Are Andalusian Horses Fast

Danielle Fletcher
• Tuesday, 13 October, 2020
• 18 min read

Andalusian's are one of the oldest pure Spanish horse breeds; they’ve been around since the Middle Ages, but what do you know about them? This athletic breed is fast and can extend and collect, making the Andalusian suitable for showjumping and dressage events.

running horse andalusian fast wild sky field galloping maned grass
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They’re fascinating to watch in motion with their long, thick manes and tails flowing. Its beautiful, convex profile and arched neck make it one of the world’s most desirable riding horses.

What makes the Andalusian's so popular is their learning ability, superb temperament. 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. The Andalusian horse was initially bred with strong hindquarters to bear more weight on the rear.

Through centuries of selective breeding, the Andalusian horse has developed exception athleticism and stamina. They quickly learn complicated movements such as turning on their haunches and advanced collection.

The AndalusianHorses aren’t short on speed, as their long neck gives them excellent athleticism and stamina. The Andalusian's have well-defined withers, a massive chest, a straight profile, and a long broad neck.

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Because of their exceptional endurance and agility, you’ll find them in both obstacle shows and racing events. Andalusian horses movement is elevated, extended, harmonious, and cadenced, with forward motion and a balance on turns.

The physical attributes of the Andalusian horse contribute to their excellent performance in dressage events. They find higher movements like passage and giraffe 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. Cooperation and desire give you an edge and helps win dressage competitions.

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. 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! 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.

horse fast running andalusian print royalty horses barewalls freeart
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Because they are very intelligent you don’t have to put in a lot of time and effort teaching them basic routines. And once they’ve learned a move, you can count on them remember it, because they have superior memories and will never forget what you taught them.

They’re sensible, composed, and focused enough to perform on a film set without creating a disturbance. 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. Interesting fact: Andalusian horses are one of the rarest breeds in the United States, there are less than 10,000 in the country.

With breeding that goes back to Spanish and North African bloodlines, the Andalusian horse is not a very fast creature, but has excellent gaits. The heart of the Pure Spanish Horse world is in Andalusia, southern Spain, and ‘ Andalusian is a term that is generally used to describe a Spanish-type equine.

In America there is a registry for Andalusian's, which includes Spanish/Portuguese crosses or those which can show Spanish or Portuguese blood. Andalusian's had to survive some pretty tough times to still be living as a breed today.

running andalusian horses horse gallop fast run winter
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The photograph on this page is used with kind permission from www.pure-spanish-horse-spain.com which is a website well worth the visit if you would like to find out more on Andalusian and another Spanish horse breed, the Luciano. Andalusian Other namespace Spanish Horse, pure Gaza Espinoza Country of origin Spain, Iberian PeninsulaTraitsDistinguishing featuresStrongly built, compact, elegant, thick mane and tailored standards Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE (pure Gaza Espinoza ), is a horse breed from the Iberian Peninsula, where its ancestors have lived for thousands of years.

Throughout its history, it has been known for its prowess as a war horse, and was prized by the nobility. Exports of Andalusian's from Spain were restricted until the 1960s, but the breed has since spread throughout the world, despite their low population.

Strongly built, and compact yet elegant, Andalusian's have long, thick manes and tails. A sub-strain within the breed known as the Cartesian, is considered by breeders to be the purest strain of Andalusian, though there is no genetic evidence for this claim.

The strain is still considered separate from the main breed however, and is preferred by breeders because buyers pay more for horses of Cartesian bloodlines. There are several competing registries keeping records of horses designated as Andalusian or PRE, but they differ on their definition of the Andalusian and PRE, the purity of various strains of the breed, and the legalities of stud book ownership.

At least one lawsuit is in progress as of 2011 , to determine the ownership of the Spanish PRE stud book. The Andalusian is closely related to the Luciano of Portugal, and has been used to develop many other breeds, especially in Europe and the Americas.

andalusian horse gallop pura summerfield raza espanola runs
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Over its centuries of development, the Andalusian breed has been selected for athleticism and stamina. Modern Andalusian's are used for many equestrian activities, including dressage, show jumping and driving.

The breed is also used extensively in movies, especially historical pictures and fantasy epics. A “cobra” of Andalusian's, that is, a group of mares shown by a single handlerAndalusians stallions and geldings average 15.1 1 2 hands (61.5 inches, 156 cm) at the withers and 512 kilograms (1,129 lb) in weight; mares average 15 1 2 hands (60.5 inches, 154 cm) and 412 kilograms (908 lb).

