APSL was founded at the initiative of a group of members of the Associação Portuguesa de Criadores de Raças Selectas [Portuguese Association of Breeders of Selected Breeds] which, in considering that the breed needed an exclusive Association, created the studbook in 1967. The official approval of the Lusitano Breed Studbook, in conditioning the admission of studhorses, was a decisive step forward in giving rise to a painstaking, across-the-board selection process.
Founded in 1989 it was authorised by the Portuguese State through the offices of the Ministry of Agriculture, to manage the Lusitano Breed Studbook, which is unique and functions in Portugal, as the breed’s cradle, on a worldwide basis.
APSL’s object is to defend and promote the Lusitano Purebred equine breed and maintain the Lusitano Breed Studbook with the aim of ensuring the breed’s ethnic purity and to help improve the breed’s zootechnical and sanitary development, based on the approval of its breeding stock.
In 1995 its activities were rewarded by the granting of “Public Utility” status.
APSL has around 400 effective members and acts as an umbrella organisation for other breeders who, albeit not members, also benefit from the following associative functions.
- Birth Book entries (animals born in Portugal and rest of world);
- Changes of ownership (Portugal and rest of world);
- Admission to the Adults Book (Portugal and rest of world);
- Issue of Equine Identification Document (E.I.D. or Blue Book for animals in Portugal and rest of world);
- Promotion of and support for initiatives to incentivise the use of the Lusitano Horse in different disciplines: dressage, working equitation, carriage driving;
- Organisation of the International Lusitano Horse Festival as an annual event showcasing the Lusitano to the world;
- Participation in national and international events for promotional purposes;
- Cooperation and collaboration with official entities associated with the sector
Sporting and Selection Objectives
The maintenance and improvement of breeding stock resulted from the evolution of the Lusitano horse which was originally used as a war horse and in agriculture and which, based on its selection for bullfighting, achieved recognition in leisure and sporting activities.
The principal objective of the selection process is to adapt the Lusitano horse to current times and future challenges while fully respecting its origins.
This objective, which recognises the need to preserve ancestral characteristics are furthered through the Breed Improvement Plan.
The substantial improvement in overall breeding quality has contributed to its progress and ensured genetic variability. In the 21st century the Lusitano Purebred continues to be the perfect choice for Equestrian Art, giving enormous pleasure to its riders.
The characteristics of the Lusitano horse, as an all-rounder, enable it to adapt to all current FEI disciplines.
The focus on selection for the Olympic dressage discipline has been crowned by success and is clearly shown in the current 6th position in the World Breeder Federation of Sport Horses (WBSH) breed ranking and victories in two world carriage driving championships.
The development of working equitation was another successful undertaking with the discipline’s expansion to more than 20 countries and 25 titles won (individually and in team events) in the European and World Championships over the last 20 years.
With great commercial enthusiasm, the Lusitano’s image and presence has been expanded to around 25 countries, twenty of which have founded national associations for record keeping purposes, centralised by APSL in Portugal:
- Great Britain
- Czech Republic
In addition to these countries, Lusitanos are born almost all over the world, including, inter alia, Argentina, Austria, Canada, Russia, Thailand and China. APSL, as a frequent traveller, oversees the respective breeding records.
At the present time, around 50% of the breeding stock is outside Portugal.
Reference should be made to the Lusitano’s cultural role as an ambassador of our country and the culture and traditions with which it is associated.
The collaboration of Portuguese Embassies been particularly important.