Epona Dressage and Trails riding holiday in Spain - Far and Ride
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Epona Dressage and Trails, Spain





Horses



Type of horses:

Mainly Andalusian or Andalusian cross-breeds.

Nature of horses:

Good natured and willing. All are individuals so there are different temperaments to suit different riders.

Height of horses:

Weight limit:

85kg / 187 lbs / 13.3 stone for pure Dressage weeks but 100kg on Train and Trail

Tack type:

English

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

This wonderful dressage centre lies just outside of Seville and suits almost every type of rider, from those who wish to combine dressage with trails through the countryside, up to experienced dressage riders who wish to experience training clinics with the Olympic silver medallist Rafael Soto.

They have over 40 horses so there is something to suit everyone. Some of the horses are trained in High School Dressage movements, whereas others are more suited to the trail environment, but all are beautifully schooled and responsive. Currently they have c. 10-12 Advanced High School trained schoolmasters, 10-12 excellent trail horses and 10-12 which are suitable for lower levels of dressage and novice riders. There are also retired horses and ponies, plus one donkey living at the farm.

The equestrian centre is an Approved British Horse Society Training and Examination Centre so you can be assured that the instruction is of the highest calibre. Their main two instructors both trained at the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art:
Caty also trained in Saumur at the Cadre Noir and is a BHS and ABRS certified instructor as well as Spanish Equestrian Federation.
Vivi completed the full 4 year course at the Royal Andalucian School achieving the title of Jinete (rider). Two of those years were spent training under Rafael Soto and she took part in the demonstrations and displays the centre is famous for. She is also a BHS, ABRS and Spanish Equestrian Federation certified instructor.

At the centre they have an Olympic sized dressage arena (60x20m), a covered arena with sprinklers (42x22m), a floodlit arena (30x15m) and an additional large arena (50x50m). There is also a lunging ring and miles of hacking in beautiful countryside.

There are four main itineraries to choose from:
The Train and Trail option offers a combination of hacking and dressage tuition
The Intensive Dressage option offers two dressage lessons a day plus some lunge lessons
The Classical Dressage and High School training option includes two lessons a day, lunge lessons and groundwork lessons to work on high school movements.
Finally, the Rafael Soto clinics are a chance for competent dressage lovers to experience training with the charismatic Spanish Olympian.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You stay in a four star hotel in the nearby historical city of Carmona. The 'Alcazar de la Reina' hotel is full of history, charm and elegance whilst also being comfortable and modern.

Standard twin/double rooms are airy and comfortable with en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning/central heating, satellite TV and a minibar (consumption payable locally). You can upgrade to a Superior or Deluxe room for an additional price, subject to availability.

The hotel has a swimming pool, sauna, massage and beauty treatments (some at additional cost) as well as WiFi in public areas.

There is also a restaurant, tapas bar and Irish bar as part of the hotel.

Your hosts will collect you from your hotel each morning after breakfast to transfer you the short distance to the equestrian centre, and then back again at the end of the day.

All breakfasts are taken at your hotel and are included in the price.

All lunches are included and served at the Equestrian Centre. They consist of freshly prepared home cooking combining traditional Spanish dishes with some International dishes. A variety of fresh salads and fruits are also available and home-made desserts are on offer.

Evening meals: a welcome tapas supper on your arrival Sunday is included in the price, but other evening meals are to your own account. There are many dining options within the vicinity of the hotel to suit all budgets, from formal restaurants to tapas bars. The hotel itself has it's own restaurant and bars as well as room service.

 

Activities

Non-riders are welcomed but would benefit from hiring a car so they can explore the local area at their leisure, including the city of Seville.

There is a pool at the equestrian centre and so relaxing in the gardens or by the pool is always an option between lessons - or you can watch your fellow riders.

One morning you are transferred to the Royal School of Equestrian Art in Jerez to watch a performance; and one evening you are taken to a Flamenco show - both are payable locally.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian

Health requirements: No special requirements

Age limit: 12 years or older for normal programme (sometimes special programmes can be arranged for families with younger children).

