Lusitano Horses: Horse Breed Information

Lusitano horses

The Lusitano horse is an old horse breed that traces its roots back to the Iberian Peninsula, where it first emerged thousands of years ago.

Despite its documented history, the breed’s early origins remain a topic of great speculation and mystery.

One thing we know for sure, however, is that this magnificent animal’s unique looks and kind temperament have captured the imagination and admiration of countless individuals, including heroic figures and members of royalty, over the course of many centuries.

As a baroque-style horse, the Lusitano boasts features typical of European Baroque-era horses, contributing to their unique and elegant appearance.

The Lusitano horse, a majestic equine breed with a rich history dating back several millennia in the Iberian Peninsula, still holds many secrets concerning its origins.

Despite their historical status, Lusitanos remain highly prized in the present day and serve as a symbol of prestige.

They excel in equestrian disciplines such as driving, dressage, and pleasure riding, showcasing their exceptional performance capabilities and maintaining their coveted status.


Breed: Lusitano Horse

Other Names: Puro Sangue Lusitano, Portuguese Horse, Peninsular Horse, Betico-Lusitano

Origin: 16th-17th Century

Place Of Origin: Portugal

Horse Type: Baroque Horse, Sport Horse, Riding Horse, Show Horse

Blood Type: Warmblood

Lifespan: 25-30 Years

Adult Height: 15-16 Hands

Adult Weight: 900-1100 Pounds

Colors: All Colors, Most Common Is Bay, Chestnut And Grey

Physical Traits: Medium-sized, muscular, baroque-type, the profile is convex with a deep, short-coupled body and a large head, almond-shaped eyes, sturdy, arched neck, a sloped croup and short cannon bones; the mane and the low-set tail is dense and graceful

Movement: Energetic, Smooth, Agile, Sure-Footed, Well Balanced, Quick, Natural Elevated Action

Temperament: Spirited, Gentle, Intelligent, Noble, Generous, Enduring, Courageous, Friendly, Kind

Use: Classical Dressage, Driving, Cattlework, Eventing, Pleasure Riding, Bullfighting

Associations And Registries: International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association, Apsl (Portugal)


Lusitano Horse Characteristics 

Lusitano horses are an amazing breed with a fascinating history and exceptional performance in several equestrian disciplines.

These horses love to show off their movement and agility, particularly their unparalleled moves in the bullfighting arena.

Along with their agility and strength, they possess tremendous presence.

They descended from horses during the European Baroque era, giving them distinctive baroque-type features that make them stand out among horses.

The Lusitano horse’s appearance is one of its most striking features. Their body is a compact package with a short back and is medium-sized, typical of the Portuguese horse breed.

This is enhanced by the look of their arched neck and powerful hindquarters.

All these qualities contribute to a proud and elegant appearance, which is unique among baroque type horses.

Lusitano Height

Understanding the Average Height of the Lusitano Horse

The Lusitano horse is a magnificent baroque breed that has become increasingly popular among equestrians worldwide.

As a medium-sized horse, the breed tends to be at an average height of 15.1 hands for females and 15.3 hands for males at the age of six years.

However, it’s essential to note that there are some Lusitanos that can grow over 16 hands, making them taller than the breed standard.

The Lusitano size is average for light horse breeds, but the horse’s muscle weight makes up for its medium size, giving it a more substantial appearance.

Factors That Affect the Lusitano Horse’s Height

While the average height of the Lusitano horse is 15.1 to 15.3 hands, the breed’s height can vary depending on several factors.

  • Genes play a crucial role in determining the horse’s height, and a Lusitano with taller parents is likely to be taller as well.
  • Crossbreeding with other horse breeds can also influence the horse’s height.
  • Additionally, factors such as nutrition and overall health can impact the horse’s growth and development.

Lusitano Weight 

Lusitano Horse Weight According to Official Standards

According to the official breeding standards of the Lusitano-Interagro, a recognized breeding society, the Lusitano horse is classified as “middleweight” with an average weight of around 500 kg or 1100 lbs.

This weight range is within the average weight of other light horse breeds.

Lusitano Horse Weight Range

Though the official weight of the Lusitano horse is around 1100 lbs (500kg), the weight range of this breed can vary.

The weight range can be affected by factors such as:

  • age
  • height
  • build
  • bloodline
  • gender
  • lifestyle

Generally, medium-sized Lusitanos will have a weight range of 900-1100 pounds.

Some Lusitano horses bred for athleticism and speed are lighter, while others bred for their strength and endurance may be heavier.

