Joyeuses Paques! (Happy Easter!)

The sun is playing hide and seek with us, but I am happy to be home in California after a stretch of good clinics.  The wisteria is blooming and the buds are turning to leaves on the grapevines.

I had the great pleasure to work with some marvelous horses over the last 2 weeks and to talk with friends and clients about our plans for the rest of the year. As always, it is going to be a busy time, with clinics around the country and in Europe and Brazil.

But first, a recap of my clinics…. At one of my favorite clinic locations, Jill MacCrae’s farm near Chicago, we rode outside on Friday in gorgeous sunshine and warmth and then the next day we woke up to 6 inches of snow, but the chill was replaced by the warmth of the participants. All the Lusitanos AND non-Lusitanos were very very good.  In New Jersey, it was my great pleasure to see Quitaro do Top back in work after four, yes FOUR colic surgeries.  He is in fine form and happy, largely due to the efforts of his “Mom”, Nancy Clark at Castlegate Farm.  I rode Tzigano Dos Pinhais, owned by Paul Galisin, and had as always a great time.  Tzigano is a wonderful boy….even after a long quiet winter he is ready to work and happily willing.  Lesley Pettneati’s lovely Trakehner mare performed beautifully.  I must thank my friend Gary Maholic…riding his Belgian Warmblood reminded me that even the big big fellows can have a delicate, glorious, light piaffe.  My stop at Dan Rosenthal and Ann West’s Green Gallery Farm is such a great pleasure as I have five Lusitanos waiting for me there including Quemetico do Top, Orador Interagro, Marques do Retiro, and Osado (Coimbra). My only complaint, it was too short. I finished the trip with a stop at Melinda D’Amico’s (Paz Apparel founder along with her husband Dan Fries) place to ride my old friend Orador.  He is such a gentleman and a great pleasure to work with.  We finished the lessons with Orador and Melinda performing perfect pirouettes!  Thank you ALL for a great clinic series.

In May, we will be back in Brazil for the 13th International Lus0-Brasileiro Auction at my friend Victor Oliva’s Coudelaria Ihla Verde….and then on to the International Lusitano Exposition.  We will be holding a three day clinic at Manege Sant’Adelaide and riding the wonderful horses of Davi Carrano. You can see all those details on the Brazil Trip page on this blog.  It is not too late to make your plans to be with us for this very exciting trip.  In many ways it is the best trip of the year to Brazil as it combines the farm visits with the chance to experience Brazilian culture on many levels…but always in great comfort and with the hospitality the Brazilians are known for.

Before Brazil though I will be in Zurich, Switzerland for a clinic, then Dayton, Ohio for a new clinic location in the US, then New Jersey for a private clinic before taking off for Brazil.  You can see all the dates and contact info for the clinics on our Facebook Page/Profile (search Barbier Farm if we are not already Facebook friends.)

It has been the custom for many years that students come to Barbier Farms to spend a week to work intensively.  In the past we have scheduled for individuals around the times that I am at home so that Debra and I can teach together.  We are changing this.  Moving forward, beginning in the fall, we will have specific times that you are invited to come to ride with us, to ride the horses in our barn, and to audit all the lessons that go on through the day.  Later this week, on this blog I will outline the program for you.  We would love to have you join us.  As spaces will be very limited, we will encourage you to reserve your spot early.  In addition to riding and riding and riding on fantastic Lusitano stallions we’ll have some special meals and opportunities to visit the wineries and see the sites around Sonoma and Napa.  Details to come.

Debra and I wish you all a Happy Easter ~ Joyeuses Paques!



Brazil trip report, part 3

As there are so many changes taking place in the Equestrian world, I thought it would be good to finish our Brazil Trip reports with our clinic and lecture with Dr. Gerd Heuschmann.  Mariana Castro and Hilda Maria Toledo Piza graciously arranged the Lecture and clinic at Manege Sant’Adelaide and invited Dr. Gerd Heuschmann to take part.  It was a resounding success and has encouraged us to begin to work together to eliminate the Rolkur/Hyperflexion training methods, as well as others, and to impress upon Equestrians everywhere the need to go back to the classical methods, indeed to understand and follow the existing rules of the FEI for dressage, and to connect with their horses using compassionate, caring training methods.

