Lusitanos Teach Corporate Leadership

Management consultant Margit Dellian in Germany explained to me why the noble, sensitive, beautiful and highly intelligent horses from Portugal are particularly well suited as executive coaches. She created and founded http://www.equi-com.de/ management seminars with horses. Margit works almost exclusively with Iberian horses, including three handsome stallions.

I’ve been excited to do this interview with Margit for quite some time as I find it an extremely interesting topic. For 20 years I had my own company in Corporate team building, communication and management development in UK and around Europe.  I was very fortunate to work with leading  Global corporations at high level management.  I found the most effective, long lasting results came from activities where course participants were interactive both physically and mentally.  We used games, challenges physical and mental, outdoor activities and theatre skills in our courses.

My work experience led me to firmly believe good communication is about ‘valuing our differences’ . To be good leaders we need to understand how we communicate both in the words we use but even more importantly how we portray ourselves through our physical presence and actions.  The person or animal we are communicating with receives the signals we project from – our eye contact, our breath, our movements, our body stance, our energy – These subtle ways of giving out messages have much more impact than what we actually say. So if our subtle messages are apposing our verbal communication we are are giving a confusing impression.

Effective leadership requires quality dynamic communication. In order to be effective we must learn to become more aware of the person we are communicating with.  We need to look to find the right ways to communicate with others – as they would prefer and not as we would prefer. It is amazing to think our equine friends can assist in finding better ways to communicate and lead others.

I met Margit in Portugal some years ago, she had a young Iberian horse in training at the same yard as I had mine. Margit was looking for a new member of her management team – preferably a dun Lusitano Stallion. The mission was set.

So one weekend a short while later Nuno Andrade (dressage rider and trainer) and I went horse shopping! The result was a stunning dark chesnut sport Lusitano for Nuno and the beautiful Atila for Margit.

ATILA is a purebred Lusitano stallion with the considerable height of 168 meters. He comes from the famous bull fighting lines at  Manuel Tavares Veiga and was in his youth actually trained by a Portuguese bullfighter. When Margit saw him in the videos and photos she was completely smitten, he was immediately purchased. After some further training in Portugal with Nuno,  Atila was transferred to Germany and has became a vital part of Margit Dellian’s equi-com® team. Instead of fighting bulls, he now works with German business leaders, helping them to become better bosses. With his golden fur, the compact, muscular body and characterful head he looks very impressive and makes a lasting impression on the seminar participants. At the same time he is gentle, sensitive and kind to his two-legged training partners. That makes him even as stallion suitable for this innovative form of leadership development.

Noble Partners

Just Iberian horses fascinate people like no other breed . They are the epitome of nobility , elegance and beauty.

It is not without reason that these horses were the first choice for kings, generals and nobles in ancient times .

Image : Dellian consulting /
Christiane Slawik reproduced free of charge

Tell me why are Iberian horses your first choice for working with top managers?

Margit Dellian: Even in ancient times , the noble horses from Portugal and Spain were considered as the first choice for the former “manager”, ie for Kings, Generals and Emperors. One can still see this through many of equestrian monuments today. I find them to be fine partners to work with as today they continue offer my course participants the same qualities they gave in the past.

So what do you think are the qualities that make these horses so popular?

Horses are always a great way to show leadership behaviour and to give the training partner an honest reflection of his body language, his appearance and his authenticity. Especially in the millennia breed of Iberian horses the attention was less on the large-framed movements – such as today in the sport horse breeding – but on characteristics such as character, human-relatedness, courage, intelligence and sensitivity, which are important for the cooperation between man and horse – otherwise many generals and bullfighters would not have not survived.

These qualities, which are often referred to as the “pious fire,” make these impressive animals to perfect training partners. In addition to two geldings and three mares, we work with three stallions of pure Iberian breed – which is unique in Germany – and we have thus far had only positive experiences.

Eye of a Lusitano
stallion Vasco da Gama ( original name Studbook Veterano ) :

 How did you come up with the idea of organising leadership seminars with horses?

In August 2009, on the road between my office in Heilbronn and my office in Frankfurt the idea flashed before me: to train managers with horses! I came from a family business which is now run by my brother and I’ve worked self employed for over 20 years for mostly privately owned companies. I was almost obsessed with the idea to find a practical way to teach the mostly technically excellent Chiefs these simple but hard to mentally understand “soft skills”, like respect, trust, mindfulness, motivation, appreciation or presence – the true keys to successful leadership.

“soft skills”, like respect, trust, mindfulness, motivation, appreciation or presence – the true keys to successful leadership.

I had at that time already three horses -Two Iberian stallions and one Andalusian gelding. In sort of self-experimentation I have had some enlightening experiences. When I showed up to see my four-legged partners after a stressful day at work distracted, stressed, tense and with my mind on the last meeting. I was not really present for my horses, they could not take me and my unclear instructions seriously. Threats, pressure, carrots and sticks also did not bring me any success. Surprisingly a calm, specific, clear appearance, a concrete and understandable objective with recognition in the form of praise and petting – without incentives, such as carrots , made these 600 kg muscle packages – including two self-confident stallions happy to participate and easy to handle. For an impulsive and quite dominant person like me, it took awhile for me to come to the realisation that my Iberian partners are a reflection of my own personality, my own leadership behaviour.  At first it was uncomfortable to accept – it’s so much easier to project a bad result on one’s opponent! But the innocent, non-judgmental nature of horses leads us to self-reflection and only the honest confrontation with our own personality brings true personal understanding.

Who are your customers and how do they respond to your seminars ?

Our customers come from various sectors but mainly we work with managers from the automobile industry. Although these senior engineers are usually skeptical at first, when they have understood the connection between leadership and horses. Come to feel how the horses help them to a so called soft skills experience, they are usually enthusiastic. The CEO of a major automobile development company that works for almost all German premium brands (Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes Benz) recently reported to me that a year after visiting our workshops three seminar participants out of four said that the equi-com® training with the horses was the best and most sustainable management training they had ever experienced. This is quite an achievement as they have had lots of management seminars before!

Horses accurately reflect the human body language and make their training partners realize how important their own appearance and their function as a model is. They motivate the seminar participants to self -reflection without judging or criticizing them – this is hardly succeed with any other training method .

Here Lusitano stallion Vasco da Gama ( original name Veterano ) working with a seminar participant. Image : Dellian consulting /Reprint free

That must have made you very proud Margit. Tell me About the equi-com manager seminars with horses, what goes on?

“What does the Company Leader or Manager learn from the Ross (German for “horse”)”?  For the last five years, this is the question the participants of the equi-com® management seminars with horses have to answer. During the 1- to 2 day workshops entrepreneurs, executives and junior executives and mangers can experience with our horses, what skills a Boss must have in order to be happily and voluntarily accepted by their employees in practical work. Of all animals horses are probably the closest to humans in their social behaviour,

The horses mirror exactly the behaviour of their counterparts, therefore they are very useful as a manager trainer because they are acting as our reflection. The course participants experience one to one encounters with the horses in different ways for a first hand feeling. They also are able watch the interaction with fellow participants and the horses. We have developed different creative ways to enable individuals to have a positive,  reflective 2 days and providing them with solid results to take back to the workplace.  Thus support them in their future communications with their staff and customers.

I have found that the advantage for companies and organisations : During one workshop with horses is that the participants understand, what really matters for good and successful leadership and how it feels without role-plays and psycho-discussion. It was not without reason the name of common sense in English is also known as “horse sense”

I understand you also have horse master Florian Mueller working with equi-com.

Yes Florian is world renowned as a horse expert and specialist in Iberian horses.  He also has had 30 years of running his own leading engineering company. I feel very fortunate to have Florian on our team, he adds a lot of value to the work. Coupled with my experience we make a great, creative team.

Forian Mueller – here with Lusitano stallion Atila – is an expert in Iberian horses and has brought the first Iberian horses to Germany more than 30 years ago. The successful entrepreneur and renowned show rider trains the horse for the equi – com® seminars and conducts the practical seminar exercises. picture : Dellian consulting / Christiane
reproduced free of charge

It’s always a real pleasure to learn more about innovative people making new waves in the world.  None more so than when our beloved Iberian friends are involved.  It’s been very insightful to learn a little more about what you do. I have no doubts about the huge success you are experiencing and will continue to do so. I look forward to welcoming you again in Portugal, maybe you and Florian would like to offer us a seminar at Quinta do Brejo.

Thank you so much and I wish you continued success in your venture.

Equi-com was inspired and founded by Margit Dellian, who has a degree in business administration.  She has been running for 20 years a consulting company which offers communication and business management programmes.

