At Host Spotlight blog section, we’d like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Horse Travel hosts and what inspired them to work with horse tourism. This month, we have Antonio Borba Monteiro, Master of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and owner of Santo André Lusitanos, that will tell us more about classical riding clinics with Lusitano in Portugal.
How was this passion for horses born?
I was born in Portugal in a family of riders, breeders of horses and bulls. In these surroundings, and by the hand of my grandfather and my uncle Guilherme Borba,
I discovered and learned the Portuguese traditions, being one of them the classical riding, related to the Lusitano horse.
On my 18th birthday, I moved to my uncle’s home, the house of my grandfather, where I live until today with my family. The passion for horses didn’t prevent me from taking a degree in engineering, like my father. This knowledge helps me to understand the dynamics and efforts of horses.
Who is your reference in the horse world?
My main reference is my uncle Guilherme Borba, that taught me everything I know. Reading about horses is another passion I have and for me, the bible of the riders is “A Luz e Liberal Arte de Cavalaria”, written by Manoel Carlos de Andrade in the XVIII century. That’s where I find most of the solutions when I face some difficulty on a horse.
What do you do in Santo André Lusitanos?
At home, Casal de Santo André, I give continuation to my uncle Guilherme Borba’s work, selecting Lusitano horses and teaching them, as well as pupils, teachers and horses of all ages and levels that are willing to learn. Can be anyone who shows up, we provide riding clinics with Lusitano’s horses and, above all, to keep up with the passion!
What kind of breed do Santo Andre Lusitanos use and why?
At Santo André, we breed Lusitano horses and use them to work with our students, foreign or daily students. This breed is very calm and tolerates some mistakes from the rider. They are very comfortable to ride and are always willing to please the person who rides them, given you one of the best riding clinics you can have. Is a unique breed.
What does it take for a person to learn Classical Riding?
Classical Riding is no more than “ride from the horse”, it means that you have to respect the horse’s natural movements and develop the teaching from that point. We don’t want to oblige the horse to give us more than he has to offer, and we must respect that. I use to say “If you understand what the horse tells you, it’s always more relaxed and fun”.
Do you have a special place in Portugal you like to show to people who come?
Yes, Casal de Santo André
(the place were Santo André Lusitanos is located)
is a special place to me. This is where I learned to ride and were good riders used to ride when I was young. Master Nuno de Oliveira rented a place here to my grandfather, so all his students have a connection to Casal de Santo André. Some of them continued to ride here with my uncle Guilherme Borba, for example, Dom Diogo de Bragança and professor Jaime Celestino da Costa.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about Santo André Lusitanos?
At the moment we have two arenas, one indoor and an exterior arena where we can give riding clinics and ride all year, thanks to the lights at the exterior and the new footing that is arriving soon. We have 10 well-schooled Lusitano horses that can delight riders with low or high experience. There is a swimming pool for hot days and fireplaces for colder days and also two houses were we invite you to stay. You just have to visit this small oasis almost in the heart of Lisbon and just 15 minutes from the airport.
At Host Spotlight blog section, we’d like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Horse Travel hosts and what inspired them to work with horse tourism. This month, we have Luis, who manages rides at Melides, Portugal and will tell us more about horse riding in Portugal.
Your family has been raising sports horses, especially for endurance riding and you are an endurance rider yourself. When did the idea of horseback riding tourism come up?
The idea came when, after many years of breeding horses for endurance, we already had 8 Lusitano horses that we had bread from one of our mares and were only used for the family for riding tours during the summer. As these 8 horses were only used to ride in the summer, we decided to monetize them in order to provide people who ride horses and who have never ridden on horseback to get to know the Melides area on horseback and thus to have the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of this region of Portugal. In this way, we started horseback riding in Melides 5 years ago.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the experiences that you offer?
At the Melides Horseback Riding, the experience we offer is a wonderful horseback ride along the beach and the hills in Melides. Both tours are very beautiful, being the most romantic the beach ride and the most diversified the mountain ride with the panoramic view of the sea. Both tours can be done by people with or without any experience, as all horses are very quiet and easy to ride. Riding on horseback is by itself a unique experience and doing it in this region makes the experience even more fantastic.
In Portugal horse Adventure, we provide an even deeper equestrian experience, allowing our customers to get to know our country on horseback and to visit areas of the same that without being on horseback would be impossible. We combine several tours such as the mountains, lagoons, beach, rice paddies, and river.
The views on your rides are really breath taking! What is your absolute favourite spot?
My favourite point is the Livramento, it is the highest point of the Hills of Grandola, in Melides where you can see about 120km of the Atlantic coast.
Does the time of year affect your booking rate?
It is normal for summer to be the high season of the occasional rides and spring the high season of the week on horseback. Although, the most beautiful time of the year to go horseback riding is in the winter and in the spring.
You have excellent reviews. What do you believe to be the key to your success?
I believe the family atmosphere that surrounds the horseback riding and my dedication and concern for each client are the strengths of the success of this business.
How do you see equestrian tourism in your country, Portugal?
Portuguese horses, or LUSITANOS, are undoubtedly extraordinary horses that allow anyone to feel very comfortable when riding. This is undoubtedly one of the strengths of horse riding in Portugal. Equestrian tourism in Portugal has been growing a lot because knowing our country on horseback has turned out to be the best way to feel nature year after year.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your rides for future guests?
Come to horse riding in Portugal, you will not regret it! This area has both the feeling of being in the countryside and the feeling of being on the beach. That’s what makes it unique!