A new Brazil trip and a "hold the date" announcement!

Debra and I are pleased to announce that we will be offering another clinic in Healdsburg from January 14th thru the 16th.  Our event in August was so well received, and sold out, so it’s time to plan the next!

There will be a particular emphasis this time on greater interaction with the auditors, opportunities for auditors to experience the work-in-hand techniques, more question and answer periods and a greater audio visual component. In other words, we want EVERYONE involved!  Send us an email right way to reserve your spot.  Many seats are already taken.  ( Barbierfarm@aol.com ).

And….coming up even sooner, we are returning to Brazil in late November.  We will depart the U. S. on the 26th of November and return on the 4th or 5th of December, whichever your commitments allow.  We will have a full three day clinic at the beginning of the trip on highly schooled horses in a beautiful setting, and then we will spend the next five days visiting the spectacular Lusitano horse farms.  You will have the opportunity to ride horse after horse, according to your ability and interest.  You will learn a great deal about the breed, see the finest the farms have to offer (only the most spectacular horses in the world) and enjoy a warm welcome of legendary Brazilian hospitality at each of the farms we visit.  Please contact us via email or phone (707-696-2828).  This way, Debra and I can be thinking of which farms to visit to show you horses that are most appropriate to your needs.  As readers of this blog will know, Debra and I visit many of the farms several times a year to follow the training progress of literally hundreds of horses.  We are confident that we can find your perfect horse.   For non-buyers, this trip will educate and enlighten riders at any level.  The temperament and functionality of the Lusitano breed make them the ideal horse with which to further your riding skills.

Click on the TAB above for NOVEMBER BRAZIL TRIP DETAILS! Here is a small gallery of images by Keron Psillas from our last trip and the clinic in August.  Then, for more images….simply scroll down the page.  You’ll see what a great time we have!

Amities….   Dominique and Debra Barbier

Summer round-up and some BIG NEWS!

It’s been a very busy summer for Debra and I.  This post is a sort of round-up of all the activities and a look ahead for the fall and winter.

I’m very happy to announce that Meditation for Two, my book with Keron Psillas, will be published in Switzerland and Germany, and then in Brazil!  I’ll post the information on this blog when the German and Portuguese language copies are available.

This past weekend we hosted a clinic at our home in Healdsburg.  It was a resounding success.  We had 30+ participants (riders and auditors) and three days of lessons, lectures, and great food. There were 35 for dinner on Saturday night and a great time was had by all!  What made the clinic such a success was this: all the participants were open and engaged.  What I mean is that we were able to discuss the deepest meaning of riding and how it impacts our lives and our horse’s lives along with all the steps, how-to’s, and discussion of technique.  We had participants aged 10 to 85 and in many ways, the youngest and the eldest were the most receptive.  It was a magical time.  I hope you’ll make plans now to join us in January (the 14th thru the 16th) for the next clinic here at home.  There are limited spaces so sign up early by sending an email to Debra to reserve your spot. (Barbierfarm at aol.com)

Prior to the clinic at home I made a tour of the US with stops in Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Illinois. Ridiculously hot weather was the common denominator, but happy horses and riders was a close second.  It was great to be back in Virginia at Classicus after  a long hiatus, and it was good to see regular students progressing at all the other stops.  Keep up the good work! Congratulations are in order for the group at Jill McCrae’s farm in Grayslake, Illinois.  They performed a great show in late July. It had to have been pretty spectacular to see all the Lusitanos with their riders in costume.   We had a visit at Jill’s from Nancy at The Royal Lusitano with news of Larapio’s babies growing up and into their personalities! Best of luck to all the group for the World Equestrian Games appearances.

