Welcome to The World of the Horse courtesy of Equestrian Escapes. If you are searching for horse riding holidays then you can click on the country on the right hand side of the website or look at the riding holidays sitemap to find a programme that interests you. If you are interested in the horses that you could be riding then please read on.
Andalucia and the horse
Horses have played an integral part in rural life in Andalucia for centuries. In fact, the horse is possibly one of the best-loved exports of this region. Its history goes back long before the birth of Christ - to 200 BC, at the time of the Roman Conquests in and around Spain. Roman writers praised the native Spanish horses' qualities, which were recognised by Spain's Moorish conquerors, who naturally cross-bred them with their own Arab and Berber breeds. After the Moors were driven from Spain in the 15th Century, these noble Spanish creatures enjoyed a period of great popularity, influencing almost all other American and European horse breeds. Not only were they taken by the Spanish conquistadors to the New World in the Americas, but they laid the foundation of the Frederiksborg, the royal horse of Denmark; the Neapolitan horse, when Naples was under Spanish rule from 1504 to 1713; the Austrian Kladruber, and some of the British breeds, notably the Cleveland Bay, the Hackney, the Connemara pony of Ireland and possibly the Welsh Cob.
On our horse riding holidays Spain you will be riding fine examples of the Andalucian horse. The Andalucian horses used on our riding holidays Spain are wonderfully schooled and have a great temperment. You will also find Arab horses being used as they have great stamina and soundness.
Direct descendants of the Andalusian horse are the Lippizaners of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, established in 1572 as an adjunct to the Court in order to educate their nobility in the equitational arts. It was called the Spanish Riding School because right from its formation only Spanish stallions were used there.
The Lippizaners take their name from the stud at Lippiza, near Trieste, then part of the Austrian empire. It was founded by Archduke Charles 11, in 1580, who had 9 stallions and 24 mares brought there from Spain. This is the horse that became "The very cornerstone of classical riding." The features that made this caballo de pura raza española - horse of pure Spanish breed - so highly sought after, are its balletic elegance, high head carriage, short arched neck, silky flowing mane, compact body and wonderful proportions. The manes of mares are usually clipped in Spain; only the stallions are allowed to display the full splendour of theirs. About 50 per cent of Andalusians are usually grey or white, the rest being bay or black. Chestnuts or piebalds are excluded from the stud book. These attributes are combined with a fiery intelligence, strangely at odds with it's affectionate and docile temperament. It is considered to be the ideal haute école parade and carriage horse. It is perhaps somewhat surprising, therefore, that its presence outside Spain is not more widespread today.
To sample the culture of Andalucia and to have the opportunity to ride these beautiful horses have a look at some of our unique Andalucia riding holidays which include the popular Horses, Sun and Wine and Equestrian Excellence in Jerez.
Andalucia facts :
With over 320 days of sun a year, it’s no surprise that Andalucia has been a favourite destination for sun-seeking travelers for decades. The region is composed of eight provinces, stretching from the south-east to the south-west of the country, each one named for its capital city: Cadiz, Cordoba, Jaen, Huelva, Almeria, Malaga, Granada and Seville. If you want to go on a horse riding holiday where you can learn to ride Andalucian horses then we can organise the perfect break for you. Alternatively, if you dream of a mountain riding holiday or a beach riding holiday then click on the highlighted links.
Andalucian - The Andalucian was, for centuries, known as the Spanish Horse. They were used in many countries to improve the native stock. Spanish horses wer the foundation stock of many conquistadores in the 16th century. The Andalucian is a handsome,proud breed, which, although not overly tall, is compact and muscular. They have great spirit and courage, but are gentle and exceptionally trainable. The big , lofty paces and the powerful hindquarters with particularly flexible hocks make the breed adept at High-School work.
The Arab is the oldest and purest of all horse breeds, and also one of the most beautiful and distinctive. The Arab is the forefather of the Throughbred. They were introduced to many parts of the world and used to refine and improve the native breeds. Arabs are generally around 15hh and are well proportioned, elegant and athletic. Stamina and soundness has allowed them to excel in endurance riding.
