The modern Andalusian is a descendent of the Spanish Horse. Until the 19th century, the Spanish Horse was the first horse of Europe and the basis for developing classical equitation of the Renaissance schools. The origin dates back to the Pre-Ice Age era.
The breed is centered on Jerez de la Frontera, Cordoba and Seville, where it was preserved by Carthusian monasteries. The Spanish Horse may have derived from a mix of indigenous Sorraia stock and Barb horses of North Africa. They are often used under-saddle.
Although the Andalusian is not remarkably fast, they are agile and athletic. They stand around 15.2 to 16 hands. The head is distinctive due to a convex, hawk-like profile that was favored by equestrians of the Renaissance schools. The shoulders are strong and wide, but do not feature the slope of the Thoroughbred. The neck is fairly short, muscular, and well-arched. The legs have excellent joints and good bone; the hooves are hard and well-formed. The hair of the mane and tail is often long, thick and wavy. Coat colorations include Bay and Gray.
The base stock, hardiness, and endurance are all attributes of the Sorraia. The Barb breed passed on its spirit, strength, stamina and agility.