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Birthday at Quinta do Archino

View Dressage on Lusitano Stallions on bejjan's travel map.

Breakfast at 8 am. By now we knew the breakfast buffet by heart and we also had learned how to manage the toaster which threw the toasts straight up in the air when the toasts were ready. Not that it was something wrong with the breakfast but some variation would have been nice.


We all rode the lessons out in the paddock today. Since Ramalhete wasn’t tacked I automatically wasn’t ready for my turn as the first rider. I saw that Zip was tacked, the gelding I rode the first lesson. I guess Francisco thought I was ready for Zip now. When walking towards the paddock Zip refused to take even one step. It was a wagon with branches on that we had to pass and that wagon had never been there before (silly horse)… so after some assistance we passed by the wagon. Hmm, that didn’t start so well… But today I had decided to have an open mind and believe and nothing could destroy the last day here. And it went a lot better today. My seat was way better and I could handle Zip in a totally different way now. Zip was just as energetic but I could deal with it now though. During canter he got a little strong and since the wind blew I guess he got a little extra excited. Zip had a big canter and I had a lot more of a horse to work with. Zip was very stiff at his near side and you clearly notice that when flexing him on the circle or during diagonal work. His foreside was no problem but the near side… oh boy! But I was still satisfied after the lesson. It was some kind of revenge after the first ride which I now handled successfully.


We relaxed by the pool for a while. The warmest day of this week and the sun was shining. A little windy but sheltered it got really warm. At 1.30 pm lunch was served and since everyone else had fish I got some leftover from yesterday. It was pie from yesterday with meat and chicken. Later they served coffee outside in the shadow. We had a siesta before we walked down to the pregnant mare to check if he had got any foal yet. But she hadn’t and was gazing along with the other mares. Such a shame. It would have been fun to see a newborn foal.


In the afternoon we rode our lessons outside in the paddock. Francisco said we were all going to ride on our own, without him giving instructions. He would only give a few comments. I rode second last and got Zip again. Same story this time, he refused to pass by the wagon but with some help we managed to pass. It was kind of nice to ride on your own and try things. In the end of my lesson Francisco wanted me to try flying changes on Zip. Oh dear, was my first thought. Zip was very energetic in canter and I would have to work really hard to pull that off. On the diagonal I managed the flying changes in every second step a few times. When my lesson was over they all gathered inside the paddock and sang Happy Birthday for me, since it was my birthday. Thanks! Nice gesture. So after finishing off it felt sad knowing I just had been riding my last lesson.

When all riding lessons were over we went back to the guesthouse and started to pack our things. At 8.30 pm we had our farewell dinner. It was soup, vegetable pot and fruit salad. Both red and white wine were served to drink. After all food they put out the light and Francisco’s wife Maria came in with a birthday cake lit with candles. Once again they all sang Happy Birthday and I blew out the candles. They had made a lovely chocolate cake and offered champagne for everyone. The rest of the riders had bought a bottle of white wine and some chocolate as my birthday gift. A big thank you! We gathered around the open fire place and uncorked the champagne. We sat there like forever talking and Francisco even handed out our diplomas for participating in his school of classic dressage at his manor Quinta do Archino. I really appreciated that and I’ll frame the diploma and hang it on the wall.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Portugal Tagged horseback_riding

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