 

Margit

To find out more contact: www.equi-com.de  and www.finca-vera-isabel.de

Images: dellian consulting / Christiane Slawik reproduced free of charge

Logo neu klein

Dolbadarn Film Horses

About 4 years ago (2010) I met Dylan Jones, joint owner of Dolbadarn Film Horses. He had approached me to find a Lusitano for his film business. In fact, I found him two beautiful black half brother Alter Real colts. From then on our friendship has developed. It’s been very interesting to watch the progress of the colts and to learn more about the horses in film and television. I thought it would make fun reading for you to find out more about “Lusitanos in Film’

Dolbadarn Film Horses is located in North Wales, UK and works in the film and television Industry.

Dylan as I understand, Dolbadarn Film Horses is a family business, how and why did it begin? and how long has it been running?

Yes, the Dolbadarn Film horses is a family company, formed in the early 70’s.   My parents had a horse trekking business. They would to take regular trips to Ireland to buy horses from their friend, Austin Gaskin. Austin also supplied horses and carriages for TV and film. He was based in Bray close to Ardmore Studios.

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On one visit, Austin picked them up from the ferry port and drove them straight to Bray to look at the selected horses. Austin had picked 5 lovely Irish cobs. However the horses couldn’t leave straight away, as he was using them in a new Sean Connery movie, in which he was the Horse Master, Zardoz. To my father’s delight he was asked to assist Austin on the job, my mother got to be the double for the main actress on horseback…..and so it began.

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The business quickly grew and my parents supplied horses to many television and film jobs. They worked on top films such as Michael Mann’s WW2  Horror, The Keep, The Far pavilions, with Ben Cross – where we doubled up the horses  filmed in the Ogwen valley.  And more famously, we supplied a hundred horses on location in Dinorwic quarry for George Lucas’ fantasy movie – Willow.

I was only 10 years old when I started to regularly assist my Mother, on location. Amongst the hustle and bustle of horses being tacked up in period tack and trappings – riders in full costume mounting up and riding off to the set, two by two – I knew then this was something I’d love to do in my life.

Having fallen in love with the business I went to college to study Performing Arts and did a degree in Theatre Studies. While there, my agent called to ask  if I would like to work as a rider on a new Merlin movie.  I jumped at the chance.

On that film I rode along side some of the best stunt/action riders in the industry, I am still friends with them today. Doing this work confirmed my decision, to learn to run Dolbadarn Film horses!

In the early days I trained with one of the stunt riders I had met on the 97’ Merlin, Ian. He had his own equine stunt team, called the horsemen of the Apocalypse. With Ian, I gained new skills as a trick rider and as a result, I went on to perform in live shows for a number of years. Also around the same time, I began to research different training styles and passionately looked back at the old Medieval style of riding, which took me through Europe to Portugal. In Portugal I found a few very good trainers and excellent horses. Since then, for about 16 years I’veve been regularly visiting Portugal. I feel I’ve developed quite a bond with the country, the people and the Lusitanos.

Wow Dylan it’s lovely to hear that you enjoy Portugal so much, tell me what is about the Portuguese Equitation particularly attracted you?

I am fascinated with the high standard of riding I’ve seen. I especially like the subtle body weight aids and the sharp versatility of the horses.  This inspired me to learn more. In particular ‘the working equitation’ in Portugal as there are a lot of similarities between working equitation and the film riding we do. Particularly the period medieval riding. The medieval style takes us back to classical principles.

I am very curious about your business it seems very fun and exciting, although I am certain behind scenes is a lot of training and hard work. Can you give us a bit more of an insight into your daily work and your horse’s jobs?

We train and supply horses to the entertainment industry. Our specialty is preparing the equines for the screen as well as live shows. For this we have develop two types of horses – an “Actor” trained horse which has to be an intelligent horse. One that understands and respects the riding level of its rider novice or experienced. He has to be constant in the action whatever the rider is doing on his back. We train these horses to go from “A” to ”B”  however many times it takes to get the perfect shots.

It is very vital this training is done in a calm and safe way. The horse must be consistently calm at all times. We must always keep in the front of our minds that there is a precious artist in the saddle, trusting that the horse will look after them.

The other type is the action / stunt horse, These animals have to be courageous, brave, very trainable and even more athletic. They are fully trained rider’s horses. The action horse will run through a wall of fire. Rear up on command, fall over at a canter time and time again without being at all fazed. These horses must have an attitude, and most importantly enjoy performing!

A really good film horse can achieve up to 5 or 6 skills such as – trick riding, carriage driving, mounted combat, fire work, rearing, stunt falling over etc. But I find most horses settle with 2 or 3 skills.

These horses must be amazing, you’ve been training them now since childhood do you think the way you train the horses changed much from when you started?

We usually keep to our tried and tested methods although I have gained much inspiration from Portuguese equitation. In general Hollywood Productions bring the Period Blockbusters over to UK and Europe to film because there’s a reputation for the highest quality amongst the horse trainers here.  In the UK there are some of the biggest horse teams, most of them are based near the film studios just outside London.  We are only in small business by comparison so I am proud that we get to work along side some of the best horse masters and stunt riders in the industry.

DSCN7387 copyIs all the training done at your farm?

Yes , all my horses and team train at out farm .We have an outdoor school and an indoor  arena nearby.  We are very lucky in that we have a natural training ground to prepare the horses.

We have mountains, lakes, beaches, farms and the ocean, busy roads and heavy traffic.

Our horses are introduced to everything so they become fearless and as we term ‘bombproof’. Or at least as close to bombproof as possible.

Naturally the burning question on my lips is about your Lusitanos  – I know you do have several of them, please tell us how you find them to train and work with?

I love Lusitano’s!  Some of my best horses are this breed. I find them fun, sometimes a challenge, very intelligent and honest horses. I have Actor trained Lusitanos and also action / stunt trained Lusitano’s so they are very versatile. In my opinion they are not an easy horse to ride or understand they don’t suit everyone.

This is because they can be quirky, sharp and sensitive ridden . But if you have the knowledge to understand them, I think they are, one of the best breeds around.

What are the most popular breeds used in film? How do the Lusitanos compare?

Val through fireThere’s a lot of Pure Bred Spanish horses in the industry, also the Freisan horses and cross bred horses.

All the different film teams in the industry will have their own breed preferences. Some like the Spanish horse, Some like the Portuguese horse. Some might have both breeds for different skills and jobs.

In my experience, the Portuguese horse is sharper than his Spanish Brother but at the same time has more courage. The Spanish horse tends to be chosen because it is less sensitive in general than the Portuguese horse  – but that’s generally speaking.

I find although the Portuguese horse is often hotter (depending on bloodlines), however you can send a Lusitano into a full energy battle scene, get the horse really hot mentally. As soon as the Director say cut, you willl see the same horse stand still and be a cool straight away. It is very good to see this, they have a working mentality.

I love it the Lusitanos are so cool !!!

Dylan, how do you choose your horses? and what age do you prefer?

I’ve grown up around horses . I was riding before I could walk. So I guess I’ve picked up the energy from the horses. For some reason, if I see a horse I’ll know very fast if he or she will be good for me. and more importantly if we’ll get on. Generally, the younger the horse the better.
Sometimes though, horses pick me this is how I came to have Valmorim from Jan Pendlebury – who has a Classical Centre near me. A few years ago she invited me to see her new Lusitano foals – which naturally I was delighted to do. When we arrive at the field, as with most very young foals they were shyly hiding close to their mothers. Then a little black foal came out of nowhere and stopped in front of me. I knelt down and slowly put my hand out, the foal reacted by licking my palm.  He was so brave and bold  I knew he was going to have a life with me.

13 Years later that black colt, now grey  is one of my very special horses. He is unique, he can read my mind, and I his. We’ve grown up together. Valmorim and Diablo  (my greatest horse a Welsh stallion), are two horses I am certain chose me!

I am extremely curious and interested in the Lusitanos that I found for you as 3 year olds, two half brother black Alter colts.  I know one has turned out to be an ideal film horse and the other is stunning looking with the magical flowing mane and tail and he has been in photo shoots galloping along beaches. Can you talk a bit about them how they are to work with.

Yes although half brothers they are totally different in nature . Choque now called Beauty because of his extraordinary  long mane is a fairy tale horse.  Apart from Valmorim he is the most sensitive horse I’ve ever ridden.  He’s not really a film horse, more of a one to one for liberty work and modelling potential – he does have incredible good looks! He’s already worked on an advert for Clogau Welsh gold. cantering along the beach with Amie, one of my fully trained riders.  Once he has matured  he’s going to be worth his weight in Gold. He is a fantasy black stallion with a stunning mane the perfect model. I believe he’ll be one to look out for in the future.