Tuition: Yes

Included: B&B Accommodation, lunches on riding days, tapas dinner on arrival day, some set-time transfers, riding as per programme

Not included: Evening meals, drinks, entrance to Royal Andalusian School of Art, entrance to Flamenco show, some transfers, flights, tips

 

Travel Information

The centre is only about 15 minutes drive from Seville airport and there are lots of direct flights into Seville, or indirect flights via Madrid. Airport transfers on arrival are at extra cost - payable locally at c. 45 Euro.

There's also a great train service from Malaga, which is another option utilising low-cost airlines into Malaga. Transfers from the train station are also possible and you can be collected at 4.30pm for no charge.


On departure day, transfers are included provided you leave Epona between 8am and 11am (for flights departing from 10am). Transfers outside of this time will be payable locally.

Airport: Seville

Alternative Airport: Malaga

 

Programmes


Intensive Dressage Training



This week-long programme is aimed at riders who want to concentrate on improving their riding skills with lessons in the morning and afternoon as well as lunge sessions. Lessons are in small groups of riders with similar abilities (2-4 riders in each group).

Sunday

On arrival at Seville train station or airport in the afternoon, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Carmona (c. 20-30 mins). You may wish to try out the pool or catch a quick siesta before meeting the rest of your group for dinner. Your hosts from the riding centre will meet you at the hotel for your welcome tapas dinner so that you get the chance to meet them and discuss the week ahead. 

Monday

After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred the short distance to the equestrian centre. After waving off guests on the trail programme, you will have your first dressage lesson - this will be an assessment lesson with your instructor, who will note your good points and any areas which need working on. It's also you chance to get used to the sensitive style of the Iberian horse. After a rest it's time for a lunge lesson which is great for improving your seat, balance and posture. In the afternoon you will have a another lesson.

When not riding, you can enjoy the facilities at the equestrian centre, either relaxing with a book, using the pool or watching other lessons or your instructors schooling the horses. Trail riders will often join you for lunch too. At the end of the day you are transferred back to your hotel and are free to choose your own restaurant for dinner (to own account).

Tuesday

An early breakfast this morning so you can be transferred to Jerez de la Frontera and the Royal School of Equestrian Art. Here you can watch a demonstration by the magnificent Andalusian stallions performing piaffe, passage and other high school movements. One of your instructors, Vivi, trained here for four years and frequently performed in the show. The entrance ticket is payable locally (€27). 

Return to Epona for lunch followed by an afternoon lesson.

Wednesday

Once the trail riders have departed you'll have your first lesson. As the week progresses, so will your dressage so that hopefully you are performing some more advanced movements. After your lesson you can stay and watch your instructors training the horses, from youngsters to the advanced - all the horses receive regular training to keep them sensitive and in good shape.

In the afternoon you will have a second lesson, and later you will be transferred back to your hotel again.

Thursday

Today follows the same itinerary as yesterday, except that you will also receive your second lunge lesson.

Friday

This morning you will have your final lesson. By this stage you might be performing some advanced movements and should certainly be feeling the benefit of all the training. 

Your final lunch at Epona is their famous paella accompanied by sangria. It's then time to get changed into your city finery ready to hit Seville for a classical Flamenco Show (payable locally €35). The show features over 12 dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and the flamenco guitar. 

After the show, walk a short distance to an excellent restaurant for a final farewell dinner alongside superb Spanish wines (payable locally).

Saturday

After breakfast at your hotel, it's time to head to the airport (latest transfer departs 11am). 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: All abilities can be catered for, but you'll get more out of it if you have some basic riding ability already.
Type of ride: Instruction.
Total riding time: 7 days / 6 nights / 5 days riding (8 group lessons and 2 lunge lessons)
Departure dates: Open all year round except Christmas and New Year, arriving on Sunday and departing on Saturday. Also closed for two weeks 18-31 August 2019 and 15-29 August 2020.
 
Pricing: 2019/20:

£1489 per person sharing

Single supplement £232 (waived if a sharer is found)

Non-Riders sharing with Riders £757

Short stays:
3 nights (Sun-Wed or Wed-Sat): £766 per person sharing
4 nights (Sun-Thur or Tues-Sat): £1136 per person sharing

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.



