Origin of the Andalusian
The Andalusian originated in and gained its name from the Spanish Province of Andalusia.
The Moors invaded Spain in the Seventh Century and brought Barb horses with them. These oriental horses were crossed with quality native Spanish stock, and the result was the Andalusian.
In the Middle Ages, the Andalusian was the favored mount for European nobles. The Andalusian was a major influence on the Lipizzaner breed in the 1500's. More recently, it was used as a cavalry mount. Its numbers at one time diminished, but today the Andalusian's physical appearance and flashy action make it one of the world's most desirable riding horses.
In the US only about 30% of horses called Andalusian are considered 'True' spanish horses, PRE (Pura Raza Española). Many have bloodlines that do originate from the Iberian peninsula of Spain, but are not of pure Spanish decent. Even if they are Spanish, if one of their parents or grandparents did not pass the registry standards for breeding, they can not be classed as PRE.
Andalusian horse appearance
The Andalusian has a distinguished appearance, usually appearing light gray, and occasionally bay. In the USA around 80 percet of Andalusians are gray, 15 percent are bay, the other 5 percent are palomino, dun, black or chestnut. It is a compact horse with excellent proportions. Andausians have been found to appear in a variety of colors and patterns throughout history. The mane and tail are abundant.
Andalusian stallions and geldings usually stand around 15.1½ hand (61.5 inches) and weigh 512 kilograms (1,129 lb). The mares average around 15½ hands (60.5 inches) and 142 kilograms (908 lb)
It has a flat or slightly convex nose, small ears, and its head is set on a substantial neck. The chest is quite massive and the quarters are lean. The legs are clean and the action is quite energetic. The Andalusian is renowned for its ability to learn when treated with respect and its docile yet intelligent temperament.
Uses of Andalusians
The andalusian has always been respected for its athleticism, and have been used for both riding and drivnig. They were among the first breed to be used in dressage and are still a popular breed in the discipline, with two andalusians being on the Spanish dressage team that won two bronze medals at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and a silver at the the 2004 Summer Olympics.
They used to be used as stock horses and were particularly suited to working with Iberian bulls, who are known for their aggressive temperament. They are also known for their use in mounted bull fighting.
Today the Andalusian is most commonly used in show jumping, western pleasure and for a number of other disciplines at horse shows.
Andalusians in popular culture
The current mascot of the University of Southern California, Traveler, is an Andalusian horse. The muscular and energetic characteristics of the horse have also made it a popular breed for films, especialy historical and fantasy productions. The most famous productions the Andalusian have featured in include The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Gladiator.
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