From Bullfighter to Breyer

From Bullfighter to Breyer

Photo by Kevin Kidder

As a professional Trainer and Equestrian Coach, my career has been defined by the extraordinary horses that have graced my life. But none have left a mark as profound as Cossaco, my 17-year-old Lusitano partner.


 Born in Portugal, Cossaco’s early years were spent in the intense world of bullfighting. However, fate had other plans for him, and he found his way to me, embarking on a journey that would span four countries and countless achievements in the world of Dressage and Working Equitation.

I first met Cossaco at Haras Dos Cavaleiros in Magnolia TX. I was able to ride him during an exhibition cattle trial at a Working Equitation show. He was the first Lusitano I had ever ridden. Later, Haras Dos Cavaleiros sent Cossaco to me in 2016 in order to promote the Lusitano and WE in Canada. After showing him for a bit, We formed a bond like no other and I decided to purchase him. I couldn’t fathom the idea of him being ridden by anyone else. 

Together, Cossaco and I have defied expectations and shattered barriers, achieving feats I once only dreamed of. From winning Working Equitation championships on the world stage to captivating audiences at prestigious events like the National Western in Denver, CO, Cossaco has been the epitome of grace, strength, and resilience.

Perhaps the greatest honor of all is Cossaco’s induction into the prestigious Breyer Family. At Breyer, they have a roundtable discussion about horses, and someone had seen Cossaco. They called me, asked if I would consider it, inquired about his background, and requested some video footage. After they viewed his video, they wanted to use him. To see him immortalized as a Breyer Horse is a testament to our partnership’s enduring legacy and the countless lessons he has taught me along the way.

The theme for Breyerfest 2024 was ‘Against All Odds.’ This is fitting because Cossaco is not an easy horse. It took many years to get to where we are now, with lots of patience and trust-building. I never thought we would make it to Masters WE, or perform as we do. We have overcome numerous obstacles along our journey. They say the Lusitano chooses their person, and Cossaco has definitely chosen me. He’s a one-person horse and really draws from me when I ride him. When I bought him, I knew he’d be with me for the rest of his life.

Every brushstroke and detail of Cossaco’s Breyer model is a tribute to his remarkable journey—from his bone and muscle structure to his personality, color, and markings. It’s a testament to the bond we share and the incredible experiences we’ve had together.

I am an eternal student of the horse, and I am very thankful for Cossaco’s lessons. He has taught me about patience, timing, feel, love, and so much more. We have weathered many storms together and stood on the edge of many new experiences that stretched both our comfort zones. To say this horse is special to me is an understatement. I am eternally grateful for him. I feel that he has been and will be the greatest teacher of my career.

As I reflect on our journey thus far, I am filled with gratitude for the privilege of sharing my life with Cossaco. He has been my constant companion, and my source of inspiration. And now, as the world welcomes him as a Breyer Horse, I am excited to share his story with audiences far and wide, knowing that his legacy will endure for generations to come.

Jill Barron