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The horses of Portugal


The horses of Portugal


They look like the last aristocrats.

They are treated with the most respect and tenderness.

They have the best diets and food.

They have fancy shampoo baths before showing up.

They have the best shoemakers.


They have healthcare 24/7.

They dress the way their forefathers did in the 18th century.

They have gentlemen’s hairdressers.


They are all males living at the Royal Palace of Queluz, 20 kms (12 miles) north of Lisbon, the same palace that received past Kings, Queens and Presidents during their state visits to Portugal.

They have care takers and horsemen all around, proud to be a part of the Equestrian Art Portuguese School.

They are the Lusitano horses, descended from the family of Iberian wild horses that were tamed by the stud farm of Alter do Chao in southern Portugal in the 18th century. The Royal Equestrian School closed in the 19th century but due to the Portuguese tradition of bullfighting on horseback the art, the skills and culture survive until today.


The Lusitano horse has been developed as a horse for bullfights, academics and training making them some of the most desired in the world. Portugal, the ancestral home for Lusitano horses has now been surpassed by Brazil with their fast-growing horse farms.

Twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays the horses appear on the baroque gardens of the Queluz palace. With epoch music playing along for fourteen minutes viewers feel like they are being transported to the past.


Source: blogs.reuters by Jose Manuel Ribeiro



A spectacular art mural for a spectacular place!

The company Reliable Mission is crowd-funding to offer Morgado Lusitano a stunning art mural, to be painted just by the stables.

The work will feature two photos from the Portuguese Riding School official photographer Pedro Yglesias, author of the celebrated books "LVSITANOS" and "Portuguese Riding School in images", which will be painted by renowned young artist Smile.
The campaign is being funded through IndieGoGo, and can be visited here:
If you can, please help their project and very soon you can use it as a stunning photo-point during your stay with us.





If there is something that only the French can do, then it is Son et Lumiere.  And if they want to do it really well, they pick their spot.  And if they have the choice, then it is in the sun, and in the south!  And since they have all that, then why not choose the ultimate venue.  One that the Romans would choose for a spectacle.  Indeed, why don't they just use one that the Romans left behind.  And so they did.  The amphitheatre in Arles.
On a wonderful August evening, what better way to celebrate art.  During August, part of Provence's cultural programme, focussed on evening entertainment, during which the four famous academies of Equestrian Art in Europe, displayed their knowledge.
Some schools are older than others, but the pursuit of excellence drives all four.  The Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre, from Lisbon, is Portugal's stamp, and during the week of August 16th, they made their mark.
King John V, in 1748, formed the school, and horses still are sought from his Royal Stud, at Alter, to perform the movements.  The tradition of horsemanship practised in Portugal, has been maintained in the bullfight, which differs from that of the Spanish, and focusses mainly on the ability of the horse.  It is derived from the fighting movements, which were a necessary part of the battlefield.  After a degree of peace, then the sons of the nobility still maintained the tradition, and with the bullfighting tradition, it has not been lost in the modern world.
Culture has prevailed, and the old ways are now being celebrated.  In true style, with pomp and circumstance, at which the French excel!
So, if you were thinking of popping a few serious dressage lessons into your holiday in Lisbon, don't.  At least, not in August.  Most of MORGADO LUSITANO'S  teaching staff will be in Arles!!!
To find out more about Morgado Lusitano, and how every- day riders can access this knowledge, with embarrassment,  please visit Quinta do Morgado


An evening in the country


An evening in the country

An evening in the country is always pleasurable.  And an evening in the country around the supper table with friends, even more so.  But when you find yourself in company where one member has a birthday, and your hostess has arranged a surprise treat, then an evening in the country can turn into something quite special.

And so it was, that I found myself being entertained by the Fado Marialva.


Rural areas in Portugal came very late to electricity.  Traditional homesteads, such as the one at which I was a guest, have not abandoned time-served means of cooking, heating and lighting, for who knows when 21st Century power may fail, and necessitate a return to the old ways.

In the failing light, the paraffin lamps were brought out, and the doors and windows flung wide open to receive the cooling breezes, for there were many flushed cheeks that required to be cooled!  The wine was taking effect, and the blurred edges around everything may not have been entirely attributable to the flicker of the lamps!

The evening was gathering momentum, and the once reserved trio were starting to get into their stride.  Their audience was starting to recover from the initial surprise.

To those of us who were familiar with Fado, and especially those songs which form part of the Marialva's repertoire, no sooner was one finished, than another request was shouted out.  With traditional country fare on the table, and a seemingly never ending supply of local wine, short breaks for the singers to step outside for a smoke, and to rest the vocal chords, did not prevent time passing at a gallop.  We cannot remember how many songs we got through, many favourites, or especially stirring ones, being sung more than once.  And we prefer NOT to remember how many times certain of those among us couldn't resist the urge to get up and do a jig!  To think that Fado is funereal, is to do it a great disservice, since while some lovely slow ones were sung, and some which were religious, that evening called for something different.

As I looked at the faces of those men that night, I started to wonder if perhaps I might be able to understand some day, what it is about Fado that means so much to them and indeed all Portuguese.  They were singing about their way of life, and the things which mattered most to them, and about which they cared passionately.  Gone were the cares of the day, the worries about the economy and all those external factors that knaw away at our wellbeing.  The more they sang, the more expressive they became, none more so than the guitarist, who had to be reined in on occasion, and reminded that this was not a solo performance!

And eventually, it was, with great regret, that we had to call it a day.  The food was exhausted, the wine was exhausted and so were the people.

People who started out being strangers, and parted, the greatest of friends.

This most enjoyable of evenings was spent at Quinta do Archino.


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