XLII Feira Nacional Do Cavalo Golegã Portugal 2017

Horse Connection Center  made it’s maiden voyage out of the USA to enjoy the WORLD of horses. I have always said that the love of horses transcends all lands, and as I move into another phase of life I hope to bring followers a taste of that universal love. This trip is centered around the XLII Feira Nacional Do Cavalo Golegã Portugal 2017 (National Horse Fair).

Located in the heart of Ribatejo, the town of Golegã is known as the capital of horses. Every year in November it hosts the most important horse fair in Portugal, and also one of the largest horse fairs in Europe. Since most of the national stud farms are present, the Golegã horse fair is a privileged place for the visibility of some of the best purebred Lusitanian horses bred in Portugal. The diversified program of activities includes events such as; horse jumping, gymkhana, horse driving trials, working equitation, a dressage competition including a musical freestyle class and the National Cup of Horseball, among others.

The atmosphere is unique at this fair which spreads out along the streets of Golegã. Entry to the fair is free. Once inside the arches you are entering a whole new world of sights, sounds and smells. The energy in electric. The people are friendly and everyone embraces the festival atmosphere. Be prepared to party, eat, drink, shop, and drool at the beautiful horses that surround you.

Where I stayed…….Quinta M, Casével, Portugal http://www.quinta-m.com/home/en-us

I am enjoying this little slice of heaven here in the village of  Casével. The QUINTA M is a privately owned and operated establishment. There are four yurts, which limits the amount of clients visiting, so your stay is quite and private. Florence, my hostess, anticipated all my needs and took such good care of me. Daily home cooked meals were an absolute treat. The commute to the village of Golegã takes about 20 min. I’m going to say this a lot, use a driver during the weekend! Don’t rent a car. The village chaos is insane and the drivers are worth their weight in gold.

Here are just a few pictures of the QUINTA M and surrounding area. I can’t emphasize enough how lovely the place is. Go to the website for more photos and detailed information. The kitchen is where all the fabulous food is being prepared. The sitting area is where I did all the photo editing, loading to Facebook/Instagram, and am writing the blog. I find it very inspirational to say the least.

Florence provided a special vegetarian recipe that was one of my favorites during the stay.

Lentils Dhal 
– 1 cup of coral lentils
– 1 cup of coconut milk
– 1/2 cup of hot water
– 1 cup of peeled cubes tomatoes
– 2 sweet potatoes
– 1/2 butternut
– 1 handful of mushrooms
– 1 handful of spinach
– 1 onion
– 1 head of garlic
– salt and pepper
– pitch of cumin and turmeric
Cut the sweet potatoes and butternut in cubes, put in a special plate with paper and olive oil, salt and pepper and cook in oven 180º during 15mn.
Cut onion and garlic chopped and brown 2mn with olive oil. Add tomatoes in cubes, water and lentils. Let cook +/-15mn adding coconut milk step by step.
Cut mushrooms and cooked separatly 2 mn with oil. Same for spinach.
Add sweet potatoes, butternut, mushrooms and spinach. Add spices and let cook more 5/10 mn.
Served with a little bit of chopped coriander and enjoy this perfect vegetarian dish.
You can get more of the QUINTA M recipes by following Florence’s blog. The blog is in French, but I’m sure that Florence would translate if you found something you could not live without. http://www.mynaturalife.fr 

The first weekend 11/3 and 11/4……..http://feiradagolega.com/en/program/program-2017/

I arrived with friends the first day to a madhouse of horses, people, cars, vans, carriages the list just goes on. We had rented a car, but fortunately were advised to not take it. The fee to have a driver especially with a group is not expensive. The fee for us (group of 3) was 30 euros per drive.  The driver can get you pretty close, but be prepared to walk. Be prepared for rain, mud, and manure. There are carriages which you can flag down for a ride if you like, but walking is the fastest way. The first weekend is the Jumping, Working Equitation, Endurance, and Driving along with a few other equine related activities. They have recently incorporated a tennis tournament which is also going on. I would advise checking the the link I provided if you plan to go next year. This has all the information you need regarding the fair. Look for the menu bars on the upper right of your screen to see the various items of information. Make sure and change the date to 2018.

Shop till you drop!……No words necessary.

The shopping goes on for miles! Excellent quality and great prices. Equipment, clothes, feed, art, posters, toys, wine and food. Did I mention wine! Two euros per glass and all from the local countryside.

The second weekend 11/9 through 11/11…….http://feiradagolega.com/en/program/program-2017/

The fun continues in full force this weekend with lots of stallion classes. In a nutshell “Eye Candy”. The presentation of the horses was beautiful and the riding was top notch. There were a few exciting moments in the four year old class. A few thrills and spills, but all ended well. There are even more trade fair booths open at this point with custom tailors available to fit you for the absolute perfect polished look. That “look” is a must at all times! You have to be able to “walk the walk and talk the talk”. The gypsies were also present on the peripheral of the fair. Horses, donkeys, and mules were tied to high lines in nearby pastures and campfires were going full force next to old horse drawn wagons. Children on horseback abound!  They are fearless as only children can be. The parents did not seem concerned, but I did plenty of worrying for them. 🙂 The slide show contains some of my favorite stallions and some general shots of characters that caught my eye.

The Golegã Horse Fair is now a wrap. I would recommend this experience on so many levels. It is a never ending dynamic slide show that incorporates all your senses. There is something for everyone!

This trip was a success because of the professionalism and wonderful care I received by two very important people. Florence Goastouet Giordimaina of the QUINTA M and Nuno Ribeiro of High Sun Tourism Experiences. They both deserve 10 star ratings. If you are planning a trip to Golegã, take a moment to reach out.  I also want to thank my friend, Marissa Todd for providing the slideshow photos on the website. If you are interested in purchasing one of her photos, please contact me and I will connect you.

Ariane Rezvani

Ariane Rezvani is owner, editor, and chief bottle washer of Horse Connection Center. A lifelong equestrian and still an active rider, coach and instructor, “I’m combining my love of horses with the love of horses in foreign lands.” You can learn more about Ariane through www.horseconnectioncenter.com or the training website at www.silvercuptraining.com. I’m on Facebook under Ariane Rezvani, Horse Connection Center and Silver Cup Training.  You can follow posts on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005519477262