The Andalusian horse is one of the oldest pure breeds of horse in the world. Canadian Andalusians are a rarity. In 2003 there are approximately 350 registered in Canada. Though still a unique breed in the U.S., their population in this country has risen to around 5,400. The total number of Andalusian (Lusitano) horses registered with IALHA in 2003 is 7,289 purebred, 2,898 part-bred.
The Andalusian Horse originated on the Iberian Peninsula, in Spain, where 2500 year old cave paintings portray this noble breed. Up to the 18th century the Andalusian horse was the beloved mount of Royalty and Captains. They were the "Royal Horses of Europe." During the 18th century, European warfare caused the Andalusian breed to decline in numbers, close to extinction. In order to reestablish their breeding programs, exportation of an Andalusian became illegal without Royal consent. The penalty for exporting these treasured horses was death.
In Canada and the USA today, the Andalusian is ridden both English and Western. This versatile breed can be found throughout North America, competing in Dressage, Driving, Cutting, Cattle work, and Jumping. Their stunning presence and charisma makes them an asset to any show ring, exhibition or parade. The Andalusian, with its love of people, creates the ideal family horse.
Approximately 80% of the Andalusians are gray, 15% Bay, 5% black. The classic profile of the Andalusians slightly convex or straight head is an appealing feature, which balances well with their graceful, yet substantial bodies. Their thick and bountiful mane flows from an elegant, well-arched neck, (stallions crestier than mares). Andalusians' backs are moderate to short in length, the mare's backs tending to be longer than the stallions, (in order to comfortably carry their foals.) Their powerful rear quarters are complemented by a long, flowing tail. The Andalusian has a natural balance, collection, impulsion, and agility - an all around athlete. Andalusian Horses possess a proud but kind temperament. They are sensitive, and particularly intelligent, responsive and cooperative, learning quickly and easily when treated with respect