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Andalusians are among the oldest pure Spanish horse breeds; they’ve been around since the Middle Ages, but what do you know about them? Are they warmbloods, fast, or good jumpers?
The Andalusian horse breed is regarded as Europe’s first warmblood. This athletic breed is fast and can extend and collect, making the Andalusian suitable for showjumping and dressage events.
The Andalusians are an excellent all-around breed. They’re exceptional at a particular form of dressage known as the Haute Ecole, advanced classical dressage movements. There is a lot these fascinating horses can do.
Characteristics of Andalusian Horse
The Andalusians are powerful, compact, and elegant horses. They’re fascinating to watch in motion with their long, thick manes and tails flowing. Besides their beauty, they are known for their sensitivity, intelligence, and docility.
Andalusian horses come in many colors, but the most common one is grey. The Andalusian horse was initially used as a stock horse for bullfighting, classical dressage, and driving. However, modern Andalusians are used for showjumping and dressage.
Its beautiful, convex profile and arched neck make it one of the world’s most desirable riding horses. The Andalusian horse has excellent proportions and is relatively compact. They stand around 15.2 hands.
They are quite energetic, and their legs are clean. What makes the Andalusians so popular is their learning ability, superb temperament. They are also very reliable and quiet.
Are Andalusian Horses Warmbloods?
The warm-blooded horses originated when warriors returned to Europe from the Middle East. They were developed by crossing Thoroughbreds and Arabians with big-boned war or carriage horses.
Thus, warmbloods are larger than the hot blood horses and more refined than the cold blood ones. Warmbloods are widely used in dressage because of their “cold” blooded temperament and their “hot” blooded athletic ability.
Since the middle ages, the Andalusian horse has been used as a warhorse. It is a breed that is adapted to carry a rider to battle easily. Breeders initially developed the Andalusian horse with strong hindquarters to bear more weight on the rear.
Since the warrior would be perched on the horse all day long, the horse had to have a soft stride and be comfortable to sit on. Through centuries of selective breeding, the Andalusian horse has developed exceptional athleticism and stamina.
Hence, it is regarded as the first European “warmblood” – a combination of heavy European and lighter Oriental horses. The Andalusian horses are technically not warmbloods. However, because of their stamina and agility, they’re regarded as warm-blooded.
Are Andalusian Horses Fast?
An Andalusian horse, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse, is a well-renowned show horse worldwide. They spin on their haunches and wave their tail in the wind.
They quickly learn complicated movements such as turning on their haunches and advanced collection. They’re able to perform these intricate movements because of their superb stamina and agility.
The Andalusian Horses aren’t short on speed, as their long neck gives them excellent athleticism and stamina. Hence, they perform exceptionally well in events such as jumping, long-distance events, and dressage.
The Andalusians have well-defined withers, a massive chest, a straight profile, and a long broad neck. Moreover, this breed is incredibly intelligent and strong. They are not very fast but have a lot of agility and resilience.
Because of their exceptional endurance and agility, you’ll find them in both obstacle shows and racing events. Its speed arises from its impressive chest and defined withers.
In the 18th century, the Andalusian Horses could gallop four to five leagues without changing pace for 12 to 15 miles. Andalusian horses’ movement is elevated, extended, harmonious, and cadenced, with forward motion and a balance on turns.
According to a study, Andalusians over-track less. Over-track is the degree to which the hindfoot touchdowns ahead of the front hoof print.
However, they also demonstrate better flexing of both hind and fore joints. These characteristics make them good jumpers and the right candidates for dressage.
Are Andalusian Horses Better at Dressage?
The physical attributes of the Andalusian horse contribute to their excellent performance in dressage events. They find higher movements like passage and piaffe easy because they are compact yet nimble.
From the very beginning, the Andalusian horses have been widely used for driving and riding, and they are among the first breeds to be brought into classical dressage. Still today, they’re used in international competitions.
Two Andalusians won the bronze medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. They compete and win at the highest levels of dressage.
The Andalusian horse has the right conformation for dressage. However, these characteristics won’t matter if the horse is not willing to cooperate. Cooperation and desire give you an edge and helps win dressage competitions.
Andalusians have an extraordinarily competitive nature.
The most popular phrase used in horse riding in Spain is “tener corazon,” which signifies that the horse has a heart. The Pure Spanish Horse is said to have a zealous spirit, and thus, you can be confident that it will offer you its best performance throughout its competition.
Spanish riders believe that a “Corazon” horse has greater value than a horse with just excellent physical attributes. The Andalusian horse will always try to please you and is very persistent.
These animals will work hard for you no matter how tired or hurt they feel to please their owner. A Pure Spanish Horse will put in their full effort to help you win! This desire to win and please is invaluable and can’t be taught; rather, it must be in the horse’s nature.
These traits you can’t see in the conformation of the animal make Andalusian horses so special. And as an owner, you should be able to read and understand your Andalusian horse.
By building a deep connection between you and your Andalusian horse, you will ensure a special and long-lasting bond that will go beyond the show ring.
Andalusian horses learn very quickly. Because they are brilliant, you don’t have to put in a lot of time and effort teaching them basic routines. They pick up new tasks with ease and are ready to move on to the next course.
And once they’ve learned a move, you can count on them to remember it because they have superior memories and will never forget what you taught them.
Because of their looks, intelligence, and temperament, you’ll find Andalusian horses used in many movies. They’re sensible, composed, and focused enough to perform on a film set without creating a disturbance.
This combination of intelligence and Corazon makes them very good for dressage.
Andalusians and Showjumping
Andalusians have powerful hindquarters and can jump extremely well. The famed Andalusian, Novilheiro, was a very successful Grand Prix showjumper who excelled in Grand Prix dressage.
Even with the scattering successes of some Andalusian horses, they aren’t well respected for their showjumping ability. They don’t seem to enjoy the sport. If you’re interested in a showjumping prospect, I would pass on the Andalusian breed.
The Andalusian horse is a versatile breed. You can use it for many riding disciplines; they’re agile, intelligent, strong, and beautiful. Many European breeders are breeding the Andalusian horse for competitions and showjumping as they’re good jumpers.
The Andalusian breed has a natural gift of collected movements and is a very user-friendly horse. Andalusians are fast horses, just not as fast as Thoroughbreds or Quarter horses, but they are fast enough to compete in English eventing.
Interesting fact: Andalusian horses are rare in the United States; there are less than 10,000 in the country.