Lusitano Horses - The Lusitano is a pure bred horse from Portugal, usually used as a saddle horse though he is also prized as a light driving horse. The Lusitano horse originated in the hilly and rough areas of the Iberian Peninsula. The mountainous terrain moulded him into an agile horse. The Lusitano is compact, highly manoeuvrable, intelligent and brave enabling it to be selected for countless generations for functionality in battle and, later, in the bullring. The Lusitano fell somewhat from favour in this country when cross-country pursuits became popular in the nineteenth century. The Lusitano mares are usually 1,55 m (15.1 hands) and stallions are 1,60 m (15.3 hands).They can be any solid colour but grey is the most common. The Lusitano’s are high stepping and have a forward thrusting gait but are smooth to ride and have a great facility to carry the rider in comfort. Its athleticism lends him to be a talented jumper - John Whitaker's horse Novilheiro was a Lusitano. Novilheiro in particular demonstrates the versatility of the breed - he wasn't a "special strain" of Lusitano bred specifically for jumping - his full brother Opus II was one of the most famous bullfighting horses of his day. To enjoy horse riding holidays Portugal riding Lusitano horses click on the link.
Irish Horses - Over the generations horses and Ireland have been synonymous. The country has a deep tradition in equestrian matters that is anchored in its reputation for excellence in horsemanship, breeding and training, as well as in its countryside and in the affinity of The Irish people for their horses. This tradition has given rise to the development of equestrian tourism and many would argue that there is no better place to spend some time enjoying this wonderful sport. Our riding holidays Ireland offer cross country, showjumping, hacking and lessons as well as trail riding on Irish horses.
The Irish Sport Horse or Irish Hunter, is mainly the result of a cross between the Irish Draught and the Thoroughbred. They are traditionally used for all purposes, from transportation, to riding, and working the land. However, they are becoming increasingly popular as a competition and riding horse. Their natural athletic ability and fantastic jumping talents means that they excel as show jumpers, as well as competing at the highest levels of eventing. These horses are globally renowned for being one of the best hunting mounts in the world, crossing all types of terrain with effortless ease.
Connemara - The Connemara is named after a small area in the connaught region of Western Ireland. The habitat is bleak, bordered on one side by Galway Bay and on the other by the Atlantic Ocean. This is Ireland's only indigenous breed and it has had to be tough to survive. The Connemara is an athletic pony and is free, fluent, and true in its paces. It excels in all competitive disciplines.In Ireland we also have horse riding holidays for teenagers which combine riding with a language as well as just riding.
On our horse riding holidays Italy you will be staying in a luxurious castle on the boarder of Tuscany and Latzio the horses local to this region are Maremmana horses. The Maremmana was bred in Tuscany. The Maremmana area is coastal and was once a marshland before being drained and reclaimed as pasture. There were no indigenous horse breeds in Italy, but nonetheless, using imported stock from Spain and France, it became an important horse breeding area during the 17th century. Typically the mixed blood of the Maremmana horses can result in great variation, with some horses displaying quality and fineness but the majority have a workman like stamp, a calm and tractable temperament and are the popular choice for the buttero - the Italian cowboy. Typically it is a solid colour, bay, grey, chestnut, brown or black. The castle also has Warmbloods and warmblood crosses for you to ride.
Maremmana - The Maremmana was bred in Tuscany. The Maremmana area is coastal and was once a marshland before being drained and reclaimed as pasture. Using imported stock from Spain and Italy the area became an important horse-breeding area during the 17th century. The mixed blood resulted in a breed displaying quality and fitness, strength and a workmanlike attitude though sometimes a little plain. The breed has great endurance and a calm and tractable temperament, making him a popular chlice of the Italian cowboy.
Dutch Warmblood - The Dutch Warmblood is a modern sport horse derived from the selective breeding of German, French and English horses crossed with the native Dutch stock. Dutch Warmblood horses are famous for their character, soundness and athletic ability and on average tend to be 16.2hh.
Pinto Hunter - The Pinto horse is a colour breed in contrast to most other breeds which are defined by their genetic ancestry. Pintos have a dark background colouring and upon this colour random patches of white. It is believed that the Pinto patterns may have arrived in Europe via the Arabian strains, as Pinto markings appear in ancient art throughout the Middle East.
