Although the population in the Andalusian horse breed in the United States is extremely small, the Andalusian carries a reputation, image, and, yes, a mystique that is enormous. Many know of the breed, but few have direct exposure to the Andalusian. As a member from the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association, possibly the most usual comment and question I hear is “I’ve heard in the Andalusian horse, but I’ve never seen one. ..what is an Andalusian horse?” That real question is then usually followed by the next most frequently asked query which is, “What do Andalusian horses do?” In the following article, I shall try and address these and some other generally asked questions.
Even before Roman times, the Iberian or Spanish horse was the envy of the world. The Greek poet Homer mentioned them within the Iliad, written around 1100 BC; the great Greek cavalry officer Xenophon, in 450 BC, praised “the gifted Iberian horse” for helping Athens defeat Sparta; and inside third century BC, Hannibal used Iberian cavalry to defeat invading Romans more often than not. In 1066 AD, William the Conqueror rode an Iberian horse for his invasion of England.
Since the period of the Greeks, the Iberian horse was deemed the war horse or cavalry horse without equal. Homer mentions the Iberian horses in the Iliad discussing 1,100 BC. The famous Greek cavalry officer Xenophon highly praised the “gifted Iberian horses” in addition to their role in helping Sparta defeat the Athenians around 450 BC. Hannibal, within the Second Punic War(218-201BC ), defeated the invading Romans many times through the use of Iberian Cavalry. The Romans, however, were ultimately successful inside their conquest with the Iberian peninsula, and, in reality, the Romans subsequently established stud farms in Spain and Portugal to produce horses because of their own campaigns in Britain as well as other fronts. This military use in the Iberian horse continued unabated with William the Conqueror ultimately riding an Andalusian horse within the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The Purebred Spanish horse – PRE – is really a particular breed that’s strictly registered. There is one central Stud Book in Spain, and each PRE is entered with this Stud Book with genealogical records which can be an easy task to trace. Andalusian is often a term which can be used to describe a part-bred or spanish type horse.
Eventually, though, the Iberian horse became known as the “royal horse of Europe,” the favored mount of royalty and cavalry officers–as well because foundation for excellent riding academies in Austria, France, Italy, and Germany. It also served since the foundation for several great European breeds–the Lippizanner among them–and for such New World breeds because Peruvian Paso along with the American Quarter Horse.
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