Andalusian Horses: Breed Profile

Once you see an Andalusian horse, you won’t forget it. The Andalusian is a striking horse due to its long, flowing mane and tail and its lively and graceful movements. Not only does this versatile breed excel on the dressage arena, but it’s also a horse you’ll find on the trails, take recreational classes, and even be driven. It is this combination of versatility and skill that makes this breed so popular today.

Variety Overview

weight: 900 to 1,100 lbs

high: 15.1 lots

Body type: compact and sporty

Most suitable: Jumping, happy riding, trail riding, dressage and more

Life expectancy: 25 years

The History and Origin of the Andalusian Horse

The Andalusian horse is a descendant of the Spanish and Portuguese Iberian horses and originated in the province of Andalusia, hence the name. Also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE, the Andalusian horse is closely related to the Lusitano horse, named after the Portuguese ancient name Lusitania.

The history of the Andalusians spans thousands of years and originated in the prehistoric horses of Spain’s Iberian Peninsula in prehistoric times. The Iberian horse was influenced by the horses brought to the peninsula by explorers, giving way to the Andalusian breed in the 1400s.

The Iberian horse is known as a giant war horse, and the Andalusians continue this tradition. The military favored Andalusian horses for their agility and speed, and these same traits made the breed a popular horse among European royalty. With the establishment of the Riding Academy and the popularity of riding, Andalusians made a popular mount and influenced breeds such as the Lipizzana, Cleveland Bay, and Connemara.

Andalusian horse size

Andalusians are strong, compact horses with an average height of 15.1 hands. Stallions and geldings tend to weigh around 1,100 pounds, while mares are slightly lighter at around 900 pounds. The Spanish Thoroughbred Spanish Horse Breeders Association requires a minimum of 14.3 hands for mares and 15 for stallions and geldings to be registered. For horses to be approved as elite stallions, mares must have at least 15 ¼ hands and stallions must have at least 15.1 hands.

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Breeding and Use

The Andalusian is a versatile breed, making it a suitable mount for dressage, jumping, off-road riding, western entertainment, British entertainment and even driving. Due to its striking appearance and majestic appearance, it is a popular choice for parades and demonstrations. This breed is often used as a bullfighting mount in Spain and Portugal.

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colors and markings

Andalusians have been found in many coat colors, but these colors have been refined over time. Today, Andalusians are most likely grey or bay, although black, tan, maroon and palomino colors do appear very rarely. Andalusians with rare deerskin or cream colors can be registered.

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Abramova Kseniya / Getty Images

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Unique Characteristics of Andalusian Horses

Andalusians are prized for their natural elegance, graceful movement. The breed’s compact body and excellent flexion of the leg joints make it a dynamic, forward-moving mount. These horses tend to learn to collect naturally, and because of their intelligence, they often learn difficult movements easily and quickly.

Diet and Nutrition

Andalusians tend to be easy to keep, and they tend to be prone to metabolic problems. A horse’s diet needs to be carefully monitored to ensure that the horse maintains a healthy weight. Horses will benefit from high-quality hay and may need supplemental grains or a ration balancer. They may need to be restricted from grazing on excessively lush grass, especially if there are metabolic problems.

Common Health and Behavioral Issues

Andalusians are known for being polite, intelligent and easy-going. The breed is vigorous, so in the wrong hands, these horses can be difficult for their riders to handle, but they make great mounts for many talented riders.

Andalusians are prone to certain health problems:

  • Small bowel problems: Andalusians tend to be more prone to problems with reduced blood flow to the small intestine than other breeds.
  • Fasciitis: Andalusians who do experience intestinal problems are also at higher risk for laminitis, a highly painful foot disease that requires long-term management and treatment.
  • Metabolic problems: Andalusians tend to be prone to metabolic problems, such as Cushing’s, that often develop as horses age. These problems often require careful dietary management and may require medication.


Andalusians require a lot of grooming, mainly because of their thick, flowing manes and tails. Regular grooming, conditioning and maintenance are necessary to keep these long manes and tails healthy. Some horse owners choose to braid the mane daily to help reduce tangles, and may need to tie the tails to keep their horses off the ground when their horses are not being shown or shown.

Like any breed, Andalusians will benefit from regular grooming, especially curries, which help bring out the horsehair’s natural oils and shine. With so many horses grey or white, keeping them clean can be a challenge. If you own a light-colored horse, be prepared for regular bathing or spot treatment.


  • Versatile and athletic

  • Smart and easy to train

  • An amiable temperament makes work most enjoyable

  • dynamic

Champion and celebrity Andalusian horse

There are many famous Andalusian horses:

  • Babieca, a white Andalusian stallion, was a prized mount for Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar in medieval Spain. He was a much-loved warhorse, and for 30 years he played a major role in his master’s victory in every battle.
  • Opus is an Andalusian stallion, a giant bullfighting horse. When he retired, fans packed the stadium to watch him win.

Andalusians are also widely covered by the media.Clint Eastwood has ridden them in many of his films, and the breed has appeared in hits including Gladiator, Vampire Interview, Braveheart, and Lord of the Rings Movie.

Is the Andalusian Horse Right For You?

Andalusians are very intelligent and generally likable, but the breed is also known for its forward movement, so these horses are best for intermediate riders and above. Perfect for sports such as dressage and carriage driving, it draws attention in show rings or parades with its lively movements and striking appearance.

Trained, thoroughbred and registered Andalusian horses start at around $10,000, although these prices can easily be doubled or tripled, with premium horses fetching even more. Because these horses are more expensive, they may be an impractical option for riders on a smaller budget.

How to Adopt or Buy an Andalusian Horse

When buying an Andalusian, you will have a few different options. It is possible to identify a quality breeding program and purchase a horse directly from that program. Andalusian stud farms often sell well-trained horses with good racing records, although these can fetch higher prices. Andalusian horses can also be purchased from private sellers, as these horses are popular and entrenched in the United States. Consider joining an Andalusian club in your area, as this club may connect you with reputable breeders and sellers in your area.

Andalusian horses are prized horses, so they are rarely adopted through rescues. Andalusian crosses may be adopted more frequently. When adopting a horse, it is important to treat the process with the same care as when buying a horse. Research rescues and read reviews from other horse adopters. It’s a good idea to do a pre-purchase inspection of any horse, whether you’re buying it or adopting it from a rescue.

More horse breeds

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

  • Arab
  • purebred
  • Pasofino

Otherwise, you can check out other popular horse breed profiles.