The Andalusian Horse
Although the Andalusian horse is now an established breed found worldwide its origins have influenced their name. Due to their attractive characteristics they have been used in many areas of horse riding and driving and have had an effect on the development of many other breeds.
The ancestors of these horses were Iberian horses from Spanish and Portuguese areas. Through time they were cross-bred with other breeds and were one of the first warmblood breeds in Europe. In the 16th century England they were considered the finest breed available but their amount decreased significantly in 19th century due to invasion of Spain and diseases.
Earlier the name Andalusian only suggested the origins of a horse but it later developed to a breed of its own. The purest type of Andalusians is said to be the Carthusian type. It is a very rare type due to its purity and these days it is near exclusively bred in state-run stud farms.
The official importation of Andalusians only started in 1960s but prior to this they had already influenced many other breeds such as Lipizzan and Friesian horses. They also played a major part in building the horse stock and breeds in America after it was discovered by the Europeans.
Andalusian horses were originally used as war horses. In later years they have been used in both riding and driving. Due to their extended gaits and an ability to learn difficult movements, they are a popular choice in dressage. In Spain they are also used in mounted bull fighting.
The modern Andalusian is most often used in pleasure riding and showing. These horses have also been featured in several films and TV-shows.
The typical characteristics of an Andalusian include a strong build body with long and wide neck. Their height varies between 15.2 and 16.2 hands and the majority of these horses are grey. An Andalusian should have a wide chest and large, powerful hindquarters. Traditionally their mane is left long and thick but there should not be too much feathering on their legs.
This horse has shaped the characteristics of many European and American breeds. Its origins of both hot-blood and cold-blood breeding have developed a horse that is versatile in use and very attractive to look at.
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