Lusitania Show

When in Portugal we were to attend the international show of Lusitano horses. These are the Portuguese branch of the Andalusian (or Iberian) breed. How is it that a boy from Texas needs to do this? Well, it’s a long story. The roots of the tale are in a school paper I had to write on the Spanish painter Velazquez. In researching his work I noticed that the horses he depicted were very distinct from the quarter horses with which I was familiar. Decades later while helping my family with horse shows, in which we were riding Peruvian horses, I was asked to be the announcer, mainly because I could pronounce Spanish words. In the process I rediscovered the Spanish horse, and I found that they actually did, indeed, look like Velazquez painted them. Eventually I was asked to ride and train some of these wondrous unicorn-like steeds, and as luck would have it we are now breeding both Spanish and Portuguese horses. So there you have it, we were on a fact-finding Tour, with friends, learning more about the famous bullfighting, dancing, stallions, the foundation breed for the Spanish riding school in Vienna, and one of the best things besides Bach and Vivaldi’s music to come down to us from the Baroque period.
Arriving at the showgrounds at Quinta da Marinha (keenta de mariña) we stared open mouthed at a grassy field, bracketed with coliseum like stands, where two dressage rings were occupied by magnificent stallions performing graceful dressage movements, like on slow motion film. Before our eyes were collected canters, piaffe and passage, pirouettes, flying changes, and one-tempis. All of this with no apparent effort, either by the rider or by the horse. They appeared to float, only touching the ground occasionally to assure that it was still there. We were enthralled! Here we were in a foreign land seeing horses do things I’d only seen in movies. I thought it couldn’t possibly get better than this, but it did! Tune in again tomorrow for another episode of a Texan in Portugal!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *