Synopsis: The Andalusian/Lusitano breed originated in the Iberian Peninsula and is one of the oldest breeds of horse. The Andalusian was bred principally by Carthusian Monks in the late Middle Ages. Every purebred Andalusian/Lusitano today can trace its lineage directly to the Stud Books of Spain and Portugal.
This regimented and selective breeding program kept the Andalusian exclusively in the Iberian Peninsula region, with no horses being exported until 1962. Even today these majestic horses— perhaps most recognized as the animated, elegant and graceful horses ridden by mounted bull fighters (rejoneadors) in Spain and Portugal— number less than 60,000 worldwide with only approximately 16,000 of those being in this country, making the Andalusian/Lusitano horse one of the rarest breeds of horse in the United States.
The typical Andalusian stands between 15.2 and 16.2 hands with a very powerful yet elegant build. Grey or white is the predominant breed color, but it is not unusual to see a bay, black, chestnut or even a palomino or dun colored Andalusian. Because of its trainability, lightness, and athleticism, the Andalusian excels in all disciplines of riding and driving, including an array of classes in halter, driving, hunt seat, saddle seat, dressage, Western pleasure, equitation, showmanship and working equitation. This majestic and rare “Horse of Kings,” is enjoying increasing recognition and acclaim in international dressage competition, and the Andalusian breed continues to grow and increase in popularity here in the United States.
Francine has been instrumental in the IALHA Education Committee and Show Committee from 2003 until the present, serving as Committee Chair numerous years and as a valuable contributing member of the committee in the years in which she has not sat as chair. Francine has also served as the instructor at the USEF Judges Seminar to license Andalusian judges three times. In addition, she also authored and produced the DVD An Introduction to the Andalusian Horse in America which is sent out in the IALHA Membership packets, a major benefit to members new to the Association and the breed. As a member of the USEF AL Committee, Francine has a near-perfect record of attendance, across well over a decade of participation. Her commitment and willingness to contribute is truly astounding. Francine has also been quite active in the carriage and driving part of the equestrian community. She has served the Houston Area Carriage Association as President and was on the board of directors for three years. She was on the board of directors for the Carriage Association of Americas for two terms. She has given driving clinics across the US and has even gone to Costa Rica to give a five-day clinic there. Over the years, she has driven singles, pairs, tandems, unicorns, and four-in-hand hitches. She has competed against all breeds with her four-in-hand of Arabian horses three times and won each event.
Francine’s commitment, dedication and service to the USEF throughout her career has been exemplary. A respected judge, trainer, and competitor, Francine has made a permanent and very positive mark on multiple USEF breeds, including the Arabian and the Andalusian and Lusitano, as well as Carriage Driving. This all-around horsewoman exemplifies the qualities of integrity, passion, service, and commitment. Francine Dismukes began her equestrian career as a youngster participating in the youth rodeo circuit in barrel racing and goat tying. She first showed the Arabian stallion Indy Ben Indy in 1958. Due to their success in the show ring, Francine was approached by owners to have her begin training their young Arabian show prospects. So, at eighteen years of age, Francine became a professional and opened FHD Training Stables in Baytown, Texas.
Over the years, Francine has produced hundreds of successful show horses and riders as well as pleasure riding horses and combined driving and pleasure driving horses. The horses from her stable have won numerous National and Reserve National Championship titles. One Arabian horse that got her a lot of recognition early on was the Donoghue-bred stallion owned by Robert and Evelyn Vickers, Don Amistad. He was the second horse in the United States to ever win his Legion of Merit as a mere three year old. In 1960, Francine was invited to and attended the Arabian judges seminar. She was the youngest participant and only woman at the event. The instructors were some of the legends of the Arabian horse industry: Dr. Bill Kaiser, Dr. Bill Munson, and Professor Byron Good. Francine earned her card for a small “r” and was then promoted to a large “R” at 21 years of age. She was the second woman to ever judge the US Arabian National Championship Horse Show.
EQUUS Film Festival - USA - 2016