Profile: Hailing from the Iberian Peninsula, the Andalusian takes its name from the Province of Andalucia, where it was most famous. This living antiquity is purported to be an ancient breed; 20,000-year-old cave drawings show a similar type of horse and Homer mentions the horses in the Illiad (1,100 B.C.). During the Moorish invasion in 711 A.D., Andalusians were bred to the invader’s horses, the Spanish Barbs. In Spain, the horses are called Pura Raza Espanola (Pure Spanish Race). The Andalusian is the foundation for the Lippizzaner and many other world breeds, such as the Peruvian Paso. The Andalusian excels in dressage and traditional Spanish equestrian pursuits, such as bull fighting and ranch work.
Characteristics: Because the Andalusian has an uncanny ability to bring his haunches far underneath his body to elevate the forehand, it is highly talented at the upper movements of dressage, such as piaffe, passage and airs-above-the-ground. Elegant and robust, the Andalusian moves with distinctive upright steps in the trot and canter. Height ranges from 15 to 16.2 hands high. The majority of Andalusians are gray; less common, although found, is bay, black, dun and palomino.
For more information: International Andalusian Lusitano Horse Association, www.ialha.org