Horses are nature’s way of telling us that untamed wildness remains the most beautiful. The Lusitano horse is one of the few wild horse species that humanity has barely tamed, an ancient breed that has a common descent with the Castilian horse. Throughout history, these horses were mostly used in the military, for farming work, as packhorses, and for transportation.
A notable characteristic of the Losino horse is its wild nature. It’s not a domestic breed artificially bred by humans but rather a wild breed we’ve tamed. This means Losino specimens are more like the stallions of old, with a glint of untamed savagery in their behavior.
Those who know their stuff will recognize the greatness of these horses. Keep reading to find out what makes Losino horses special!
History and Origin
The name Losino may not tell you anything but you should have heard of the Castilian breed or the kingdom of Castile. Losino horses are the direct descendants of the Castilian horses, a sub-type of Iberian horses. These breeds evolved naturally throughout Spain and Portugal ever since the ice age. They’ve literally had millennia of roaming polishing their physical characteristics.
Losino horses were a part of these ancient breeds who had to adapt to the mountainous and rocky terrains of the Losa Valley surroundings. When humans came to those areas, they began using horses for fieldwork and transportation.
That moment effectively changed the way we view horses today. As time went by, Losino horses were exported throughout the entirety of Spain, yet people tried to cross them with other species.
As humanity evolved technologically, we needed fewer and fewer horses because manual work wasn’t as essential anymore. This decreased the number of Losino mares to 60 in 1984, eventually.
There were so few mares left, and most of them hadn’t ever met a pure-blooded Losino stallion in their lives. People would mostly use these semi-wild mares to produce mules, so Losino foals were very scarce.
Back in the 1980s, attempts were made to gather the remaining Losino mares and bring them together into one place. No one wanted this horse species to go extinct. But by then, genetic purity was unclear at best, so professional breeders had to use size and build to ascertain whether a horse was of noble bloodline or just a half-breed.
Ever since then, the Losino populations have largely recovered, with modern-day Losinos numbering 370+ individuals.
Losino horses are a wild breed at their core. They’ve always been untamed until humans tried to alter their genetics in the last hundred years. To say the results were not great would be an understatement.
The thing is, based on my observations, indigenous horses and even other animals will always be the most suitable to their native habitats. Bringing other specimens over won’t lead to the same results.
– Size and Height
Losino horses are between 52.4 and 56 inches high. Some specimens can be shorter or taller than that, but those are rare cases. In general, most Losino horse specimens will be bulky and with a well-made stock, thanks to their wild genetics.
This breed spent most of its time trekking the mountains of Spain and Portugal in ancient times, so it had to adapt to harsh conditions. Naturally, it developed strong legs for climbing and sturdy lungs for a rarefied atmosphere.
Size and height are crucial characteristics when it comes to ascertaining a specimen’s genetics. If it looks similar to other known pureblooded Losinos, then it’s most likely of good genetics. Losino horses are generally imposing in size and relatively athletic, depending on how well-fed each specimen is. They have expressive eyes, curved ears, wide nostrils, a flat forehead, and thicker lips.
I could say that the Losino has a balanced build, with a robust back and neck, a muscular chest, rounded hindquarters, small and hard hooves, and clean legs. They look pure enough to be put in an equine exposition. That unrefined yet elegant appearance reminds me of the untamed wilderness of the green pastures where the stallions of old used to gallop.
Losino horses weigh between 661 and 771 pounds, making them lightweight compared to other horse species. It’s not a surprise, considering that Losino horses are a mountainous breed that had to adapt to rocky terrain.
If they were any heavier and fatter, they wouldn’t be as agile and fast. As usual, the environment shaped their body shape and physical characteristics, as a form of adaptation.
Losino horses are easily distinguishable by their black color. You’ll never a see a pureblood Losino with a different mane color. Some specimens may have a white star on their foreheads, though.
During winter, Losinos will grow a thick coat that obtains a tint of red, but the overall color will still be black. Half breeds will likely have a mixed color due to the genetic mix-up. Professional breeders know that Losinos are pure black, though.
One thing I’ve noted about the Losino horse is that it’s an agile horse. This falls within expectations, considering its natural mountainous habitat. The average speed for horses falls between 25-30 mph, and the Losino is smack-dab in the middle of that.
It’s not the fastest horse in the world, but it’s also not a crawling turtle. It’s just right, considering the smaller stature and weight compared to other horse species. If you want a regular horse with an acceptable speed, the Losino is great!
Once tamed, Losino horses are some of the friendliest creatures alive. Horses are well-known for their faithful and loving nature, but Losinos take that to the next level. Many specialists even claim that this species makes for great children mounts.
They’re very careful and attentive when humans mount them, when fully domesticated. Throughout history, Losino horses have also proven their hard-working and persistent nature.
They can learn almost any discipline but they’re especially good for trail riding in the mountains. Back in the days, they were used extensively for fieldwork and as packhorses, carrying heavy weights.
The military also used Losino horses for their patient and agile gait, as well as natural advantages to the rocky environment. From my research, Losinos make for great companions, especially for children.
If we’re to talk about the ancient lifespan in horses, I’d have to say that 25 years is already a lot for a horse. But now with modern medicine and better veterinary care, horses going past their 30s is quite common. Losino horses are average in this respect, as well. Expect your Losinos to live past the 25-year threshold easily. But you can also improve your horse’s lifespan with good care.
Pay close attention to its basic maintenance and provide a good balance between feeding, as well as hoof and dental care. This way, even senior horses reaching their twilight years will still be lively and joyful, ready to befriend children and make you smile. Older horses are also fitting for teaching younger studs good manners.
