Who are the new Portuguese Dressage Team Trainers?

Mar 01, 2021
Text: Lusitano World · Photos: Rita Fernandes

The Portuguese Equestrian Federation (FEP), presented the last February its new strategic approach for the Dressage Discipline.  As new challenges come up to the Portuguese Dressage Athletes, FEP wants to ‘create a professional, competitive and transparent team’ who can ‘develop the right conditions to promote sustainable and consistent results in the sport of dressage’.

As renewed hopes and expectations arrive with the qualification of the Portuguese Dressage team for 2021 Olympic Games, all stakeholders agree that is mandatory to develop a consistent strategy with a professional, experienced and well-prepared support team! Today we would like to introduce you to the new team players who will be part of this new chapter on the Portuguese dressage scene.



Kyra, Saleh, Canelas are the 3 team trainers appointed across the levels!

Olympian Kyra Kyrklund is the new senior Grand Prix team trainer. Kyrklund has a long-standing connection with Portugal, having trained Daniel Pinto for almost twenty years. In 2010 she already served as team trainer for the Portuguese team at the World Equestrian Games and in 2018 she agreed to the trainer of the High Performance Lusitano Young Horses Dressage Division, a new Lusitano dressage training and development program run in collaboration with the Portuguese Equestrian Federation.

"I think the Portuguese have a very good team spirit" Kyrklund said in a video conference. "Everybody is open and quite honest with each other. I hope I can bring something to the table. Of course with the Olympics it's a question if it's going to happen or not, but it's still an important short-term goal. I like to broaden the whole base of international grand Prix horses and riders that Portugal has." 

Kyrklund highlighted: "I want to give new riders an honest chance to get better and better and get into the team. This is important. I know the economics in Portugal are not that good, but some how we have to inspire the riders to try to keep their horses and be able to continue to compete internationally. I think you have nice horses and nice riders. The Portuguese have already shown the last few years that they are storming forward in the dressage world."

For Luís Faísca, national selector, the option of Kyra Kyrklund was obvious: "of course we are extremely proud that most of the horses that can be qualified for the Olympics are Lusitanos – and we are aware Kyra is very familiar with this breed. However we’ve invited Kyra not because of her proximity with the breed but due to her worldwide recognized training skills." When questioned about the uncertainty of the travelling possibilities of the new trainer, Faísca clarified "in case Kyra can’t travel to Portugal we already arranged a video conference system that will allow to keep up with the training calendar at distance."


French 5* dressage judge Raphael Saleh, who is also familiar with Portugal and its' riders, has accepted the post of team trainer for the Young Riders and Under 25 Grand Prix riders.

Finally, the Portuguese International Grand Prix rider Filipe Canelas Pinto is the team trainer for the Children, Pony and Junior riders. 


Technical Staff

A solid structure has been created with a proper technical staff that will lead Portuguese Dressage within the new challenges they will face. The national team selector across the levels will be Luís Faisca. As part of the medical staff, João Paulo Almeida has been appointed team doctor and Luís Lamas team veterinarian. 


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