THE LUSITANO HORSE
The Lusitano is the oldest saddle horse on the planet. Domestication started some 15000 years ago in the southwest of the Iberian peninsula, in an area stretching from Cordoba and Cadiz in today’s Spain to Faro and Lisbon in what is now Portugal. In the Roman period the western part of the peninsula was called Lusitania. Thousands of years of functional selection for the Jineta and Rejoneo riding styles have endowed us with a unique genetic heritage. Empathy with the rider, great agility and bravery are the defining characteristics developed in the Lusitano horse. The closed Lusitano studbook counts only 13000 heads in total – by far the smallest of the ancient fullblood breeds that have been preserved to our day and age.
In his Aeneas Vergilius refers to these horses on the Atlantic shores of the peninsula as “Sons of the Wind”
It is a privilege and a luxury to have these proud and beautiful animals still around in all their antique glory, and our thanks should go out to generations of horsemen and breeders who have maintained and honed this unique treasure over thousands of years.
The La Donaira Lusitano studfarm is located in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda, on the edge of the ancient breeding grounds. Surrounded by remnants of neolithic settlements (Dolmen) and caves with murals dating back over 30.000 years. Traces of the prehistoric Lusitano horses can be found in the Cueva de Las Piletas, a 20min drive from La Donaira showing the subconvex profile of a horse