The 2009 Lusitano Collection Gallops into Florida this Winter
RELEASE: October 16, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Susan Apple
During the weekend of February 19-20, 2009, members of the equestrian community and South Florida social scene will gather at the 111-acre Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, for the second annual Lusitano Collection Auction. The prestigious event will indulge guests with lavish cocktails and a gala dinner, courtesy of The Lusitano Collection. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the American Cancer Society and the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center.
Guests may view and examine over two dozen horses during the week prior to the auction as well as shop at various sponsors’ tents. The Lusitano Collection made its United States debut in Wellington during the world-renowned Winter Equestrian Festival in March, 2008, when buyers came to the Sunshine State from as far as California, Texas Connecticut, Mexico, Colombia, Belgium, Denmark and Guatemala. It was the first time that such a collection of Lusitanos had been sold on U.S. soil and gave clients the advantage of acquiring horses that are not available elsewhere in the world without the necessity of importing them either from Portugal or Brazil. While the Lusitano Collection is a trademark created by five premiere world breeders of the Lusitano horse, this year’s collection will only include horses from Interagro Farms, the largest Lusitano breeder and exporter in the world and Coudelaria Rocas do Vouga of Brazil.
Dr. Paulo Gaviao Gonzaga, who founded Interagro in 1975, oversees the breeding and training of 700 horses on his historic coffee plantation outside Sao Paulo. He is assisted by his daughter, Cecilia Gonzaga, who heads the stud farm which consists of 20 stallions, many of whom are actively competing successfully in dressage.
Prior to the auction, the horses’ rigorous training is initiated under the expert guidance of Director Maurício Delucchi Borrelli and Swedish-born Pia Aragão, Brazilian Dressage Champion. “The objective of our work in the Picadeiro is to have all of our animals achieve international standards of dressage,” said Borelli. “We seek to produce a horse capable of performing whatever activity his owner wants him to. I want people to see our horses and dream of riding them. I want the horses we sell in auction to be ridden safely and trouble-free by anyone anywhere in the world.”
Aragão added, “Before a horse is chosen for the auction, it must be disease-free, have its legs x-rayed, pass a pre-purchase exam and be evaluated for ride-ability and quality.”
She noted that the four- and five-year old horses that travel to the U.S. for auction have lovely ground manners, load well and could easily compete in dressage at the novice level.
The breed is well known for its exceptional performance in all equestrian disciplines so it is no surprise that Lusitanos from Interagro have been exported to nine countries and trained in jumping, dressage, driving, and even as cutting horses. The Collection presents horses under saddle and includes a selection of geldings and a limited number of mares.
Dr. Gonzaga noted, “Recently rediscovered, the Lusitano horse has re-acquired the prestige it enjoyed in the past centuries as one of the best saddle horses in the world.”
For more information about the 2009 Lusitano Collection Auction, which is open to the public for a fee, call Susan Apple or Mallory McQuail at (305) 937-1581.About Lusitano Horses
Native to the Iberian Peninsula, the Lusitano was domesticated sometime around 5,000 BC by a nation of warriors who fought on horseback. As their lives depended entirely on their horse’s temperament and reliability, the Lusitanians selected a noble, easy-to-ride horse, famous for its intelligence and willingness to work. These qualities allowed for the development of modern equestrian sports and contributed to the exceptional performance of the Lusitanos in all disciplines, which created an ever-growing de