We hope you are enjoying a peaceful weekend wherever you are. After many days of beautiful warm weather, there has been some rain here at Quinta do Brejo which has released an uplifting perfume of wild herbs and pine resin from the woodland surrounding the farm. To me, one of the most rewarding things about working with horses is that I am always close to nature – the cycles of day and night; the seasons and the elements. Of course our horses sense and respond to these changes just as we do, and these moments of mutual empathy and connection are surely the drug that every rider craves.
I came across this edited extract from a French documentary about Maestro Nuno Oliveira, in which he can be seen schooling here at Quinta do Brejo – the home and stables he built up and which we are now fortunate to inherit. Those of you who have stayed with us will see how little has changed since his time here. I hope you enjoy watching the master at work.
Information about the original film “Nuno Oliveira, l’écuyer du XXe siècle et 20 ans après” by Laurent Desprez can be found by clicking here (includes some more wonderful footage of Quinta do Brejo).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements or ask any questions.
With very best wishes, Charlotte.
*Photo of Charlotte above by Emma Noren.