Our Breed



"The Spanish horse is the noblest horse in the world,
the most beautiful that can be . . .
the lovingest and gentlest,
and the fittest of all for a King on his day of triumph."

The Duke of NewCastle


The Original Dressage Horse

The story of the Andalusian and Lusitano starts as far back as the Ancient Greeks and Romans when the horses of the Iberian Peninsula had been sought after as premier riding horses. Spanish and Portuguese kings have used the riding horse of the Peninsula, as a glorious symbol of their power. For centuries, the warriors, conquistadors and bullfighters of Spain and Portugal selected these horses for athleticism, maneuverability and docility. During the Renaissance, in 1567, by imperial decree of Philip II, the Andalusian was further refined into the ultimate classical high school dressage horse at the Royal Stables of Cordoba. These horses enjoyed the reputation of being Europe's "ideal horse for war and the manege” into the end of the 18th century.

Most dressage enthusiasts, even those unfamiliar with Andalusians or Lusitanos, are aware of the writings of Francois de la Gueriniere, founding father of classical riding in the 18th Century, who wrote: "Equestrian authors have given unanimous preference to the Spanish horse, and have considered him to be the best for the ‘manege’ work because of his agility and the strength of his hind legs, combined with their elasticity. His natural cadence and pride make him the first choice for the pomp of the parade where he can display his grace and his nobility. His courage, combined with utmost docility is the foremost requirement for war on a day of battle.”

The Andalusian, bred for the agility and collection required for hand-to-hand combat, became the original dressage horse.  When the ancestors of today’s warmbloods were still pulling wagons, coaches,and the army's artillery, the Andalusian and Lusitano was the Haute Ecole dressage horse in Europe.

Iberian horse expert, clinician, and Olympic trainer Jean Paul Giacomini explains,   “The ideal Iberian horse is noble in his demeanor, versatile in his ability and majestic in his appearance. Docile to the rider yet bold in all circumstances, he is energetic without ill-temperament, sensitive to the aids without hysteria, proud without arrogance and courageous without hostility. His body is both strong and flexible. Though refined and elegant, he is renowned as an easy keeper who has adapted to the toughest living conditions at the 4 corners of the Globe”.

The modern descendants of the Andalusian and Lusitano are known in Spain officially as Pura Raza Espanola (P.R.E., Pure Spanish Horses) and the Portuguese lines are called Puro Sangue Lusitano (P.S.L.).   In North America, P.R.E.s and Lusitanos are registered jointly by the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA). Out of respect for the common historical and genetic origin of all Iberian horses, the American registry, IALHA, allows them to inter-breed, as it was traditionally practiced on the Iberian Peninsula. IALHA also has a Half-Andalusian Registry that has seen a recent increase in crosses with thoroughbreds, Friesians and warmbloods. The Andalusian and Lusitano horse is fast becoming recognized as serious competition and successful champions in dressage today.

" This most noble beast is the most beautiful

the swiftest and of the highest courage of domesticated animals.

His long mane and tail adorn and beautify him.

He is of fiery temperament, but good tempered, obedient,

docile and well-mannered."

Mexican army general Pedro Garcia Conde


A variety of perspectives exist, regarding the history, bloodlines and morphology of the Andalusian & Lusitano horse. These are representative.  IALHA respects the variety of opinions and welcomes additional short articles representing the history and morphology of the bloodlines.

 "The History and Origin of the Andalusian Horse"

  "History on the Hoof "

 "How Did Andalusians, Friesians, Lipizanners, And Lusitanos Get To Be Called "Baroque" Horses"

 "Perspective on Bloodlines"


         International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association Registry

The purebred Andalusian registry consists of one stud book and three bloodlines.  The Andalusian is the historical horse of the Iberian Peninsula dating back 25,000 years. The IALHA Purebred Andalusian registry accepts the three bloodlines known today as Spanish or Caballo Pura Raza Española (PRE), Portuguese or Cavalo Puro Sangue Lusitano (PSL), and a union of both known as the Spanish/Portuguese (S/P) for registry as an Andalusian.

The (S) designation within the IALHA indicates a Purebred Andalusian whose ancestry traces strictly to the Spanish Stud Book, where they are called PRE.

The (P) designation within the IALHA indicates a Purebred Andalusian whose ancestry traces strictly to the Portuguese Stud Book, where they are called Lusitano.

The (S/P) designation within the IALHA indicates a Purebred Andalusian whose ancestry traces to both the Spanish and Portuguese Stud Books.

Half-Andalusian Registry

IALHA  registers half-Andalusians, crosses with a number of different breeds. One parent must be a purebred (S, P or S/P) registered with IALHA, but the other parent can be another registered breed such as, quarterhorse (Azteca), Friesian (Warlander), thoroughbred or warmblood (Iberian warmblood), or it may be unregistered. Arabian and National Show Horse crosses are also common.  Half-Andalusians offer a unique riding and showing experience blending the majestic countenance and smooth gaits of the Andalusian or Lusitano with the conformation and characteristics of another breed. Many horse owners are introduced to the Andalusian through ownership of a half-Andalusian, and may later purchase a purebred. One thing for sure, once exposed to the Andalusian and Lusitano, there is no turning back!

An interactive studbook CD is now available on an annual basis. One can search for bloodlines, progeny and ownership among the many thousands of registered horses. Each year the CD is updated and a new version is available. The 2011  IALHA Studbook is now available through Registry@IALHA.org   at a cost of $25  Members pay just $15.