LEXINGTON, KY (May 16, 2005) DNA testing has confirmed that the Iberian was the daddy of the Andalusian, who was indeed the daddy of millions.
“Eighty percent of all modern horse breeds can be traced back to the Iberian horse…the most ancient breed of riding horse known to man,” according to the Iberian Warmblood Registry of America.
On May 28-30, the Kentucky Horse Park will host Iberian Horse Weekend, which will bring together horses from across the nation, representing the progeny of the Iberian Horse, among them the Andalusian (for Lord of the Rings movie fans, the fabulous white horse that played Shadowfax is an Andalusian), Lusitano, Azteca and Spanish Norman breeds.
Developed on the Iberian Peninsula (comprised of Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibralter) the Andalusian horse is an ancestor of the Thoroughbred, Percheron, Friesian, Connemara, Hackney, Cleveland Bay, Welsh and Lippizan breeds. According to the International Andalusian Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA), “Its origin in the Iberian Peninsula is documented by cave paintings and even fossil evidence.”
In addition, the Conquistadors conquered the new world on the backs of Andalusians, which subsequently influenced the American breeds of Azteca, Quarter Horse, Paint, Mustang and Appaloosa. Hernan Cortes, conqueror of the Aztec territories of Mexico, is credited with having proclaimed, "After God, we owed our victory to the horses."
The IALHA states that the Iberian horse “had the ability to gather the hind legs under the fore, falling back on their hocks and raising the forehand, so that the belly can be seen from the front. This ability, which we now call collection, was impressive in that it allowed warhorses to be swift and agile and to stop and turn quickly in any direction. Iberian cavalry was one of the most important weapons of generals from Hannibal to Julius Caesar. The Iberian horse both shaped the way mounted warfare was conducted and was shaped by it. Its speed, agility and courage were unequaled and lent themselves to the mastery of mounted fighting.”
Pliny the Elder, a Roman cavalry officer and writer, described the Iberian horse as “fine, docile and impregnated by the west wind, (which) brought forth offspring of surprising fleetness.”
Today the Iberian breeds are in great demand around the world. Their flair and elegance, flexibility and temperament, agility and strength lend themselves to a variety of competitions from dressage to jumping and carriage driving.
Some of the modern day ancestors of the Iberian will perform at the park during Iberian Horse Weekend with costumes and music, to give park visitors a glimpse of the ancestral home of these breeds. Kentucky Horse Park visitors will have the joy of seeing these lovely horses during the Parade of Breeds Shows.
The event is being organized by the park and Fox Run Farm of Richmond Kentucky. For more information, contact Victoria McIntire at email@example.com or park Entertainment Coordinator Linda Brantley at 859-259-4223, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admission is $14 for adults, $7 for children ages 7-12, while children 6 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission includes the Iberian Horse Weekend May 28-30 and the American Saddlebred Museum. The park is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the park hosted more than 900,000 visitors and 15,000 competition horses in 80 special events and horse shows in 2004. The park is located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington. The place to get close to horses, the park is open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.