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Behind the Scenes at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

ClassicAl dressage with ancient traditions

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

The proud traditions of educating horses through the classical methods are only maintained in a few places around the world. These schools have a history of more than a hundred years - one school is the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Here levades and caprioles are still done like they were back in the 17th Century. We´ve met António Borba Monteiro who educates both riders and horses in classical dressage. Together with Antonio we took a look in the history books, but also glanced 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 just anybody, and it is viewed a great honor to work with him.

António participates in educating the young horses, and he also competes at the highest international level in dressage. Today he doesn´t compete any longer. 

“When you participate in competitions you often ride a specific test that everybody has to be able to perform whether the horse is talented or not. You ride with an idea of what the horse should be able to do and so you try to incorporate its skills accordingly. 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 there 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 in general and for 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.” 

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

The school has to train and educate 30 young horses and 40 show horses every day, and this is done according to the old methods. António highlights three things he believes characterizes classical dressage:

  1. The starting point is to understand the horse in 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 so that the horse does not end up in pain. 

He tells about the stallion Rico who has won huge international victories with the famous dressage rider Kyra Kyrklund. Kyras’ way of riding Rico led to a development in the training at the school – the rider´s lower body was from there on to be used independently of the body. António explains it like this: 

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

In António’s opinion all horses should be trained individually. To begin with, he didn´t work with this in mind. But now 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 are able to control the energy – then we can fly.”

António thrives with challenges, and he believes he is evolving every day. He is determined to have the horse 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 – each horse 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 starts slowly from the ground. Before a horse is even put on a longe, he has to walk next its rider and pay attention to the person walking with him. 

“A successful exercise is when the horse performs the exercise completely relaxed. When the horse can walk next to his rider calmly and focused. Until this is accomplished, we can´t move on to the longe work in a closed arena. Some horses have more difficulties concentrating than others, and if that´s the case, it is important that the rider stays calm and balanced so he can project this onto the horse.”

Reportage:

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

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Working with the best riders and trainers

Training:
Understanding your horse

The beginning for a young horse

And so it begins...

The Spanish School of Equestrian Arts, Austria

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, Portugal

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, Spain

Cadre Noir in Saumur, France

THE FOUR CLASSICAL SCHOOLS OF EQUESTRIAN ARTS

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ClassicAl dressage with ancient traditions

Reportage:

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

The proud traditions of educating horses through the classical methods are only maintained in a few places around the world. These schools have a history of more than a hundred years - one school is the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Here levades and caprioles are still done like they were back in the 17th Century. We´ve met António Borba Monteiro who educates both riders and horses in classical dressage. Together with Antonio we took a look in the history books, but also glanced into the future of modern dressage.

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

The Spanish School of Equestrian Arts, Austria

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, Portugal

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, Spain

Cadre Noir in Saumur, France

anotonio_til_faktakboks_small.jpg

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 just anybody, and it is viewed a great honor to work with him.

António participates in educating the young horses, and he also competes at the highest international level in dressage. Today he doesn´t compete any longer. 

dsc_0279_small.jpg

“When you participate in competitions you often ride a specific test that everybody has to be able to perform whether the horse is talented or not. You ride with an idea of what the horse should be able to do and so you try to incorporate its skills accordingly. To do something so specific is very stressful for both the rider and horse.”

dsc_0319_small.jpg

In 1998 António receives the extraordinary title of master at the school. Today there 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 in general and for 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.” 

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

15_epae_creditos_psml_pedro_yglesias_copy_small.jpg

The school has to train and educate 30 young horses and 40 show horses every day, and this is done according to the old methods. António highlights three things he believes characterizes classical dressage:

  1. The starting point is to understand the horse in 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 so that the horse does not end up in pain. 

He tells about the stallion Rico who has won huge international victories with the famous dressage rider Kyra Kyrklund. Kyras’ way of riding Rico led to a development in the training at the school – the rider´s lower body was from there on to be used independently of the body. António explains it like this: 

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

14_epae_creditos_psml_pedro_yglesias_copy_small.jpg

In António’s opinion all horses should be trained individually. To begin with, he didn´t work with this in mind. But now 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 are able to control the energy – then we can fly.”

12_epae_creditos_psml_pedro_yglesias_copy_small.jpg

António thrives with challenges, and he believes he is evolving every day. He is determined to have the horse 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 – each horse 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 starts slowly from the ground. Before a horse is even put on a longe, he has to walk next its rider and pay attention to the person walking with him. 

“A successful exercise is when the horse performs the exercise completely relaxed. When the horse can walk next to his rider calmly and focused. Until this is accomplished, we can´t move on to the longe work in a closed arena. Some horses have more difficulties concentrating than others, and if that´s the case, it is important that the rider stays calm and balanced so he can project this onto the horse.”

n7a1746_copy_psml_ritafernandes_small.jpg

advertisement

advertisement

Behind the Scenes at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

THE FOUR CLASSICAL SCHOOLS OF EQUESTRIAN ARTS

Working with the best riders and trainers

Training:
Understanding your horse

The beginning for a young horse

And so it begins...

advertisement

advertisement

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