While researching and watching videos for the aforementioned running of the bulls project, I came across a video of the most amazing horse. (The video is stunning, but it is behind a cut because although there is “bloodless bullfighting” where the rejoneador uses a velcro pad on the bull’s back, this is not one of them and you can see some blood.) He is a Lusitano/Quarter Horse cross, and is absolutely stunning.
I grew up in California, in beef cattle ranch country. As a kid, I showed Quarter Horses and barrelraced in rodeos. Later on, my tastes turned more to eventing and dressage. Cutting horses, used to separate single animals from the herd, are incredibly quick and difficult to ride – I would imagine that it would feel very much like having a saddle on a puma and trying to stay aboard. Dressage is the opposite, power under control, rounded, compressed.
And then there are these horses. Trained in classical dressage (along with more specialised moves that seem wrong to me, such as the canter sidepass thing), they are brave, powerful and stunning. The sport may be offensive, but it is undeniable that this is the closest thing to a warhorse that I have ever seen.