The Andalusian is the most ancient riding horse known to man. These early horses were powerfully built, athletic and agile with a riveting presence, yet had a quiet and trainable temperament. In fact, the Andalusian was the horse of choice of kings for hundreds of years, specifically for these qualities, characteristics that have been maintained by controlled breeding and are still embodied in the modern Iberian horse. Over the centuries, the Andalusian has been selected time and time again to cross with other breeds to improve their general attributes, with the result that over eighty percent of all present day breeds can be traced back to the Andalusian. These breeds include the Thoroughbred, Welsh, Connemara, Lippizan, Friesian, Cleveland Bay, Percheron, all warmblood breeds, the American Quarter Horse, Paints, and the Appaloosa.

The Andalusian is extremely versatile, being ridden and competed with great success in dressage, driving, cutting, western pleasure, cattle work and jumping across the Americas, Europe and Australia. Andalusians are talented all round athletes, possessing natural balance, agility, collection, impulsion, and a love of people that makes them an ideal family and trail horse. With such versatility and talent, it is no wonder that the Andalusian has been the breed chosen most often as an improvement sire the world over.

Registered Andalusian crosses are the Iberian Warmblood - Andalusian x Thoroughbred or Warmblood, Azteca - Andalusian x American Quarter Horse or Paint, Spanish Norman - Andalusian x Percheron, and Hispano-Arabe - Andalusian x Arabian.



Both the modern Thoroughbred and Warmblood are largely influenced by Iberian blood. Centuries ago, the Thoroughbred was born when the three Arabian stallions the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Barb, and the Byerly Turk were crossed with the King of England's mares. What is not so well known is that the King's mares were primarily Andalusians or Andalusian crosses. Similarly, in efforts to create spirited yet trainable coach horses, the heavy draft horse of old was first bred to the Andalusian, resulting in the early Warmblood. This horse ws subsequently crossed with Arabians and Thoroughbreds to develop the Warmblood of today. While the Thoroughbreds and Warmblood breeds were still in their infancy, the Andalusian was, without question, the most outstanding High School dressage mount in the world!

The Iberian Warmblood is not well known among sport horses due to its relatively small numbers, but watching the performance of an Iberian horse makes one realize why they are a natural to become the world's most desirable sport horse. By infusing more Iberian blood back to the Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds, a more sensitive, more rideable horse with fluid uphill movement and a willingness to please was created. In addition, the smooth ride and responsiveness so characteristic of an Andalusian makes the Iberian Warmblood easier to ride for all equestrians, especially the older ones. Iberian Warmbloods excel in the jumper ring as well. In Australia they are sought after mounts in both hunter-jumper and eventing, and John Whittaker, internationally renown jumper rider has stated that the Andaulsian-Thoroughbred cross makes the best jumper in the world, bar none.

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Andalusian - American Quarter Horse
Andalusian - Paint

The charros, or cowboys, of Mexico have long tradition of working cows on their extensive cattle ranches. They wanted to breed a horse to be their ranch partner, a horse with courage, agility, speed and cow sense. Crossing their American Quarter Horse and Criollo mares with the Andalusian created a horse they called the Azteca. The charros were amazed at the result! The beautiful Azteca had strong forward and lateral movement, exceptional cow sense, stamina, quickness, and acceleration, combined with an outstanding ability to learn and a calm stable mind. The charros so admired the Azteca that they have made it the National Horse of Mexico.

Although they have a natural talent for ranch work, the Azteca is extremely versatile, excelling in jumping, dressage, driving, cutting, penning, and reining. In addition, the smooth uphill movement of the Andalusian and the hard working ability of the American Quarter Horse make the Azteca the perfect trail partner. It is hard to imagine a more exceptional all-round athlete than the Azteca.

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Andalusian - Percheron

The superb Spanish Norman is created when a purebred Percheron is bred to a purebred Andalusian. Although not genetically the same, it is physically similar to the mighty Norman war horse of old, ridden by medieval knights and kings into victorious battle. The Spanish Norman is courageous and bold, highly trainable with the size and strength of the Percheon and the beauty, cadence, agility and smooth natural collection of the Andalusian. Averaging between 15.3 and 17 hands, the Spanish Norman is usually grey in colour, although there are some blacks and bays.

The Spanish Normans are amazing all-round sport horses, doing extremely well in a variety of different disciplines including jumping, eventing, dressage, driving and western. In addition, they can be found on the trail and in parades and medieval exhibitions.

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Andausian - Arabian

It is hard to think of a more elegant, breathtaking horse than the Hispano-Arabe, born from crossing purebred Analusians and Arabians. Originally bred as tough, athletic calvary remounts and stock horses, the Hispano-Arabe has a brilliant floating action with power, cadence and elevation. They combine the sensitivity and intelligence of both parents with the calm level-headedness of the Andalusian. Generally standing between 15 and 16 hands, the Hispano-Arabe has a long arched neck with a strong, well-muscled body, dense bone and sound, well-shaped hooves. With their stunning presence and charisma, the Hispano-Arabe is a popular pleasure, dressage, western and trail mount in the United States and Europe, and an ideal family horse.

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For centuries, Andalusians have been the horse of choice for classical high school dressage. Andalusians are blessed with outstanding natural talent and brio (or spirit) combined with a docile and willing temperament. In 1733, Francois de la Gueriniere, founding father of modern classical riding, observed "all authors have always shown a preference for the Spanish horse, considering it the best of all horses for high school dressage due to its agility, its resilience, and its rhythm".
Many aspects of the Andalusian's conformation contribute to his skill in dressage. The joints of an Andalusian are extremely flexible, increasing his ability to come under his centre of gravity and allowing for a smoother ride. His leg conformation with a long forearm and short cannon bone, coupled with the elastic joints, aids in lateral movement and enhances the collection and extension of his legs. These abilities are intensified by his long sloping shoulder which allows for maximum range of motion of his front legs, and his long sloping croup which enables the Iberian horse to bring his loins underneath and engage his hindquarters. In fact, many Andalusians exhibit a natural collection when moving freely, especially at the trot.
In addition, the Andalusian's well-defined withers in combination with his properly-sloped shoulder provide excellent leverage for the attached muscles of his neck and back. This makes it easier for the horse to collect by using his neck and back muscles to bring his hindquarters more underneath his body. He can move his shoulder more fully, which gives him a longer stride and more extension.
The Andalusian's temperament is also particularly well suited to dressage. He is exhilarating to watch with loads of presence, but sensitive, intelligent, and extremely willing to please. He is highly trainable, and in the words of Sanchez Barbudo (LIMPRE Book of Merits), "It is no exaggeration to say that the Spanish Pure Bred can be ridden with the only aid being the rider's imagination".