Wherever or whenever you may be in Andalucia, make the most of what this land offers including riding. There is no better location to do so, especially for children if they are learning this noble sport.
Riding can build a childs character; controlling a strong and powerful animal will help a child to master a skill and at the same time build the strong confidence needed to face the world of today.
But please, please bear in mind that riding and tuition should take place in professional schools and with professional tutors with the proper qualifications. Unfortunately, like with everything else, there are far too many unqualified people willing to exploit any situation at the expense of the public. Horse riding should be taken seriously, not to be compared to a quick swim down at the beach.
Horses appear in Paleolithic Cave Art dating back to 30,000 BCE, these were truly wild horses probably hunted for food. The clearest evidence of horses used as a mean of transport is evidenced by the discovery of chariot burials dated c. 2000 BC, however an increasing amounts of evidence, such as the presence of bit wear, would seem to support the theory that horses were domesticated as far back as 4000 3500 BCE in the Ukraine.
There are literally hundreds of breeds and types of horses and ponies, each bred for a different purpose. The Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse (Pura Raza Española), is a horse breed developed in the Iberian Peninsula, similar to the closely related Lusitano. There are many unresolved theories as to which derived from which.
Andalusians are strongly built, compact yet elegant, with long, thick manes and tails. Their most common coat color is gray, although they can be found in many other colors. They are known for their intelligence, sensitivity and docility.
The ancestors of the Andalusian have been present on the Iberian Peninsula for thousands of years. They became recognized as an individual breed beginning in the 15th century. Throughout its history, the Andalusian has been known for its prowess as a war horse and up to the 18th century it was the Royal Horses of Europe. European warfare caused the Andalusian breed to decline in numbers, close to extinction, so, to re-establish their breeding programs, exportation of an Andalusian became illegal without Royal consent; the penalty for exporting any was death.
Today, Andalusians are used for many equestrian activities, including dressage, show jumping and driving. The ancestors of the Andalusian, have been shown by cave paintings to have been present on the Iberian Peninsula as far back as 2000 to 3000 BC. They have influenced several other breeds, including the Lipizzaner.
Everyone has heard of the famous Spanish Military Riding School in Vienna and what are referred to as the Dancing Horses. As a matter of fact most of the movements performed to amuse the crowds are movements originally devised for use in warfare.
The breed is also used extensively in movies, especially historical pictures and fantasy epics. The Andalusian may have been the first European warm-blood, being a mixture of heavy European horses and lighter Oriental horses. In 1667, William Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, called the Spanish horse of Andalusia:
...the noblest horse in the world, the most beautiful that can be. He is of Great Spirit and of great courage and docile; hath the proudest trot and the best action in his trot, the loftiest gallop, and is the lovingest and gentlest horse, and fittest of all for a king in his day of triumph.
From the very beginning of their history, Andalusians have been used for riding and driving. They were among some of the first horses used for classical dressage, and they are still making a mark in international competition in dressage today. For much of time since the inception of the breed, they were used as ranch 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, a favorite sport among the Spanish and Portuguese. Today, Andalusians are used for show jumping, western pleasure and many other classes at horse shows.