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13 Facts About the Lusitano Horse


The Lusitano is named for Lusitania, a name the Roman's gave to the land that is known today as Portugal.


The Lusitano along with the Andalusian can trace their ancestry back to the primitive Sorraia horse from the Iberian Peninsula, which around 900 B.C. was mixed with horses from Northern Africa. The Sorraia, perhaps the oldest breed of horse, is depicted in early cave paintings found in that area dating back to 22,000 B.C. The Sorraia horse can still be seen in some parts of Portugal.

The Lusitano is a Portuguese breed that is closely related to the Andalusian. Their shared ancestry gives them similar characteristics; a short back, strong hindquarters, and a high-stepping gait. The two began to differ in the 17th century, when the Spanish veered the development of the Andalusian more toward pleasure riding. The Lusitano on the other hand, was selectively bred for bull fighting, which it is still used for in Portugal today. It is known for bravery, calmness, agility, and a tendency to move toward a threat. It is also amazingly gifted at high level dressage.

Along with the Andalusian and the Lipizzaner, the Lusitano is one of the few breeds that can properly perform the Haute Ecole dressage movements.

Type and Height

Middleweight (around 500Kgs)“Medium lined”; sub- convex profile throughout the body (with rounded outlines, the silhouette of which can be fitted into a square).

Medium, to be measured at the withers a measuring stick at the age of 6 years.

Average height : Females – 1,55m (nearest conversion 15.1 h.h.) ; Males – 1,60 m (15.3 h.h).


The most frequent is grey and of bay.


Noble, generous and ardent, but always gentle and able to long suffering.

Lusitanos are well known for their bravery.


Agile, elevated, forward, smooth and providing a great comfort to the rider.


A natural ability for concentration, with a great disposition for High School Work and courage and enthusiasm for the Gineta exercises (combat, hunting, bullfighting, work with cattle, etc.).


Well proportioned, of medium length, narrow and dry, with the lower jaw not too pronounced and the cheek tending to be long. Slightly sub-convex profile with the forehead in advance of the bones of the eyebrows: the eyes tend to be elliptical in shape (almond shape), big and alive, expressive and confident. The ears are of medium length, fine, narrow and expressive.


Of medium length, arched with a narrow hairline: the junction between head and neck is narrow or fine: the neck is deep in the base and well inserted between the shoulders, rising up from the withers without any marked depression.


Well defined and long, with a smooth transition from the back to the neck. Always higher than the croup.


Of medium size, deep and muscular.


Well developed, long and deep with the ribs obliquely arched into the joint with the column which promotes a short and full flank.


Long, oblique and well muscled.


Well defined and tending towards the horizontal making a smooth union between the withers and loins.


Short, wide, muscular, slightly convex, well connected with the back and croup with which they form a continuous harmonious line.


Strong and rounded, well balanced, slightly oblique, the length and width should be of identical dimension, the profile convex and harmonious with the point of hip relatively unobtrusive, giving the croup a transverse section of elliptical shape. The tail emerges from the same line of the croup, being of long.  Silky and abundant hair.


The forelegs are well muscled and harmoniously inclined. The upper arm straight and muscular. The cannons slightly long and muscular. The fetlocks are dry, relatively big and with very little hair. The pasterns are relatively long and sloping. The hooves are of good constitution, well defined and proportioned without being too open; the line of the coronet is not very evident. The buttock is short and convex. The thigh is muscular and tends to be short, and is orientated in such a way that the patella or gaskin is in the same vertical line of the hip bone, or point of the hip. The leg is slightly long positioning the hock in the same vertical line of the point of the buttock. The hocks are large, strong and dry. The legs present relatively closed angles.

Working Equitation & The Lusitano

The Working Equitation discipline is intended to promote competition between traditional styles of riding used during fieldwork in various countries, and also to act as a showcase for traditional riding costumes and equipment.

The first Working Equitation World Championship was held from 11–13 October 2002 at Beja, Portugal and the Team event at the 2010 European Working Equitation Championships was won by riders from Portugal and Lusitanos. The current World Champion title is held by a Portuguese rider and a Lusitano horse.


Before you go take a sneak peak at this cool video and see how the Lusitano is still bred in Portugal:


Text adapted from by APSL and Animal World. Original video from Horse Lifestyle


horseXperiences™ does not support any type of #bullfighting therefore no information is provided and its attendance is EXCLUDED from all our programmes.


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