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Rodrigo Costa Matos - Head Dressage Instructor of Morgado Lusitano and Principal Rider of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art
The following is written by Candace Platz ,DVM
Equine Practitioner and USDF Certified Instructor/Trainer
Rodrigio Matos is a gifted rider who was born in a county where exceptional horses and talents are recognized and nurtured. Rodrigo began riding at an early age, and his skills quickly became apparent to those who watched him communicate with horses.
His training began in earnest at the Morgado Lusitano facility in Lisbon, where he was schooled under the talented Mr. Nuno Palma. It was under Mr. Palma's guidance that Rodrigo's talents grew, and when a position at the esteemed Escola Portuguesa d' Arte Equestre (The Portuguese version of The Spanish Riding School of Vienna) became available, Rodrigo was selected. In the fourteen years since then, his talents have matured under the watchful eye of modern day Masters.
He currently trains under Maestro Dr. Filipe Figueiredo (Graciosa) and works daily with stallions from the Altar Real stud farm. These beautiful horses are started using traditional methods and then carefully evaluated to determine which discipline their temperament best suits them for. Classical training methods require the utmost in tact, patience, and skill. Working with a young horse for an hour a day for several years is not uncommon, and by the time Rodrigo has a horse ready for the exhibition, he may have thousands of training hours invested. The Stallions he works with are used in the equestrian exhibits at the Palacio National, and shown at the highest levels. Rodrigo is proficient at teaching and riding maneuvers such as the Piaffe, Passage and Long-reins-in-hand. He also performs the most demanding high school airs, including the Capriole, Levade and Corvetta. During these shows Rodrigo also works with the other Picadores as part of a ten rider Quadrille.
“I ask riders of the educational clinics that I host world wide to bring what ever problem you may be having with their horse to the clinic and we can work together, the three of us, to bring the horse and rider into a more harmonious relationship.”
Rodrigo has a wealth of experience teaching horses, but his skills do not stop there. He has become the head riding master for the facility he once schooled under, Morgado Lusitano. This position enables him to refine his "people" skills as well, because not only is he responsible for the training of up to 35 horses a day, he is also in charge or the other assistant trainers and student trainees at the facility. These student trainees come from all over the world, and have varying degrees of riding proficiency. Rodrigo also personally teaches guest riders who visit to improve their riding skills. To more effectively communicate with them, Rodrigo has become fluent in English and in other languages. This broad base of experience assures that when he is involved with a client he is able to work with both the rider and the horse to achieve the desired Classical goals. In addition to his work in Portugal, Rodrigo travels worldwide offering classical horsemanship clinics to discriminating riders.
“When you are ready and considering a move to a more advanced movement, we can work on that with different approaches. As each horse is different and some techniques work better than others, let us discover together which approach is best.”
Rodrigo Matos is somewhat unique in that he actually encourages students to question him about his teaching methods. He says this allows him to discuss in more detail the intricacies of the movements, as well as allow the student to gain respect for his knowledge. Rodrigo rarely gets angry or raises his voice at his students, but you can be sure that what he says both the horse and the human will understand. And while you might think his expertise would make him aloof or difficult to approach, nothing could be further from the truth. He is genuinely interested in helping his students learn and this quality appreciated by his students. He is keenly aware of the many different backgrounds his students have. For example, many clients come with Natural Horsemanship ideas, and Rodrigo embraces this and other types of training as an important part of a students learning process.
He respects and has an open mind toward the ideas of others, because he feels that there are many different levels of horsemanship. Although he is a somewhat quiet man who is most comfortable around horses, this trait ensures that the words he speaks are meaningful. Best of all, while you will benefit from what he says, you will also learn by watching him ride!