Lusitano Conformation

The Lusitano horse is renowned for the distinct physical attributes that set it apart from other breeds. Its build is characterized by a deep, broad chest, well-sloped shoulders, and a short, strong back.

Additionally, its muscular loins, strong, straight legs, and tough hooves contribute to its agility, strength, and endurance.

Head and Neck Characteristics of the Lusitano Horse

The head and neck of the Lusitano horse are well-proportioned, with a medium-length head boasting a slightly sub-convex profile.

The breed is known for its expressive, confident, elliptical-shaped eyes and a neck of medium length with a fine hairline and deep base.

The Lusitano’s Chest, Shoulders, Back, and Croup

The Lusitano’s chest is of medium size, deep, and muscular, with a well-developed, long, and deep ribcage.

Its shoulders are long, slanting, and well-muscled, while its back is well-placed, tending towards the horizontal and making a smooth connection between the withers and the loins.

The croup is strong and rounded, well-balanced, slightly slanting, and has a harmonious convex profile with the point of the hip unobtrusive.

The Lusitano’s Muscular Legs and Tough Hooves

The Lusitano’s legs are well-muscled, with the forelegs being harmoniously inclined, the knees being thick and dry, and the cannons tending to be long, dry, and with well-pronounced tendons.

The hooves are of good quality, well-formed, and proportioned without being too open, and the line of the coronet is not very evident.

Lusitano Colors 

The Lusitano boasts a diverse range of coat colors. While the breeding standards for Lusitano horses do not limit the accepted colors, some shades are preferred over others.

The Most Desirable Lusitano Horse Colors

According to breeding standards, the most highly appreciated Lusitano horse colors are all shades of grey and bay.

These colors are a testament to the rich history and tradition of this noble breed.

While some rare colors, like palomino or cremello, might catch the eye, they are not as highly regarded within the Lusitano breed as the more traditional colors.

Exploring the Rainbow of Lusitano Horse Colors

Despite the high regard for grey and bay horses, Lusitanos come in almost every color imaginable. From the striking black to the dazzling white, these horses make for a rainbow of colors.

The Lusitano horse also comes in chestnut, dun, and even golden tones.

Lusitano Temperament 

Intelligence – A Unique Trait of the Lusitano Horse

Lusitano horses are known for their exceptional intelligence, which makes them stand out among other breeds.

Their natural ability to concentrate allows them to be quick learners, making them highly trainable animals. With this disposition, they are able to excel in various exercises, including combat, hunting, bullfighting, and cattle work.

Calmness, Bravery, and Stability – The Temperament of Lusitanos

Despite their passionate nature, Lusitanos are known for their calmness, bravery, and stability.

They are able to remain undaunted even in the face of a raging bull, showcasing their ability to handle pressure and duress. With their gentle and warm nature, they also make great companions both in and out of the saddle.

Elegance and Nobility – The Class and Refinement of Lusitanos

Lusitanos exude class and refinement, with their noble, generous, and ardent behavior.

This inherent grace and poise make them well-suited for the so-called “gineta exercises” that require agility, quick thinking, and bravery.

Their enthusiastic nature and natural courage further emphasize their elegance and nobility.

Lusitano Horse History

The Lusitano horse, one of the oldest breeds in Europe, has a rich and fascinating history mainly located on the Iberian Peninsula, encompassing modern-day Portugal and Spain.

This horse was referred to as Caballo Lusitano and had various uses throughout history.

The Lusitano’s heritage can be traced back through the medieval period, the great Roman crusades, and even into the BC era.

This breed has carried kings and heroes, and its captivating history has shaped it into the superior horse we know and love today.

The Early History of Iberian Horses

Humans on the Iberian Peninsula have a long history with horses dating back to 25,000 to 20,000 BC. Cave paintings in the area provide evidence of their existence.

The modern Lusitano is believed to have descended from the local wild horses, as studies comparing ancient and modern horse DNA indicate. These horses were used for war, with clear evidence of their use by Phoenicians and Celts.

The Formation of the Celtiberians and Renowned War Horses

By 800 BC, the Celtiberians, a powerful alliance formed by the Iberians and Celts, had emerged.

Horses bred in this area were renowned as war horses, and the Iberian horsemen were known for their advanced horsemanship and riding techniques.

Xenophon, a writer in the fourth century BC, praised the agility of the horses and the skill of the riders.

Legend claimed that the mares of the area were sired by the wind, and this bond between humans and horses may have inspired the centaur.

The Influence of Carthaginians and Romans

Later, Carthaginians and Romans invaded the area and established stud farms that bred cavalry horses for the Roman army.

