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horses

The horses of Portugal

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The horses of Portugal

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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.

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They have healthcare 24/7.

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

They have gentlemen’s hairdressers.

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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.

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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.

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Source: blogs.reuters by Jose Manuel Ribeiro

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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:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/518746/emal/4563302
If you can, please help their project and very soon you can use it as a stunning photo-point during your stay with us.

 

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Sometimes friends drop in . . .

In Portugal, family ties run deep, and family traditions deeper still.  When both of these join together a deeper passion, then the result is a heady cocktail.
 
There is, in Portugal,  a policy between family and close friends of Porta Aberta.  Open door hospitality, when within reason, visits are made spontaneously, and without invitation.  Usually the "payment" for this "intrusion" is food, or more often wine.  But sometimes the callers bring the gift of talent.  Fado itself, as a genre, was based on spontaneity, so it is no surprise to find that a spontaneous visit, ends in an evening of Fado.  For when D. Francisco's cousin, D. Manuel da Camara comes calling with friends, that is usually what happens!
 
Fado is the Portuguese way of expressing, in song, how people feel about their lot in life, good or bad.  It has, many forms, but Fado is particular in that it is geared in its form to the situation or surroundings in which it finds itself.  It is no surprise, therefore, to learn, that when the Fado Marialva sing, it is particularly suited to the rural lifestyle.  The Marialvas have been together for around eight years, but have known each other always.  D. Manuel da Camara, Rodrigo Pereira and Francisco Martins were good friends,  "but needed to do something different".  So when three friends get together to sing, about those things in this life, about which they care passionately, then the result is almost always guaranteed to please.  There are things other, in this life, than an early morning crossing of the Tagus, to give one that certain "frisson".
 
They sing about "the countryside, horses, bulls and bullfights, love, women", and D. Manuel, like D. Francisco, can look to father and grandfather when it comes to being in the family tradition.  D. Manuel's grandfather was a professional opera singer, and his father, D. Vincente is a famous Fado singer, and can remember his younger days in the company of Amália.
 
But the real heady mix of passion shared by the cousins, is the love of the Lusitano horse.  Listen now to a solo by D. Manuel, Meu cavalo Lusitano........

 An evening in the country with friends is always a pleasurable thing.  An evening in the country with the Marialvas as your hosts would be even better.
 
To find out more please visit D. Francisco de Bragança website or get in touch through email: info@franciscobraganca.com.  Groups can be catered for Friday and Saturday evenings with the Marialvas at Archino.

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Lunch under a cork tree

It is very difficult, to concentrate on one's horse, when riding, when one's attention is being 'competed' for, by three things at the same time.  I am well used to the first two things:  namely, the horse's idea of what is correct, because, being well schooled, he knows more than I do, and my Instructor's idea of what is correct, because, being the product of centuries worth of knowledge, therefore, not to put too fine a point on it, also knows more than I do!  The third factor, is a first.  Probably, for all of us!  The smell of sardines, being grilled!

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