Receive our newsletter about the
daily life with horses in your inbox
Check the latest news on our platforms

Join the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

Classic dressage according to ancient prescriptions

Text by: Desirée Larsen
Edited by: Laura Sofie Krebs
Photos: Rita Fernandes, Pedro Yglesias, Malgré Tout

The proud traditions of educating horses after classical methods are only maintained few places in the world. These schools have more than a hundred years of history behind them - one of these is the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Here the time stands still. They practice levades and caprioles as they did back in the 17th Century. We have met with António Borba Monteiro who is educating both riders and horses in classical dressage. Together with Antonio we look back into the history books, but also forward into the future of modern dressage.

Antonio learns a lot during his time as a young rider. He is lucky enough to work with one of the most famous trainer and riders, Master Nuno de Oliveira, who has inspired several riders and horse owners worldwide to appreciate the classical methods. Master Nuno de Oliveira is not whoever, and it is for many in the classical world a great honor to work for him.

António participates in both educating the young horses, and he also competes on the highest international level in dressage. Today he does not compete any longer:

“When you are participating in competitions you often ride a specific program that anybody must be able to perform no matter if the horse has talent or not. You ride with an idea of what the horse should be able to do and tries to incorporate its' skills. To do something so specific is very stressful for both the rider and horse.”

In 1998 António receives the extraordinary title of master at the school. Today they are two employees with this title, and it is these two who are in charge of the overall education of both riders and horses. António is not certain how he ended up on this path, but he knows he has talent.

“The horses give me a feeling of balance and enthusiasm for life and riding. People around me do not necessarily understand why I spend so much time with the horses. For me it is still a dream. I love horses, and they always tell the truth right away,”

- a more or less dreamy António explains and continues: 

“Horses are easy to train: When we do the right thing, we get the correct feedback right away.”

The school is training and educating 30 young horses and 40 show horses every day, and this is done after the old methods. António highlights three things he believes characterizes classical dressage:

  1. The starting point is to understand the horse the best way possible.

  2. Adapt the classical methods to each horse.

  3. When we ride the horses, we have to adapt our body to the horses’ physics to avoid overloading the horse. 

He tells about the stallion Rico who has won huge international victories with the famous dressage rider Kyra Kyrklund. Kyras’ riding of Rico followed a development of the training at the school – the riders lower body should now be used independently of the body. António explains it like this: 

“The rider should always seek to adjust himself to the horse. This is what makes it classical. Every day we are watching over the horses making sure they are doing well. Always be relaxed, deep breaths and pay attention to yourself. We must know our self well to ride well.” 

In António’s opinion all horses should be trained individually. To begin with, he did not work with this in mind, but today he has become much more aware of the importance of this: “Horses are able to feel if we are happy or just want to see results.”

“When we understand to appreciate the horses’ dynamics, know its' mind and is able to control the energy – then we can fly.”

António thrives with challenges, and he believes he is evolving every day. He is determined that the horse should understand him, and is always looking for the best method for each horse.  António remembers a 6-year-old horse. Everyone had given up on it, because it was not trained with its' physic in mind. The stallion did not have a functional balance, it had a short body, short legs and a big neck and head. Today this horse is the champion of the show when it comes to capriole. 

“Classical riding is to ride from the horse and look for its' best qualities – everyone has a talent for something. We just have to find out what fits the horse.”

Lusitano horses start their training at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arts during spring the year they turn 3. The training of the young horses begins slowly from the ground. Before the horses are even put in a longe they have to walk next their rider and pay attention to the person walking with it. 

“A success is when the horse is performing the exercise completely relaxed. When the horse can walk next to his rider calmly and focused. Not until this is accomplished, we move on to the longe work in a closed arena. Some horses have more difficulties concentrating than others, and in this case, it is important that also the rider stays calm and balanced so he can project this to the horse,” António says.

Reportage:

António is brought up in a family with very qualified breeders of both bulls and horses. It was originally his uncle who introduced him to the ancient Portuguese traditions around the lusitano horses. On his 18th birthday António moved to his uncle and aunt to train some of the best riders in classical equine art. Today he lives at the same place with his family and continues his uncles’ work. 

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

Working for the best riders and trainers

Training –
understanding your horse

The beginning for a young horse

It all begins...

