Whether they are grazing on a hillside, competing in dressage or running through a flamenco performance, Andalusian horses are firmly planted in the heart of Southern Spain. Their prowess as warhorses helped them gain the attention of aristocrats and monarchs, and they have been prized for their beauty, intelligence and agility since prehistoric times. You’ll find cave paintings of ancestors of the purebred Spanish horse, known as the Pura Raza Espanola (PURE) breed, throughout the Iberian Peninsula. And they remain a symbol of the Spanish culture today. You’ll see them in ferias (Spanish festivals) or in flamenco performances, and you can even find them on high-profile fashion campaigns, like Penelope Cruz’s recent Vogue shoot.
A trip to Jerez, a town that is internationally known for its dancing horses, is a great way to witness the magic of the equine world. The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, or ESDE, puts on a performance each week called “How the Andalusian Horses Dance” that showcases the incredible athleticism of these amazing animals. The show is a combination of classical dance and music that blends with the horse’s exercises. The show is a great place to get a taste of the beautiful art of la doma, and it’s also a great place to learn more about the culture that has made the horse such an integral part of the region.
The show takes place in the Caballerizas Reales, or Royal Stables, which were founded in 1570 by a royal decree of Felipe II. The king was a horse lover and wanted to create a breed of horses that would represent Spain abroad. Today, this prestigious institution is dedicated to preserving the breed of Andalusian horse and to promoting equestrian art and culture.
During the performance, you’ll be impressed by the dexterity of both the horses and the coachmen. During the Work in Hand section, you’ll watch horses and rider demonstrate their ability to work in unison, regardless of the distance between them. You’ll also see some traditional Andalusian riding exercises like the levades, caprioles and courbettes. In addition, the stallion dances with his handlers to create an elegant choreography.
You’ll feel the magic of the Andalusian horse through a series of performances that are set to classic music and traditional costumes from the 18th century. Whether you’re an avid equestrian or just looking for a fun way to spend your day, this is an unforgettable experience that everyone should have once in their lifetime. Book your Carameltrail tour today to discover how the Andalusian horse has become a cornerstone of the culture of southern Spain. You won’t regret it!