The Masters

Luis Valença

Luis Valença: one of the world’s greatest dressage Masters

Luis Valença came from a family to whom the horse was the central focal point. He learned to ride at an early age and had Masters to teach him throughout his youth and into his professional career. His love for the equestrian art and the horse gave him a firm dedication to the world of equestrianism; this resulted in him being given the ultimate honor, the title of Master. He learned many secrets and mysteries which today he passes on to his students through his kindness and understanding.

He founded his own equestrian center to spread the admiration for the Portuguese Equestrian Art and the Lusitano. He has organized and performed in countless prominent classical shows all with a magnificent splendor for the art. People come from the four corners of the world to hear him teach on the nature of the horse and classical horsemanship. He has trained numerous horses and riders and he continues to inspire people from all over the world.

Today Carlos Carneiro is still in contact with Luis Valença and it continues to be a great pleasure to be working and learning with this great teacher. Thank you to Luis Valença for all his patience and understanding. He is truly a great Master!

João Oliveira

João Oliveira: 1949 to 2007. An Equestrian Legend

João Oliveira was born in Lisbon, Portugal, the son of  legendary Portuguese Classical Master Nuno Oliveira who some consider the link between Historic European riders and present day dressage.

At the very tender age of 3 he started training religiously with his father, departing as early as 4am in the morning to ride with his beloved mentor,  João was exposed to rigourous discipline and strict code of conduct and work ethics that remained with him till his death in 2007.

He proudly and honorably carried the School of Nuno Oliveira into the 21st Century as he became the standard bearer of  his colorful legacy!

Iconic to modern day Dressage, João made relevant the tools, techniques and secrets of this timeless art of Classical Dressage. João was a true equine artist and technician held in the highest regard all over the world as evident in a large international clientele and the number of friend and admirers from the highest level of the competitive and classical dressage world.

João was internationally acclaimed as a classical performer and has performed in major events around the world, such as  Asia, Australia, South America and lastly the United States where he spent his last most productive years. João created a great interest in the Portuguese breed of horses, the Lusitano, through his work as Master Trainer at Robinson Lusitanos and later at Brookside Equestrian where in a partnership with his dear friends Linda and Keith Walton and his wife Rebecca Oliveira. They personally handpicked and trained Lusitanos from Brazil and later from Portugal through Carlos Carneiro for a growing west coast clientele.

They were successful in their intentions in that they generated such a great interest in the breed, that for the first time ever a classical performer was invited to perform in three major FEI events. Oliveira Dressage performed for the opening of the Olympic trials in San Juan Capistrano and the 2005 and 2007 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas with João's highly trained young Lusitanos!

He worked with many young gifted classical and competitive riders from the United states and Europe as his trainees during the partnership at Brookside Equestrian, always imparting the Oliveira style and spirit. Carlos Carneiro was one such rider! He had the privilege to work one on one with João and witness his genius and understanding of equine nature. João's horses performed effortlessly with an unbelievable grace, lightness and synchronicity! Carlos stayed with João till João's death in 2007 from Lung Cancer.

João always said, “I think one thing that is common to all the people who came to study with my father and now with me, is the desire to improve, to do things with the utmost quality, finesse and the precision of technique to bring out the beauty and the best in their horses, never  forgetting that each forward movement or step in this intricate exercise there is always the truth and depth of the rider's heart that brings out the true soul of the horse!"

João has shown the beauty of the Lusitano Horse and Classical Dressage, his influence lives on never to be forgotten. 

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