There’s a lot for me to look forward to this autumn – three trips to Sweden for clinics; clients horses coming to stay with us for training, and some students coming for short courses here on our farm in Cheshire.
I’ll also be giving a demonstration just down the road at New Barn, Ollerton, Cheshire on Friday the 17th of October. The focus will be on the ‘work in hand’ exercises that I use to supple my horses and that I believe are very worthwhile for everyone to learn and use in their daily work. 7pm start; £10 admission on the night. Further details in the flyer below.
Following on from the demonstration, I will be teaching a one day clinic on Monday, 3rd November – again at New Barn, Cheshire. There will be one work in hand lesson in the morning and one riding lesson in the afternoon, with your choice of 30 minute or hour long lessons. Lessons are on a one-to-one basis. The work in hand will be very suppling and is worked in walk so it will not be tiring for your horse.
Cost: EITHER 2 x 30 minutes sessions = £65 in total (inclusive of arena hire), OR 2 x 1 hour sessions = £130 total (inclusive of arena hire). Boxes are available for daytime stabling if required, for an additional charge. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Sessions can be tailored to the requirements of horse and rider so and your horse so please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. The places have already started to fill so please let us know as soon as possible as the numbers are limited.
The summer is soon changing to autumn and I am aware that it has been another long absense in my writing. The family is now one person larger and our daughter Sigrid has already been introduced into the horse world. I am very grateful for our ‘Baby Björn’ that allows me to combine my work with motherhood.
It is wonderful to be back in the saddle again. But a lot of things change after giving birth. Our bodies change physically and it’s taking some time to get the same feeling back that I had before my pregnancy. Also, in my mind I am more aware of the things that are not allowed to happen, since I now have another little person who needs me. So the need to do things safely is at the forefront of my thoughts once again. I suppose that being near to such a life changing event makes us aware of our vulnerability, as it does when we suffer an injury or a frightening experience with our horses. But, these feelings, I think are by no means a bad thing. My own response has been to reflect on the detail and the method of my work – slowing everything down so that I clearly see the progress in the small steps. I make sure that I first lunge the horse, even though it might seem not to be always absolutely necessary. This helps me to read my horse – his mood, his fitness and energy, as well as the context we’re working in – the weather and any distractions around us. I can assess how he can use himself in the three gates without the rider. I also then work a little from the ground, making sure that the horse is supple and relaxed before I start to ride. If I come across a problem that we can work on from the ground – we’ll address it there and then. It helps to concentrate on the small details in these situations because our work then becomes more considered and methodical, which in turn builds confidence and a sense of ease and control. Look after the detail and the bigger picture will look after itself.
Clinic in Stockholm.
Clinic in Stockholm.
Clinic in Stockholm.
Clinic in Stockholm. Amendoim and his rider.
Teaching work in hand with the Lusitano Amendoim.
Equador da Encosta
The summer has been full of meeting up with people and horses who I haven’t seen for a while, because I’ve not been able to ride or travel. Very happily for me, we welcomed Equador back for a short stay while his new owner was on holiday. It was wonderful to sit on his back again. I also returned to Sweden to teach several clinics and enjoy seeing the advances my clients continue to make with their horses. Now, we’ll enjoy the last days of summer back in Cheshire. Until the next time…
And so to December: the closing of the year. At this time, I – like many of you, I’m sure – often find myself reflecting on the achievements of the preceding months while looking forward to new plans for January. It has been a very rewarding and busy year at Quinta do Brejo so far – full with the coming and going of horses, guests and friends, both old and new. And beyond Portugal I’ve enjoyed developing my clinics in Sweden and the UK – there will be more of those next year, I’m happy to say.
My Swedish roots feel strong at this time of year: Even after all this time spent in Portugal, December for me means snow and mulled wine and log fires. And I know that many of my friends from the North are already enjoying beautiful winter landscapes and life-affirming cold! But here in Portugal we can still enjoy some sun, which is not all bad, of course!
This month Swedish magazine ‘Kentaur’ have published a beautifully written article about Quinta do Brejo and our riding holidays – http://www.kentaurmagasin.se. In all good Swedish stores now!
I’ve also just returned from another teaching trip to Sweden and I want to thank everyone for making these clinics so interesting and enjoyable. I love to revisit long-term students and see the progress they have made since the last time. Of course it’s always lovely and gratifying to welcome new students too! Each introduces different horses, challenges, experiences and hopes, yet they are bound together by a common love of riding and desire to improve their horsemanship. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to share their journeys with them. Above and below are some photos taken by Ulrika Malm from a recent clinic in Sweden.
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.