The Lusitano horse: history, versatility and performance.


Although Lusitano horses have long been selected for their courage and agility, they are now widely appreciated for the quality of their gaits (in particular their remarkable ability for collected movements), their exceptional mentality and their generosity, making them excellent allies in a wide range of disciplines.

Rubi AR lusitano stallion

Photo credit: Ekaterina Druz.


The Lusitano: from workhorse to Grand Prix performer

The history of the Lusitano horse goes back thousands of years: it was already being ridden 5,000 years ago, and the Greeks and Romans considered it to be the best saddle horse of antiquity. It has long been used as a hunting and fighting horse, and was considered 'the horse of kings' in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Mental ability, readiness and cooperation with humans have been at the heart of selection for this breed, to such an extent that in Portugal, the cradle of the breed, the vast majority of males remain stallions. In fact, it's an extraordinary sight to see dozens of stallions in the crowd at the age-old Horse Fair in Golega every year... In 2022 at Golega, the working equitation champion stallion Zinque was even seen saying goodbye to the public on the occasion of the end of his career. His rider and long-standing partner Gilberto Filipe let him loose in the arena, unharnessed, in the midst of dozens of other ridden horses, without causing the slightest problem.

The stallion Zinque, bidding farewell to the public at Golega, 2022.

The Lusitano is an excellent horse for bullfighting, equestrian art and working equitation, as well as dressage. It is in the latter discipline that it has gradually gained its credentials over the last few decades, thanks in particular to French rider Catherine Henriquet, who paved the way with Orphée at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. Since then, a number of Lusitano horses have made their mark at the highest level of dressage, including Rubi AR, one of the breed's most influential stallions, Galopin de la Font, Alcaïde, Fogoso, Fenix de Tineo, Escorial and Equador, all of whom took part in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. No fewer than 14 Lusitano horses took part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the Lusitano studbook ranked 6th in the latest WBFSH dressage performance rankings, ahead of Holsteiner and BWP, for example. This performance is all the more remarkable given that the Lusitano studbook is a closed one, with just over 4,000 broodmares worldwide...


The lusitano stallion Rubi AR, at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

AFL (Association Française du Lusitanien)

The AFL (Association Française du Lusitanien) was founded in 1987 thanks to the work of breed enthusiasts in France. France is highly representative of the breed, and today remains the 2nd European country in terms of the number of individuals. Today, the AFL is the link between the APSL (which manages the studbook worldwide) and Lusitano breeders and owners in France.

The AFL has a wide range of tasks, including registering Lusitano births with the Portuguese studbook, organising breeding confirmation tours and official breed championships in France. 

Every year, AFL organises the International French Lusitano Championship, which will be held very soon, from 30 June to 2 July, in Les Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer. Don't hesitate to come and see the magnificent horses, the show and the great atmosphere! 

International Lusitano Championship


Lusitano stallions: find the one that meets your expectations!

As this is a closed studbook, there are fewer Lusitano stallions on offer than in many other studbooks, and the stallions standing at stud may sometimes lack visibility. Visit to discover the stallions offered by the AFL. Young genetics, confirmed stallions, performers in dressage or working equitation, or promising young stallions, tall or not so tall (between 1.60m and 1.73m), colored or not (bay, black, chestnut, cream, buckskin, grey...): there's one for everybody! To discover the full selection of Lusitano stallions owned or bred by breeders who are members of the Association Française du Lusitanien, click on this link.


Article produced in partnership with the AFL.