Dominique's tour in Portugal, first of several reports

Dominique has returned from a brief tour in Portugal….filled with old friends, great horses, even better food, and lots of fun.  Dominique visited Keron Psillas, who now lives in Portugal for a lot of the year. Catching up with Mestre Luis Valença and his family was the first excursion and then we visited Senhor Manuel Braga, Senhor Manuel Veiga, and Senhor Manuel Coimbra. Each of these gentleman is renowned for their breeding of fine Lusitanos and the horses we saw were evidence of their breeding excellence.  We saw Carlos Oliveira’s horses, renowned ‘apresentador’ from Portugal, whom we first met in Brasil a number of years ago. It was a pleasure to spend time together.

Enjoy the photos….back in several days with the next report.

Symposium report: July 2013

Long overdue, but here it is! We had another informative, engaging Symposium over the Bastille Day weekend here at Barbier Farms. Participants from all over the US and Canada enjoyed provocative lectures and great riding demonstrations and lessons.

Dominique offered several lectures with themes from his new book (to be released November’s the link) The Alchemy of Lightness: What Happens Between Horse and Rider on a Molecular Level. We also enjoyed a fantastic champagne reception with several marvelous riding exhibitions and capped the evening off with a delicious catered dinner in the stables.

Enjoy the gallery of images…and then sign up for the February Symposium! The dates are set (February 7, 8, & 9), the links are up (see the tab above) and the hotel rates are in place! And remember, a Symposium registration makes a great Holiday gift for your barn-buddy!

For Mrs. Molly Sivewright, FBHS, DBHS

It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of an extraordinary woman, a dear friend and mentor, Mrs. Molly Sivewright, FBHS, DBHS. She touched so many lives, human and equine. This brushes the sadness aside to allow gratitude to take its place. Though I am certain my voice is one among many thousands to express my condolences, it is important for me to acknowledge the early teaching she so generously gave to me.


Early in my riding career I was a little misdirected in my goals. I wanted to be as good a rider, technically, as I could be. I developed tricks to train horses better and more quickly (I thought), but the results were temporary. Then one morning I was given a special horse to ride, a beautiful and refined mare named Golden Celadon.


For two weeks it was a complete disaster. There was no mental communication between us, nor could I take physical hold of her. I used all my tricks, one by one, with no success. Her mind was on everything, everywhere, but not with me.


After a long period, Mrs. Sivewright (whom I was sure had been watching every failure of mine) asked if I wanted some help. YES! I replied. She said, simply, “walk around the fields and listen to the birds.” This made me a little angry, but I would have done anything at this point, so off I went.


The fields were large, but Mrs. Sivewright made certain I went around twice, listening to the birds. The mare’s walk was much calmer than before. And after a time she said “for whatever you want, just ask politely”. The mare and I quickly bonded and she led me to many more discoveries.


This set the stage for all the understanding and growth I would access later in Portugal with Mestre Oliveira. But Mrs. Sivewright was the first person to speak to me about another way of riding, a clearer, non ego-based riding. A riding based on calm, polite, mental communication. I have never forgotten those lessons and they helped form the base of much of my riding philosophy. I will be eternally grateful.