Brazil Trip Report 3, May 2010

I’m back with another trip report. As you can tell it was a very busy time.

While giving a clinic at Manege Sant’Adelaide Debra and I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Solange Mikail. Solange is a veterinarian practicing in Sao Paolo and  a breeder of exotic cats ( One facet of her practice involves using thermo imagery to assist in diagnosis of problem areas. Solange had the brilliant idea one day, prior to our arrival, to photograph (via thermal imaging) and compare saddles. She couldn’t wait to tell us about the results she found comparing my saddle to others she had seen.  Of course we wanted to see the images for ourselves so Solange returned to the clinic with the camera and made the images you see below.  I’ve included her remarks as well.

Saddle Fitting by thermography

Solange Mikail, DVM, MS – Brazil

The thermal image of the saddle can provide valuable information about the pressure distribution. If a saddle has a spot of pressure or the pressure is concentrated on the front part, back, or even in only one side of the saddle you will see uneven distribution of heat in the imagery.

The back of the horse and the saddle pad are also evaluated. On the horses back evaluation hot spots near the shoulders can indicate that the saddle is giving too much pressure at that area or if the saddle is too long hot spots can be found usually on lumbar region.

Barbier Saddles were evaluated at the clinic in Brazil and showed uniform pressure distribution all over the panels as well as in the horses back. I found them to be amazingly balanced with no indication of hot spots or pressure points in any area.  I evaluated a new saddle as well as one that had been used for several years on many many different horses.  The results were the same for both: outstanding.

I am delighted with the results, of course, but not surprised.  I’ve spent many years perfecting the saddles…but still to see this empirical evidence is deeply gratifying. Thank you, Solange.

Just before the clinic at Davi’s manege, we attended the 13th International Luso-Brasileiro Auction at  Victor Oliva’s Coudelaria Ihla Verde.  Previously I mentioned that it was an exciting auction….and now I’ll tell you why.

We had spent the previous five days visiting farms, riding various horses and helping our clients to narrow their choices, ideally, to settle on the perfect horse for them.  Debra and I travel to Brazil several times each year to watch the progression of the young horses and assist in the training of many of the riders and horses.  It is generally the case that we know our clients riding styles and preferences as we usually have taught them in clinics or private lessons in the States. This helps us to narrow the choices and present the best options to prospective buyers.  As Saturday approached it became clear that Scott and Pam had revised their original thinking about wanting a young horse.  Scott decided that the horse for him was a Prix St. Georges stallion that we had seen and ridden several times during the week.  Laura, a client back home, had settled on Zaire and after watching students ride him and having the chance to sit on him myself for the third time in as many months, we all agreed that this was a good choice.  Now all that was needed was some luck.

The first horses in the auction were sold at astonishingly low prices.  We were all puzzled, and dismayed for the breeders, but the economy worldwide was making its effects known. Next up came a marvelous mare that brought an appropriately high price and we began to think maybe we would be shut out.  Then came Veneno VO (bred by our host Victor Oliva)….our Prix St. Georges stallion.  The bidding started briskly and then settled down to two bidders.  We were one.  Just as the bidding was slowing, with our bid the last, the owner of the stallion stepped forward to exhort the other bidders.  After all, here was a confirmed Prix St. Georges stallion being sold for an astonishingly reasonable price. Could our bid stand?  What seemed like an eternity passed…..with my heart in my throat and my hand on Scott’s shoulder….his eyes going back and forth from the auctioneer to Pam to me…and finally! The horse belonged to Scott and Pam!  What a celebration and exhalation followed! Champagne arrived at the table with congratulations from all around.  Tears of happiness and even some shock took us over for a bit.

Several horses came and went with another mare bringing a high price.  Then Zaire LS entered the arena.  He’s a big flashy liver chestnut that showed well and had received a lot of attention prior to the auction. We didn’t have quite the drawn out wait that we endured with Veneno, but it was a triumphal moment when the gavel fell on our bid.  We knew there would be a party that evening in Salt Lake City.  Congratulations again Laura.

