In my latest post, I gave you some info about the Lippizan horse. Now you will be able to meet one of its close relatives.
The Andalusian horse was first bred in the Iberian peninsula and has lived there for centuries as did its ancestors.
This horse first received attention through it’s ability as a war horse. It was very brave in battle, and did not run away frightened as other horses might have done. It was also much prized as a horse that one should be seen on, if you were important or had any rank. During the 19th century the breed was almost destroyed by warfare, disease, and cross-breeding. This continued into even the early 20th century, but by the late 1900’s, people once again realized the worth of this noble Spanish breed. To this day, there are of 75,000 purebred, registered Andalusians.
The Andalusians are compact and strong with luxuriant manes and tails. The most common coat color is grey, although most solid colors are accepted.
The Andalusian has many uses, among them modern bullfighting, classical dressage, riding, and show jumping.
The Lippizan (or Lippizaner) is a horse renowned for it’s smooth grace when it performs before people at the Spanish Riding School. With great leaps and bounds in the air it seems to be suspended by nothing. It’s beautiful elastic trot makes it seem suspended by air. And last but not least, it’s noble bearing makes it a lovely sight to all who see it.
The Lippizan has a rich and varied history. It’s ancestors traced back to A.D. 800. In the 7th century the Spaniards horses were cross-bred with Barb horses. This resulted in the Andalusian horse and other Spanish breeds. In the 16th century when the Habsburgs ruled Spain and Austria, they desired a fast, agile, beautiful horse for use in the military and the quickly growing, fashionable riding schools scattered across Europe. After careful cross-breeding using the Andalusian and other such horses, the result was the Lippizan – the perfect breed to suit the demands of 16th century Europe. In World War II the Lippizan was threatened by the war and they almost went extinct. Hope was not lost though. General Patton of the U.S.A. army rescued the Spanish Riding Schools stallions and went on to rescue the mares that had been moved to Czechoslovakia for their safety. The Spanish Riding School convinced him by putting on an impromptu performance on the lawn of the mansion they were staying at! Since Patton loved horses, he was easily convinced.
Nowadays the Spanish Riding School is still located in Austria, delighting both young and old as the stallions (no mares are used) leap and canter to the stirring music.