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28 June 2017   
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Spanish Breeds of Horse

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Andalusian




The Andalusian originated in the southern Spanish Province of Andalusia close to North Africa where it has, since the Middle Ages, been known as the Purebred Spanish Horse and is highly regarded. It's ancestors were the Iberion horses and it is represented by the Alter Real, Castilian, Carthusian, Extremeno, Ginete, Iberian Saddle Horse, Iberian War Horse, Jennet, Lusitano, Portuguese, Peninsular, Spanish Horse, Villanos, Zapata, and Zamaranos.

In the Seventeenth Century the Moors invaded Spain bringing with them the Oriental Barb horses. They crossed these imported horses with the local Spanish horses and produced the Andalusian. Because of it's elegant appearance and free movement it became one of the favoured mounts for European nobles, monarchs and the riding masters of the Middle Ages. During the 1500's the breed was used to produce the Lipizzaner, a direct descendant and a horse famous for Haute ecole (high school) and the Spanish School of Riding. The Andalusian also had an influence on other European breeds including the Friesian and the Frederisborg. The Connemara pony and the Holstein may also be traced back to the Spanish horse through the Oldenburg, a breed that was influenced by the Freisian. Before the sixteenth century many Spanish horses were exported to the Americas, where many were used as the foundation stock for some of the new breeds.

Since the late Middle Ages The Carthusian Monks played a significant role in the history of the breed. At the end of the 1400's, they founded studs at monasteries in Cazallo, Seville and Terez. The monks were skilled and dedicated horse breeders and trainers. They insured that the blood of their horses was pure. Unfortunately when Napoleon invaded Spain in the 1800's and stole many horses, the purity of the breed was threatened. To protect the precious bloodlines a herd of Andalusian horses were moved and hidden in a remote monastery, these horses were later used to renew the quality of the breed.

In 1832 another disaster struck, this time it was an epidemic that devastated the horse population of Spain. Only a small herd of Andalusians survived at the Monastery of Cartuja. It took many years to rekindle the numbers and no Andalusians horses were exported out of Spain until 1962.

The Andalusian has a particularly distinguished appearance, possessing tremendous presence, elevated paces and agility of movement. Predominantly grey and mulberry (A dappled purplish grey) and occasionally bay. It is a well-proportioned compact horse, and usually stands at 15.2 hands. It has a flat or slightly convex nose, a broad forehead, small ears, and large kind eyes; a substantially thick though fairly long and elegant neck; a good sloping shoulder and well defined withers; a broad chest; short strong back and body with well sprung ribs; the quarters are round and strong with a lowish set tail; medium length, strong, clean cut limbs; The mane and tail are long and silky.

The Andalusian has a superb temperament and is a responsive and intelligent mount that linked with its elegant appearance, wonderful paces and exceptional ability make it not only a superb riding horse but also a particularly well-suited mount for the rigorous training of 'haute ecole'. The famous William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, wrote of the Spanish horse: "If well chosen it is the noblest horse in the world; the most beautiful that can be. He is of great spirit and of great courage and docile; has the proudest walk, the proudest trot. the loftiest gallop and is the lovingest and gentlest horse and fittest of all for a king in Day of Triumph".



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