Lusitanos: the Iberian warmblood
The origin of the Lusitano – an ancient breed
The international registry was formed in 1986 to collect, record and preserve pedigrees of Iberian horses of Andalusian and Lusitano descent. It is the endeavor of the registry to advance awareness and availability of the Iberian Horse to a larger audience of equestrians. The Iberian Horse is the most ancient riding horse known to man. The Spanish and Portuguese horse originates from the Iberian Peninsula. The Andalusians (Spanish) and the Lusitanos (Portuguese) are different branches of the same breed. The University of Kentucky blood testing proves that there is no difference in genetic markers or variability.
The first dressage horses were powerful horses; at the best time of classical dressage riding, the horses used were almost always Iberian horses. Most native breeds in the United States can trace its heritage to Iberians that came with the Conquistadors which include Quarter Horses, Paints, Mustangs, Appaloosas and the gaited breeds. Eighty percent of all modern breeds can be traced back to the Iberian horse. DNA testing has confirmed the fact that the Lusitano is an ancestor of the Percheron, Hackney, Friesian, Cleveland Bay, Thoroughbred, Welsh, Connemara and Lippizan.
Each warmblood breed is a result of environmental factors; including regional economics and culture. The influence of Iberian blood remains in all modern warmblood breeds today. The development of warmblood breeds was largely through a process of selective breeding of the Iberian horse, rather than from outside influence.