What Do Andalusian Horses Eat: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a proud owner of an Andalusian horse, you’re probably wondering, “What do Andalusian horses eat?” Well, wonder no more! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the ideal diet for your majestic equine friend.

Andalusian Horse: Origin and History

Andalusian horse trotting isolated against white background

Ancient Roots

The Andalusian horse has a complex and fascinating history that spans thousands of years. Originating from the prehistoric horses that populated the Iberian Peninsula in Spain, the Andalusian has evolved and adapted to various influences over the centuries. Some of the earliest ancestors of the Andalusian were the horses of the Celts, who lived in the Peninsula long before the arrival of other civilizations.

Carthaginian and Moorish Influence

As time went on, the Iberian Peninsula saw the arrival of various cultures that left their mark on the region’s horse breeds. The Carthaginians, who came to the Peninsula around the 3rd century BC, brought their oriental horses which were then bred with the local stock. Later, the Romans occupied Iberia and added their equine bloodlines into the mix. However, it was the Moors, the Muslim inhabitants of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, who had a significant impact on the development of the Andalusian horse. They introduced their Barb and Arabian horses, which further refined the breed and added its characteristic grace and beauty.

Carthusian Monks and Selection

During the Middle Ages, selective breeding by Carthusian monks played a crucial role in shaping the characteristics of the Andalusian horse. The monks, who had access to the finest Spanish horses, were instrumental in developing the breed by implementing strict breeding programs to preserve and enhance the desirable traits. This careful selection process helped create the famous Andalusian sub-type known as the Cartujano, or Carthusian horse, which ultimately became the foundation stock for the modern Andalusian.

Pure Spanish Horse and Lusitano Separation

The Andalusian horse is often referred to as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE (pura raza española), highlighting its deep roots in Spain’s equine history. The Andalusian breed is closely related to the Lusitano, which originated in Portugal, the country’s ancient name being Lusitania. While both breeds share a common ancestry, political divisions and varied breeding preferences led to the subtle differences between the two breeds.

Modern Andalusian Horse

Today, the Andalusian horse, sometimes called the “Horse of Kings,” is a world-renowned breed admired for its elegance, versatility, and athleticism. The modern Andalusian continues to closely resemble its historic ancestors in terms of conformation and abilities. These noble steeds have made their mark in various equestrian disciplines, including dressage, showjumping, and even bullfighting throughout Spain and beyond.

Physical Characteristics and Temperament

Size and Conformation

The Andalusian horse is known for its compact and well-proportioned body. Its size typically ranges from 15.1 hands in height, with a weight that corresponds to its balanced build. This breed displays an elegant head that blends smoothly into its long, sloping shoulders, giving it an overall robust and rounded appearance.

The Andalusian’s chest is deep and wide, allowing for ample lung capacity and effective circulation. Its hindquarters are strong and muscular, while its croup is of medium length and slightly sloping. The withers are well-defined and blend harmoniously into the horse’s back, giving it an ideal conformation for athletic ability and performance.

Coat Colors and Markings

Andalusian horses display a variety of coat colors, including gray, white, black, bay, buckskin, cremello, dun, palomino, and pearl. The prevalence of gray and white colors in this breed is due to the influence of many rulers, cultures, and people who ruled Spain and contributed to their genetic makeup. They also often exhibit chestnut hues within their coats. White markings may appear on the face and legs, although these markings are minimal in most cases.

Facial and Leg Features

Andalusian horses have a distinctive facial profile, with a slightly convex or straight shape that is considered quite attractive. Their eyes are large and expressive, while their ears are of medium length and well-shaped. The breed’s strong legs are well-suited for its athletic prowess, and its hooves are proportionate and well-formed, providing support and stability.

Personality and Intelligence

Andalusian horses are prized for their exceptional temperament, which is a combination of docility, bravery, and intelligence. This breed is renowned for its good-natured, gentle demeanor, making it a popular choice for various disciplines such as dressage, jumping, and trail riding. Their strong, courageous spirit has also made them a preferred choice in Spanish bullfighting, where their cat-like reflexes and ability to remain undaunted in the face of danger have been invaluable.

