Insights on how to find your Dream Lusitano

Interview with Filipa Jácome - word of advice if you are looking for your dream horse



TEXT Equus Classic


PHOTO Rita Fernandes , Katya Druz

In search for your Dream Lusitano?

For several years now, Lusitano horses have been steadily rising in popularity amongst amateur and professional riders worldwide. With amazing looks, impeccable character and fantastic movements that are evolving towards the modern dressage requirements yet keeping the suppleness and comfort of the ancient breed. That is why these horses are truly proving to be fantastic partners for leisure riders, experienced amateurs who want to compete, and even for top dressage competitors. It is no wonder that over the last few years the demand for these horses has increased immensely.

Those in search of a Lusitano horse can hardly avoid travelling to its country of origin: Portugal, where the best exemplars can be found and where a truly genuine cultural equestrian experience helps deepen the understanding of the breed. 
Buying a horse is a serious and long-term commitment. Once you decide to move forward, you can face several obstacles, and searching for the horse of your dreams can become a long and difficult process. Several questions will rise: “Where should I look? Who should I contact? How should I select the horses to test? How will I organize my travel route? What should I keep in mind while viewing prospective horses? When I find ‘the one’, how will the buying process develop?

Our advice: don’t do it alone!

Finding a trusted agent and having an experienced professional to assist you in the purchase of a horse is really the best way. I’ve been talking with Filipa Jácome, who founded ‘Lusitano World’ – an independent agency devoted to promoting the Lusitano worldwide and whose business involves finding the ideal equine partner to foreign clients.

EC: Filipa, how did your history with Lusitanos begin?
FJ: I come from a totally non-equestrian family, so I believe this passion was born with me. Since I remember I have been in love with horses and fascinated with the special connection between horse and human. My parents were not big ‘fans’ of my ‘obsession’, as they used to call my deep equine passion. At the age of 8 my parents finally allowed me to start riding. Since that very first day horses became a part of my life.

Being Portuguese, I had the good fortune to get to know and love the Lusitano horse: our ancient breed stole my heart and they have become my life. Their expression, courage and wild but tender soul is unique. Once you develop a genuine relationship with your Lusitano he will do absolutely everything for you – and this kind of relationship profoundly influenced my magnetic attraction to them.

Since I remember I have been in love with horses and fascinated with the special connection between horse and human. Lusitanos stole my heart and they have become my life.

EC: How did you start Lusitano World and what is it all about?
FJ: Although Lusitanos became my life since a young age, they were not part of my professional life until recently. I pursued a career in business administration for almost 10 years. While working with international consulting companies, time for horses was very limited. So i
n 2014 I decided that I would combine my passion with my business knowledge, and Lusitano World was born. 

The core goal of the company is to promote the Lusitano breed worldwide. We combine two major areas: (i) guide breeders and private owners in their horses’ sale promotion through professional marketing services and (ii) helping clients who are looking for their dream Lusitano to find their perfect match. 

I take my job very seriously, as it involves a great responsibility: I am, many times, the trusted person to make sure that there is a perfect match between the horse and the buyer. I am truly committed to my client’s happiness and very often a relationship that starts from a commercial point of view ends in friendship. And that is why I simply love my new job!


EC: What are the top guidelines for a client looking for a Lusitano?
FJ: Buying a horse is a responsibility and a commitment. You are taking a vow that involves the right amount of knowledge; time and financial resources. Buying your dream horse is most of the time, a very emotional moment, but you can’t lose track of the rational thought process. My advice is:

1. Be realistic and truthful with yourself:  you must truly assess your riding skills and horse knowledge. Being aware of your rider profile and goals will allow our team to develop a comprehensive assessment based on your needs and help you find your perfect match.

2. Include several horses in your short list:  make sure you see and ride several horses that fit your profile before you make your decision. It is really important for you to have a solid base of comparison to allow you to make a decision you will feel confident in.

3. Getting a vet check is strongly recommended:  the purchase price of a horse is just the beginning of the investment. Before you make a full commitment, you must be fully aware of the health, condition and history of the horse.

EC: What is the process of finding a horse with Lusitano World?
FJ: If you are looking for your dream Lusitano, it is our mission to find you the perfect match. Our team has a solid experience and the ideal network to help finding the right horse for the right person. And we will guide you through the whole process.

1. Setting goals: we always start from the point of creating a common base of understanding, getting to know you, your goals and also your profile as a rider. This first step requires a bit of psychological work to find out what kind of horse a person is looking for - for me personally, this step is fundamental so that I can provide a comprehensive recommendation and assessment of the compatibility between you and the horse.

