The Lusitano

   The Portuguese breed of horse known as Lusitano has a history of at least a thousand years. Other noted Portuguese horse breeds are the Garrano and Sorraia, which evolved from ancient Iberian ponies and horses. Some authorities believe that the Lusitano breed evolved from the ancient Sorraia. The breed's name derives from Lusitania, the name the Romans gave to a portion of southwestern Iberia, a section of which became known in later centuries as Portugal. The breed's name also could be related to the name Luso, in ancient mythology a son of Bacchus, the god of wine and merriment. In recent decades, the Lusitano breed has become fashionable again in equestrian circles that participate in international riding competitions, as well as in producing mounts for the Portuguese bullfight. Despite a declining economy, less public interest and higher expenses in the bull- fighting industry, more opposition from animal rights advocates, and the constraints of European Union regulations, the bull-fight has endured as a sport. Breeding such horses has become a growing business not only for competitive riding, especially dressage, and an increasingly popular equestrian tourism, but also for bull-fighting. Lusitano breeding farms are located mainly in two provinces in Ribatejo, part of the Tagus River valley, and in Alentejo.
   See also Equestrianism.

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

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