My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

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khall
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My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby khall » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:42 pm

Two friends and I traveled from Georgia to Portugal first of September arriving the 2nd after an overnight flight. We were met at the airport by one of the staff of the school and taken to the riding school for a tour and introduction. We were then taken to our hotel which was 5 minutes away to clean up and rest. We could have gone back to the school just to observe some of the riding that was going on but none of us had slept much on the plane so we just hung out and had an early night. We did try the vino verde, YUM!

Our second day started early with lessons to evaluate us all. The horse I rode while gorgeous just was not my cup of tea, requiring much leg to get anything out of him. He had not been in their program for long so was a bit testing of his riders. Most of my rides after him (A) were on much more sensitive horses which I loved riding. Two were former bull fighting horses, one with the scars to prove it: Piu. I loved their sensitivity though! Anjou who was the other bull fighting horse is an incredible mover with huge extensions and passage, great fun!! And a change machine.

Some exercises that I definitely will incorporate in my own work are:
QL canter counter flex and true flex no FC (tricky with the change machine!)
CC head to the wall, straighten and FC (saw this at the Portuguese Riding School)
10 m circle, true bend to counter bend keeping the circle line
CC drift off the wall then turn back into the wall for CP prep
Some good in hand working piaffe, how important the outside rein is to set the timing of the piaffe
Steeper rotations on the volte for flexibility
and my position! Sit back more!!
Did not hear shorten your reins much though:)

They were quite a bit of similarities to the work I have learned from Mark and Cedar, though they ask even more. Those horses as 5 yr olds have doubles in and are working piaffe steps, SW etc. They move fast.

We all rode some lovely horses, all for the most part with fabulous temperaments, many were stallions. All the ones I rode were stallions.

Our last day we did a Quadrille along with a new friend we made while there from Belgium

https://www.facebook.com/keri.hall.35/v ... 1NzMxNjc1/

It was tough to get it together at first, been many many years since I have ridden in a quadrille, but was loads of fun once we got the hang of it.


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Chisamba
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby Chisamba » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:53 am

Enjoyed watching your quadrille. Hope you recover toot sweet.

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Flight
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby Flight » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:18 am

The quadrille looked great! I quite liked Sofia when she did the clinics here. Sometime I'll have to get over there!

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StraightForward
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby StraightForward » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:52 pm

Sounds wonderful! Something like that is my next trip, if my horses will lay off the vet bills so I can afford it. Thanks for the report and videos!
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piedmontfields
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby piedmontfields » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:47 pm

What a fun trip! Thanks for the description. I love the quadrille--that would be so awesome to be in a setting where we could do such things a few times a month. Which rider are you (I'm guessing the leader?)

Hopefully summer will end at some point in the southeast....it has been brutal period.

khall
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby khall » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:27 pm

piedmont yes I am in front! Good guess:) I spent most of the shared lessons in front, I think because I am pretty good at riding with precision, corners circles straight lines etc. Left over training from Spain:)

I wanted to share some more videos that we took of training there at the Valenca's. We were lucky in that their "show" horses from Cavaluna were on summer break and we got to watch some of that training. Great fun! Plus one of their sales horses that is in training to be a bull fighting horse. Here is a bit of their training:

https://www.facebook.com/keri.hall.35/v ... 869608507/

the prepping and execution of the capriole

https://www.facebook.com/keri.hall.35/v ... 966275264/

This is a young cremello stallion that I think will end up as one of their show horses in Cavalluna. We wanted to bring him home!!

https://www.facebook.com/keri.hall.35/v ... 639609630/

khall
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby khall » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:30 pm

And a bit more of my lesson in the bareback pad on Luzifer doing a bit of passage. He was not one of the more forward thinking horses but got better and better throughout the ride:

https://www.facebook.com/keri.hall.35/v ... 962188931/

If anyone ever decides to go to Spain or Portugal this is my thoughts on the two places we visited:

Spain we went to Epona near a small town called Cormona. Stunning 5,000 year old walled town in the old district that was just charming to visit. Our hotel was incredibly beautiful with helpful staff. Epona staff were just wonderful with lovely horses that have good training, more leaning toward competitive style with little in hand work. Incredible lunches served each day at the school. Spain is beautiful to visit. We also went to the School of Andalusia for one of their shows.