The surprises were not over.  After watching the fabulous Al Capone, bred by Luis Salgado, go for too low a price…we saw the beautiful young mare, Bella SI, come into the ring.  Bella, bred by Paolo Salles, had lovely movement, a gorgeous head, and a calm head in the arena when we rode her.  Even with 7 stallions in the same arena the night before she just went about her work with marvelous regularity.  We all started looking around the table at each other.  How could we let a horse of this quality go for so little?  To everyone’s astonishment (and joy!) Pam spoke up and said that it was just as easy to care for two as one and BINGO that was it. Bella is coming to the states with Veneno.  The icing on the cake came when we discovered that they are both from the same mare.  Congratulations to Scott and Pam.

Tomorrow I’ll put up a report about our clinic, including pictures of all our guests…and pictures of Solange, Rodrigo, and Julia, a tiny little eight year old girl happily riding a 10 year old stallion around the arena.  This is the beauty of the Lusitano temperament.  Here are a couple of images from the auction and pre-auction riding times.  Enjoy.  And just to get you thinking…..the next newsletter will have all the information about our trip to Brazil in September to Lindoia. We’ll include a clinic and farm visits during this trip as well.  Get your visa now!

Brazil trip report 2, May 2010

More news about our Brazil trip…..

While Brazil is certainly our favorite destination, often, the best part of travel is the company you keep.  This was especially true for our trip.  We had great friends along and were able to take everyone to visit farms that are owned by friends we have made on our trips to Brazil for the last ten years.   Scott and Pam started out looking for a young horse to train, Linda was looking to ride as many horses as possible, Jennifer was looking for a young horse as well, and Nancy was looking to gain riding experience on upper level horses.

Our first visit was to Japu Top, the home of Tonico Pereira and Tatiana Pontifex.  Tatiana and Tonico have built upon the legacy created by his father, Mr. Toni Pereira, so that now he can offer the finest bloodlines of Lusitanos anywhere.  His horses have such quality and the hospitality is warm and gracious. We got to see Zucchini Do Top, Xama Do Top, Brazil Do Top, and many other exceptionally fine horses.  Linda had a great lesson in piaffe, passage, and flying changes on Zucchini, and Nancy did great canter work with him.  Tonico and Tatiana also have a marvelous aviary and we enjoyed learning about all the species of birds that Tonico keeps on the farm.

Visiting the stunningly situated farm, Coudelaria Rocas do Vouga, owned by Manuel and Thereza Almeida, and home to Olympic rider Luiza Almeida and her talented siblings Thaisa, Manuel, and Pedro, was a special treat. It is easy to see Olympic dreams and aspirations being nurtured in such an environment.  A special thank you must be offered to Raul Silva, our host and guide for the day. Raul’s exemplary management and gentlemanly demeanor are in evidence in all facets of the the farm.

We went next to Haras Juliana to see several of the horses that were slated for the auction, including Zaire and Al Capone.  A rainy cool day was warmed by the hospitality and opportunity to ride many horses.  Everyone enjoyed a fun ride on Al Capone, and we all enjoyed watching the schooling of Xodo and Zaire. (And if you remember from the first post, Zaire is now headed to his lucky new owner, Laura, in Salt Lake City!)

We found ourselves next at the home of our dear friend Davi Carrano.  Manege Sant’ Adelaide is located, amazingly, within 20 minutes of downtown Sao Paolo, but is a soothing green oasis.  We saw a number of Davi’s horses, watched them schooling, and rode Bacco, Ataualpa, Xamorro, Biscuit, Prince, and other amazing fellows.  The quality of the training shines in Davi’s horses….as there are often children coming to ride the stallions…and riders of all levels can learn from each of them.  Though we had to leave that night we were all happy to know that we were having a three day clinic with these wonderful horses beginning the next week.  And Nancy came away with her head reeling, as it seems she had been chosen by a horse…….stay tuned.

