The Andalusian is one of the great ancient breeds of horse. It originated in the Iberian Pennisula and is named for the region of Spain called Andalucia. The Andalusian horse has been documented throughout European history and was praised as the finest horse of war by the Romans and Greeks in ancient times. It's history as an equine type goes back even further, documented by cave paintings believed to be 20,000 years old. This breed has been known by many names throughout history, but has always been spoken of with respect for its uncanny agility, courage, presence, tractability and beauty.
Andalusians throughout history were revered for their abilities as warhorses, and their qualities eventually led them to become the unmatched master of a new art of the time called dressage. Born naturally round and collected, the Andalusian also possessed presence and style that were fit for royal use. The Andalusian was lavishly praised by the new Masters of Horse who arose to train the horses of kings in the new art of dressage. Most proclaimed the Andalusian as the "fittingest of all." Schools of Equitation sprang up to teach this new art, and the most famous of these, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, is still in existence.
The Andalusian is still relatively rare in North America. They are strong horses with long sloping shoulders, natural collection, and extremely good bone and hooves. Sought after for their quiet temperament, they are easily handled, and yet have a reserve of energy when called upon. These horses carry a very distinct mystique about them stemming from their history and their ever present strength and beauty.
This information was taken primarily from the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA). Details on Andalusian history and information about the differences between PRE and PSP horses can be found on the IALHA website at: www.ialha.org, and on other websites found on the Links page.
In 1972, the Mexican Charros (cowboys) began a quest to produce a horse with the agility, quickness and cow sense to work on their cattle ranches. To produce this new horse, they crossed their Andalusian horses with their Quarter Horse and Criollo mares. These crosses resulted in a horse with speed, heart, stamina, grace, outstanding disposition, and a great ability to learn. They not only possessed the ability to work on the ranches, but also had the versatility to perform in other disciplines as well. And so it was that the Azteca was born, and in the years following acquired so much recognition it earned the title of the "National Horse of Mexico".
Today's Azteca horses excel in all disciplines. They respond brilliantly to the different equine high school disciplines requiring suspended and elevated gaits. They are also known as a skillful working cowhorse or western horse.
The Azteca inherits the beauty, temperament, pride, agility and spirit from their Andalusian blood, and strength, heart and speed from their Quarter Horse blood. The breed requires there be no more than 3/4 Andalusian or Quarter Horse blood in the first generations. The Azteca should be a balance between the breeds with qualities from both. The intention is to creat a new type of horse that exhibits the best of both breeds.
This information was taken from the American Azteca Horse International Association (AAHIA) website. More information can be found on their website at: www.americanazteca.com.