA. Andalusian horses are also found in the Australasia regions.
How Long Do They Live?
Andalusian horses have an average lifespan of around 25 years. For a horse of its size, this is the typical life span that can be expected. Generally, some European breeds have a short lifespan but the Andalusian has a full life of 25 years.
This breed of horse is usually healthy and does not have major problems. It can have metabolic issues, which is why care is needed in the diet. Cushing’s is a common problem that this horse can face as it ages. Apart from managing the diet, medications may be needed to treat this condition.
Andalusian horses are at risk of developing ischaemic diseases of the small intestine. This occurs due to reduced blood flow to the intestines. This problem is significant in this breed. Another problem this horse may face is that of an inguinal hernia. The risk is thirty times more than other breeds.
Laminitis with foot problems is a complication that may occur if the horse develops intestinal problems. Regular health check-ups would be needed to ensure that the horse does not face any serious health problems.
Proper grooming is essential for the Andalusian to be in good health. The thick and flowing hair and mane calls for good grooming so the horse is in good condition.
How Fast Are They?
They were considered to be among the fastest horses in the world during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time, they were used in the cavalry and preferred in wars.
The horse has excellent stamina and agility, a combination that allows it to run fast. In the Spanish and Portuguese armies, the horse was expected to at a speed of 800 meters per minute when carrying a load of around 70 kg.
How Much Do They Cost?
Andalusian horses are one of the popular horses thanks to their strength, speed, and beautiful mane. These animals can be expensive, especially if you want a purebred Andalusian.
If you want a horse that has had dressage training, then you need to be prepared to pay around $12,000 to $20,000. It must be noted that the price of the horse is influenced by various factors that include its age, sex, training underwent, pedigree, and its temperament.
The Carthusian horses found in the stud farms of Spain are the most expensively priced horses.
Are Andalusian Horses Good For Beginners?
The Andalusian horse is a powerful creature that is strong, athletically built, agile and has great stamina. This allowed the horse to be used for various purposes. The temperament of the horse makes it amenable to training.
The horse is mostly docile and calm. Handling this horse should not be a problem. It is an intelligent horse and allows itself to be trained. It is also affectionate towards its owner. It is considered a noble horse, which is why it was used by royalty in Europe.
Since the horse is calm and can be trained, it is possible for beginners also to ride this horse. Because they are intelligent, they tend to learn things quickly. This also makes them get bored easily. As a result, they may try to test the rider. This can create a problem for beginners who may find it difficult to control the horse in such a situation.
Horses that are raised for pleasure are very amiable. They can be safely ridden by beginners. This is why it is important to know the temperament of the horse before buying it. Horses used for racing tend to a bit high-strung. They may be difficult to manage. Each horse is different and one should look at the individual horse’s temperament before deciding.
Conclusion / Summary
The Andalusian horse originated from the Andalusia region in Spain. With the Iberian prehistoric horses as its ancestors, this is one of the oldest horses in the world. The monks of the Carthusian monasteries played a key role in its breeding. The horse has also influenced many other breeds.
The purebred horses are known as Pura raza espanola. There are varieties of this horse available. The strength, stamina, and speed of the horse make it a valuable horse. This is why the horse is usually priced high. Its long life span of 25 years makes it preferred by riders.
These horses are distinguished by their long and flowing manes and tails. This makes them appear elegant and noble, which is why the horses have been featured in many movies. They have been the preferred horses for royals. The Spanish kings gifted these horses to their counterparts in European countries as a part of their diplomatic strategy.
The Andalusian horse has a good temperament. This makes it easy to train and handle. It is an intelligent horse that learns quickly. This is why the horse is used for international competitions in classical dressage and show jumping. The horse is also used for trail riding, western events, and bullfights.
Initially bred for use in wars, the horse has been used in farming, to draw carriages, and also as a leisure horse. It is a multi-talented horse that is versatile. It is usually calm in nature and can be relied upon. This makes the horse popular and is preferred by horse lovers.