Enjoy our equestrian tours
Alfonso will be our guide. He is a lawyer by profession but his real passion is horses and he has spent much of his life dedicated to all things equestrian. All his horses have been schooled by him, they are great fun to ride and really responsive. He keeps them at this farm which is half an hour´s drive from Seville.
The ride follows the pilgrim trails leading to El Rocio which is a mythical village near the Atlantic coast in the Doñana National Park. According to legend, some hunters from the nearby town of Almonte found a carving of the Virgin Mary in a tree in the forest. They decided to take the Virgin with them but when they stopped to rest they fell asleep, and on waking they discovered that she had returned to the tree. A chapel was built on this site and over the centuries pilgrims from all over Spain have come here 40 days after pentacost to worship the Virgin of El Rocio.
The Doñana Park is the largest and most famous Spanish National Park which lies in the mouth of the Guadalquivir in the province of Huelva. Many different species of birds come to winter here, huge flocks of geese from Northern Europe and groups of flamingos too. It is also home to grey herons, egrets, spoonbills and storks. In springtime dozens of species nest in the marshes. The lagoons all over the park are regularly visited by other animals including fallow and red deer as well as wild boar and this is the only place in Europe where the Iberian lynx and Egyptian mongoose are still found.
The glamorous sport of polo is not something you would immediately think of on a holiday to Seville. However, it´s an activity that your host Gerry can easily organise for you at a choice of two private farms both only a half hour drive from Seville. Why not enjoy an early morning class before the day gets too hot, or in the late afternoon followed by an ice-cold beer?
Both sites are owned by a Spanish businessman and polo enthusiast who has some fabulous ponies that are a joy to ride. This is a great opportunity to practise your skills or have an introduction to this exciting sport. The class can be either enjoyed on its own, or combined with lunch, whatever you prefer.
Polo clinics are also available. We can organise these over a long weekend or mid week, whatever you prefer.
You will be met at a central pick-up point (usually the Santa Justa Train Station in Seville) and transferred to Alfonso´s home. Guests will stay in a series of charming rooms built close to the main house, each with their own bathroom and terrace.
After a chance to settle in we will distribute the horses taking great care that each rider has a horse suitable for his/her needs and riding experience. We will check tack etc and then, after trying the horses in the open air arena, we will go for a short hack through the local countryside. There will be a chance to have a gin and tonic afterwards before having dinner at the finca.
After breakfast guests will be transferred to Hacienda Torrequemada, a beautiful, large olive esate belonging to Alfonso´s family. It was once the monestary of San Ignacio de La Torrequemada and was built in 1640 by monks returning from the New World. There is a huge South American parana pine , planted by the monks 350 years ago which towers over the Hacienda´s rooftops. The horses are transferred here by lorry early in the morning and are waiting, tacked up and ready, for guests to mount.
The group will set off from Torrequemada riding through miles of olive groves and countryside heading towards the Doñana park.
Every day throughout the ride there is a late monring aperitif stop (usually cold cuts of meat and ham, cheese, olives and lots of sherry or wine). Loosened up by the sherry the group set off again until we reach the lunch spot at Dehesa de Torneo. A table with chairs is set up under the shade of the ancient oak trees and lunch includes three courses of local food served with plenty of rioja wine. The horses are tethered nearby and have a chance to relax.
After lunch the ride makes its way across the River Quema (which is where the El Rocio pilgrims are baptised on their first pilgrimage) making its way towards the pine and oak forests.
In the late afternoon we will arrive at Villamanrique where the horses will spend the night and guests are transferred to a charming lodge (a short five minute drive) which is situated in the middle of the park. Dinner and drinks at the Lodge.
This day´s ride follows in part, the course of the river Guadiamar. One can often see the horses belonging to local farmers that roam freely grazing in the open countryside. Both the aperitif and lunch are again al-fresco.
In the late afternoon we arrive at a private finca where the horses will spend the night. Guests are transferred back to the lodge for dinner.
After breakfast guests are transferred back to the finca where their horses are ready and tacked up. This last day´s ride makes its way through the surrounding pine forests and the aperitif is in an area full of beautiful white eucalyptus trees. The lunch spot is near a bird sanctuary called Dehesa de Abajo where one can often see flamingos feeding on the lagoon. The ride ends with lunch and after this guests are transferred back to Alfonso´s home for the last night and for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast guests are transferred back to Seville (usually to the airport).
Includes: horses and tack, all transfers (from central pick-up point) breakfast, accommodation, lunches, aperitif and dinners. Does not include personal insurance, air fares, any extras for drinks etc in hotels.