Choque ARCasquito, his half brother. is a totally different horse. He actually reminds me of Diablo. He has a very strong and quirky character. I get on really well with this stallion. He has already worked on the final series of Merlin, the first series of Atlantis and was my mount down in Pinewood studios while we were filming Exodus, the new Ridley Scott film.

The first training day he freaked out at chariots charging towards him in the rehearsal field. He reared vertical, I came off!  I climbed back on and carried on with the rehearsals, after that incident he didn’t put a foot wrong.  I don’t know if he scared himself and thought it was best stick with Dylan or he just worked it all out. I think he worked out that this was his job, he is an intelligent horse. When it came to the shoot days he was perfect all the way through. There was 150 horses and chariots charging through into set.  It was the first ever time for him to be on a job that big. Top horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What type of films and television companies do you work with?

Over the Years I’ve worked with various Welsh television companies , BBC , A lot of US Movie companies come over to Wales to film to work with us. We’ve worked for Steve Dent and the Devils horsemen, both big companies near London.  I’ve supplied horses and riders for them on their bigger productions  like Robin Hood, War Horse, Snow White and the Huntsman. Ridley Scott’s new Feature, Exodus and  we’ve just recently finished filming a new adaptation of the famous novel , Lady Chatterley’s lover which is due to air as a television movie on BBC later this year.

Which is the most famous Lusitano horse in Film-

Well apart from mine !  that has to be the bay Lusitano stallion owned by George Bowman in the Brave Heart movie ridden by Mel Gibson.

What do you enjoy doing the most in the business and with the horses?

I enjoy working my horses and traveling to new places. I’m not a good business man to be honest. I just love what I do and am very passionate about producing top quality equine performers. I started off acting and grew up with horses so it was natural for me to go down the road I’m on now. Better than working in an office!

 

 

 

What has been your favorite film and greatest most proud moment?

Has to be Robin Hood.  I had as much fun on that movie, great experience and amazing team. There were 150 horses and riders and by the end of it we all knew each other very well. I am still friends with many of them today. The best television job has to be the BBC’s Merlin series. It was just a great show to be part of.

I’m proud most of the time just watching my horses do what they do, well when they behave, that is …. Ha, ha!

Dylan thank you so much I have loved hearing about all you, your team – horses and humans do, we will all be looking out for you in the up and coming films.

I firmly believe that the Lusitanos, Portugal, the equitation masters, you and your company’s equitation talents and experience have a great deal to offer film companies here in Portugal. I am so delighted to now be developing this opportunity with you through our events business.

Yes I agree,  I think it is natural to join forces and make to most of Portugal’ s scenery, landscapes and medieval buildings and put them to good use. We’ve been talking about this for a while now and personally, I think that Portugal has great potential.  So watch this space !!

See more about Dolbadarn Film Horses

CREDITS – Editorial Interview- Teresa Burton speaking with Dylan Jones

Photography  – Supplied by Dolbadarn Film Horses

Published in 2014

Lusitanos in Film Casquito AR & Choque AR

Appearances in Sensational Global Film & Series

In 2011 Dylan Jones owner of Dolbadarn Film Horses came to us looking for Lusitanos suitable for ridden and carriage work in films.

The brief  – to find Dylan beautiful, calm, bold horses  with a great working ethic already ridden preferred.

After a search we came up with two stunning black half brothers from the Alter Stud Farm.  Casquito AR and Choque AR. They were already lightly ridden and had been briefly introduced to carriage work. Now 8 years later it is great to report on how they are doing so we asked Dylan to give us an update.

Casquito AR

Casquito is a very reliable horse, intelliegent and talented in film work so much so he has been in training to take over from my top horse Diablo and become to be my own steed on film work. As of late , we have worked together on the BBC’s Merlin , BBC’s Atlantis …. Ridley Scott’s Exodus…Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur, The Crown …. Game of Thrones ” Battle of the Bastards” and was a double horse for the up and coming HBO’s Watchmen series , coming out later this Year.

Games of Thrones
We were first called up a few Years ago when asked to supply horses for the big battle scene called ” The Battle of the Bastards” . We were subcontracted by the Devils horsemen who are the main horse suppliers for the show. There were over 80 horses in total we took 4 with Casquito being was one of them – I rode him into battle!
Since then I’ve gone on to work in the last 3 GOT seasons located in Ireland and Spain as an actor double , Carriage groom and ground safety crew.

It was an Amazing opportunity to be involved in such a globally successful film series. Also to work with such an experienced team as The Devils Horsemen and the action/stunt riders from all over Europe is a memory I will cherish always.
Image Dylan and Casquito behind the scenes on the GOT film set

Choque AR

Choque on the other hand is a totally different story. a great beauty and natural dressage horse, he is super sensitive and responsive. Thus he has been slower to develop, over the last couple of years has started to excel in liberty work. He has worked in many photo shoots, performing at liberty and ridden. Also he has starred in a commercial advert for Clogau Gold ( Welsh Gold) and more recently  performed at liberty as a rearing horse for an art gallery  promotion film  down in Levesden Studios.

For more information about Dolbadarn Film Horses read their story  Or go to their website
Photography Credits –
Header Image Sharon Prenton Jones – Black and white Dylan on Casquito 
Behind the scenes of Game of Thrones film set
Other Images from a DOLBADARN film horses photography day.  Contact Dolbadarn for information on these days.
Behind the scenes of Game of Thrones film set

Equestrian Haven in Algarve

Algarve, is the southernmost province of Portugal, famous for it’s breathtaking mediterranean coastline, hot summers and mild, short winters, its friendly, laid back people, top golf courses, delicious traditional cuisine and stunning scenery.

We have discovered in the heart of this exotic area there is a equestrian escape where you can enjoy beautiful, well trained Lusitano horses and have a great riding experience.

The WOW Factor

The riding establishment called Centro Equestre Lusitanus is owned by the charming couple, João Pedro and Iris Miranda. To find out more  we arranged to meet João and Iris one very early morning at a fabulous beach where a wide river meets the ocean. When we arrived João and Iris were already waiting for us with two handsome, braided Lusitanos – a stallion and a mare and what’s more our hosts were dressed up in 18th century costumes. So all we could say was ‘Wow’, what a first encounter!

Joao Pedro and Iris Miranda Riding on the Beach in AlgarveNeedless to say, it all made for a wonderful photographic opportunity, we had so much fun. Once finished we followed them back to their riding centre Quinta das Cinco Ferraduras – The Five Horseshoe Farm.

It is clear that João Pedro and Iris’ are both passionate about everything equestrian, both have been riding since they were very young and decided very early in life that they wanted to have professional equestrian careers. João Pedro is from Vila Franca de Xíra close to Lisbon, where he was fortunate to have several years of training with grand classical master, Luís Valença, he performed regularly in the famous Valença shows. Later on João expanded his knowledge within the German doctrine and developed the competition side of his riding with the army in Mafra. Here João Pedro obtained his riding instructor status, in fact he was ranked first in his course 2002. João Pedro stayed with the military school as a riding instructor for some years and also had the opportunity to take part in their shows and compete in several disciplines. Iris is from Algarve but at the age of 15 she moved to Vila Franca to attend the Equine Management course, which then led her to be a riding instructor by the Portuguese Equestrian Federation. Iris has also for many years competed successfully in dressage at national level.

Four years ago, having worked with Lusitano breeders and at a variety of different riding centres, João Pedro’s and Iris’ lives took a whole new direction. They came together with business partner Ana Afonso Mateus to take on the riding school where Iris rode as a child, Quinta das Cinco Ferraduras. Grabbing the opportunity they began to build the foundations for their own classical riding centre.

Joao Pedro Miranda piaffe on Lusitano Mare in Algarve

I could not help but feel inspired by this lovely couple and all they have achieved. In fact even while we were chatting there was a hive of activity in the stables, six horses, three dark and three grey, was being prepared. It turned out João Pedro and Iris had planned to give us a classical display together with four of their students. We were led down to the spacious outdoor arena where we could sit back and enjoy a show seated on beautiful old stone seats under the shade of lovely trees. It was great, we were made to feel really special.

After the show we visited the closest town, Loulé, for a very pleasant lunch at a vegetarian restaurant with a wide range of freshly pressed fruit drinks. The afternoon plan was to see Iris and João Pedro give some of their students dressage lessons as well as learn more of the competition side of their riding. They showed us well trained horses of various ages and educational levels.

classical dressage performance

The day ended with yet another surprise, an in-hand display in the indoor arena, a horse was elegantly shown in piaffe, spanish walk, levade and pesade by João Pedro together with a student. When it was time to leave we were feeling really satisfied with all we had experienced – João Pedro and Iris really managed to show their diversity, we can’t wait to visit them again.

