Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Portugal: Day 14

by Kathy 15. April 2011 21:15

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Burgau & Holistic Horse Lessons

It was a sleepy morning in Burgau:

Two small fishing boats were parked near the water’s edge, which was very high today:

Once again, the ocean’s energy attracted Genevieve, who dared the waves to catch her:

The ocean splashed vigourously against the side of the narrow road along the sea wall, making our drive out of town even more exciting today than yesterday.

Even with our technique for scooting across just as the waves started to recede, the kids still thought the crossing this morning was “freaky.”

When planning our journeys, I try to find unusual or different experiences for us to share—something that we haven’t tried before. Today, we were off for some horse riding lessons. Although Ben rode horses when he was younger, the kids and I had never received a lesson. However, these weren’t ordinary lessons about how to ride a horse. Instead, we would be learning a “holistic” way in which to move in tune with the horse’s energy.

Our instructors would be Andreas Endries and Antonia Lehrach, the owners of Holistic Riding. Both share a tremendous respect and love for horses, which is an integral part of their teaching. Andreas has said: "It is very important to me to help people to understand, that the horse is always doing a great job. Because it’s only job is to be a horse! The rest is with us. It is our duty to respect this most beautiful creature and to learn their language – for they will never speak English! And a physical dispute would be futile!"

I was really looking forward to this experience, as I was hoping to overcome a fear of horses that had begun as a young child when I had been thrown from a relative’s horse. This fear had been embedded further by subsequent events, including being bitten by another horse as an adult.

I also wanted Genevieve and Sebastian to have a comfortable interaction with the horses, learning to ride with confidence.

The stables for Holistic Riding were in the rolling hills about 20 minutes from Burgau. As we drove through the countryside, we passed a number of humongous wind turbines that the government had recently installed.

Andreas had two horses ready for our lessons this morning.  

The smaller horse was Pacha, a mare with a gentle personality that was perfect for the children. Here is Genevieve leading Pacha to the riding arena:

We started our session with breathing and stretching exercises, making us aware of the energy within our own bodies. Then it was time to synchronize that energy with the horses. Antonia worked with Genevieve and Sebastian.

First, Genevieve and Pacha became more acquainted, with Genevieve leading her around:

Then, Genevieve was up and riding on Pacha’s back, with Antonia guiding them:

An important part of riding is developing trust between the horse and rider. Here, Genevieve is learning to trust Pacha by closing her eyes:

Then by lying down on Pacha’s back:

And running together:

Later, Genevieve sat on the sidelines while Sebastian took a turn:

Antonia gave Sebastian some pointers on how to lead Pacha:

Up on top!

Whoa—don’t fall off!

Sebastian was getting comfortable moving around on top of Pacha, including facing backward:

The ultimate show of confidence was standing up!

Andreas worked with Ben and me, each taking turns with a stallion named Tatoari. Ben went first. Andreas gave Ben some pointers on positioning his body when interacting with the horse.

Ben was used to horses, and has a very centered energy, so he rode with easy grace.

My experience was not so easy, and much less graceful. Here I am on the horse at last!

Andreas was telling me to “just relax.” I was telling myself those words, and trying very hard to comply, but I just couldn’t find that “happy place.” Here I am trying to make my mind relax by slouching my body:

However, it‘s not quite that simple!

Andreas told me to let go of the reins and just sit while he kept up a brisk pace:

There were no saddles on the horses, so sitting on top really did require me to focus on moving with Tatoari’s rhythm.

Slowly but surely, I was starting to relax. Then Andreas threw some more difficult challenges at me, such as sitting sideways:

And backwards:

(This was not as easy as it may look! And I was trying very hard to center my energy and relax, relax, relax.)

Then came the “lying down” part, which seemed to be fine when we were standing still.

However, as soon as Tatoari started walking, I felt totally awkward and uncomfortable.  I couldn't figure out how to hold onto the horse, and I was definitely not relaxed:

As a horse would do, I balked.  I sat up quickly, saying, “This position isn’t working for me!”

Then, it was time for Andreas to step back and let me fly all on my own. I was supposed to guide Tatoari around some tires back and forth.

I did fine for a bit and then got confused regarding which way I was supposed to move the reins to turn.  Ai-yai-yai.

All I can say is Tatoari took great pity on me and was very forgiving for all my mistakes. He seemed to be the one who was in tune with me, instead of the other way around, and he never once did anything aggressive or displayed any irritation at my ineptitude.

The best thing was that any fear or distrust that I had had with Tatoari completely melted away by the end of our session. Andreas had helped me to gain new insight into connecting with horses, and I was able to shake free of my old mindset—a miracle!

We ended the day with a short ride up some trails behind the farm. Genevieve rode Pacha, and Ben rode Tatoari, who was not so forgiving with him.  (I’m not sure if that was because they were both males.) 

Teaching someone technical skills takes talent, but being able to reshape how someone thinks and feels takes someone who is truly gifted. Andreas and Antonia both have that gift, and for that I am very grateful.

Antonia, Andreas, Sebastian, Genevieve, me, and my pal Tatoari:

Pacha with the kids, as Antonia hugged Genevieve goodbye:

Back in Burgau, Genevieve and Ben headed down to the beach, while Sebastian and I relaxed in the apartment:

Tonight for dinner, we ate at a very good restaurant, Esquina (which means “corner”), near the center of town, just up the street from our apartment. The owners Jorge and Natasha Seromenho did a great job of serving up fresh and delicious food.

Sebastian was thrilled with his big bowl of mussels:

Natasha shared with us the background story of their restaurant. Jorge grew up in Burgau, and he met Natasha during one of her family’s many vacations here from England. They fell in love, and were married in 1998. They moved to England but found themselves working hard so that they could come back to Burgau on their vacations. They decided to return for good in 2007 and built this restaurant, which has their home on the second level. They had obviously put a lot of hard work into fulfilling their dream, and we wish them much success!

This was our last night in Burgau and the Algarve area. The town had worked its charm during our three-day visit, leaving us completely relaxed (and happy!).

Genevieve got a ride back to the apartment, held tightly with much love—surely the best kind of ending to an amazing day!


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Map of Our Journeys

(click the map to enlarge)
Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin