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Show Trunk Secrets – with Luca Ferreira

Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Show Trunk Secrets

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Luis Ferreira. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Portuguese groom Luis Ferreira, better known as Luca, has worked for Brazilian top rider Pedro Veniss since July 2013 and here he reveals some of his best kept secrets of the trade. “Pedro is a typical Brazilian,” Luca smiles. “We have a special relationship – he is not only a rider for me but also a friend. If I have something to tell him about the horses or if I have some opinions, I know I can always go to him and tell him.”

Ring refinement and tack

“It depends on the horse, I have my small things that I do – nothing too special,” Luca starts. “When I need to plait, I do that first and then I brush them. Pedro actually doesn’t like me to plait them too often; if the mane is on one side, it is enough for him. This makes my life a bit easier! I have a new blanket from Bemer, but I don’t use it with all the horses -  normally just on my two mares,” he goes on to explain the routines for getting the horses ready for the ring. “Pedro is a special rider in my opinion; he has lot of feeling, but he does not believe too much in any special things. We use very normal boots for the horses, from Zandona. Since we are sponsored by Hermès, our bridles and saddles are from them.”

And after jumping? “I use ice after jumping, again depending on the horses. I believe that the horses need to know when they are doing a good job; so when they give us their 100% I think we also need to help them 100%. After jumping I also use bandages at night and sometimes I also add Traumeel and Tendonil.”

Any must-haves in the ring bag? “When it comes to the ring bag – sometimes I get surprised; Pedro can all of the sudden want something that we have used months ago – and then I need to run!” Luca laughs. “Normally I take the horse to the warm-up 20 horses before, depending on the horse he is riding. If we are jumping on grass, for the stallions I always put the studs already in the box and for the other ones in the ring. I prefer to do this with the stallions, I think it is safer that way. I know my stallion, Quabri de L’Isle, for a long time. He is a little bit special and he has a very strong character. So I try to keep safe with him, and stay away from other horses. There are some horses he especially doesn’t like.”

Luca likes to keep his horses clipped. “I think it makes working easier. What I don’t like to do too much, is to wash them. I don’t want to do that, also because of the feet; I think it is not good for them. Instead of washing a lot I prefer to brush the horses properly.”

When it comes to setting up the stables at shows, you need to know what your horses need. “I have a special stallion, so I try to keep him a bit away from the other horses and separate the geldings and mares, keeping the mares as far from the stallions as possible,” Luca tells us. “What is most important for me at the shows, is to be in time. I think that if my job is well done, it makes the life of the riders easy – and I think this is the same for every groom. And when your horse goes well in the ring, it is a good feeling when you see that.”

Feeding and keeping fit

“Our horses eat food from Reverdy, and there are three options for the energy levels. We feed three times a day. At home we only give hay two times a day but at shows I also give them hay at night check. We use a supplement for the muscles, Equitop Myoplast, and I think it works really well. I also give the horses electrolytes, but for the rest we don’t use a lot of supplements,” Luca says about their feeding routines.

“When we are at home, we start at seven in the morning with giving the horses hay,” he tells about the schedule for a normal day. “Then Pedro arrives between nine and nine thirty and rides all the horses. Normally by 5.30 in the afternoon we are ready. We are now based at the Polo Club in Barcelona. We take the horses out two times a day, one time riding and one time hand walk or longing.”


“For traveling I use four bandages and for some of the horse also travel boots on top of the bandages on hind legs,” Luca tells us. “I have one special mare – Anaya - who has to travel alone in the trailer and unlike other horses, she also gets hay all the time while traveling.  I believe that you have to do whatever your horse needs and you have to adapt to each horse,” he continues. “I prefer to drive during the day. If it is very warm, I stop to give them water but I prefer not to feed them on the truck.”

“I have no favorite products, really,” Luca closes off. “What I never leave to the show without is my phone! And if I can: I wish I could always take my daughter with me.”

Text and pictures © World of Showjumping

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