7 Interesting Andalusian Horse Facts You Might Not Know

Andalusian Horse Facts

With royal good looks and a commanding presence, the Andalusian is a prize horse's prize horse. The tale of this breed carries stories full of mystery and romance. Throughout history, the Andalusian's charm has captivated breeders with its obedience. It has enchanted poets with its elegance. And kings and lords adored its athletic prowess.

The Andalusian is also known as the Pura Raza Española, which means, "Pure Spanish Breed". Its actual origin is unknown; scholars believe it originated in the Iberian Peninsula. Drawings of this noble creature adorn Cro-Magnon cave walls, dating back thirty thousand years. The Andalusian's story goes hand and hand with historic conquerors of empires. In 710 A.D. The Moorish treasured it as a warhorse; as did Hannibal from the Roman Empire. As a descendant of the valued Spanish Horse, nobles considered it in the Renaissance, as a sign of status.

But did you know there's more?

Any owner will tell you that the allure of an Andalusian goes deeper than its breed's past. Indeed, there's more to this horse, like layered petals in a blossom. Even with this breed's reputation, there may be some little known details that you didn't know.

The Andalusian almost comes with its own mythos. Here are 7 Interesting Andalusian Horse Facts, with hidden gems about this fabled breed.

1. Clint Eastwood Used Andalusians in His Westerns

Yes, Mr. 5 time Oscar winner himself. After all, his classic "spaghetti westerns" were filmed in Spain's deserts to recreate the romanticized Old West.  When you think about it, it only makes sense. It's fitting that tall, rugged, and brooding Clint would ride into town from over the horizon on an Andalusian. , Spanish breeds, including the Andalusian, were common mounts in the time. In fact, they're responsible for much of the pioneering of the New World. Eastwood rode an Andalusian in quite a few of his movies; such as Pale Rider and High Plains Drifter. Although, it's poetic irony that Eastwood happens to be allergic to horses.

2. Andalusians have a military history

Andalusians were warhorses in history, especially in Spain. They were first the result of selective breeding by breeders and cattle ranchers. But soon, the Andalusian's versatility and beauty caught the attention of cavalrymen. They were impressed with its blend of intelligence with litheness; everything they looked for in a horse on the battlefield. Andalusians were prominent warhorses for the earliest empires. They're suspected to be part of the ancient Spartan's success of the Peloponnesian War in Athens. The formidable Carthaginian forces found them indispensable. Moorish conquerors found them more ideal than their Arabian counterparts. Even Roman troops and the Crusaders of France used them.

Remember from earlier about the Andalusian's help in exploring the New World? That credit goes to Queen Isabella; for donating horses to Hernando Cortés' campaign in occupying Mexico.

3. Exporting Andalusians From Spain Was Restricted Until the 1960's

Although little is known why, exportation of Andalusians from Spain was Prohibido once. It's possible that the reason for this was an attempt to conserve the breed. Because of their use in warfare during the 19th century, the population suffered a perilous decline. Most of which, was due to disease and crossbreeding. But today, the Andalusian's population stays steady, thanks to careful and responsible breeders.

4. "Carthusian" Gene Mythos

Characteristics Of Andalusian Horses

There's a legend between breeders that comes with the Andalusian's bloodline. It's said that during the days of the Andalusian's career in warfare, there's the story of the "Carthusian Gene". The "Carthusian Gene" is the supposed purest strain of the Andalusian. Many varieties of the story suggest of this sub-strain within the breed that was saved from being lost forever by Carthusian monks.

The story takes place in 15th century Spain. The Spanish military decreed all breeders to crossbreed their pure blooded Andalusians for the war effort. This was because they wanted horses strong enough to wear armor as well as carry troops. The knight, Don Álvaro Obertos de Valeto, helped a small family of breeders to secret away their best horses to a monastery in Cartujana. For the next 400 years, the Carthusian monks oversaw the continuation of the breed. It's said they even had thorough record keeping and kept the bloodline pure.

Though many version of the story endure, there's no actual evidence of such a sub-strain existing.

5. One of Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes' Favorite Breeds

Alas the Andalusian, Shakespeare knew them well, Horatio. It's true; the Andalusian was a subject of fascination for poets and artists. During the Renaissance period, the Andalusian was enjoyed as a dressage horse. But, it was also a proved to be a remarkable hunting horse. With its intelligence coupled with its beauty and vitality, it gained the affection of famous writers. Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare loved this horse's natural prowess.

6. Spanish "Joke Name" Custom

It's a common tradition among breeders in Spain to give their horses ironic names. Andalusia owners especially enjoy this custom because the breed's reputation adds to the humor. Horses that are more agile are thus named, Perezoso (Slowpoke), or if they're alert, Sonõliento (Sleepy). Andalusian owners tend to like this light-hearted practice and it has started to become popular in the U.S.

7. Breed Superstitions

Another charming myth connected to this breed between breeders. It's believed the markings on its coat are signs of the horse's traits and personality. The best way to think of it is as an art of palm reading for horses. Certain facial patterns on Andalusians are said to predict its temperament. A cowlick or whorl in a certain place can allude to good luck. Though there's no evidence of this being true, it's still a fun belief among breeders.

Find Out More

So there you have it, 7 Andalusian horse facts you might not have known. If you want to show your love for this breed, click here see our products.  And be sure to read more to learn about these wonderful animals.

Andalusian Horse Characteristics

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  • Aaron Seminoff
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