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Doñana Dressage

Overview

The Doñana national park is a paradise for horses and horse lovers. As one of the most important wetlands of continental Europe, the region is well conserved and steeped in rich cultural heritage. Situated between the provinces of Huelva, Seville and Cadiz, Doñana is now a labyrinth of tracks and w…

Highlights

  • Ride impeccably schooled and well-cared for horses
  • Experience riding down the unique streets of El Rocio
  • Enjoy the stunning, modern Spanish style accommodation
  • Patient & kind instructors with years of experience
  • Discover the stunning Doñana National Park

Essential Facts

  • 3 itineraries available
  • Max 8 riders per group (10 in camp)
  • Average of 1 - 2 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90 kg/ 198lbs / 14st 3lbs

Description

The Doñana national park is a paradise for horses and horse lovers. As one of the most important wetlands of continental Europe, the region is well conserved and steeped in rich cultural heritage. Situated between the provinces of Huelva, Seville and Cadiz, Doñana is now a labyrinth of tracks and waterways which have shaped marshes, ponds and streams, interspersed with native pine forests, sand dunes, beaches and spectacular cliffs too. This range of habitats offers a diverse home for many rare and endangered species of birdlife. All this ends in miles of beautiful and pristine white sand beaches stretching between Matalascanas and the mouth of the Guadalquivir river.

However, above all this is a place where the horse is still king! Within the park boundary there are still over a thousand wild horses living free - the native Marismeña breed; the ancient ancestor of the horses first taken to the new world by Spanish conquistadors, as well as being one of the founding breeds of the modern Andalucian horse.

In this glorious setting Jose Manuel Jimenez has realised his dreams and is now offering some wonderful programmes at his new equestrian centre which is located on the outskirts of El Rocio. This is a town like no other and perfectly suited to horse riders and not cars! The town is close to the coast and only an hour from Seville. The roads here are sand and you will see horses and riders making the most of the sandy open roads. Everywhere here has been made easy for the horse riders including bars with raised tables to put your glass on when you are sitting on your horse enjoying your drink. There are horses everywhere!

José Manuel studied early with a dressage master. He also studied for a degree in Environmental Science which proved invaluable when he worked as a guide in the park showing visitors around this fantastic place with its diverse terrain and amazing flora and fauna. However his passion for horses and dressage took over, so he returned to training horses and riders. He instructed for many years at La Donaira but his heart remained in the Doñana park and so he returned home. Now he has his own business and dressage centre in the centre of the park Here you can ride on well-trained Spanish horses, PRE (Pura Raza Espanola), PRE crossings and Lusitanos. There are around 14 horses available to ride and these are a mixture of geldings and stallions. You will have the chance to practice movements such as shoulder-in, half pass, change of leg, pirouettes, piaffe and passage. There are suitable horses for both the very experienced rider as well as riders with less experience.

Horses & Riding

Tack

For dressage lessons, the horses are ridden in English dressage saddles and snaffle bridles, although double bridles are available for more advanced lessons. For hacking and trails, the horses are ridden in traditional Spanish Doma Vaquera saddles, which are comfortable for long hours and again have either simple snaffle bridles or traditional Vaquera bridles with curb bits.

Horses

The horses at the stables are all of Iberian origin and include PRE, Lusitanos and some Cruzado (Spanish and Portuguese crosses). You will also find mules on the farm, although these are most often used as carriage horses rather than for riding.

Riding

There are 3 itineraries:

  • Dressage Week is a based ride
  • Mixed Programme is a based ride
  • Weekend Programme is a based ride

Ages

Riders aged 10 and over are welcome provided they are happy to ride a full sized horse. Those aged 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Health

General good health is recommended for these rides.

Weight

90 kg/ 198lbs / 14st 3lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

A master chef prepares the meals off-site using local quality ingredients. The meals are then finished and served in the guesthouse dining room. You are also offered excellent wine to accompany your lunch and dinner. You will also enjoy José Manuel's father's homegrown tomatoes, freshly squeezed orange juice and eggs from the farm's chickens.

Breakfast will consist of coffee, tea, freshly squeezed orange juice, bread, eggs and yoghurt. Lunch at home is always a three-course meal and dinner will be lighter.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in a newly built guesthouse, which has been designed to reflect the traditional Spanish Finca style. It is a modern yet homely feeling set-up with a superb, open plan living/dining area at the very heart. The main entrance leads you into this spacious communal area, which is furnished with comfortable sofas and every facility you might need for a relaxing stay.

