Hidden on the west coast of the Iberian peninsula is a little-known gem. No, it is a not a gem that one would wear around their neck or one that's mounted in a gold ring on their finger. No, this gem is of even greater value. Some may know it by its Spanish cousin. Some may know it from stories or even from movies. But this gem is not of gold or silver. This gem is the Lusitano horse.
The Lusitano is a Portuguese breed. It was long considered the same breed as the Andalusian. Even as late as the 1960s, it shared its registry with the famed Andalusian. But they, of course, are not the same. True, they may carry similar traits, but they are both as unique as they are beautiful.
The Lusitano got its name from what the Romans called the region, which was Lusitanian. The breed dates as far back as 700 BC. It is considered one of the oldest horse breeds among the Arabian and the Andalusian. It was once highly used for battle but is now mainly used for bullfighting (in a form where the bull is not killed and to injure the horse would be considered disgraceful). It is considered smart and gentle. Often young children are taught to ride on a Lusitano, for the breed never bucks. It is trustworthy and loyal.
The breed is of average height but is not average in build. It has what is called a "sub-convex" or Roman head. This trait is what allowed it to be used as a single combat horse. Its body is short but strong. Its neck is arched and the chest is broad. They are intelligent and agile. They come in any solid color but are bay, grey, or chestnut. They are a bit of a late bloomer with their sometimes lasting until they are 12 years old. They are often ridden till they are much older.
All in all, the Lusitano is a breed not to be missed.