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!
Needless 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.
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.
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
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.
Centro 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
We are delighted to have formed a relationship with Equitação magazine
to bring to you their super new project for the Lusitano!
If you are wondering about Equitação it is an equestrian magazine in Portugal that covers the news and information largely on the Lusitano breed and equestrian activities and sport in Portugal. Written in Portuguese as of course it should be, most cannot read the articles. However now Equitação are looking to step onto the International platform and offer more information on the Lusitano to a wider audience.
We would love you to join us in enjoying their new project – Lusitano Horse – A Unique Selection.
The first in their video selection will be launched next week so look out for it posted here on Lusitano Horse Finder. Also look out for our article in their next magazine Equitação out by 14th February 2016.
In conjunction with this us at Lusitano Horse Finder will be launching our dynamic new marketing Packages for Breeders. Stay Posted for next addition of Equitação magazine and announcements on website and facebook.
Here’s Equitação‘s introduction –
Lusitano Horse – A Unique Selection
New project from EQUITAÇÃO TV about the Purebred Lusitano Horse
will be launched in February 2016.
“Lusitano Horse – A Unique Selection” is the title of the new documentary, produced by EQUITAÇÃO TV, created not only from the need to promote and disseminate an outstanding heritage that is the Lusitano Horse, but also from the willingness to testify, design and document the best Portuguese Studs and breeders.
Starring Bruno Caseirão, in each episode this documentary will take you on a journey through Portugal, visiting different studs, well-known and recognized worldwide such as Paulo Caetano International, Sta. Margarida Stud, Casa Cadaval, Manuel Veiga Stud, Monte da Tramagueira, Pedro Ferraz da Costa Stud, and many others.
With interviews made in Portuguese, all episodes have English subtitles, in order to be understood all over the world, where this bread is admired and cherished.
For all ages, “Lusitano Horse – A Unique Selection” is intended to all the horse lovers. That is also why, in a first stage, all episodes will be available online, for free, on EQUITAÇÃO TV’s webpage www.equitacaotv.pt and on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/lusitanoselection, allowing people from any part of the globe to watch, share and appreciate it.
“Lusitano Horse – A Unique Selection” will be released this February. If you don’t want to miss the first episode and all the news about it, follow us on www.facebook.com/lusitanoselection.
About EQUITAÇÃO TV (Producer)
EQUITAÇÃO is a Portuguese brand since 1995, in the market for more than 20 years as the n.º 1 equestrian paper magazine. In the last two decades EQUITAÇÃO has been growing, and besides the Magazine, a daily updated website (www.equitacao.com) and social media, in 2010 started also as a TV, producing a weekly TV equestrian show, titled “Equitação Magazine”. With a 25m duration, this equestrian sport TV show includes interviews and events in Portugal and abroad, covering all the disciplines. “Equitação Magazine” is already broadcasted in Portugal, Angola, Mozambique and Cape Vert (by the Portuguese cable channels A BOLA TV, REGIÕES TV and ), and also on Brazil (by the HORSE BRASIL CHANNEL).
About Bruno Caseirão (Co-author and host)
Teacher and university scholar. Equitação’s collaborator, since 2006, had published in this magazine numerous articles and interviews to some of the most prominent personalities on the Lusitano Horse, Culture and Equestrian Art. In the last few years has organized, co-organized and participated in a series of congresses, conferences and lectures around Portuguese Equestrian Heritage and Lusitano Horse, such as What Future for the Lusitano horse in Portugal and in the world? (APSL, Equitação and PSML), Lusitano horse – Art and Equestrian Heritage (National Culture Centre), 1st Portuguese Congress on Equestrian Tourism (ANTE); but also in Dressage discipline domain, including the three editions of the International Dressage Forum (Portuguese Academy of Dressage), Top Portuguese Riders in High Competition:
What Experience Teaches Us? (Equitação and Pet Festival), Portuguese Equestrian Federation 1st and 2nd Dressage Forum (FEP). In 2015 took also part, as a speaker, of the CDI3* Vilamoura – X Iberian Dressage Cup.
