Equestrianism or Equitation has an ancient tradition in Portugal. Although today this sport of horseback riding, which is related to the art and science of horse breeding, is a peaceful activity, for centuries Portugal's use of the horse in cavalry was closely associated with war. Beginning in the 18th century, the activity became connected to bull- fighting. In war, the Portuguese used horse cavalry longer than most other European nations. While most armies gave up the horse for mechanized cavalry or tanks after World War I, Portugal was reluctant to change this tradition. Oddly, Portugal used a specialized form of cavalry in combat as late as 1969-1971, in Angola, a colony of Portugal until 1975. Portugal's army in Angola, engaged in a war with Angolan nationalist forces, employed the so-called "Dragoons," a specialized cavalry in rural areas, until 1971, a case perhaps of the last use of cavalry in modern warfare.
   Soccer, or futebol, is Portugal's favorite mass sport today, but equestrianism retains a special place in sports as a now democratized, if somewhat elite, sport for both Portuguese and visiting foreign riders. As of 1900, equestrianism was still the sport of royalty and aristocracy, but in the 21st century persons from all classes and groups enjoy it. The sport now features the unique Lusitano breed of horse, which evolved from earlier breeds of Iberian ponies and horses. Touring equestrianism recently has become an activity of niche tourism, and it is complemented by international competitive riding. Following the early 20th century, when the Olympics were revived, Portuguese competitors have excelled not only in sailing, field hockey on roller-skates, rowing, and marksmanship, but also in equestrianism. Notable Portuguese riders were medal winners in summer Olympics such as those of 1948 and 1988. This sport is engaged in primarily if not exclusively in regions with a history of horse breeding, riding, and cattle herding, in Ribatejo and Alentejo provinces, and has featured career military participants.
   Portuguese equestrianism, including the use of horses in bull-fighting, hunting, and other forms of sport, as well as in horse cavalry in war, was long associated with the lifestyles of royalty and the nobility. The use of traditional, Baroque riding gear and garb in competitive riding, instruction, and bull-fighting reflects such a tradition. Riders in bull-fighting or in exhibitions wear 18th-century male costumes that include a tricornered hat, long frock coats, breeches, stockings, and buckled shoes. The Ribatejo "cowboy" or riding herder wears the regional costume of a green and red cap, red tunic, white breeches and stockings, Portuguese bridles, and chaps sometimes made of olive leaves.
   Although their prestigious classical riding academy remains less well known than the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Portugal has preserved the ancient tradition of a classical riding school in its Royal School of Portuguese Equestrian Arts, at Queluz, not far from the National Palace of Queluz, a miniature Portuguese Versailles, with a hall of mirrors, tiled garden, and canal. One of the great riding masters and trainers was the late Nuno Oliveira (1925-89), whose work generated a worldwide network of students and followers and who published classic riding manuals. Oliveira's widely admired method of instruction was to bring about a perfect harmony of action between horse and rider, an inspiration to new generations of riders.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Equestrianism — E*ques tri*an*ism, n. The art of riding on horseback; performance on horseback; horsemanship; as, feats equestrianism. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • equestrianism — ► NOUN ▪ the skill or sport of horse riding …   English terms dictionary

  • Equestrianism — For the Roman class, see Equestrian (Roman) Equestrianism refers to the skill of riding or driving horses. This broad description includes both use of horses for practical, working purposes as well as recreational activities and competitive… …   Wikipedia

  • equestrianism — [[t]ɪkwe̱striənɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT Equestrianism refers to sports in which people demonstrate their skill at riding and controlling a horse …   English dictionary

  • equestrianism — See equestrian. * * * …   Universalium

  • equestrianism — noun The art of riding horses; horsemanship …   Wiktionary

  • equestrianism — n. horsemanship, study of horseback riding …   English contemporary dictionary

  • equestrianism — noun the skill or sport of horse riding …   English new terms dictionary

  • equestrianism — n. Horsemanship …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • equestrianism — eques·tri·an·ism …   English syllables

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.