The Andalusian horse is one of the most ancient horse breeds in the world and was a notable warhorse due to its strength and agility. Its ancestry traces to the cave dwellers of the Meslithic Age, living about 8,000 years ago in the mountains of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Spanish, or Iberian horse was well known to the Romans as a superior warhorse because of its strength and agility and they used them both under saddle and to pull their chariots. Julius Caesar wrote of the noble steeds of Hispania in De Bello Gallico
The Andalusian is the ancestor of many modern breeds, for example the American Quarter Horse. The Lipizzan breed is almost totally of Spanish blood. The Spanish Riding School in Austria, thus named for the Spanish horses that it used, in 1968, imported a four-year-old stallion of the Carthusian line of the Andalusian to rejuvenate the present line of Lipizzans in Austria.
Although the term Andalusian is used in many countries to refer to the Spanish horse; this can probably be attributed to the fact that Andalucia was one of the major areas for breeding. In Spain the Andalusian is called a Pura Raza Espanola (PRE), which simply means the pure Spanish race.
The popularity of the Andalusian horse is rapidly increasing. Horsemen worldwide are rediscovering the traits that once made the Andalusian the most sought-after horse in the world; the strength, agility, beauty, pride and docility bred for centuries into the Spanish horse.
The Spanish stallions are unique. The edict of King Ferdinand of Spain, who enforced the old law that gentlemen must ride only stallions meant that the Spanish began to breed their horses for good temperament. Once again the temperament, agility and strength of the Andalusian are being sought after for dressage purposes.