Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Lusitano Diaries - Part 4

              Friday. Had yet another amazing lesson on Vingador with Frederico. We warmed up long and low, then getting to cross his hindlegs outside of the circle, but keeping his front half straight on the circle. I finally felt like I was getting it - for some reason lateral work on the circle always bamboozles me! 😂

Once he felt soft and connected, we moved onto leg yield, which was much better than the previous day. It was then into shoulder in down the centre line into half pass. This was also much better, with me remembering to keep the bend around my inside leg and look where I am going. 



We then moved onto canter work and changes. To prepare for changes across the diagonal, I had to achieve a slight counter flexion in the corner to set him up for the change. With a few practice attempts, we achieved 3 times changes across the diagonal. Once I sat quieter & just *thought* about the change - they happened! 


We then did some work on passage and a little piaffe. It was a case of lots of half halts, feeling the rhythm and maintaining it. It is quite the majestic feeling, passaging around the arena - and remembering to sit up, relax shoulders and breathe! I can see and feel that my position and coordination of the aids are improving. 👍




To finish the session, Vingador rewarded me with a bow! 

After a fun lesson, my day just got more interesting. Sarah had arranged for a friend to take me to see the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art at Belem. It wasn't until halfway through the journey there that Carlos actually revealed to me he was a rider there!!! I was fortunate enough to see the stables and watch the Alter Real stallions being prepared for the morning's training session. Each weekday morning, the school is open to the public to view the training sessions. I had the best seat in the house to watch the training. Just beautiful! 




It was almost a private viewing as there were very few spectators. This really surprised me, knowing how popular the Spanish Riding School & Cadre Noir are! It really is a hidden gem. During the session I was able to see the stallions being worked in hand, and some performing piaffe, passage, pirouettes, sequence changes & levade. If you are ever visiting Portugal and have an interest in history and horses - this is a must see! 




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