TEMPERAMENT: Docile, easily trained
COST: $3000-$8000+ (part-bred young horse), $5,000-$15,000 (purebred), $15,000-$20,000 (trained horse)
LIFESPAN 25-30 years
RECOMMENDED FOR: Beginner to experienced riders
History The Andalusian has descended from the prehistoric Spanish Horse and, together with the Arab and the Barb, has exerted the greatest influence on the modern horse, especially European breeds such as the Lipizzaner. The breed is amongst the oldest in the world and until the 19th century was Europe’s most popular horse. They were the preferred mount of royalty, featuring in many important equestrian statues and paintings such as the mounted statue of King Charles I in Trafalgar Square, London. Andalusians were prominent in the development of the Renaissance schools of classical riding. The most notable was the Spanish Riding School of Vienna which started in 1580 when 24
Andalusian mares and three stallions were sent to Lipizza, Austria. Andalusians first arrived in Australia in the early 1970s. In 1972 an Australian breeding program started with the aim of producing Andalusians suited to local conditions. A Spanish Andalusian was crossed with a foundation mare (any mare) and the fourth cross is known as the Australian Andalusian. Since then, registration numbers have risen to include 677 Spanish Andalusians, 2100 part-breds and 76 Australian Andalusians.
Appearance The Andalusian is a horse of sculptural beauty and great presence. Characteristics include a noble head and the hawk-like profile favoured by Renaissance Schools. It is strongly built and athletic, yet elegant, agile and naturally high stepping. The shoulders are strong and wide but do not have the slope of the Thoroughbred.
Andalusians can be grey (white), bay, black or buckskin with long, luxuriant and often wavy manes and tails. They stand about 15.2 hands high.
Temperament While the Andalusian appears spirited, powerful and proud, it has a docile, co-operative temperament and a remarkable disposition for training and steadiness under pressure. A slow heart rate means the Andalusian possesses great strength and endurance.
Health Andalusians have been known to live up to 37 years of age and at 25 years can still perform under saddle with the spirit of a younger horse. Andalusians should not be broken in before their fourth year and are not fully mature until they reach 15 years. Andalusians generally have sound health, but older horses, especially the greys, can suffer skin cancer or melanomas around the neck and base of the tail.
Breeding Andalusians experience few breeding problems and usually produce one foal. Twins are rare but possible.
Feeding Breeders suggest feeding Andalusians a mix of lucerne chaff, wheaten chaff, pollard, bran, oats or special stud mix plus lucerne hay and grass. This diet can vary depending on how hard the horse is working.
Maintenance The paddock size required for an Andalusian varies according to the horse’s workload and the amount of grass in the paddock. Andalusians can be stabled.
Like any horse, Andalusians need regular grooming to keep the horse clean and in good condition. A grooming kit should include a curry comb, soft dandy brush, wool mit, mane/tail comb and hoof pick. They should be shod and wormed every six weeks.
Ideal Owner Andalusians are suitable for both inexperienced and experienced riders and lovers of horses.
The Andalusian can be used for all types of riding and events including dressage, camp drafting and in-hand, harness and under-saddle classes.