About Alter Real HorsesAbout 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.