About Alter Real Horses
Alter Real Horses come from
Alter de Chao, a small town in the Alentejo province of Portugal. They were created
in 1748 and have a heavy Andalusian influence. They are also derived from the
Lusitano breed, but based on mostly Spanish mares. Alter Real Horses were
designed to provide high-class horses for equestrian activities at the royal
court, and in particular for the royal riding school in Lisbon.
Alter Reals have a small
head, strong shoulders and a short body, an impressive high-stepping action,
long pasterns and strong hocks. They are high energy, intelligent and quick to
learn, beautifully elegant and impressive. They are typically 15-16 hands high
and have coats colored in bay, brown, grey and occasionally chestnut.
During the Napoleonic
invasions the Alter Real bloodline was crossed with Arabian, Thoroughbred,
Norman, and Hanoverian blood, resulting in animals of a much poorer quality.
Later in the 19th century the breed was re-infused with Andalusian
blood which refined and improved the bloodline.
Around 1932 the Alter Real
was facing extinction. Portugal’s equine expert Dr Ruy D’Andrade saved a small
percentage of the Alter Real breeding stock and line-bred two stallions and
created a small thriving herd. This herd today continues to thrive under the
protection of the Ministry of Agriculture in Portugal.