All photos courtesy of Keron Psillas from previous trips to Portugal
article by Katherine Howard
Portugal has always been a traveler’s delight, offering a perfect blend of rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality. For the equestrian traveler, the National Horse Fair in Golegã stands out as a true celebration of equestrian culture and is not to be missed.
Every November, Golegã transforms into a captivating spectacle during the National Horse Fair, or Feira Nacional do Cavalo. This event, dating back over 400 years ago, is a celebration of Lusitano horses in all their glory.
Stepping onto the cobblestone streets marks your travel back in time; you will pass by riders sitting on their horses outside of the bar, elegant fur-lined capes and hats that pay homage to when fashion and class went hand-in-hand.
Horses are everywhere. I remember watching a child who could not have been more than ten years old executing flying changes to canter pirouettes over and over in the middle of the track around the arena. He looked like a bullfighter, only his stirrups hardly reached down his horses sides. Nobody paid him much attention, as antics such as these are normal.
During our time at the fair I witnessed the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art perform, a performance by the daughters and granddaughter of Luis Valenca, along with an appearance by M. Valenca himself, working equitation competitions, riders in bullfighting getup, Dany LaHaye work her horse (while we dined above the arena in true luxury), driving competitions, and so many beautiful (and maybe some slightly less beautiful but no less loved) horses.
And when you (or more likely your travelling companion who is not as equine-enthused as you) tire of watching the endless Lusitanos from backyard to ridden by Manuel Veiga himself, you can visit the artisan tradestalls, shop for beautiful handmade tack, and sample traditional Portuguese delicacies that will have you considering permanent relocation. Believe me when I say that you will be extremely well-fed on this trip.
In Europe, anyone who is anyone to be associated with Lusitanos shows their face at Golegã, and the chance to delve in with someone like Dominique who was so deeply impacted by his time there is one that you should be chomping at the bit for (forgive the horse pun, it could not be helped).
Whether you’re captivated by the equestrian world or simply seeking a unique cultural experience, Golegã promises to leave an indelible mark.
Dominique and Debra will be back this fall in Portugal, and you are invited to join in the fun!
Take a look at our Equestrian Tours page for more information – keep in mind that deposits made before August 15 will receive a discount!
Join Debra and Dominique at the end of June for what is sure to be an unforgettable experience in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
The highlight of the trip is a special anniversary performance featuring all four of the equestrian schools:
Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art
Spanish Riding School
Portuguese School of Equestrian Art
AND presenting a new fifth school, Abu Dhabi Royal Equestrian Art (ADREA), that will be performing for the first time!
When traveling with the Barbiers, you are sure to travel in style; luxury accommodations, fantastic food and wine, and will see the best the country has to offer in terms of equestrian attractions. Debra and Dominique have already put together a list of excursions that are sure to delight, from flamenco dancing and sherry cave tours to Carthusian Horse Tours and Alvaro Domecq horses and Brave Bulls in Freedom.
Join us! Trip dates are June 28 – July 6.
Email Debra Barbier at firstname.lastname@example.org and reserve your place!
Trip prices – includes hotel, transport once in Spain and all attractions. Travelers will be responsible for lunches, dinners, and airfare to and from Spain.
Single occupancy $US5700
Double occupancy $US4900
Here is our latest email blast. Have a look….and click on all the tabs above to discover what is new here at Barbier Farms. Debra and I are back from a wonderful, though rainy, trip to Portugal to attend the Lusitano Fair at Golegã. The rain kept everyone a little wet around the edges but did not dampen our spirits. It was wonderful to see friends…all a little older (aren’t we all?) but enjoying life with the Lusitano. Debra and I hope you will join us next time for all the fun and gorgeous horses!
Remember, the February Symposium will be here before we know it! We’ll take a little time off for family celebrations over the Holidays, but will be back at work preparing for the 10th Classical Series Symposium. It will be the most rewarding event yet! Click on the tab above to register.
