A trip report from Germany and some news from home

I’ve just returned from a trip to Europe to teach and to lecture.  I was invited to give a lecture at the Herrenhaus Borghorst by the kind invitation of Caroline Hatlapa. The hospitality was tremendous, the setting magical, and the guests intensely interested in riding in lightness.  I presented a lecture with a multi-media component and lots of question and answer time.  We had great discussions, open and direct, about true classical equitation, systematic training, and the need to ride with more compassion and care for the horses…..especially in a competition setting.

It was my pleasure to observe many fine riders and horses during the two day clinic that my friend Gerd offered at Borghorst.  As we were in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, there were marvelous warmbloods, BIG HORSES, in the clinic. Thank you, to Caroline and Helena Hatlapa, Maike Theiler and Dr. Gerd and Johanna Heuschmann for such a memorable visit to the north of Germany.  I am delighted to tell you that I’ll be offering a clinic at  the Borghorst later in the year, with full details soon on this blog and on the website and facebook clinic schedules.

Following my visit with Caroline and her daughter Helena, I went to Munich to give a clinic to a great group of riders assembled by my friend Isabella Sonntag. Isabella is the founder of Wu Wei Verlag and publisher of my latest book in German, Wege zur Leichtigkeit in der Klassischen Dressur.  Everywhere I go in Germany I am greeted by students that are absolutely hungry for a new way of riding and communicating with their horses.  I am deeply encouraged by this and hope to see this desire flooding into the competition world.  It gives me hope that we will all develop deeper compassion for our horses, our partners.  I’ll be back in Munich teaching in late September (around the 24th) and will post more info next week.  Thank you, to Isabella and Christina, and to all your team for a great clinic.

Immediately prior to my trip to Germany, I was with all my Chicago friends at Jill McCrae’s farm in Grayslake. It is such a pleasure to see all of the horses progressing so well.  At the end of the clinic I was treated to an advance performance of their upcoming Elegance on Horseback event.  Jill, Georgette, Betheny, and all their students love to ride and perform in costume on their wonderful Lusitanos.  If you are in the Chicago area, go check it out!  Thank you, Jill and Jeff, and all my friends for another great weekend…..and to Zorro the baby raccoon for all the entertainment…..see you in August!

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

Looking ahead to Brazil, from France

Having finished a very busy clinic in Switzerland, I am taking a few days to travel in France to visit family.  Thank you to all the participants for making the clinic such a success.  Upon my return to the US, I will be in Canfield, Ohio, for a new clinic with old friends, then Connecticut, Illinois, Washington, then New Jersey….you can see the calendar and find links in the CLINICS page on this blog or on our Facebook profile.

I wanted to share the latest news from Brazil and encourage you to think about traveling with us for the Auction, Expo, and a special clinic at Manege Sant’Adelaide.  Debra and I received this announcement from Victor Oliva, founder of the prestigious Luso-Brasileiro Auction:

The Internacional Luso Brasileiro Auction is already the most traditional and important auction of the Lusitano Horse, because, in addition to gathering the best Brazilian breeders, it has increasingly sought to select animals based on functional outlines, especially Classical Dressage.
In this auction were sold, among others, Oceano do Top and Nilo VO, both Olympic Horses, and Parágrafo do Top, Ultraje VO, Amuleto VO, all champions in the shows at USA. The Luso Brasileiro Auction will be held on May, 22 at Coudelaria Ilha Verde – Araçoiaba da Serra – Brazil, and it opens the XXIV International Exhibition of the Lusitano, the most important event of the breed in Brazil
We’re looking forward to see you there!

Debra and I visit Brazil several times each year to observe and watch the young horses progress and conduct clinics at some of the farms for the riders who are responsible for their training.  Because of this our service to a prospective buyer is incredibly valuable.  We know the horses in the auction and in many instances have ridden them.  If you are thinking of a Lusitano of your very own, now is the time to come with us to find your horse. With interest in the Lusitano exploding around the world, we may never again have the opportunity to purchase horses of quality at reasonable prices.  Click on the page above “May 2010 Brazil Trip Details” for all the information.

