Origin of the Lusitano
The Lusitano is a pure breed of horse from Portugal, usually used as a saddle horse though he is also prized as a light driving horse. The Lusitano horse originated in the hilly and rough areas of the Iberian peninsula. The mountainous terrain moulded him into an agile horse, able to leap and keep his footing like a mountain goat. He had to learn not to panic - no use running blindly over a 1000' drop! He also had to be hardy, to survive the extremes of weather and the rough surroundings.
Thousands of years ago, men noticed these characteristics and began to prize him as a war horse. He could out-maneouvre the opposition and could be relied upon to keep his head. The mountain horse was refined into an animal that could anticipate his rider's wishes and, crucially, keep his rider as far as possible out of danger, whilst exposing himself to the risks of battle. He was used as a dignified and responsive mount upon which courtiers refined their equestrian skills in the movements of the High School.
The Lusitano fell somewhat from favour in this country when cross-country pursuits became popular in the nineteenth century. He was used less as a war-horse as battle tactics turned to flat-out charges rather than tricky close-contact warfare.
Instead, he has been deployed as a mount in the bullfight - a stylised form of battle, still requiring the same characteristics of bravery, intelligence and agility from the horse. Accordingly, he has continued to be selected for these qualities until the present day.
Stands at 15.1hh-15.3hh
Noble, generous and ardent, but always gentle and able to withstand duress.
HEAD - Well proportioned, of medium length, narrow and dry. Slightly sub-convex profile with the forehead in advance of the bones of the eyebrows. The eyes elliptical in shape, big and alive, expressive and confident. The ears are of medium length, fine, narrow and expressive.
NECK - of medium length and arched, the junction between head and neck is narrow, the neck is deep in the base and well inserted between the shoulders, rising up from the withers without any convexity.
WITHERS - Well defined and long, with a smooth transition from the back to the neck. Always higher than the croup.
CHEST - of medium size, deep and muscular.
RIBCAGE - Well developed, long and deep with the ribs obliquely arched into the joint with the spinal column which promotes a short and full flank.
SHOULDERS - Long, slanting and well muscled.
BACK - Well defined and tending towards the horizontal making a smooth union between the withers and loins.
LOINS - Short, wide, muscular, slightly convex, well connected with the back and croup with which they form a continuous harmonious line.
CROUP - Strong and rounded, well balanced, slightly slanting, the length and width should be of identical proportions, 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 as the croup, being of long, silky and abundant hair.
LEGS - The forelegs are well muscled and harmoniously inclined. The upper arm straight and muscular. The cannons slight 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, making the gaskin in the same vertical line as the hip bone. The leg is slightly long from the hock making the point of the hock in the same vertical line of the point of the buttock. The hocks are large, strong and dry. The back legs present a picture of relatively closed angles.