Happy New Year! We're celebrating with new babies!!!

Here are some pictures of our latest family additions. Debra and I are delighted with these gorgeous fellows.  They are wonderful examples of careful breeding from great bloodlines (and they are awfully cute too).

They are out of Debra’s exceptional mares (as all her wonderful babies have been) and represent the best of the Portuguese and Brasilian bloodlines. Contact her about the older fillies and colts that are available now.  Several of the babies are here in the US now, working happily as three and four year olds. Domina was featured earlier on this blog so scroll down for pictures of her!

First up:
Herodes DB by Bailado do Top out of Somatoria do Top. Bailado is an amazing young stallion with a great work ethic, huge movement, and BIG, but he retains all the finest qualities of the Lusitano of character, expression and gentle temperament. Bailado do Top is by Quadro out of Nubia. Somatoria do Top is the sister (by mother…Largaticha) of some of the most important Lusitanos in Brasil: Nicotina, Orador, and Oceano do Top. Clearly, a very finely bred baby.

Second baby:
Hermes DB by Bailado do Top out of Successão do Top.  Successão do Top is the top awarded mare of her year, champion and vice champion ahead of stallions at the International Lusitano Expo. She is by Quadro do Top out of Herancia.

Come with us to Brasil in May (check the tab above for the Brasil 2012 trips!) and you can see them both, along with the other babies in the herd.  It’s a highlight of our trip each time we go and is THE highlight for proud Mom Debra.

Thank you to Davi Carrano for the beautiful photographs.  Hermes was less than 10 hours old when the photos were taken!

Another great review

We are grateful to have received another incredible review from Mary Daniels writing for Dressage Today. It is just tremendous that people are connecting with this book in such a deep way. It is encouraging for us as we move into this New Year.  We’ll be continuing our work on the new books, the foundation, (www.societeartequestre.com) and the Symposiums….all with the same goal: enlightened horsemanship from the French Classical tradition. If you haven’t done so already, click on the tabs above for the book and for the Symposium.  There are seats available still (and books available too!) but the Symposium is filling quickly.  There are only two days left to grab the special rate at the Dry Creek Inn just down the road in Healdsburg! (All the details and links are under the Symposium Tab.)

The review:
By Mary Daniels for the February Issue of Dressage Today (available January 1) www.dressagetoday.com

As the title might offer a clue, this is not a how-to book about how to train horses, but one about a very personal and unique philosophy—“Because the nature of the horse demands it, this is a mystical, metaphysical book,” says Barbier. He writes about “allowing our thoughts to be happy ones, finding our smile and learning to use it through discipline, meditation, visualization and love.

“This book is a reflection about the love of horses and how much they care and want us to be better. It is my belief that were we to allow ourselves to listen, were we to allow them to speak, they would surely have offered such a book to us.”

I agree with what Psillas says in her introduction to this book. That “we ride as we are,” which is true, and “what better purpose for a life than to hold the space for beauty.” To me, horses are a thing of beauty. A joy forever as a great poet once said, and beauty is medicine.

Perhaps I am not mystically inclined enough to understand all of the text, such as the preceding idea that were they allowed to speak horses would offer such a book to us. The ones I know might just ask for a charge card to the nearest greengrocer, or a romp in the hayfield. It may be one must belong to the Inner Circle of this following to be able to absorb the more esoteric aspects of this philosophy.

But there were parts I liked very much and here are a few from Barbier: “Horses and humans: the idea of separation first and then a coming together when mutual respect and understanding are attained is too simplistic, though not to be ignored. Rather, if I can say, it is the sense of oneness first, and then how to remain in that oneness that I believe is the essence of successful and symbiotic interaction between human and horse.

“The horse must trust the student. He must accept and enjoy a comfortable position, something that does not always come naturally. In turn, the student must trust the horse, both physically and mentally. If your riding mentality is based in fear, the horse cannot believe, understand or feel comfortable with you. Panic and evasions follow. A void in the student creates a void in the horse. Horses are the mirror of your soul.”

“The attitude that we are the only or best conduit of energy is a limiting one. The horse is already here.  We must learn to be here. Our undisciplined minds and our egos cause us to live in the past or in the future and we must remind ourselves constantly of the goal of self-realization. Unlike the horse, we are so busy doing, we forget simply to be, we are so busy working, we forget to enjoy. Horses demand our presence, and this mental discipline in turn allows communication and oneness to happen. They teach us to be in and stay in the present, to share the same vibrations, the same space, the same energy. They teach us to replace organized unhappiness, unfulfilled dreams and expectation with the attachment and appreciation of the very moment. When acceptance and grace flow between horse and rider, the centaur can exist.

“An undisciplined mind is like a young green horse—full of life, scattered and uncensored. All manner of achievement is possible when the horse, like your mind, comes to the calm knowledge of self and respect of others. Together these notions bring harmony and joy. Gratitude and reverence allow us to be and feel that there is nothing we cannot do. Remember then, to say thank you. The open mind and the readiness for the path to further enlightenment will create real-life miracles.”