And a final comment….I spoke at length with Nadja King from Horses For Life just before I left for Switzerland. It was a great pleasure. I am happy to say that Nadja has a new issue available with a number of important articles, including the editorial on the “Just say YES to 401” campaign.  Article 401 in the FEI Rules …”5…the head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck…” p.11,  and Article 419….The FEI instituted an International Dressage Event in 1929 in order to preserve the Equestrian Art from the abuses to which it can be exposed and to preserve it in the purity of its principles, so that it could be handed on intact to generations of athletes to come.” p.28.  Follow this link to find out more.

Thank you for the wonderful messages about our video, please continue to share it with your friends.  And thank you especially for your interest and for your care of the Horses.

Amities ~ DDBarbier

a petition to sign, and some fun

As I prepare for my trip to Switzerland  next week I am feeling deeply the need to continue to create awareness of the issues the Dressage world is facing. Now is the time to speak for the horses in defense of their comfort, their dignity, and their well-being.  I have been working for four decades to teach the classical methods, which when applied properly will bring forth a horse who is grounded, calm, supple, and a happy partner to dance with.

My friend Nadja from Horses for Life has initiated a petition to keep the pressure on the FEI to uphold their original articles and rules.  Please go to this link and sign the petition..and PLEASE invite your friends to do the same.

This is just the beginning.  In the coming months you will hear a great deal from us about the efforts we will be making to bring our message to a larger audience.  I hope you will join us on the journey.

It’s not ALL seriousness here at Barbier Farm.  Last night we had the great pleasure to invite friends for egg coloring.  While no one managed to make a horse out of an egg, we did have a number of marvelously creative eggs…..all aided by a great dinner, some good wine, a little port, and a delicious gateau Marjolaine.



A new project in Brazil

This weekend Debra and I travel to Brazil to begin several new projects.  I’m so pleased to announce that I’ll be working in collaboration with Mr. José Nogueira Martins, founder of Tribuna Lusitana.  Mr. Martins has created a marvelous collection of interviews with many of the top people in the Lusitano and the larger Equestrian worlds. Together we hope to create a series of video lessons with the highest production values.  Mr. Martins has an elegance and refined aesthetic that is a perfect compliment to the thought and energy of my work with the horses.  I am deeply gratified to have this opportunity.

While I am in Brazil I will be meeting with Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, the veterinarian and author of the acclaimed book Finger in Der Wunde, published in the United States as Tug of War – Classical versus “Modern Dressage”. It is such an honor for me to meet Dr. Heuschmann and it is my deepest wish that we can bring science, intellect, energy, refinement, and our great love of the horse to influence training methods in practice today.  It is time to turn away from hyperflexion and compression of the horse and truly focus on his well being, in body, mind, and spirit.

During our stay I’m pleased to be holding a clinic at Japu, the home of our great friend Tonico Pereira, founder of the famed Do Top stud, and breeder of the Olympic horse Oceano Do Top.  Please contact Davi Carrano for information and scheduling.

We’re taking reservations now for our May trip to the Lusitano Auction and International Expo.  Please email or call if you are interested.  We will be posting all the details of the trip on this blog and sending an email to those of you that are signed up for notifications.  If you are not, now is the time to send US an email so that you can stay informed and hopefully, JOIN US for the trip of a lifetime.  During our May trip I will be offering a three-day clinic at the beautiful Manege Sant’ Adelaide, the home of our dear friend, Davi Carrano.

Please click on the links to follow the latest news.  I’ll have an update on this blog from Brazil.  Thank you for checking in!



Welcome to our new blog.  We will be posting news items, travel opportunities, clinic re-caps, and information about our Lusitanos for sale. From time to time we will post training tips and video lessons.  We welcome your comments and hope you’ll check with us often and pass the link to all your equestrian friends.

Thank you for visiting.