Some trips for photoshoots just qualify as “special” experiences – perhaps when the setting, models and light all come together, or when we get to see a new, beautiful location. This was definitely the case with our visit to the stud farm of Pedro Sousa Vieira in Alentejo, northern Portugal last spring, called ‘Zambujal’.
We arrived in Alentejo having spent a lovely week near Lisbon, and the day we arrived we felt a little disoriented – somehow dislocated, stuck in the middle of nowhere, having been staying in a town by the sea and not far from Lisbon. I remember thinking ‘why did we come here again??’. It felt VERY quiet and remote after the charm and hectic of a small town.
The evening of our arrival we headed to Zambujal to meet Pedro for the first time. As we drove through the acres of beautiful farmland, we were awestruck by the beauty and uniqueness of the landscape – undulating hills dotted with trees, small lakes and big rock boulders. As we got closer to Pedro’s house on the hill, we spotted the first few Lusitano horses, and we realised why we were there. The horses were grazing peacefully, in harmony with the natural paradise that is their home. Stunning!
It was wonderful to capture the mares and their young foals, something we’ve never been able to do in this way in UK – some of the foals were just 10-14 days old, nervous and curious. The stallion, Regente, also bred by Pedro and now 20 years old, was also living out with the herd and we loved is slightly unkept, wild appearance. Over the next day we were also treated to two lively young stallions strutting their stuff ‘at liberty’ in Pedro’s walled garden – an amazing sight to photograph. Finally, the day we left, we got up early and headed back for one last hour, to capture some of the young herd amongst the poppies around the house – some of my favourite images came from this time, with the vibrant red colour of the poppies complimenting the coats of the young horses with their classically broad ‘Iberian’ heads.
An amazing experience – we hope you enjoy looking through the photographs! Feel free to share this post if you want to.
Many thanks to Pedro for giving us his time and beautiful location and horses, and to Sherene Rahmatallah of Sussex Lusitanos for putting us in contact with Pedro.