Cavalo Lusitano – Uma Selecção Ímpar
Novo projecto da EQUITAÇÃO TV, dedicado ao cavalo Puro Sangue Lusitano,
estreia em Fevereiro de 2016.
“Cavalo Lusitano – Uma Selecção Ímpar” é o nome do novo ciclo de documentários, produzidos pela EQUITAÇÃO TV. O projecto nasceu da necessidade de promover e difundir o magnífico património que é a raça Lusitana e, ao mesmo tempo, de dar a conhecer e documentar as melhores Coudelarias e criadores portugueses.
Conduzido por Bruno Caseirão, em cada episódio este documentário vai levá-lo numa viagem por Portugal, visitando diversas coudelarias nacionais, conhecidas e reconhecidas em todo o mundo, como a de Paulo Caetano, Santa Margarida, Casa Cadaval, Manuel Veiga, Monte da Tramagueira, Pedro Ferraz da Costa, entre outras.
Com entrevistas realizadas em português, todos os episódios estão legendados em inglês, para que possam ser igualmente desfrutados além fronteiras, onde o Cavalo Lusitano é bastante admirado e apreciado.
Destinado a todas as faixas etárias “Cavalo Lusitano – Uma Selecção Ímpar” é Com entrevistas realizadas em português, todos os episódios estão legendados em inglês, para que possam ser igualmente desfrutados além fronteiras, onde o Cavalo Lusitano é bastante admirado e apreciado.
Destinado a todas as faixas etárias “Cavalo Lusitano – Uma Selecção Ímpar” é dirigido aos amantes do mundo equestre. É também por esse motivo que, numa primeira fase, os episódios deste ciclo de documentários, serão disponibilizadas online e gratuitamente no website da EQUITAÇÃO TV www.equitacaotv.pt e no Facebook www.facebook.com/lusitanoselection, para que possam ser assistidos e partilhados em qualquer parte do globo. Em Portugal, os episódios estarão também disponíveis no MEO KANAL da EQUITAÇÃO TV .
“Cavalo Lusitano – Uma Selecção Ímpar” será lançado em Fevereiro de 2016 e se não quer perder o primeiro episódio, nem nenhuma das novidades, siga a página oficial do programa no Facebook, www.facebook.com/lusitanoselection
Sobre a EQUITAÇÃO TV (Produtora)
A EQUITAÇÃO é uma marca portuguesa criada em 1995. Nasceu como Revista e cedo se tornou líder no mercado português de publicações equestres. Nas últimas duas décadas o “universo” EQUITAÇÃO tem vindo a crescer. Para além de um website noticioso actualizado diariamente (www.equitacao.com) e da presença nas redes sociais, em 2010 lançou a EQUITAÇÃO TV, canal produtor de um programa televisivo denominado “Equitação Magazine”.
Com uma duração de 25m, o programa semanal de cariz desportivo, inclui entrevistas e cobertura jornalística de eventos de todas as disciplinas equestres em Portugal e no estrangeiro. O programa “Equitação Magazine” é actualmente transmitido em Portugal, Angola, Moçambique e Cabo Verde (através d’A BOLA TV, REGIÕES TV e ) mas também no Brasil (pelo HORSE BRASIL CHANNEL).
Sobre Bruno Caseirão (Co-Autor e Apresentador)
Docente e investigador universitário. Colaborador da Revista Equitação, desde 2006, onde tem vindo a publicar entrevistas às mais destacadas personalidades do mundo do Cavalo Lusitano, da Cultura e Arte Equestre. Nos últimos anos tem organizado, coorganizado e participado em diversos congressos, conferências e palestras em torno do Património Equestre português e do Cavalo Lusitano, entre as quais Que Futuro para o Cavalo Lusitano em Portugal e no Mundo? (APSL, Revista Equitação e PSML), Cavalo Lusitano – Arte e Património Equestres (Centro Nacional de Cultura) e 1.º Congresso Português de Turismo Equestre (ANTE), assim como sobre a disciplina olímpica de Dressage, nomeadamente as três edições do Fórum Internacional de Dressage (Academia Portuguesa de Dressage), Cavaleiros Portugueses de Sucesso na Alta Competição: o que nos Ensina a Experiência? (Revista Equitação e Pet Festival), 1.º e 2.º Fórum de Dressage FEP (FEP). Em 2015 integrou igualmente a equipa técnica do CDI3* de Vilamoura – X Taça Ibérica de Dressage.