These civilizations contributed outside blood to the ancestry of the modern Iberian breeds.

The Crossbreeding of Barb and Iberian Horses

When the Umayyad Muslims invaded the Iberian peninsula in 711 AD, they brought with them the Barb horse from North Africa, which was then crossed with native Iberian horses.

The resulting crossbreed produced a superior war horse that became known as the Iberian war horse.

the Sorraia Ancestry

Portuguese historian Ruy d’Andrade hypothesized that the Sorraia breed was an ancestor of the Southern Iberian breeds, including the Lusitano.

However, genetic studies show that the Sorraia is part of a genetic cluster largely separated from most Iberian breeds, and Sorraia lineages in Iberian breeds are relatively recent, dating to the Middle Ages.

While studying the DNA of Lusitano horses and their family history, researchers found a female horse named Pomba who was related to both Lusitano and Sorraia breeds.

They looked at the DNA of 16 horses descended from Pomba and found that they all had the same DNA sequence.

This sequence is common in horses from Iberia, South America, and North Africa. This shows that the Sorraia breed is closely related to other Iberian horse breeds.

It also suggests that horse breeds can be mixed and matched, so some horses from different breeds can have the same DNA.

Naming of Horse Breeds in Europe

In the past, horse breeds in Europe were identified by the region where they were bred.

The Lusitano, a horse breed from Portugal, was named after the ancient Roman name for the region, Lusitania. Similarly, the Andalusian, a breed from Spain, was named after the region of Andalusia.

The Influence of Spanish Horses on Portuguese Cavalry

During the 16th and 17th centuries, horses were regularly exchanged between Spain and Portugal. Spanish horses were used to improve the Portuguese cavalry, which played a vital role in the successful restoration war against Spain from 1640 to 1668.

However, during the reign of Philip III of Portugal, the country’s horse breeding industry hit a low point due to Spanish laws that halted the production of cavalry horses.

The Secret Farms that Led to the Modern Lusitano Breed

Despite the Spanish laws, secret stud farms were established in Portugal and served as the foundation for the modern Lusitano breed.

These farms were run in secrecy, with horses smuggled or stolen from Spain.

The Influence of the British Royal Family on Lusitano Horses

In 1662, Charles II of England married Catherine of Braganza of Portugal, and the royal dowry included Portugal’s Tangier and Bombay garrisons.

These garrisons included large groups of Portuguese cavalry, mounted on Iberian horses, which likely included Lusitano horses.

Difference between Andalusian and Lusitano Horses

Andalusian and Lusitano horses have a rich history, with different characteristics and uses in Spain and Portugal.

Andalusian horses were bred for their unique features and became highly valued as mounts for kings, nobles, and warriors in Spain.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, they were prized for their fiery nature and used as bullfighter’s mounts. Over time, the two breeds developed enough differences that separate registries were established for each by the 1960s.

The Lusitano differs from the Andalusian through having a more sloped croup, a lower-set tail, and a more convex head profile. The mane and tail are extremely thick in both breeds.

-Edwards, The Encyclopedia of the Horse, p. 107

Despite this differentiation, some sources suggest that Andalusian and Lusitano horses are genetically identical breeds. The only difference between them is their country of origin.

While the two breeds may share a genetic heritage, their distinct histories and uses in Spain and Portugal have resulted in unique traits and characteristics that set them apart today.

Thanks to separate registries, both breeds are now recognized as separate entities.

From Andalusian to Lusitano: The Evolution of a Name

The Iberian-type horse, now known as the Lusitano, was once called the Andalusian in both Portugal and Spain prior to the 1960s. In 1966, Portugal adopted the Lusitano name after the two countries separated their studbooks.

This change in name marked the beginning of a new era for the breed.

The Impact of Political Turmoil on the Lusitano Breed

Portugal’s revolutions in its African colonies in the 1970s caused an economic collapse, affecting the landed class and the horse breeding industry.

Political agitators forced estates to be vacated, stud farms to be broken up, and horses to be sold to Spain.

Despite these challenges, dedicated breeders saved the best lines of Lusitano horses and worked to increase breeding efforts.

A Global Presence: Lusitanos around the World

Today, the Lusitano horse breed is mainly bred in Portugal and Brazil. However, it also has a presence in many other countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, Great Britain, and South Africa.

Crossbred horses of partial Lusitano blood are especially popular when crossed with Andalusian, Arabian, or Thoroughbred blood.

