Andalusia is one of the leading global reference points for all things associated with the world of horses. Andalusia is home to excellent breeds, and has a host of stud farms for Arabian, Anglo-Arabian, Hispano-Arabian, English horses... These farms train and prepare them for different types of dressage.
However, the most emblematic horse in Andalusia is the Spanish thoroughbred or Andalusian horse. The exceptional qualities and feats of this breed are often reflected in the annals of history. The Romans mention the beautiful, docile, brave horses of Hispania, and it was Philip II of Spain who established the definitive bases for what would be the Spanish thoroughbred, creating the Royal Cordoba Cavalry, which brought together the best horses from the banks of the Guadalquivir River, as well as the "Royal Stud Farm" (now known as the "National Stud Farm").
Nowadays, these horses must pass stringent controls to certify their authenticity, and they have been strategically crossed with other autochthonous breeds to create new breeds such as "lipizzaner" and "paso fino".
Their physical characteristics are as follows: Well-proportioned head of medium length; lightly arched, muscular neck of medium size and length; well-proportioned, robust trunk; flexible back, short and sufficiently broad in relation to the animal's overall body structure; rounded hindquarters, lightly inclined; low-slung tail with agile, elevated, harmonious, rhythmic movement. In short, this is a magnificent breed that is also a well-balanced horse, with harmony of form, intelligent and willing in work, docile, obedient, noble and resilient.
Where to go horse riding
Although the birthplace of the Spanish thoroughbred horse is Jerez de la Frontera, you will find many places to enjoy these magnificent animals in all the provinces of Andalusia. There are many stud farms, stables and riding schools that are home to these elegant, internationally renowned horses. At some of these places you can even find accommodation and excellent facilities.
These establishments are located on farms, estates or at hotels. You can often ride on the estate, go on outings of different lengths, make use of pony clubs for the little ones, go on rides in horse-drawn carriages, take riding classes at any level or watch equestrian and carriage displays. If you have your own horse, you can also take classes in different styles of classical and country dressage. Horses are even available for purchase.
Furthermore, if you want to get to know the world of horses better and admire magnificent specimens, in Andalusia you will find major horse shows such as SICAB "The International Horse Show" (in November, Seville), which is considered the largest, best horse show dedicated to the Spanish thoroughbred on the world calendar.
If you really want to enjoy the skill of these pure breed horses, then be sure to visit the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez to see the show, "How Andalusian Horses Dance" - a real equestrian ballet with Spanish music, where the horses are the true stars.
Another interesting visit is to the La Cartuja-Hierro del Bocado Stud Farm, the world's largest reserve of thoroughbred Spanish Carthusian horses.
These basic tips will help you to begin to experience the exciting world of horses - Andalusia and her Spanish throroughbreds will be your best guide.
Precautions and recommendations
Horses are reliable, noble creatures. Nevertheless, you should take care and not ride a horse before getting to know it.
Your head should always be protected with a riding helmet, however you ride.
Furthermore, the horse should be well trained and obedient. Riders should carry their weight as lightly as possible, with a correct posture, avoiding sudden movements that could unnerve, annoy or injure the animal.
Both animal and rider require certain specific equipment for riding. The rider's equipment can vary according to his/her requirements, tastes and riding consistency. Clothing may then include, trousers, boots, waistcoat, gloves, riding helmet and whip, with a great variety available in different designs, materials and quality.
The horse, for its part, should be equipped with a full set of riding gear: saddle, halter, reigns and crop. The quality and design of all elements depends on the tastes and needs of each owner or rider.