Members of the breed have heads of medium length, with a straight or slightly convex profile. Necks are long and broad, running to well-defined withers and a massive chest.

They have a short back and broad, strong hindquarters with a well-rounded croup. The breed tends to have clean legs, with no propensity for blemishes or injuries, and energetic gaits.

The mane and tail are thick and long, but the legs do not have excess feathering. Andalusian's tend to be docile, while remaining intelligent and sensitive.

andalusian horse jumpers warmbloods horses fast
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When treated with respect they are quick to learn, responsive, and cooperative. The first is warts under the tail, a trait which Enclave passed to his offspring, and a trait which some breeders felt was necessary to prove that a horse was a member of the Enclave bloodline.

The second characteristic is the occasional presence of “horns”, which are frontal bosses, possibly inherited from Asian ancestors. The physical descriptions of the bosses vary, ranging from calcium -like deposits at the temple to small horn-like protuberances near or behind the ear.

However, these “horns” are not considered proof of Enclave descent, unlike the tail warts. In the past, most coat colors were found, including spotted patterns.

Two whorls near the root of the tail were considered a sign of courage and good luck. Poor elevation, irregular tempo, and excessive winging (sideways movement of the legs from the knee down) are discouraged by breed registry standards.

Andalusian's are known for their agility and their ability to learn difficult moves quickly, such as advanced collection and turns on the haunches. A 2001 study compared the kinematic characteristics of Andalusian, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses while moving at the trot.

horse andalusian dapple grey horses fast
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Andalusian's were found to over track less (the degree to which the hind foot lands ahead of the front hoof print) but also exhibit greater flexing of both fore and hind joints, movement consistent with the more elevated way of going typically found in this breed. The authors of the study theorized that these characteristics of the breed's trot may contribute to their success as a riding and dressage horse.

A 2008 study found that Andalusian's experience ischemic (reduced blood flow) diseases of the small intestine at a rate significantly higher than other breeds; and stallions had higher numbers of inguinal hernias, with risk for occurrence 30 times greater than other breeds. At the same time, they also showed a lower incidence of large intestinal obstruction.

In the course of the study, Andalusian's also showed the highest risk of laminates as a medical complication related to the intestinal issues. He is of great spirit and of great courage and docile; hath the proudest trot and the best action in his trot, the loftiest gallop, and is the loving est and gentlest horse, and fittest of all for a king in his day of triumph.

Cave paintings show that horses have been present on the Iberian Peninsula as far back as 20,000 to 30,000 BCE. Although Portuguese historian Run d'Andrade hypothesized that the ancient Sorrier breed was an ancestor of the Southern Iberian breeds, including the Andalusian, genetic studies using mitochondrial DNA shows that the Sorrier is part of a genetic cluster that is largely separated from most Iberian breeds.

Throughout history, the Iberian breeds have been influenced by many peoples and cultures who occupied Spain, including the Celts, the Carthaginians, the Romans, various Germanic tribes and the Moors. Mitochondrial DNA studies of the modern Andalusian horse of the Iberian Peninsula and Barb horse of North Africa present convincing evidence that both breeds crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and were used for breeding with each other, influencing one another's bloodlines.

andalusian horse preview
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Some of the earliest written pedigrees in recorded European history were kept by Cartesian monks, beginning in the 13th century. Because they could read and write, and were thus able to maintain careful records, monastics were given the responsibility for horse breeding by certain members of the nobility, particularly in Spain.

Andalusian stud farms for breeding were formed in the late 15th century in Cartesian monasteries in Jerez, Seville and Camilla. The Malthusians bred powerful, weight-bearing horses in Andalusia for the Crown of Castile, using the finest Spanish Jennets as foundation bloodstock.

The Iberian horse became known as the “royal horse of Europe” and was seen at many royal courts and riding academies, including those in Austria, Italy, France and Germany. By the 16th century, during the reigns of Charles V (1500–1558) and Phillip II (1556–1581), Spanish horses were considered the finest in the world.

Even in Spain, quality horses were owned mainly by the wealthy. The always expensive Andalusian became even more so, and it was often impossible to find a member of the breed to purchase at any price.