And my favorite: “I consider the shoulder-in the miracle movement. But I prefer to call it shoulders-in. The outside shoulder must be included in the movement, in our feeling of the movement. From the daily work for the original work-in-hand around one pillar, a technique centuries old, we need to understand why this is such a revealing movement, why it is such a powerful tool. The simplest answer is that it gives the horse a feeling of togetherness, then of independence. He learns where his legs and his body are in relation to himself and to the rider. This knowledge offers security to him and in turn, imparts an additional, undeniable mental strength, as any successful human athlete can attest,” he writes.

That said about the text, one must remark that the accompanying photos are lovely. Many of the subjects are of the Portuguese Lusitano breed, one of the world’s most striking and handsome. But there are also photographs of natural and man-made wonders, from the floral to the architectural, which make you pause and reflect.

The design of the book, by Psillas, is elegant and pleasing to the eye. “The display type of this edition of Meditation for Two is Cezanne with a nod to Dominique’s French heritage and to link and respect the arts of handwriting, photography and bookmaking, as well as the influence of the painting Masters on the history of photography,” she writes. The Old World sensibility in its creation makes this book a keepsake, a gift book bound to be appreciated by the receiver.

Holiday Wishes!


The Holiday Season is filled with so many reminders of the blessings of the life we share with our family, friends, and animal companions. Our dear friend Melinda, from Paz Apparel, has inspired us through the years with her unwavering commitment to a cruelty-free life. Hop over to her website (LINK HERE) to see a few of the items she has created over the years that mirror her commitment to compassion in all areas of life. The story of PAZ is a great one….and a great model for all of us to emulate.

A last thought for the year….click on the Symposium Tab at the top of the page to sign up and JOIN US for the January 2012 event. You can get a great rate at the Dry Creek Inn until December 31st so don’t delay!  All the details are available on the Symposium Page. Come and be surrounded by friends, engaged in learning and expanding your awareness with the horses. It’s a wonderful way to begin the New Year!  We’re going to have guests from New Zealand, Switzerland, England, and all over the US. And our incredible catered dinner on Saturday night has become a fabulous tradition…..full of fun, laughter, cementing old and making new friendships.

a glowing review for Meditation for Two

We are happy to let our readers know that we have received a glowing review for Meditation for Two. Cindy Foley is the Editor-in-Chief of Horse Journal, a widely read online magazine and blog for all things equestrian.  Here is just one of the wonderful things she has to say about Meditation For Two:  I finished with a renewed sense of partnership with my horse. I learned that Sally and I are exactly the same! I felt a deeper understanding into what it must be like from her perspective, and I felt a stronger connection—one that I was able to take into the saddle the very next day.  

Cindy continuesIt’s philosophy; it’s a look at your inner self; it’s an understanding of the horse’s inner being. If you’re searching for answers and can’t get them from the equitation and training lessons we’ve all had drilled into us, or if you have a particularly challenging horse and are open to new approaches, you might find an answer in this book.

To see the entire review, click HERE.  Keron and I are grateful for the review, of course….but what is so important is that people really do ‘get’ what we are trying to say in the book. It’s gratifying and important to the work we are doing for the horses.



To order MEDITATION FOR TWO, click on this LINK.

Finding your perfect horse

Debra and I spend so much time searching for the right horse to match with a new owner.  Our philosophy has always been that the needs and abilities of a prospective owner are the most important criteria for creating the perfect match. After that, there must exist an emotional bond. This is the magical part and one that is a little more challenging to create, but  it happens and it is always glorious!  Here’s a note we just received from a happy owner and new friend, Trish Greenberg.
I don’t know if there are words good enough to express my feelings on finding the “perfect” horse from Debra and Dominique Barbier.  I had been searching and looking at horses for quite some time trying to find that certain individual.  After traveling to Portugal and purchasing a horse while there,  I  felt as though  something was still missing.  From years of experience,  I know that it is a very rare thing to find one that grabs your soul and makes you know that this is the “one” with no shadow of a doubt.  That is exactly what happened to me while attending my first Barbier Symposium.  While presenting some horses one evening, in walked this little gray stallion that made my heart stop.  Everything about him was exactly what I had been looking for!  He showed such beautiful movement, sensitivity and noble presence about him that I was totally swept away.  When I touched and then rode him,  I knew there was a connection that was totally unexplainable.   This horse grabbed my soul and I could not go away without him.  I had found the horse that I did not think was possible to find.  
Thank you Debra, for being so kind and helping make this happen for me.  You went out of your way to work details out so that this was possible.  I am so grateful to have Capaz Do Mito.   I look forward to training and having many wonderful years together with this special little horse.  He is wonderful!!!!!!!!
Thank you also to Dominique, Keron, wonderful staff and friends at the symposium who were so excited and encouraging during my visit.  Everyone made this truly a wonderful and special occasion.  
Trish Greenberg