Despite their widespread presence around the world, the Lusitano horse remains a valiant steed with a willing spirit, a brave heart, and an intelligent mind.

Discovering the Six Foundation Horses of Portuguese Horse Breeds

Understanding the Differences between Andrade, Veiga, and Coudelaria Nacional

The Portuguese stud book recognizes six horses, known as the “heads of lineage,” that are the foundation horses of the three main breed lineages: Andrade, Veiga, and Coudelaria Nacional.

Each of these lineages meets breed standards but differs in individual characteristics.

Let’s explore the six foundation horses and understand the differences between the three main breed lineages.

The Andrade Lineage

The Andrade lineage is one of the three main breed lineages that originated from the six foundation horses. The black Lusitano is the foundation horse of this lineage. The Andrade lineage is known for its athleticism and versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of equestrian disciplines. These horses are known for their powerful hindquarters and their agility, which make them excel in dressage and working equitation.

The Veiga Lineage

The Veiga lineage is another of the three main breed lineages that originated from the six foundation horses. Agareno, a 1931 Veiga stallion, out of Bagocha, by Lidador, is the foundation horse of this lineage. The Veiga lineage is known for its elegant appearance and noble demeanor. These horses are often used in bullfighting due to their bravery and quick reflexes. They are also popular in dressage and jumping.

The Coudelaria Nacional Lineage

The Coudelaria Nacional lineage is the third main breed lineage that originated from the six foundation horses. Hucharia, a 1943 Coudelaria Nacional mare, out of Viscaina, by Cartujano, is the foundation mare of this lineage. The Coudelaria Nacional lineage is known for its superior temperament and rideability, making them suitable for amateurs and professionals alike. These horses are often used in classical dressage and show jumping.

Individual Characteristics of Foundation Horses

While all three lineages share common characteristics, the individual foundation horses also have distinct qualities that make them unique.

  1. Agareno, a 1931 Veiga stallion, out of Bagocha, by Lidador
  2. Primorosa, a 1927 Dominquez Hermanos stallion, out of Primorosa II, by Presumido, has a compact and muscular physique that makes him suitable for working equitation.
  3. Destinado, a 1930 Dominquez Hermanos stallion, out of Destinada, by Alegre II, has a refined and elegant appearance that makes him popular in dressage.
  4. Marialva II, a 1930 Antonio Fontes Pereira de Melo stallion, out of Campina, by Marialva, is known for his exceptional jumping ability and is often used in show jumping.
  5. Regedor, a 1923 Alter Real stallion, out of Gavina, by Gavioto, has a strong and powerful build that makes him suitable for working equitation.
  6. Hucharia, a 1943 Coudelaria Nacional mare, out of Viscaina, by Cartujano



The Alter Real Horse

The Alter Real horse is a rare strain of Lusitano horses from Portugal, yet also its own distinct breed with the following key points:

  • Developed by Portuguese king Joao V with Spanish mares to improve Portuguese horse stock
  • Brown coat, black mane and tail, and smaller head with a relatively straight profile
  • Faced near-extinction multiple times throughout history
  • Only bred at the Alter Real Stud in Portugal, established in 1748 as part of a new stud policy.



The Most Famous Lusitano Horses and Their Achievements

Over the years, many Lusitano horses have become famous for their outstanding performances in various disciplines, including dressage and hunting.

Let’s explore some of the most notable Lusitano horses and their achievements.

Coroado – The First Lusitano to Achieve More Than 80% in a Kur to Music

Maria Caetano, a Portuguese rider, and her beautiful grey Lusitano gelding Coroado made history at the 2018 CDI-W Mechelen.

They became the first pair ever to achieve more than 80% in a Kur to Music, a freestyle dressage test set to music.

Coroado’s impeccable movements, combined with Maria’s expert riding, earned them high praise and cemented their place in the record books.

Felix de Tineo – The Rising Star of Olympic Dressage

Felix de Tineo, a Lusitano stallion owned by Maria Caetano, made his debut at the Grand Prix dressage at the Tokyo Olympics.

He was chosen as a replacement for his injured brother Coroado, but he proved himself to be a worthy competitor.

Felix’s graceful movements and impeccable training wowed the audience and judges alike, earning him a spot in the Olympic record books.

Talisco – The Iconic Lusitano Stallion

Talisco, a 22-year-old grey Lusitano stallion, is one of the most iconic horses of his breed. He competed in dressage with excellent results, and his offspring often became famous Lusitanos themselves.

Talisco comes from the prestigious Lusit Studbook, which is known for producing some of the finest Lusitano horses in the world.

