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The Lusitano


The War Horse

There are several opinions regarding the origins of the Iberian horse.  Some sources claim the influence of the Arab, others hotly dispute that.  Many note the similarities between the Iberian and the Barb.  However, all sources agree that the Iberian bloodlines are ancient.  By the time of the early Roman Empire the Iberian was already widely favoured; its supremacy on the battle field being documented in the  classical writings of Homer, Xenophon, Virgil and Pliny. 


In the 16th century the Spanish Empire was at its height. As the Spanish expanded their empire they took with them the Iberian Horse. Perhaps most significantly the horse was introduced into the Americas and the West Indies under the command of several Conquistadors.


The Dressage Horse

Early in the 16th century military riding academies began to be established.  These academies taught the equitation and exercises which would be required on the battlefield.  In a short time, these exercise evolved into the precise controlled movements of haute ecole and in doing so became an art form.  The Iberian horse became the horse of Kings and equestrian skill became the embodiment of power and virility.


The Iberian the Andalusian and the Lusitano

Until the 1960’s the Spanish and the Portuguese horses, collectively known as Iberian, shared the same stud book.  However, many bloodlines were jealously guarded and all can be traced back centuries. 



The Modern Lusitano

In Portugal the breeding was heavily influenced by the mounted bullfight.  This required a brave but sensitive horse with a high degree of intelligence, exceptional agility and with independence and submission in equal measure.  It is these characteristics which identify the Lusitano today; characteristics that while born out of centuries old functionality, can contribute so much to the modern competition world.






The Competition Horse 

In dressage, there are many Lusitanos compteting at the highest level both abroad and in England.   Most notably, the pure bred stallion, Guizo was an important part of the Spanish national team for many years winning medals at national, European and World Championships.


Although not a match for thoroughbred speed, as a part bred, the Lusitano is now competing successfully in both showjumping and eventing.    Pippa Funnell’s ride The Tourmaline Rose is 25% Lusitano being sired by grade A showjumping stallion Crown Cornelion who is by Michael Whittaker's pure bred Lusitano showjumping Champion Novilhiero.  Novilhiero, a very influential stallion, was produced from two of the oldest Lusitiano blood lines being out of a Veiga mare and by an Andrade stallion.



For more information please contact info@HurstwoodLusitanos.co.uk