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.

 


There is a need in equestrian competition for a horse that has the physical capabilities to easily perform the higher levels of training without the unsoundness that is so prevalent in the more common warmbloods that came from draft type ancestors shown in the old German studbooks and the Dutch histories. Crossing the large-bodied breeds on smaller and slight-legged types often leads to soundness problems such as ringbone, splints and founder. Since the Andalusian/Lusitano has the strongest legs of any breed, in relation to size, he is the ideal breed to consider crossing with a draft or heavy Thoroughbred.

 

Seeing an Iberian horse perform gives an understanding why this breed has the potential to become the worlds most sought after sport horse. Not only is soundness of limb a necessity, but also just as importantly it’s soundness of mind. Highly intelligent with a willingness to please makes the Iberian the utmost candidate for an equine partner.

 

The Iberian is not well known in the world of Sport Horses due to the lack of availability of the horse, which has led to a lack of knowledge of this rare and magnificent horse. In 1964, "Rebuscada" was the first Andalusian to set her hooves on American soil since the time of the Conquistadors. There has been a steady increase in the popularity of the breed, stifled only by the lack of number of horses. The thoroughbred and Iberian cross have long been the most desired Hunter/Jumper and Eventer in Australia. John Whittaker, the leading jumper in the world, has stated that this cross makes the best jumper in the world, bar none. His World Cup winner partner was the lusitano Novilheiro.

 

The time has come to present this exceptional and talented breed to the general equestrian population as another option for various disciplines. It is our endeavor and our passion to promote the breeding of quality Iberian Warmbloods and to educate equine enthusiasts, everywhere, about these spectacular horses descended from..... "The Horse of Kings."