Rui Oliveira on his Lusitano Dressage Stallion Biso

Maria Caetano – Portugal’s leading lady dressage rider is currently competing on several amazing young horses. One in particular grabbed my attention is the almost pink Lusitano stallion Biso.  What an impressive young horse he is.  I was aware that Biso was owned by Rui Oliveira, however not knowing who he was I was eager to know more so  I took a sneak peak at his Facebook profile.  The small profile picture showed me a smiling charismatic almost cheeky man peering through some grapevines – a wine producer maybe! Interest ignited I got in touch. In no time at all Pedro, Lena and I were visiting Rui Oliveira and Maria Caetano at the Caetano’s farm close to Monforte in the Alentejo.

Rui Oliveira with Biso das LeziriasWell there’s no doubt that Rui certainly is a charismatic energetic man who has leapt passionately into the Lusitano world filled with ambition. Tall, handsome and clearly stylish Rui enthusiastically welcomed us.  Maria was along side looking fabulous as always.

First task of the day was to meet the rising star Biso, now competing PSG & Inter 1. Biso recently won his first PSG, he has also won his first International competition. Rui told us that Biso has competed 11 times and has consistently improved his score. After winning in Beloura they registered Biso in the federation and he is now ranked number 1 in Portugal both in PSG and Inter1. It’s looks like a sparkling future lays ahead for this stunning young horse. Rui could not be happier

Standing next to Biso I see he is very big,  in the peak of health with a beautiful top line and an elegant muscled body, and yes he is pink! or to be more precise grey with a lovely pink shine all over his coat.   Bred by Companhia das Lezirias he is an approved stallion with an excellent score of 73.5% and is a stallion rated highly for improving the Lusitano breed. Rui told us that recently they took 50 doses of semen from him and tests have shown that Biso is capable of adding 4cms to the breed and improved gaits. Biso is registered with the APSL as a stallion to improve the Lusitano Breed.

Maria Caetano on Biso 1

Maria keen to show us Biso in action had him saddled and before we knew it she was mounted riding into their wonderful olive tree lined outdoor arena.  As she entered she was serenaded by literally hundreds of tiny birds over head and in trees. Sun shinning but as still early morning not too hot. We were all treated to a wonderful time watching Maria warm up Biso and then show us what a talented horse he truly is. How confidently and happily he works full of expression and with his fabulous gaits he looks a dream to sit on. Maria’s riding is going from strength to strength and with horses like this I think she will have a truly great year.  While Lena was clicking away Rui disclosed to us that he would ride Biso after Maria – it would only be his second time on him.  Wow we could not wait nor could Rui.

Rui Oliveira in The Saddle

Rui Oliveira on Biso

We had no idea how much riding experience Rui has apart from him telling us he was just back in riding two years before having not ridden since he was 11 years old. So we were intrigued.  Rui confidently got into the saddle, stirrups adjusted and he was off looking very handsome on board. He rode like a King clearly sensitive and determined he worked with Maria riding all three gaits, lateral work and changes.  Maria smiled and said well Rui already knows all the tricks as he was performing good changes across the arena. She seems very satisfied with him and even with Rui’s amateur status Biso behaved perfectly and listened intently responding immediately to Rui’s aids. A very well trained horse and perfect manners.

Rui is a natural chameleon able to enter many circles in life

12928257_815147975257128_860094409157886618_nAt my fist impression I would say that Rui is gifted as a natural chameleon able to enter many circles in life.  His passions extend to fashion, the arts, theatre, history, music, food and culture, he is fascinated how cultures and the arts all work together.  He told us he loves to explore how through the ages the arts have reflected our lives and how we lived in those different times.

He works in many fields all linked with fashion and the arts.  He provides he is work and life partner – the very well known dynamic television presenter Manuel Luis Goucha with fashion styling and PR.

Passionate about fashion and individual style Rui is always looking at fabrics. Wherever he goes he explores the fabric bazars and will buy lengths which he takes to his tailor to be transformed into amazing suits for him and his partner.

You will see from any photographs you come across of either of them just how great they always look.

13325733_10154211390254304_33609852434573072_nSome of his other activities include  running a cool marketing campaign for the gorgeous handmade D’Ornella’s boots that are becoming extremely ‘must have’ items in our wardrobe.

We are hoping to have these boots on the website shop in the near future.  They are designed by son of a Lusitano Stud farm in the Ribatejo in Portugal.

Although originally with riding in mind these boots are a real fashion item for those that love handmade and classic design oozing quality.

He is also a natural PR person with friends in all walks of life –  certainly we are delighted with our introduction to the lovely Torre de Palma hotel with it’s unique architecture marked both by its simplicity and sophistication offering typical Alentejo houses, rural loft, old barn accommodation and the main house, wine making, spa and restaurant we are excited to be developing a special holiday experience with them very soon. 

