Lusitanos are the oldest saddle horses on the planet
Recent DNA analysis shows that the domestication of Lusitanos dates back to pre-Neolithic times. The first contact of Tartassian riders with Phoenician traders in the southwest of the Iberian peninsula 3000 years ago had cultural and military consequences. It was the inspiration for the Centaur in Greek mythology – the legendary half-man half-horse creature, that emerged in the era following this cultural encounter.
Seeing Lusitanos engaged in the art of bullfighting, or simply working the land, illustrates the importance of the ‘jineta’ riding style – a style that has been practised for over 6000 years. Their reputation as unique mounts was establishedd throughout the ancient world when, in 500 BC, Sparta brought in a cavalry force of 50 Iberian horsemen during the Peloponnesian war. It was only after the Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 50BC that they added a cavalry force to their army.
Their nobility, intelligence and sensitivity make Lusitanos ideal partners for Natural Horsemanship and EAL/EAT activities. The therapeutic effects of horses on humans is an additional area of exploration at La Donaira.
Our aim is to preserve the quality, versatility and beauty of these ancient horses and to evolve their unique genetic code into a 21st century sport horse for dressage, working equitation and advanced leisure riding.