Both João Pedro and Iris are qualified riding instructors in the Portuguese Equestrian Federation, national dressage judges, competition riders as well as directors and riders of their superb classical shows. All the horses at Centro Equestre Lusitanus compete in dressage, many at a high level.

Centro Equestre Lusitanus even has their own dressage team made up of riders at all ages who are competing successfully in the regional championship. Alongside this the students and all horses regularly take part in the classical shows and displays.

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The riding and training philosophy at Centro Equestre Lusitanus -is a fusion of classical and competitive dressage principles, as João Pedro says:

“Our riding philosophy respects the very best of what each riding discipline offers in competition dressage and classical dressage. In applying methods and techniques from each style our goal is always that the horses are calm, forward going, straight with impulsion, flexibility and execute the exercises correctly”.

João Pedro explains that they devote much of their time to training of horses and students, their aim is to promote the practice of good horsemanship and to promote the qualities of the extraordinary Lusitano horse which by many is considered the world’s best saddle horse.

Today João Pedro and Iris have 27 horses in their care out of which almost all are Lusitanos ranging from youngsters to horses established at Grand Prix level. Many of the horses are also to trained to perform movements not executed in the competition arena such as spanish walk, levade, bows and more.

The equestrian holidays offered at Centre Equestre Lusitanus place the needs and wishes of the clients at the front. With João Pedro and Iris it is all about flexibility so their holiday riding programs are all carefully tailored, each riding package is designed based on the wishes of client. During your stay you can have –

  • Classical dressage lessons
    Long reins work in hand lessons
    Specifically dedicated dressage lessons with corrective exercises
    Competition tips and exercises

There is also the possibility to hack out in the beautiful surroundings and even beach rides when the season allows it. All of this can also be combined in whatever way you may wish for. Riders at all levels are welcome to stay for however long they want and to have as many lessons per day as they wish.

LevadeCentro Equestre Lusitanus is situated at Quinta das Cinco Ferraduras,  in Loulé in the centre of what is often referred to as Algarve’s Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle is made up by the towns – Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo – known for having some of the best beaches in the world, great golf courses, and fabulous cuisine with fresh fish available at more or less every restaurant. You can go surfing or visiting Vilamoura Marina – it’s regarded as one of Europe’s best – or why not take a trip to one of the many small, old, villages with narrow cobbled streets and visit the local market or find a small hidden restaurant where sardines are grilled out on the street.

Centro Equestre lusitanus is situated only 15 minutes away from Faro airport and the accommodation for your stay is too flexible. Algarve is not short of hotels and golf resorts, João Pedro and Iris have good collaboration with a vide range of places to stay, all from local accommodation in Loulé a few kilometres away from the beaches, to four and five star hotels and resorts, you choose what suits you best. They help with airport transfer, car rental, and if needed, and within distance, they can take you to and from the riding centre during your stay.

We hope to see you soon riding in Portugal’s southernmost region.

BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY WITH US

To find out and book your holiday email us with your requirements

  • Length of stay
  • Type of lessons and how many
  • Type of accommodation

Editorial by Hanna Larsson and Photography by Bruno Barata  first published 2015

Monte Velho Eco Riding Resort

Monte Velho Equo Resort is one of the most stylish riding holiday destinations I have ever seen.  It opened two years ago and has never looked back, successfully  growing at a fantastic rate.

Monte Velho is a family owned business with a number of activities and at the fore front is their Lusitano Horse Breeding. They have a breeding philosophy a little different from most breeders and it’s proving to be a huge success producing  top horses.  Their aim is to breed a small amount of  ‘Sport Lusitanos’ each year – learn more about their stud in our breeders section.

Monte Velho means ‘Old Estate on a Hill” and there are remains of an ancient Roman Settlement at Monte Velho Resort.

Diogo Lima MayorThe resort is situated 7 km from Arraiolos at their stud farm (coudelaria). The property is in the heart of typical, almost prehistoric looking landscape of the Alentejo. Vast grey boulders, ancient cork old trees, holn trees, vine yards and long grasses. In the spring it’s an array of bright flowers which eventually turns to shades of greens and greys giving an almost modern Architectual feel. There’s a spiritual quality of times past and lingering thoughts what may have wandered the lands then.  The views are wide open landscape with an expansive sky. At night the sky is a bed of bright stars made brighter for the absence of excessive light pollution.

We arrived along a dirt track between the impressive boulders through an arched entrance. The white and blue farm buildings are a blend of a traditional Alentejo farm and modern design. The main house and Equo resort architecture  is designed by Arq. Diogo de Lima Mayer, the owner, and the interior design by Margarida de Lima Mayer, his wife. It all flows together organically blending perfectly with the surrounding countryside.

Diogo de Lima Mayer greets us in the courtyard. He a good looking man with a big friendly smile and sparkling eyes.  He whisks us off for a coffee and chat on the patio before a tour around the farm. Coffee and tea is served  in very trendy colourful china. However Lena can barely sit to drink hers, inspired she is immediately busy with her camera with so much to capture she’s off. Despite being a dull day, the grey clouds actually added to cool chic image and drama to the landscape colours.

On the their website it’s described as a boutique hotel but I would describe it as something a bit more than that.  For me the word ’boutique’ suggests something very bedroomsmall, chic and limited to a certain area but here you feel you have the boutique-ness of modern styling and individual space but you also have a feeling of so much more space available to you and there is. I loved the bedroom suites which are very modern in design with comfort and ease to move around.  They have super bathrooms with glass dividing walls and excellent showers.

Best of all each room has a private balcony looking out the landscape and a lake. I was delighted to see the balconies even have outside showers and comfortable furnishings. The perfect place to relax after riding with a glass of lightly sparkling vinho verde.

The more public areas are also well designed consisting of  a bar, restaurant, plenty of outside seating and a really cool rooftop swimming pool. Which is surrounded by the boulders so you have the blend of the grey of the stones and fresh aqua of the pool, you can swim while enjoying stunning panoramic views. The sun sets from here are spectacular.

MV11

After our hotel tour we were itching to see the horses and the riding facilities.  To get to the stables we crossed the sloping courtyard with peacocks and exotic planting.  The stables are a good size in barn stabling, a spacious tack room with modern and Portuguese traditional tack clean and well displayed….. Another example of traditional and modern blending perfectly. The horses were in their stables all calmly munching their hay. Diogo proudly took us into each stable to introduce them.  Most were from their breeding with a couple of other lesson horses. They all looked happy and well. Diogo is sensitive to ensuring the horses are happy so they have paddocks for relaxation time. We saw Diogo’s favourite, now retired stallion in the paddock enjoying life.

retirementFor the riding lessons there are two arenas available.  The indoor arena is a good size with a super viewing gallery. Then there is the outside Carriere which has Olympic dimensions (60mx30m) an excellent surface and a seating area for viewing.

In addition to dressage lessons covering all from basics right up to advanced movements on a choice of 14 school  horses you can go riding out in the countryside. Monte Velho has 250 hectares with all the surrounding area being National Ecological Reserve you will not have to ride on any roads but enjoy lakes, dams, soft tracks and 100% nature. Maybe even a picnic ride. You can choice to ride in normal tack or traditional Portuguese for comfort and style.

When we arrived at the Carriere we had the pleasure of watching João Torrão riding Equador MVL. What a spectacular young horse he is and with João onboard they make a perfect team. Now they are proving themselves in dressage competition.  João is a talented young rider being trained by Paulo Caetano and is showing real potential as an international competition rider. Later Doigo treated us to some fun photographing Equador in liberty. Equador proved to be a natural born star and certainly likes to demonstrate this.

House PatioWe were invited to enjoy lunch with Diogo and his wife Margarida  at the main house on their patio. What a patio! What an amazing stone table!  Both Lena and I were marveled at just the simple logistics of how they managed to install such a huge stone table top…. Diogo of course is a man that can :-).  The lunch was delicious healthy fresh and imaginative.  The conversation equally delightful. These are people that make a difference and know what makes others happy.  They have style, an eye for detail and a true understanding of customer care.  All in all I think to come for a riding holiday at Monte Velho will be a fabulous experience from your room, food, happy feelings and quality riding. For those that go I am certain will return again and again.

Even if you are not a rider you can enjoy nature, have a bike, take a boat on the lake or visit the city of Évora, considered World Heritage by UNESCO. Which is only 30 km from the Monte Velho Equo Resort.

Thank you Diogo and Margarida for such a super visit.

For further details go to Monte Velho  Getting there fly to Lisbon or Faro and I recommend a hire car. It is certainly worth getting out during your stay  to visit Evora buy some of the wonderful local produce typical to the Alentejo region – such as cheeses, wines, smoked hams and sausages.

CREDITS – Editorial – Teresa Burton    Photography  – Lena Saugen Photography

Written May 2015.