2. Lusitano Selection: we then proceed to selecting and presenting you horses that fit and can be a potential match. We provide you with professional photos and videos of all horses; I also test most of the horses under saddle so that I can advise with clear insights on each horse. If we don’t have the right horse in the database we will go out and find it for you.

3. Short list and travel arrangements: after carefully analyzing several horses we will select together the short list of horses we should go and test together. We prepare with you all travel arrangements and make sure that during your trip you will be able to see and try a great selection of horses.

4. You found your dream horse! Before celebrating, don’t forget about vet check: performing a pre-purchase vet check is fundamental before you start celebrating and make your final buying decision. Lusitano World works in association with renowned and experienced vets. We will provide you their contacts and guide you through all steps. 

5. Clear Vet Check! Let’s buy the horse: it is now time to enjoy your exciting moment and not to be stressed with all paperwork and bureaucracy. Our team will help and guide you with all details: negotiation; purchase contract; ownership transfer and transportation. You don’t have to worry about anything.


EC: Lusitano World claims to have the biggest database of Lusitano Horses for sale. How many horses do you have for sale? How do you select them?

FJ: Lusitano World’s database currently holds a bit more than 200 horses. We work in cooperation with top breeders and riders in Portugal and through these strong network channels we can find your perfect match. And if you can’t find a horse that fits the requisites within Lusitano World’s database, our consulting team will start a customized search to try to find you an exact match!

Our Lusitano’s selection aims to provide to our customers the best and most complete insights on the characteristics of the horse, namely bloodlines; character; conformation; movement and health. And we will never present or advise one of our clients a horse we don’t know personally: as I said before, I often ride the horses, so that I can provide an objective description of each horse’s training level, movements and character!


EC: What are the costs of buying a horse?
FJ: When buying a horse, you should not think only about paying the horse itself. There are several other topics to take in mind when preparing your budget!

Traveling: We strongly advise our clients to travel to Portugal to get to know personally and ride all the suitable candidates. This advice goes especially for amateur riders, as it is a huge part of decision making to ride several horses and to feel the connection with your future equine partner. So, your costs start with travel arrangements: airplane tickets, hotel and travelling.

Set a realistic budget range from day one: When you decide to buy a horse, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is: what is my realistic budget range?This will be vital for a successful search process, so you will not be frustrated by wasting time and hopes seeing horses that won’t fit your wallet. Of course, the biggest slice of your costs of buying a horse will be purchasing the horse itself.

Vet Check and Transportation: You should not forget about vet check – prices in Portugal goes from 450€ to 1.200€, depending on how exhaustive you want the vet check to be done and what analyses you need to include. Transportation is also a key concern and our team can help you with budgeting the travelling from Portugal to your barn. Transportation outside Europe has several specific requirements you should keep in mind – ask our team to advise you!

Horse Equipment: Don’t forget your new horse probably needs new tack to go with him. Get to know the horse‘s characteristics and what is the usual equipment he uses for work. Pay special attention to the bit and assure a soft transition, as you inevitably will change his training or daily routine.


EC: How much does the buyer pay for LW’s services?
FJ: Lusitano World’s fee on the selling is normally paid by the horse owner: upon a successful business closure, the horse owner will pay a ‘success fee’ to Lusitano World: normally between 10-20% of the horse’s price. This fee is already included in the price of the horse.

The buyer’s expenses will include (i) a daily fee during the horse searching process and (ii) the travelling expenses. If you end up buying your horse with us the daily fee expenses won’t be charged!

LW fee is paid by the horse owner. normally 10-20% of the horse’s price. Buyer expenses include only a daily fee and travelling expenses

EC: During the visit to your stables I noticed there are several horses you discovered and sold to LW clients, but that are still with you. What services do you offer in addition to horse searching? 
FJ: For us, finding a horse to one of our clients is just the beginning of a life-time relationship. We also offer to our clients the possibility to keep their horses in Portugal at Lusitano World’s facilities.

We have an amazing team with very talented riders who can train and even compete your horse – all will be done and adapted according to your goals! I have clients in the past who bought younger horses and then decided to keep them in Portugal for 1 to 2 years to evolve their training level; others who decided to keep their horses for stallion approval; and I have already 2 cases of clients who became so involved with Portugal and the Lusitanos that they have decided to move to Portugal! We are also starting some projects of investment in Lusitano horses that will be presented in 2018. I am personally very excited about these new developments.

Filipa Jácome is the founder and CEO of Lusitano World.
She supervises directly all horse searching processes within the company, ridding many of the horses she presents to her clients.