His legacy lives on through his many foals, who continue to wow audiences with their grace and beauty.

Lusitano galloping on beach

Myths and Legends 

The Portuguese have been quite vocal and poetic back in the day, which is why we do know about some Lusitano horse legends. Some legends and myths regarding this prestigious horse breed are surrounding either their appearance, their spirit, and especially their speed. Even Homer mentioned the horses from Iberia. 

Centaur  

Legend has it that the strong bond that existed between Iberian Horses and the Iberians was so strong and intimate that it inspired the idea of the famous mystical creature of the centaur.

The centaur is half-human, half-horse, whereas the upper body is that of a human, and the lower body parts are that of a horse.

Horse from the Wind 

The Portuguese horse of Iberia, which is nowadays called Lusitano, has supposedly been born from the wind.

Or at least some ancient legends claim that Lusitano mares have been sired by the wind which is why they are very swift and fast horses.

Supposedly these magical mares passed their special traits off to their foals then. 

Lusitano working equitation

Lusitano Horses Today

Breeding 

Today, the APSL is responsible for breeding, registering, inspecting, grading, promoting, and protecting the Lusitano breed worldwide.

Understanding Lusitano Horse Registration

To be classified as a purebred Lusitano horse, the horse must be registered in the APSL studbook and both parents must be approved for breeding and registered.

A foal born from unapproved or unregistered parents will not be accepted. It is important to note that a crossbred Lusitano can also have a blue book, but this does not make it a purebred Lusitano.

Blood tests and/or DNA samples are required from the parents to ensure all offspring have proof of their parentage. To check if a Lusitano is registered as purebred and approved for breeding, you need to have the horse’s full name, the name of the breeder, and their NIN/Chip/UELN.

This information allows you to search the APSL’s public access to the studbook on their website, where you can find the horse’s details, including date of birth, color, breeder, owner, and bloodlines.

Grading Shows and Approval for Breeding

Stallions must be shown at a grading show organized by the APSL, while mares can be presented at home, in front of an APSL committee, to be approved for breeding.

The assessors evaluate each horse’s natural gaits, and in the morphological assessment, each animal is graded against the standard characteristics of the Lusitano horse.

Every part listed is marked out of 10, and any area that scores less than 5 or two marks of 6 will prevent the horse from being approved for breeding and registered in the adult studbook.

Interagro Lusitanos

The Largest Lusitano Breeding Operation: Interagro Lusitanos in Brazil is one of the most significant Lusitano breeding operations globally.

They began developing in 1975 and are now the world’s largest breeder of purebred Lusitano horses, with the three main Lusitano bloodlines of Veiga, Andrade, and Coudelaria Nacional.

Interagro Lusitanos breeds horses for driving, working equitation, classical dressage, and leisure riding.

Population 

While the Lusitano horse population is not generally endangered, the breed is considered super rare in the United States, with a registered population of only about 16,000.

In contrast, the majority of Lusitanos are located and bred in Portugal, Brazil, and Spain, where they are often used as horses for bullfighting.

The global population of registered Lusitano horses is approximately 60,000, which is not as low as other endangered breeds, but it can still be difficult to find Lusitanos in some states in the US.

Lusitano dressage

Uses 

Today, this remarkable breed can be found in international disciplines, including high-level combined driving competitions. Let’s explore the different uses of Lusitanos in various equestrian sports.

Classical Dressage: A Historical Origin

Lusitanos were originally bred for classical dressage, a highly skilled form of riding where the horse and rider move in unison to perform intricate and precise movements. The breed’s natural ability to collect and extend its gaits, combined with its strong build and temperament, made it an ideal choice for this discipline.

Driving: A Competitive Sport

Lusitanos have also made their mark in driving competitions. In 1995, a four-in-hand team driven by Belgian Felix Brasseur won the FEI Driving World Cup, and the World Championships in 1996. Brasseur took the gold medal in four-in-hand driving at the World Equestrian Games in 2006 with a team composed solely of Lusitanos. This proves the breed’s exceptional power, agility, and grace on the driving field.

Bullfighting: A cultural Sport

Lusitanos are still used for mounted bullfighting today, where the bull is not killed and the rider must keep their horse under control and out of harm’s way. Horses bred for this sport must be agile and calm, even when confronted by a bull. The breed’s strong build, athleticism, and intelligence make it a perfect choice for mounted bullfighting.

