The Lusitano horse is the pride of Portugal and remains a status symbol for wealthy families. In fact most families who possess a large estate have at least one Lusitano not just for status, also for functionality. They play a vital role as a working animal to round up livestock on farms and estates and many are bred for this purpose. You can expect to see most Portuguese riders riding one handed, even accomplishing the most complicated dressage movement. The other hand holds their “Vara”- or cattle prod and in Equitation, this tool is used artistically as you can be seen at Olympia. In addition, they are widely used around the world by bull fighters owing to their courageousness and agility.
This fine breed excels in the dressage arena with several pure-breds making it to Championship level. In 2006 at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Portuguese Dressage squad all competed on Lusitano horses as did Spanish team member, Juan Antonio Jimenez. At the same games Belgium’s Felix Brasseur drove four Lusitano’s to take the individual World Four-in-Hand Driving title, proving the versatility and talent of the breed. Their courage, natural balance and tenacity has made them attractive to sport horse breeders too. Notable event horses with Lusitano breeding include Jester’s Quest, the horse that gave Gemma Tattersall her first Badminton ride and The Tourmaline Rose, Pippa Funnell’s Hickstead Eventers Grand Prix winner.