As early as the 15th century, the Spanish horse was widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean, and was known in northern European countries, despite being less common and more expensive there. As time went on, kings from across Europe, including every French monarch from Francis I to Louis XVI, had equestrian portraits created showing themselves riding Spanish-type horses.

andalusian horse horses pretty stallion pre running grey uploaded user
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The kings of France, including Louis XIII and Louis XIV, especially preferred the Spanish horse; the head groom to Henri IV, Salomon de la Broke, said in 1600, “Comparing the best horses, I give the Spanish horse first place for its perfection, because it is the most beautiful, noble, graceful and courageous”. In the 16th century, Henry VIII received gifts of Spanish horses from Charles V, Ferdinand II of Aragon and the Duke of Savoy and others when he wed Katherine of Aragon.

He also purchased additional war and riding horses through agents in Spain. By 1576, Spanish horses made up one third of British royal studs at Amesbury and Tut bury.

The Spanish horse peaked in popularity in Great Britain during the 17th century, when horses were freely imported from Spain and exchanged as gifts between royal families. The Conquistadors of the 16th century rode Spanish horses, particularly animals from Andalusia, and the modern Andalusian descended from similar bloodstock.

By 1500, Spanish horses were established in studs on Santo Domingo, and Spanish horses made their way into the ancestry of many breeds founded in North and South America. By 1642, the Spanish horse had spread to Moldova, to the stables of Transylvanian prince George Ranchi.

An Andalusian performing dressage at the 2007 World Cup FinalsDespite their ancient history, all living Andalusian's trace to a few horses bred by religious orders in the 18th and 19th centuries. An influx of heavy horse blood beginning in the 16th century, resulted in the dilution of many of the bloodlines; only those protected by selective breeding remained intact to become the modern Andalusian.

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One herd of Andalusian's was hidden from the invaders however, and subsequently used to renew the breed. This was partially because increasing mechanization and changing needs within the military called for horses with more speed in cavalry charges as well as horses with more bulk for pulling gun carriages.

In 1832, an epidemic seriously affected Spain's horse population, from which only one small herd survived in a stud at the monastery in CARTA. Despite this change in focus, Andalusian breeding slowly recovered, and in 1869, the Seville Horse Fair (originally begun by the Romans), played host to between ten and twelve thousand Spanish horses.

The purebred Andalusian was not viewed favorably by breeders or the military, and their numbers decreased significantly. Strict quarantine guidelines prohibited the importation of new Andalusian blood to Australia for many years, but since 1999, regulations have been relaxed and more than half a dozen new horses have been imported.

Bloodlines in the United States also rely on imported stock, and all American Andalusian's can be traced directly to the stud books in Portugal and Spain. There are around 8,500 animals in the United States, where the International Andalusian and Luciano Horse Association (Alpha) registers around 700 new purebred foals every year.

These numbers indicate that the Andalusian is a relatively rare breed in the United States. At the end of 2010, a total of 185,926 pure Gaza Espinoza horses were recorded in the database of the Spanish Minister de Medio Ambient, y Media Rural y Marino.

horse andalusian gallop runs summer
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The pure sub-type is rare, as only around 12 percent of the Andalusian horses registered between the founding of the stud book in the 19th century and 1998 were considered Malthusians. In the past, Malthusians were given preference in breeding, leading to a large proportion of the Andalusian population claiming ancestry from a few horses and possibly limiting the breed's genetic variability.

A 2005 study compared the genetic distance between Cartesian and non-Carthusian horses. They calculated a Fixation index (F ST) based on genealogical information and concluded that the distinction between the two is not supported by genetic evidence.

However, there are slight physical differences; Malthusians have more “oriental” or concave head shapes and are more often gray, while non-Carthusians tend toward convex profiles and more often exhibit other coat colors such as bay. The Cartesian line was established in the early 18th century when two Spanish brothers, Andrés and Diego Zamora, purchased a stallion named El Sol dado and bred him to two mares.

One of the offspring of El Sol dado, a dark gray colt named Enclave, became the foundation sire of the Cartesian line. Other animals of these bloodlines were absorbed into the main Andalusian breed; the stock given to the monks was bred into a special line, known as Zamora nos.

