The horses of Portugal

Characteristics Altér Real

Breed: Altér Real
Group: Warmblood
Height: 150 – 160 cm
Features: square body, straight profile with a small head, lush, flowing mane and deep black tail
Coat Color: mostly brown, rarely foxes and white
Character:  intelligent, lernwillig, nervenstark, mutig, ausgeglichen
Pace:  expressive, high knee action, emphasized movements
Origin:  Portugal
Spread:  Portugal
Suitable for:  Dressage and show riding, leisure horse


Royal warmbloods

In the eighteenth century, a Portuguese ruling house turned into a special breed of horse, the Altér Real. “Real” in Portuguese means “royal” and refers to the royal history of the stud. “Altér”, however, refers to its geographical origin, because the breeding began in Altér do Chão in the southern Portuguese province of Alentejo. Only first-class Andalusian mares were used for the refinement of the breed with the aim of being able to present particularly noble horses. The horses were therefore used as a parade and sport horses at the royal court and have always been particularly suitable for the classical equitation, especially the “high school”. In the 19th century, the population of the Altér Real declined rapidly, after the majority of the breeding stock was stolen and destroyed. Only with the entry of Spanish horses could the stock be saved. At the beginning of the 20th century, with the end of the Portuguese monarchy, the race was again threatened with extinction. The fact that the Altér Real still exist today is the private breeder and hippologist dr. Thanks to Ruy D’Andrade, who saved 3 Altér Real stallions and 11 mares and continued the breeding privately. In 1942, the Altér stud was reopened and the stock of horse breed was secured. Nowadays the Portuguese horses are bred in purebred. In addition to the studs Coudelaria Nacional, Veiga and Andrade, the stud Altér, or even Coudelaria de Altér, is regarded as one of the most important breeding lines of Portugal. The flagship of the Iberian breed is the stallion Rubi AR. He gained worldwide fame through his spectacular performances in European and World Championships, even in the Olympics.

Close relatives of the Lusitanos

The race Altér Real is due to the high similarity and the close blood management as a particularly bred blow of the Lusitanos. Noticeable features of the Altér Real Horse are its brown coat color and black longhair. Unlike the Lusitano he has a rather straight profile and no Ramskopf. But with its square body, the high-set, curved neck and the sloping croup, this warmblood corresponds to a typical Baroque horse type. In addition, there are similarities to other Iberian horses such as the PRE or the Andalusian.
Both dressage and recreational riders appreciate the balanced character of an Altér Real. Their high willingness to learn, paired with a very calm temperament and an intelligent, extremely strong-minded being are crucial for this. With their elegant appearance and expressive hallways they are perfect for dressage, especially lessons from the high school. They also look good in the so-called “working equitation”. This is a riding style that originally came from work with cattle herds and has now developed into an independent tournament discipline. To successfully master this discipline, a horse must be particularly agile and agile – traits to which relatives of the Lusitanos have been bred for centuries. In other areas of equestrian sports such as jumping or driving, the Portuguese warmblood horses cut a fine figure and prove their versatility once more.

Horse Facts

Already knew? Altér Real horses are almost exclusively distributed in Portugal. However, in Brazil, thousands of kilometers from Altér do Chão, there is a horse breed with Portuguese roots – the Mangalarga Marchador. The breed originated at the beginning of the 19th century, when parts of the Portuguese royal court fled before the invasion of Napoléon and then settled in Brazil. The breed was founded by the crossbreeding of the stallion “Sublime” with Berbischen and Andalusian mares.