Located only 15 minutes from Lisbon airport yet a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city is this premier dressage school, offering week-long programmes and weekend breaks for all abilities. Your instructor is a Master Rider and teacher of Classical Equitation with the famous Portuguese School of Equestrian Art (EPAE) so you can be sure that your lessons will be of the highest standard.

There are 10 calm and well-schooled Lusitanos available for riding and every horse is perfectly matched to their rider; there really is no other way to learn the classical movements or learn to ride than on the back of a beautiful Lusitano horse, with their striking presence and flair.

Accommodation is in cosy cottages on-site and meals are freshly prepared in the traditional Portuguese way with fish, seafood and meat stews in abundance. Non-riders can explore the sights and sounds of Lisbon, one of the oldest cities in Europe and rich in architecture and culture. Visits to the EPAE in Lisbon and Quelez to watch the training of the horses and riders is included in the week-long programmes for those who wish to visit.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from MK of Columbus on 21/05/2019

Ride Summary
It was even more amazing than I thought it would be!
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Had excellent instruction in classical riding!
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
Lusitanos are an amazing horse breed.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May was an ideal time to visit Lisbon!
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
I was very well informed on the details.
What could we do to improve this ride?
Not that I can think of.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Difficulty would vary depending on the rider since it was riding lessons.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:

Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Week-long programmes:

Programme A:
6 nights half board (breakfast and lunch or dinner including table wine)
5 days riding - 5 lessons

Also included during the week - a visit to the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art (EPAE - optional) at the National Palace of Quelux to watch the training of the horses and riders (see below).

Programme B:
6 nights half board (breakfast and lunch or dinner including tablewine)
5 days riding - 10 private or semi-private lessons (max. 2 riders)
Also included during the week - a visit to the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art (EPAE - optional) at the National Palace of Quelux to watch the training of the horses and riders (see below).

Short Weekend Programme:

Weekend with Lusitanos: 3 nights/2 days riding - half board
Friday night: arrive and transfer from the airport
Saturday: lesson (50 mins/private), free time in the afternoon
Sunday: 2 lessons (50mins/private) morning and afternoon
Monday: transfer to the airport
 

António Borba Monteiro - master rider, teacher of classical equitation, mestre picador at the Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre .

António Borba Monteiro was born in Portugal into a family of riders and breeders of horses and bulls. In these surroundings, and under the watchful eye of his uncle, Guillerme Borba, Antonio discovered and learned the Portuguese traditions related to the great Lusitano horse.
On his 18th birthday he moved to his uncle´s home, the house of his grandfather, where he still lives today with his family. Alongside his passion for horses Antonio also found the time to take a degree in Engineering, like his father. However with this knowledge he manages to interpret the dynamics and efforts of his horses.

In 1981, Antonio joined the Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre (EPAE), once again under the guidance of his uncle, and from there was introduced to Mestre Nuno de Oliveira. Mestre Nuno hired Antonio to work with his horses while he lived in Australia - such a great honor and responsibility! The Mestre once told Antonio - "if you improve them, I’ll give them to you…"

António has been a Master Rider of Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre since 1988, where he still participates in shows and the ongoing training of horses and riders. He practices all figures, that he teaches at the EPAE and at home, with his colleagues and his uncle. He also competes in dressage with horses from EPAE, at intermediate level.

At home, he continues his uncle’s work and improves his beloved horses. At the riding centre, many pupils, teachers and horses of all ages and levels are willing to help anyone who is willing to learn about the beautiful Lusitano horse and join them in their great passion!

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art was founded to uphold the teaching, practice and promotion of traditional Portuguese equestrian art. It revives the tradition of the Picaria Real, the equestrian academy of the Portuguese court based at the Royal Riding School in Belém, which is now the ‘National Coach Museum’. As the practice of bullfighting on horseback had continued uninterrupted until now, the type of horse ridden in the eighteenth century is still used today, as are the same riding styles, saddles and costumes. The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art has also reintroduced exercises from the baroque riding style, such as the “airs above the ground”.

The school uses Lusitano horses from the Alter Real Stud Farm, established in 1748 by King João V to supply the royal household and its riding school with horses. Performances are held regularly for the public and the School holds special displays both in Portugal and abroad, carrying out an important role in promoting the Lusitano horse and Portuguese culture. The school is based in the gardens of the National Palace of Queluz and you will get the chance to visit to watch the training of the young horses during the week-long programmes. As of July 2015, the perfomances, which are open to the public, moved to additional EPAE facilities in Lisbon (Picadeiro Henrique Calado) so riders on the week-long programmes will also be able to visit this as well with Antonio.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There are a total of 25 horses and 2 ponies at the school, 10 of which are used for riding. The riding horses are all Lusitano but they also own a Haflinger and a Shetland pony. The horses are all calm and well schooled from beginner to advanced level. They are ridden in English tack with snaffle bridles.



