The Lusitano (or Puro Sangue Lusitano), a horse that originated in Portugal, is claimed to be the oldest saddle horse in the world, ridden for over 5,000 years. Its ancestry is very similar to the Spanish Andalusian, both of which were called Iberian horses for originating on the Iberian peninsula, and until fairly recently they were considered the same breed.
As the Roman Empire invaded Iberian lands, they set up cavalry stud farms of their own, breeding Iberian horses who became popular as war horses and for pulling racing chariots. They were ridden by Spanish and Portuguese kings, warriors, conquistadors and bullfighters before becoming utilized as classical dressage horses at the Royal Stables of Cordoba during the Renaissance.
In 1966, Portugal and Spain separated their stud books into the Spanish Andalusian and the Portuguese Lusitano, named after Lusitania, the ancient Roman name for Portugal.
The Lusitano’s attractive head has a slight sub-convex profile, large, lively eyes, and narrow and expressive ears. The high-set neck, well-developed crest, powerful, sloping shoulders, and defined withers lead to a short but strong back. Powerful hocks and well-muscled forelegs create an agile, elevated, forward movement that is very comfortable for the rider. Average height for mares is 15.1 hands, while stallions and geldings tend to be in the 15.3 hand range. Grey and bay coat colours are the most common.
Lucitanos are obedient, noble, generous, and level-headed, with a natural courage and enthusiasm for hunting, bullfighting, cattle work, and so on.
In addition to bullfighting and carriage driving, Lucitanos can be found at breed shows competing in dressage, hunter, western pleasure, and costume classes.
For more information, visit:
International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association
Associação Portuguesa de Criadores do Cavalo Puro Sangue Lusitano