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Training with Nuno Oliveira by Nuno Oliveira







Training with Nuno Oliveira
Nuno Oliveira

Seeing the master Nuno Oliveira at work is always special, but it is especially wonderful to watch him work with some of his own horses at Avessada. The feel of the horses, the feeling between rider and horse, translates across the decades. When questioned on pictures and video of him when he or his horses didn’t look perfect, his response was that the true horseman would understand, would see beyond.

The comments below are by Eleanor Russell who has put this DVD set together:

These videos show Nuno taken at Avessada often at 6:00 am when he trained young horses etc before classes, including one fun time where a school master horse is playing with the rider learning flying changes.

I decided about a year ago to try and do a DVD of him training his own horses, and as I also had some of his voice saying the aids, and other well known "one liners", we have put this on the DVD as well. The aids in his voice are so clear, you can see him do it as he says it.

Young horses do some things good and sometimes not - you can see the first grey horse struggling with the beginnings of half-pass and Nuno keeps returning to shoulder-in to re-establish the bend.

Then there is Tenor, a bay horse with a mind-boggling/stunning shoulder-in, and as you watch you can almost feel the sit in the hind quarters as he flexes the inside hind leg and brings it under.

Nuno was always emphasizing straightness and at the end of DVD 1, I have included a few minutes of a 15 year old student on a grand prix schoolmaster who tries out the rider and you can hear Nuno correcting with his normal patience until it is right.


The second DVD is of four horses with piaffe, passage and Spanish walk.

Because his warm up of each horse is on the old tapes, I have let it run so you can see the warm up exercises which are similar but a little different for each horse.


There is a clip of Tenor in piaffe in hand and Nuno takes his hands off the horse and rapport is so extraordinary the horse continues to piaffe while N.O. stands there - pure magic for me.


The chestnut horse - so tense, so stiff, each problem compounding each other. Nuno's patience, desire and determination to train this horse, to help the horse with his movements, amazed me. There is a sequence of flying changes. 18 months earlier I saw the horse, begin flying changes with great difficulty and none of them were true. Here you see the horse doing tempi changes and down to one-times, and Nuno reduces the weight on the horse's back to help the changes all be true. Not really attractive but the changes are true. This is what I remember more of him, his pure horsemanship of understanding the horse and his problems.


The horses in the tapes are the normal horses he used, Andalusian, Alter Real and Anglos.

These DVDs are clear and simple and with no interpretation from me - just little introductions and minimal subtitles. You can see his aids and his corrections quite often.


About Nuno:

NUNO OLIVEIRA, by his tireless work, study, and belief in the Classical Principles of the art of training horses provided the link with the Great Masters of the 16th, 17th and 19th century in Europe, and the changing and expanding world of the 20th century.

Nuno Oliveira taught and trained all his life, based originally in Lisbon, and later in Avessada, Portugal. He gave numerous performances with his beautifully trained horses throughout Portugal, often for charity. In the 1960's and early 1970's, he travelled to many countries in Europe and the United Kingdom to give demonstrations of all Classical movements. He also travelled to the United States, South America, and also to Australia and Asia giving training clinics and performances.

He was regarded world-wide as the last of the Old Master Trainers, always devoted to the principles of the Classical Trainers of old. All of his life Nuno Oliveira studied and practised this equestrian art, demanding of himself and his students discipline, calmness and always absolute correctness, in all movements the horse performed.

Nuno Oliveira rode like a King, and always his horses carried him like a King. Neither circumstances nor fashion ever deviated him from his beliefs.

His equestrian school/home was located in Avessada, a small village in Portugal, where he trained his own horses as well as visiting students, who came from all corners of the globe to learn from the Master. Nuno practised his life's work invariably listening to a recording of a great tenor singing a Puccini or Verdi opera, his other great love.

He travelled the world giving clinics and teaching riders who became, not only dedicated students, but good friends. More than a decade after Nuno Oliveira's death, these friendships have developed into a world-wide network (including organisations like the Classical Riding Club) active in promoting Classical Principles in training horses.

To quote Nuno Oliveira... "equestrian art is the perfect understanding and harmony between horse and rider".


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