Depicted in cave paintings as old as 25, 000 years, Andalusian horses are recognised as one of the earliest breeds in the world. They originated on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain, particularly the province of Andalusia, from which their name is derived.
Andalusian horses are the descendents of the Iberian and Barb horses that had been brought into Spain by the Moors. They were bred mainly by Carthusian Monks in the late Middle Ages to serve in battle, and later became a popular breed for the grand Classical Riding Academies during the Renaissance era. Despite the threats of a Napoleon invasion in the 1800's and a horse epidemic in Spain in the 1832, Andalusian horses were able to survive in small numbers from which further generations were perpetuated and later exported to other parts of the world. The breed is considered to be relatively rare.
Traditionally known as a supreme war horse due to its power and agility, Andalusians were used in battle during the Middle Ages before becoming the preferred mount for European nobility. Throughout the ages, they have served as riding horses. They are particularly suitable for high school dressage and showjumping and have been used in cattle-work and bullfighting. This has much to do with their capacity for impulsion, collection, high-stepping, agility and elegance. In North America today, Andalusians are known to compete in dressage, jumping, driving, trail, western pleasure and English pleasure. Their soft mouths allow for assured obedience in these disciplines. They have contributed to the development of other breeds including Lipizzan, Alter Real, Lusitano, Kladruber, and many European warmbloods of today. Part-bred Andalusians are accepted sport horses in some countries.
Andalusian horses are typically 15.2 - 16.2 hands high, and are predominantly grey in colour. However, bay, black and chestnut purebreds also exist. They are characterised by their long jaw lines, lean, rectangular, medium-length heads, long yet broad necks, long sloping shoulders and thick, long manes and tails.
The first purebred Andalusian horses were brought to Australia in 1971 when Perth Businessman Ray Williams established ‘Bodeguero Stud' in Western Australia. It consisted of one stallion and five purebred mares. In 1973, many more purebreds were imported. It was around this time the the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia was created. The AHAA holds the Stud Books in the region for Pure Spanish Horse, The Australian Andalusian, the Partbred Andalusian and share the Stud Book for the Purebred Iberian Horse(Spanish/Lusitano) with the Lusitano Association of Australasia.
Today, Australian Andalusians are being bred at high quality, and our various part-bred horses are demonstrating their potential value. Consequently, the breed is benefiting from increased popularity.