Now, after many years of wanting to visit, I have been to Golegã during the Festival of the Lusitano. Golegã: home to a number of legends of Lusitano breeding, including Manuel Veiga of Quinta da Broa, and Manuel Assunçao Coimbra.  As a longtime student of Mestre Dominique Barbier, I have been familiar with these names and have regarded them as the height of perfection for the classical Lusitano. Tracing bloodlines from Broquel to Larapio, one of Dominique’s stallions, has been a pathway through breeding and cultural history in Portugal (and Brasil) for the last fifty years. Dominique’s original stallion, Dom Giovanni, was also a horse by Broquel.

But Golegã surprised me in so many ways.  It was not just a history lesson or homage to the great breeders. It is a living, breathing, celebration of all things Lusitano. The rich culture surrounding this great horse is multi-faceted, and as a living organism, it is in a state of constant change. One thing remains the same; the festival is held each year over the Festival of Sao Martinho on the 11th of November.

I am still catching my breath from all the excitement, imagery, sounds and smells. Golegã was THE complete sensory experience. Hooves clip-clopping on cobblestones, with breath from nostrils and steam from flanks mixing with the smoke from roasting chestnuts….all competing with the cries of children wanting to pet the horses and the calls from one friend to another over a pulsing crowd, creating a marvelous cacaphony. I hope the pictures will give you a sense of the vibrancy of the Lusitano Festival. It has been a rich harvest for me and a rare instance of the reality far exceeding the dream. I am truly blessed.

My favorite moment from Golegã? That’s easy…the conversations and camaraderie all built around the love and passion for a great horse. Having dinner in a very small restaurant and meeting people from all over Europe that knew each other through the Lusitano, coming together to enjoy the festival, was a memorable night. It reminds me that the world, though vast in size and full of wonder, is made small, even intimate, by the connections we share and create with others.

Tomorrow I’ll put up a small gallery of images from Tomar and the Convento do Cristo, along with a few from the Cistercian Monastery at Alcobaça.

9 Responses to “Golegã!”

  1. 1 cynthia abbott
    November 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

    thank-you for shaing these pictures.will you be doing a photo book of them? these are very good.love the classical dressage.keep up the great work!

    • November 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Not a bad idea, Cynthia!!! Thank you for taking the time to look at the blog and comment. It truly is very meaningful to me. Hope to see you at a Barbier event somewhere…perhaps Golegã next year. : )
      All the best,

  2. November 17, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    All the images are really great! Many thanks for sending them. Exciting!!

  3. 4 Wil Hershberger
    November 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Magnificent. What a wonderful collection of images from what must have been an incredible experience.

  4. 5 Beate Dalbec
    December 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful images of Golega! I went there several years ago – it is an experience like no other. I am hoping to go back there some time.

    • December 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Dear Beate,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! How did you find the blog?? Golega was tremendous and I’ll be there again next year for sure….come on over!
      Merry Christmas to you. Warmly, Keron

      • 7 Beate Dalbec
        December 25, 2011 at 3:51 pm

        Hi Keron,

        I heard about you through Rick Holt who happened to be on a trip to Myanmar I just returned from. He highly recommended your book “Meditation for two” which I unfortunately found and ordered on Amazon before stumbling across your blog (otherwise I would have ordered it from you directly). Your photography is just wonderful – I can’t wait to get the book! I would love to come to Golega next year, unfortunately I already have a trip planned for next November. Are you going every year? Maybe I’ll be able to join you in 2013.
        Merry Christmas and happy New Year! Beate

  5. 8 sue Hodges
    December 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Keron, Thank you for sharing this beautiful images and commentary. Years ago I used to go to Golega – before it became as well-loved as it has; it was amazing then and it looks amazing now. It just has to experienced, doesn’t it! Maybe next year ……..
    Happy New year

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