Portugal we went to the Valenca's. Master Luis Valenca rode with Nuno Olivera so their training was more familiar to me with similar in hand work and bridle work. The school is well versed in both high level dressage including pillar work and airs. Fun to sit and observe. We rode with 4 different instructors, 2 lessons per day US and 1 in hand each day and one day of theory. Enjoyed all of the instructors who brought different styles to each lesson. Most of my lessons were shared with one of my friends who has similar skills in riding and we were also joined sometimes with our new friend from Belgium. My other friend from Georgia was more remedial and had several private lessons. I had no problem with sharing lessons especially when I was in front:)

Both include 2 meals and hotel and lessons in their fees. Very good deal. The Valenca's are a bit more flexible if you want to do other things like the Riding School and one day we visited a local breeding farm that is crossing their black Lusitanos to Totilas.

piedmontfields
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby piedmontfields » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:51 pm

I really enjoyed your short videos! The bull fighting horse in training with the wheely bull reminds me that this really is the type of horse I sit on: She is very catty and quick with those sideways canter moves :-)

How does the cost of the Spain and Portugal programs compare to the kind offered through Equiventure? I truly want to do this sometime. Scheduling around work and DH work has been the challenge...also, I'd rather go in November-Feb than during the hotter months.

khall
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Re: My Portugal trip to the Valenca's

Postby khall » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:42 pm

I hear you on the quick catty moves! Joplin is only half Lusitano, but it does come out especially on windy days!! Fun fact, Joplin is by Saphiro who was imported from Germany and by a stallion named Umbaba who was bred and trained by Luis Valenca. I wished I had been aware of this fact before I went to Portugal, would have been fun to talk with Master Valenca about Umbaba. I am not well versed in Iberian blood lines! Much more familiar with WBs.

http://www.jcandalusians.com/stallions/saphiro/
http://www.jcandalusians.com/reference- ... ns/umbaba/

Anyway, our Spain trip was booked through Equitours. Easy to do and payments in installments. Meant we were locked in (unless you bought vacation insurance) for months out. For the Valenca trip we sent bank transfer directly to the school (Sophia) just a couple of weeks before our trip. Had our plane tickets well in advance. Both ran roughly about the same amount for the week, $2000. I did feel like we got more riding time at the Valenca's but I never had an individual lesson during that time. Though they are good about focusing on one rider and then the other and much of the canter is done individually. Spain we had one shared and one individual lesson and a couple of lunge lessons, fun but not that useful. Only one in hand lesson. We did have each an individual lesson with Raphael Soto, head trainer of the Royal School. Lovely kind man.

For me the training at the Valenca's was more my style, though some was not exactly how I do things or was taught. They move fast with those horses. Still was fun to see such a wide variety of training from the kids with their ponies (Saturdays are BUSY!) to Sophia's daughter prepping for showing to the airs and bull fighting training. I am glad we were able to see the "show" horses, watching their training was really fun. We saw training from the greenest of the green just started 3 yr old filly (she was a pistol!) to a spectacular 4 yr old "pony" full Lusitano, to older "show" horses that were being kept in work and their sales prospects. They did have one WB g there, boy did he stand out! HUGE! Big moving guy, but ugh legs everywhere. We were welcome to watch any of the daily work that went on, sometimes sharing the arena with one of the horses being schooled.

Our main minder for the week was a young woman from Sweden who is one of their proteges' and young instructors. She was a fount of information of Valenca training to the Portuguese School to the breeding farm we went to see (also on Portuguese men, lol!!). She also was a very good instructor and so willing to take questions and give answers (actually all the instructors were good about that). We spent a good bit of time with E and really enjoyed her. There was also a WS there from the states that we enjoyed, she is just beginning her journey (been there a year) and expects to be there for 5-6 yrs before taking her knowledge back to the states.

I think many of these tours that you can book through different tour companies are roughly the same cost. I do know Epona has one that features Raphael Soto for more lessons that is pricier. I am glad that I went to both, but would go back to the Valenca's would not go back to Epona. I hope to at least audit Sophia here in the states. They teach in NC a few times a year, NJ as well.

Our next adventure horse wise we are looking at going to the Anja Beran big symposium she does every year. It will be a few years down the road. My future is uncertain with respect to my aging parents with dementia right now. So I am doubly glad I took the time to go this year to Portugal.


I do feel that the training Cedar shares with us is very similar to what the Valenca's teach. JP Giacomini is no slouch of a horse trainer and she has learned from him for the last 10 yrs.


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