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Colonial Trail

Overview

Discover the South-Eastern State of Minas Gerais traveling back, as it were, to the colonial times and to the origin of Brazil’s national pride; the Mangalarga Marchador horse. Your journey will be devoted to this very special Brazilian horse, which is derived from cross-breeding Portuguese Alter R…

Highlights

  • Discover Brazil's colonial and gold mining history
  • Ride gaited Mangalarga horses - the pride of Brazil!
  • Meet local people as you ride through Colonial towns
  • Taste the best food and cachaça in Brazil!
  • Enjoy the company of experienced guide Paul Coudneys

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 12 riders per group
  • Average of 19 kilometres riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100 kg / 220 lbs / 15 stone 10 lbs

Description

Discover the South-Eastern State of Minas Gerais traveling back, as it were, to the colonial times and to the origin of Brazil’s national pride; the Mangalarga Marchador horse. Your journey will be devoted to this very special Brazilian horse, which is derived from cross-breeding Portuguese Alter Real horses with Barb horses and local Criollo stock. The result is a horse with four natural gaits: the walk, the canter, and two ambling gaits; the marcha batida and the marcha picada. It is on these horses that you will journey through stunning landscapes along the Estrada Real (Royal Road), visit some of the oldest and best reputed stud farms of the Mangalarga breed. You will ride into colonial towns and stay overnight in splendid, authentic Fazendas and Pousadas dating from the 17th and 18th century.

The state of Minas Gerais was the site of the Brazilian Gold Rush; creating one of the world's longest gold rush periods and the some of the largest gold & diamond mines in the world. To transport all this wealth back to Portugal, a good road had to be built all the way to the coast of Rio de Janeiro, from where it could be shipped to Lisbon. As a result, the Estrada Real was born. The 1600 km royal road, built entirely by slaves, enabled treasure hunters to flock to Minas Gerais in search of precious stones and metals. This was encouraged by the Portuguese crown who were able to collect a "quinto" (a government tax on all gold in Brazil). However, when the monarchy realised that smuggling was increasing, the court established the Estrada Real as a means to monitor the movement of gold and treasure from the mining zone in the late 17th century. The use of older roads and the opening of new highways became prohibited at this time ad so the Estrada Real remains the main thoroughfare to this region.

Over the years, numerous Pousadas and hotels popped up for the Tropeiros (traditional horsemen who transported merchants between cities). There were also collection points set up along the route for payment of taxes. In many cases, these small outposts developed into small towns and villages. And the need arose for a good, fast and comfortable horse to be able to move easily between these gold towns.

Francisco Gabriel Junqueira, Baron of Alfenas, began breeding his imported Lusitano to the mares on his farm (primarily Barbs & Criollo, along with other breeds brought to Brazil). The result was a smooth-gaited, attractive horse which the baron called Sublime. Junqueira sold some of the Sublimes to a friend who had a farm in Paty do Alferes, Rio de Janeiro. The farm's name was Mangalarga, and the owner rode Sublimes to and from Rio de Janeiro. In Rio, people noticed the smooth-gaited, attractive Sublimes and began calling them Mangalargas. Later they added the word “Marchador” , meaning walker, because of its smooth ambling gait.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Saddles used are a traditional Brazilian working saddle, similar to an Australian stock saddle. They are very comfortable for long hours of riding. The horses are ridden in western style bridles, some with snaffle bits and some with curbs instead. Saddle bags are provided in order to carry small personal possessions with you during the riding day.

Horses

Mangalarga Marchador Horses - a smooth, gaited horse suited for long hours in the saddle.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • The Marchador Trail is a trail ride

Ages

12 years (riders aged under 18 must be accompanied by an adult).

Health

Riders should have a good level of fitness and general good health. Ideally, you should be riding regularly, but if you are otherwise active, then this is also acceptable.

Weight

100 kg / 220 lbs / 15 stone 10 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Brazil has a rich & varied cuisine, incorporating a mixture of influences from European, Indian, African and Asian cultures, which is reflected in the way the Brazilians cook. The food of Brazil shadows its diverse population, their habits and customs. Oe could argue that well before the idea of "fusion cuisine" was coined, the Brazilian's were already combining ingredients found from different continents to form a new, typical Brazilian cuisine. You will often find dishes from different countries served during the same meal.