Minimum pax: 5pax.
After a chance for guests to settle in they visit the stables where the horses have been prepared. We take great care that each rider has a horse suitable for his/her needs and riding experience. After trying the horses in the open air arena, guests go for a short hack through the countryside. Afterwards there is time to have a gin and tonic or two before having dinner at the finca.
You will be met at a central pick-up point (usually the Santa Justa Train Station in Seville or the airport) and transferred to Alfonso´s home. Guests will stay in a series of charming rooms with en-suite bathrooms and terraces, built close to the main house.
After breakfast guests will spend the day getting used to the horses. Today’s ride is through the farmland and countryside surrounding Alfonso´s home. The countryside is a mixture of olive groves, orange trees, open fields and pines with many sandy tracks that are great for cantering along. The ride passes several traditional Spanish cortijos and haciendas.
Every day throughout this ride guests will enjoy the Spanish tradition of an aperitif. This is a stop in an idylic spot where guests can stretch their legs and enjoy some Spanish cheese, chorizo and cold cuts of meat as well as a glass of sherry or cold beer.
The ride then continues on to the lunch stop which today is served in the shade of a pine copse. The horses are tethered nearby and have a chance to relax as guests enjoy a hot lunch with plenty of wine and refreshments before heading back to Alfonso´s . Dinner and drinks at Alfonso´s.
After breakfast guests are transferred to Hacienda Torrequemada, a beautiful, large olive esate dating from the 17th Century which belongs to Alfonso´s family. It was once the monestary of San Ignacio de La Torrequemada and was built by monks returning from the New World. The horses are transferred here by lorry early in the morning and are waiting, tacked up and ready for their riders.
Setting off from Torrequemada, the ride passes through miles of olive groves and open countryside heading towards the borders of the Doñana park. The aperitif today is served after an hour or so of riding at a nearby finca on the edges of the park and the ride then makes its way to a beautiful dehesa where lunch is served.
After lunch the ride crosses the River Quema (where the El Rocio pilgrims are baptised) and heads towards pine and oak forests.
In the late afternoon the ride reaches Villamanrique where the horses spend the night and guests are transferred to a charming lodge (a short five minute drive) which is situated in the middle of the park. Dinner and drinks at the Lodge.
After breakfast the riders rejoin the horses and then ride along the pilgrim trail of Pilas through forests of Holm and Cork Oaks and after the aperitif the ride follows the trail of Hinojos where lunch is served by the Pines. In the late afternoon the ride arrives at a private finca called El Ranchito where the horses spend the night and guests are transferred the last kilometre to a charming hotel in El Rocio. Dinner is in El Rocio this evening.
Guests are transferred back to El Ranchito and ride out from here stopping in an area of the park called El Ajoli for the aperitif. The ride then makes its way into El Rocio itself, cantering into the village. Lunch is at a local restaurant where the horses are tied up to the hitching posts surrounding it. Their is the chance afterwards to do some shopping before riding back to El Ranchito where the horses spend another night. Dinner in El Rocio and a second night´s stay in hotel.
Today the ride follows the pilgrim trail called Camino de Moguer, following La Rocina, a stream that feeds much of the marshland at the heart of the Doñana. There are many fallow deer, red deer and wild boar in this region as well as a good selection of birds. After the aperitif stop the ride makes its way to the Lagoon of Ribatehilos where lunch is served.
The ride then continues to an abandoned village called Cabezudos, created by a Dutch forestry firm in the 1920s which was then forced to sell the village to the government because of the Spanish civil war. Cabezudos was populated until the 1980s and at one stage even had its own casino. Each passing year brings more decay to the empty, ghost-like buildings and it is a rather eerie place. The horses spend the night here and the riders are transferred to the Parador of Mazagon where they have dinner and spend the night.
Today the ride reaches the Atlantic ocean, heading towards the Western tip of the Doñana park. This is a very beautiful part of the Doñana, a mixture of lagoons, forests, wild shrubs and herbs such as rosemary and thyme, as well as plenty of mastic bushes where lynx can hide in wait for rabbits. It is all very unspoilt and isolated.
The ride leaves the forest behind and reaches the famous dunes which the riders descend reaching the miles of sandy beach below. Here, as a grand finale to the ride, guests experience the thrill of cantering along the beach by the ocean. The ride then returns to the Parador where guests have their farewell dinner and final night.
Breakfast and transfer to Seville, either to the airport or the Santa Justa train station.
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