Hooking my thoroughbred up to the cross ties on my tip toes, he watches me patiently knowing the routine all too well. Lacing the bridal around his perky ears he nicks at my tee shirt and I laugh. I pat the bridge of his nose to ease in the bit, his tongue plays and plays with that thing like an old lady without her dentures. One two three, heave! I thrust the heavy saddle over his back high up at 17 hands, almost loosing my footing. Stretching the leather, it groans against my pull as I secure the girth straps.
A sparrow jets out of the rafters when I throw open the great big sliding door, spring sun light fills the space. My horse winnies at his buddies in the pasture outside, kicks up his front leg, raring to go.
The magical relationship of a girl and her horse is something. The strong muscular body of the animal, the gentle affection of the rider, her hair blowing behind with each canter step. It’s a stage set for a fairy tale every time. Once you’ve experienced the love for a horse, the freedom of jumping them, the smells of the barn, the leather, the widened of the barn, its raw beams with birds busy in between the rafters…it’s something that sticks with you. No wonder this family chose to turn a two building stall quarters into their tranquil vacation home in Portugal.
Lisbon studio Atelier DATA kept the familiar barn trusses, left the rest of the wood ceiling exposed and painted it white. Rather than one front door, multiple doorways where individual stalls once opened gives an airy feel, doing away with a distinct separation of indoors and outside. The grand alleyway justifies the center of the building, as in all horse barns. Previously used to tack up the horse, by the uses of cross ties from either side of the hall clipped to the bridal. This standard design keeps a stable running efficient, and in this case, makes for a harmonious floor plan.
Furnishings are minimal, mostly pure white, simple satisfying, continuing the peaceful ambiance. Reflections of the day have the patter of horse hooves running into the ground, their wild spunk to roll in the dirt reminds us to let go and relax in their shadows from the past.