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The Lusitanian Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 January 2009
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This account of the origins and history of the "Spanish Horse" and Iberian horsemanship is taken from a publication produced for the visit of H. R. H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, during the celebrations in commemoration of the VIth centenary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance in 1973 by Fernando Luis de Sommer d'Andrade, and is in turn based on the work of Dr Ruy d'Andrade, «Alrededor del caballo Español».



What is a Spanish horse?

It is a typical horse of the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula.

Its name depends on the area where it is raised, such as Andalusian, Estremenho or Castillian when raised in Spain, and Lusitanian when bred in Portugal (the Lusitania of Roman times). The breed is, however, one and the same.

When and how did this horse make its appearance?

What was and is its importance?

It is the most ancient saddle horse known to Western civilization! The most important in equestrian history of the civilized world! In fact it is the earliest known saddle horse!

There have always existed two types of horse in the Iberian Peninsula:
— A pony with a straight or concave profile, so small in stature that it cannot be ridden by man in battle; this horse is found in the cold, damp and hilly regions of the Peninsula and has remained the same until the present day;
— A bigger horse of convex profile, which can be ridden: it is found in the dry and hot planes of the southern regions of the Iberia.
Paleolithic cave paintings in La Pileta (Malaga) 2000BC
This horse began to be ridden and used by warriors in equestrian exercises at the end of the Neolithic age, as can be proved by the appearance of a weapon — the halberd — made from a large piece of flint and said to be contemporary with the megalithic monuments which can be found in the west of the Peninsula. This weapon goes back to the V-IV millennium B. C.

The halberd, which continued to appear in the copper, bronze and iron ages, is a weapon used against cavalry, to unseat the riders, as was later done in the Middle ages.
Thus we can deduce that even in the Neolithic age warriors were fighting on horseback in the Iberian Peninsula.
Therefore the Iberian horse has been used as a saddle horse since 40 to 50 centuries before our era. No other is known of this period.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 February 2009 )
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