The first Vimeiro Jumping Show was organized in 1979 by Carlos Belchior and a group of his friends.
The complete lack of infrastructures and the bad weather – it poured down on the previous day – made it imperious to perform the show in the golf-links; this decision pleased the riders but raised a strong protest among the golf players who were prevented frrom using one of the main “holes” for several weeks.
Notwithstanding these mischances, the natural beauty, people’s hospitality, the good and socializing ambience at Golf Mar Hotel , the presence of the best riders of that time and Major Joaquim Simões Pereira’s great experience have contributed to turn that competition into a considerable success.
However, this first experience was not motivating enough to the organizers and a period of six years has elapsed without any other hippic events there; only in 1985, some zealots have decided to repeat that experience and this time without interruption until our days.
However, those first years were not easy. The clay field where the competitions took place was terrible, everything was done in an off-hand way, the horse shelters were poor and Mafra’s Military Centre was requested to lend its obstacles and other required equipment. But this competition became famous and important and the infrastructures were significantly improved along the years: a grassed arena, with a soft and flexible pavement which took four years to be consolidated and is now considered to be one of the best in our country, an excellent training arena, boxes for the horses, toilet rooms, extensive areas ready to receive removable boxes, parking places for trucks and trailers, a diversity of obstacles , namely the famous mills which caused great fear at the beginning, etc.
It remained for the history the theft of the bell in 1985. It was a brass bell , a historical relic of Mafra’s Military Centre, which had been borrowed to be used by the Ground Jury and was stollen on the first day of the competition. The GNR was called and all the conners, trailers and trucks were searched. The case was also reported to the Police, who carried out an investigation and questionings but the bell was traceless. It was finally found some weeks later in a horse box at Quinta da Marinha in Cascais. No-one Knows who came up with such a bad joke.
As time went by and with everyday improvements,Vimeiro’s show jumping became one of the main events of our national agenda and including, at times, the participation of foreign riders who have always praised it highly.
Over and above its Show Jumping, Vimeiro is located in a countryside of great beauty, it can offer pleasant leisure time and many foreign riders who were accompanied by their families have seized the opportunity to spend a few extra days in our country.
Since October 2001 this Enterprise received a long-awaited breath of fresh air, from new shareholders and a new Board . The improvements taht were introduced have turned what used to be good into very good and one can easily antecipate that the Show Jumping of Vimeiro will soon become one of the best at international level.
Text by Pedro Dória
Note from “Empresa das Águas do Vimeiro”: The reputation of the Vimeiro Show Jumping within the Portuguese hippic community is largely due to the precious dedication of Eng. Pedro Dória for the past two decades.