Born 23rd June 1925. Died 2nd February 1989.
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".
Here are his quotes, very inspiring I think!
Nuno Oliveira quotes, translated from German:
"The secret in riding is to do only a few things but to do them right"
"The more you do, the less success you will have"
"The less you do, the more will go right"
"Feel your horse and donít sit with a dead seat like you are riding a bike"
"I donít want to have riders who tire themselves out. Work by thinking instead."
"It is good to ride with closed eyes once in a while"
"The hands have to be like cement when the horse resist and like butter when the horse yields"
"When riding a well trained horse, the fingers should only very rarely close"
"The small and ring fingers can yield but never the thumb."
"The lowering of the hand is not a gesture but means that you stop being active with your hand"
"Lowering the hand means to open the fingers while the horse has to remain in the same posture and gait and display the same degree of cadence."
" In the art of riding, any excuse to yield is justified."
"There is a world of difference between holding and pulling."
Donít try to follow the rules with your hands but have natural, relaxed hands with soft fists."
I LOVE THIS ONE! :
"Each use of the hand has to be preceded by an action of the upper body, otherwise the rider is merely influencing the horseís head."
"Donít play with the reins when they are tight but yield first and then play with the reins."
"The hand should be like a filter, not like a lid or an open tap."
"It is a lot better to risk loosing a bit of contact than not to yield."
"Leg action does not necessarily mean that the calve becomes active as the leg of the rider starts at the hip. It is often enough to use the hip."
"Banging the horseís sides with the ankles, especially in the sitting trot will certainly disturb the horseís gait."
"The legs have to softly drape so that they can gently activate, not through closing but through touching."
Love this one too!:
"If your legs are stiff, you risk that your horse becomes hard in the mouth."
" Spurs are a lot less useful than one might think."
"A spur that is constantly touching the horseís sides does not drive the horse forward but on the contrary, it will make the horse sluggish."
"When you touch the horse with stiff legs, the horse will become stiff."
" Just like the hands, the legs have to give and take."
" The errors of the legs are reflected in the horseís mouth."
LOVE this one too!:
"Do not forget that hips and legs drive the horse forward while the hands simply channel this force through gentle rein aids."
"Follow the horseís mouth through your back."
"The rider contains the horse with the hip and upper body; arms and legs are aids."
"Move your hips towards your hands rather than moving your hands towards your hips."
"Use your hands and legs sparingly and keep the balance through your seat."
"Drive with your back, brake with your back."
"The rider has to feel the back and follow the mouth but focus more on the back than on the mouth."
"For a horse to be in balance, it has to be relaxed which is why it must not be compressed."
"To cease the aids does not mean to leave the horse on its own but to keep the contact while doing as little as possible."
"The rider has to rest on a horse but not withdraw."
"Each time you are about to loose impulsion, your legs have to intervene."
"Learn to cease the aids."
"When the horse is resisting the left rein, try to substitute the left rein aid with the left leg."
"One should not learn how to ride by learning the rein aids but by learning how to feel."
"Careful, danger! When talking to riders about impulsion, they tend to push; when you mention lightness to them, they tend to throw the reins away."
"The rider who leaves a horse on his own in the name of lightness is not working but is just strolling with his horse. The one who pushes and pulls is a wild person. "