The theatre man, artist, horse trainer – the man behind Appasionata



A 30 minutes drive outside Lisboa lives the classical master and artist MESTRO LUIS VALENCA. The man behind the world’s most spectacular horse show: Appasionata, and one out of four trainers having been rewarded the spectacular title “Master of Equestrian Art” .


Valenca has been the most important advocates of the Lusitano as a “show horse” in modern time, and he has devoted his life to horse shows, theatre life and education of horses and riders.
At home he has built an oasis of his own – a horse paradise, away from the modern world. Here you can find stocks of costumes, a horse museum and a traditional training area, comprising old paintings, mosaic art, gold decorations, i.e. everything belonging to a honourable and classical horse world. EQUILIFE visited Valenca at home in Portugal – a visit that turned out to be a life experience.

Old Times

We arrive at an early Friday morning. The white- and yellow painted riding stables form a long row, and curious horses are looking at us from the doors facing the yard. Flowers of so many colours are climbing the walls, while some of the stallions are welcoming us. To the left we find a huge in-door show arena, with audience facilities and a large, separated show ring.



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Luisa Valença


Ana Luisa Vasconcelos Matias Valença Rodrigues – Bi to my friends

I’m a Portuguese citizen born in Lisbon but early on I became become a citizen of the world, traveling around the globe with my family and my horses …

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Inês Valença Câncio


Inês began her riding career at the age of three. Her public debut was in the show perfromed by the Centro Equestre da Lezíria Grande at the Golegã Horse Fair. She did a Pas 3 with her mother and grandfather, as well as a solo. She hasn’t stopped since then! Inês has been in hundreds of shows in Portugal and abroad as part of the CELG cast of riders.

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Luis Valenca and Sultao at age 27

By the time this video was made the legendary Sultao was already in retirement. Yet here he is in the long lines still able to canter backward, do Spanish walk backward, and perform what Valenca likes to call a little “Fantasy”.

The love between horse and man is evident here.

Valenca on Equestrian Art

Worth watching. Even if you don’t speak French. What Mestre Valenca is saying here is that equestrian art is based on three things.

Love, Beauty and the Elegance and Kindness of the horses natural movement.

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Ana Filipa de Vasconcelos Matias Valença Rodrigues

From an early age, horses have been a dominant feature in Filipa Valença´s life. The eldest of a Master Horse rider, she learnt the art when she was almost still a toddler, under the influence of her Father, her Godfather – Fernando Ralão – and Master Emílio Mota.

Following the ‘hard’ years of the Carnation revolution in Portugal, the family headed to the Canary Islands where Filipa, alongside her Father, rode the horses of the ‘Tauro Country Club’ show.

Her debut in presenting show horses was at the age of 6, first at the Fair in Santarém and afterwards at the Fair in Golegã.

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