Train and Trail



This itinerary suits riders who wish to combine some trail rides through the Spanish countryside with some lessons in Classical Dressage. The immediate countryside allows for miles of open, slightly rolling land in which frequent trots and canters are possible for those that wish.

Sunday

On arrival at Seville train station or airport in the afternoon, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Carmona (c. 20-30 mins). You may wish to try out the pool or catch a quick siesta before meeting the rest of your group for dinner. Your hosts from the riding centre will meet you at the hotel for your welcome tapas dinner so that you get the chance to meet them and discuss the week ahead. 

Monday

After being transferred the short distance from your hotel to the equestrian centre, you will mount up for the Old Hacienda Ride - a relaxed hack around the immediate countryside, through olive groves and eucalyptus trees. Depending on the season you may see fields of sunflowers, wheat and cotton as well as melons or water melons in late summer. The ride takes you past impressive 16th and 17th century haciendas and cortijos which have stood here since the days when Cervantes rode these same trails collecting olive oil taxes. 

Return to Epona for lunch, where you will also join those riders on the intensive dressage programmes. In the late afternoon, when it's cooler, you'll have dressage lesson in one of the arenas. 

When not riding, you can enjoy the facilities at the equestrian centre, either relaxing with a book, using the pool or watching other lessons or your instructors schooling the horses. At the end of the day you are transferred back to your hotel and are free to choose your own restaurant for dinner (to own account).

Tuesday

An early breakfast this morning so you can be transferred to Jerez de la Frontera and the Royal School of Equestrian Art. Here you can watch a demonstration by the magnificent Andalusian stallions performing piaffe, passage and other high school movements. One of your instructors, Vivi, trained here for four years and frequently performed in the show. The entrance ticket is payable locally (€27). 

Return to Epona for lunch followed by an afternoon lesson.

Wednesday

This morning's trail ride takes you across country to the Roman Bridge. You'll pass through a landscape rich with many different crops which are still rotated each year with wide headlands of uncultivated land separating one field from another and creating natural bridleways across the countryside. You may see orange and peach trees as well as olive groves with ancient trees still carefully tended and nurtured. There is also a great variety of wild flowers, butterflies and birds. 

Along the way you'll cross the river, which is full and flowing in spring but cool and shallow in summer - a natural haven for wildlife with abundant vegetation all year round. Splash through the shallows whilst watching for terns and grebes before emerging at the old Roman Bridge and a shady eucalyptus grove. Stop for a short break (and some photographs!) before riding back to Epona for lunch.

In the afternoon you will have another lesson, and later you will be transferred back to your hotel again.

Thursday

Today you will set off early to a seaside village where you will meet new horses which are all tacked in Spanish cowboy tack (montura vaquera), for your beach ride. You'll follow an unforgettable route through the Donana Natural Park, one of Europe's last wilderness regions and one of the largest wildlife reservations in Spain. The ride takes you through golden dunes, brushing past fragrant lavender, rosemary and thyme. The area is home to many species including fallow deer, fox, boar, lynx, eagles, kites, vultures, storks, flamingoes and herons. Ride down onto the beach to splash in the surf and, for those who wish to, for a canter along the waters edge.

Return to Epona for lunch and a lesson in the afternoon.

Friday

Your final ride sets off across country, through orange and olive groves, past farmers working the land. There are no official bridleways in this region, but horse riders can go anywhere as long as they respect the crops. Farmers never object to riders crossing their land but instead are always pleased to see you - everyone in Andalucia understands and loves horses!

Your final lunch at Epona is their famous paella accompanied by sangria. It's then time to get changed into your city finery ready to hit Seville for a classical Flamenco Show (payable locally €35). The show features over 12 dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and the flamenco guitar. 

After the show, walk a short distance to an excellent restaurant for a final farewell dinner alongside superb Spanish wines (payable locally).