Next up was a visit to Coudelaria Ihla Verde, the home and farm belonging to our friend Victor Oliva….and the site of the 13th Annual Luso-Brasileiro Auction.  The farm was a beehive of activity with all the preparations for the auction in full swing (and only 2 days away)….but we were graciously welcomed in a style that only Victor can offer.  We settled in to watch and to ride.  Rogerio Clementino, Olympic competitor, brought out Veneno and had a lesson with Daniel Pinto, World Champion and Portuguese Olympic veteran.  After the lesson, Linda, Scott, and Jennifer were able to ride Veneno for a bit….and Linda treated us all to an exhibition of piaffe and passage.  Well done Linda!

We had a great lunch with Victor, Daniel, and Carlos Lopes, head of the Portuguese selection committee….and a lively discussion arose about the controversy in the FEI. We didn’t come to any agreement, but talking with competitors and judges at such a high level offers insight and can inform later discussions.

Here is a gallery of images to enjoy.  In another day or so I’ll have the complete auction report (it was VERY exciting) and the promised article about the thermographic imaging of my saddles.

Amities ~ D Barbier

Brazil trip report, May 2010, Part 1

We have just returned from a great trip to Brazil.  We visited the farms, rode many many wonderful horses, saw old friends, made new friends, and enjoyed the best of Brazilian hospitality wherever we went.  Before I go any further I want to thank our dear friend Davi Carrano from Manege Sant Adelaide for all his hard work and organization. The success of the trip was largely due to Davi’s care and hospitality. I want to congratulate the proud new owners of some fantastic Lusitanos: Scott and Pam will be welcoming home Veneno, a Prix St. Georges stallion, and the lovely Bella, Laura will be ecstatic to meet Zaire, and Nancy will be reunited with Ataualpa, a fabulous young Interagro stallion!  All the pictures are in the gallery below.

This year’s auction was surprising.  The quality of the horses, as always, was top notch.  So one would expect that with the global interest in the Lusitano as the perfect dressage mount the prices would reflect the quality.  Sadly, this was not always the case…..but we were very happy to be able to find great bargains for our clients.  The event was certainly a success, with beautiful horses, plentiful champagne, the suspense of the bidding….and the movie stars and dignitaries arriving by helicopter adding a little extra excitement to the festivities.  Congratulations and gratitude to Victor Oliva and all the team at Coudelaria Ihla Verde for another fantastic event!

I’ll continue the Brazil trip report in just a few days, but there is other news looking ahead:

There are new clinic dates in the calendar including a return to Virginia in July to give a clinic at Linda Bertschinger’s Classicus.  Join us for a great clinic in a beautiful spot in the Shenandoah Valley.  There are spots available for the clinic here at home in Healdsburg in late August.  Reserve your spot now as they won’t last long.  This is your best opportunity to ride intensively, on advanced horses, and study with both Dominique and Debra.  You’ll be in Healdsburg for the very beginning of the grape harvest and can enjoy all the region has to offer at this special time. Contact us for all the information.

In less than two weeks I will begin another long trip that will find me teaching in New Jersey at Nancy Clark’s Castlegate Farm, in Chicago at Jill MacCrae’s farm, and then to Germany to offer a lecture (in a castle near Hamburg!) prior to a clinic with my friend Gerd Heuschmann, and then a clinic near Munich the following week. I offer my thanks to Isabella Sonntag and to Gerd for their enthusiasm and the organization of these two events.

Enjoy the photos…there are many more to come from the trip.  Share the blog with friends, please.  There are great topics coming up, including a report on my saddles by Dr. Solange Mikhail, DVM, MS,  using thermographic imaging to expose potential problems (or, in our case, the amazing balance and quality of the saddle).

Amities  ~ D Barbier