A busy start to the month – in Portugal and the ABRS Conference, England

What a full and interesting beginning to the month it has been. On Monday I had the honour to deliver a presentation to the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) annual conference in Oxford, UK.  I want to thank ABRS for their invitation and the delegates for their warm welcome. It was also interesting to have an insight into how it is to run a riding school in the UK and to listen to the other speakers. I like to take every opportunity to learn from other riders and from other horse cultures. It was a very giving day.

Riding lesson at Quinta do Brejo.

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Lusitano Horse Feira in Golegã: 4th-13th November 2011

Times flies and before long the first cool breeze of autumn will freshen the last hazy days of summer. This is an exciting time here at Quinta do Brejo, because we know the annual Lusitano Horse Feira in Golegã will soon be upon us!

Golegã is an experience like no other. All of the breeders bring their best horses and compete for the attention of the public with colourful displays and performances. The air is filled with music and the bustle of so many people and horses, together with the atmospheric smells of regional delicacies cooking and the smoked castanje nuts you can snack on as you explore. The festivities carry on late into the night, beyond the arenas and into the bars and restaurants, where at this time it’s commonplace that guests might have four legs as well as two!

Please take a look at the programme here http://www.horsefairlusitano.org.

Why not combine the horse fair with riding lessons at Quinta do Brejo? You would be most welcome to stay with us and we’ll happily arrange your journey to and from Golegã. We’re at your service and hope to welcome you soon.

A two-way communication

I’ve just arrived back to Portugal from a trip to my native Sweden, where I’ve been giving clinics and a seminar – the last part of a series of three.  One of the real pleasures of my work is meeting so many different combinations of horses and riders – each with their own unique story to tell, but all sharing a strong desire to develop the understanding and communication within their partnership.  Sometimes the pursuit of excellence and what we so strongly desire can conflict with our ability to take simple pleasure from time spent with our horses. When we want to improve, it is all too easy to think of riding as a performance – a technical skill to be mastered – rather than a subtle and telling conversation between two living, feeling beings. So in our clinics, we work on listening to what is happening underneath us and ensuring our communication goes both ways. When riders begin to think in terms of their vocabularies, rather than their tools for riding, very meaningful things can happen.

Full activity at Quinta do Brejo

This weekend has been busy with the Lusitano festival in Lisbon; classical riding lessons for old friends and new, and the arrival of a very promising three year old Lusitano, who we will school here at  Quinta do Brejo. It is wonderful to see Mestre Oliveira’s old stables full and bustling with a lovely variety of equine characters of differing ages and training levels. And now each day brings new adventures, experiences, challenges and rewards.

Below, you will see photos of some special students who experienced various dressage movements for the first time.

Unfortunately, our planned Homage to Nuno Oliveira had to be postponed for reasons beyond our control, but I will keep you posted about a new date.  We hope to welcome you here soon!

9th July 2011: A Celebration of Nuno Oliveira

On the 9th of July we will pay homage to Nuno Oliveira with a special event at his former home and stables, Quinta do Brejo. You are cordially invited to join us for dinner and an evening of entertainment, including live opera and circus performances, as well as a special ridden demonstration from the latest generation of the Oliveira family.

Explore the grounds and riding facilities, discover historical artefacts left by the Maestro and share memories with those who knew and worked with him. This event is open to all. RSVP.

For those wishing to also visit the Lusitano Horse Show 2011 (7th-10th July) in Lisbon, we welcome you to stay with us in our comfortable accommodation, perhaps taking the chance to enjoy lessons on our own Lusitano stallions with Charlotte Wittbom. Please contact us to discuss your requirements or to make a booking.

Meet Vip, one of our Lusitano stallions

This is Vip, one of the classically schooled Lusitanos our guests and clients may ride while here at Quinta do Brejo.  The other day, Vip and I participated together in a dressage demonstration, while I was wearing Maestro Nuno Oliveira’s riding coat.

Charlotte Wittbom riding Vip, a Lusitano stallion