The food on this ride will be varied, often simple, typically home cooked and include many natural, seasonal and home grown ingredients. Staple dishes include rice and beans (Feijão), with lots of meat or fish in sauce and many fresh salads too. In Minas Gerais - were the trail ride will take place - the regional dishes include corn, pork, beans, chicken (including the very typical dish frango com quiabo, or chicken with okra), tutu de feijão (puréed beans mixed with cassava flour), and local soft-ripened traditional cheeses. The region is also well known for making the best Cachaça = a Brazilian sugarcane brandy. In this part of Brazil you can drink water from the tap.

Accommodation

Each night on the trail will be spent in twin, double and triple rooms in traditional colonial era hacienda. The guest rooms are a comfortable standard, with made beds and linens. Most have private bathrooms, but some nights it may be necessary to share. Many of the hacienda are still working farms or coffee plantations and so you will be able to experience the traditional way of life as well as sample some of the delicious products still being produced here.

Itineraries

The Marchador Trail Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

During the ride, you will be taken to visit working farms in order to see how these authentic fazendas still work today. You will see demonstrations of horses from some of the country's best breeding farms, as well as the national museum of Mangalarga horses in order to learn the history of this proud breed, You will also visit a small cheese producer and have the opportunity to swim too.

Unfortunately, non-riding guests cannot be accepted on this trail as you will need to ride between overnight stops.

Travel

Fly in and out of Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo.

You should aim to arrive on a flight landing before 12 noon in order to meet the group pick up and 3 hours transfer to your first night's accommodation.

On departure, you will need to book a flight which takes off after 5 pm - allowing enough time for the return transfers to Sao Paulo.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival in São Paulo – Transfer to Fazenda da Roseta

Riding: No riding.

Pick up at the International airport of Guarulhos in São Paulo and transfer (c.3hrs drive) to Fazenda da Roseta which is located in the countryside outside the town of Baependi in the state of Minas Gerais. The impressive Fazenda da Roseta was build by Baron Maciel in the year 1738. You will be offered a welcome drink and the chance to meet your guides and the assistance team for your trail. Check in to your rooms will be followed by a visit to the stables to meet the horses you will ride during the trail.

Dinner & overnight at the farm.

Day 2 - Fazenda da Roseta – Caixambú – Fazenda da Roseta

Riding: 25 kilometres

After a typical Minas Gerais breakfast, you will begin your first riding day by taking the old Baron bridlepath towards the city of Caxambú. The settlement is well known for its natural mineral waters and you will have a chance to visit a local park that has the largest number of different types of mineral waters in Brazil. Caixambú is also home some very high quality horse breeding stables of the Mangalarga Marchador horses. You will visit one of these breeders, where you will have the opportunity to see some of the best specimens of the breed. In the afternoon, you will return through the beautiful countryside back to Fazenda da Roseta.

Dinner & overnight at Fazenda da Roseta.

Day 3 - Fazenda da Roseta – Fazenda São Sebastião

Riding: 23 kilometres

Another delicious breakfast today will see you ready to set off towards the cradle of the Mangalarga Marchador horse; Cruzília. You will ride along the Estrada Real (the Royal Road), over mountains and through beautiful valleys. In the afternoon you will pay a visit to the National Museum of the Mangalarga Marchador horse. After this interesting and educational stop, you will stop to have a taste some the county’s best cheeses, at the Cruzilia cheese factory. Eventually, you will reach the beautiful colonial farm of São Sebastião, where you will be welcomed by host Dona Maria Isabel. There will be some free time in the afternoon to take a dive in the swimming pool, enjoy a drink before dinner & overnight at the Fazenda São Sebastião.

