Information on Training an Andalusian Horse

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Information on Training an Andalusian Horse
Andalusian horses are cooperative, kind and proud. (cheval en stalle image by LAURENT VICENZOTTI from Fotolia.com)

Andalusians are large, powerful horses that have become popular riding and driving horses. Their natural beauty and kind, intelligent personalities make them ideal as performance horses and pets. Andalusians are proud and kind, and require patience and cooperation during training.

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The Facts

Andalusian horses are one of the oldest breeds in the world. Also called Lusitanos, these horses are heavyset, muscular and of medium height. Andalusians are usually light grey in colour, but can also be bay or black. They are always born black, and then change colour as they get older. They have long, flowing hair and powerful hindquarters, and are known as natural athletes.

History

Andalusians were most popularly used as jousting and warhorses during medieval times. They were bred in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain, and have existed there for around 2,500 years. In the 18th century, their use as a warhorse led the Andalusian breed to the edge of extinction. Spain responded by instituting a protected breeding program and restricting export of the horses.

Uses

Today, Andalusians can be used for both riding and driving. For riding they can be utilised in English and Western disciplines. They are commonly trained as dressage horses, as well. Due to their heavy-boned bodies, they are not useful for show jumping or cross-country disciplines.

How to Train

Andalusians are strong both physically and mentally. Because of their heavy bodies, it's best to start training Andalusians when they're younger, smaller and easier to work with. Mentally, the strong personality of the Andalusian is cooperative and kind, but is also more docile when the animal is young. With these intelligent horses, training is best done slowly, with patience and repetition rather than punishment.

Gaits

For both English and Western riding, Andalusian horses need to know three general gaits: walk, trot and canter. For safety, training for gaits should be started on the ground, without the rider on the horse's back. Andalusians train on a long line, with a lunge whip, to learn walk, trot, canter and "ho" per oral commands. Once a rider gets on the horse, she will combine the oral commands with physical cues. These gaits are the foundation for any discipline-specific requirements.

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