Nuno Oliveira at Quinta do Brejo

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).

Quinta do Brejo on TV

How time flies – it’s already February. The weather has been beautiful in the UK where I have been giving clinics and I’ve returned to Portugal to find the same bright winter sunshine that I left a week ago. Since my last post we have welcomed riding guests from Estonia and Switzerland and were also visited by a film crew from the channel, TV Equitacao. They were here to record a piece about Nuno Oliveira and his home, Quinta do Brejo, which is now the location for our riding holidays and schooling. For those who don’t speak Portuguese, I’m afraid the interviews might be hard to understand, but it’s still well worth watching for some wonderful footage of Maestro Oliveira working here in our indoor school.

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

Meet Cheque, our young Lusitano

This is Cheque, the 4 year old Lusitano Stallion I’ve been training in our new home – Quinta do Brejo. Having said farewell to Morgado Lusitano, how wonderful it is to be opening a new chapter of my life and career where Maestro Nuno Oliveira lived and schooled his horses.

At this stage Cheque is only four months into his training, and 6 weeks after being backed for the first time. In Portugal – and according to the classical  principles – horses are normally left until around three years old before any kind of handling takes place. Training is then at a slow pace, sympathetic to the horse’s physical and mental development.