January Symposium Report….other announcements!

The January Symposium was another great success in a string of wonderful events! We had participants from three continents and seven countries…all keenly interested in taking away a deeper understanding of enlightened horsemanship based in classical principles. We had wide-ranging discussions about choosing and beginning the training of a young horse, the classical description and application of Le Ramener, Le Rassembler, and lightness, and how to create positive change for horses in the face of many competing motivations in their training.

We had a very special visitor with us this time: Jolanda Ellenberger, award-winning writer and director of short films was here with her crew to film for several days. Debra and I met Jolanda in Switzerland last year at my clinic sponsored by Sandro Huerzeler near Bern. The quality of her work is wonderful, and the compassion for the horse is immediately felt. She hopes to debut the current film in Monaco next year. We’ll all be anxious to see the end product so stay tuned for details and announcements here! Here’s a small gallery of images from the Symposium. Enjoy!

Debra and I are very happy to announce that in addition to our Annual Expo trip to Brasil in May (see all the details on the tab above!), we are going to PARIS for the Exposition of the Four Classical Riding Schools at Bercy! We’ll be announcing the exact dates, but plan on ten days beginning October 1. Our trip to see the first ever performance of the Four Schools together in 2007 was a tremendous success.  We’ll return to a few of the places we visited, including Chantilly and several of the Equestrian theater productions….but we’ll have a few surprises too, including a trip to the Camargue in the South of France! We’ll be posting all the details very soon…..so keep an eye on the blog and in your email for the full itinerary.

And finally….but perhaps most important….the next symposium will be July 13, 14, & 15. As the event will be held over the Bastille Day weekend, we’ll have a decidedly French flair in everything we do! Join us for the three days of learning, fun, and fabulous food. We’ll be in the barn on Saturday night for an Equestrian Spectacle and French cuisine!  Mark your calendar and click on the tab above to reserve your spot! Bring some guests for Saturday night….and sign up early! It’s going to be a magical evening.

Amities, Dominique

Getting ready for the Symposium! (and lots of other news)

We have just returned from Brasil (The 3rd Annual Lusitano Festival at Aguas de Lindoia) and are preparing for the 3rd installment in our Classical Series here in Healdsburg.  A few of the special things we’ll be doing this weekend include a reception featuring the latest horses from Brasil, including Capaz do Mito, and a Brasilian-themed dinner in the barn Saturday night! There is space available for auditors and a very few spots for the clinic afterward on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Contact us if you are interested. We would love to have you join us.  Click on the September Symposium link ABOVE for all the details.

We have some exciting news to share: A Larapio son (our breeding stallion) is headed to the World Championships for Working Equitation in Lyon, France! Unico HS, owned by Hilda Toledo Piza, will join the best horses in the world and showcase the versatility and spectacular temperament that make the Lusitano such a joy. Congratulations to Hilda, Mariana, and Fabio.  Boa sortie!

Congratulations are in order too for the team behind Xama Do Top.  Xama (sire of Debra’s gorgeous filly Graphica) was Champion of Champions at the Lusitano Festival in Lindoia.  Xama Do Top was bred by Tonico Pereira and is owned by Victor Oliva of Coudelaria Ihla Verde. Victor’s son João Victor rode Xama for the championship and was named Champion Rider of the festival. What an outstanding achievement for this young man! Congratulations to Tonico, Victor, João, and all the team behind this marvelous horse.

We’ve been in Brasil several times this summer and our visits are not complete without seeing Debra’s herd of babies.  Yes, I said HERD.  Graphica, her filly by Xama Do Top, is turning into a spectacular horse. Her movement is beyond stunning and she is very lovable and easily handled. This is easy to understand given her exceptional breeding. But all the babies (and now young horses) are bred exceptionally well. Here’s a gallery of images from “the herd” including pix of Graphica, Dynastia, Fado, Fadista, Escritoria and Esperanza.

Equestrian Brasil is a-buzz with the anticipation and excitement of preparing for the Pan Am Games.  It was a long and arduous selection process with outstanding teams competing for  just a few slots. Rocas do Vouga will be sending Olympic Veteran Luiza Almeida with her mount Samba and rising young star Manuel Almeida with Viheste; Coudelaria Ihla Verde will send Olympic Veteran Rogerio Clementino on Sargento Do Top; Haras Juliana sends Mauro Pereira Junior to compete with Tulum Commando SN; and Fazenda Santa Izabel returns Olympic Veteran Leandro Silva with new mount L’Acteur VDL. Boa sortie and boa viagem to all the teams headed to the Pan Am Games!

After all the fun and learning in the Symposium is over we will be back to teaching in the US and our first clinic in South Africa! Click on the Clinic Schedule tab to stay updated….and contact us if you are interested in a clinic for 2012.  Dates are filling very very fast.



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