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Horsemanship In Brazil

There is a breed of horses called Lusitanos. Many people have heard about them but many have not. According to the archives, they are said to be one of the oldest breeds on the planet. The horses were in Portugal and Spain, ridden only by nobility and used for wars. In between the wars they would use them for bull fighting to keep them fit and ready in case another war broke out. During one of the wars the breeding stock was in danger of being killed by the enemy so the owners made a deal to bring many to Brazil for safety. An agreement was made with some of the ranchers boarding the horses to keep some of them as trade for their protection. As the story goes some other Lusitanos got “away” or went “missing” when the owners came back for their horses. As a result Brazil is home to many Lusitanos. The largest Lusitano ranch is in Brazil, 600 head of horses.

I had the pleasure of riding about 100 different Lusitanos in Brazil at various ranches. My first trip was about 10 years ago and I have been going back ever since. This November, ten of us will be heading back to enjoy the beauty of Brazil and the magnificent Lusitanos and the friendly people.

On my first visit I toured five Lusitano ranches and rode as many horses at each ranch as I could. The ranches offered amazing hospitality, hot appetizers, drinks and music. Each afternoon we were at a different, absolutely amazing ranch. The horses were all washed, braided and polished to a shine. The trainers would demonstrate the horses then ask if anyone would like to ride one. I don’t think I ever said no; I rode as many as I could.

My eyes were once again opened to horses and the horse world. I had never sat on horses with such natural talent and athleticism and I have never witnessed, before or since, such fancy and beautiful ranches. I’ve told many people over the years that I could never have imagined, no matter how far I stretched it, ranches as fancy as the ones I experienced. The ease with which the horses floated around the arenas, and splendor and magnificence of the ranches were a perfect match for each other. Some ranches had chandeliers, some had waterfalls and fountains, swimming pools, some had manmade caves and creeks and all their pasture fence lines lit up at night.

 

The trainers and handlers of the horses were dressed in their best clothes and not a speck of hay, straw or dirt on them. The horses were equally as clean and groomed. They were very proud of their jobs, their horses, their ranches. The sidewalks, roads, stalls, lawns, and everything were kept neat and tidy. Some of the stalls or buildings the horses lived in were three stories high and looked like homes.

The horses at the ranches were thin by Canadian standards, but I never saw one horse that looked lame or off in any way. In my opinion, our Canadian horses might be packing too much weight and this could be why I see so many of them a bit off.

The reason I was invited to go to Brazil was to do a colt starting demonstration for the Lusitano Breeders. I’m sure I learned more from them and their horses than I was able to teach them. One of the most interesting things I learned was that the horses had been taught incredible shoulder movements. At first I wasn’t sure what was happening when the horses’ shoulder jumped to the right and I would end up with a left lead. By accident, I would hit a button and get a lead change. After realizing what was happening, I saw for the first time how much movement shoulders could have. When I got back home I went to work and got all my horses moving their shoulders much better. Lusitanos by genetics are very elevated in their movements and cantering on the spot is quite easy for them. After riding horse after horse and feeling how elevated they were I tried to access as much of that in my quarter horses as I could.

I was told a long time ago by a wise man to take care of my horsemanship and it would take care of me. I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant at the time, but I think I know now. The adventures, opportunities, destinations and sights I’ve experienced over the years have been a direct result of staying focused on what I’m passionate about - working to become a “Horseman”. I was able to do things I didn’t realize were possible.

By the time you read this, I will have been to Brazil and back again with more adventures and learning experiences. I don’t know what is to come but I look forward to it with much enthusiasm.

On Jan 20th another group of us will be headed to Costa Rica for a horseback holiday on the beaches. In May I will be in Austria enjoying that amazing country. Then at the end of July another group is headed into the mountains for our annual “High and Wild” trip. Another trip to Brazil is also planned for November 2018!

Whatever your passion is do it the best you can and you never know where you will find yourself.

Have fun Glenn

Glenn Stewart travels internationally conducting clinics and horsemanship demonstrations. The 2018 Clinic season will include, Austria, Costa Rica, Brazil, United States and throughout Canada. Presenting at The Mane Event in Red Deer & The Mane Event in Chilliwack. Glenn offers year round Horsemanship Courses at his home base in Fort St. John, British Columbia. The Horse Ranch is currently accepting bookings for Front Row Seating, Summer Courses, High & Wild and Brazil 2018. For additional information call 1-877-728-8987 or visit our website www.thehorseranch.com