Oops! I think I bought a 3-year-old stallion


As I told in my previous blog post, as Quinny started aging, my mind started processing the purchase of a younger horse. I don’t think I would survive Quinny’s passing without another horse to comfort me.

Mid-November (2019) I was going anyway to Morgado Lusitano as my trainer Malin Holmlund was taking a group of eight of her students there for four days. During my earlier visits, I had met several ladies who had purchased a horse from Morgado Lusitano and had them at Morgado for a couple of years in training before taking them home to their own countries. To find out more, I contacted the Commercial Director, Henrique Santos, to organize a meeting for me with Alexandre Doray, who heads the horse operations.

With my background as a consultant, I was expecting to meet Alexandre at his office and to be introduced to the program they are offering via a PowerPoint presentation sipping on espresso and letting a piece of dark chocolate melt in my mouth. So not! I asked Henrique where I should go at the agreed time. He told me to go up to the Apprentice Arena. As I arrived Alexandre was there ready with a saddled mare. I told him having handled Quinny’s heats and mood swings for 12 years, there’s no way I’m ever buying a mare again.

No probs, Alexandre had a rider bring two 3-year-old stallions, one after the other, which were first lunged, then ran free and then were ridden by a young light-weight lady rider. And we talked. And I watched them, how nicely they behaved, how beautifully they moved, how they weren’t afraid to be showered after the training. Either one was more beautiful a horse than I actually would ever have needed.

I decided not to tell anyone, but my excitement shone from my face. The other ladies asked me “are you going to buy a horse from here” and I responded “I don’t know” to which they said “the smile and happiness that takes over your face when we ask the question, tells us that you’re buying a horse from here”. The rest of the holiday, they kept popping the question and laughing at my instinctive reaction.

Two other ladies in the trainer Francisco Cancela de Abreu’s team, Dani and Francoise, happened to be at Morgado Lusitano at the same time, so I had the opportunity to discuss with them what it’s like to have a horse in training at Morgado Lusitano. I naturally also talked with Francisco and was assured that if I buy one of the horses, he would be able to take it into training.

I left home and told Alexandre I need to think about this, my age, am I ready for the commitment, can I arrange my life to come to Morgado more or less regularly for the several years to come. I promised to come back within a week’s time.

From that moment on, I couldn’t shake Magico off my mind. I wasn’t sure how my partner would take the idea that I would regularly go to Portugal to spend time with my young horse. I decided I didn’t need to tell him before it was time to commit. So, at the end of the week, I sent Alexandre a WhatsApp asking him to put Magico to vet check – that will buy me time to think this through and I cannot make the purchase decision without the vet check anyway.

Here’s my thinking:

To try to solve Quinny’s problems with biomechanics, I read extensively into the subject and acquainted myself first with the straightness and balance of the horse and then the art of classical dressage. Exploring Quinny’s movements with a bare back pad opened a new world into how the rider’s body impacts the horse’s movement. This study started at the end of 2015. I moved back to Finland at the end of the year and was lucky to find Malin Holmlund to train me because her approach very much follows the art of classical dressage and always starts from the well-being of the horse.

In September 2017 my daughter and I spent a week in Morgado Lusitano for the first time. I was amazed by the skills of the horses. I was highly impressed by the program the horses were in. I have huge respect for the competence and approach of the trainers – the origin of which is the Portuguese Riding School.

With my former horses Luna and Quintana, I had very little knowledge of their background and they were trained by hobby riders after they turned five. Buying a horse from Morgado Lusitano

    • I know the quality of horses their stud, Quinta do Regato, breeds as I’ve ridden many horses of their breeding including Magico’s dam’s sire Trinco.
    • I know the Morgado Lusitano program works as there is not one single horse in the program that doesn’t offer a beautiful ride.
    • All the horse owners I’ve talked to have been super happy with the program.
    • I’m more of a weekend-get-away-in-Portugal type of person than the typical Finnish summer house person. I believe my productivity in the work place will go up significantly with the energy, well-being and happiness boost I come home with.

The wait for the vet check results seemed like a life-time. My mind processed on overdrive. I was so set on Magico, I decided if the vet check didn’t go through, I wouldn’t even have the other horse vet checked because I didn’t want that beautiful horse to be “second best” in my eyes – I would post-pone my process for a year.

When the vet check x-rays and report came, I had my trusted vet Doychin Lyudov and Sini-Maria Peltola, who has checked other Lusitanos coming to Finland, check them and since they both gave me green light without hesitation, it was time to take it up with my partner. He naturally wasn’t tickled pink, but I really appreciate the fact that he said he would not stand in my way since he knows how deep my passion for horses is.

And so, I sent a Whatsapp to Alexandre that I want to buy Magico.

Let the journey begin. There are no guarantees and I take it like sailing: it’s not the destination that counts, it’s enjoying the journey.