Portugal - the beginning

So now for a post I have been meaning to write since I came to Portugal, well over a month ago now!

It’s 11pm and I’m in the hostel common room with a cup of herbal tea, a Brazillian, a lot of Spaniards and a couple old German hippies. After a day exploring Sintra and the beautiful Quinta Da Regaleira, I finally have some time to clear my head of everything I’ve experienced so far and think back to when I started this trip.

Time flies when you’re overseas!

On the 3rd of March I flew out from Melbourne to Lisbon, stopping in Hong Kong and London. I slept through most of it, half-watched a few films here and there whilst sitting next to some guy who went to the toilet like +10 times. Turns out we would have the same 3 flights and be seated together for 2 of them (shotgun window seat) - weird coincidence! He was a Spanish bicycle shop owner living in Portugal, and gave me a list of recommended places to visit.

I had 8 hours to kill in HK, however Heathrow was tight with one hour, and slightly stressful as I almost missed my flight when security said something in my hand luggage tested positive for explosives! Alas, my secret attempt to bomb you has failed, London.

Finally I arrived at Lisbon airport and met Rita who kindly drove me to Morgado Lusitano, Alverca. I was super excited to start work and we began straight after a tour of the stables and being introduced to all my new lusitano homies.


Ah, Verniz. So beautiful, so tolerant…so excited to give yet another new student their first lesson, I’m sure! Such is life for a schoolmaster.

I met a super sweet english girl named Rosa who was sadly leaving the next day, off to explore the greatest country ever and enjoy some hot Australian weather and beautiful Australian beaches  xD

And met all the other amazing people who help keep Morgado running smoothly, as well as the instructor I would be working under - Jenny Almeida; pictured below with her two talented stallions: Campino & Destinado. 



A lady of many talents:


The most important being her gifted singing to Pitbull and Ke$ha’s “Timber”.

More on my first week soon, fatigue is catching up with me and now I have a rather large sleep debt to attend to!

Boa noite.

Feliz Páscoa!
happy easter from portugal x

Feliz Páscoa!

happy easter from portugal x

Tags: easter

Pastel de Nata - a portuguese specialty! I can’t go a day without one of these little custard tarts <3

Pastel de Nata - a portuguese specialty! I can’t go a day without one of these little custard tarts <3

(Source: goldd-dustt)

Tags: portugal

Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre
Photos by Pedro Yglesias 

A highlight so far!


Hola from Portugal!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit the Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre.

They had their first performance of the year this week; until Wednesday I think it had been closed for refurbishment, but my instructor Jenny Almeida’s constantly-whistling husband Rui was kind enough to get us (the other two French working students, lovely clients from Scotland and I) in for a sneak peek of the stables and morning training of the riders.

He is a senior rider there as well as instructor at Morgado Lusitano, and it was rad to see him working amongst all the other riders on the talented school stallions.

I videoed as much as I could and then just basked in its awesomeness all morning, after a tour of the stables and gardens of the Queluz Palace with Vasco, Rita, Caroline, Pam, Mimi et Lolo.

After we went to the local tack shop and I picked up some portuguese spurs - stuff there’s rather different compared to Australia lol!

Write more soon, have a city to explore!


photos credit of Pedro Yglesias

A little description of the magnificent Alter Real’s history. The stallions of the Portuguese School.


Horse Breeds A-Z: Alter Real

"The Alter Real breed comes from Alter do Chao, a small town in the Alentejo province of Portugal where the flagship stud is still located. Real is the word for ‘royal’ in Portuguese, this is the royal breed of Alter. The Alter Real began as carriage horses in Lisbon & their bloodlines have a heavy Andalusian influence. During Napoleonic invasions Arabian, Thoroughbred, Norman & Hanoverian blood was introduced, unfortunately the resulting animals were of poorer quality than the original stock. A later attempt to improve the breed with Arabian blood also failed & it took an influx of Andalusian blood to refine and improve the bloodlines again." -Equinest

This little bar is typical of the area I&#8217;m living in now! All the narrow side streets and alleyways are dotted with tiny bars and traditional portuguese eateries, that light up in the evenings. Locals start to come out around midnight to drink and eat tapas with their friends :)


Lisboa, Portugal

This little bar is typical of the area I’m living in now! All the narrow side streets and alleyways are dotted with tiny bars and traditional portuguese eateries, that light up in the evenings. Locals start to come out around midnight to drink and eat tapas with their friends :)


Lisboa, Portugal

Hello from Cais do Sodre, Lisbon!
This is close to where I&#8217;m living at the moment! It&#8217;s been a bit of a landmark this week to help me find my way home :)


Gustave Eiffel’s Elevador de Santa Justa, which connects the lower city of Lisbon to the Bairro Alto.

