The Andalusian Horse is one of Europe's most ancient breeds - it appears in cave paintings and was famed in the Middle Ages. Named after the area of Andalusia in Spain, the breed was also popular in Portugal and it's counterpart there is called the Lusitano. Typically between 15.2 and 16hh, the Andalusian is a handsome, agile breed, with a short back, low croup. It has a flat or slightly convex nose and wide forehead with well placed ears. This handsome head is held on a substanial and rounded neck with an abundant mane. It has a wide chest, short back and rounded croup with powerful hindquarters making it an agile riding horse ideal for many disciplines including dressage. It is estimated that half of the Andalusian progency is grey,the remainder being bay or black.
The purity of the breed is thanks to efforts of Carthusian monks of the 15th Century who ran a strict breeding programme. The monks in Jerez de la Frontera were particularly instrumental and today the city is home to the School of Equestrian Art, a centre that breeds purebred Andalusian stallions and trains them in high dressage where they learn the extravagant moves such as the Capriole (a leap and kick out of the hind legs) made famous by the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. While the school in Vienna exclusively uses Lippizzanners, these are in fact descended from Andalusian mares.