Use : Riding.
Height : 15 - 16 hh.
Colours : All solid colours.
Identifying Features : Small head, strong shoulders, short body, deep girth, hard legs, thick mane, sloped pasterns.
The Alter-Real (pronounced Al-tare Ray-al) is an athletic, warm-blooded horse of high quality, popular for general riding, but best known for dressage. It was first bred in Portugal. However in the 19th century Napoleon led his French armies into Portugal, and during the war that followed the horses were scattered throughout Europe. The Alter-Real almost disappeared completely, but at the beginning of this century the Portuguese government took steps to restore its pure form, and the future of the breed looks secure. Highly strong horse, yet very intelligent
The Alter-Real originated in Portugal and was established by the House of Braganza in 1748 to supply horses for the royal stables at Lisbon. The Alter-Real name came from the small town of Alter de Chao in the southern province of Alentejo. The “Real” part of the name is Portuguese for royal. The French dispersed much of the stock during the Peninsular War and by 1834 the royal stables were closed. Attempts were made however by the monarchy to help the stock by crossbreeding with Hanoverian, Norman, and even Arabian horses. None of these crossings produced anything of quality. Then Andalusian blood, which the breed was originally founded on, was reintroduced and the breed started to improve again by the later part of the 19th century. In the beginning of the 20th century after the the end of the Protuguese monarchy a gentleman by the name of Dr. Ruy d’Andrade began to breed the Alter-Real stock. In 1932 the Alter stud was given to the Ministry of Agriculture and today, though small, the Alter-Real is a thriving stock. These horses are trained to perform High School work.