Already in Roman times, the Iberian Peninsula was known for its fantastic horses, very popular with the mighty of this world. They were considered very beautiful, courageous, strong and fast. According to the legend, the mares were fertilized by the wind, hence they were called the "Sons of the Wind".
The reputation of the Iberian horse has been maintained for thousands of years. In the Middle Ages, this was the most wanted horse for its capacity in war. William the Conqueror rode these horses in the famous "Battle of Hastings" in 1066. During the following centuries, this horse was a "must" at every european court. Some of these horses were painted in famous portraits, with or without their kings. They were also used in the riding academies all over Europe, the most famous being "The School of Versailles".
The oldest riding horse in the world now enters the 21st century with the goal of reconquering the position they had under the Greek and Roman periods, when they were considered the best in the world.
The Portuguese breeders, contrary to the Spanish ones, continued to breed, maybe not for battles, but for another kind of fight, the one with the bull, why the functionality, the physical as well as the mental, always was considered as the most important quality of the horse.
The Lusitano of today, a thourroughbred as well as the English and the Arabian ones, is the result of the efforts made by the Portuguese breeders in selection, bloodlines and renewal inside the breed.
There are four bloodlines, which are Veiga, Andrade, Coudelària Nacional and Alter Real. The size of the horses varies, but in the pattern of the breed, stipulated by APSL, the mares should be around 155 and the stallions around 160. However, the Lusitano shows a tendancy of growing bigger, which is what a lot of breeders, riders and clients like, whithout losing the characteristics, for which we love and appreciate them so much and with that everyone agrees. There is probably going to be two kinds of breeders, the ones wanting to breed an international, bigger sporthorse and the ones wanting to breed the original, smaller bullfighting type.
Since 1965 the Lusitano has its own Stud Book which contains three parts:
Livro do Nascimento, where every newborn foal by approved parents has the right to be registered
Livro dos Adultos, where all approved stallions and mares are registered
Livro do Merito to which only specially qualified horses have access
The Lusitano is an exclusive breed with not much more than approximately 12.000 around the world.
Brazil is the biggest country after Portugal and the others are spread in Spain, France, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Tchecoslovakia, Poland, Australia, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, South Africa, China and Thailand
and maybe some more countries.