Long time no see! This time there really has been a loooong wait between posts, for which I must apologise. But, these last few months have been a big adventure. More of that later.
First, to more familiar matters. There have been some wonderful courses held at Quinta do Brejo in Portugal – not least during the week of the Golegã festival. My guests – now also dear friends – shared many emotions under the tutelage of our Lusitano horses. Of course, we ate wonderful traditional meals cooked by our host Donna Antonia. It was a real joy to go back to work in surroundings that I love, and I hope and think that our Swedish guests felt the same. It was then very rewarding to see their progress again on a later clinic back in Sweden – to see the changes in their riding and the developments they had been able to achieve with their own horses at home.
I have been continuing with my programme of clinics in Sweden and the UK, with many long-time students and some very welcome new faces. I look forward to sharing their progress in 2014 and beyond.
And so to the big news. In September last year, we packed up the car and moved lock, stock, dog, little one and us to our new home in Cheshire, England. Two of my Lusitano horses have joined me here at the farm – Equador from Portugal and Cartuxo who had been with me in Sweden.
My life and work will now be based here, even though I will of course keep up my regular clinics in Sweden and my work in Portugal.
So, that’s all for now – a little update after the long silence. Normal service will resume shortly!
Here is a small video clip of Vip, showing his recent progress. He is a horse that really wants to please – sometimes even too much! He’s starting, though, to become more confident and relaxed in his work, which has meant we’ve been able to attempt some of the higher collected movements, such as flying changes. Each time we train, we work on small progressions – satisfaction comes from a simple improvement done well.
Quite often while teaching clinics or lessons, I’m struck by the way that we can all too easily focus on small detailed things rather than the bigger picture of what we’re trying to achieve with our horses and ourselves. I think it’s very important to have a holistic sense of the training of horse and rider – what we want to achieve and how we’ll try to get there. Every exercise we do in training is then a preparation for the next, progressing steadily toward the objective of a supple, light horse that enjoys work and moves in self-carriage and balance without getting injuries or other problems.
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!
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.
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!
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.
The other day we welcomed a group of professional photographers to Quinta do Brejo, who observed how we train our horses. We recorded this video which we thought you might like to see. Afterwards there was a dinner with Fado (traditional Portuguese music)… a lovely evening.
The video shows Charlotte riding and schooling our Lusitano, Vip, in a way that is very typical for their work together. Each schooling session is different, working with what Charlotte feels the horse needs at that time – they can be short or longer in duration, work on particular movements or simply on the horse’s gymnastic deveopment. Particular problems may also present themselves during the session, such as stiffness, which Charlotte can then work to improve.