Castilian Horse - Uses

Uses

The Andalusian breed has over the centuries been consistently selected for athleticism. In the 17th century, referring to multi-kilometer races, Cavendish said, "They were so much faster than all other horses known at that time that none was ever seen to come close to them, even in the many remarkable races that were run." In 1831, horses at five years old were expected to be able to gallop, without changing pace, four or five leagues, about 12 to 15 miles (19 to 24 km). By 1925, the Portuguese military expected horses to "cover 40 km over uneven terrain at a minimum speed of 10 km/h, and to gallop a flat course of 8 km at a mimimum speed of 800 metres per minute carrying a weight of at least 70 kg", and the Spanish military had similar standards.

From the very beginning of their history, Andalusians have been used for both riding and driving. Among the first horses used for classical dressage, they are still making a mark in international competition in dressage today. At the 2002 World Equestrian Games, two Andalusians were on the bronze-medal winning Spanish dressage team, a team that went on to take the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Today, the breed is increasingly being selectively bred for increased aptitude in classical dressage. Historically, however, they were also used as stock horses, especially suited to working with Iberian bulls, known for their aggressive temperaments. They were, and still are, known for their use in mounted bull fighting. Mares were traditionally used for la trilla, the Spanish process of threshing corn practiced until the 1960s. Mares, some pregnant or with foals at their side, spent full days trotting over the corn. As well as being a traditional farming practice, it also served as a test of endurance, hardiness and willingness for the maternal Andalusian lines.

Andalusians today are used for show jumping, western pleasure and many other classes at horse shows. The current Traveler, the mascot of the University of Southern California, is an Andalusian. The dramatic appearance of the Andalusian horse, with its arched neck, muscular build and energetic gaits, has made it a popular breed to use in film, particularly in historical and fantasy epics. Andalusians have been present in films ranging from Gladiator to Interview with a Vampire, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life to Braveheart. The horses have also been seen in such fantasy epics as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, King Arthur, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In 2006, a rearing Andalusian stallion, ridden by Mexican conquistador Don Juan de OƱate, was recreated as the largest bronze equine in the world. Measuring 36 feet (11 m) high, the statue currently stands in El Paso, Texas.

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