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 (www.kashmircats.com). 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!