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Because of Horses

Jun 8, 2018

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses is Sofia Valenca and her father, Master Luis Valenca. The Valenca family name is known throughout Portugal (and the world) for its legendary horsemanship and for the family’s gorgeous equestrian center, with its focus on continuing the centuries-old Portuguese Equestrian Art. 


Sofia has spent her life traveling the world, performing in the Gala of the Royal Horses, Equitana, and the Apasionata, to name just a few. She also manages her family’s equestrian center just outside Lisbon, Portugal, and oversees their Valenca Equestrian Tours.


Master Luis Valenca apprenticed under the incomparable Master Nuno Oliveira, as well as Master da Cunha Menezes, Portugal’s royal family’s horse-master. As well, Master Luis is an honorary member of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and has received many extraordinary awards, including the revered title of Mestre or Master.


This episode, Sofia, Master Luis, and Elise discuss the Valenca family's traditions and insights involving horses; their renowned Valenca Method; a day in Sofia's wildly demanding life; the programs available at the family’s equestrian center; and their tight-knit family's philosophy of caring and connecting with the horses – and the fortunate riders – they train.


Topics of Discussion:

[:46] About Elise’s guest today, Sofia Valenca.

[1:08] Sofia and Master Luis reminisce about the tradition of having to earn your first horse to train.

[5:36] Sofia’s family’s philosophies on horses and how they have guided her own life.

[9:27] How riding is unlike any other sport — especially for the Valenca family.

[11:31] Reading listener feedback!

[13:05] What it was like for the tight-knit Valenca family to grow up together sharing the same love for horses.

[18:44] What it is like for Sofia to see her daughter following in her footsteps and continuing the Valenca legacy.

[21:18] Sofia’s memories from her first international debut in 1997 in Germany, carrying the Portuguese flag.

[22:37] A day in Sofia’s life, balancing work between the Royal Horse Gala and her family’s equestrian center.

[28:33] The principles of the Valenca Method.

[31:40] Why groundwork is essential for developing the relationship and communication between horse and rider.

[36:17] All about Valenca Equestrian Tours and an example of a week in the program.

[40:48] The options available to non-riding partners and family members who come along on Valenca Equestrian Tours.

[44:53] A preview of next week’s Because of Horses episode!

[45:10] The beauty of Portugal and it's lovely culture.

[46:43] Where to learn more about the Valenca family.


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Discover More About this Week’s Guest — Sofia Valenca

Websites: The Valenca Method and The Valenca Equestrian Tours

Social Media: Facebook



Mentioned in this Episode:

The Valenca Method

The Valenca Equestrian Tours

The Gala of the Royal Horses


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