In conclusion, Andalusian horses have distinctive physical characteristics and a remarkable temperament that has made them a cherished breed for centuries. Their size, coat colors, facial features, and personality contribute to their overall appeal, making this breed a versatile and highly desirable option for horse enthusiasts worldwide.

Health and Care Needs

A shinning brown Andalusian horse with a leg up

Common Health Issues

Andalusian horses, like any breed, can face certain health issues. One of the primary concerns for this breed is laminitis, a painful and debilitating condition affecting the horse’s hooves. Metabolic issues, such as insulin resistance and equine metabolic syndrome, are also relatively common in Andalusians and can lead to further health complications if not managed properly.

Nutrition and Diet

When it comes to nutrition, Andalusian horses have similar needs to other breeds. Their diet should mainly consist of high-quality hay or grass, as it provides the necessary fiber for proper digestion and overall gut health. If additional calories are required, grain can be introduced, but in moderation to prevent issues like laminitis and metabolic disorders. Some Andalusian horse owners also opt to feed their horses beet pulp as an alternative to traditional grain, which can offer a lower sugar content and make it easier for the horse to consume supplements. In addition to hay and grain, providing a ration balancer can ensure the horse receives all essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.

To support their immune system and overall well-being, Andalusian horses may benefit from supplementation with vitamin E. According to the National Research Council, horses should consume 1-2 IU of vitamin E per kilogram of body weight per day, with a recommended daily intake of 1,000-2,000 IU for a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) horse.

Grooming and Maintenance

Proper grooming and care are essential for maintaining the health and appearance of an Andalusian horse. Regular brushing helps remove dirt, debris, and dead hair, keeping the horse’s coat healthy and shiny. Additionally, cleaning the hooves is critical in preventing issues such as thrush and laminitis and allows for close monitoring of any changes in the hoof’s health.

In terms of exercise, Andalusian horses are known for their athleticism, and regular exercise is vital for their mental and physical well-being. Ensuring the horse has access to turnout and opportunities for both structured and unstructured exercise can help keep them in top condition.

Furthermore, working with a knowledgeable veterinarian and farrier will help monitor and address any health or hoof concerns that may arise. By implementing a well-rounded care routine, Andalusian horse owners can ensure their equine companions remain healthy and happy.

Andalusian Horse Uses and Abilities

A shinning brown Andalusian horse standing with white background

The Andalusian horse is an ancient breed known for its versatility and array of skills. Their uses and abilities span across various fields, including dressage, trail and endurance riding, jumping and agility, show and performance, and cultural and historical significance.

Dressage and Movement

Andalusian horses excel in dressage due to their natural elegance, powerful hindquarters, and well-muscled necks1. Their innate athletic ability is demonstrated through their elevated gaits and excellent collection. These noble steeds have a presence that commands attention in the dressage ring, making them an ideal choice for this discipline.

Trail and Endurance Riding

The Andalusian breed is not only agile but also has good endurance, making them suitable for trail and endurance riding2. Their compact, muscular frames contribute to their ability to traverse various terrains with ease. Riders often find their smooth gaits and responsive nature highly desirable for these purposes.

Jumping and Agility

While they may not be as popular as other breeds for jumping, Andalusian horses possess great agility and speed, allowing them to excel in this discipline3. Their powerful legs and balanced build ensure that they can navigate jumping courses with ease and precision, a testament to their versatility as a breed.

Show and Performance

Andalusians have long been admired for their elegant appearance and flowing mane and tail, making them sought after for show and performance purposes4. The breed’s athletic build and graceful movements lend themselves well to various performances, from dressage to pleasure riding and even appearing in movies. Their presence extends to bullfighting in their native Spain, further demonstrating their versatility and importance to equestrian culture.

Cultural and Historical Significance

The historical significance of the Andalusian horse cannot be overlooked, as this breed has played a crucial role throughout history. Andalusians served as warhorses in ancient times and were used by numerous military leaders, including Napoleon5. The breed has influenced several other equine bloodlines, such as the Arabian, Lipizzaner, and Friesian horses. Today, the Andalusian continues to hold a special place in Spanish culture and retains a reputation for nobility and excellence across various equestrian applications.


