articles about equestrian heritage in Portugal and Spain – horses, riding, heritage sites, castles, palaces and history

The joy of Riding Your Horse Out

#2 Portuguese style – “à portuguesa”

The History of Fashion

Fashion history has always been directly related to History itself, as are all of the elements that we surround ourselves with, evolving through times. But fashion itself is an easy way of showing one’s personality, beliefs, or even mood. We can “dress to impress” or we can be careless but regardless, what we wear is always going to say something about us and place us somewhere in history.

The Portuguese Riding Costume

is characteristic of a specific period in history, and although the masculine costume can be placed in the late 1700s, the feminine costume is directly related to the fashionable dresses worn by the last queen of Portugal, D. Amélia de Orleães e Bragança, in the late 1800s and beginning of the 1900’s – the Belle Époque period.
D. Amélia de Orleães e Bragança
Today, as we see the horse men and women riding in Portuguese costume, we hardly notice any differences in most cases, apart from the skirt and, in fewer cases, the hat.

The Feminine Costume

The ladies costume has evolved in such a way that it’s look is very similar to the masculine – the cut of the jacket, the shirt with the collar and cuff links, the vest, the hat – all pieces that are characteristic of the male costume, but are also worn by female horse riders – also here, in this fashion, we see history!

But the traditional Portuguese feminine riding costume has much to say!

We can consider two kinds of costumes – the Amazona costume (for the side saddle), and the Amazona costume for riding astride.
It is more common to see a more romantic look on the Amazona costume for the side saddle – the jacket is cut to fit the feminine silhouette, there are no collar or cuff links on the shirt but a silk bow or a jabot of lace, the placement and application of the buttons, all variable according to the fashion worn in that period of time.

It is my belief that the majority of the horsewomen who dress in the Portuguese style prefer a more minimal and contemporary costume, and as a result, the traditional feminine costume with its puffed sleeves was set aside and did not earn a solid place as did its pair.

Costume Evolution

As a fashion designer and dressmaker, it is very interesting to realize that there are subtle changes that can be made in this Amazona costume and that those changes can bring it back to life and allow horsewomen a more romantic look if they so choose, still respecting the rules of the traditional Portuguese Riding Costume.
I will write in a more detailed manner on this subject, reviewing every garment of this beautiful costume, and I would love to hear from you as well! Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and I’ll “see” you soon!
written by Silvia Teixeira and revised by Peter Cann
To order your own bespoke costume by Silvia check her page in our online shop.  Silvia is always available to discuss with you style fabrices and colours.

Riding in Portuguese style – “à portuguesa”

The traditional Portuguese Riding Costume – a must have for every Lusitano horse lover .

Hello. My name is Sílvia and I’m a fashion designer. I’m Portuguese and live on the beautiful island of Terceira in the Azores. I am a horse rider and have been for more than 30 years.

The Beginning of an Adventure

A few years ago, I decided to start my own business, designing and handmaking exclusive costumes dedicated to horseriders. Since I love Working Equitation, I started with the feminine traditional Portuguese Riding Costume with which I was already familiar. Through my research I found out many interesting details about this particular costume and this made me want to develop it and embrace the challenge of bringing it up to date. I decided to revisit and redesign it, respecting its history and purpose while taking a contemporary approach that has a fashionable look and that values the elegance of the horse rider (with an emphasis on the feminine figure).
Along this path I’ve been given the opportunity and privilege of meeting and working with other horse riders, with diverse personal requirements for their presentations from Dressage to Natural Equitation Horsemanship.