Clinic participants were treated to Dr. Heuschmann’s lectures on two days and practical demonstrations of the Biomechanics of the horse’s movements while being ridden correctly and incorrectly.  A special thank you to Davi for allowing us to ride his beautifully trained Lusitanos.

Dr. Heuschmann and I developed a strong friendship during the course of the clinic. Teaching, riding, and working with the participants in a manner that emphasizes the well-being of the horse, rather than the use of the horse as a way to win or to gratify the ego, or to commercialize/capitalize on them, has always been deeply meaningful to my students and points the way forward for the work to be done. With the situation in the equestrian world as it is, with over 60% of high level competition horses dying before age 8, we must answer the call from the horses.  We must say to the riding public now is the time to make your voice heard. Join with us to continue to speak out and speak loudly in defense of the horses and against inhumane training practices.  Let’s begin now to give back the love and partnership they have given us for such a long time!

I will be creating a DVD going point by point through the FEI rules to illustrate the correct movements and to explain why they are there and how they illustrate the correct/gentle/systematic training of the horse.  Check back with the blog for progress reports and dates for upcoming lectures and events.  Thank you…   ~ DBarbier

Brazil trip report, part 2

I would like to share with you some photographs of our time at Mr. José Nogueira Martins’ home while filming for the latest interview on Tribuna Lusitana.  It was such a pleasure to spend time with Mr. Martins for we share the same regard for the Masters of Classical Dressage. His hospitality for Dr. Gerd Heuschmann and I was gracious and warm.  Dr. Heuschmann had just returned from Lausanne where he took place in discussion with the FEI committee on banning the Rolkur/hyperflexion training method.  I offer my congratulations and gratitude to Dr. Heuschmann, who with the help of Isabella Sonntag and WuWei Verlag collected over 42,000 signatures on a petition to present to the FEI to ban the Rolkur training practice.  I hope you’ll share the link for Tribuna Lusitana with your friends, it will help us to share our mission to preserve the heritage of the Lusitano and promote the well-being of ALL horses.

I’ve included some images from our clinic at Japu, the home of our friends Tonico and Tatiana Pereira.  It was our great pleasure to spend time with them and to share in the celebration of Tatiana’s birthday.  Tonico and Tatiana graciously opened their home and allowed people to ride their fabulous horses.  The weather was perfect but was eclipsed by the quality of the organization for the participants.  This clinic was truly international.  We had a French father and daughter riding, a group of Brazilian men, and the stars were Sophia and Thomas, the children of our hosts. They were astute and intensely interested in learning as much as they could. Thank you, Davi Carrano, for the great pictures!

In my next post, I’ll have images from our clinic at Manege Sant’Adelaide and from the symposium with Dr. Gerd Heuschmann. The comments section is now available to our blog readers and we welcome your remarks.  Join us, won’t you, on our quest to improve the well-being of the horses?

Brazil trip report, part 1

Debra and I have just returned from a fantastic trip to Brazil.  We had so many wonderful things happening and we are very excited to give you this news….

We had a great start to our project with Mr. Jose Martins and Tribuna Lusitana. Tribuna Lusitana is an online TV show about Lusitano horses featuring interviews about the equestrian art and Lusitano breeding. It is now seen in 54 countries and receives more than 600 visits per day with that number growing daily and is already a Lusitano horse world reference.  Tribuna Lusitana highlights the well-being of the horse and how we should act to achieve it.  During our visit, we filmed three interviews that combine the history of classical horsemanship, the philosophy behind my teaching with respect to the Masters that have come before, and practical tips for starting your horse correctly, simplifying the work in hand technique, and lungeing.  It was a great pleasure to talk with Mr. Martins and expand our conversation to include some reminiscing about former riding Masters, including the Mestre Nuno Oliviera, and our mutual experiences with the heritage of classical riding in Portugal. I look forward to returning very soon.

Check back soon as we will be adding photos from our stay at Mr. Martins home, our clinic at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Tonico Pereira, and the fantastic reception that we had for the clinic and presentation at Manege Sant’Adelaide, featuring Dr. Gerd Heuschmann.  It was a very full 10 days!