The Spanish School of Equestrian Arts, Vienna Austria

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, Lisbon Portugal

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, Spain

Cadre Noir in Saumur, France

The four classical schools of equestrian arts

advertisement

Receive our newsletter about the
daily life with horses in your inbox
Check the latest news on our platforms

Classic dressage according to ancient prescriptions

Reportage:

Text by: Desirée Larsen
Edited by: Laura Sofie Krebs
Photos: Rita Fernandes, Pedro Yglesias, Malgré Tout

The proud traditions of educating horses after classical methods are only maintained few places in the world. These schools have more than a hundred years of history behind them - one of these is the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Here the time stands still. They practice levades and caprioles as they did back in the 17th Century. We have met with António Borba Monteiro who is educating both riders and horses in classical dressage. Together with Antonio we look back into the history books, but also forward into the future of modern dressage.

António is brought up in a family with very qualified breeders of both bulls and horses. It was originally his uncle who introduced him to the ancient Portuguese traditions around the lusitano horses. On his 18th birthday António moved to his uncle and aunt to train some of the best riders in classical equine art. Today he lives at the same place with his family and continues his uncles’ work. 

The Spanish School of Equestrian Arts, Vienna Austria

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, Lisbon Portugal

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, Spain

Cadre Noir in Saumur, France

Antonio learns a lot during his time as a young rider. He is lucky enough to work with one of the most famous trainer and riders, Master Nuno de Oliveira, who has inspired several riders and horse owners worldwide to appreciate the classical methods. Master Nuno de Oliveira is not whoever, and it is for many in the classical world a great honor to work for him.

António participates in both educating the young horses, and he also competes on the highest international level in dressage. Today he does not compete any longer:

“When you are participating in competitions you often ride a specific program that anybody must be able to perform no matter if the horse has talent or not. You ride with an idea of what the horse should be able to do and tries to incorporate its' skills. To do something so specific is very stressful for both the rider and horse.”

In 1998 António receives the extraordinary title of master at the school. Today they are two employees with this title, and it is these two who are in charge of the overall education of both riders and horses. António is not certain how he ended up on this path, but he knows he has talent.

“The horses give me a feeling of balance and enthusiasm for life and riding. People around me do not necessarily understand why I spend so much time with the horses. For me it is still a dream. I love horses, and they always tell the truth right away,”

- a more or less dreamy António explains and continues: 

“Horses are easy to train: When we do the right thing, we get the correct feedback right away.”

The school is training and educating 30 young horses and 40 show horses every day, and this is done after the old methods. António highlights three things he believes characterizes classical dressage:

  1. The starting point is to understand the horse the best way possible.

  2. Adapt the classical methods to each horse.

  3. When we ride the horses, we have to adapt our body to the horses’ physics to avoid overloading the horse. 

He tells about the stallion Rico who has won huge international victories with the famous dressage rider Kyra Kyrklund. Kyras’ riding of Rico followed a development of the training at the school – the riders lower body should now be used independently of the body. António explains it like this: 

“The rider should always seek to adjust himself to the horse. This is what makes it classical. Every day we are watching over the horses making sure they are doing well. Always be relaxed, deep breaths and pay attention to yourself. We must know our self well to ride well.” 

In António’s opinion all horses should be trained individually. To begin with, he did not work with this in mind, but today he has become much more aware of the importance of this: “Horses are able to feel if we are happy or just want to see results.”

“When we understand to appreciate the horses’ dynamics, know its' mind and is able to control the energy – then we can fly.”

António thrives with challenges, and he believes he is evolving every day. He is determined that the horse should understand him, and is always looking for the best method for each horse.  António remembers a 6-year-old horse. Everyone had given up on it, because it was not trained with its' physic in mind. The stallion did not have a functional balance, it had a short body, short legs and a big neck and head. Today this horse is the champion of the show when it comes to capriole. 

“Classical riding is to ride from the horse and look for its' best qualities – everyone has a talent for something. We just have to find out what fits the horse.”

Lusitano horses start their training at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arts during spring the year they turn 3. The training of the young horses begins slowly from the ground. Before the horses are even put in a longe they have to walk next their rider and pay attention to the person walking with it. 

“A success is when the horse is performing the exercise completely relaxed. When the horse can walk next to his rider calmly and focused. Not until this is accomplished, we move on to the longe work in a closed arena. Some horses have more difficulties concentrating than others, and in this case, it is important that also the rider stays calm and balanced so he can project this to the horse,” António says.

advertisement

advertisement

Join the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

The four classical schools of equestrian arts

Working for the best riders and trainers

Training –
understanding your horse

The beginning for a young horse

It all begins...

advertisement

advertisement

DIGITAL MAGAZINE

Malgré Tout Media´s digital magazine is Europe´s new digital bi-monthly equestrian magazine with 100 % FREE content. Here you will find exclusive articles with a wide range of topics for anyone with a passion for horses and the equestrian sport.
Fullscreen