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Lusitanos Perform in Prancing with the Stars to Benefit the 2024 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

by Leslie Potter/US Equestrian | Apr 11, 2024, 5:00 PM

On April 13, 2024, Daniela Siberio will welcome the public to her farm, Lusitano Masters, in Loxahatchee, Fla., for an afternoon of dressage for a good cause. Prancing with the Stars of Dressage will raise funds for the 2024 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Palm Beach. The centerpiece of the event will be freestyle dressage performed by Siberio and her Lusitanos, but there will be plenty of additional fun for everyone.

Daniela Siberio riding Horquidea
Daniela Siberio riding Horquidea. ©Erin Gilmore

“We’ve planned some fun equestrian-themed activities for kids,” said Siberio. “We’re going to have a hobby horse jumping course and some polo stick-and-ball practice. EnviroEquine is bringing author Mary Ann Simonds, who just wrote a book called A Horse by Nature, for a book signing. It’ll be an equestrian-themed event, not just for the equestrian community but for the community at large to come and enjoy.”

Siberio started her involvement with Walk to End Alzheimer’s through her family’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease and a serendipitous meeting with an employee of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“I started going to a weeknight run club in Palm Beach, and one of the guys I met there mentioned that he works for the organization,” said Siberio. “At the time, I was looking for something to become involved in. There are so many worthy causes, but nothing was really resonating with me. One of my grandfathers had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the other with dementia, so when he started telling me a little bit about the Alzheimer’s Association and that it was coming up on their big event, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I said I’d volunteer. It kind of snowballed from there to me planning a fundraiser for them.”

The Lusitano is an ancient breed of horse with its origins on the Iberian Peninsula. Closely related to the Andalusian, Lusitanos display an elegant conformation and naturally elevated gait that make them eye-catching in the dressage arena. The breed’s excellent temperament was what initially drew Siberio to them.

Daniela Siberio and Fundador
Daniela Siberio and Fundador. ©Emma Claire Stephens

“I went to Portugal for the first time in 2015,” said Siberio. “I’d just graduated college and wasn’t really finding my footing. My mom and I went on a riding holiday in Portugal, and by the end of that week, I’d already bought a 4-year-old from the breeder at the place that we went.”

Siberio had ridden since childhood, starting in the jumper world, but her experience with the Portuguese horses inspired her to shift her focus to dressage and make horses her career.

“Any horse breed has its own special characteristics, and they’re all amazing, but there’s just something about Lusitanos,” she said. “They’re so willing to connect with people, not just under saddle, but when you interact with them. When we were at the breeder’s farm back in 2015, they took us out to the fields to see the mares and foals, and these little baby animals who have no reason to trust us just trotted right up. For me, the overarching characteristic of the breed is that they are so ready to connect with a person. And then you feel that when you ride them. It’s like you’re really having an exchange with them like a conversation.”

Click here to find out more about the Prancing with the Stars of Dressage event or to make a donation toward Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Learn more about Lusitanos from US Equestrian here, and visit the breed’s national affiliate organization, the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association.