Day 4 - Fazenda São Sebastião – Fazenda Morro Grande – Fazenda São Sebastião

Riding: 18 kilometres

You will have an early start to the day and set off riding through some fantastic countryside, following ancient parts of the Estrada Real. You will pick up the old bridle paths which will take you to Fazenda Morro Grande, home to several of the top stallions registered in the elite studbook of the Mangalarga horse. The genetics of the horses at this farm are present at many of the main breeding farms of Mangalarga horses throughout Brazil. The grooms of the farm will exhibit their exceptional horses and talk about the breeding and history of the horses. If you want to, you may also have an opportunity to ride one of these beautiful horses!
You will return to São Sebastião via a different trail, with spectacular views of the mountains of Minas Gerais and its coffee plantations. On arrival back at the farm, you can enjoy an aperitif and a swim before dinner and overnight at the farm.

Day 5 - Fazenda São Sebastião – Fazenda São Pedro

Riding: 15 kilometres

Waving a fond farewell to Dona Isabel, you will set off today for another splendid location; Fazenda Sáo Pedro. The ride today will take you along some ancient trails and parts of the Royal Roads too. You will appreciate the stunning country side of southern Minas Gerais while enjoy the smooth ride of your gaited horses. After a great riding day, you will arrive at your destination, Fazenda São Pedro. The colonial farm has been transformed into a splendid and comfortable pousada, whilst remaining in the same family for centuries.  What a privilege to be received by Dona Neuza and her daughter Fabíola. Relax, enjoy a drink and take a swim, before dinner and overnight at Fazenda São Pedro.

Day 6 - Fazenda São Pedro – Fazenda Angaí

Riding: 20 kilometres

Leaving Fazenda São Pedro behind you this morning, you will ride through breathtaking countryside to finally arrive at one of the most important breeding farms of the Mangalarga horse in the country. The 300 year old Fazenda Angaí - where you will be spending the night - is the location of the first Mangalarga Marchador horse that had been registered in the books of the association.  Today will be a very informative day, with discussions on culture and a lot of prose around the horses. You will spend the night at this very important colonial farm.

Day 7 - Fazenda Angaí – Fazenda Norremose

Riding: 15 kilometres

Departing from Fazenda Angaí this morning, you and your horses will set off through the mountains, following ancient bridle paths and dirt roads which cross farms where the history of the Mangalarga Marchador horse is still present today. You will reach your destination for today, at another very important stud farm in the region, called Fazenda Haras Norremose.

Day 8 - Fazenda Norremose - Fazenda Traituba - Fazenda Favacho

Riding: 15 kilometres

After breakfast this morning, you will look forward to enjoying a very special day of riding! Mounted on your purebred Mangalarga Marchador horses, you will travel along stretches of the Estrada Real and continue experiencing the history and culture of Minas Gerais. You will ride towards the Traituba farm, which was built especially to receive the Emperor of Brazil at the time.
After a visit of the imperial farm you will continue the ride until you arrive at the beautiful colonial farm Fazenda Favacho, which was built in 1761. Enjoy an aperitif and farewell dinner at the farm - a last night sleeping in a historic fazenda on the Royal Road.

Day 9 - Fazenda Favacho – Airport São Paulo

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast today, you will say goodbye and depart to the airport of Guarulhos in São Paulo.

Accommodation

2 nights at Fazenda da Roseta,
2 nights at Fazenda São Sebastião,
1 night at Fazenda São Pedro,
1 night at Fazenda Angaí,
1 night at Fazenda Norremose
1 night at Fazenda Favacho

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Riders should be of at least a confident intermediate to experienced riding level; comfortable riding at all paces, in open countryside and on a forward going horse.

Minimum group size 5
Maximum group size 12
Departure windows

June 5, 2021 - June 13, 2021

Sept. 28, 2021 - Oct. 6, 2021

Pricing

2021
Sharing
£2250 $3190 €2620
Included 8 nights shared twin/double room accommodation (some nights with shared bathrooms), all meals from dinner on arrival day until breakfast on departure day, 7 days of riding with an experienced guide, as well as return Sao Paulo airport transfers at set times on arrival and departure.
Not included Flights, transfers outside of set times, travel insurance, drinks, tips and other personal expenses.

Extras

2021 - Single Supplement £420 $600 €490
Paid to Far and Ride
Single rooms are subject to availability - please enquire to confirm.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.