The Lusitano proved to be an exceptional performance horse on the Florida dressage circuit in 2012, with professional riders, amateurs, and young riders all bringing home ribbons with this unique breed of horse. Interagro Lusitanos, the largest breeder of Lusitano horses in the world, sponsored the High Score Lusitano award at select shows during season to recognize the most successful Lusitanos and their riders. The Gold Coast Dressage, Wellington Classic Dressage, and International Horse Sport shows feature some of the top dressage competition in the world, and are integral competitions for international dressage riders. Many Lusitanos stood out during the show season, earning the Interagro Lusitano High Score Award with exceptional scores.
Uruguai, a gorgeous black Lusitano stallion owned by Robinson Lusitanos in Louisiana, showcased the Lusitano breed’s ability to succeed at the FEI level by earning the High Score for all Lusitanos while competing in the Prix St. Georges division at the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI in February. The 17-hand, eye-catching stallion was shown by Cherri Reiber, an accomplished international dressage rider.
“I am a big fan of the Lusitano breed and they are very well suited for the FEI levels,” Reiber said. “I’ve shown a number of Interagro Lusitanos, including Sargon Interagro in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire 1 with great success. We were the 2011 Lusitano and Andalusian Adequan/USDF All Breed Award champions at Prix St. Georges and reserve champions at Intermediaire I. I’ve been to all of the Lusitano Collection auctions, both in Brazil and in the United States. They are very well orchestrated and a pleasure to attend. I love going to Brazil, seeing the ranch and all of the babies, stallions, and horses for sale. It’s a very unique experience, truly not one to be missed.”
“This was only Uruguai’s third and fourth time out in the Prix St. Georges ring so it was a really nice experience. He was nice and smooth and I was very pleased with his performance,” Reiber said. Uruguai’s score of 65.921% in the Prix St. Georges class helped him clinch the High Score Lusitano Award. Uruguai is owned by Robinson Lusitanos, the largest breeder of Lusitanos in the United States, and their herd includes 59 horses that come from Interagro bloodlines and 21 are direct Brazilian Interagro imports.
Reiber is an accomplished dressage rider who has represented the United States at many international dressage competitions. She is also well known for competing Lusitanos and said it was especially nice to win the High Score award while competing at the upper levels at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. “There were other Lusitanos competing at the show and it’s not unusual to earn a score in the 70’s when you are showing in Training Level. But to earn the highest Lusitano score of the whole show while competing at the Prix St. Georges level really says something,” Reiber said. “Uruguai is doing really well and his future looks great.”
Dressage rider and trainer Pierre St Jacques also earned the prestigious award when he made his debut with Branca Leao, a seven-year-old palomino Lusitano stallion, at the Wellington Classic Spring Challenge. While it was St Jacques’ first time to compete the imported stallion, Branca Leao rose to the challenge
“We got a lot of looks from everyone when we were warming up because he is so beautiful, as well as a perfect gentleman,” St Jacques said. “It was my first time to ride him at a show and he was a very good boy, very well behaved.”
St Jacques, who owns St Jacques Equestrian in Ocala, is an international dressage rider and was part of the Gold Medal winning US Dressage Team at the 2003 Pan American Games with his mount Lucky Tiger. The pair have also had great success at the Grand Prix level, including being the 2009 Reserve Champions at the Festival of Champions at Gladstone and in 2010 they placed eighth at the Exquis World Dressage Masters. “I usually ride warmbloods and this is my first time to compete a Lusitano. It was definitely an honor to ride him. He is a lot of fun,” St Jacques said. “I have had him at my farm for four months, and he is coming along very nicely. He competed at the USDF Region 3 Finals at Training Level and his now schooling First and Second Level.” Branca Leao won the Interagro Lusitanos High Score Award in the USEF First Level Test 1 class, with a score of 68.793%. With St Jacques at the reins, the flashy stallion has a bright future ahead of him.
Cecilia Gonzaga, the Managing Director of Interagro Lusitanos, congratulated all of the riders on their success. “Interagro Lusitanos enjoys sponsoring the Lusitano High Score Award because we love to promote this talented and versatile breed. It’s always wonderful to see a Lusitano competing at the upper levels of the sport, and we take equal enjoyment in seeing an amateur or young rider exhibit these horses. They have the mind and athleticism to succeed in many different endeavors,” she said.
Interagro Lusitanos was named the 2009/2010 Best Lusitano Breeder by the ABPSL, and won the Best Breeder Award at a regional show in 2011. “It’s exciting to see that our tradition in breeding excellence continues,” Gonzaga said, adding that the Brazilian farm has also opened their doors for private buying trips for prospective buyers. “We welcome buyers to come and visit us to learn the history of our farm and experience our amazing horses. It will be a trip of a lifetime because once you experience the amazing Lusitano, your life is never the same again.”
To learn more about Interagro Lusitanos, or a buying trip to the Brazilian farm, visit their website at www.lusitano-interagro.com.