A Swedish photographer’s deep love for horses transformed a hobby into a passion project that now takes her around the world. However, there is one breed that especially stands out to her for its unique, regal poise and beauty—the Lusitano.
“I have been photographing horses for over 3 years now,” Mayra Vidal, of Malmö, Sweden, told I Heart Horses in 2020. “The ones who inspired me to start my photography were actually the horses. They are majestic creatures who show the colors of what art really is about.”
Vidal, who grew up with horses and started to ride them before she walked, has been a horse groom and rider herself. When she started out as a photographer, she was commissioned to take photos of horse models for portfolios. But as her photos gained popularity, so did her reputation, and the scope of her work went international.
She then founded Equine by Vidal Photography in 2018.
The photogenic Lusitano, a steed once favored by kings and warriors, became Vidal’s firm-favorite breed. Every year, whenever possible, she travels to Portugal to photograph these horses up close in their native environs.
The Lusitano is considered to be one of the first horses “under saddle,” and gets its name from Lusitania, the ancient province named by the Romans located were modern-day Portugal and part of western Spain lie.
Archaeologists claim to have found evidence that the breed dates back as far as 25,000 B.C., when they were likely used as war horses. Intelligent, beautiful, and agile, the Lusitano is bred today for use in equitation, dressage, and bullfighting.
Vidal relishes the wealth of new experiences, challenges, and horse enthusiasts that her photography venture has brought into her life. “I learn something new each day, and each day it’s like a call for me to go out and see horses from all shapes, sizes, and colors to capture their beauty and their personality,” she said.
Through the popularity of her work, Vidal has also had the chance to work with some big-named brands such as PS of Sweden, Equito, and SD Design. She was also once named the “best entrepreneur” in her home country for having the fastest-growing business.
Vidal now shares her extraordinary artwork with the world on her Instagram page.
The photographer wants to see more Lusitanos in Sweden, and more in dressage arenas and competitions. Sharing an extraordinary portrait of a mottled-gray Lusitano named Fiel, she claimed, “I want to wake awareness of this irreplaceable breed so more people discover the Lusitano.”
Horses, Vidal reflected, have made her who she is today. “I love to spread happiness,” she said, “and it makes me feel good knowing that people around the world enjoy my art.”