Hello from Cais do Sodre, Lisbon!

This is close to where I’m living at the moment! It’s been a bit of a landmark this week to help me find my way home :)


Gustave Eiffel’s Elevador de Santa Justa, which connects the lower city of Lisbon to the Bairro Alto.

waiting for my flight to london at hk airport, already missing you ebony <3

grateful for good things

a little unfinished drawing for you

It’s past midnight, been up since 4.30 yesterday morning. Active Child + coffee lets do thisss!

After hanging clothes out to dry, writing lists and some studying, I went and picked up my königs this morning, all fixed up. Repair guy was so nice he wouldn’t let me pay, and I felt bad so I went and bought him coffee and a muffin. The barista eyed the long boot bag slung over my shoulder looking a bit intrigued:

"band practice or mini-golf?"

      “riding boots”

"oh! never’ve guessed. walnut and date or mixed berry?" 

      “walnut………should’ve said mini-golf”

"way cooler"

Kind acts can really make your day. If it wasn’t for the kindness of others, my life would be pretty different. I have been lucky to be helped by numerous different people in their own ways, big/small, and those gestures always stay with me, keep me grateful and wanting to be a better person. When I think about it I really am blessed to have good people around me.

Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Springimage

For instance my best friend and her parents let me live at their house, whilst I saved to pay off my horse’s surgery and afford tickets overseas, and had me over for Christmas too (as did Grace + her family and past Christmases before).

The nicest Swiss people you could ever meet (who work so hard running the best traditional Swiss butcher in Melbourne) offered months ago to look after my horse if I planned to go overseas. I am so thankful to them. Everyone at Arragon who have been so helpful that I can rest knowing Ebony will be in good hands. The Herzigs for looking after my float whilst I’m away. My sister’s talented make-up artist Maren and her chef extraordinaire husband for having us over and hooking me up in Hamburg, and her sister, even though they hardly know me - the generosity of all these people has made so many things possible for me.

Then there’s my queensland parents Li Mei and Bruce who remain the most humble, loving people I know. The lovely old chinese ladies at Tzu Chi - a buddhist charity - who always fixed me something to eat whenever I visited last year. Rose who is caring for my german shep Wolf so well. My ex housemate who worked on my car with me so it wouldn’t overheat on the drive to the equine hospital. Dan who ordered me IndieGame for my birthday, special edition!!

Cathy from clinics who let me come watch for no fee nearly every month last year, and Cristina who’s invited me to crash with familiar faces when I go through Spain. My sister who filmed video for me when it was freezing, raining and dark. Maggie and Charlie for having me stay at their house. Maggie again and my father for just everything.

Friends who don’t stop calling even though I have bailed on them time after time because I had to go and horse, who never hold grudges when I’m busy and I forget to call and text back, and with whom even after a long time apart can pick up where we left off as if nothing’s changed. Even the little things like the guy at the petrol station putting up with me paying for diesel in silver coins lol.

So many more but by now you have probably fallen asleep!


"The beauty of people lies in their virtue; it is displayed through their good deeds, good words, and good heart." 
Jing Si Aphorisms, Cheng Yen

Ebony did enough good work tonight, she has worked hard the past few days and I could feel her muscles were tired so we cut it short and dorked around the arena instead

Tags: horse

one more week


Next week I’ll be making my way to Lisbon in 3 flights, via HK and London. All the major stuff has been organised - Ebony’s just moved to a bigger paddock to chill out for the autumn and might be getting another warmblood friend to share it with. You better behave yourself horse! No injuries while I’m overseas…please

I have been super busy getting everything together and fitting in some riding before I go. Broke in my königs a couple weeks ago, already at repairs for a busted zip. Ah well, nothing trusty cobbler guy can’t handle! He is funny with his tattoos and earrings, you would never think he has a passion for growing flowers :)

So all that’s left to do this week is ride, pack and get psyched to fly solo to Europe! Ebony is improving with each ride, and although I’m stoked with how she’s been going it’s also a bit of a drainer that she’s only just come good and now I have to leave. Though I’m sure we’ll both enjoy our little holidays, I know I’m going to miss her like crazy and we’ll just have to start over again once I’m back. 

the place I’ll call home soon:


I still havn’t really processed yet that I’m leaving, it’s weird to think I’ll be in Lisbon next week. And miss out a whole autumn here. 