Saturday

After breakfast at your hotel, it's time to head to the airport (latest transfer departs 11am). 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: All abilities can be catered for and groups can be split so that those who wish to trot/canter ride separately from those who don't. There is no galloping as the terrain is unsuitable.
Type of ride: Centre based tuition and trails
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days / 5 days riding (4 hacks and 4 lessons)
Departure dates: Available all year round (except Christmas and New Year) with arrivals on Sunday and departures on Saturday. Also closed for two weeks 18-31 August 2019 and 15-29 August 2020.
 
Pricing: 2019/20:

£1312 per person sharing

Single supplement £232 (waived if a sharer is found)

Non-Riders sharing with Riders £757

There's a reduction of £172 for riders who wish to just join the trails and not have the afternoon lessons.

Short stays:
3 nights (Sun-Wed or Wed-Sat): £671 per person sharing
4 nights (Sun-Thur or Tues-Sat): £891 per person sharing

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.



Rafael Soto Clinics



These clinics are an incredible opportunity to learn with Rafael Soto, the Spanish Olympic Team silver medallist. His charisma has earned him the respect and popularity of dressage enthusiasts and fellow riders the world over. The week's programme starts with lessons with the Epona instructors in preparation for four lessons with Rafael Soto at the end of the week.

Sunday

On arrival at Seville train station or airport in the afternoon, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Carmona (c. 20-30 mins). You may wish to try out the pool or catch a quick siesta before meeting the rest of your group for dinner. Your hosts from the riding centre will meet you at the hotel for your welcome tapas dinner so that you get the chance to meet them and discuss the week ahead. 

Monday

After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred the short distance to the equestrian centre. After waving off guests on the trail programme, you will have your first of two dressage lessons today - these lessons are with the Epona instructors and are assessment lessons so that you can get used to the sensitive style of the Iberian horse. It's also your chance to try different horses so that you can be matched with a suitable horse for later in the week. 

During the week you will also receive two lunge lessons which are great for improving your seat, balance and posture. The timing of these will be scheduled whilst you are there.

When not riding, you can enjoy the facilities at the equestrian centre, either relaxing with a book, using the pool or watching other lessons or your instructors schooling the horses. Trail riders will often join you for lunch too. At the end of the day you are transferred back to your hotel and are free to choose your own restaurant for dinner (to own account).

Tuesday

An early breakfast this morning so you can be transferred to Jerez de la Frontera and the Royal School of Equestrian Art. Here you can watch a demonstration by the magnificent Andalusian stallions performing piaffe, passage and other high school movements. One of your instructors, Vivi, trained here for four years and frequently performed in the show. The entrance ticket is payable locally (€27). 

Return to Epona for lunch followed by an afternoon lesson.

Wednesday

Once the trail riders have departed you'll have your first lesson. As the week progresses, so will your dressage so that hopefully you are performing some more advanced movements. After your lesson you can stay and watch your instructors training the horses, from youngsters to the advanced - all the horses receive regular training to keep them sensitive and in good shape.

In the afternoon you will have a second lesson, and later you will be transferred back to your hotel again.

Thursday

Today follows the same itinerary as yesterday, except that you will be focusing on ensuring you are partnered with the correct horse for your lessons with Rafael Soto tomorrow.

Friday

Today you will have two lessons with Rafael Soto. These lessons are private and last 45 minutes each. You will be able to sit and watch other students having their lessons in between yours.

Today's lunch at Epona is their famous paella accompanied by sangria. It's then time to get changed into your city finery ready to hit Seville for a classical Flamenco Show (payable locally €35). The show features over 12 dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and the flamenco guitar. 

After the show, walk a short distance to an excellent restaurant for dinner alongside superb Spanish wines (payable locally).

Saturday

All other guests will have departed, but you have another two lessons with Rafael Soto. You'll also have the chance to discuss your progress with Rafael and the resident instructors with the aim of taking your newly developed skills back home with you. 

Sunday

After breakfast at your hotel, it's time to head to the airport (latest transfer departs 11am). 