Diet and Nutrition
Losino horses need a total of six nutrients to survive and thrive – fats, water, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Out of all these, water is the most important nutrient for horses. Without adequate hydration, horses will get sick and even die from dehydration. Remember that Losino horses generally drink 2 quarts of water for a pound of eaten hay.
If it’s hot outside or the horse has worked hard, it’ll drink 3-4 times the usual amount of water.
It’s easy to notice if your Losino is dehydrated – its feces will be dry, the oral mucous membrane will be dried out, it’ll eat less, and it’ll have less physical activity. Horses may become dehydrated if they don’t have enough water to drink or if the water is unpalatable or contaminated.
Fat intake is the most direct source of energy for horses. While not a nutrient per se, energy is an essential requirement for sustained health. Fat brings about 3 times more energy than protein and carbohydrates, making it ideal for fast energy intake. When exercising or when pregnant, horses will need more energy than usual. The same goes for growing horses.
Carbohydrates are the most common energy source for Losino horses and not only. Soluble carbohydrates like corn, oats, and barley are easily broken down into glucose and absorbed in the small intestine. Forages will usually have around 6-8% starch content but may go beyond 30% at times. Either way, feeding your Losino a large amount of starch or high sugar may result in colic or laminitis.
Protein helps your Losino build muscle, grow, and perform laborious exercises. Amino acids, in other words, are essential to any horse. Alfalfa and soybeans are great sources of protein, so be sure to include them in your Losino’s diet. Don’t overdo it, though, since horses only need around 10% protein in their diet ratio. Grown foals and lactating mares will need a bit more protein than that.
Minerals will help with muscle contraction, fluid balance, nerve conduction, and maintaining the proper body structure. Sodium, chloride, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, and magnesium are needed in small quantities daily. Losino horses need a 2:1 ratio of phosphorus and calcium.
Vitamins are either water-soluble (the B complex and vitamin C) or fat-soluble (K, D, E, and A). Losino horses get their dose of vitamins from fresh and green food. Vitamin supplements aren’t generally required, but if the horse is stressed or sick, you may need to supplement its diet with vitamins.
As for horse forages, you should know that legumes contain more energy, protein, and calcium than grasses. Alfalfa and clover are great sources of nutrients for your horse. Grasses like timothy, orchard grass, fescue, and bluegrass are also excellent. Hay, as well, contains a lot of protein and calcium (2-3 times richer than grass hay).
Owning a horse means you need to groom it. This little social game will increase the bond between horse and owner, a habit that Losinos learn to love. It’ll also help you check the horse’s body for any wounds or abnormal lesions.
If your Losino lives freely in a yard, you don’t have to groom it to a T because the horse will do many things by itself. But if it lives in a stable, then complete grooming is your responsibility.
The following grooming tips should help keep your Losino horse in excellent health:
- Hoof pick – Remove all the debris like rocks and dirt from the horse’s feet. From the heel of the foot, go towards the toe and clean the grooves, as well
- Curry comb – Coat the horse’s coat with small circular motions, going in the opposite direction of the hairs
- Hard brush – From the neck to the tail, brush the Losino with short motions to get the dirt out of the coat.
- Soft brush – With a soft brush, finish the face and the legs
- Cloth or sponge – Use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the eyes, nose, and tail area
- Wide-tooth comb – Work your way through the tail and mane and untangle them
- Fly spray – Flies are the number one enemy of horses, so you may want to use a fly spray on them. Naturally, avoid spraying the eyes area
That’s it for grooming!
Historically, Losino horses were used for military expeditions, as workforce, for herding and farming work, and transport. People also used them to breed mules, which were much more approachable than wild Losinos. At present, you could still use domesticated Losino horses for fieldwork. If properly taken care of, these horses are great for competitions, as well.
A regular price for most Spanish horse breeds starts at $3,000 and can go up to $60,000. Depending on their health, constitution, and gait, Losino horses can easily cost you a couple of thousand dollars. Factors that may determine the price include:
- Breeding – If the bloodline is pure, it’ll cost more. Simple.
- Age – Horses aged 7-14 are in their prime and will cost more
- Training – If the horse has received ample training in a specific discipline, the price will go up
- Competition experience – Has the horse participated in competitions and proven its skills? The price will adequately reflect that
- Health problems – If the horse has health problems, even minor ones, the price will go down
Losinos aren’t the most expensive horses in Spain, that much is true.
Losino horses and horses, in general, are prone to falling ill to certain medical conditions. The most common ones are:
- Desmitis – Ligament inflammation is quite common among Losino horses
- Arthritis – This painful disease is a common medical condition for many horses, including Losinos. The joint cartilages will wear down gradually, causing greater pains
- Colic – Also known as abdominal pains, colic is a big concern for Losinos. It can be a mild stomach pain or gut-wrenching torture that requires surgery
- Gastric Ulcers – A horse’s stomach linings can start to erode because of stress. This can decrease its appetite and cause discomfort, while also affecting the horse’s appearance and demeanor
- Laminitis – One of the most common problems in Losino horses, Laminitis is an inflammation of the laminae, a soft tissue in the hoof
There are multiple treatments for health problems in Losino horses, and all you have to do is ask your veterinarian!
At present, there are more than 370 Losino individuals in the world, and they’re part of free-roaming herds.
Losino horses have a rich history behind them, one that tells a story of wild and proud species. Spanish people have used these horses for many activities, including farming and military transport. They’re very friendly, patient, and versatile when it comes to learning something new. For children, Losinos are among the best pets you can buy, thanks to their friendliness.
For further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me down below!Horse Breeds