What is Classical Horsemanship?

The classical approach to horsemanship is simply the art of riding and schooling in harmony with, rather than against, the horse’s nature.

Classical dressage (the progressive, gymnastic training of horse and rider) is founded on a careful, scholarly observation – through the ages – of the natural abilities of the horse and its movements in the wild. Its ultimate goal is to help the horse to perform under saddle with the same degree of athleticism and unburdened grace that it naturally shows when free.

The classical approach then seeks to develop both horse and rider, to move together in balance and harmony; to achieve the posture and understanding necessary to work efficiently in an unforced, calm yet athletic manner.  Just as the most accomplished human athletes – such as ballet dancers – create beauty through their advanced and informed physical development, this too is the goal for classical riding. But the classical approach is historically most closely associated with the training of military horses and riders whose requirements for balance, poise, calmness, agility, communication, strength and stamina were a practical necessity in the battlefield.

The classical approach, exercised with care, understanding and patience, applies to all horses, and all riders, of all abilities.

Why Lusitano horses?

The Lusitano is a Portuguese horse breed of the Baroque type. The breed’s characteristics include powerful musculature; intelligent and willing nature; bold spirit; agility and elevated movement. These characteristics make them ideally suited to the advanced movements of classical dressage.  Originally bred for war, dressage and bullfighting, Lusitanos are still used today in the latter two. They have competed in several Olympics and World Equestrian Games as part of the Portuguese and Spanish dressage squads, and are employed by the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arts (EPAE) in their classical dressage presentations.  As is traditional and commonplace across Portugal, we school our Lusitanos according to the principles of classical horsemanship.

Is it ok to come to stay on my own?

Yes, absolutely. The owners of Quinta do Brejo – Don Tomas and Donna Antonia – and their staff are excellent hosts and you will be made to feel very welcome and comfortable.  In fact, the majority of our guests travel on their own. This is a place where you can find quiet space or good company as you wish.

How experienced / skilled as a rider do I need to be?

Everyone is welcome, regardless of abilities or experience. Of course, those guests with a degree of skill in walk, trot and canter will be better able to perceive the benefits of working with our classically trained horses. More proficient riders will have chance to experience the advanced movements of classical dressage, where experienced riders can work on fulfilling particular aspirations for their horsemanship.  Non-riders are most welcome to accompany their partners or friends.

I’m an experienced rider and specialise in eventing / showjumping / something other than dressage.  Is this for me?

Yes, we are very happy to welcome guests who wish to work on particular aspects of their horsemanship – whether riding, training, work in hand, or anything else. It might be that you wish to develop your skills in dressage specifically, or perhaps you would like to explore how classical approaches can help with your all-round development as a rider or trainer. Or, perhaps you’d simply like to come and refresh yourself with  something a little different in a beautiful setting.

I’d like to arrange a clinic / demonstration near where I live. How do I do it?

We would be very happy to work with you to arrange a clinic or demonstration.  It’s usually best to have use of an indoor arena so that the event won’t be affected by the weather. People will often want to stable their horses overnight, so it helps if there are facilities for that, but it’s not always necessary.  Please get in touch to discuss your idea.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions. We will be very happy to hear from you.

Quinta do Brejo

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