A visit to see Andalusian horses in Spain is an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of this majestic breed. With their friendly demeanors and striking appearance, these horses have a special place in the hearts of Spaniards — many of whom are immortalized with bronze equestrian statues in public plazas across the country. Despite enduring centuries of adversity, near-extinction, and cross-breeding, Andalusian horses have managed to maintain their distinctive allure. The reason lies in their unique heritage. This ancient breed is a blend of several other breeds, including Arabian and Berber horses that were brought to southern Spain by Moorish conquerors. The combination of these three breeds has created a horse that is truly awe-inspiring.
Andalusians have long been a symbol of Spain, appearing in ferias, flamenco performances, and even high-profile fashion campaigns. They are also popular in the world of equestrian sports, with PREs achieving great success at the highest levels of dressage. In fact, Andalusians are known for their willingness and talent at collected work, enabling them to stand out from other breeds in this discipline.
One of the best places to see these magnificent animals is in Jerez de la Frontera, where the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art and Spanish stud farm La Cartuja-Hierro del Bocado are located. The school teaches trainers and breeders of Andalusians in classical dressage, carriage driving, and Doma Vaquera (the traditional method of taming wild cattle). The stables host a world-famous 1.5-hour show called “How Andalusian Horses Dance,” which features choreographed routines that highlight the beauty and athleticism of these amazing horses.
In the past, Andalusians were used in wars and as heavy knights, and they are still a favorite of Spanish riders today. They are often used in prestigious riding schools, contributing to the development of modern dressage. They are also talented at herding, and are well-suited to competitions such as polo, which originated in Andalusia.
Andalusian horses are also a staple in bullfighting, an ancient cultural tradition that continues in some parts of the country. In fact, they are the horses of choice for the famous matadors of Andalusia. While this sport is now banned in most countries because of concerns about animal welfare, Andalusians continue to be used in bullfighting arenas throughout the world.
The International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) is an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of these wonderful horses. It maintains a registry for Andalusian horses and publishes a magazine about them. It also hosts shows and promotes the breed worldwide.
If you are looking for a truly unique experience, head to Jerez de la Frontera in May to attend the annual horse fair held after Seville’s Feria de Abril, which lasts between 7 and 9 days. This event is an absolute must for lovers of horses and sherry. During this exciting week, you can explore the town’s many historic bodegas, where you can meet with local sherry producers and taste their products.