The Andalusian horse breed was developed in Spain, and is one of the worlds most iconic breeds. Known in it's native Spain as the Pura Raza Espanola (PRE) or "Pure Spanish Horse", the Andalusian is a medium sized, powerfully built horse, bred for riding.
They have large, expressive eyes, a long, straight profile, delicate lips, flared nostrils and chiseled cheeks.
The body is rounded, with long, sloping shoulders and smoothly curved haunches. The neck is very muscular, crested and curved. The legs are well formed with "plenty of bone", and the hooves are neat, rounded and hard.
The majority of Andalusian horses are grey in color. Often, like the Lipizzaner horses that are descended from them, they are born black or very dark grey, and will lighten as they age.
Well over 80% of those registered in fact, are some form of silver, grey, black or white, but other colors are seen, and acceptable in some registries. Bay is the most common color other than grey, and occasionally chestnut individuals, and even palominos are seen.
One of the most unique characteristics of the Andalusian horse is a full, flowing mane and tail. The forelock sweeps over the face, and the tail is often long enough to touch the ground.
Hair may be straight and sleek, but waves and curls are most common. There is little, if any, excessive hair or "feathering" on the legs, and the coat on the body is short and fine with a deep sheen.
Another unique trait is the highly flexible joints of the hocks, knees and fetlocks. This allows for the ability to perform complex dressage movements involving leaps, kicks, and controlled steps resembling a dance.
The neck is powerful and flexible as well, creating the signature profile of a fully collected horse carrying its head and neck in an elegant arch.
The Andalusian played a major role in the history of Spain, first as a cavalry horse that was brave and agile in battle, and then as a symbol of the refinement of Spain.
These beautiful horses were presented as gifts and cherished by elites.
Andalusian horses were not exported from Spain until the 1960's but were so desirable and highly prized that they are well established all over the world now, and are regularly seen in movies and TV shows because of their intelligence, calmness, train-ability, and of course, stunning beauty.
Today they can be found not just performing dressage moves, but also competing in jumping events, cross-country, and even Western barrel racing!
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