The Lusitano is an ancient horse breed from the Iberian Peninsula, which is modern day Portugal and Spain. Like their cousin, the Spanish Andalusian, the Portuguese Lusitano reflects centuries of careful breeding and contribution to the equine history throughout Europe. The Portuguese name, "Puro Sangue Lusitano" (PSL), means pure-blooded Lusitano. The Lusitano is the aristocrat of Baroque horses celebrated annually at the National Lusitano Horse Fair in Golega, Portugal.
There are four main lineages preserved of Lusitano horses: Andrade, Coudelaria Nacional, Alter Real, and Veiga, the classic bull-fighting line.
Today’s Lusitanos are recognized world-wide for their ability to perform well in a variety of modern-day equestrian disciplines. The breed’s brilliance for collected work makes it a natural for dressage. The Lusitano is noble with a docile temperament, forming an intimate bond with his rider, resulting in a smooth, obedient performance, full of both energy and gentleness. Lusitanos compete in western pleasure, dressage, eventing, hunter hack, pleasure driving, formal carriage driving, contemporary and historical costume classes, and trail. In its native Portugal the Lusitano is still used for mounted (bloodless) bullfighting, showing agility, intelligence, and courage. Steeped in the tradition of its historical links to the military, the Lusitano excels at the classical training methods of the Haute École (airs above ground).
The most compelling behavioral characteristic of the Lusitano breed is its exceptional temperament — brave, noble and docile with a kind desire to please. Distinguishing features include convex profile, sloping croup, powerful neck and hindquarters, high-stepping gait, and thick mane and tail. The strong natural ability of the Lusitano to elevate himself and travel in a collected way, up in the bridle is balanced and smooth.
In 1967 the Portuguese Stud Book (Livro Genealogico Portugues de Equinos) was officially introduced under the responsibility of the APSL, Portuguese Association of Lusitano Horse Breeders (Associação Portuguesa de Criadores do Cavalo Puro Sangue Lusitano). American-bred Lusitanos are represented by the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) for revision into APSL. Brazilian-bred Lusitanos are represented and revised by the ABPSL (Brazilian Association for Pure-bred Lusitano Horses).