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Jody's Blog

Back to Spain!

Author: SuperUser Account/Wednesday, August 24, 2011/Categories: Blog

Back to Spain!

After putting the bloods of our favourite Lusitano Xangai on test in the UK, we headed back to Madrid on the overnight train, some experience! It was 80Euro which is cheaper than a hotel, four to a cabin. It left at 10pm from Lisbon and got into Madrid at 8am, just in time to go look at more horses!

Next on our list were two half brothers - one I thought looked great but wasn't quite suited to me under saddle, and the other I really liked and came back a few times to ride him and then thought no - he is just not quite what I perceive that the New Zealand market needs.

But then we were picked up by a brand new agent Lucas, who took us to meet a Lusitano called Trevo ("Clover" in Portuguese). We saw him first at a dressage show - the only one we got to attend in Spain. It wasn't quite how I expected a show in Spain to be - ie hundreds of wonderful PRE (pure Spanish Andalusians) - instead - nearly every rider was on an imported warmblood, and most of them were not very nice! I couldn't quite work out why you would import third-grade warmbloods into a country that has such great Iberian horses - but maybe it's just a case of the grass is always greener...

The show itself was fun. There was a bar, great arenas, good warm-ups - and yep - nearly every horse was a stallion and there was not a stallion sash in sight (for those of you not in the know, dressage in New Zealand requires all manner of paraphernalia to be worn by the riders or stallions and their ground crew - ridiculously over the top and scaremongering in my opinion).

When we were first shown Trevo both Michelle and I were in LOVE! Nice and tall, good mover and fabulous temperament. We watched him warm in and compete in the Prix St Georges test and then the rider did some Piaffe and Passage for us after he had performed his test. I could hardly sleep that night, heading back the next day to ride him myself - my only hope being he was as nice to sit on as he was to watch! We had time that night to look through the ancient city of Segovia - that was amazing! Tapas and Sangria were once again ordered and a good time was had before we headed back to Madrid.

I needn't have worried that Trevo might not be my type - the next day when I rode him I could only describe him as a "White Whisper" - incredibly light in the hand, forward and happy in his work - we had found another one to add to our list! His bloods were duly sent to the lab for testing too!

One of our last days together for Michelle and I was spent doing the tourist thing in Madrid. We were so lucky to have been given accommodation in the city from a long lost family friend of Michelle's - Xavier. He was some character - a former TV news front man and international war journalist - he had exciting tales to tell from all around the globe. He kept us entertained from 10am till 2am every minute we were with him.

We got to visit the Prado - Art museum and also did the double-decker bus tour here. Madrid is a magical city and one I won't forget in a hurry. So much history and character - the buildings were simply exquisite. A personal highlight for me would have to have been going to the Royal Palace, and looking through its huge rooms, the dining halls, the King's bedroom and the Throne room. The hand-painted dome ceilings were breathtaking. But by far the best place in the Palace was the Royal Armoury which houses all of the knights in shining armour stuff - well cool! To see the statues of the horses and their riders decked out in their original armour was brilliant. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed - so if you want to see what I mean just Google it!

It was sad saying goodbye to Michelle in Madrid - I was off - Ireland bound via Holland and she had to fly back to Christchurch alone. That's alone but with a good 10kgs of my extra luggage to remind her of me!

We have high hopes of the two stallions we have narrowed our search down to coming through for us - now it's just a wait till the lab has the blood results through...

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