 

Paulo & Maria Caetano Part 2

Maria Caetano – interview 2014

Maria is petite, pretty, intelligent and an extremely capable she rides Grand Prix dressage internationally and is not afraid to gallop across rolling hills rounding cattle. She is highly focussed and professional in her career never missing a day with the horses. I was really interested to learn how she developed her equine passion.

Maria you are doing just great in dressage competing Internationally and you were in the World Equestrian Games this year.  We would love to know more about your life, your dreams and what it is like being trained by your famous dad. What age did you start riding?

I don’t remember the first time I sat on a horse. Since my first year I had been on a horse’s back with my dad. But I do remember that the first time I rode a horse by myself in the Golegã fair was at the age of 5.

I started competing when I was 13 in small dressage competitions and the Portuguese traditional equitation competitions. But it was in the Working Equitation that I started the serous competition, I was 14 years old.

Do you have any funny stories of your early days riding?  Did you and your brother get on or did you compete with each other?

I always had a big passion for bullfighting and riding out in the fields with cows. So, since I was very young (10 or 11) I used to bullfight small cows with my brother in the fields. I always did it and still do it just for fun. In 1999 when I was 13 years old I did perform 2 real public bullfights.
 However, despite my public presentation, it was never in my mind to be a professional bullfighter. I always wanted to follow a sport career.

You did very well in your younger years but you then competed on a warmblood how was that for you?  Would you like to ride warmbloods now?

I started in the serious dressage competition as Junior. It was when I was in the young riders level that I started my steps into International competition. I chose to compete on warm bloods at that level because, at the time, they were more competitive in movements required for Prix St Georges. So, I competed as YR on White Cedar, a Hannoverian, and we achieved 2 gold medals in the National Championships and we competed 3 times in the European Championships. Then I needed a schoolmaster to help me to get in the Grand Prix and we bought Diamant, a big warmblood from Kasselman stables. He was a great schoolmaster for GP and gave me a gold medal in the Senior National Championships on 2008 and a place on the national team for the European Championships in Windsor 2009.
For me the good horses are the good ones, whatever their breed. However it’s a greater pleasure for me to represent my country on the back of a Lusitano.

What makes the lusitanos special for you?

What makes the Lusitanos special is the willingness to work and to please the rider. A Lusitano is always trying to understand and help their rider, giving all of him or even more if he can.

You and your father have quite a dynamic relationship how do you like working together?

It’s a big pleasure, a lucky situation, to have my father as a trainer. We work every day together, which is a big advantage. Our relationship is spectacular. He can be strict, but we know that at the end  of the day we are father and daughter!  I’m so lucky to have a master like him at home!

Is all your training with Paulo or do you have others trainers also? Attend clinics etc?

I have had the opportunity to learn from great masters. I spent some of my summer and Christmas holidays in Germany, training with Lisa Wilcox and then with Dolf Keller. I also use to attend to clinics with Kyra Kyrklund and her husband Richard White, Jan Bemelmans and Francisco Cancela de Abreu.

I have seen you and Paulo ride the same horse and I notice differences as would be with any two riders of course but i feel to get on a horse after Paulo has been riding must be quite a feel as he rides very much more classically and has the bull fighting roots. The horses seem very positively dynamic after him I would like to hear you thoughts and comments on the differences for you.

In fact we have the habit of sharing the horses’ daily work with each other. I find that it is very positive that we both ride the same horse since we can share feelings and opinions and then, we can direct the work in a best way. Of course my father has much more experience than me in training horses up to GP. So, he uses his skills, focus and his method in teaching the horses new exercises and I usually focus my method and skills on preparing them for the competitions.

Maria on Xiripiti

 

Your riding has come from classical principles too how do you find the cross over into modern competition what are the key differences for you if any?

The classical equitation is, for me, the right basis for the sport. Also I always have present in my mind the FEI training scale,  I think these are the main tool structure for the horse and the rider combined with classical principles they can bring you and your horse to competition. Nowadays Dressage has developed a lot and the marks increased exponentially, in my opinion we are beginning a golden times of good equitation and I think that riders are coming more and more to the classical principles.

What was it like for you to ride out into the arena at the World Equestrian Games?

It was a big pleasure for me to represent my country with a Lusitano at the WEG! I had been before in 3 European Championships as Senior, but in the previous WEG (2010), my horse Util died 5 days before the competition, so I really wanted to be there this year. Unfortunately, Xiripiti was not totally fit, due to an injury he had after the National Championships, he lost some weeks of training before the WEG. Anyway, he did a very clear test, no mistakes, but without his usual strength in the extensions and half passes.

Maria, I guess your next goal is the Olympics and we would truly love to see you competing in them  tell us a little about your ambitions we are very interested to know.

I prefer to be focused on the short term, since with horses you have to live day by day, developing your methods and your horse in the daily work and then the results in competition will appear. Anyway, of course that I have some goals in my sportive life, and one of them is the Olympics. Next year I will be focused on the European Championships that will take place in Aachen. A place for a long time now I’ve been dreaming to compete there. Then we will try to be in the Olympics. It’s a tough job to get a place in the Olympics as individual rider, so the first goal will be that the Portuguese team get placed into the 6 first team in the Europeans 2015 and consequently get the qualification, as a team, to the Olympics. I think that it is possible since we have a great group of horses and riders to compete next year in GP level. If it doesn’t happen, then I have to try to get a place as individual.

You told me that you are now very much involved in the horse breeding aspect of your farm how are you making your breeding decisions these days as I believe you are still producing Lusitanos for bull fighting and for dressage competition.  How many mares do you have and do you use your own stallions?

We have 15 Lusitano mares we breed for dressage and for bullfight for a long time. I use to say, “when a horse is good is good for everything”. Of course it is not strictly like this but, we always try to find horses with strong backs and legs, with flexibility and “self-carry” and good mind, being always willing to work with the rider. These are essential characteristics for bullfighting and for dressage. Then, we try to use stallions with curriculum in dressage and in bullfighting.

Foals 6 months old

 

You are not just a dressage rider but a very fun adventurous rider that is not afraid to have some real fun galloping across the Alentejo hills rounding up cattle, and taking part in many Portuguese traditions wearing traditional clothing it is lovely to see this make you very cool in our eyes tell us a little about this side of your life.

I always loved to ride out in the countryside and to work with the cattle. I like to participate, as a hobby, in Acoso y Derribo competitions with my husband. It is a Spanish tradition where two riders have to lead a cow and catch it in the open field. It is really fun and it gives you a lot of adrenaline. We have to have very well trained horses to do it. I can’t imagine having a hobby without horses.

Maria and her ex husband in the fields

I want to thank you Paulo and Maria for your openness in revealing parts of your world, I think you have achieved remarkable things and are a truly inspirational family to know. Many top riders in Portugal are from classical schools of equitation such as The Portuguese School of Arte but very few have bull fighting as their training. What ever ones opinion is about bull fighting – it is an art of great precision and an outstanding horse/rider relationship it is also amazing to hear how a horse can compete PSG one day and bull fight the next. I very much look forward to following your future developments.

Thank you both x

 

Click here to read Part one with Paulo Caetano

Text by Teresa Burton and Images by Lena Saugen Photography excluding vintages images.

 

Interview With Paulo & Maria Caetano

With the ‘hot topic’ debates about modern day competition dressage and classical dressage on so many lips I cannot think of a greater example of this in action than the dynamic duo of Paulo Caetano and his daughter Maria. Two people who live and breathe traditional classical and modern day dressage.

Recently I paid a visit to my friends Paulo and Maria to gain more insight into their lives.
Their home is in the Alentejo, Portugal close to the Spanish border.  A long drive takes you up to one of their stunning farms, where the Lusitano horses are bred and trained.  The landscape is a timeless scene of rolling hills, lakes, clusters of trees, wild flowers and everywhere is teaming with bird life. Cattle and horses graze contentedly on the lush grass unusual for this time of year, but there has been more rain than normal.  The drive winds it’s way to the farm, made up of a house, stables, indoor and outdoor arenas and a breeding facility situated in the middle of the expansive Alentejo views.
When Lena and I arrived we found Maria busy with her sponsors trying out new Bates saddles on her competition horses. I reflected it was only a few weeks before I saw her performing at the world equestrian games on her Lusitano stallion Xirpiti.

Trained by her father Maria is now one of Portugal’s leading stars in dressage competing Internationally.    So what makes their story so special so unique?

Paulo Caetano riding one of his bull fighting horses on the farm

Part 1 – Paulo Caetano – interview in 2014

Paulo Caetano is a man of great style, a warm smile and engaging manner.  He was also one of Portugal’s most well known bull fighters. This year (2014) two riders he trained competed this year in the World Equestrian games in Caen France – his daughter Maria Caetano and Manuel Veiga.

