The joy of Riding Your Horse Out

Classic Double Bridle 3:1 Rein Hold

This technique is the oldest method of holding double reins a style used by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and by many of Germany’s most successful professional riders used it before WWll. It is the –

Classical 3 to 1 method to Holding the Double Reins (3 to 1 Rein Hold)

I first came across this technique when I was watching my dear Friend Master rider Anton Walliser training his and young and GP horses using this method I was fasinated to understand more about it and why he uses it.

How to Hold the Reins Using this Method

The left hand holds three reins, while the right holds only one rein plus the rider’s cane or whip. The correct placement of reins in the left hand is to hold the left snaffle (bridoon) on the outside of the little finger, the left curb rein between little finger and ring finger, and the right curb rein between the ring and middle fingers. The right hand holds the right snaffle (bridoon) rein in the traditional position between the right little finger and ring finger to keep the mouth mobile. The left hand is held more to the center of the horse directly over the withers than off to the left of the withers.

As I understand when using this method it decreases the action of the curb,  prevents the rider from riding with their hands too wide and it shows when the horse is not really straight, because the rider can no longer make the rein pressure on one side of the mouth any stronger than the other, since reins from both sides are held in the left hand. The rider must ride off the seat and legs to bend the horse, and the horse must therefore be correctly working“through”.

Also it forces the rider to hold his hands absolutely quiet and encourages a quiet seat as the bending of the horse should be done mainly by the seat.  An uneven contact or a crooked horse is easily revealed with this kind of double bridle handling and cannot be hidden by an uneven use of the curb rein.

Anton´s comments in addition to my understanding

“I basically agree with your description of the 3 to 1 method. I find it to be a far more effective method in training horses.  20-30 years ago Swiss and German riders were competing their horses using this way but nowadays I don’t see anyone using it.  I think maybe because it is much more difficult to learn than the 2 to 2 method used by everyone today.

Learning it takes a lot of practice and patience but the results speak for them self –  horses and riders progress much better. It really helps in training your horse to be straight, you have a much more even contact on the curb, never any sudden movements of jerking the curb. The hands are much more together, much quieter and certainly you are riding far more with seat and legs. The horse bends better round your leg your seat will be quieter. The horses stay lighter and more through. I don’t know where this method started but I think it is sad that it is rarely seen used nowadays because if mastered the technique is far better for horse and for the rider”.

I think it would be interesting to learn this method and certainly if it is gentler for the horse and encourages a better seat it cannot fail to be a bonus!

Anton Walliser is my opinion a true Classical Master and has a fasinating story which you can read part one here

There will be part 2 in his story coming soon as now his young horses are all at PSG and above two competing GP and achieving outstanding results.  Anton is a true inspiration keep posted.

Other intersting articles – the Classical Masters and The History of Classical Equitation

Text by Teresa Burton 2 images of reins held by Anton Walliser by Teresa Burton

Image of Anton Walliser working his mare from ground to train piaffe by Lena Saugen photography

Further sources – Wikipedia

#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




Equestrian Haven in Algarve

Classical Equitation in the 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



Great Bonus

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.


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

Riding Out

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 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.


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

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


The Finest Hand Made Saddlery

We are very proud and excited to get to know and now be working with, Jose de Sousa and his lovely wife Cristina Sousa.


They have a remarkable family history, in crafting the finest hand made saddlery in Portugal. Their history dates back to before the twenties, when Jose’s grandfather Victorino de Sousa Mendes, ‘already well known for his harness making’ moved into a street called ‘Rua dos Correeiros’ located in the heart of Lisbon. Victorino was invited to manage a well known harness/saddlery making company called ‘Correaria Salgado’, owned by Júlio Alves Salgado. Prior to this change, Victorino had been in charge of ‘Correaria Abreu Chiado’, another harness maker and Correaria Salgado’s most direct competitor and the supplier, to the Royal Household.

The Original Shop in Lisboa

The shop location, Rua dos Correeiros was very much the home for craftsmen and harness makers, even before the beginning of the century, when the original medieval villages were filled with craft shops. So it was very fitting for Victorino, a true craftsman to find himself in such a historic and appropriate location.

Born into a family of saddlers, Master Victorino was already, although very new to the industry,
a skilled craftsman. He was also proving to be an expert, at designing and making innovative tools and moulds for the trade. He designed specialist tools for every individual step of making the harnesses. These unique tools are still used today by his grandson Jose de Sousa. Victorino, was without a doubt a gifted man, and due to this he was quickly acknowledged and his work highly valued by everyone that saw it.


Eventually with his increasing success Victorino de Sousa, formed his own family firm, Victorino de Sousa Lda’ , which employed 10 people. They specialised in supplying the domestic market, with top quality handmade harnesses – using only the very best leathers and fittings. The fineness and quality of his work, led him to become internationally renowned winning the gold medal, at the 1923 International Contest of Rio de Janeiro.

Victorino had a son called Victorino Mendes Sousa Junior

Junior was set to ensure another generation of this family of harness makers. From the young age of 12 years, Victorino Junior began learning the art from his father. He quickly developed the same skill and passion for the craft showing himself to be as skilled as his father.

