Recently we welcomed a new friend to Quinta do Brejo for a riding holiday. She revealed a wonderful talent to us that we would like to share with you…
This series of photographs was taken by Ulrika Malm – a recent guest at Quinta do Brejo who works as a professional photographer. You can click on the images to enlarge them. And you can see more of her beautiful work at www.ulrikamalm.se. Thank you to Ulrika for allowing us to share the images here.
Flyinge is a beautiful equestrian facility in the South of Sweden – one of the oldest national studs in the world and a centre of excellence for education and training. I was very happy to be invited there to give demonstration rides at the close of the Swedish National Dressage Championships.
It was a big honour and a little nerve-wracking to perform for my home crowd! But it was a lovely day. I rode two horses belonging to students of mine – the first a PRE (Pura Raca Espanhola) named Ares; the second, a warmblood named Tupack. We had only two days to prepare and to develop a good communication with the horses. Even though I have followed their progress during my visits to Sweden, we still needed to get in tune for performing in front of a big audience.
First it was a demonstration of classical riding in baroque costume, with a video backdrop of quotations and illustrations from Masters of horsemanship such as Gueriniere, Xenophon and Baucher. The objective was not to show any perfection of any kind but simply the beauty and artistry of classical horsemanship, which I hope came as a relief after the pressure of a high-level dressage competition.
Next, the warmblood Tupack and I demonstrated how the gymnastic exercises we use in classical dressage can be used in every day training to soften, supple and balance the horse and allow him to move in self carriage. It was nice to show how the classical approach – which is often associated with baroque horses – can be used just as effectively with warmbloods and other breeds.
Finally, Ares – dressed in dramatic lights to show his outline in motion – and I entered a darkened arena to perform to music. Our three performances took place within a one hour long show which included “Beridna Högvakten” and other very talented riders.
I want to thank everyone who helped me to prepare for the event and gave their support. And thanks especially to Ares and Tupack and their owners – I couldn’t have asked them for more. Here’s a little film from the evening event:
It’s the end of an era at Quinta do Brejo. We have said farewell to two of the most important members of our team – our working student from Canada, Marie-Philip and our beautiful 10 year old Lusitano, Vip.
After a year and half of schooling with us, Vip is now continuing his journey elsewhere. He is a great personal favourite of mine and I know was very popular with the guests who rode him. I’m very grateful to Vip for the great pleasure it has been to school and ride him; the joy he gave to so many; the almost holy riding experiences he gave to some. I know he has a special place in many hearts and I’m sure will continue to touch people throughout his life. At Quinto do Brejo we took a journey together through piaffe, passage, pirouettes, spanish trot, flying changes and levade and I could feel that he enjoyed it as I did. It is with tears in my eyes and much love in my heart that I wish him bon voyage.
Marie came to us last December and revealed a true passion for horses and dedication to learning the classical methods of training and riding. Working with horses and living in a completely different environment with a new language, different horses and a whole range of cultural differences is not at all easy but she made a big impact and became a valued member of our team. She has made great progress with her riding and her way with horses and I’m sure will enjoy a wonderful career back in her native Canada. I wish her every success for the future.
Some of you might remember the photoshoot that was taken a few months back at Quinta do Brejo with Vip. Well, the photos have now arrived with us and I thought I would share some outtakes with you.
The time seems to have passed so quickly since my last post but I have neglected my writing for long enough. A lot of things have been happening here at Quinta do Brejo and beyond.
I had a very nice week in England – giving my second clinic at Birtle Riding Centre near Manchester and then teaching some private lessons around the North West of the country. I’m looking forward to returning there in a couple of months to see how everyone is progressing.
Back over in Portugal I’ve been busy with guests of both the two legged and four legged kind. Most recently a beautiful new friend has come from Quinta da Encosta to stay with us for a while – a 3 year old horse named Esquivo da Encosta. He’ll be with us for a period of training before moving to his new owner in Sweden. Esquivo moves wonderfully and is a very tall and handsome horse.
We have also been scouting out some hacking routes for clients who come to stay here. And my goodness the scenery around the farm is beautiful. On horseback you can wind your way through the woodlands and over the hills surrounding Quinta do Brejo, eventually looking out on the small villages around Malveira and toward the ocean. When it’s clear you can see as far as Sintra. To smell the wild herbs and eucalyptus trees; hear the gentle song of church bells and ride through villages alive with the daily chores of laundry, bread baking and the gossip of elders: it reminds me of the reasons I fell in love with riding in the first place. Sometimes it’s good to put aside our projects and just enjoy how the world looks when you’re sitting on a horse.
Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Easter. It has been a wonderful weekend here, with warm, sunny weather. It’s made a very welcome change from the snow, hail and rain that accompanied my recent clinics in Sweden. But nevertheless I want to thank all the participants for making those sessions so enjoyable despite the conditions. As usual there was a lot of enthusiasm, thirst for learning and warm friendship, which makes my work all the more satisfying.
Together with my Easter wishes I’ve also uploaded a small clip to show recent progress with Vip, our 10 year old Luistano. This time we’re working with greater collection as we progress to the higher school movements.
So now the annual phenomenon that is the Golegã horse fair is over and it is with a satisfied tiredness that we now look forward to beginning the preparations for Christmas. Here’s what has been happening with us over the past few weeks…
The week of the Golegã fair was a busy time for all of us here at Quinta do Brejo – Don Tomas and Donna Antonia Alercão and myself. We had very dramatic weather including heavy rain, thunder and lightning and of course some sun in between. But thankfully we were lucky to experience the horse fair under calm skies.
It’s almost impossible to describe the atmosphere of Golegã – the confusion of horses and riders criss-crossing with pedestrians; tourists and locals pouring through streets and out of restaurants and bars; the smells of nuts roasting and regional delicacies being cooked from street stalls. All life is there, from smartly turned out dressage riders performing their perfect flying changes, to the comical sight of Shetland ponies pulling small wagons filled with big burly men. We took a lovely group of guests to visit the fair, all of whom had also decided to stay for some riding lessons with us. It’s a wonderful way to get a taste of everything the Lusitano horse and Portuguese horse culture has to offer.
CLINICS IN SWEDEN…
I was also recently teaching a series of clinics in my native Sweden, where I was really pleased to see my students making some great steps forward. Of course progress always develops most strongly from the foundation that understanding and a thoughtful approach brings. To want to gain this understanding requires a certain patience and calmness from the rider. And as a teacher it is always very encouraging and empowering to see students who really want to learn with an open and inquisitive mind. So it was with real pleasure that we started to work with flying changes, half-steps, piaffe and passage. I am really looking forward to seeing them all again in the new year.
IN THE MEDIA…
This month I am featured in the Swedish magazine Hästfocus, which gives some training advice.
You can click here to take a look at the article via the publisher’s website.
We now have gift vouchers available to buy at any value you wish (minimum €10), which can be exchanged for clinics near you, or for riding holidays here at Quinta do Brejo. We will happily provide a simple voucher, or please do contact us to discuss a suggested package for a clinic, riding lesson, 3 day or 7 day programme to give as a gift. Contact us at email@example.com to discuss your requirements or ask any questions.
With very best wishes, Charlotte.
*Photo of Charlotte above by Emma Noren.