The Lusitano is one of Portugal’s two domestic breeds of horses – the other being the Alter-Real. The Lusitano is used under saddle, in harness, and for light agricultural work. At one time, this breed was used by the army as a cavalry mount. Today, the Lusitano is used in Portugal’s bull rings where it must execute sophisticated and well-timed moves to evade the bull’s horns. Only the very finest of the breed are used for bull-fighting. The breed bears a close resemblance to the Andalusian breed of neighboring Spain, and the Lusitano shares common ancestors with the Andalusian.
The Lusitano has a small head with expressive eyes and a flat or roman nose. The neck is rather thick and the chest is substantial. The legs are clean. The tail is set rather low. It stands between 14.3 and 15.3 hands and appears in various colors, black and gray being predominant. The Lusitano is noted for its intelligence and an excellent action.
The origin of the Lusitano is not known with certainty. It is highly probable that it descended from the Andalusian or from similar stock which created the Andalusian: the Iberian horse and the Barb.
The Lusitano is used in Portugal in its bull rings. Unlike bull-fighting is some other countries, bulls are fought from horseback and are not killed in the ring. Rather, the bulls are challenged by the bullfighter and horse, requiring the horse to perform highly agile moves to escape the horns of the bull. The Lusitanos trained for the bull ring are also trained in the arts of Hate Ecole which they perform during the ceremonious bull fight.
For more information, contact:
The American Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association
101 Carnoustie N. Ste 200
Birmingham, AL 35242