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Warning to Lusitanos buyers

Buyers are being warned to check that horses described as Lusitanos have the correct papers

Horses imported to Britain for sale as Lusitanos may not be all they seem, warns the Lusitano Breed Society (GB).

Chairman Jill Holding states that only horses accepted and given papers by the Associacao Portuguesa de Criadores do Cavalo Puro Sangue Lusitano (APSL) can be legally described as Lusitano. The words Raca Lusitana will also appear in the top corner of the Portuguese passport of the genuine article.

She said: “Some buyers of horses from Portugal are encouraged to believe that their horses are Lusitanos, even though they do not have proper papers, and we are taking steps to expose this practice.”

Tony Fox, studbook secretary and registrar of the Lusitano Breed Society, described two common scenarios: “People on holiday in the Algarve go riding at a local stables, fall in love with a horse and, before they know it, they’ve come back to Britain with a horse they believe is a Lusitano. Then they find they can’t register it here. We just have to tell them to be happy with the horse, use it, and register it as a sport horse instead.

“The other, perhaps more serious, situation is where British dealers take buyers to Portugal to find them a Lusitano. The buyer is persuaded that the horse is pure-bred Lusitano and pays for importation costs. Either it is not a Lusitano or it’s part-bred.”

Tony estimates that these buyers, who believe they’ve picked up a bargain, pay a few thousand pounds for the horse plus about £1,000 import costs. For a genuine Lusitano, buyers should expect to pay nearer £10,000.

The society is liaising with trading standards officers to clamp down on unscrupulous dealers.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (24 October), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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