The 2011 Lusitano CollectionTM International Horse Auction is right around the corner, February 23-26, and fans of the magnificent Lusitano breed are thrilled to learn that the horses taking part in this year’s highly anticipated auction have settled in Florida. “The horses have arrived and have had a chance to settle in before the tryouts, showcase and auction,” said Heather Bender, USA trainer for Interagro Lusitanos of Brazil, the largest breeder and exporter of Lusitanos in the world. “Tryouts have already begun, and in the days leading up to the auction, the horses will spend a few hours each day out in the pastures and be schooled under saddle just as they would in Brazil.” To see the horses being schooled, relaxing in the paddocks, and enjoying their first days in the US, please visit Interagro’s Facebookpage.
Hosted by the Lusitano CollectionTM, the auction is considered the social event of the season and will take place February 23-26, in Wellington, Florida, at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. The auction features Lusitanos from two top breeders: Interagro Lusitanos, the largest exporter of Lusitano horses in the world and winner of the prestigious “Best Breeder of the Year” Award by ABPSL in 2009/2010 and Coudelaria Rocas do Vouga, named the 2010 Best Breeder and Best Exhibitor at the 29th Lusitano International Horse Show in Brazil.
The reaction to the fact that the Lusitanos have arrived has been overwhelming and hundreds of interested buyers and spectators are expected to descend on Wellington in anticipation of being able to bid on and purchase the Lusitanos. “This year’s Collection of horses comes from Interagro Farms and Coudelaria Rocas do Vouga and includes three mares, eight geldings and seventeen stallions with a wide range of colors, sizes and abilities,” Bender said. “All of the horses this year show tremendous potential, and the Lusitanos are proving to be versatile performance partners. It really is the most diverse and talented group of horses we have ever exported.”
One of the highlights of the Lusitano Collection International Horse Auction is the horse showcase on Friday, February 25th, in which each auction horse will be presented to the prospective buyers. During the showcase, guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy several exhibition rides by Bender and Cherri Reiber. Bender will be riding Valete Interagro, a stunning Isabel stallion who was sold at the 2004 Lusitano Collection and is now owned by Katherine Cook of Legendary Lusitanos. The pair will present an exhibition freestyle to music, featuring FEI and high school movements.
Reiber, an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer who represented the United States at the World Cup in 2000 and has participated in two Olympic selection trials, will be driving two Lusitanos in tandem, which entails riding one horse and driving a second horse at the same time. Vistor Interagro and Zerbino Interagro, piloted by Reiber, will demonstrate the upper level movements of piaffe, passage, tempi changes and the spectacular Spanish walk. Vistor Interagro, who belongs to Robinson Lusitanos, sold for the record price at the 2005 Lusitano Collection Auction. Driving in tandem is considered one of the most difficult of the driving disciplines, and Reiber’s presentation will be an impressive display of horsemanship and will showcase the versatility of the Lusitano breed.
Vhernier, makers of handcrafted Italian jewelry, is sponsoring the Cocktail Reception at 5:30pm on Friday, February 25th. They will be auctioning off a ring to benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF), the official charitable partner for the event, and will have cases of their beautiful jewelry on display. Valued at $5,600, the Sugar Loaf ring uses a trasparenze layering technique in which two or three stones are combined to naturally enhance the stones and create spectacular colors.
The exciting activities will culminate on Saturday, February 26th, when attendees will share in the exhilaration as the beautiful Lusitanos are auctioned off to excited buyers. Prior to the auction and gala dinner, Brazilian samba dancers will entertain guests as they enter the tent. The fiery music, traditional Brazilian costumes, and explosive dance moves will ensure that the culture of Brazil will accompany the world class Lusitano horses.
The auction will offer something for everyone, with a variety of booths and vendors on hand. The Dressage Connection, Wellington’s premiere dressage tack and equipment store, will be on hand as will the United States Dressage Federation. Dressage Training Online will be filming the event and interviewing the trainers for their website, and Custom Saddlery will donate a dressage saddle to the highest selling horse.
For more information about the horses and The Lusitano Collection International Horse Auction scheduled for February 23-26 in Wellington, Florida, visit www.lusitanocollection.com.
About Interagro Lusitanos
Founded in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga to preserve the Lusitano breed, Interagro Lusitanos is now recognized as the world’s largest breeder and exporter of Lusitano horses. Dr. Gonzaga started with a small band of four mares and one stallion imported to Brazil from the breed’s native Portugal; to date nearly 800 horses populate the 1200-acre ranch outside São Paolo. Today, Cecilia Gonzaga manages the farm and operations. Interagro Lusitanos are handled, prepared, and evaluated from birth, with a handful of the best stock presented at auction each year. The annual Lusitano CollectionTM International Horse Auction gives buyers a unique opportunity to evaluate, experience, and purchase top-quality Lusitano horses in the U.S., without the complications of importation and quarantine. Interagro Lusitano horses are now successfully competing, and winning, on four continents.