If there is one breed of horse that is synonymous with Haute Ecole it is the Andalusian. Haute Ecole, or High School dressage, is an extremely formal manner of riding that requires a horse to possess an almost perfect balance of athleticism and temperament. For many dressage enthusiasts, there is nothing more fascinating than watching an Andalusian perform the series of movements first developed by those in cavalry units hundreds of years ago. Along with a capable mount, Haute Ecole requires an experienced rider with an ability to read and move in perfect sync with his or her horse. While there are many different types of horses that perform in a number of dressage styles, it is the Andalusian that seems to have a natural talent for this extremely proper activity.
In all reality, dressage is just a display of movements horses would perform at any time in their natural environment. In dressage, these movements are controlled and regally put on display for all to see. However, Haute Ecole is for the horse and rider that have reached the pinnacle of classic riding. Haute Ecole not only requires a sensitive, athletic horse but a horse that also enjoys being seen. The Andalusian is often considered an ideal performance horse. It is nicely compact and maneuverable, and considered extremely receptive to instruction. On top of this, they have a perfectly sophisticated flair that catches they eye. Their natural proclivity for movement has long made them a top choice for Haute Ecole for hundreds of years.
The Andalusian is widely known for its stellar ability to perform the respected Airs Above Ground in Haute Ecole. The ballotade, capriole, courbette and levade are all extremely practiced moves once used to train riders for action on the battlefield. These days, they are movements that display the Andalusian's training, athletic ability and natural skill. It also displays a rider's abilities as well. When performing the Airs Above Ground movements, the Andalusian will not only balance on its hind legs but jump and hop. It can balance on its hindquarters at difficult angles and also leap through the air from a standing position. All the while, the rider must move with his or her mount with perfect posture as not to throw the horse off balance during a performance.
While there are many who train horses for dressage, the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art located in Spain is an institution completely dedicated to the training of both Andalusians and their riders. Those who attend this prestigious organization can learn everything from Haute Ecole to the many facets of proper horse breeding. The result of centuries old training methods are clearly exhibited in the school's world famous line of Andalusian dancing stallions. For Spain, the Andalusian is not only an integral part of their history but a national treasure. It is strongly believed that providing education to individuals on the many elements of the Andalusian is the best way to keep the art of proper horsemanship strong and alive.