Duarte Nogueira never imagined he would become an International Dressage Rider, and certainly not to qualify for the Olympic Games. His daily life is all about backing and training young horses, but then the Lusitano stallion Beirão AR came along.
Text By Teresa Burton www.lusitanohorsefinder.com. Images by Bruno Barata Photography.
Duarte has been working in the Alter Organisation for 35 years beginning his career at his sister’s farm Companhia de Lezirias. His daily life is backing and training young horses and teaching the riders working in his team. Although he loves dressage and to compete, he does not come across as hugely competitive.
“I never imagined I would become an International Dressage Rider and be one of the ones to qualify Portugal for Tokyo”Duarte Nogueira
Being an incredibility modest man Duarte is very committed to his daily routine. I had the impression he was slightly in awe at the possibility of actually going to the Olympics.
Duarte´s main competition horse is Beirão, an extremely grand stallion that has such a noble presence when I stood beside him in the grooming area. I was struck by
“Beirao understands everything like he has lived many lives, Duarte says.
They do make a lovely team.
Most of Beirão´s daily care is carried out by Duarte from grooming, washing and training. Duarte was the one to originally back him for riding and has ridden him ever since. For such a big horse he is very elastic and light when he is moving.
The stallion has an impressive family behind him, like
About the Alter Stud Farm
The Alter Royal stud farm, which is dedicated to the nobility of the Lusitanian horse, was founded by King D. João V in 1748 with the aim to prepare horses for the royal riding school: The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art located in Lisbon.
“May this breed be kept forever pure”, the kingdom was commanded in 1812.
Since it was created there have been many setbacks over the years with wars and political cues threatening the stud stability but with foresight and determination, it was preserved. Now in modern-days, the farm has been revitalised and is still successfully producing horses.
The farm Director Francisco Beja manages the day to day running of the stud especially the breeding programmes. Together with João Pedro Rodrigues of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, the two carefully select the stallions for breeding to produce horses for the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, dressage and various other equestrian disciplines. Francisco is also the driving force behind the competition programme for the Alter horses. It is a tribute to his ambition for their success that has seen these fabulous horses, the owners and sponsors to make such significant strides in the evolution of the breed.
The future is looking very bright for the young riders in Portugal with quality horses, better training, greater support and greater global interest giving them more opportunities to become serious International players.
The farm is more than 800 hectares of stunning Alentejo countryside close to the Spanish Border. A landscape of gentle hills, ancient olive and cork trees, scattered with huge grey boulders that seem to have been there forever. In the springtime wildflowers carpet the land, it is utterly stunning especially with the herds of mares and their foals grazing amongst the vibrant colours. Visitors are welcomed at the farm they receive regular tours and sometimes there are events going on such as the yearly auction and dressage competitions. As you go round the stud, you will find out about its history from the pictures on display in the entrance and in the museum. In the stables, admire the haughtiness of the Alter Real breed of Lusitanian horse, and learn how they become top stallions and how they are selected for the advanced riding school. Just this year even a Vila Gale hotel has opened on the farm so that guests can stay there to enjoy the area and the horses.
The future is looking very bright for the young riders in Portugal with quality horses, better training, greater support and greater global interest giving them more opportunities to become serious International players. The Lusitano horse has in last few years