This is a six night, five day riding holiday designed for those who share our passion for horses. The combination of "trail and training" is ideal for riders who believe that trail riding is one of the best ways to have fun, make new friends and see Spain from another angle. During your stay with us, you can relax from the stress of modern-day lifestyles, while devoting some time to improving your horse riding skills so that your confidence, and enjoyment of, horses will increase greatly over the week. All the Epona progammes are based in an impressive 16th Century Hacienda where the García family will make you feel totally at home. This programme includes visits to Jerez de la Frontera (to see the famous Andalucian Stallions performing the show "Those Amazing Dancing Andalusian Stallions"), riding in Doñana Natural Park and beach, and a visit to Seville on the last evening for a typical Flamenco Dancing Show.
The total price for this programme is €1370 per person; double room sharing with everything on the set programme included (accommodation, meals, tranfers to and from airport, train station, etc., guided visits to Jerez and Doñana, riding, etc.). The tickets for the horse show in Jerez (27€), the Flamenco Show (35€) and five meals (four dinners at the hotel in Carmona and the last one in Sevilla, on the last evening),
are not included.
Supplement for single accommodation is €250
Non rider sharing with a companion rider €795
Guests arrive in the aftenoon either by pick-up at the airport or train station in Seville (10 - 20 minute drive) or by means of their own transport. A free transfer service is offered at pre-set times (3.30pm and 8.00pm from the airport and 4:30 pm. From the Santa Justa Train Station). If you can't or don't wish to be picked up at these times, the service will be charged, and needs to be booked well in advance).
You will then be escorted to your hotel in the nearby town of Carmona, one of the famous white villages of Andalucia. Carmona is the oldest continually inhabited village in Europe and as you stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, you will feel and breathe the spirits of ancient cultures (Iberians, Visigoths, Phoenicians, Romans, Moors), in the innumerable examples of their architectural influence in the churches, towers, palaces and mansions as well as in the inherited customs.
After you are settled in, you may appreciate a dip in the pool, or perhaps discover the pleasures of the Spanish afternoon "siesta" after a tiring journey.
In the evening, you will be joined at your hotel by one of the hosts, for a welcome dinner, where you will meet the rest of the members of the week's group and where you may clarify any last minute questions about the weekly program. After some friendly conversation, you are free to spend the rest of the evening at your leisure, and to relax before the beginning of what we hope will be an unforgettable week. WELCOME TO EPONA!
Mount up for the Old Hacienda Ride (now completly renovated), a relaxed hack around the immediate coutryside, through olive groves and eucalyptus trees.
Depending on the season, you could see fields of sunflowers, wheat and cotton, as well as melons and 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.
AFTERNOON: Equitation lessons will take place in the late afternoon when life is a little cooler. It's a great chance to improve your school work or dressage.
Early breakfast and pick up at the hotel at 8:30 a.m. for Jerez de la Frontera, in the province of Cádiz, one hour and a half away by car. Jerez is internationally renowned for its production of sherry and brandy. However, the main attraction of the day will be the visit to the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre, an equestrian performance titled, "How the Andalusian Horses Dance" (Ticket Price: 27 €). Here you will have the priviledge of seeing the magnificent Andalusian stallions at their best, at home in the breathtaking setting of their 18th Century palace and the riding hall. They will be performing piaffe, passage and the airs above the ground (courbette, capriole, etc) in a spectacle of light, music and colour, comparable only with the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna. Fernando is well known at the school and is good friends with many of the world famous riders. Vivi trained at this school for four years and frequently performed in the show.
Return for lunch at Epona, followed by lessons in the afternoon.
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After breakfast and a quick transfer to the Hacienda, mount up and set off across country for the ROMAN BRIDGE. Depending on the time of the year you could be riding through fields of sunflowers, wheat, cotton, oranges or peaches, through olive groves with ancient trees still carefully tended and nurtured. It is a countryside where there are very few fences.
A landscape rich with patchwork of different crops, still rotated year by year as they have always been, with wide headlands of uncultivated land separating one field from another and providing a natural bridleway across country. The variety of wild flowers, butterflies and birds.
Along the way you may come across the river, full and flowing in spring, cool and shallow in summer, a natural heaven for wildlife, with abundant vegetation all year round. Splashing through the shallows, terns and grebes, you'll emerge at an old Roman Bridge and shady eucalyptus grove. After a break and a few photographs, ride back home for a late lunch.
Lesson in the afternoon.
Today we set off early to the seaside village, where sturdy Spanish horses, all in Spanish andalusian cowboy tack (montura vaquera), will be waiting to take you on the Beach Ride. The ride takes you on an unforgettable route through the Donaña Natural Park bordering the National Park of the same name, one of Europe's last true wilderness regions and one of the largest wildlife reservations in Spain. The ride will take you over the golden dunes, brushing through fragrant wild lavender, rosemary and thyme. The area is home to many species (some protected), such as fallow deer, boar, fox, lynx, imperial eagles, kites, vultures, storks, flamingos and herons.
You will ride down to the beach and then it's time for the horses to wet their legs and for those who want to, a canter through the surf. After the ride, we head back to Epona for lunch.
Lesson in the afternoon.
We set off across open country for our last hack of the week, through olive and orange groves, past farmers working the land. How strange, in a region where there are no bridle paths the horse can wander anywhere as long as you have respect for the crop. In all our years here we have never had a farmer object to us crossing his land.
On the contrary, they are always pleased to see us. In Andalucia everyone understands and loves the horse.
Eventually we arrive at the fields.
Return to Epona for lunch.
In the afternoon, after a well deserved "siesta", get changed into your city finery ready to hit Seville for a classical Flamenco Show (ticket price 35€).
The show features over 12 dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and wonderful flamenco guitar. After a short walk, we will arrive at an excellent restaurant providing both Spanish and International cuisine for the last dinner of the holiday and some superb Spanish wine.
We offer complementary transport to the airport and train station. First trip at 8.00 a.m and last will be at 11.00 am.
Have a nice journey home, we hope you enjoyed your stay at Epona.
We look forward to welcoming you back!
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