Lusitano horse

Lusitano horse is the best known and appreciated Portuguese horse breed. Earlier representations of the primitive Iberian horse ancestral from the Lusitano horse can be seen in paintings done in caves at La Pileta (Malaga, Spain) which are dated from 20.000 B.C. and at Escoural (Alentejo, Portugal) which are dated between 17.000 B.C. and 13.000 B.C. Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans came to the Iberian peninsula. The first two did not bring enough horses in a way that could influence substantially existing the Iberian horse. However, Greeks have a legend where the horses from “Lusitânia”, on the banks of river Tagus, have as father the wind. This is certainly a metaphoric and poetic way to express how fast the Iberian horse was considered in the antiquity. The Carthaginians and Romans brought, in particular, the Berber horse. This can be seen through the several statues and coins from these civilizations, which show a horse with convex head profile and high and round movements. After the Romans the tribes from central and northern Europe: the Vandals, Alans and Suevi have partitioned the Iberian Peninsula among themselves. The first two brought horses ancestors of the German heavy horse breeds (“cold-blood” or draught horse breeds). The Suevi who had taken control over the larger part of the Iberian peninsula brought horses of the similar type to the Celts, they will be later defeated by the Visigoths which again brought horses ancestors of the German heavy horse breeds. The Arabs have followed the Visigoths in the peninsula and brought with them Berber and Arabian horses which have again interbred with the local Iberian horse.
Portugal has started in XII century in a time when the horses were playing a major role in the battles. Later the King D. João V (married with D. Maria, from Austria and great admirer of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna) started a Stud at Alter Real where a horse which matches the standards of the Lusitano breed has been bred since 1748. The mares and stallions for the establishment of the Alter Real Stud farm were bought in Spain. The stallions from Alter Real Stud farm were used at the “Picaria Real” which was the established school of Equestrian Art. The son of King D. João V, King José, made the Alter Real Stud farm and the Picaria Real to thrive. In the XIX the Picaria Real was closed down and in the XX century it was re-started again under the name Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre (Portuguese School of Equestrian Art). In 1885, Bernardo Lima, in his book about the Portuguese horse breeds as used the term Lusitano for horses born and bred in Portugal. In, 1889 was created the Portuguese Stud Book. In 1942, the veterinarians from the National Stud decided to use the name Lusitano for horses born in Portugal and with characteristics that allowed them to be inscribed on the Portuguese Stud Book. The Lusitano breed has started officially just in 1967. A previous agreement in 1966 from Portuguese and Spanish breeders decided to use by each of the countries the denomination of Lusitano and Espanhol respectively. The name Lusitano came from the name of the earlier people living in the western part of Iberian Peninsula. Later (27 B.C.) was created the region “Lusitânia”, a Roman administrative region, which was between the Douro and the Guadiana rivers.
Apart of Portugal, internationally the growing interest on the Lusitano horse breed, can be seen in a larger extent in Brazil, France and Mexico; followed by a group of Countries including Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK and USA where, already, a community of Lusitanos can be found. Lusitanos can be also found, in fewer numbers, in a group of countries including Angola, Australia, Czech Republic, Colombia, Guatemala, Morocco, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Filipinas, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand.

[Portuguese Horses]