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August 06, 2008 | | Comments 0

Andalusian Horses

Andalusian Horses

Andalusian Horses

Riding the Agile and Majestic Andalusian Horses

Among the many horse breeds, the Andalusian is one of the most admired. Aside from its obvious physical beauty, it is also one of the most intelligent and agile breeds. It has held these traits since time immemorial.

Andalusian Origins

Not all sources agree about the origins of this horse breed. Some contend that the breed was born after Iberian horses were bred with Barb horses a few centuries after the first century A.D. More patriotic accounts argue however that the Andalusian breed has been around centuries before the birth of Christ. Possible evidence is found in cave art depicting these horses. One thing is certain though. Regardless of the origin account, the Andalusian is among the oldest horse breeds. It is also regarded as the Pura Raza Espanola which translates to Purebreed Spanish Horse. It is one of the two main Iberian breeds.

The ancient Greeks and Romans were said to have a preference for the Andalusians. This was mainly because the kind of warfare they engaged in required strong and agile horses. They remained in use even in the middle ages. At this time though, preference for the Andalusian declined. There emerged a growing need for bulkier horses that could carry knights in armors and heavy equipment.

It was during their decline in popularity that the Andalusian breed became threatened. The threat was not so much of extinction but of cross breeding. It was at this point that the survival of the breed was secured by Carthusian monks who continued to ensure the pureness of the Andalusian breed.

Andalusians Today

Today, the celebrated traits of the Andalusian make them perfect for a variety of activities. Aside from being used for herding cattle and for bullfighting, the Andalusian has also found its way in equestrian events which include show jumping. They are also perfect for dressage. These activities showcase the refined appearance of the Andalusian at its best.

The main issue about Andalusians seems to be their rarity throughout Europe and America. Although they will in no way disappear in the near future, they are reportedly fewer in numbers than other breeds. This is primarily due to the fall its popularity in the Middle Ages and the subsequent cross breeding of stolen horses during European wars.

Horse Appearance

The appearance of an Andalusian will easily give you the impression of a proud breed. It stands at a minimum of 15.2 hands and has a strong, medium, lean body. One distinguishing trait of the breed is that it has a strong, sturdy neck. This is attributed to its origins in the Iberian Peninsula which required learning to fend and survive on its own under harsh circumstances. Andalusians also have long shoulders and long, generous tails and manes which add to their graceful and majestic appearance. The usual purebred color is gray but there are others that come in black.

Although Andalusians may seem elegantly built, they do not have a difficult temperament. They are quick to understand and follow appropriate training instructions.

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