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riding in all styles so I think more time should be focused on how we can work together and learn from each other.

At Interagro, the mar- ket for our Lusitanos is huge in the competi- tive dressage world. I believe the next disci- pline that will recog- nize the Lusitanos as having something spe- cial is the hunter world. Some of these horses can really jump – and jump with a beautiful style. In fact, many are already suc- ceeding in eventing.

In short I love the Lusitanos and I predict their popularity will increase because of their amazing trainability – their ability to learn quickly and how consistently they work. As a whole, the breed has a wonderful kind nature. They are brave and less ‘spooky’ than most of the young Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds I have trained. When I first noticed this, I mentioned it to my Portuguese friends who just laughed at me and said, “Well of course! They are bull fighting horses!” Their gaits tend to be smoother and less jerky, which is a bit easier and more enjoyable for my amateurs. We all need to remember, however: just as there is no “miracle diet pill,” there is no short cut to developing throughness and correct basics. Not even the most talent- ed Lusitano will be able to hide bad training. We can’t for- get that regardless of the breed, training is a long, careful, thought out, dedicated process that has to work with each horse’s strengths and weaknesses. Only then can we develop each horse and rider in a logical manner achiev- ing reasonable goals, the most important of which is a happy horse and rider team!

I have marveled at some of the poor training I have seen with talented Iberian horses in the Grand Prix ring without throughness or correct basics but still able to execute the movements. Even though I have seen poor programs rid- den with Warmbloods at this level, I think it is harder to get a Warmblood to fake it than an Iberian horse simply because they have a different kind of heart. It’s our


Her current Lusitano in training, Zairo Interagro, owned by Priscilla Baldwin of Palm City, Florida.

responsibility as trainers and riders to demonstrate suppleness and throughness in order to give the Iberian horses’ gaits more suspension and cadence, rather than take short cuts that allow short, choppy “sewing machine” gaits to prevail. The Lusitano has an incredible work ethic, so we have to be careful to treat that with great respect and give them the right tools in training. This way when they arrive at the Grand

Prix level, they will stand up to any Warmblood and be taken seriously!

While I will always love, ride and train all breeds of horses I must confess that currently my heart is stolen by a beauti- ful white Lusitano stallion that I am now riding and train- ing named Zairo Interagro. But Winwood, my Hanoverian Grand Prix horse that I have trained and shown through all the levels, knows he is still king of my barn – and the little pip squeak Zairo better mind his place!


About Heather:

Heather Bender has been riding and training for more than 35 years and competed in her first Dressage Grand Prix by age of 20. She is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal recipient, USEF judge and Certified USDF instructor. She has trained four Warmbloods through all the levels of Dressage including Grand Prix. Heather has won numerous national awards and has been a member of several USEF and USET teams. She is a published author/contributor with over 35 dressage articles on training in equestrian publications. She currently is the Director of Training for the Interagro Lusitano International Collection, is compet- ing at the Grand Prix level with Winwood and works as an advisor and planner for the New Martin Downs Equestrian Center in Florida. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76
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