Dr. Hilary Clayton and Dressage Today’s Patricia Lasko Visit Interagro Lusitanos in Brazil
Itapira, Brazil (June 4, 2012) – Interagro Lusitanos regularly hosts riders, trainers, clients, photographers, and Lusitano aficionados who are drawn to the horses, history, and breathtaking natural beauty of the 1200-acre farm outside of São Paulo in Brazil. Most recently the names on Interagro’s guest list included Dr. Hilary Clayton, the world-renowned equine biomechanics expert, and Patricia Lasko, the editor of Dressage Today magazine. Lasko and Dr. Clayton spent their week at Interagro immersing themselves in every aspect of the Lusitano horses while simultaneously enjoying the Brazilian hospitality and breathtaking scenery of Interagro.
Dr. Clayton, a veterinarian, author, and equestrian revered for her research on the biomechanics of the equine gait, was a keynote speaker at the Il Caballiana veterinary seminar in Itupeva, Brazil on April 21-22, 2012. But before heading to the seminar, Dr. Clayton indulged her passion for the Lusitano horse with a stay at Interagro Lusitanos, the largest breeder and exporter of Lusitano horses in the world. Dr Clayton’s visit coincided with Patricia Lasko’s, the current editor of Dressage Today, the world’s foremost magazine dedicated to the discipline of dressage, the riders, and training the horse.
The two equestrian icons spent their days at Interagro riding stallions through the tropical foliage, visiting the yearlings out in the fields, and trying their hand at Working Equitation, a discipline created to promote the different types of equitation techniques used when working horses in the fields, on farms, and with livestock. In fact, both Dr. Clayton and Lasko put in impressive performances in the working equitation arena.
“Interagro is a heavenly place for horses as well as people,” said Lasko. “The care and dedication of the owners and staff for the well-being of the horses is wonderful to see and experience firsthand. It’s just a great energy there; I don’t know who was having more fun, the horses or the humans!” Lasko also said she particularly enjoyed riding through the farm on a Lusitano stallion, coming upon one amazing sight after another from beautiful vistas to herds of curious yearlings crowding the fences. “The stallions were so quiet and mannerly in the stable, they seemed to enjoy our attention and wanted more,” said Lasko. “The Lusitano is a real ‘people’ horse. They are incredible to ride because of their easygoing natures, their power, and their natural ability to collect. I want one!”
Dr. Clayton had similar feelings about Interagro and the horses, saying, “The farm is absolutely beautiful and I was particularly impressed by the horse-friendly design of the stables and facilities. I got the impression that the welfare of the horses is paramount. Everyday brought a new highlight, from mounted hacks to carriage rides around the farm. I had never ridden working equitation before, so it was great fun to give it a try on a horse that knew what he was doing. But I think the greatest thrill was to see horses living out in the pastures in large groups, especially the young stallions, and being able to walk among them.”
Dr. Clayton was an admirer of the athletic talents of the Lusitano before coming to Interagro, and actually purchased a 4-year-old Luistano gelding earlier in 2012. “My time at Interagro was very interesting, especially seeing the effects of different bloodlines,” said Clayton. “I was able to look at several full siblings and half siblings as well as their sires and dams, and to see how different traits were expressed across the generations. Since I’m interested in conformation and movement, it was a treat to be able to study and compare so many related horses.”
“We were very pleased to have Dr. Clayton and Mrs. Lasko experience Interagro,” said Cecilia Gonzaga, Managing Director of Interagro Lusitanos. “We are passionate about the Lusitano and how versatile they are, from competing in upper level dressage all around the world, to four-in-hand driving to, of course, excelling in working equitation. Nothing is as wonderful to me as sharing my horses with others who appreciate their beauty, athleticism, and unique temperaments. To have professionals like Hilary and Patty come to Brazil and experience our Lusitanos firsthand was an unparalleled thrill for Interagro.”
Interagro Lusitanos also hosts The Lusitano Collection® International Horse Auction and the Interagro Collection National Horse Auction each year, giving prospective buyers a chance to select their perfect Lusitano. The auctions are always action-packed events, featuring exhibition rides and a showcase of the sale horses taking part in the auction. The Lusitano Collection® usually features young horses under saddle, while the National Auction features young foals and weanlings; this year, both auctions will be combined into one dynamic auction with a selection of trained, mature horses and younger prospects. The Interagro National Auction and Lusitano Collection will be hosted on August 25, 2012 at Interagro Lusitanos, with special guest Rocas do Vouga, Interagro’s partner for the Lusitano Collection.
To learn more about Interagro Lusitanos, visit their website at www.lusitano-interagro.com
About Interagro Lusitanos
Founded in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga to preserve the Lusitano breed, Interagro Lusitanos is now recognized as the world’s largest breeder and exporter of Lusitano horses. Dr. Gonzaga started with a small band of four mares and one stallion imported to Brazil from the breed’s native Portugal; to date nearly 800 horses populate the 1200-acre ranch outside São Paulo. Today, Cecilia Gonzaga manages the farm and operations. Interagro Lusitanos are handled, prepared, and evaluated from birth, with a handful of the best stock presented at auction each year.
Photo: Dr. Hilary Clayton, famed equine biomechanics expert, practices her skill on the working equitation course at Interagro Lusitanos in Brazil. (Photo courtesy of Interagro Lusitanos)