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Shape is back


View Intensive Dressage Week on bejjan's travel map.

Woke up and felt that the shape is back. Muscle pain was almost gone, so I went to breakfast with almost a fighting spirit to prove to both Patrícia and myself that I can do more than I’ve been able to show the last couple of days (with terrible muscle pain).

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Even though the sun was rising early in the morning, it was rather chilly in the dining room. So far during the week it had been fantastic weather and not a single cloud up in the sky, apart from one morning with fog. Only blue sky, sunshine and a comfortable temperature. You can’t ask for better weather.

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First riding lesson of the day started at 9 am. I rode as number two, on Infante. It both felt better and looked better today. And then I’m talking about my seat and leg. There was no problem getting Infante to do shoulder in or leg-yielding or canter strikes. It felt much better.

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As usual, a delicious three-course meal was served at 1 pm (which I forgot to write down what it was :/ ). During the week, Patrícia had lunch with Nuno and us guests and planned the afternoon riding lessons with us. Who would ride first and which horse to ride.

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As mentioned, the farm Herdade Pero Viegas is situated in Alentejo region. Alentejo, which means “Land Beyond the Tejo River”, is a region with a soothing impression and wide-open views and the open fields are mixed with olive plantations and cork trees. The farm consists of 600 hectares of land with cork trees and pastures for the horses, etc. Portugal produces more than half of the world production of cork. The cork trees in Portugal are cultured by certain laws. Cork trees are harvested every nine years. A new-planted cork tree needs to grow and reach a diameter of 70 cm before the bark is considered good enough to be used as cork material. All bark from the tree before that is used as e.g. floats, shoe soles and building materials. The extraction usually takes place in August, after a period of rain and a dry period, when the bark can be separated from the trees without any damage. When the tree has been harvested, it’s marked with the last number of the same year, e.g. a 7 for the year 2017. A cork tree can reach an age of 200 years and sometimes older. But there are regulations about when a cork tree can be cut down due to protective Portuguese laws. A supervisor must come onsite and assess whether the tree is really dead or not. If someone would cut a tree without permission, heavy fines will be applied. I don’t remember the exact amount but I think it was about €50 000. During history, illegal cutting of cork trees has been punished with whipping and 2 years in exile.

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Riding lessons started at 3.30 pm and I rode as number two. I rode Xileno, and I felt empowered and craving for comeback after last riding lesson on Xileno (which went all but great). Before this lesson Patrícia had adjusted the curb chain of the Pelham bit, making the bridoon rein stronger. I, on the other hand, never thought he was too strong but A who also had been ridden Xileno thought so. I don’t know if it was due to the change of the curb chain or if it was me, but it felt a thousand times better today. We clicked on a totally different level now, Xileno and I. He was very nice, round and collected. Even though he didn’t have the best working trot, Xileno had a very nice canter. You can ride him in very collected canter and he just keeps going and going, in other words he’s very strong and endurable. I could even try to collect him in passage. But that was easier said and done. As mentioned earlier, his working trot is hard to be seated in, so the passage was definitely not easier if I may say so. But a few steps were manageable. During my lesson, Fernando came in riding on another Lusitano stallion, a very beautiful roan. Fernando works part time here at Herdade Pero Viegas and part time at a stud farm, and educate young horses for sale. Patrícia said I had “the wall” and that Fernando would stay out of my way, but I still kept an eye out for him. Would be very awkward to crash.

Dinner at 8 pm according to tradition at the farm. Nuno, A, M and I gathered around the dinner table. So far it had been only the four of us having dinner in the evening, but tomorrow four new Swedish guests would arrive, so it would be crowded around the table.
A nice warm soup followed by tender meat, rice and potatoes with vegetables. After that a fruit salad and some kind of Papaya cream-ish was served.
Today I probably had been working a little extra because I was really tired. But that was just fine. That’s why I signed up to come here in the first place ;)

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Portugal Tagged horseback_riding

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