Heading up the stairs above the living area, you will find a second level leading to four double bedrooms, each with a fabulous and well thought out en-suite bathroom. The second level overlooks the main communal area via a balcony and offers a wonderful and sociable environment. There are a further two smaller rooms located in an annexe adjoining the main guesthouse, which can be offered to single travellers at no additional cost. These are allocated on a first come first serve basis. One of these single rooms has an en-suite bathroom, and the other a private bathroom that is not en-suite.

There is wifi available throughout the property.

Itineraries

Dressage Week Standard accommodation.

Mixed Programme Standard accommodation.

Weekend Programme Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

It is recommended you hire a rental car in order to enjoy the area. Seville is one hour away and it is then possible to visit the Doñana park, local beaches and a selection of nearby vineyards. There is a deserted 30km beach just fifteen minutes by car from the equestrian centre. The villages of El Rocio and El Monte are also well worth a visit, although El Rocio is best reached on foot or on horseback!

Travel

The closest airport to the riding stables is Seville, which is 90 km away. We can organise private or group transfers from the airport at an extra cost (please see individual itineraries for costs).

However, it is possible to fly to Faro (170 km) or Malaga (300 km). Faro is about a two-hour drive and Malaga is about a 3-hour drive away. Guests arriving at either of these airports would be best to hire a car and self-drive to the stables although we can provide private transfers at an extra cost if required (please ask for a quote).

Testimonials

Athena K., Sept. 14, 2022

Great experience that left us speechless and happy. Exactly the experience we wanted. (Favourite memory?) Riding under the stars at night.


Helen L., Dec. 6, 2021

I just wanted to catch up with you and tell you that I have had an amazing experience at Doñana Dressage... The lessons with José were very good. I really enjoyed it to learn from him. With his positive spirit and enthusiasm he gave me a lot of confidence and trust.... The way they are treating the horses is very good. You see the passion and love for the horses. Everything with patience and in a soft and gentle way.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Sunday

Riding: No riding.

Arrive at the beautiful Finca homestead in the afternoon. Over dinner this evening, you will be able to discuss the week's activities with your host and learn a little more about the Principles of dressage training here.

Those who arrive early enough may also be able to enjoy a walk into El Rocio to enjoy your first glimpse of this special town.

Days 2 to 6 - Monday-Friday

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

In this programme, you will enjoy ten lessons a week. It is possible to exchange a lesson for a hack (see mixed programme).

José Manuel practices dressage following classical training techniques which he considers to be the best for his horses. He is very committed to his training and incredibly understanding when instructing - you will easily be able to talk to him and ask questions if you do not understand. He also speaks excellent English.

The horses are generally geldings and stallions. There are some younger horses as well as some older, experienced schoolmasters. You will get the opportunity to practice movements such as shoulder-in, half pass, flying changes, pirouettes as well as piaffe and passage if you should wish to.

Day 7 - Saturday

Riding: No riding.

Departure after breakfast, with fond memories of your stay.

Accommodation

Each night will be spent in twin/double rooms, with private bathrooms, at the beautiful home villa.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Suitable for all riders, from novice to experienced. Those with prior dressage riding experience will gain the most from this programme.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 8
Accommodation for up to 10.
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 29, 2023 - Dec. 31, 2022  (Dates to suit, with Sunday arrivals and Saturday departures, dependent on availability.)

Pricing

2023
Non-rider; Sharing
£1065 $1290 €1200
2023
Rider; sharing
£1420 $1720 €1600
Included 6 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from dinner on arrival day until breakfast on departure day, drinks with meals and 10 dressage lessons.
Not included Flights, transfers, travel insurance, drinks not with meals, tips and other personal expenses.

Extras

2023 - Extra Night £310 $375 €350
Paid to Far and Ride
Extra night and departure on Sunday; based on shared twin/double room accommodation.
2023 - Malaga Airport Transfer €700
Paid locally
Per vehicle, return (1-4 pax)
2023 - Seville Airport Transfer €350
Paid locally
Per vehicle return (1-4 pax)
2023 - Single Supplement 25.0%
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone requiring a single room. There is one single room available at no extra cost on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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.

Day 1 - Sunday

Riding: No riding.

Arrive at the beautiful Finca homestead in the afternoon. If time allows, you may be able to enjoy a walk into El Rocio to enjoy your first glimpse of this special town.

Over dinner this evening, you will be able to discuss the week's activities with your host and learn a little more about the Principles of dressage training here.