Anglo Arab - The Anglo Arab horse is a Thoroughbred crossed with an Arabian horse. The Anglo Arab horse has been used in the military and is now used as a general riding and sport horse. Anglo Arabs tend to have a delicate head, straight profile, long slender legs and are sweet natured.
On our horse riding holidays in the UK you will be able to ride a number of different breeds including thoroughbreds, cobs and cross breeds. These horses are great for riding centres as they are suitable for a range of different styles allowing beginners to feel safe and secure whilst also offering more experienced riders the chance to improve their skills. The UK also has alot of native breeds bringing a diverse range of qualities suitable for all disciplines. Native ponies are often our introduction to the equine world, they are purpose-designed for this task - tough and hardy and often with a great sense of purpose. Ponies are renowned for their hardiness, toughness and surefootedness as they have had to adapt to any number of different environments and situations.
Thoroughbred - The English thoroughbred is the world's fastest and most valuable horse. It is used extensively to improve and upgrade numerous other breeds. The thoroughbred is the king of the horse breeds: fast, courageous and spirited. They are a handsome breed, alert, spirited and full of presence with endless courage and immense stamina. Their ground-covering stride at the gallop makes them the fastest breed of horse in the world.
Dartmoor - Ponies have been running free on the moorlands of Dartmoor in Southwest England for centuries. Over time they served as pack ponies, being used for light farm and carriage work, today, they are bred for the show ring and as general riding ponies. The rugged moorland terrain has led to the development of a tough, sound pony.
Exmoor - The Exmoor is the oldest of the UK's mountain and moorland breeds, having roamed on Exmoor since the Bronze Age. They are branded on the shoulder with a star and herd number and on their nearside hindquarters is the pony's unique number. The purity of the breed requires a return to breeding from ponies on the moor in order to retain its ancient characteristics. The robust build and constitution of the Exmoor makes it an ideal riding and driving pony. When they are crossed with throughbreds they make very useful competition horses.
New Forest Pony - The new forest pony still runs free in the woodland and common land of the New Forest in Hampshire, England. The ponies are very friendly and trainable by nature and are renowned as being good riding ponies. They are sturdy enough to carry adults and are surefooted, tough and sound.
Welsh Pony - The Welsh Mountain Pony is probably the most well-known and numerous of the British mountain and moorland ponies. They were originally bred by the Welsh hill farmers to provide a means of transport and for herding livestock, in more recent years they have developed into an ideal riding pony. Welsh ponies are split into four distinct types depending on their height, sections A, B, C and D.
Horses were first brought to Peru by the Spanish conquistadores, and it was a mixture or Spanish Jennet, Barb and Andalucian blood that gave rise to the Peruvian Paso, which is the national horse of Peru. Other breeds that are trained for the mountainous Machu Pichu ride are the Criollo and American quareter horses.
Peruvian Paso - The Peruvian Paso has a smooth, ambling gait which came from the Spanish Jennet, strength and stamina from the Barb and the confirmation, beauty and action from the Andalucian. It is distinguished by a natural four beat, lateral gait known as the Paso llano. This breed is now mainly used for pleasure riding and showing, their extended paces allow them to carry their rider over mountain terrain at speed.
Criollo - The Criollo is a very tough, hardy little horse shaped by the harsh environment of the pampas of Argentina. The extremes of climate ensured the survival of only the soundest and fittest. The Criollo decends from Spanish horses taken to South America. Many of these early imported horses ran wild and formed feral herds and a very tough horse emerged. Dun is the most common colour as it provided effective camouflage. The Criollo was originally used as a riding and pack horse and is the chosen mount of the gouchos for herding cattle making it an ideal choice for the Machu Pichu ride.
American Quarter Horses - The quarter horse was the first established American breed after horses were re-introduced to the Americas by the conquistadores. The breed was primarily a workhorse but the English settlers brought their love of racing, and used it for entertainment in quarter-mile racing - hence the name. The quarter horse has a long neck, a broad, deep chest and powerful, well-sloped shoulders, then wide and powerful hindquarters, extending down into well-muscled limbs.
We inspect all the horses in our horse riding holidays to ensure the best quality holiday for you.
If you want to read more about the Icelandic horse than have a look at our articles page - http://www.equestrian-escapes.com/I-is-for-Islenki-Hesturinn/