 A little bit of History

Paulo´s family were landowners and in 1972 when Portugal’s leader Salazar stepped down from power the army took over running the country in the form of a communist regimé, this situation lasted about 3 years.  During this period the Communists aggressively took away the rich manor homes, estates and vast farms from the wealthy to be divided between the people. As a result the banks collapsed and moved their business out of the country. Paulo´s family were among those affected.

Paulo tell us a bit about your family history, childhood  and also why did you choose to ride in the bull fight?

Yes both my grandfathers were farmers in Ribatejo and Estremadura regions of Portugal breeding cattle and the black bulls. My father an entrepreneur, worked in Lisbon. He was an amazing business man and a fantastic father.  He always respected my dreams to be a rider supporting my decision to become a bullfighter. I was the first person in my family to choose this career.
In 1973 during the Revolution like many I left Portugal, I went to Badajoz in Spain. It was there that my bull fighting career rapidly developed.  I made many great supportive friends – I’ll always be very grateful to Moreno Pidal, Alvaro Domeq, Angel Peralta , Fermin Bohorquez, Manuel Vidrié and Jacinto Alcon, all are my true friends for life.
In 1978, I came back to Portugal then my father handed me the responsibility of managing the Esquilas Farm at Monforte, which is still our family’s favourite place to this day.

Even with this new responsibility I continued my passion gaining a lot of success as professional bullfighter. The fights provided me with enough money to develop new agricultural and cattle businesses in our farms plus I bought more land. It was at this time I started breeding Lusitanos.

At the Monforte farm, my mentor was Antonio Moura, an  expert in everything to do with agriculture and cattle. Antonio was the uncle of my college and competitor João Moura and father of the lovely Dita, my future wife.

Paulo and Dita

Meeting Dita has always stayed etched in my mind she used to drive a small scooter to the farm to watch me training. Every day she was in the manége, looking childlike, very quiet, unassuming, a bit shy, but gorgeous.

Two years later we were married and the year after my son João was born. Maria followed three years later. Dita and I have been extremely happily married now for thirty two years.

Paulo at what age did you start bull fighting and what made you choose this life?

I started riding horses at 4 years old and bullfighting professionally when I was 14. I don’t know about choosing it – it’s a passion that has always been in me right from the start.

When I was thirteen I left school and met Antonio Badajoz, one of the most important bullfighting personalities of the time. Although I was very shy I was determined, to say hello to him. To my joy he answered:  how are you? Immediately
I replied: I am Paulo Caetano and I want to be bullfighter. Can you see me riding? He laughed, said yes, let´s go.

Three months later I had my first bullfight contract  at Campelos – Torres Vedras Portugal 1974.

Paulo at what age did you start bull fighting and what made you choose this life?

I started riding horses at 4 years old and bullfighting professionally when I was 14. I don’t know about choosing it – it’s a passion that has always been in me right from the start.

When I was thirteen I left school and met Antonio Badajoz, one of the most important bullfighting personalities of the time. Although I was very shy I was determined, to say hello to him. To my joy he answered:  how are you? Immediately
I replied: I am Paulo Caetano and I want to be bullfighter. Can you see me riding? He laughed, said yes, let´s go.

Three months later I had my first bullfight contract  at Campelos – Torres Vedras Portugal 1974.

You mentioned that you had classical training masters that changed you who are they ?

Yes indeed. Concerning my masters I had been a very lucky guy. Antonio Badajoz taught me all about bullfighting the art and rules.  He also taught me all the secrets about wild bulls – the Important details about their reactions in the fields and in the arena.
When it comes to the horses and classical equitation my first master, from the age of 4 was my uncle Fernando Metzner Serra. He had German equestrian origins which he openly he shared with me.  Then the ones who taught me the fundamentals of classical equitation were the teachings of Pluvinel,  Robichon de la Guerinière and Baucher.  For me they were the unquestionable masters. I gained all my basic principles from these men.

My uncle was good friends with the Master of Masters João Branco Nuncio. João Nuncio and Nuno de Oliveira are the most important classical Equestrian`s icons  in Portugal. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go with my uncle Fernando to Vale de Lobos, Nuncio´s farm at Alcácer do Sal. I watched him riding fantastic horses like Ferrolho and Lord Mayor.
During the revolution, two good friends of my father, who lost  their farms, came to live in Lisbon. The  Viscount  da Córte and his best friend and student João Parreira Cano,two very good classic dressage riders I trained with them everyday for 3 years in the classical method.
I’ve always had the desire to make sure I watched and ride with the great masters like Coronel João Martins Abrantes,  João Lopes Aleixo and Francisco Cancela de Abreu. They are generous people that have been open and willing to share their knowledge. All of them have given to me knowledge in different ways, but most of all,  all imparted the importance of respect and love with the horse.

What do you remember most about your early training? Is there something that you always hold true now?

I have been blessed having the opportunity to have so many wise professors They gave me a good and solid base from which to build. Now, 40 years later, I can solve a problem thinking about one of them and their advice. But the most importantly I haven’t stop learning. I know everyday I can learn something new I like to think I am progressing I am not sure but I believe that I am getting better. Certainly each young horse that I start training reminds me : hey you , try to do less mistakes.

Have you any very special or funny memories you would like to share with the readers?

I have so many I don’t know where to start –
In the second Young riders European Championship where Maria was due to compete, her horse, a warm blood called White Cedar, and when he was already traveling to Austria a friend asked Maria to participate in a Prix St. George competition. Maria said to me: I have a problem I want to do this but I have no horse. I said don’t worry take one of my horses. She trained the Lusitano son of Neptuno a couple of days and performed a good PSG test. What people don’t know is that the day after I fought with that horse in a very important Corrida (bull fight). He was one of my best horses.

In 2006 Maria won the Iberic Cup of Dressage riding a beautiful black Lusitano called Sole Sombra. Fifteen days after, My son and I had one of the most important Corridas of the season. Campo Pequeno at Lisbon. Was the “Alternativa” of João – the day when he became professional. One of best horses went lame. So I started training Sole Sombra. It is a testament to the importance of classical equitation basics they were so good that in two weeks I had him ready for bullfighting. We did a great  job in Campo Pequeno Lisbon.  One month later I sold him to a dressage rider to Germany. What a horse!

1996 I fought alone  6 bulls bred by me, with Lusitano horses almost all bred by me, and all trained by me.

In 2012 João follow my steps and fought alone 6 bulls at Monforte, with horses bred and trained by him. It was a very formal occasion and I was dressed in a formal suit. When the the 5th bull arrived João invited me to ride with him, and I did it! Dressed in a suit I rode my favourite horse. The public went crazy.

Paulo and his son Joao

I am very proud of two Lusitano horses bred and trained by me that were selected to the WEG at Kentucky : Util for Portuguese Team and Portugal for Brazilian Team.
I am over the moon with all the Portuguese Championships that Maria has won.

2014 has been a fantastic season for Maria and myself as trainer. She won The Portuguese Championship Gran Prix riding Xiripiti; The National Open Prix St George riding Coroado and the Masters Freestyle with Zingaro de la Lyra y la W. The three most important competitions with three different horses, all of them Lusitanos.

Two riders I trained have been selected to the Portuguese Team in WEG at Caen. My daughter riding Xiripiti and Manuel Veiga riding Benhur da Broa.

Another GP rider Maria Amaral also trained by me gained a really good result in Barcelona and then later won the silver in Open Portuguese Prix St George Championship.

Francisco Pimentel was first in Portuguese Cup Young Horses ( 4YO) riding the beautiful Esquadra MV which is now with my friend and fantastic rider José G Mena.
And all my successful students around the world make me very proud everyday.

Paulo you have two talented children that both love horses and have chosen their careers to be riding.  This must be a great pleasure for you.  You coach them both in their professional careers – bullfighting and competition dressage. Both are achieving at a high level.

I am very interested in the cross over with classical dressage and modern competition and it seems there is a full circle happening with riders globally looking more closely at the roots of classical equitation. I think you are a fantastic example of crossing the boundaries of classical and modern indeed to coach to people to the WEG is an exceptional achievement especially since you are a bull fighter. Can you talk an bit about how you find the cross over….

To answer this question I think it is fundamental to understand, the history of the Lusitano (Iberian) horse and how Portuguese equitation has evolved. The Iberian horses are very important in our history because it is their functionality that made them very versatile companions, these horses influenced the way forward in our civilization.  They started as great war horses offering us amazing combat skills in their agility and ability for collection to produce powerful movements (tricks). Then, later when war was over classical equitation grew from the skills developed in combat.  If you  assimilate the classical equitation doctrine practised since the “Haute Renaissance” to the Saumur (France), Belém (Portugal),  Viena (Austria) and Jerez ( España) you will see the principles. I think it is also very valuable to understand the influence of the German masters too, they were making the bridge between the gymnastic of the horse and the importance of the development of the horse´s body and mind following a intelligent structured method.