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: You should be riding to at least Elementary Level in Dressage.
Type of ride: Tuition
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding (6 semi-private lessons with Epona instructors, 2 lunge lessons, 4 private lessons with Rafael Soto)
Departure dates: 2019: 27 October-3 November (3 spaces), 4-11 November (FULL), 17-24 November (FULL), 8-15 December (2 spaces).
2020: 9-17 February (5 spaces), 8-15 March (4 spaces), 8-15 November, 6-13 December.
 
Pricing: 2019/20:

£2108 per person sharing

Single supplement £232 (refunded if a sharer is found)

Non-riders sharing with riders £757

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.



Classical Dressage & High School Training



This intensive dressage programme is aimed at riders with a passion for dressage who want to really work hard and progress their training. You will learn about Classical dressage and the training methods, with the hope that you can experience advanced movements such as passage, piaffe and Spanish walk. One of your lessons during the week will be with Olympic medallist Rafael Soto! Your lessons will consist of semi-private, private and lunge sessions as well as groundwork. 

Sunday

On arrival at Seville train station or airport in the afternoon, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Carmona (c. 20-30 mins). You may wish to try out the pool or catch a quick siesta before meeting the rest of your group for dinner. Your hosts from the riding centre will meet you at the hotel for your welcome tapas dinner so that you get the chance to meet them and discuss the week ahead. 

Monday

After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred the short distance to the equestrian centre. After waving off guests on the trail programme, you will have your first dressage lesson - this will be an assessment lesson with your instructor, who will note your good points and any areas which need working on. It's also you chance to get used to the sensitive style of the Iberian horse. After a rest it's time for your second lesson on a different horse. Later there's also a lunge lesson which is great for improving your seat, balance and posture. 

When not riding, you can enjoy the facilities at the equestrian centre, either relaxing with a book, using the pool or watching other lessons or your instructors schooling the horses. Trail riders will join you for lunch too. At the end of the day you are transferred back to your hotel and are free to choose your own restaurant for dinner (to own account).

Tuesday

An early breakfast this morning so you can be transferred to Jerez de la Frontera and the Royal School of Equestrian Art. Here you can watch a demonstration by the magnificent Andalusian stallions performing piaffe, passage and other high school movements. One of your instructors, Vivi, trained here for four years and frequently performed in the show. The entrance ticket is payable locally (€27). 

Return to Epona for lunch followed by an afternoon lesson.

Wednesday

Today follows a similar format to Monday in that you will have your semi private lesson first, followed by your private lesson. Your dressage should be improving by now and you'll be working on some more advanced movements. 

After a break you will also have the chance to work with your trainer on a one-to-one basis as she teaches groundwork techniques to develop the more advanced movements. Groundwork is important in Classical Dressage training.

Thursday

Today follows the same itinerary as Monday, with a semi-private lesson, private lesson and lunge lesson spread throughout the day.

Friday

Today is a repeat of Wednesday, with your two ridden lessons and a groundwork session. By this stage you might be performing some advanced movements and should certainly be feeling the benefit of all the training. 

Your final lunch at Epona is their famous paella accompanied by sangria. It's then time to get changed into your city finery ready to hit Seville for a classical Flamenco Show (payable locally €35). The show features over 12 dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and the flamenco guitar. 

After the show, walk a short distance to an excellent restaurant for a final farewell dinner alongside superb Spanish wines (payable locally).

Saturday

Flight times allowing, there's hopefully time for a final lesson this morning where you can cement everything you've worked on during the week. Then it's time to say goodbye and head to the airport (latest transfer departs 11am). 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be a capable rider who is already reasonably established in basic dressage.
Type of ride: Tuition
Total riding time: 7 days / 6 nights / 5 days of riding (5 semi-private lessons, 5 private lessons incl. one with Rafael Soto, 2 lunge lessons and 2 groundwork sessions.)
Departure dates: Available all year round (except Christmas/New Year), arriving Sunday and departing Saturday. Also closed for two weeks 18-31 August 2019 and 15-29 August 2020.
 
Pricing: 2019/20:

£1927 per person sharing

Single supplement £232 (waived if a sharer is found)

Non-Riders sharing with Riders £757

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.