This small, family-run equestrian centre offers dressage and jumping tuition with top quality horses and facilities, also acting as a venue for both national and international level competitions. The centre is located approximately 150 km from Lisbon in the central Portuguese region of Santarém and is owned and run by Vitor and his daughter Filipa, a keen competitor on the Portuguese showjumping circuit. Accommodation is provided in their modern guesthouse or one of two private cottages which are decorated in the traditional style, all furnished to a high standard, whilst meals comprise delicious local ingredients served as typical regional dishes. The local wine is also not to be missed! Of course guests also have use of the swimming pool when not in the saddle.
The horses here are Lusitano, some trained up to Grand Prix level dressage. Instructor Joao Cavaco is a dedicated instructor and dressage rider who has trained under many Classical Portuguese masters, as well as with International and Olympic level dressage riders such as Tina Layton and Emile Faurie. Joao has also had the honour of teaching at the famous Contessa school in the UK for the last few years and was recognised for his skill in coaching by the Association of British Riding schools, who awarded him the "Golden Spur Award" in 2016 and 2017. He is a very experienced rider and ensures the continued education and training of each of the riding centre's horses. He speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently.
Filipa is the instructor for the jumping lessons - the horses are Warmblood (KWPN and Selle Francais) that compete in jumping classes up to 1m and, in some cases, are capable of jumping courses up to 1m30. The centre can cater for riders of a novice level right up to intermediate for show jumping and dressage, with a chance to experience many different types of horse. The instructors speak very good English.
After your lessons, you may prefer to ride in the sun on a relaxing hack, along the c. 26km of trails, which lead you through the surrounding pastures and cork woodlands, or into the village close-by. It is possible to switch lessons for hacks and to and take a relaxed stroll along the banks of the Tagus or up above the centre, to enjoy the full panorama of the surrounding countryside.
The area itself is known as a terrific producer of the fabulous Lusitano Horses as well as fine cuisine, delicious olive oil and robust wines. The great river Tagus flows freely through the region and ensures a constant supply of fresh water to help crops, livestock and wildlife flourish. The picturesque town of Golega is located just 45 minutes drive from the centre and is the site for the annual Lusitano horse fair - a true celebration of the breed Portugal has become so famous for. The national Lusitano stud farm at Alter do Chão is also an hour drive from the riding centre and well worth a visit.
Far and Ride team member Natalie has ridden at this destination, including visiting world-famous Golega Horse Fair, and highly recommends their excellent tuition and warm hospitality.
LUSITANO HORSE SALES: For those interested in purchasing a purebred Lusitano horse, these stables can offer viewings and tailored sales advice to help you find the perfect horse for you. Please let us know if this is of interest at the time of booking and we can arrange this for you.
GOLEGA: Golega Horse Fair runs in November and can be incorporated into your stay.