  1. https://petsbeast.com/andalusian-horse/
  2. https://www.thesprucepets.com/andalusian-horse-breed-profile-4846480
  3. https://www.thevetexpert.com/andalusian-horse-12-most-important-facts-to-know-as-a-horse-lover/
  4. https://www.helpfulhorsehints.com/andalusian-horse/
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusian_horse

Breeding and Bloodlines

An absolute magestic looking Silver gray Andalusian horse in desert

Pure Spanish Horse and Lusitano

The Andalusian horse, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE, is closely related to the Lusitano, a breed named after Portugal’s ancient name of Lusitania. Both breeds originate from the Iberian Peninsula and have been known for their distinct characteristics for thousands of years.

Carthusian Lineage

A significant bloodline in the Andalusian horse breed is the Carthusian lineage, which has played a crucial role in maintaining the breed’s purity and quality. The Carthusian Andalusians are descendants of a select group of mares and stallions that were carefully bred by the Carthusian monks in Spain. These horses are known for their strong, muscular body and elegant appearance, showcasing their copious mane and tail. Standing at an adult height of 15.2-16.2 hands, the Carthusian Andalusians are highly sought after for their impressive features and captivating beauty.

Crossbreeding and Influences

Throughout the years, the Andalusian breed has experienced some crossbreeding with other horse breeds. One example is the Cruzado, a cross between Portuguese and Spanish breeding, involving the Pure Spanish Horse (PRE), Portuguese Sport Horse (PSL), Andalusian, and Lusitano. Crossbreeding is often aimed at enhancing specific qualities in the offspring, such as athletic prowess, coat colors, or certain performance abilities.

Andalusian horses are generally gray or bay in color, but other coat colors may also occur due to the influences of crossbreeding. These versatile horses are used in a variety of disciplines, including dressage, pleasure riding, trail riding, and shows, emphasizing their adaptability and alluring presence.

In conclusion, the breeding and bloodlines of Andalusian horses are a complex and fascinating subject, with roots in the Iberian Peninsula and an intricate history that spans many generations. From the prestigious Carthusian lineage to the influences of crossbreeding with other breeds, the Andalusian horse maintains its iconic status as a beautiful and powerful equine companion.

What Do Andalusian Horses Like to Eat

A Male Andalusian horse looking back

Andalusian horses, known for their beauty, elegance, and capabilities as war horses, require a balanced diet to maintain their health and overall well-being. This magnificent breed, also known as Pure Spanish Horse or PRE, primarily enjoys a diet consisting of forage, such as hay and grass, which provides the roughage they need for healthy digestion.

In addition to forage, Andalusian horses can benefit from the inclusion of grains like oats, corn, and barley to provide energy and additional nutrients. However, it is crucial to monitor their grain intake to prevent obesity and other health issues. Typically, meals should be offered in smaller portions multiple times a day, which supports their natural grazing behavior.

Supplements are an essential aspect of an Andalusian horse’s diet as well. The horses require vitamins and minerals that may not be present in their forage or grains, such as vitamin E, calcium, and phosphorus. It is advisable to consult a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the appropriate supplements for each horse based on their age, weight, and exercise level.

Another dietary option for Andalusian horses is beet pulp. The inclusion of beet pulp in their diet offers extra fermentable fiber and contributes to efficient energy use without causing the horses to be overly energetic. However, it is critical to ensure the beet pulp is properly soaked before feeding, as it may cause choke in some cases.

Fresh water should always be available for Andalusian horses since dehydration may lead to colic or other digestive disorders. Similarly, salt blocks or mineral licks may be provided for the horses to ensure they stay adequately hydrated and receive essential minerals.


In summary, an optimal diet for Andalusian horses should include a combination of forage, grains, and supplements that provide all the necessary nutrients for their overall health and well-being. It is essential to monitor each horse’s individual needs and consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to develop and adjust their diet accordingly. Including alternative fiber sources such as beet pulp can offer additional benefits, while consistent access to fresh water and mineral licks promotes hydration and mineral intake. By ensuring that Andalusian horses receive a well-rounded diet, they can continue to thrive, display their beauty, and perform at their best in various equestrian disciplines.