Breeding and Crossbreeding

Lusitanos were also used for breeding Colorado Ranger horses between 1980 and 1987, although this crossbreeding is no longer allowed by the breed registry. Furthermore, an Alter Real stallion taken to Brazil prior to Napoleon’s invasion became a foundation stallion of the Mangalarga Marchador breed.

Lusitano care

Lusitano Horse Care

Caring for a Lusitano horse can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires specific attention to their needs. They are known for having high energy and an eager temperament.

This makes them a joy to work with, but also more work to keep happy. Proper grooming, nutrition, exercise, and attention to their mental well-being are all key factors in maintaining your Lusitano horse’s health, happiness, and overall well-being.

Keep reading to learn how to keep your Lusitano horse healthy, happy, and looking their best with these helpful tips on grooming, nutrition, and mental well-being.

Diet and Nutrition For Lusitano Horses

The Natural Diet of the Lusitano Breed

The diet of the Lusitano breed has evolved over thousands of years to adapt to the dry forages and low protein grains found in the warmer lower prairies of the Iberian peninsula.

The Challenges of Modern Feeding Regimes for the Lusitano Breed

As the Lusitano breed becomes increasingly popular around the world, horse owners face the challenge of adapting the breed’s natural feeding regime to the different climates and types of feed available in other regions.

Equine Nutrition Research and Changes in Horse Use

With the decline of the use of horses for transportation and the increased use of horses for pleasure and leisure purposes, equine nutrition research has grown in recent years.

Adapting Feeding Regimes to the Unique Nutritional Needs of the Lusitano Breed

Due to the Lusitano breed’s natural tendency for peripheral insulin resistance and adaptation to low-energy feed regimes, it is important to approach feeding regimes for this breed with caution and to seek advice from a veterinarian or nutritionist.

Modern Feeding Regimes for the Lusitano Breed

Modern feeding regimes for the Lusitano breed include high levels of fiber with a balanced protein/energy ratio intake based on higher levels of vegetable oils and lower starch content.

Health Problems in Lusitanos

Like any horse breed, Lusitanos are susceptible to certain health concerns and genetic issues that can impact their well-being. In this section, you can get a better idea of some of the most common health concerns for Lusitano horses. We will also go over how horse owners can take preventative measures to keep their horses healthy.

Equine Degenerative Myeloencephalopathy (EDM)

Equine Degenerative Myeloencephalopathy, or EDM, is a neurodegenerative disorder in horses. Young horses with this disorder will start to lose their balance and eventually become unable to move. While it has been associated with low vitamin E concentrations, it has also been found in the genetics of Lusitano horses. Horse owners should keep a close eye on their horse’s movement and coordination. If you suspect your Lusitano horse may be suffering from EDM, it’s essential to contact a veterinarian immediately for testing and treatment.

Melanomas

Another common issue for Lusitano horses is melanomas. This type of skin cancer mostly affects light-colored horses because their skin doesn’t have enough pigmentation to protect it. These tumors can form in areas with thin hair, such as the muzzle and around the tail, and can be dangerous if not monitored. Horse owners should check their Lusitano horses regularly for any unusual bumps or growths and have them checked by a veterinarian if they notice anything out of the ordinary.

Osteoarthritis

Radiographs have shown that Lusitano horses tend to have few osteoarthritis lesions, and when they do occur, they are relatively minor. However, proper care and nutrition can help prevent or minimize these issues.

To help prevent the onset of osteoarthritis horse owners should make sure that their Lusitano horses have:

  • access to regular exercise
  • a healthy diet
  • a comfortable living environment

Piroplasmosis

Piroplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite that infects red blood cells. The disease is endemic to Portugal and Spain. While most horses that test positive for it do not show any signs of disease, it’s essential to regularly test for this disease to detect any issues early on.

Horse owners should also take preventative measures to minimize the risk of infection such as

  • using tick repellent
  • maintaining a clean living environment

Lusitano Stallion

Grooming tips for Lusitanos 

The Importance of Regular Grooming for Lusitano Horses

It’s essential to keep your Lusitano appearance and well-being a top priority. Regular grooming is crucial for maintaining your horse’s health. This promotes a healthy coat and strengthens your bond with your horse. By grooming your Lusitano daily, you’ll be able to spot any potential issues and address them before they become a more significant problem.

Proper Daily Maintenance for Your Lusitano

To properly groom your Lusitano, you should perform daily maintenance, including brushing the coat and detangling the tail. Since Lusitano skin can be sensitive and prone to irritation or sunburn, it’s crucial to keep your horse’s coat well-maintained and use horse-friendly sunscreen on lightly-haired areas like the muzzle, ears, and belly if you live in a sunny area.

