Any info on horse shopping in and importing from Portugal? Update post 32


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FWIW Irish Draughts have been linked genetically to Iberian horses. My Sophie has been mistaken for a Luso, until you get close to her 1500 lbs.

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I think the same applies to Connemaras.
The theory is that one (or more) of the Spanish Armada ships was wrecked on the Irish coast, , and a number of stallions survived.

Deep breath everyone, I’m off on one of my hobby horses…

Iberian horses are foundational to many, many European breeds. At the last glacial epoch there was a population of horses in the Iberian glacial refuge and as the ice retreated the horses moved northwards along the Atlantic fringe and then out over Europe. These, of course were not the modern Iberian breeds but their ancestors. From these derived the various pony breeds in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Britain. Then fast forward several centuries and in medieval times, knights used Spanish horses or Spanish blood to breed war horses. The 12th century Earl of Shrewsbury had a stud of several Spanish stallions in mid Wales to breed war horses. Look at a good Welsh Section D today and the similarities to a PRE are still evident e.g. in the square shape of the rump, the triangular shape of the eye lid, the hock movement. The Spanish horse remained the model of a top class horse into the Rennaisence: just look at paintings of kings and their military marshalls mounted on their fancy steeds into the 17th century. Then along came the TB in the 18th century, based upon the Spanish and Barb horses of the English royal stud, dispersed during the English Civil War, combined with some eastern horses imported after 1600 or so. So Iberian blood is at the root of TBs as well. Elsewhere in Europe, Iberian horses were used to improve local stock and were foundational in German, Czech, Danish, Polish etc warmblood breeds. Before the TB, Iberian blood was seen as the main “improver” in breeding. Perhaps one reason why Iberian horses today nick so well with other modern breeds.


Three of my mustang geldings have a noticeably convex nose, are close coupled and have thick throatlatches.

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I will join you on this soap box. If anyone is interested, read Sylvia Loch’s “Royal Horse of Europe.” The book traces how the Iberian horse is the foundation for a lot of European breeds.

One case that I recall (I’m not going to cite chapter and page) is the story of the TB. Everyone knows the 3 foundation stallions. But anyone think about the mares that these stallions were bred to? Apparently there are log books of the studs of dukes and most of the mares were “Spanish jennets.”

Thus I find it interesting to find a TB with a a Roman nose and wonder about its geneology. I seem to be able to identify Mr. Prospector lines. Usually this happens when a horse interests me and when I have inquired about the lineage, they mention Mr. Prospector.

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one thing i will say is to go there or have someone you trust go and see the horse before you buy, even sellers who seem ok might be the opposite. the culture there is very different as is their care for horses, this does not men that what they do is automatically wrong just be sure of what you are buying and for what purpose

The horse culture in Portugal is different but there is an immense depth of horsemanship. They are really proud of their horses and one very rarely sees one in poor condition. In my experience, the Portuguese are slightly softer with their horse training than are the Spanish and - sweeping generalization here - don’t seem to use the serreta so much. However, the riders are very ‘classical’ in their style, use curb bits and keep the horse collected. They do not habitually use snaffles with very loose reins and the horse is not trained to be on the forehand.

It is a lovely country, with lovely people, English is taught in school as their second language. Taking a riding vacation there is a wonderful experience as it is possible to ride horses trained to a really high standard of dressage and have excellent tuition from skilled trainers.


It’s my dream to take a riding holiday there. I was supposed to go with a friend in Sept 2020, but then COVID hit. Still hoping to go next year!

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i visited a horse farm while there but didn’t go riding, but then I went for dogs, not horses. O the FOOD!!!

Just noting that for local Lusitanos (US), also try Paulo Jorge Ferreira in California. He sells a lot to Jorge Gabriel in Boston and his breeding is all from imported stallions and mares.

Edited to note - not all of them are “nervous amateur” friendly. My guy will spin and bolt a bit - he’s totally stoppable but he can be pretty fiery. He’s still a baby though. I trust my lazy Hanoverian mare more than him with trails and spookable moments, etc. One time he totally melted down on the trail and it was scary / again, he was 4, but still. They’re sensitive horses and some more than others - they were bred to bullfight and GO.

His program also sources a lot from Caliente in Mexico, which is where I got my young horse (bought him at 4 and managed to score over 70 at training two months later and showed him in the 60s at Third at just 5; we are now prepping for FEI 6 year old next year - this horse is unbelievable and cost me a fraction of what I’d pay imported, like low-mid five figures and now he’s easily worth double or triple). These horses have the same bloodlines as Portugal/ are registered there as well. They even export from these programs back to some of the Portuguese breeders. (I’m biased because I know Paulo and love my horse lol, but I highly recommend regardless and second the recommendation for Jorge in Boston).image image


I guess this is as good a place as any to update that my new very-much-not-Iberian boy arrived from Germany last week. Talk about a Christmas present! He is everything I hoped for and more—gorgeous, a super mover, sensible, and so sweet. I’ve never owned such a stunningly beautiful horse and it doesn’t hurt that he is a total cuddlebug. I’ve spent hours just sitting in his stall and field petting him, combing his wavy Barbie-horse mane, and gazing at him adoringly. He’s 3 and very green so we’ve just been doing groundwork but if he’s half as nice to ride as he is to look at I’ll be thrilled. Here are some photos, which actually don’t even do him justice (yes, I put a bow on him for a photo shoot…deal with it):


He’s very handsome! Merry Christmas to you!!

Bows are perfectly respectable. At least that’s what I told my boy when we took our Christmas pictures lol


“Does this bow make me look fat?”


He is really gorgeous! How do they get their tails so thick in Germany? Oh - I guess they don’t have flies and gnats 10 months out of the year like in Alabama. He looks like he is fitting right in and happy with his new life. He probably prefers your winter weather to that in Germany.


Ah don’t be so sure of that :sweat_smile: mine lost half of his hair here in Germany…and those damn midges and mosquitos are back! The minute it warmed up. It as hoping the hard freeze last week would’ve killed them but just saw a few today. My area may be a bit more swampy though.

OP, that’s a lovely horse! I hope you have many years of fun together.


Beautiful horse @Libby2563!!! So happy for you!!!

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He’s not totally unfortunate looking.

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Oh, he’s beautiful! Love his blaze. What’s this beautiful boy’s name?

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Lol that’s a bit of a sore subject because he’s been home for a week and I’m no closer to having a name for him! I’ve been calling him “the new horse,” “the red horse,” “the other horse,” and “the baby horse”…meanwhile DH, who likes to make up his own names for my animals (even the ones with perfectly good names), calls him Jürgen after the German contestant on Bake-Off. :rofl:

If anyone has suggestions I’m all ears! He’s by Londontime out of a Weltmeyer mare.