Our annual baroque issue usually includes a travel story or two, prompting me to add destinations to my ever-growing bucket list. This issue is no different, as we travel to Portugal and Slovenia to visit two wonderful equestrian destinations. Dressage Today writer Annie Morris, who works with experts to bring you the monthly “Tips From Trainers Who Teach” column, has penned both travel pieces this month. After spending several months training in Germany, Annie traveled around Europe fulfilling several of her own bucket-list wishes. Fortunately for us, she has brought those places to life in the pages that follow, starting with Monte Velho Equo-Resort in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Annie visited the resort as one of her vacation stops. After returning home to the United States, she knew that her heart belonged in Portugal and has since returned to live, ride and teach at the resort’s Lusitano stud farm. In “Monte Velho: An Equestrian Paradise” on p. 36, Annie shares what she learned from the instructors while on her riding holiday. She was impressed by the passion the instructors put into each lesson, saying, “The instructors know the horses well and know how to help riders of all ability levels find the right feeling on each particular horse. The horses are trained but they are not push-button. A rider can get a lot out of each one by riding correctly.” Through her storytelling, Annie paints a stunning picture of the resort and its many amenities.
The second destination is Lipica Stud Farm, located in Lipica, Slovenia, directly east of the coastal city of Trieste, Italy. Lipica (the “c” is pronounced as a “z”) is the original home of the Lipizzaner breed, well-known for its airs-above-the-ground movements and the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. Today, the farm in Slovenia is home to about 400 Lipizzaner horses and presents a show three times weekly during the tourist season, which runs from the end of March to the end of October. During that time, the farm also offers trail rides, carriage rides and even lessons on Lipizzaner horses. A CDI has been held at the farm each summer since 1974 with dressage riders from all over Europe in attendance, and this September, the World Driving Championships will take place at the facility. You can read Annie’s story about the legendary farm on p. 44.
This month also includes an article about Great Britain’s Emma Blundell and her modern approach to sport-horse breeding at Mount St. John Equestrian (p. 28) as well as a tribute to Miguel Ángel de Cárdenas—one of the most highly esteemed Pura Raza Española (PRE) breeders in the world—who passed away Feb. 6 at the age of 83. You can read about his legacy on p. 54. Until next time,