Days 2 to 6 - Monday - Friday

Riding: 1 - 3 hours

On this programme you will enjoy both the discipline of dressage with a top class instructor José Manuel and some trail rides in this fabulous area.

The horses here are a mixture of geldings and stallions. There are some younger horses as well as older experienced well trained horses. You will get the opportunity to practice movements such as shoulder in, half pass, change of leg, pirouettes as well as piaffe and passage. Most of the horses are around 16 hh and most are ridden with a snaffle.

You will have one lesson a day and then you will enjoy a trail ride - 5 lessons and 5 trails in total - a perfect combination.

Day 7 - Saturday

Riding: No riding.

Departure after breakfast, with fond memories of your stay.

Accommodation

Each night will be spent in twin/double rooms, with private bathrooms, at the beautiful home villa.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Suitable for all riders, from novice to experienced. Those with prior dressage riding experience will gain the most from the lessons.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 8
Accommodation for up to 10.
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 29, 2023 - Dec. 31, 2023  (Dates to suit, with Sunday arrivals and Saturday departures, dependent on availability.)

Pricing

2023
Non-rider; Sharing
£1065 $1290 €1200
2023
Rider; Sharing
£1420 $1720 €1600
Included 6 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from dinner on arrival day until breakfast on departure day, drinks with meals, 5 dressage lessons and 5 trail rides.
Not included Flights, transfers, travel insurance, drinks not with meals, tips and other personal expenses.

Extras

2023 - Extra Night £310 $375 €350
Paid to Far and Ride
Extra night and departure on Sunday; based on shared twin/double room accommodation.
2023 - Malaga Airport Transfer €700
Paid locally
Per vehicle, return (1-4 pax)
2023 - Seville Airport Transfer €350
Paid locally
Per vehicle, return (1-4 pax)
2023 - Single Supplement 25.0%
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone requiring a single room. There is one single room available at no extra cost on a first-come, first-serve basis.
2023 - Small Group Supplement 20.0%
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable to confirm any date for fewer than 4 guests.
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.

Day 1 - Thursday

Riding: 1 hours

Arrive at the beautiful Finca homestead in the early afternoon. This afternoon you will be able to enjoy your first lesson and your first encounter with the beautiful horses. If you arrive too late for the first lesson on Thursday you can ride your last lesson on Sunday morning instead.

Over a stunning homecooked dinner this evening, you will be able to discuss your lessons with your host and learn a little more about the principles of dressage training used here.

Days 2 to 3 - Friday & Saturday

Riding: 1 - 3 hours

In this programme, you will get two lessons per day. A total of five lessons in one weekend. You can always exchange lessons for a hack out if preferred. All the horses are used to trail riding in this wonderful countryside.

You will ride two lessons per day on Friday and Saturday.

There are horses available for both the very experienced rider and for more novice riders too and the lessons are held with a maximum of 2 riders per lesson (matched by similar abilities).

José Manuel practices dressage following classical training techniques which he considers to be the best for his horses. He is very committed to his training and incredibly understanding when instructing - you will easily be able to talk to him and ask questions if you do not understand. He also speaks excellent English.

Day 4 - Sunday

Riding: No riding.

Departure after breakfast, with fond memories of your stay.

Accommodation

Each night will be spent in twin/double rooms, with private bathrooms, at the beautiful home villa.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Suitable for all riders, from novice to experienced. Those with prior dressage riding experience will gain the most from the lessons.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 8
Accommodation for up to 10.
Departure windows

At any time during: Feb. 2, 2023 - Jan. 1, 2023  (Dates to suit, with Sunday arrivals and Saturday departures, dependent on availability.)

Pricing

2023
Rider; Sharing (based on 1-4 pax)
£1065 $1290 €1200
2023
Rider; Sharing (based on 5-8 pax)
£885 $1075 €995
2023
Non-rider; Sharing (based on 1-4 pax)
£885 $1075 €995
2023
Non-rider; Sharing (based on 5-8 pax)
£710 $860 €800
Included 3 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from dinner on arrival day until breakfast on departure day, drinks with meals & 5 dressage lessons.
Not included Flights, transfers, travel insurance, drinks not with meals, tips and other personal expenses.

Extras

2023 - Malaga Airport Transfer €700
Paid locally
Per vehicle, return (1-4 pax)
2023 - Seville Airport Transfer €350
Paid locally
Per vehicle, return (1-4 pax)
2023 - Single Supplement 25.0%
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone requiring a single room. There is one single room available at no extra cost on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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.