I’ll get one day off a week, and I hope to visit this place - the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art at the Queluz Palace. It would be so sick to see these horses in action! I think the instructors where I’ll be working had trained here previously. And it’s not far from where I’m staying!




Ah just look at all those pretty horses :)

In other news, I’ve been really happy living in the new place, for 3 weeks I think now, it’s great. Still can’t even believe my luck (although we did have a scare with the fires a couple weekends ago).

But it’s hard not to love all these luxuries, like pretty curtains and carpet and a coffee machine lol. I watched my first bit of tv last night since mid last year. Something housewives of Melbourne.

And there’s heaps of tomatoes growing in the garden. Free tomatoes!!

It’s also a nice thing to have a table to study at now! Every night I’ve been staying up way too late reading and filling up the moleskine. The more I’m learning the more I just realise how little I know and it stresses me out for a while, but after working through it and then remembering it the next day, I start to feel like I’m getting somewhere. 


I’ll write more soon, it’s 3am and I’m still in a sleep deficit since last week. Stupid sleep wasting my life.

Tags: update blog

I really don’t deserve this horse

Apologies for the blurry photos, I’m working on saving for a nicer camera some day :)

Moved out and in again


hey tumblr

it’s thursday again and it’s been another busy week. I’ve just moved to my father’s partner’s old house, where I’ll be living with my almost stepbrother and sister. parental and rental free.I am so incredibly grateful and lucky!

the new room is a lot smaller but it fits all my stuff perfectly. after a bit of struggle turning the bed around and cleaning the kitchen, it took me under 10 minutes to unload my car and I was all set up.

it’s a little strange living in a place that has furniture now. february has come around a lot quicker than I expected, and the new owners will move in tomorrow. they seem like a nice old couple, and judging by their eagerness to water the garden the other night and then set up a casual late dinner picnic at 10pm, also pretty ready to call it home :)

I’m still getting organised tying up the loose ends before I leave, working and saving money, and riding in the morning/evening. I couldn’t be happier with how ebony’s been going, she improves with every ride and I’ve been working on just getting really nice relaxed paces and slowly building her strength again. last night was by far the best she’s felt since being back in work, and I was so happy with her that I ended it on a very good note with plenty of praise + mane-ruffling. I trimmed her feet, turned her out and called it a day, going home with that high after a ride that went well, and not being able to sleep until 2.30 because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

ice coffee and a book on the train home >


sometimes I have the frustrating habit of letting myself get overwhelmed by how much I don’t know. there seem to be so many ways of training a horse, and whatever book I’m reading at the moment can be open to so many misinterpretations. and as much as any theory can help, I am still at square one when it comes to actually being on a horse and working in accordance to the temperament, the particular mood/sensitivity that day, physical limitations as well as analysing how best to react so that she goes better by the end than when we began.

a really useful statement that I try to keep in mind is from Luis Valença - “we must take what is good and improve it, but not spoil what is there”. common sense, but for me as a novice, easier to say than to do, unless I use my head.

I was looking at some work by a Venezuelan artist who does mathematical illustrations of elements in nature - butterfly helixes and the conical spiral of a shell, and as detailed and painstaking as it looks to create, there are also problems in drawing that can only be solved through simple practical experience. working a horse can relate to that - experimenting, testing, finding the limits, making mistakes and having to go back and work out how to fix them. 


artist Rafael Araujo  >

"there is naturally a learning curve, and as problems are solved, you become more adept, and again, daring."

riding is possibly a bit more objective than drawing, but I suppose with both you are still working within the limits of the medium and there will always be a consistent stream of problems to navigate your way around. overwork one area, become too focussed on one individual detail and you lose sight of the original aim, ruining the work you’ve created in the process. I have been guilty of this so many times, and the regret is one of the worst feelings in the world to me, but can also serve as a useful tool if I try to learn from it. 

peace out

some lunging photos and a rather chuffed mare by the end! <3