The Lusitano horse is probably the most renowned horse breed in the world, next to the famous Andalusian. With around 200 known horse breeds worldwide and many others still unknown, the Lusitano horse ranks among the most sought-after breeds for good reasons.
But what makes this horse so renowned, and what are its main characteristics? Let’s have a look, shall we?
History and Origin
There are few breeds with as much history and cultural weight behind them as the Andalusian, a breed dating back to 5,000 BC. It was the horse of kings, and it lived through Roman wars and crusades to become one of the most beloved horses today.
Its legacy is still going strong, as the Lusitano horse now serves the matadors during bullfights. They are also great for riding recreationally, using them in the cavalry, and even working them in farms. The latter sounds at least insulting for such a gracious and majestic being.
The Lusitano horse is among the few horses whose breed you can guess at the first glance. It’s powerful, physically imposing, and with a certain unique elegance to its stature that few other horses possess. Many of its physical and temperamental traits come from the ancient Sorraia horses who lived in 20,000 BC.
These were proud and robust animals, immortalized in cave paintings and with a rich history behind them. The Lusitano is the result of the Sorraia breeding with Celtic horses coming from Northern Africa with Celtic and Phoenician traders.
The result is one of the most prized horse breeds around the world.
The Lusitano has many different characteristics separating it from other breeds. These include:
– Size and Height
The Lusitano horse will generally reach around 62 to 63 inches in height, with its size varying between 60 to 64 on average. It is a medium-sized horse that packs a vibrant presence nonetheless. You rarely get to see a more imposing animal at this size with its arched neck, statue-like profile, and muscular and elegant body.
The powerful neck has a wide base and a narrow upper portion, making it look slim yet steel-strong at the same time. It is an incredible balance of strength and graciousness that few other horses will display.
The Lusitano horse will reach, on average, 900-1,000 lbs. This may vary considerably since there are some notable differences between stallions and mares. Other factors influence the horse’s weight, including the physical activity it has daily and how much it eats.
The 900-1,100 lbs. average is ideal for an adult horse in good health. While some variations are acceptable on each side of the spectrum, too much weight gain or loss can suggest health issues.
The Lusitano horse’s coloring may not be too innovative but, somehow, this animal manages to add a royal vibe to each color. Some of the most widespread colors are bay and gray, and you will also find palomino, black, or chestnut. Take the palomino, for instance. This is a light-brown color that I believe suits the horse better than any other.
You can’t beat the light shade of brown covering the body and the black legs, tail, and mane, giving the horse that unmistakable painted look. The other colors bring an equal drop of magic, complementing the horse’s muscles and lines.
Speed is not a section the Lusitano horse excels at since other breeds are built for that, like the Andalusian, the Arabian horse, the Thoroughbred, etc. The Lusitanian horse falls within the averages, reaching 30 mph, depending on the horse and the circumstance.
If you’re planning to get a horse for speed-based competitions, I advise looking for something else. The Lusitanian horse’s strengths come from other areas.
The Lusitanian horse is the perfect animal for people looking for a docile, intelligent, and loyal animal. The horse can display high energy throughout the day, it’s a fast learner, has a strong, memorable presence, and is an overall great companion.
Lusitanians appreciate the horse for its composure and strength of mind, as it doesn’t scare easily and can cope with stress better than other breeds. It’s one of the reasons why matadors use it during bullfights.
The Lusitanian horse can live around 25-30 years with proper care and a healthy lifestyle. The horse’s lifespan is influenced by a variety of factors like environment, food, physical exercise, disease, and even genetic inheritance.
If you’re looking to get a Lusitanian horse to make it part of your family, see that its parents have had long and healthy lives. This will ensure that your horse will get the best genetic makeup.
Diet and Nutrition
Diet-wise, the Lusitano isn’t too picky, but it does have its routine. Obviously, freshwater should be a given, considering that your average horse will consume around 5 to 10 gallons of water daily. These quantities can increase considerably depending on the horse’s daily activity, temperature, food, and other relevant factors.
When it comes to food, forage should constitute around 60% of your horse’s diet. You have several options here, depending on availability and time of year, like:
- Straw – 3% protein content and 9% humidity
- Ryegrass hay – 8% protein content and 12% humidity
- Ryegrass haylage – 10% protein content and 40% humidity
- Green grass – 4% protein content and 80% humidity
You can also feed your horse concentrate if it lacks proper nutrients. I suggest doing some research before purchasing the concentrate to make sure it has everything your horse needs.
The tools you need to care for your Lusitano include:
- A dandy brush.
- A mane comb.
- A curry comb.
- A nail brush.
- A body finishing brush.
- A hoof pick.
You should also use a special equine shampoo to keep your horse clean and good-looking.
You can also braid your horse’s mane to add a bit of personality and uniqueness to its already ravishing style.
The Lusitano is primarily used for dressage and bullfighting, but it can have other uses as well. People get a Lusitano horse to ride recreationally mainly since it’s a friendly, docile, and trustworthy companion.
If this is your first time getting a horse, the Lusitano makes for the ideal choice. It’s nobleness and willingness to please make it perfect for people who seek a calmer and easy-to-dominate animal.
The prices for a Lusitano can vary wildly depending on the specimen, where you’re buying it from, the training background, and even the horse’s pedigree and personality. You should expect prices ranging between $6,000 and $60,000, but prices can easily go above the latter.
If you find one cheaper than $6,000 and in good condition, let me know, and I’ll buy it.
There aren’t many health problems to be concerned about since the Lusitano isn’t prone to disorders more than other horses. Except for maybe melanomas, which are more common with gray horses.
There’s also osteoarthritis to keep an eye on, although its incidence among the Lusitanian horses is minimal, as well as equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy. Again, these are not specific to the Lusitanian horse only.
Overall, you shouldn’t be too concerned about this aspect since the Lusitanian horse doesn’t have any obvious genetic flaws, making it more prone to certain conditions.
Unfortunately, the Lusitanian horse is among the rarest horse breeds in the US. There are approximately 60,000 Lusitanians worldwide, with only a fraction of that in the US. If you’re planning to get a Lusitanian anytime soon, it’s not going to be an easy task.
I recommend going to the source and import one from Spain or Portugal. Make sure it has a pristine pedigree, comes from healthy and powerful parents, and offers a good balance of quality and price.
The Lusitanian horse is rare and pricey but with a rich history behind it. It makes for the ideal companion if you’re looking to teach your kids how to ride, participate in competitions, or simply enjoy horseback strolls in nature.
If the Lusitanian sounds like your type of horse and you wish to learn more about it, contact me, and I’ll provide answers to all of your questions.Horse Breeds