Exploring the History of the Ladies Costume

Regarding the traditional Portuguese Riding Costume, I’ve been asked questions such as: “Should the skirt be like this?” or, “Is the vest a mandatory piece in this outfit?”.
So, why do we wear this costume and what’s the correct way of wearing it? And how should we style it?
I have seen many variations of oppinion on this subject, and definitely there are some “dos” and “don’ts”.
I love what I do and since there is so little online information about this subject I decided to start this blog to share my work and my experience. I would also like to to hear from you, your questions, comments or sugestions. I hope this can be useful.
Thanks for taking the time to read through, and “see” you soon!
Silvia T.
Text revised by Peter Cann

Thinking of having your own costume made check out Silvia´s work at the  online shop. You can also discuss with us what you are looking for in shape, style, colours and finishings. Costumes are made to order with your unique measurement taken into account for a perfect fit. SILVIA T.ATELIER

 

 

 

Party Piaffe – Celebrating in Portugal

Party Piaffe –

Birthday Celebrations with the Ultimate Equestrian style

On a starlight velvet night, we fall silent as through the gates charge proud stallions ridden by elegant riders fire torches in their right hands. It is quite a sight as they spill into the arena forming a cantering circle in front of us, you can feel the heat from the torches and the heavy beat of the mu- sic pulsates through our bodies, people shiver with anticipation – the working equitation fire show begins. A thrilling display made even more so by the closeness and knowledge it was just for us.

It’s part of the entertainment at Danish Business man Niels Zibrandtsens 60th birthday party. He is a man that knows how to have fun and celebrate in style, his weekend party was no exception action packed and largely featured equine entertainment combined with Portuguese Culture.

So what prompted a businessman to celebrate his 60th in another country enjoying their culture and traditions?

 

Horses Making Media Waves

We are increasingly seeing horses become more and more part of our lifestyle. It’s not a new phenomenon certainly looking back through the centuries the horse has played vital roles supporting us in our day to day requirements. Not only providing our transport, farm help, even our partners on the battle field but as a major part in our ceremonies. In modern times, with so much available to us the status they claimed had been a little lost they became our friends in sport and leisure riding and less in our events. 

Now all has turned full circle once again horses are everywhere. In advertising, marketing, fashion shoots, dramatic artwork on our walls and seen almost as a stylish lifestyle ‘must have’ in some form or another. Certainly in our business we are receiving many requests for combined events and weddings in which equines play an important part of the day.

The Dream

Niels’s is the chairman of Global Connect which he started 18 years ago and he is also the CEO of Zimbra Digital Media Group with offices in Denmark and Germany. Just a few years ago he and his wife Lisbeth took a trip to Portugal to have classical dressage lessons on Lusitanos. They were so captivated by their experience they bought a farm with the intention to develop a business in eco tourism.The initial plan is well underway with Quinta da Varzea taking a fabulous development under the watchful eye of their equestrian manager Nadja Maria who is also Danish. 

Niels decided he could not think of anything better than to show his family and friends their project and give everyone an authentic experience of Portuguese equestrian culture. So one sunny day we met him and Lisbeth to make a 3 day party plan. After a mountain of organising and more emails than you can imagine we found ourselves early one Thursday morning greeting 80 guests through the arrival gates at Lisbon airport. They were clutching just a party invitation and a whole host of clothes ready for anything! They clearly knew Niels well.

The three day extravaganza took them on a journey of traditional restaurants, Portuguese wines, music, history, manor houses and of course the Lusitano horses and horsemen.

 

BIG DAY

On the actual party day guests spent the morning discovering the historic, wonderful old town of Santarem finishing up with a light lunch at Ponte de Sol – a restaurant with an expansive view of the surrounding lands. Then back to the hotel to change, hop on the coaches transporting them to Quinta da Varzea to begin the party in ernest. 

Greeted by waiters serving champagne and canapés they enjoyed the afternoon taking tours around the farm on tractor and trailer and 4 by 4’s they were shown the farms agricultural projects, the mares and foals and soaked up timeless Ribatejo landscape with it cork oak trees, fruits trees, meadows and wildlife.

The equine entertainment was without a doubt a major ‘WOW’ factor.

