This small-scale riding stables is just 30-40 mins drive from Lisbon, situated in an area where you can "get lost in time" and feel the rhythm of a typical old Portuguese village surrounded by vineyards, gorgeous landscapes and mountain views. Joao and Susana welcome guests for tuition on their spectacular Lusitano horses. There is a 15x40m indoor arena and a huge outdoor arena alongside paddocks and stables for their 15 horses. The stables are within easy walking distance of the Campo Real Hotel where you will stay - you have the possibility to use their modern facilities including swimming pools and spa when not in the saddle.
At this dressage centre you will ride Lusitano horses for both dressage and working equitation as the horses have been well trained in both these disciplines. Classical dressage needs no introduction, but working equitation is not a common activity here in the UK. The sport aims to show off and utilise the working capabilities of the Lusitano horse and competitors have to complete a gymkhana type event as well as a dressage test. In this event, rider and horse have to negotiate obstacles such as bridges, gates and jumps. At high levels and in team events, they may also have to work with cattle to split a specific cow from the herd.
Working equitation lessons are available during the spring/summer whereas classical dressage lessons are available all year round. During the lessons you will have the opportunity to try riding Grand Prix exercises such as piaffe and passage on the schoolmaster horses. All lessons are of one hour duration and there is a maximum of two riders in each lesson.
No previous experience of classical dressage is necessary but those who already understand some dressage will get plenty out of this holiday. You do need to be able to ride already (walk, trot and canter) but your dressage experience can range from beginner to experienced.
The instructor, João Batalha, has been teaching classical dressage for more than 6 years in Portugal and other countries in Europe. After several years teaching in one of the most renowned schools and riding holiday centres in Portugal, he now shares his time between teaching exclusively at this stables and competing at national level in Portuguese Equitation and Working Equitation.
Cathy from Far and Ride was lucky enough to ride here in October 2017 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.