Traditional Portuguese Equestrian Art makes its return to Belém

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art (EPAE), under the management of Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua, shall be regularly making performances and holding training sessions open to the general public at the HenriqueCalado Stables (on Calçada da Ajuda, in Belém) as from 20th July.

At this central location, the public thus gains the opportunity to attend not only training sessions but also weekly performances and galas. At the training sessions, visitors are able to witness the work that gets carried out daily by the riders whilst the performances feature a diverse range of choreographies and exercises, such as the carousel, long reins and airs above the ground to the sound of specifically selected music. In the galas, held to commemorate special dates and occasions, the performances are more extensive and include a diverse number of presentations accompanied by lighting and sound effects to further deepen and enrich the scenario.

EPAE, one of Europe’s four Equestrian Art Schools, was set up in 1979 with the specific objective of teaching, performing and raising the profile of traditional Portuguese Equestrian Art and in keeping with the legacy handed down by the Real Picaria (Royal Stables), the equestrian academy of the Portuguese court, which was closed down in the 19th century. After a time at the Portuguese Riding Company in Campo Grande, the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art took up residence in the National Palace of Queluz in 1996 and the site for its subsequent regular presentations open to the public.

Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua, S.A. (the managing entity of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art since September 2012) in 2014 signed a protocol with the Portuguese Army providing for the restoration and transformation of the stables in order to appropriately house such performances and thereby bringing about the return of this national art to its place of origin, Belém. 

In addition to the historical association of this area of the city with equestrian art, whether for military purposes or in service of the “Royal Household”, Belém is also one of the Portuguese capital’s major tourist attractions and thus correspondingly rendering greater visibility and ease of visitor access to the different proposals provided by the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art.

Visiting the Henrique Calado Stables opens up the opportunity to travel back through Portuguese history, experiencing the moments that perpetuated the beauty of the Lusitano horses from the Alter Real Stud Farm, engaged in this art since the 18th century, with the performance of classical riding exercises alongside those from the Baroque period and the exercises making up the Court Games (tournaments held between the 16th and 19th centuries to commemorate festive occasions) and furthermore reflected in the costumes, saddles and harnesses, whether the working (Daily Training) or the gala versions (Weekly Presentations and Gala Performances) and exactly alike those in use in the earliest days of Portuguese Equestrian Art.

Find more information at:
 - Henrique Calado Stables - Calçada da Ajuda, Belém -
 - Reservations and further informationTel.: +351 21 923 7300
-  Parques de Sintra

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