Throughout the following centuries, the Zamora nos bloodlines were guarded by the Cartesian monks, to the point of defying royal orders to introduce outside blood from the Neapolitan horse and central European breeds. They did, however, introduce Arabian and Barb blood to improve the strain.

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The original stock of Malthusians was greatly depleted during the Peninsular Wars, and the strain might have become extinct if not for the efforts of the Zapata family. Today, the Cartesian strain is raised in state-owned stud farms around Jerez de la Frontera, Badajoz and Córdoba, and also by several private families.

Cartesian horses continue to be in demand in Spain, and buyers pay high prices for members of the strain. An Andalusian performing the passage Spain's worldwide military activities between the 14th and 17th centuries called for large numbers of horses, more than could be supplied by native Spanish mares.

Spanish custom also called for mounted troops to ride stallions, never mares or geldings. Andalusian's were a significant influence on the creation of the Alter Real, a strain of the Luciano, and the Aztec, a Mexican breed created by crossing the Andalusian with American Quarter Horse and Criollo bloodlines.

The Spanish jennet ancestors of the Andalusian also developed the Colonial Spanish Horse in America, which became the foundation bloodstock for many North and South American breeds. Until modern times, horse breeds throughout Europe were known primarily by the name of the region where they were bred.

Thus the original term Andalusian simply described the horses of distinct quality that came from Andalusia in Spain. The Extreme name refers to Spanish horses from the Extremaduran province of Spain and the Zapata or Záparo name to horses that come from the Zapata family stud.

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The Villeins name has occasionally been applied to modern Andalusian's, but originally referred to heavy, crossbred horses from the mountains north of Jaén. Some sources state that the Andalusian and the Luciano are genetically the same, differing only in the country of origin of individual horses.

In many areas today, the breeding, showing, and registration of the Andalusian and Luciano are controlled by the same registries. Other organizations, such as The Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders of Spain (Association Nacional de Criadores DE Cabal lo de Pura Gaza Espinoza or AN CCE), use the term pure Gaza Espinoza or PRE to describe the true Spanish horse, and claim sole authority to officially register and issue documentation for PRE Horses, both in Spain and anywhere else in the world.

In most of the world the terms Andalusian and “PRE” are considered one and the same breed, but the public position of the AN CCE is that terms such as Andalusian and “Iberian horse” refer only to crossbred, which the AN CCE considers to be horses that lack quality and purity, without official documentation or registration from official Spanish Stud Book. They share responsibility for the Purebred Iberian Horse (an Andalusian /Luciano cross) with the Luciano Association of Australasia.

The name pure Gaza Espinoza (PRE), usually rendered in English “Pure Spanish Horse” (not a literal translation ) is the term used by the AN CCE, a private organization, and the Ministry of Agriculture of Spain. In addition, all breeding stock must undergo an evaluation process.

Spain's Ministry of Agriculture recognizes the AN CCE as the representing entity for PRE breeders and owners across the globe, as well as the administrator of the breed stud book. AN CCE functions as the international parent association for all breeders worldwide who record their horses as PRE.

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This new registry claims that all of their registered horses trace back to the original stud book maintained by the CIA Caballero, which was a branch of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, for 100 years. As of August 2011 , there is a lawsuit in progress to determine the legal holder of the PRE stud book.

The Union de Criadores de Caballos Spangles (CCE or Union of Spanish Horse Breeders) has brought a case to the highest European Union courts in Brussels, charging that the Ministry of Spain's transfer of the original PRE Libra de Origen (the official stud book) from the CIA Caballero to AN CCE was illegal. In early 2009, the courts decided on behalf of CCE, explaining that the CIA Caballero formed the Libra DE Origin.

Because it was formed by a government entity, it is against European Union law for the stud book to be transferred to a private entity, a law that was broken by the transfer of the book to AN CCE, which is a non-governmental organization. The court found that by giving AN CCE sole control of the stud book, Spain's Ministry of Defense was acting in a discriminatory manner.

The court held that Spain must give permission to maintain a breed stud book (called a Libra Genealogical) to any international association or Spanish national association which requests it. Based on the Brussels court decision, an application has been made by the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse to maintain the United States stud book for the PRE.

