Party Piaffe:
Birthday Celebrations
with Equestrian style

27 September 2016

On a starlit velvet night, we fall silent as through the gates charge proud stallions ridden by elegant riders... torches in their right hands. It is quite a sight as they spill into the arena forming a cantering circle in front of us, you can feel the heat from the torches and the heavy beat of the music pulsates through our bodies - the working equitation fire show begins. A thrilling display made even more so by the closeness and knowledge it was just for us.


It’s all part of the entertainment at Danish Business man Niels Zibrandtsens’ 60th birthday party. He is a man that knows how to have fun and celebrate in style, and his weekend party was no exception! 


Increasingly we are seeing horses forming a greater part of our lifestyle. Horses are everywhere. In advertising, marketing, fashion shoots, dramatic artwork on our walls and they are almost seen as a stylish lifestyle ‘must have’ in some form or another. 


Certainly in our business we are receiving many requests for combined events and weddings in which our equine friends are playing an important part of the day.


A few years earlier, Niels and his wife Lisbeth took a trip to Portugal to take classical dressage lessons on Lusitanos.

They were so captivated by their experience they bought a farm with the intention to develop a business in eco tourism with Lusitanos at the heart.The initial plan is well underway with Quinta da Varzea taking shape under the watchful eye of their talented farm and equestrian manager Nadja Maria, who is also Danish.  


Niels decided for his birthday he couldn’t think of anything better than to show his family and friends their project and give everyone an authentic experience of Portuguese equestrian culture. 


The 80 guests were greeted by waiters serving champagne and canapés, but the equine entertainment was without a doubt the major ‘wow’ factor. How could it not be with the stylish pair of grey Lusitanos and handsome driver in the beautiful carriage to give them rides around the farm, followed by a ‘Private’ show from one of the four most famous classical equestrian schools in the world - The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. 


Guests lined the arena as the riders in wine velvet coats and ribbon braided bay Alter horses dazzled with a pas de deux, caprioles, levade, pirouettes and a stunning carousel. The elegance and grandeur of the school not lost being performed away from their home in Belem, Lisbon. 

“Our equine partners bring that extra special something into our lives in so many ways. Long may they continue to enthral us and put a little skip in our hearts - after all, two hearts are better than one.”

After the show, dinner was served in a beautiful open sided marquee overlooking the old house and gardens.

It was a Portugues-style barbecue interspersed with Danish style speeches and toasts. At dessert, the Fado singers appeared accompanied with two guitarists to perform their laments of love, Lisbon, the sea and life of the poor. 


It’s a mournful sound with a sense of longing that cannot help but touch the soul, but this handsome Fado group have a lightness to their songs and they perform them in true showmen style  - everyone’s captivated. Even the riders on their horses waiting to perform the working equitation display join us to form a respectful line along the front of the marquee, creating quite an atmosphere of old Portugal.


At the last note, the guests follow the riders to the arena where they performed their jaw dropping show culminating in the fire performance. It’s an energising spectacle that puts everyone perfectly in the mood to dance the night away to a talented Danish Band, flown over especially to entertain them.


Everyone returned to Denmark feeling satisfied with few days they will never forget.


I believe all of us love to know that some of the World’s traditions are very much alive and still giving us all so much pleasure. What’s more there is no doubt that we are destined to see more equestrian entertainments in our events. 


Our equine partners bring that extra special something into our lives in so many ways. Long may they continue to enthral us and put a little skip in our hearts - after all, two hearts are better than one.


My thanks to Niels and Lisbeth for allowing me to give a glimpse into their fabulous weekend at Quinta da Varzea.


Text by Teresa Burton - Lusitano Horse Finder 

Photography by Lena Saugen Photography