Para mais informações contacte: email@example.com
Nuno Cavaco is beginning to become more and more popular and Internationally known for his classical teaching and riding. Having been in the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arte for 25 years he has now branched out on his own and is offering various quality services for you and your horse. We consider him to me a high quality trainer that can make a really positive difference to your and your horse. He services range from –
- International Clinics – in-hand work and ridden
- Training for your horse in Portugal at the stunning estate of Penha Longa
- Individual lessons in Portugal
- Exclusive clinics at the beautiful Quinta do Rol
Have a look at his page to find out more about Nuno and his services
If you want to know more about having your horse in training in with Nuno at Penha Longa (there are currently only two spaces available) contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Another nice addition is that Nuno has just given and interview for the super Lusitano information site Lusitano Portal In the near future he will be will be offering In- hand and riding tips on the Lusitano Portal I think worthy of following.
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.
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.
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 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, who 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’.
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.
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.
The 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, 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.
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.
Now 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.
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.
You 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 feel very proud to be working with Jose and to be able to offer his unique hand made work.
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.
Coudelaria VILA VIÇOSA, breeders of the PURO SANGUE LUSITANO – Where Wild Horses Naturally Meet Modern Day
It is always a wonderful treat to visit the source, the place where it all begins, the Coudelaria’s (stud farms) in Portugal, where the Puro Sangue Lusitanos are bred and reared. None more special than the Coudelaria Vila Viçosa, a cutting edge Lusitano Stud, founded 1995 by husband and wife team, Thomas and Michaela Kleba, who shared and realised a dream to breed top level modern sport Lusitanos.
At my recent visit, as I stood under the cork trees admiring the mares with their foals I felt it would be a lovely opportunity to share a brief glimpse into life here.
The stud farm is located in a beautiful estate, 3 miles from the royal town of Vila Viçosa. The property has the perfect conditions for breeding pure bred Lusitano horses, giving them the best start in life. All the young horses and the breeding mares live in herds, close to how it would have been for wild horses more than 5000 years ago. They roam free over large stretches of land, made up of the rolling hills and valleys, characteristic to the area. There’s plenty of forage year round and the cork oak trees to provide the vital shelter from the hot sun in the summer and the rain in winter.
This environment gives the horses, the best possible opportunity to grow healthy bodies, stay fit, supple and lean, develop strong limbs, hearts and lungs. In addition the young Lusitanos learn respect and are well socialised through the herd hierarchy, beginning with their mothers, in the mares and foal herds and later when they are separated into their all male and female groups. These young horses really couldn’t have a better start in life.
I see this as the perfect blend of modern breeding choices and the most natural growing environment for horses, very traditional to Portuguese breeding and exactly how Thomas and Michaela visualised their dream.
Often when you drive into the farm, you will pass the mares and foals, swishing their tails under the trees – it’s a very peaceful, joyful sight to behold.
At the heart of the property, Thomas and Michaela created the training and breeding facility, which is made up of 34 large airy stables, an indoor arena and a full size outside arena. Both the arenas have top quality surfaces for training Lusitanos at all levels. It’s a friendly tranquil atmosphere, plenty of bird life and lush planting, shady areas and friendly horses.
There’s an area where the foals come in for weaning and handling, before they go out into their single sex groups. One of the stud policies, is that they want all their horses to have the most natural start possible, with least amount of human intervention, but also that the horses are relaxed with human contact and handling. At weaning time, when the young-stock are approximately six months old, all the foals come in for weaning together and at this time they are handled. They’re taught to be lead by head-collar, to be in a stable, to be brushed, bandaged and tied-up so that there is less of a shock when they come in for training at 3-4 years, it also helps hugely when they are handled for worming, or if the vet is required.
In addition to the original breeding/training base Thomas and Michaela have recently established a second facility, 5 minutes away with more lovely cool stables, land and a small high walled arena ideal for starting young horses. This is where the young colts and some fillies come in to begin their work and be backed for riding. In addition there are a few horses here in training for clients.