Victorino Mendes Sousa Junior, was very dedicated to the family business and this led to him making a significant contribution to developing another exciting business avenue. It was with the ever increasing use of cars, the company was beginning to suffer problems, forcing them to revaluate their market and look to expand their craft into new areas, otherwise they certainly would not have survived. They had to adapt to the ‘new world’.

Designing New Style of Bull Fighting Saddle

This talented young man, designed and crafted a ‘new’ saddle and bridle for bullfighting. His innovative modern design was very much admired by Master João Branco Núncio, considered by most to be the greatest ever rider and bull fighter. Master João Branco Núncio, chose to use the new revolutionary tack in his shows. Naturally, as a result, other bull fighters wanted the same and the orders came in, taking the company’s fame to greater heights and diversifying the business.


Very Special Clients

Some of the firm’s customers, included other famous bullfighters such as, Simão da Veiga, Alfredo Conde, Manuel Conde, Master Baptista, Luís Miguel da Veiga, Emidio Pinto and José Zoio. Victorino created unique designs for them all, adorned with silver buckles, crests, fancy stitching and wonderful colours.

Victorino senior died at the age of 57 years, but by then his son was very much able to take up the reins and with so many extra skills, he began making saddles and bridles for some of the most famous riders and horsemen worldwide. His specialist saddle and bridle designs, became ‘world acclaimed’ and his products so prized he came to be seen as,

‘The Expert Saddler’.

His talent wasn’t confined to the world of bullfighting and destined to design famous pieces, Victorino Mendes Junior, had a very special client that visited his workshop – Mestre Nuno de Oliveira. The great modern day classical master, ordered a saddle to be designed that was aptly named, “Nuno Oliveira”. This modern style saddle was created in the 60’s and still today is being totally hand made for local and international clients. The original saddle in brown leather is now with the son of Victorino Junior – Jose de Sousa.

In addition, there is a stunning brown, rolled leather bridle 50 years old, so soft and supple it looks as good quality now, as it was when it was first made.

Victorino Junior, went onto design saddlery for many other famous riders, politicians and royalty. Álvaro Domeq, at the School of Equestrian Art in Andalusia, admired his work so much, that he had all the equipment and harness for the School of Equestrian Art, designed and made by Victorino and it is still used today.

4The Duke of Edinburgh was awarded one of their Portuguese saddles.

Oswaldo Pirow, Prime Minister of South Africa, ordered a saddle studded with silver.
In 1976 a saddle made by the company was presented to the Venezuelan Head of State, by President Ramalho Eanes.

More recently, President Mário Soares introduced, King Hassan II, to the famous tack.

Victorino Junior’s son Jose

Jose who following the true family tradition, started his training at the same age as his father – 12 years old. He keenly learnt his father’s and grandfather’s craft, so ensuring the family skills were passing from generation to generation. Jose shares the same passion and love for the craft, learning everything from his father, until Victorino died at 81 years on 19th September 1992.

Today, Jose continues hand making the fine saddlery, with all the original tools and moulds and he too has made bridles and saddles for clients all over the world. Among other things, he designed the stunning saddlery for the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art in Lisbon.

Changing Location

He continued to run the shop in ‘Rua dos Correeiros’, refurbishing the premises in 1993, to offer a larger show room area and removing the workshops so that clients had more space and better meeting areas. Sadly the premises were forced to close when a large company came and bought all the buildings in the area.

6Now Jose works close to his home, still using all the original tools and moulds designed by his grandfather, none of which are now produced as they are replaced by modern technology and machinery. Jose takes great care to select the finest leathers, often from Italy and he hand makes everything. His skill is second to none. He can create stunning individual pieces, designed especially for you and your horse. The hallmark stamp of VS, is on his work and is still sought after internationally. The very sad ‘nip in the tail’ to this wonderful history, is that Jose is the last in the line to have this skill, no son follows on, to pick up the work and continue it into the next generation. It is such a sad thing, to know that this will eventually come to an end.

We are so keen to bring the opportunity to you, to have one of these special and unique pieces steeped in history and second to none in workmanship.


First Experience of Hand Carfted Saddlery

If you have not come across truly hand made saddlery, then you are in for a treat, as Jose, literally hand sews every piece, except for the fancy stitching designs, which is purely for looks and not functionality. A hand stitched saddle or bridle, is much stronger, for instance if one stitch is snagged, this doesn’t result in all the rest coming loose. This saddlery lasts much longer, is with the very best materials and can be exactly as you want, it in terms of design and size.

We have a small range of special hand made bridles and also you can create your own design, along with Jose we will help you to design your own unique signature pieces.

Design Your Own Bridle

7You can choose the leather colour, have a different colour leather lining, for padding on the noseband and head piece, choose from a wide range of simple, hugely ornate buckles in silver or gold, even have real silver buckles. You can have your own brand, family crest or a logo of your choice pressed into the medals, that sit at the sides of the browband or anywhere you want. The pieces are made to measure and personalised especially for you.

There are even fabulous bits available, lunge cavessons, chaps, saddles and other unique products.

We have a small range of special hand made bridles and you can also work with Jose, to design your own unique signature pieces.

Visit our shop to see the designs.

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