In early September I’ll be traveling to New Mexico for TWO clinics around Santa Fe with Ginger Gaffney and Lynn Clifford.  You can see all the contact info on the clinics page.  There are a very few spots left, but plenty of room for auditors. I hope you’ll join us if you are in the area….and tell your friends, too.  Then I’m off to New Jersey to Castlegate Farm.  Nancy Clark tells me that her new horse, Ataualpa has adjusted nicely to life in New Jersey (he hasn’t seen snow yet….).  And then after that, I am in Germany, Switzerland and Greece for a series of clinics.  This past July, we had a great clinic near Munich that was hosted by my German editor and publisher, Isabella Sonntag, and I am looking forward to returning to see those students and some new ones!  Then I travel north of Kiel (in the heart of Schleswig-Holstein)  to conduct a clinic for Caroline Hatlapa at the Herrenhaus Borghorst.  Caroline was my hostess in June when I delivered the Meditation For Two lecture to a very lively audience.  I’m happy to be headed back there to teach and to see many of the people I met in June.  I’m working on a few other clinics for October in Germany and Switzerland and will post the details here as soon as they are available.  Then I’m off to Greece!  This will be my first visit to the land of Xenophon and I am really excited.

I realize this post is rather long….but there is MORE BIG NEWS!!!  Debra and I will be leading a trip to Brazil in late November.  Reserve your spot now as we are bound to fill up very very quickly. Brazilian hospitality, delicious food, and of course, spectacular Lusitanos will create a once in a lifetime experience.  We’ve been doing this for many years now and because we have longstanding relationships with the finest breeders we can show you the best horses to suit your needs.  Debra and I will be your guides, whether you are looking for your perfect equestrian partner or the perfect equestrian vacation.  All the details will be available this weekend on the blog.

Here’s a gallery of images (courtesy of Keron) from a number of the clinics this summer and the clinic here at home this past weekend.  Enjoy! And check out Keron’s article in Doma Clasica (a Spanish magazine dedicated to the Equestrian Art).

Let us hear from you, and please, share the blog with friends.  We are gearing up for a tremendous announcement and we want as many dedicated equestrians involved as possible!


Dominique and Debra

Expo, Sao Paolo, the missing post

I had forgotten to post anything about the 23rd Annual ABPSL Lusitano Expo in Sao Paolo, so here it is!

After all the excitement of the Auction at Coudelaria Ihla Verde, visiting the farms to scout and ride horses, and the training and fun of our clinic at Manege Sant Adelaide, we were all ready to unwind and sit back and watch other horses and riders. There were many beautiful horses to see, performances to watch, and friends to greet ….. (and caipirinhas to be enjoyed.)

Four days of non-stop activity culminated in the awards for Champion Stallion and Champion Mare.  This year, from all the wonderful horses in the competitions, Jose Francisco Brito Eusebio took the Champion of Champions awards for both Stallion and Mare.  In the competition for Champion Stallion, both qualifiers, Xeque Mate de Top and Xama do Top,  were bred by our friend Tonico Pereira from Japu Top. Congratulations to Mr. Eusebio, his family, and his entire team,  and to Tonico and Tatiana and all the wonderful people at Japu Top!

The exposition is designed to show the beauty, breeding, and versatility of the Lusitano horse.  We were treated to a CDI*** Dressage competition with several of the Brazilian Olympic Team 2008 riders and their mounts with Axel Steiner among the judges. We watched working equitation (including the world champion rider) and saw many of the breeding classes.  It’s a great way to train the eye for seeing strengths and weaknesses in confirmation.  Of course we are looking at the best of the best, so it becomes more challenging to pick up a weakness.

I was able to reconnect with my friend Beatrice Bulteau and was presented with one of her fantastic drawings.  Check out her site, you will be amazed at the beauty and artistic sensibility.

I must say thank you, again, to our wonderful hosts in Sao Paolo: Haras Juliana, Japu Top, Rocas do Vouga, Coudelaria Ihla Verde, Coudelaria de Castanheiro, Interagro, and Manege Sant Adelaide.  We look forward to seeing you (and all the horses) in late November.

I have just finished a clinic in Indianapolis and am on my way to Springfield, Illinois, via Florida.  Check the clinic schedule for all the upcoming dates.  I’ll be back on the blog in a few days with a report from my clinic in Virginia at Classicus Farm and from Connecticut with my friends John Hurst and Rich and Kathy Buck.

There are still a few (Really…. a very few…) spaces available for the August clinic at home in Healdsburg.  Call Debra for information! 707-696-2828



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 (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!

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