How the love of horses began

Rui’s early years were spent in Angola growing up in a large family where horses played a large part of their lives.  Rui told us that he loved the horses but he did not show as much talent with them as his brothers so he was not encouraged so much.  In fact one of his talented brothers Fernando Oliveira Nunes became the Champion in show jumping in Angola.

At 11 years old he came with his family to Portugal then his contact with horses ceased although his interest never died. Whenever he had the chance he would take the opportunity to see horses.  2 or 3 years ago his rekindled interest led him to buy a Lusitano mare with the plan to breed.

The day Biso came into my life

Rui – “I was with  Manuel and we were filming ‘Master Chef’ at Companhia das Lezirias.  Of course while there I could not resist taking a peek at the horses.  I was peering over stable doors when a horse and rider caught my eye.

They were coming through the trees and the rider was lightly tapping the horse with whip the encourage a passage step.  I was instantly captivated, what a quality and a presence that horse had and what gaits! For me his conformation was perfect a true image of beauty. I immediately started talks to buy him as I was completely certain I had to have him.

It wasn’t long afterwards I met Paulo Caetano,I showed him a video of Biso he expressed interest suggesting I take him to them for a 15 day trail which I did.  Towards the end of the 15 days Paulo asks to extend for a further 15 days. They told me that they believed Biso had talent to make GP. I was over the moon, Biso has been with them ever since.  Paulo and Maria are a unique highly skilled combination and they are training Biso perfectly. I am confident they will tell me when he is ready to begin to compete in GP  There’s no rush the next step will only be when Biso is ready, we all believe he will score very well in GP.  Happily we all work very well together.  Maria’s riding is brilliant I’m never bored watching her ride especially of course on Biso”.

Biso das Lezirias

Learning to ride – Rui told us that for him learning comes in different forms he likes to practice on the horse but in addition he loves to watch top riders.

Rui is learning to ride and takes regular lessons. It was Paulo and Maria that encouraged him to do this as they told him that by riding he will develop a greater understanding of his horse and what it takes to produce a top horse.  So encouraged he started with a week intensive course at Monte Velho riding with João Torrao and Francisco Pimentel for 2 hours per day. Afterwards he met Rodrigo Moura Torres and continued training with him.  Rodrigo told him he had a natural gift for riding as he has sensitivity, something that can be learnt but is not so easy.

Rui told us that for him learning comes in different forms he likes to practice on the horse but in addition he loves to watch top riders. He closely studies everything, he told us “I find myself watching very closely their hands, their legs, weight shift in the saddle, I try to understand every tiny movement and the communication with the horse see how the horse reacts.  I am fascinated by the beauty of the connection”.

He also reads daily many horsemanship books by riders and masters that inspire him.  He takes what he sees and reads into his lessons and tries things.

Rui “ I have found that riding a really well trained horse with quality so much better, as when well trained they respond so much better to everything and so one has a more enjoyable experience. He loves most dressage and particularly competition because for him it is so beautiful – it’s a dance with a horse and the shapes and flow of movements they perform are magic to the eye.

He admitted that when Paulo and Maria suggested he rode Biso he didn’t want to ride him as he was afraid he would damage the great work they are doing with him.  But Paulo said no since Biso was his horse he should try him at least once.   So he did,

Rui – “When I tried  Biso the first time I rode in the inside arena and I rode all three gaits. I was so so delighted Biso was really comfortable on all gaits and he was easy for me to ride. It confirmed for me that it is so much easier to ride horse with quality training because they respond to everything positively.  I think good training is vital.  For example when I rode Biso for the second time today and he responded to everything I asked and performed it and I am still very much an amateur rider. I felt completely comfortable on him.

Rui and Manuel have now bought a farm close to Monforte and are just finishing the improvements.  They have boxes for the horses but no arena all training will be with Paulo and Maria.  One the farm they have invested in 4 Lusitano mares which will be in foal to Biso. Rui is not looking to become a professional breeder for him it is purely a hobby but he wants to do the very best he can with it and make the best choices each step of the way.  He says with the support and advise of Paulo and Maria he feels very excited for the future of Biso.

m and rThank you Rui Oliveira for your time and friendship we are looking forward to watching your future unfold.

Thank you Maria Caetano we are so excited with your great work and to follow your career.  Learn more about Maria and her father Paulo Caetano they are a remarkable team – The Caetanos

Text interview translate Pedro Matos
Text – Teresa Burton

Images of Rui Oliveira with Biso and Maria Caetano with Biso by Lena Saugen

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