The Andalusian is one of the oldest breeds to have been handled and ridden by man. In Spain, it is called caballo Andaluz, or Pura Raza Español (P.R.E.), or caballo Cartujano. Its lineage stems from the Sorraia Pony, which still exists in Iberia, and the Barb which originated in North Africa, with Arab and Oriental strains. In the past, it was valued as a warhorse.
Andalusians possess a broad neck, particularly in stallions, whose well developed crests exalt their beauty. They often have a luxurious mane and tail, amazing to stroke, soft and gently curling like new lamb's wool. The Andalusian has a short coupled body, well sprung ribcage, rounded croup and a low set tail carried flat against the rump. The shoulders are well sloped, with withers well defined. The chest and hindquarters are well defined.
The Andalusian is famous for its extravagant paces. Movement is elevated and extended, making it look as if it were floating on air. All paces are smooth, showy and spectacular. Andalusians have soft mouths that make them extremely obedient when ridden properly. They have mainly gray or bay coats but others are also accepted. They stand between 15-16.2hh.
The Andalusian bloodline is evident in around 80 per cent of modern breeds and has had particular influence on Connemara, native to Ireland, Lipizzaner of the Balkans, and the Cleveland Bay and Welsh Cob of the British Isles.
Today the Andalusian is used for bullfighting and display riding, where its power and agility make it well suited for intricate movements. They excel at advanced classical dressage and also at showjumping. Although it is mainly used for riding and is a popular dressage horse, the Andalusian is also driven. In its native Spain it is often used in harness during ceremonial and festive occasions.