How could it not be with the stylish pair of grey Lusitanos and handsome driver in the beautiful carriage to give them rides around the farm

A ‘Private’ show from one of the four most famous classical equestrian schools in the world

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Guests lined the arena as the riders in wine velvet coats and ribbon branded bay Alter horses filled their glaze with a pas de deux, caprioles, levade, pirouettes and a stunning carousel. The elegance and grandeur of the school not lost being performed away from their home in Belem (Lisbon). The show was 45 minutes and more or less matched the weekly show they perform in Lisbon.

Afterwards dinner was served in a beautiful open sided marquee over looking the old house and gardens. It was a Portuguese style barbecue interspersed with Danish style speeches and toasts. At dessert the Fado singers arrived to perform their laments of love, Lisbon, the sea and life of the poor. It’s a mournful sound with a sense of longing that cannot help but touch the soul but this handsome Fado group have a lightness to their songs and they perform them with real showmen style they were accompanied with guitars – everyone’s captivated. Even the riders on their horses waiting to perform the working equitation show join us to form a respectful line along the front of the marquee creating quite an atmosphere, cameras and mobiles were frantic. 

Immediately after the singing came to a close the guests were invited to follow the riders to the picadeiro where they perform their show culminating in the fire performance.

It was an energising spectacle that sets everyone perfectly in the mood to dance the night away to a talented Danish Band, flown over especially to entertain them.

 

The Day After

To our amazement after retiring to bed in the very early hours guests wasted no time in being up and ready for the next round of activities. The day planned was as action packed with museum and mini zoo visits, wine tasting at a manor house and Lusitano stud farm called Quinta da Lagoa. Guests were treated to a performance by a traditional Ribatejo group of singers and dancers. The group arrived as booked to perform at lunchtime we were expecting about 8-10 so were delighted and astonished when 30 adults and children tumbled out of the cars. They proceeded to give a charming, fun show even managing to encourage Niels and some guests to join in the dancing. 

Everyone returned to Denmark feeling satisfied with a special and fun experience – few days they certainly will never forget. I think everyone one of us loves to know that some of the World’s tradi- tions are still very much alive and still giving us all so much pleasure. There is no doubt at all that we are set to see more and more equestrian entertainments in our events. Our equine partners bring that extra special something into our lives in so many ways, long may they enthral us and put that little skip in our hearts after all two hearts are better than one.

My thanks to Niels and Lisbeth for allowing me to give a glimpse into their fabulous weekend at Quinta da Varzea.  To find out more about holding a Party celebration or having your wedding in Portugal contact us

Learn more about the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

Article – Understanding Working Equitation

Looking to buy a Lusitano for classical dressage or working equitation we always have a selection of Lusitanos available for sale

Tourist Board – Visit Portugal

Not to be Missed Equilife World

Equilife world

 

I am so excited about the up and coming launch of Equilife World.

It is a modern and stylish magazine aimed at horse lovers, riders around the globe. I think this magazine, inspired by Therese Alhaug is offering a new dynamic approach to the equestrian world.  Packed with inspiring articles – riders, breeders,   equine artists, writers and new ideas. The magazine is stunningly set out and full of beautiful photography.

A publication that brings fresh views of equestrian activity around the globe new insights and great opportunities.

equine artwork

Talented Swedish Artist – featured in first addition

Being part of this venture is a real delight for me. I will be regularly writing articles  on Portugal and Lusitanos.  I will also be expending to Spain.  My intention is to introduce new things, maybe things you didn’t know, unusual equine activites, special people , greater insights in the World of Lusitanos  and those involved in it. So great for Lusitanos and Portugal to be considered important enough to have a regular place!!

If you would like to know more sign up to the magazine I firmly recommend you Like their facebook page for info and release date. LIKE EQUILIFE WORLD

The first addition will be packed with Portugal/Lusitano Articles!! Stay posted.

We regularly contribute the International magazines with articles, updates and news. See more about our publications at our media page

Looking to buy a Lusitano Horse check out our horses for sale pages

You are interested in articles about Lusitanos, Portuguese Equestrian Heritage, Saddlery for your magazine, newspaper or your website. We offer articles, images and video packages to suit your site. Find out more  you can contact us for information. Teresa Burton