Dressage Masterclass with Pedro Torres

Riding is a dance; however, horse and rider have to listen to the same music — These are the words of Portuguese rider, trainer and horseman Pedro Torres, whose name has become synonymous with the world of Working Equitation (WE). With multiple World, European and National Championship titlesunder his belt, he is the most successful rider and a living legend in the history of the sport. After much success with WE, Pedro is now making waves in the Dressage world.

Pedro Torres is what you would call a true all-round talent. Most of you will associate him with the sport of Working Equitation, but did you know that he also represented Portugal at the 2007 European Dressage Championships and loves a bit of jumping in his training?

Pedro’s big passion is horses and developing a partnership with them, and that also means looking beyond his chosen discipline to find the best techniques. In his own words, “I do any kind of competition, it is what I do. I like all equestrian disciplines.” He is a rider first and foremost, and rides the discipline his horse tells him to ride, or that he feels the horse has the most potential for.

There are many similarities in the training of dressage, jumping and Working Equitation horses and identifying these is part of Pedro’s philosophy. He describes Working Equitation (WE) as the most complete sport and technically more challenging than Grand Prix dressage. And he must know, after all, the Portuguese rider has won multiple World and European Championships in WE and has influenced the image of the sport significantly. No combination has been more successful than Pedro and his imposing Lusitano stallion Oxidado, who is loved and admired by fans around the world.

Pedro himself is a great admirer of Carl Hester and his riding style and he seeks out five-time Olympian Kyra Kyrklund and her partner Richard White for advice on his dressage training. Several top ten placings in recent international CDI2* and 3* Grand Prix competitions see his name included in the FEI Dressage ranking lists.

But while he has two very talented dressage prospects in his stable, the Lusitanos Ahoto and Csar, Pedro has no ambitions to qualify for the next Olympic Games. His own riding goals are simple, “To ride better. This is what I want to do. Ride better, understand the horses better, find better techniques. And this is what I want to do with the rest of my life. I don’t have the goal to go to the Olympic Games, I want to spend my days developing new techniques and understand the movement, the muscles, the tendons — this really is my passion. My goal is to see if I can ride better.”

Pedro’s training techniques are in high demand around the world. Riders from Germany, France, Portugal, Sweden, Russia, Mexico and the United States seek his help in “normal” riding, dressage or Working Equitation. His approach of adapting to the horse’s personality and abilities, and analysing how the rider can help the horse is what makes him such a wonderful trainer and rider.

“Riding is a dance, but horse and rider have to listen to the same music,” Pedro says. His training philosophy comes from years and years spent riding and teaching different horses, from small stables to some of the most renowned establishments for classical horsemanship and equestrian art, such as the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Many of Portugal’s most successful international competition riders have come from the Portuguese School – Gonçalo Cavalho, Miguel Ralao, Daniel and Carlos Pinto, Luis Valenca, Nuno Palma, to name a few.

Pedro spent seven years at the Portuguese School, perfecting the classical equitation and dressage exercises from the ground and the saddle. Riders of the Portuguese School learn a lot about the importance of obtaining perfect balance in the horse’s and rider’s body for movements like the passage, levade or capriole.

The School exclusively works with Lusitano horses; the breed is known to be flashy and bold, but they are also very sensitive horses. Today’s Warmbloods are a lot closer to the Lusitano in temperament Pedro says.

“The right training prepares horses and riders slowly for the next step in their education. If you force too much in the beginning it just becomes frustrating when they don’t do what you ask, because they are not ready. The most important advice is to be patient and to try to understand. Don’t try to make big steps, try to make solid steps,” he cautions.

Are you curious about what you can learn from Pedro Torres? Then don’t miss the Dressage Masterclass and Education Sessions with the Portuguese Master!


Aqualuma Grand Pavilion
Friday 9:30am - 12:30pm - Dressage Masterclass with Pedro Torres