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Race of portuguese horses, is one of the purest products of this country. Its origin has been lost through times, subsisting even evidences it has been ridden for more than 5000 years. That fact proves we are speaking about the most ancient saddle horse of the world. It joins everything: beauty, strenght, flexibility and gentleness. Portuguese people have been devellopping this...
Lusitano Horse
THE STANDARD FOR THE LUSITANO BREED

1. TYPE: Middleweight (weight around 500 Kgs.) "Mediumlined"; subconvex profile throughout the body (with rounded outlines the silhouette of which can be fitted into a square).

2. HEIGHT: Medium, to be measured at the withers a measuring stick at the age of 6 years.
Average Height - Females - 1.55 m (nearest conversion 15.1 h.h.);
Males - 1.60 m (15.3 h.h.).

3. COAT: The most appreciated and esteemed are all shades of grey and bay.

4. TEMPERAMENT: Noble, generous and ardent, but always gentle and able to support duress.

5. MOVEMENTS: Agile, elevated forward, smooth and having a great facility to carry the rider in confort.

6. APTITUDE: 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.).

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

8. NECK: 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 convexity.

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

10. CHEST: Of medium size, deep and muscular.

11. RIBCAGE: Well developed, long and deep with the ribs obliquely arched into the join with the spinal column which promotes a short and full flank.

12. SHOULDERS: Long, slanting and well muscled.

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

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


15. 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 eliptical shape.
The tail emerges from the same line as the croup, being of long, silky and abundant hair.

16. LEGS: The forelegs are well muscled, and harmoniously inclined.
The upper arm straight and muscular.
The cannons slightly 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 a short, and is orientated in such a way that the patella or gaskin is in the same vertical line as the hip bone, or point of the hip.
The leg is slightly long from hock which puts the point of the hock in the same vertical line as the point of the buttock.
The hocks are large, strong and dry.
The back legs present a picture of relatively closed angles.

horse

History

The existence of several studies about this subject has demonstrated us that the Lusitan horse we know
nowadays, results from the evolution and selection of a primitive horse, whose most remote vestiges were found out in Portugal, along the hot plains of the south of the country. (Escoural caves – from the 17th to the 18th millenium a.C.).
In these pre-historical drawings, it is amazing  the morphologic resemblance with the actual  lusitan horse,  chiefly on the caracteristic shape of its neck and on the convex profile.
This quick horse, whose stature and bony structure was enough to support the weight of a man, constituted a real gift of nature to the people of the peninsula, who domesticated and dared to ride it.
Beyond the fact of having been transformed in a new and fast means of transport, this horse has even assumed a particular importance in the skimishes, which the several iberian tribes braked constantly among them, trying the possession of the territories.
In this part of the world, the utilization, in fights, of ridden horses, remounts to the 5th or 4th millenium a.C., as it has been demonstrated through the discovery of anti-riders weapons, dated from that time. There are nowhere evidences of the existence of ridden horses so long ago.
It’s a fact that, elsewhere, as in Greece or in Egypt, the horse had already been used, although its utilization had always been done as a pulling animal, leashed to the war cars. This allows us to conclude that, the riding itself, has an iberian origin and that, the peninsular horse is the first known saddle horse.
The way of fighting, by horse, of the iberian people, became characteristic. In fact, their riders made evolutions in the battle fields, owing to the obedience and agility of their horses, what made things harder to their enemies. Such a riding, based on the fast transitions and quick changes of direction, was showed to the world by the Cynetes, when this tribe of the south-west of the peninsula fought in Greece against the Atenienses, helping the victory of the Espartans in the Peleponeso war (4th century a.C.). Such a fact justifies the origin of the word “gineta”, used still nowadays to classify this way of riding.
Having been selected for several centuries, as a support of a specific technique of fighting, the peninsula horse goes on surprising, through its unusual capacities, everyone who fights against it.
This happened with the Romans and the Moors, who found it later in the peninsula and quickly recognised its undeniable qualities.
Later on, in the middle of the 15th century, it’s taken to Italy by the spanish army, in order to interfere in the war, which was being braked there, against the french, by Fernando of Aragon, whose purpose consisted in the conquest of the Naples kingdom. It becomes known beyond pirineus, and, from that time on, it is looked for by all the european aristocracy.
It’s also in the base of the appearance of the academy of Naples, whose foundation permits riding to be faced as a science and to be studied by notable masters who, following the example given by the king D. Duarte of Portugal (who, about one houndred years before, had written the first book there is about the subject in Europe), leave their knowledges and experience registered in precious treaties of riding.
Time goes by, and the tecnologic evolution contributes to take out to the horse the important place it had assumed along the history. Its utilization becomes nearly exclusively sportive, in several hippic modalities we know nowadays. All over Europe, new races of saddle, with characteristics exclusively adapted to the sportive riding, appear, and the peninsular horse, a true support of the constitution of all of them, begins, apparently, being put aside.
However, Portugal mantains a particular tradition, riding bullfights. Here, one must go on taking advantage of all the qualities which became famous the most ancient saddle horse of the world. Just like it had happened many years ago, in the battle fields, the show of brave bulls has permitted to portuguese people to preserve the operation of their horses.
To mantain ancestral traditions, Portugal goes on producing horses, whose vigour, courage, flexibility and docility go on being determinant characteristics. Considering that, the lusitano horse associates, to all of these referred characteristics, an extraordinary beauty, we must declare, without any risk, that it is, probably, the best saddle horse of the world.