The dynamic stud team is made up of Thomas and Michaela Kleba, (Michaela is a vet) and two equine and riding professionals both of which have achieved degrees in equine management, brothers – Pedro and Luis Azeitona. There are three grooms, regular trainees, and a farrier. Several veterinarians support the horses daily, with the reproductive and feeding management.
Thomas and Michaela are two people with huge passion and vitality for the Lusitano Breed and for life. When they decided to start their, now ‘world renowned stud farm’ their aim was to breed Lusitano Sport Horses with good character and outstanding gaits. To achieve this they set out to choose the best possible mares and stallions for their project.
I asked them about their initial breeding choices.
“The first Lusitano we had was a lovely bay Stallion called CASTOR, and he is responsible for our dedication and involvement in the breeding of these fine horses. We found and bought the mother of Castor and so the first step to breeding was made. Our main aim was to breed Lusitanos with superb gaits and excellent temperaments. Thomas went onto say, “when we started this project, other breeders were still largely focussed on breeding horses for the bullfight.
We didn’t want this model of horse and were more interested in focussing on sport such as working equitation and competition dressage. We spent long hours researching the lines and eventually came to the conclusion, that there were two lines that were fundamental to achieving our aim.
We crossed the bloodlines of Firme and Quieta, we are extremely satisfied with the results. The solid structure of our horses with good characters, combined with swing and lots of suspension in their movement, gave us horses we are truly proud of”.
There is no doubt about it their dedication and devotion to their goal is now bringing them great success and a world wide reputation. Now the stud has over one hundred horses and many of their horses are achieving outstanding results in high level dressage competition and working equitation around the globe.
Good examples are:-
Rieto at the Massa Stud
Vietkong with Juan Jimenez Cobo
Vifogo 5 year old winner in the Sunshine Tour
Zuelo performing at Grand Prix level with Luis Azeitona
Bueno performing at Grand Prix level with Luis Principe in UK
Fazenda starting in dressage with lots of potential
Guelo – 2014’s champion of champions in Ponte de Lima and champion 3 year old in Lisbon Lusitano Festival. European Champion.
In testament to their success, today, other well respected breeders look to purchase the Kleba’s horses or their stallion’s semen. Introducing the genetics into their breeding lines, in order to produce better performance characteristics demonstrated by the Coudelaria Vila Viçosa’s Lusitanos.
The stud now has 6 breeding stallions and semen is available. The stallions are :-
ESTOIRO ( with frozen semen )
FINORIO ( with frozen semen )
QUE – ESTOIRO
Visiting Couldelaria Vila Viçosa is a real pleasure in so many ways. Firstly the welcome from Thomas, Michaela, Pedro, Luis and all the staff is first rate – warm, friendly and fun. Their passion is so apparent and their commitment to the horse care and quality is everywhere you look. The visit will give you a full experience from seeing all the breeding stallions, the mares and foals, the horses in training, ridden and in liberty, the young horses and of course a safari trip out across the Alentejo to find the herds of colts and fillies. Walking under the cork oak tree amongst the tranquil mares and foals is quite magical. Not only are the horses a pure joy, but estate boasts wonderful wildlife with many bird varieties and mammals the land is well managed to encourage all natural wildlife.
I asked Thomas and Michaela to tell me what is the most important aspect of the business for them, they answered – “receiving riders, breeders and horse lovers into our stud is always a great pleasure for us. If any visitor finds the ideal horse at Vila Viçosa Stud, then our project proves to us that it makes sense. Our motto is to serve our clients as well as we can so that we gain a new friend and find the best homes for our Lusitanos”.
A visit to the stud can be finished with a delicious lunch or dinner in the wonderful town of Vila Viçosa, with it’s numerous quality restaurants serving traditional Alentejo cuisine and wines. Not forgetting of course the Royal historic town, has a fascinating history and lots to see such as the elegant and extremely grand palace ‘Ducal Palace’.
We regularly arrange trips to the stud farm, if you are interested to go contact us to arrange your visit.
Supporting The Brooke Organisation
Get in Touch
Tel: + 351 913 175 772