As of March 2011 , Spain has not revoked AN CCE's right to be the sole holder of the PRE stud book, and has instead reaffirmed the organization's status. The Andalusian breed has over the centuries been consistently selected for athleticism.

spain traditional almayate andalusian contest april horsecar fast
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In 1831, horses at five years old were expected to be able to gallop, without changing pace, four or five leagues, about 12 to 15 miles (19 to 24 km). By 1925, the Portuguese military expected horses to “cover 40 km over uneven terrain at a minimum speed of 10 km/h, and to gallop a flat course of 8 km at a minimum speed of 800 meters per minute carrying a weight of at least 70 kg”, and the Spanish military had similar standards.

Historically, however, they were also used as stock horses, especially suited to working with Iberian bulls, known for their aggressive temperaments. Mares were traditionally used for la trill, the Spanish process of threshing grain practiced until the 1960s.

Mares, some pregnant or with foals at their side, spent full days trotting over the grain. As well as being a traditional farming practice, it also served as a test of endurance, hardiness and willingness for the maternal Andalusian lines.

The current Traveler, the mascot of the University of Southern California, is an Andalusian. The dramatic appearance of the Andalusian horse, with its arched neck, muscular build and energetic gaits, has made it a popular breed to use in film, particularly in historical and fantasy epics.

Andalusian's have been present in films ranging from Gladiator to Interview with the Vampire, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life to Brave heart. The horses have also been seen in such fantasy epics as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, King Arthur, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

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In 2006, a rearing Andalusian stallion, ridden by Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate, was recreated as the largest bronze equine in the world. Measuring 36 feet (11 m) high, the statue currently stands in El Paso, Texas.

Domestic Animal Diversity database of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. National Association of Purebred Horse Breeders of Spain.

“Kinematic characteristics of Andalusian, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses : a comparative study”. ^ Muñoz, E.; Arguello, D.; Create, L.; San Miguel, L.; Grades, M. (2008).

^ a b Roy, L.J., I. Álvarez, A. Beja-Pereira, A. Molina, I. Fernández, J. Jordana, E. Gómez, J. P. Gutiérrez, and F. Gouache (2005). “The Origins of Iberian Horses Assessed via Mitochondrial DNA”.

CS1 main: uses authors parameter (link) ^ Jansen, Thomas, Peter Forster, Marsha A. Levine, Hardy Else, Matthew Hurdles, Colin Renfrew, Jürgen Weber, and Klaus Ole (August 6, 2002). CS1 main: uses authors parameter (link) CAI, Data; Tang, Huawei; Han, Lu; Speller, Camilla F.; Yang, Dong ya Y.; Ma, Violin; Can, Jean'en; AHU, Hong; Zhou, Hui (2009).

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“Ancient DNA provides new insights into the origin of the Chinese domestic horse” (PDF). McGovern, A; Bower, M. A. M.; Edwards, C. J.; Trophy, P. O.; Saliva, G.; Sakharov, I.; Vizuete-Forster, M.; Levine, M.; Li, S.; Mac Hugh, D. E.; Hill, E. W. (2006).

“Evidence for biogeographic patterning of mitochondrial DNA sequences in Eastern horse populations”. 209–210 ^ Ivanovich, They Rode Into Europe, p. 97 ^ a b Valeria, M., A. Molina, J.P. Cutie´rec, J. Go´MEB, F. Coached (2005).

“Pedigree analysis in the Andalusian horse: population structure, genetic variability and influence of the Cartesian strain” (PDF). CS1 main: uses authors parameter (link) ^ a b c Llamas, This is the Spanish Horse, pp.

“Genetic parameters of bio kinematic variables at walk in the Spanish Purebred (Andalusian) horse using experimental treadmill records”. “Iberian Horses Wow Crowds at Alpha National Championship Show in Fort Worth”.

^ “The Ahab Stud Book for the Pure Spanish Horse”. They Rode Into Europe: The Fruitful Exchange in the Arts of Horsemanship between East and West.

andalusian horse gray desert stallion galloping preview
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CS1 main: uses authors parameter (link) Llamas, Juan, translated by Jane Rabagliati (1997). CS1 main: uses authors parameter (link) Lock, Sylvia (1986).

The Royal Horse of Europe: The Story of the Andalusian and Luciano. “A Horse of a Different Color: Nation and Race in Early Modern Horsemanship Treatises”.

The Culture of the Horse: Status, Discipline, and Identity in the Early Modern World. This audio file was created from a revision of this article dated 12 December 2011 (2011-12-12), and does not reflect subsequent edits.

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