What Is The Andalusian Breed? Facts, History, & More


The Andalusian horse breed is one of the most elegant and handsome breeds in the world. Originating in Spain, this breed has become increasingly popular all across Europe as well as North America.

What Is The Andalusian Horse?

The Andalusian is a majestic and elegant breed of warmblooded horse that originated in Spain. This breed was partially derived from the Barb and Arabian breeds when they were brought over to Spain. The Andalusian is a majestic breed of average height and weight that can come in several different colors and is one of the few breeds that can be registered as a purebred with a roan coat.

How Big Is The Andalusian Horse?

The Andalusian horse is average in size and typically stands between 15 and 16 hands high.

When it comes to this breeds weight, they also are pretty average and weigh in at around 900 to 1,200 pounds.

What Color Is The Andalusian Horse?

The Andalusian breed is seen in a variety of colors including Cremello, Perlino, and roan. This horse is usually seen as gray but can come in bay, black, and chestnut as well as the previously mentioned horse coat colors.

The more rare colors to see in this breed are roan, cremello, and perlino as specific genes are required to obtain these coat colors.

The History Of The Andalusian

Like many old breeds including the Barb, Arabian, and Percheron horses, the exact history of this breed is unknown. There are several explanations and theories as to how this breed came about, but only one of these is the most likely to be true.

The most common belief is that the early Andalusian horses came about following the Moorish invasions into Spain around the year of 800 AD. This is because the Moors used Barb and Arabian horses to carry them into battle with the Spanish. These Barb and Arabian horses belonging to the Moors were then crossed with previously existing Spanish horses to create a horse similar to today’s Andalusian. Over the course of time, the breed has been further developed and improved to get the horse we know today.

Another theory regarding the origins of this breed is the thought that Andalusian horses were created from the 2,000 mares sent to Spain by Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian general.

The final theory regarding the origins of the Andalusian says that the breed could be descended from prehistoric horses that helped develop the Barb horse and later the Andalusian.

How To Identify The Andalusian Horse

The Andalusian horse is an easily recognizable breed for a number of reasons. These horses can be recognized by their:

Head

The Andalusian has a handsome head with expressive kind eyes, a broad forehead, and a slightly rounded Roman nose.

Their ears are straight and of a nice shape and size with pointed tips.

Mane & Tail

The Andalusian horse is especially known for their incredibly long and shiny manes and tails. In many cases, the Andalusian’s forelock is long enough to touch the muzzle.

The Andalusian is often seen with their mane and tail braided and wrapped up to allow it to grow out. A long and luscious mane and tail are desired, especially in this breed.

Gait

This horse often shows a smooth extended gait. Because of their sloping shoulder, the breed usually has a smooth even gait that is easy to ride.

Unusual to most breeds, the Andalusian has a very showy and high-stepping gait. Because of this impressive front action, the Andalusian is a frequent competitor in the dressage arena.

Temperament

This breed has a great temperament and is known to get along great with horses and people alike. Though they are usually calm and docile horses, they have an energetic side to them as well which is desirable for a riding horse, especially in English riding.

Neck

Andalusian horses have thick strong necks that handsomely arch to give them an elegant attractive appearance. The neck is set nicely on their body onto strong well sloping shoulders.

The arched appearance of this horse’s neck makes them a breed sometimes labeled as the most beautiful in the world. This breed gets their impressive neck from their ancient Spanish ancestors.

What The Andalusian Excels In

There are many things that the Andalusian horse excels in. A few of these things include:

General Riding

The Andalusian is a breed that is popularly used for people who are looking for a horse to ride for pleasure. Though it may be hard to get your hands on one of these horses, they make great riding horses for the avid rider. Because of their docile temperament, they can be good for beginner and intermediate riders as well.

This breed is usually seen used in the English style of riding, though some people will use Andalusians for showy western riding displays where the horse prances in place.

Dressage

The Andalusian makes a very popular dressage horse because of its energetic nature, high stepping movement, elegantly arched head, and regal appearance.

The Andalusian has a very willing nature and just want to please and because of this as well as their amazing appearance and movement, they make excellent show horses and do extremely well in the dressage arena.

In-Hand Classes

Many Andalusians are seen competing in in-hand classes which demonstrate the more spirited and energetic members of this breed. Sometimes, stallions are the ones more common to see participating in in-hand classes as many breeders competitions are done in-hand.

Andalusians shown in in-hand classes are usually younger horses of the breed as they are typically more spirited than their older relatives. The ideal horse for these classes has a long mane and tail, an elegantly arched neck, a prancing and high-stepping gait, and a showy appearance. The Andalusian fits all of these categories.

Movies

Andalusians make excellent performance horses and are extremely attractive overall. This is what makes them so popular to use in movies. Action films, films about the Middle Ages, and other interesting movies often include Andalusians into the scenes where horses are required.

Jumping

Though this is not the Andalusian’s strong suit, they still are seen jumping. This breed also has been mixed into other breeds and improved certain breeds used in jumping such as the Hanoverian and Oldenburg.

Breeding

As I mentioned above, the Andalusian has been mixed into other breeds to improve them and almost always brings forth good traits into other breeds and their offspring. There are a great number of breeds that the Andalusian has helped create and improve.

Driving

Though this is not a primary use of the Andalusian anymore, they are still sometimes seen driving a cart or carriage. They make impressive driving horses because of their attractive high front action and extended gaits.

How Long Do Andalusian Horses Live?

Though some European breeds have a shorter lifespan, like the Friesian, the Andalusian has an average lifespan of around 25 years. Though this is just an average, they are known to age well into their late twenties and early thirties if they are well taken care of and healthy.

Fun Facts About Andalusian Horses

  • The Andalusian is the most famous Spanish breed
  • The Andalusian helped to create several breeds including the Holstein, Oldenburg, Fredriksborg, Lipizzaner, Kladruber, Friesian, Hackney, Old Norman Horse, Orlov Trotter, Criollo, Quarter Horse, and the Hanoverian.
  • This breed is sometimes known as an Iberian Horse

FAQs On Andalusian Horses

Are Andalusian Horses Expensive?

There is a big price range on the Andalusian horse and because of this, it is hard to say whether they are expensive horses to purchase or not. The pricing for Andalusians ranges from around $6,000 to $50,000 (USD) depending on age, training, conformation, and even color.

Is the Andalusian breed a rare breed?

No, the Andalusian is not a rare breed as they are seen in virtually every country in the world. The Andalusian is a very popular performance breed so it is in high demand compared to other breeds.

Are Andalusian horses good with children?

Because they are such docile horses they can be great with children though this is dependent on the horse’s age and gender. A young stallion is not a good horse for children, but a middle-aged mare might be a good option for a child to ride.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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