Then, it is important to understand and integrate the interaction of the training scales, classical principles and how important is the riders influence on the horse. I feel the training scales act as the bridge between classical and modern.  When it comes to classical and modern dressage the basics are the same, although  professional dressage training or a professional bullfight training have some very different requirements, different things to achieve, the basics don’t change.

In sport you have to follow a strict development program to build the physical capacities of your horse. It is very important to respect and understand his limits in order to help him achieve the best he can. The sport horse is not a pet. It is an athlete and you must be responsible for his improvement and to stay healthy. To achieve the goal, you have to have a very good eye, to have the capacity to anticipate reactions, the discipline to follow the right way but, mainly, to know which the right way is.

I noticed when watching you and Maria riding the same horse in the same movements an interesting difference in the horse. The horse worked beautifully and willing with both of you but the level of dynamic is different – not negative just different I am sure anyone can say this of any two riders riding the same horse. However I feel there is another level of difference. As a top bull fight horseman you have amazing skills that are the requirements of such an art, because lets face it when you are in the arena a mistake can cost you and your horse dearly. Most the riding is one handed and often using highly skilled quick lateral movements your seat and thighs are very powerful it is difficult to see anything happening but the horse responds  with such a high level of understanding and remains totally in tune with you. A certain level of tension is required is in fact essential this is transmitted from the rider’s body to the horse creating a dynamic connection.

It is fantastic to watch!  I realise bull fighting is a sensitive subject for many and I have no interest in delving into these arguments there are plenty of forums online available for this debate. My  interest is in the skills,  the art, the horse/rider communication and the classical principles you use. I fully appreciate that is it bull fighting that has meant the Lusitano breed is as fabulous and talented as it is. The bull fighting tradition has ensured Lusitano has survived and is now a breed highly appreciated world wide…. it is people such as yourself that have maintained the horse’s future we thank you for this.
Of course it is not quite the same in dressage competition….. although I am certain some would say the same of the judges it feels like a matter of life or death :-). The riding has some different requirements such as in the contact, the horse’s outline, the walk, extensions etc.  Can you talk a bit about how you have managed to cope with all this and what you feel are the most important aspects classical brings to modern competition.

Thank you very much Teresa for your kind words.  I do my best every day, trying to make less mistakes and always aiming to be the best partner to my horse. I am truly happy with the extraordinary evolution of Lusitano. I believe that we have some of the best horses in the world. I believe that in the near future we will arrive on the podiums in the main international competitions. But the most important thing is to understand the reasons why Lusitano is such a fantastic horse. The main reason is in breeding choices is having the capacity to imagine, to create and to breed a brave, functional horse able to make his rider happy, and be a happy horse as well.

In my opinion in modern competition the most vital classical aspects are the importance of beauty, lightness and harmony. We must keep this.

To ride a horse making invasive movements towards a wild bull who is attacking you, is truly special. The flexibility, the impulsion, the confidence, the collection, all these fundamentals are there. Equitation as a vital function, able to defend your life. It is an incredible feeling as rider. To know, without reservations, that your horse is as a true partner completely with you. When we taste this emotion nothing else can compare. Bullfighting has been through many different times. In 70´s and 80´s in Portugal a good bullfighter was so famous they were like Cristiano Ronaldo is now.
When you get inside this extraordinary world you forget all the rest. If you can read Hemingway, Camilo Cela, Vargas Losa or Garcia Marquez then you can understand it better.

On the subject of opinions about bullfighting, I don’t know.  I am comfortable with my career, my challenges , my future goals , my horses, the riders training with me. My family respect and love horses. We love our job. About the future only God knows.

We all are blessed people. Nowadays, we can see the best horses, the best riders and the best judges ever.

You have a fabulous estate in the Alentejo and you still breed the black bulls and lusitano horses.  Do you still mostly compete with your own home bred horses? How much has Maria going into competition dressage influenced your horse breeding decisions?  What bloodlines do you use?

To compete with horses bred by us is a permanent and extraordinary objective.
I am very proud that now I have the three best Lusitanos bred by me: three 4 year olds – Flamenco, Fogo and Falcão. Amazing horses. I am very motivated by them. My first concern in producing good GP horses is the power, the strength, good character and generosity in spirit.
I know my mares very well. Concerning the stallions, I always go to horses that give me high results and scores. Because this is the best proof of their quality.
Stallions – I love Altivo ( PC), Neptuno ( Veiga), Hostil ( G Borba) and Qualificado ( Coimbra)  bloodlines.  Rubi can be a good option and Coroado his son is becoming a star.

I am sure you and Maria are aiming for the Olympics and we would very much like to see you there.  What other plans, goals do you have?

Next goal is the European at Haacchen. In 2015 we´ll have three horses in GP: Xiripiti, Zingaro andCoroado. We also have some exciting new cards to play very soon. So our first goal is to work hard and then try to deserve to be in the best competitions.

Thank you Paulo always a pleasure to spend time you and your family.

Click here to read Part two with Maria Caetano

Text by Teresa Burton and Images by Lena Saugen Photograhy

 

Horse Insurance in Portugal

At Lusitano Horse Finder we are always looking to improve our service and provide you with extra ´peace of mind´recently we have been exploring different Insurance options for your Lusitano in Portugal in addition other services that can give you added value and finger tip information all stored in one pass coded secure personalised location online.

INSURANCE POLICES

When you are buying a horse in another country and then leaving him there for training it is only natural that you would have concerns. Wondering how he is, is he  happy, working well and if something happens can he be covered by insurance. Unfortunately there are very few professional organisations that offer good quality insurance plans at competitive prices for horses in Portugal. After much research we are happy to say we have formed a union with a company that provides exactly what you need for ´peace of mind´ comprehensive service.

They are a worldwide leader for sport horse Insurance, and approved cover holder at Lloyd’s of London.
They have been insuring horses all around the world for more than 30 years, and also have their own international breeding and showjumping competition stable.

Since they are in the horse field it has definitively helped them to fulfil the expectations of us horse owners, breeders and riders.  We believe they provide the best insurance coverage on the market. All the time your horse in away in another country and even back at your home your horse can be completely covered. 

If you would like to know more and see some sample policies and quotes please do get in touch it is a ´no commitment´ contact.  Feel free to Email Teresa.

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FINGER TIP INFORMATION ONLINE

In addition we offer another very modern services for your horses in training.  It is an online, password protected ´Lusitano Management Profile Service´.  This product is designed to give you immediate online access to your horse´s information which is updated monthly.

The profiles shows everything from history, x-rays, training plans, videos of training, images, nutrition plan, shoeing,vet, updates re tack etc, competition records.  Everything you need to know about your horse all stored online on a secure platform.  This way even if you cannot visit your horse from long periods of time you can access real time updates, see how he is developing. We even offer booked ´real time´skype training where you can talk directly with the trainer while your horse is working, or watch a training session live.  These profiles also act as an excellent sales support if you decide to sell your horse.  They work along the vet pre-purchase it gives buyers a real understanding of the horse and his life and health.

Contact us to find out more and see sample pages. Email :  Teresa

charlotteThe online horse profile is a fantastic tool to keep up to date with your horse´s progress.  It houses all the important information such as farrier reports, vet reports, current nutrition plans, training status, photographs and training video updates. 

It can be so hard living in a different country to where your horse is in training, so this tool is extremely helpful to see how your horse is progressing.

It´s also very nice having all the information in one place rather than being sent updates via email and not having a good storage system. This way it is easier to follow your horse´s development by comparing previous with current status.

Testimonial from Charlotte Irps – Switzerland

 

Brilliant Maria Caetano

MARIA CAETANO- FLYING HIGH!

Portugal’s Leading Lady Dressage Rider – she’s wowing her audience, making waves and flying high!

What’s more she is demonstrating to the World just how great Lusitanos are!

Sport Lusitanos ridden by Maria Caetano

We’ve been fans of Maria Caetano for many years having watched and followed her progress throughout.  Now with all the honest hard work and dedication she has put in every day her efforts are truly paying off with greater and greater achievements. She was in the World equestrian Games in France and now this weekend in International competition she has shown just what an amazing horse woman she truly is, achieving high results on two young Lusitanos at the 4 and 5 star CND in Mallorca.

She achieved spectacular results on two Lusitanos both only 9 years old. Coroado is the son of the famous Rubi who competed so fantastically in the 2012 Olympics witn Goncalo Carvalho.