Finally, there is still time to order your Saddle at the 2014 price. We haven’t changed our price for years, but we’ll be forced to do just that in the New Year….so don’t delay! Contact Debra to have your dream saddle arrive! (email@example.com)
Debra and I have just returned from Brasil where visited all the breeding farms and attended the International Lusitano Expo in Sao Paulo….at a new venue! The facility at the Hipica Paulista was tremendous, but it was even better to see old friends and the progression of the young horses we saw last year and the year before. Rocas do Vouga was named Best Breeder for the 5th year in a row. Congratulations to Manuel, Thereza, Raul, Carlos, Edneu, and all the team for Rocas do Vouga!
After a clinic in New Jersey, we’ll be headed to Portugal with our guests for the Festival in Golegã! Click on the link above to see what you will be missing. This way you’ll be sure to plan to join us next time!!!
We’ve added dates in December for our clinics….have a look at the Clinic tab above. I’m looking forward to seeing friends old and new in Chicago, Colorado, and Minnesota! If you are interested in hosting a clinic for 2015, please be in touch! Dates are limited and the calendar fills quickly. And we have announced the date for the February Symposium…our 10th in the Classical Series. Click the tab above (February Symposium) for all the information.
A little quiet time after the Holiday gives me time to write the last post about my trip to Portugal in September.
The days were filled with visiting the breeding farms and trainers and filled, too, with good food. But I had a special afternoon at Senhor Manuel Veiga’s Quinta da Broa. They were putting the finishing touches on a spectacular new picadeiro. It is constructed in the old foundation out of native and local materials. It is absolutely stunning. Parabens Quinta da Broa!
But the extra special thing was getting to see an original copy of Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere’s Ecole de Cavalerie. I’ve seen framed prints from the book and have read the reprints, but it was amazing to hold the original and leaf through page after page of the marvelous etchings.
I also learned that my old friend and dear friend of my Mestre, Nuno Oliveira, Dom Diogo de Bragança, had compiled a library of hundreds of the best and most rare books on the equestrian art. I hope that someone will recognize the value of keeping that library intact. It is a treasure beyond measuring for lovers of true horsemanship and classical dressage.
Thoughts turn to the future now. We are looking forward to celebrating a Holiday filled with family, with friends, and our horses. We’ll be developing the lecture series for the Symposium in February (click the link above to register now and get a great rate at the Dry Creek Inn!). Wishing you and yours a holiday filled with an abundance of love and compassion.
OOPS! Thought this was posted from Brasil!!! Well, better late than never. Time travel with me back to late September and then October….
As I am a little late in getting another blog post up about the trip in Portugal, I will combine some news from Portugal and the Lusitano Expo in Sao Paulo, Brasil. First, Portugal:
I had an excellent day visiting with Senhors Carlos and Rodrigo Torres at Coudelaria Torres Vaz Freire in the Alentejo, near Alter de Chao. I went especially to see the mares as I had been told that it was a marvelous group of females, and that there were many Larapio grandbabies and great-grandbabies. Raja, their Larapio son (MAC), has created a herd of tremendous quality in a very short time. It was super to see such strength, functionality and refinement all through the group of 15 or so babies. Congratulations to Senhor Torres!
And now we are in Brasil. We spent last weekend at the International Lusitano Expo in Sao Paulo at the Clube Hipica Santa Amaro. Seeing all the horses was great, but seeing all our friends was even better. The camaraderie amongst the breeders and their families is very special. It was exciting to see all the young riders performing so well (The Almeida family, the Oliva family, Gabrielle Fisher, and the Avila sons). These kids are all under 22 and riding PSG through Grand Prix at a CDI*** event. Congratulations!!!
And….check out our new t-shirts and Iphone covers from our dear friend Beatrice Bulteau. It’s always wonderful to catch up with Beatrice and see the beautiful things she is working on. This year was even more fun because these things can arrive for the Holidays!!! Click on the “new products” tab at the top of the page. They won’t last long…there are limited quantities.