International Lusitano Festival

An overview of the event's 30th edition



TEXT Rita Fernandes


PHOTO Rita Fernandes , Rita Vitorino

International Lusitano Festival

The International Lusitano Horse Show – or International Lusitano Festival, as we Portuguese call it – held this year it’s 30thedition. The event has been held in different places throughout the years, but always the objective remains the same – to be a showcase for some of the best Lusitanos bred in Portugal with participations from International breeders as well.  This year the “Festival” was held in Cascais, in the Hipodrome Manuel Possolo and the honored visiting association was AFL – Association Française du Cheval Lusitanien. Around 150 horses participated in the many shows and competitions, all designed to show the versatility and functionality of the breed.



Find out more about this year's top binomials and horses

Model & Movements

This is always one of the competitions that raises the greatest interest – many people use it to showcase their animals or evaluate the quality of breeding of the recent years. It is not unusual for several classes to showcase animals bred by different studs but having similar sires or genetic lines, so it is indeed an attention-grabbing display. The quality of the horses in show was quite high this year, with all class winners taking home a gold medal and one class – Breeding Mares – awarding a total of 4 gold medals. Best Female was selected from this class – Inqrivel da Ferraria (Quixote MVL out of Salema) from Quinta da Ferraria Stud and presented by Ricardo Moura Tavares and Best Male was the 4YO Jasmim Plus (Escorial on Estrela Plus), presented by Nuno Chaves de Almeida and recently approved stallion from Dressage Plus. These two horses fought for the grand tittle of best in show during the event closing gala with victory going to the incredible Inqrivel da Ferraria.

Dressage & Jumping Competitions

Dressage competitions during the Festival are held exclusively for pure-bred Lusitano horses and took place on the first day of the event. In St George level, winner was Gonçalo Diabinho with this Alter Real stallion Devoto AR. Most disputed was Grand Prix level, with names such as Manuel Veiga, Ricardo Moura Tavares and Miguel Ralão competing for a place in the podium. The most successful binomial in this competition was Miguel Ralão with Xenofonte D’Atela, who scored 69,746%.

On the second day, the program opened with jumping competitions for Lusitano horses that showed the versatility of the breed for many types of sportive uses. Rui Sardinha with his stallion Fraque won the most disputed category with two clear rounds.

Portuguese & Working Equitation

These are always highlights for displaying Portugal’s rich equestrian culture and the functionality closer to the original utilization of the Lusitano horse. All riders wear the typical Portuguese costume and go through dressage (Portuguese and Working Equitation), maneability and speed test (working Equitation, which can include also the cow test in international events). Final test for WE is usually the speed test, the quality of the riding is high enough that often it is the speed test that decides the winner, so it is no wonder that adrenaline of horses, riders and crowd always rises. This year’s winners were João Gonçalves with Damasco with 16 points out of possible 21.  In the highest class, Masters, it was Vasco Mira Godinho who won with powerhouse mare Diospira JGR with 10 points out of possible 12.

Closing Gala

The central arena is filled with the sound of Fado, parades of campinos and their bulls and traditional horse cars and homages to renown figures and horses. Classical equitation was represented by the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and Centro Equestre da Leziria Grande, with long reins and a display of airs above the ground. After the election of Best Breeder, Lusitanos D’Atela - and Best in Show - Inqrivel da Ferraria - there was a heartfelt homage to the riders that made history in Working Equitation. Riders and Lusitano horses that achieved International victories in WE since 1998 were asked to make a brief presentation. The team that holds the most victories to date was the last to show - Pedro Torres and Oxidado "The Legend", that at 23 still performed flawless flying changes and pirouettes for the cheering crowd. Some of these riders took part also in the mythical Working Equitation Carrousel – that closed the gala and the 30thedition of the Festival.