Portugal has a special feeling for horses and this country is considered by many as the home of the Lusitano breed (of horse). This special attractive "hot blooded" horse has been bred and developed in the central Ribatejo region for hundreds of years and is a mixture of Arab and the Pure English Thoroughbred. This breed is internationally acknowledged for its gentle nature and its equally graceful agile movements in the bullring. This breed is often chosen for training to enter the international competitions of equestrian events.
Whether it is for Hacking or Dressage, a visitor will normally find both are readily available and in particular in the area of the Algarve as there are many established Riding Stables scattered along the coast.
The variable terrain in Portugal lends itself in the most part to offering extremely enjoyable different types of rides. Taking the Algarve as an example, the coastal plain varies considerably. Around Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago area the soft sandy soil through endless pinewoods makes for very comfortable riding. In the inland region of Silves the valleys and tracks can take you into charming countryside or up into the dense eucalyptus forests. West of Portimão there are endless rides into virtually uninhabited areas with rolling open hills. A trip into the Alentejo region around Évora will offer a visitor the freedom of open countryside riding. Such is the variety of good rides we recommend that the visitors try the different areas.
As the enjoyment of Dressage is very dependent on the quality of the mount the Stable should be chosen carefully. A most interesting experience is to ride a Lusitanian horse which has been bred and trained for the Bull Ring and is special to the Iberian Peninsular. The magic to be felt under the reins and saddle leaves a lasting impression.
Many Stables have specially chosen horses for the inexperienced rider. When hiring your mount it is a sensible to be open and frank about your own riding abilities in order that the Stable can arrange an enjoyable ride.