The Lusitano Breed
The Lusitano originates from the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal. Over 15,000 years of evolution from indigenous horses, along with horses introduced during times of war, have formed what is now known as the Pure Sange Lusitano.
Though the Spanish horses and the Lusitano have both developed from the Iberian horse...they are two very different breeds. Portugal has always been a separate country from Spain. The Portuguese people have their own language, their own traditions and customs, and their own horses.
At the beginning of the 18th Century, King Felipe V of Spain did away with bullfighting from horseback. Spanish horses were being selected for beauty over functionality, as well as preferred colors of grey and bay. The Portuguese were continuing to breed for functionality and versatility, with an emphasis of intelligence and disposition.
In 1912, the Spanish studbook was established, along with moving away from the Iberian or Andalusian name, to Pure Raza Espanola. Along with a name change, came a specific goal for the PRE breed...to breed out any Iberian Factor, in favor of the more Oriental look; and excluding any sub-convex profile from breeding stock.
The Portuguese breeders continued developing their horses, keeping pedigree books which date back to 1824. These books can be used to trace back eleven generations and almost 200 years of Lusitano breeding.
In 1989, the Associação Portuguesa de Criadores do Cavalo Puro Sangue Lustano/Portuguese Association of Pure Blood Lusitano Horse Breeders (APSL) was formed and the studbook was officially closed.
APSL travels to other countries with populations of Lusitanos to inspect and grade horses for acceptance in the studbook for breeding.