Washing Your Lusitano’s Mane and Tail

When it comes to washing your Lusitano’s mane and tail, you should pay attention to the base at the roots where the hair grows out. Scrub and massage the roots to break up dirt and oil deposits, and focus on scrubbing the underside of the mane and tail, which tends to be the dirtiest part. It’s important not to use too much conditioner, as it can clump up and attract dirt. So to prevent this add a bit of water to the conditioner to help it spread evenly throughout the hair. Once the hair is dry, consider using a leave-in conditioner. This replenishes any natural oils that were stripped away during the cleaning process.

Protecting Your Lusitano’s Mane with Braids

After cleaning and conditioning your Lusitano’s mane and tail, consider braiding it to protect it from dirt, matting, and sunlight bleaching. Braiding can also reduce breakage and over-brushing, which can cause damage to your horse’s hair. Daily grooming requires little expense but can have significant benefits for your horse’s health and soundness, including increased skin circulation.

Mental Well-Being of Your Lusitano Horse

It’s important to prioritize your horse’s mental well-being not just their physical health. These horses possess a high level of energy and intelligence, which means they require proper mental stimulation to maintain their overall health.

Here are some essential tips for keeping your Lusitano horse mentally healthy and happy.

Providing Daily Exercise and Turnout:

Horses require daily exercise and turnout to maintain their physical and mental health. Lusitanos, in particular, need plenty of exercise and turnout time to release their excess energy and prevent boredom.

Here are some tips for providing daily exercise and turnout for your Lusitano horse:

  • Provide ample turnout time in a paddock or pasture.
  • Engage your horse in new activities, such as trail riding or introducing new obstacles in the arena.
  • Incorporate playtime with your horse to keep them mentally stimulated.

Socialization with Other Horses:

Horses are social animals and require interaction with other horses to maintain their mental health.

Here are some tips for socializing your Lusitano horse:

  • Provide your horse with the opportunity to interact with other horses on a regular basis.
  • Allow them to form bonds and establish a herd hierarchy.
  • Consider providing a companion animal for your horse if they are kept in a stall for extended periods.

Creating a Positive and Supportive Environment:

Lusitano horses aim to please and possess a higher-than-average level of mentality. As a responsible owner, it’s important to provide a comfortable environment for your horse.

Here are some tips for creating a positive and supportive environment for your Lusitano horse:

  • Regularly interact with your horse and provide consistent training.
  • Offer plenty of praise and rewards for good behavior.
  • Avoid using negative reinforcement, such as harsh punishment or reprimands.

Grey Lusitano

Buying A LUSITANO hORSE

is a Lusitano The Right Breed For You?

Deciding on the right breed of horse for you depends on various factors, including your experience, riding goals, and lifestyle.

If you are considering the Lusitano breed, here are some things to consider:

  • Experience: Lusitanos are highly intelligent and sensitive horses that require a skilled and experienced rider. If you are a beginner, you may want to consider a more docile breed of horse.
  • Riding goals: Lusitanos excel in various equestrian disciplines, including dressage, jumping, eventing, driving, and bullfighting. If you have competitive goals in any of these areas, the Lusitano may be the perfect fit.
  • Personality: Lusitanos are known for their courage, willingness to work, and high energy. They require regular exercise and stimulation to maintain their physical and mental health. If you have an active lifestyle and enjoy working with horses, the Lusitano may be a great fit for you.

Ultimately, the decision to choose a Lusitano breed of horse comes down to your personal preferences and goals.

It’s important to do your research, work with a reputable breeder or trainer, and spend time with the breed to ensure that it’s the right fit for you.

Where to Find Lusitano Horses for Sale

If you’re looking to buy a Lusitano horse, there are several websites where you can find them for sale.



Places to find Lusitanos for sale:



Each site has a variety of horses available for purchase, with different prices and features to choose from. Check out more horse-classified ad sites to see more Lusitanos for sale.

Lusitano Horse Price Range

Looking at EquineNow the current price range on this site for Lusitano horses as of March 2023 is $4,500 to $45,000.

On DreamHorse you are looking at starting price of $4500 as well.

The average price for a Lusitano in the USA seems to be priced somewhere between $10,000-$30,000.

You may be able to get a cheaper price if you buy a Lusitano foal, a senior, or buy one directly from Portugal. However, you need to consider the costs of importing if that is something you wanted to do.

On the other hand, according to the Lusitanos on Ehorses you can spend over $100,000 for a prestigious well bred, or proven competition horse.

