The Andalusian Breed

The Andalusian is a very versatile horse and participates happily in anything requested by its rider, from classic dressage to parades, pleasure riding, jumping and driving. Perhaps the best qualities of the Andalusian horse are their willingness to work, their intelligence and their quickness to learn.

Andalusian is a term used for the Spanish horses that originate in the province of Andalusia southern Spain. There is not an official breed of Andalusian, since the Spanish Horse Breeders’ Association (Cria Caballar) stopped using the term Andalusian in 1912. The official name for the breed is now Pura Raza Española (P.R.E.) which means “the pure Spanish breed”. In America the breed is called the Pure Spanish Horse.

In Britain the stud book is run through The British Association for the Purebred Spanish Horse Ltd (BAPSH) formally the British Andalusian Horse Society.

BAPSH holds four stud books:

  • Register I for PRE horses
  • Register II for Partbred PRE (minimum 25% PRE)
  • Register III for Hispano Arabs (a horse with PRE and Arab blood, minimum 25% PRE).
  • Register IV for Performance horses of PRE type – this is for PRE/PRE Partbreds which for what ever reason do not have official registration paperwork.

PRE Mare & FoalBefore breeding all horses have to be graded look for the word “APTO” in their passport, meaning “suitable for breeding”. It means that the horse has passed the grading examination and that its offspring can be registered.

In history the Andalusian was used for farm work particularly with the bulls of this region of Spain and in the bull ring. They also carried noble men into battle and proudly carried them in their moments of triumph as a parade horse.

The characteristics of the breed can be seen in their strong boned legs, good slope to the shoulder, deep heart-girth and round powerful haunches. With its heavy neck, small ears , long thick mane and tail and classically beautiful head the breed is instantly identifiable. The head needs special note, the nose is flat or slightly convex , the forehead is broad and large eyes are inside a triangular-shaped orbital arch. The nostrils resemble inverted commas which expand downward to bring in large quantities of air.

PRE FoalMost PRE’s are grey ( in a lovely range of shades and types although most go white as they age ), but bay, black and chestnut are permissible. Expect to pay a premium for a non grey PRE.

Pre’s were traditionally quite small horses but they are now commonly found well over 16hh. Graded horses have to attain a minimum height.

Traditionally PRE horses are trimmed in an unusual way. Mares are hogged and the top of the dock is clipped. . The mare can keep the forelock and the mane is clipped in such a way as to best show off and improve the neck. Stallions are left unclipped and trimmed with a full, luxuriant, long mane and tail. All foals are hogged and the tail clipped right out until they are 2 years old when they are clipped as adults.