Biso de leziras  – 2nd in PSG – 68,237% and 2nd  INT1 – 68,079%
Coroado 4th in GP – 69,960% and  3rd in GPK 74,000%

Photo credits – Rui Pedro Godinho

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14516354_10154462793395761_7641679749951099326_nPreviously in Portugal she competed in the CND at Beloura on 3 Lusitanos and won all 6 classes.

Colorado : GP-72,5 %; GPS-70,767 %
Biso de leziras: inter1- 67,6 %; inter1 kur-71,8 %
Falcao: C2- 68,2 C3- 68,8 % %;

COMPETED ZINGARO UP TO GRAND PRIX

What’s more Zingaro that competed in the Rio Olympics with Giovana Pass was trained by Maria and Paulo Caetano. Maria competed him in Europe taking himto GP before being bought by Giovana.

We have a new interview coming up with Maria very soon but in the meantime maybe you would like to enjoy an interview made with her 3 years ago.

Biso owned by Rui Oliveira ridden by Maria Caetano

 

 

Photo Credit – Lena Saugen

 

Maria 2013

Maria is petite, pretty, intelligent and an extremely capable she rides Grand Prix dressage internationally and is not afraid to gallop across rolling hills rounding cattle.

Maria you are doing just great in dressage competing Internationally and you were in the World Equestrian Games this year.  We would love to know more about your life, your dreams and what it is like being trained by your famous dad.

What age did you start riding?

I don’t remember the first time I sat on a horse. Since my very first year of age I had been on a horse’s back with my dad.  I do however remember that the first time I rode a horse by myself in the Golegã fair  I was 5  years old.

I started competing when I was 13 in small dressage competitions and the Portuguese traditional equitation competitions. But it was in the Working Equitation that I started the serous competition, I was 14 years old.

Do you have any funny stories of your early days riding?  Did you and your brother get on or did you compete with each other?

I always had a big passion for bullfighting and riding out in the fields with cows. So, since I was very young (10 or 11) I used to bullfight small cows with my brother in the fields. I always did it and still do it just for fun. In 1999 when I was 13 years old I did perform 2 real public bullfights.
However, despite my public presentation, it was never in my mind to be a professional bullfighter. I always wanted to follow a sport career.

You did very well in your younger years but you then competed on a warmblood how was that for you?  Would you like to ride warmbloods now?

I started in the serious dressage competition as Junior. It was when I was in the young riders level that I started my steps into International competition. I chose to compete on warm bloods at that level because, at the time, they were more competitive in movements required for Prix St Georges. So, I competed as YR on White Cedar, a Hannoverian, and we achieved 2 gold medals in the National Championships and we competed 3 times in the European Championships. Then I needed a schoolmaster to help me to get in the Grand Prix and we bought Diamant, a big warmblood from Kasselman stables. He was a great schoolmaster for GP and gave me a gold medal in the Senior National Championships on 2008 and a place on the national team for the European Championships in Windsor 2009.

For me the good horses are the good ones, whatever their breed. However it’s a greater pleasure for me to represent my country on the back of a Lusitano.

What makes the lusitanos special for you?

What makes the Lusitanos special is the willingness to work and to please the rider. A Lusitano is always trying to understand and help their rider, giving all of him or even more if he can.

Maria and Paulo CaetanoYou and your father have quite a dynamic relationship how do you like working together?

It’s a big pleasure, a lucky situation, to have my father as a trainer. We work every day together, which is a big advantage. Our relationship is spectacular. He can be strict, but we know that at the end  of the day we are father and daughter!  I’m so lucky to have a master like him at home!

Is all your training with Paulo or do you have others trainers also? Attend clinics etc?

I have had the opportunity to learn from great masters. I spent some of my summer and Christmas holidays in Germany, training with Lisa Wilcox and then with Dolf Keller. I also use to attend to clinics with Kyra Kyrklund and her husband Richard White, Jan Bemelmans and Francisco Cancela de Abreu.

I have seen you and Paulo ride the same horse and I notice differences as would be with any two riders of course but i feel to get on a horse after Paulo has been riding must be quite a feel as he rides very much more classically and has the bull fighting roots. The horses seem very positively dynamic after him I would like to hear you thoughts and comments on the differences for you.

Photo credit Lena Saugen

In fact we have the habit of sharing the horses’ daily work with each other. I find that it is very positive that we both ride the same horse since we can share feelings and opinions and then, we can direct the work in a best way. Of course my father has much more experience than me in training horses up to GP. So, he uses his skills, focus and his method in teaching the horses new exercises and I usually focus my method and skills on preparing them for the competitions.

Your riding has come from classical principles too how do you find the cross over into modern competition what are the key differences for you if any?

The classical equitation is, for me, the right basis for the sport. Also I always have present in my mind the FEI training scale,  I think these are the main tool structure for the horse and the rider combined with classical principles they can bring you and your horse to competition. Nowadays Dressage has developed a lot and the marks increased exponentially, in my opinion we are beginning a golden times of good equitation and I think that riders are coming more and more to the classical principles.

What was it like for you to ride out into the arena at the World Equestrian Games?

It was a big pleasure for me to represent my country with a Lusitano at the WEG! I had been before in 3 European Championships as Senior, but in the previous WEG (2010), my horse Util died 5 days before the competition, so I really wanted to be there this year.

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Photo Credit – Lena Saugen

Unfortunately, Xiripiti was not totally fit, due to an injury he had after the National Championships, he lost some weeks of training before the WEG. Anyway, he did a very clear test, no mistakes, but without his usual strength in the extensions and half passes.

 

Maria, I guess your next goal is the Olympics and we would truly love to see you competing in them  tell us a little about your ambitions we are very interested to know.

I prefer to be focused on the short term, since with horses you have to live day by day, developing your methods and your horse in the daily work and then the results in competition will appear. Anyway, of course that I have some goals in my sportive life, and one of them is the Olympics. Next year I will be focused on the European Championships that will take place in Aachen. A place for a long time now I’ve been dreaming to compete there. Then we will try to be in the Olympics. It’s a tough job to get a place in the Olympics as individual rider, so the first goal will be that the Portuguese team get placed into the 6 first team in the Europeans 2015 and consequently get the qualification, as a team, to the Olympics. I think that it is possible since we have a great group of horses and riders to compete next year in GP level. If it doesn’t happen, then I have to try to get a place as individual.

You told me that you are now very much involved in the horse breeding aspect of your farm how are you making your breeding decisions these days as I believe you are still producing Lusitanos for bull fighting and for dressage competition.  How many mares do you have and do you use your own stallions?

We have 15 Lusitano mares we breed for dressage and for bullfight for a long time. I use to say, “when a horse is good is good for everything”. Of course it is not strictly like this but, we always try to find horses with strong backs and legs, with flexibility and “self-carry” and good mind, being always willing to work with the rider. These are essential characteristics for bullfighting and for dressage. Then, we try to use stallions with curriculum in dressage and in bullfighting.

Photo Credit – lean Saugen

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You are not just a dressage rider but a very fun adventurous rider that is not afraid to have some real fun galloping across the Alentejo hills rounding up cattle, and taking part in many Portuguese traditions wearing traditional clothing it is lovely to see this make you very cool in our eyes tell us a little about this side of your life.

Maria Caetano and her husband

I always loved to ride out in the countryside and to work with the cattle. I like to participate, as a hobby, in Acoso y Derribo competitions with my husband. It is a Spanish tradition where two riders have to lead a cow and catch it in the open field. It is really fun and it gives you a lot of adrenaline. We have to have very well trained horses to do it. I can’t imagine having a hobby without horses.

Thank you Maria and looking forward to our next talk.

text by Teresa Burton  Photo Maria on Zigaro by Lena Saugen

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Classical Riding Club 21st Anniversary Dressage Event

I am very proud and honored to be invited to be one of the 5 selected presenters at the Classical Riding Club 21st Anniversary Dressage Event in Bedford UK on 30th July this year.  What’s more I am alongside some top people what a great privilege!

  • Colonel Christian Carde – former Chief Instructor of Cadre Noir Saumur France
  • Nuno Cavaco – Rider of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art
  • Sylvia Loch- Accredited Instructor of the Portuguese National Federation
  • Patrick Print OBE – Fellow of the British Horse Society & Director of Horse Scotland
  • Uwe Spenlen – Former FEI Judge and Member of German Judges Association

I think the event will be amazing, definitely worth attending if you can. I cannot wait to get there.  I hope to see many friends and students and meet lots of new people.

If you want to come along I recommend to get in touch quickly so go to http://www.classicalriding.co.uk/the-classical-riding-club-21st-anniversary-dressage-event/

Looking forward to it.

Nuno Cavaco

CRC 21st Annivarsary poster