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MUST READ - At the Valencas Day 1 - The System!!!

7 years 4 months ago - 7 years 4 months ago #144 by iliane

Iliane and Ru with the MASTER: Luis Valenca!

I have blogged a bit about our time at Valenca in my phot blog here:

There are more photos of Day one on the blog

Here are my notes from Day 1 at the Valencas. Having an incredible time here with the Valencas, learning so much more than we thought it was possible to learn! Mr. Valenca is being incredible generous with his knowledge as well as his amazingly talented daughters and of course the horses.Having an incredible time here with the Valencas, learning so much more than we thought it was possible to learn! Mr. Valenca is being incredible generous with his knowledge as well as his amazingly talented daughters and of course the horses.

One day one Luis Valenca and his daughters Filipa and Sophia took us through their entire system from starting the youngster all the way through Capriole. I hope my notes are all correct. If there are a few discrepancies you will still get the gist of what we learned here!

If you want to learn from the Valencas (and btw. applying the stuff below is probably a bad idea unless you have gotten help from them or another professional before trying any of this at home), lessons and vacation packages are available. Filipa and Sophia are fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English - so there won't be any language barrier as long as you are proficient in one of those. They will also pick you up at the airport and arrange accommodations as part of their packages. Here their website: www.celg.pt/

The System
Luis Valenca: from the youngster to the capriole horse

That Luis and his daughters love each and every one of their horses is obvious as soon as you arrive and spend just a few minutes in the arena. It is so important that Luis has added it as point one of their system:

(1) The Connection between rider/handler and horse.


  • After the connection is established each horse will be lunged. There are 3 parts to the lunging.
  • Allow Anarchy! When Luis and his team starts lunging a horse for the first few minutes it is allowed and asked to gallop around a bit.
  • The horse is asked to express his energy within certain guidelines. i.e. he has to stay on a circle.
  • It helps you to introduce the connection through your voice. Long soft AHHHH for praise and slow down, short sharp A for correction.
  • Allowing the anarchy also helps you to see the horses 'timing'/rhythm.
  • The horse has to respect the circle.
  • This starts the lesson with something good. i.e. he can express himself.
  • It is important for the horse to stop on the circle. The way Luis and his team stops the horse while lunging is super interesting and efficient. As the horse goes around in the circle, you say AHHH (long, soft to slow down), then you walk to the outside of your circle approximately 45 degrees ahead of the horse. You stop on the circle line and invite the horse to walk along the circle line towards you. When the horse is about 2-3 meters in front of you, stop the horse by saying AHHH and pet their forelock and ears.
  • To change direction always turn a small circle to the outside and ask the horse to continue.
  • The second part of lunging starts in the walk with side reins.
  • If you start a young horse only start with the outside side rein first.
  • Add the inside side rein from the beginning of phase two for a trained (dressed) horse or after a few minutes for the younger horse.
  • When the side reins are on the anarchy is over and the horse should be on the job.
  • Control the horse only with your voice to keep rhythm and personality of the horse alive.
  • The lungers positions should be like when riding with arms hanging lose next to the body and elbows bend.
  • Keep the lunge line in the hand that is the inside of the horse and the whip in the outside hand pointing back when unengaged. Only move the whip forward if you need to engage it to make the horse move forward more actively.
  • Again move out to the circle line to stop the horse. This helps the horse accept the handler and teaches him to move towards the handler.
  • On the right rein the left shoulder gives movement forward to the horse.
  • Starting the trot: Should be in connection, slightly bend to the inside with good cadence and rhythm.
  • Balanced transition from trot to canter

More insights:

If your horse has and uses an under neck the information does not relate from front to back.

Lunging: The Oliviera Sursingle:

This is a really interesting piece of equipment. There is a top side rein that goes from the sursingle through a ring on the head piece of the bridle to the snaffle. The side reins always need to be the same on both sides. They prevent the horse from diving onto the forehand. Additionally to the top side rein there is also a set of regular side reins that then help the horse to flex and bend.

You should only start lunging a horse with this equipment when he already accepts the regular side reins easily.

In hand work
  • lengthen and even out the side reins after the lunging work.
  • make sure the horse advances towards the handler straight.
  • Start with forward and stop.
  • Then start turning him in a large circle with a bend to the inside and the shoulders in to start having him step over and under.
  • After that start to bend the horse to the outside and keep the circle.
  • This puts the horse in a Renver position.
  • And finally if that all went smooth you can attempt a pirouette by taking the horses shoulders around, keeping the haunches in place and moving him over in the same bend he was before.
  • When you did all this just in hand a rider and be added. The rider will hold on to the snaffle only while the handler has the curb rein.
  • After a while your horse will start to hold the bend in self carriage without the rider or handler asking and we have created the beginning of Lightness in the horse.

Here are some more nice bits of info and quotes from day 1 at the Valencas. To be totally honest... this was just the morning of day one... the afternoon brought Levades, Piaffe in hand and Capriole ... There are pictures for this below. I will cover that in a later block. I think this is enough for a day and give such a great round overview of the beginning of the Valenca's system.

The horse on the lunge should be like Decarpentry said:

straight, calm, forward

Quotes from Luis Valenca:

What is dressage? Dressage puts the body of the horse in position for what you want it do.

It's when you give that the horse s learn not when you take!

Nuno Oliviera: Baucher is like anitbiltics you do it three days then you stop.

Hope this was helpful information and please check out the blog for more pictures: horseboyworld.com/?p=611&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=131

~ Iliane

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