It was my great pleasure to receive as a late Christmas gift the very book published by Xenophon of my fellow Oliveira student Miquel Abrantes known as Miguel Tavora to his Australian students (his publishing name is Major Miguel de Lancastre e Tavora). The book is Dressage Principles and Techniques: A blueprint for the serious rider.
I first met Miguel at seven years old where his sensitive and innate riding skills impressed me enough to tell my sister Fiona that I hoped I could ride that well one day. I knew him later on when he visited Oliveira to ride the horse Soante (which Oliveira had sold to me that year for a dollar!) in front of some Australian clients that were retested in hiring Miguel. He asked the right questions of me before getting on the horse and adapted like lightening to the horse’s nervosite and weakness – the mark of a true horseman with the horse and not his ego foremost in mind.
I also saw Miguel during the presentation Ma and I did at Oliveira’s for the Mafra school officers. He was, along with Luis Athayde, the one to encourage my efforts in riding and recognized the work I was doing for our teacher.
Few of that generation paid any attention to my formation and his comments, as well as Luizenho’s hugs, were a great boost in what was a stressful career moment! I really enjoyed Kate Ron our phone conversations when Miguel would come to California to coach, as he never lost sight of Oliveira’s teachings, even while pleasing the FEI world.
A gentleman ecuyer of great elegance and sensitivity but mostly through and through a horseman who lived his time with them. I encourage all to read this book. And, by the way, it is in English!