There are countless stud farms breeding Lusitanos today, but only some can be said to have formed a lineage. Out of those few, four are recognised as basic lineages for the Lusitano: Veiga, Alter Real, Coudelaria Nacional and Coudelaria D’Andrade. These four bloodlines are all formed out of six particular horses known as the six “Heads of the Lineage”.

Lusitano mares and foals

The six “Heads of Lineage”

The Portuguese studbook recognises six horses as “Heads of the Lineage”: five stallions and one mare. These are the founding horses of the basic or ’foundation’ bloodlines of the modern Lusitano. The reason for these particular horses being recognised as heads of the lineage is because they have a significant role in the formation of the basic bloodlines, with a higher than average presence in today’s Lusitano population. For every horse that is registered in the stud book the genetic presence of the six “Heads of Lineage” is reported in percent.

Here they are:

AGARENO: a Veiga (MV) stallion. Born in 1931. Sire: Lidador (MV). Dam: Bagocha (MV).
PRIMOROSO: a Dominquez Hermanos (DH) stallion. Born in 1927. Sire: Presumido (DH). Dam: Primorosa II (DH).
DESTINADO: a Dominquez Hermanos (DH) stallion. Born in 1930. Sire: Alegre II (DH). Dam: Destinada (DH).
MARIALVA II: an Antonio Fontes Pereira de Melo (APM) stallion. Born in 1930. Sire: Marialva (APM). Dam: Campina (APM).
REGEDOR: an Alter Real (AR) stallion. Born in 1923. Sire: Gaivoto (AR). Dam: Gavina (AR).
HUCHARIA: a Coudelaria Nacional (CN) mare. Born in 1943. Sire: Cartujano (APT). Dam: Vizcaina (MRB).

The four bloodlines

Out of these six “Heads of Lineage”, three “Basic Lineages” were formed: two are now governmental breeding establishments, Alter Real (AR) and Coudelaria Nacional (CN), while the third is the famous Veiga (MV) lineage. They are recognised as “Basic Lineages” due to the fact that even today their horses possess a high degree of consanguinity, which gives a good ability to pass on their characteristics. These lineages are also available for other breeders to introduce in their breeding programs. Yet there is a fourth line that should also be considered as one of the foundation lineages, D’Andrade (SA). This bloodline too is formed out of the founding horses or “Heads of Lineage”.

Alter RealAlter Real (AR)

An Alter Real stallion on the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

An Alter Real stallion on the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

Coudelaria or Stud farm Alter Real was founded in year 1748 by the Portuguese King D João V and this coudelaria  breeds the famous bay horses used by the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art.The Alter Real horses are of baroque type and it is said that up to the present day they look very much the same as the 18th century Alter Real horse. The head features the typical Lusitano profile, the short neck is proudly arched, muscular and is naturally carried high. The back is short leading to a sloping croup with a low-set tail. The Alter Real horses possess exaggerated action and great knee flexion, they are intelligent, sensitive and willing. Overall, very well suited for the classical horsemanship displayed at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art.

VeigaVeiga (MV)

Manuel Borba Veiga with Altivo da Broa

Manuel Borba Veiga with Altivo da Broa

The Veiga stud farm was founded over 180 years ago on Quinta da Broa, Ribatejo, where they are still breeding horses today.The Veigas are known for their very typical convex facial profile and you often hear the term “Veiga Head”. They have flexible backs, proud necks and strong hocks that give a great impulsion. Further they are known to be quick, agile and highly sensitive yet very brave horses that do well in every discipline. However, they do have a special aptitude for bullfighting with their extraordinary courage and willingness to please the rider.

Coudelaria NacionalCoudelaria Nacional (CN)

Coudelaria Nacional was founded in the late 19th century and is today a part of the Alter Real foundation together with Coudelaria Alter Real and the Portuguese Riding School. Out of the “Heads of Lineage” horses, Coudelaria Nacional has used two Dominquez Hermanos (DH) horses, Primose and Destinado, in addition to its own Hucharia. Dominquez Hermanos is a Spanish breeder and this explains the high presence of Spanish blood in the stud farm’s horses today.Coudelaria Nacional produces a longer and stronger horse that is very suitable for dressage and driving. Its horses are famous for their good temperament and trainability.

AndradeCoudelaria D’Andrade (SA and RA)

Coudelaria D’Andrade was founded by Dr Ruy D’Andrade and is today split up amongst his children; Coudelaria D´Andrade in Elvas, Vilhena D´Andrade in Torres Vedras and Coudelaria Emilia D´Andrade Oliveira e Sousa in Coruche.The horses of Spanish breeder Dominquez Hermanos are also present in the D’Andrade lineage, producing a taller but still short horse with a slightly straighter facial profile. They were originally bred for bullfighting but do very well in every discipline: dressage, jumping and working equitation. The Andrade horses are appreciated for their presence, their noble temper and their elegant gaits.


Sources: Coudelaria Alter Real; Coudelaria Manuel Veiga; Coudelaria D’Andrade; Interagro Lusitano; The Lusitano Horse, Basic Lineages by Paulo Gaviao Gonzaga