Factors That Affect Lusitano Horse Prices

There are several factors that can affect the price of a Lusitano horse.

Factors affecting price include:

  • the age of the horse
  • its training level
  • its bloodline

Learn more about the costs of buying a horse and the things that affect the horse’s purchase price.

Tips for Buying Lusitano Horses

When buying a Lusitano horse, there are several things to consider.

  1. First, make sure to do your research and find a reputable seller. Look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers to get an idea of the seller’s reputation.
  2. Second, consider the horse’s age, training level, and bloodline.
  3. Bring a second opinion, trainer, instructor, or experienced horse person.
  4. Ask any necessary questions to make sure that the horse is the right fit.
  5. Handle and test-ride the horse.
  6. Finally, if you want to move forward with the horse have a veterinarian examine it to ensure that it is healthy and free of any major health issues.

Chestnut Lusitano

Lusitano Horse FAQs

Q: Are Lusitano horses rare?

A: While Lusitano horses may not be as common as some breeds, they are not considered rare. They can be found in many countries around the world, including Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and the United States.

Q: What are Lusitanos like to ride?

A: Lusitano horses are known for their smooth gaits, high energy, and willingness to work. They are quick and light on the aids, making them a joy to ride for both novice and experienced riders.

Q: Are Lusitano horses good jumpers?

A: While dressage is their most well-known discipline, Lusitano horses are also capable jumpers. Their athleticism, agility, and willingness to work make them a great choice for riders looking to compete in show jumping or eventing.

Q: Is a Lusitano a Warmblood?

A: While Lusitanos are not considered part of the traditional warmblood breeds, they are classified as warmblood in the blood temperament sense. They are more accurately considered a baroque type.

Q: Are Lusitano horses fast?

A: Lusitano horses are known for their versatility and athleticism rather than their speed.

While they are not considered the fastest breed, they are agile and quick, making them excellent competitors in dressage, jumping, and driving events.

Q: Are Lusitano horses good for beginners?

A: Lusitano horses are generally not recommended for beginner riders, as they are highly intelligent and require a skilled and experienced rider.

However, with proper training and handling, they can make excellent mounts for intermediate and advanced riders.

Q: Are they PRE horses?

A: Lusitanos are not PRE horses, but they are similar to Andalusians and PRE horses.

Lusitanos have a narrower and sub-convex head and a more slanting croup than Andalusians or PRE horses. They are considered to be more serious and bolder than the Andalusian or PRE with a great aptitude for concentration.

The spirited Lusitano possesses stronger and more muscular hindquarters than the Andalusian and PRE because of its traditional use in bullfighting.

Q: Are Lusitanos good dressage horses?

A: Yes, Lusitanos are excellent dressage horses. They have a unique, smooth, and agitated gait that makes them well-suited to the demands of dressage.

Their discipline, elegance, and athleticism make them a popular choice for competitive riders in this discipline.

Q: Are Lusitano horses gaited?

A: Lusitano horses are not considered gaited horses, but they do have very comfortable and smooth gaits due to their balance and athleticism.

You may be thinking about the Spanish Paso Fino which is considered to be a gaited horse.

Q: What are the famous Lusitano horses?

A: While there are many famous Lusitano horses, you may be thinking of the Lipizzan horses from the Spanish Riding School in Austria, which are often mistaken for Lusitanos.

Q: What are some interesting facts about the Lusitano?

A: The Lusitano horse is a breed that originated in Portugal and has a long history dating back to the 15th century. They are known for their intelligence, athleticism, and versatility, making them a popular choice for equestrians of all disciplines.

Some interesting facts about the Lusitano include:

  • They are often used for bullfighting in Portugal, where they demonstrate their bravery and agility in the ring.
  • The Lusitano breed was once considered a symbol of Portugal’s wealth and power, and it was even used in battle by the Portuguese army.
  • Lusitanos have a unique gait known as the “passage,” which is a highly collected, elevated trot that is very smooth and rhythmic.
  • They come in a range of colors, including gray, bay, black, and chestnut.

Cheers, Kacey

P.S. Did you like this article? Gallop over to:

Kacey Administrator
Kacey has been riding and working with horses since 1998. She got an A.S. in Equine Industries from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was also on the UMass dressage team. She was certified by the American Riding Instructors Association and is licensed to teach riding in Massachusetts. She has been a barn manager and has run a boarding and lesson barn. Kacey was a working student at several eventing and dressage barns. She has owned horses, leased horses, and trained horses from untouched to green as well as retrained racehorses. For more on Kacey, you can look at her About The Blog page.
follow me