The tuition given takes place in blocks of 50 minutes and the number of lessons and type (private or semi-private) depends on the programme you have chosen to book. There are a maximum of 2 riders in the semi-private lessons.



Facilities at the school include an indoor covered school, and outdoor arena, jumps, lunging rings and paddocks. Riders can choose to have private lessons, subject to availability, at no extra cost. Lessons are taught by one of several expertly trained and experienced instructors; Antonio himself teaches most of the lesson although not in the mornings as he is teaching at the Portuguese Riding School then. Resident riders and instructors under the instruction of Antonio are Martim Ferreira da Cunha (who was previously at Saumur), Miguel de Bragança and sometimes Francisco Corrêa Henriques.



Riding hats are required to be worn; there are a number of hats available for children to borrow on-site but adults are expected to take their own.


Rider requirements

There is no minimum riding ability for this ride; everyone from beginners to advanced dressage riders can enjoy the lessons which are based around the riders ability. The level of teaching goes up to Prix St George.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 16 st/220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

There are 2 peaceful cottages and a one bedroomed studio on-site for guests:

Cottage 1 has 2 bedrooms; one with a double bed and the other with twin beds. There is a fully equipped kitchen and living-room. There is one bathroom and a private garden with table and chairs. There is free wi-fi connection.



Cottage 2 has 1 bedroom with a double bed, one bathroom and a fully-equipped kitchen. The studio is attached to the owner's house (although independent) and has a bathroom.



All accommodation comes with bed linen and towels which are changed every week. The cottages are also cleaned once a week. There is an unheated swimming pool for guest use and the whole complex has a very laid-back, family atmosphere. Your hosts and instructors are very relaxed and nothing is too much trouble!



The advantage of staying at this riding centre within the city of Lisbon is that when you are there you could be a world away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. However, you can also enjoy superb restaurants on your doorstep as well as supermarkets nearby and the Metro station to the centre of Lisbon is only 1km away on foot.



The food at this riding centre is typical of the region and excellent. Think beautiful Mediterranean fare such as grilled fish, salads, meat stews, fresh fruit and pastries.



A typical menu may include:

Starter: bread, butter, cured cheese and olives

Soup course: vegetable soup of the day

Main course: grilled fish of the day (grouper, sea bass, sardines, mackerel, etc) or one of the many Portuguese recipes including codfish or octopus - Or grilled meat (beef, veal or pork) or stewed - Or seafood

Dessert: fresh fruit or typical pastries (chocolate mousse, sweet rice, crème brulee)

Coffee/tea.

Meals are either served at the local restaurant (200m by foot) or they can be delivered to your cottage; just let your host know which you would prefer. You can decide whether you take lunch or dinner as part of your package - this is arranged daily on site and you will just need to let your instructor know in the morning so they can prepare accordingly. If you would like to buy some food to keep in your cotttage then your hosts will happily take you to a local supermarket.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

A valid passport is required for travel to Portugal. Visas are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on
0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk
The British Consulate in Lisbon is at Rua de Sao Bernardo 33, 1249 –082, Lisboa. Tel 351 21 392 4040. email: Consular@Lisbon.mail.fco.gov.uk
website: www.uk-embassy.pt

Climate Summary

Lisbon has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm to hot summers.
Winter snowfall is infrequent, but some snow showers occurred in 1993, 1994, 2006 and 2007. In the coldest month – January – the high temperature during the day typically ranges from 11 to 19 °C (52 to 66 °F), the low temperature at night ranges from 3 to 13 °C (37 to 55 °F) and the average sea temperature is 15 °C (59 °F).~

In the warmest month – August – the high temperature during the day typically ranges from 26 to 34 °C (79 to 93 °F), the low temperature at night ranges from 16 to 21 °C (61 to 70 °F) and the average sea temperature is 20 °C (68 °F). Generally, a summer season lasts about 6 months, from May to October.

Three months – March, April and November – are transitional, sometimes the temperature exceeds 20 °C (68 °F), with an average temperature in these three months of 18.9 °C (66 °F) during the day and 12.0 °C (53.6 °F) at night. December, January and February are the coldest months, with an average temperature of 15.5 °C (59.9 °F) during the day and 8.9 °C (48.0 °F) at night. Among all metropolises (together with Valencia) and capitals (together with Malta) in Europe, Lisbon has the warmest winters, and the mildest nighttime temperatures in Europe: among the warmest in the winter – from an average of 8.3 °C (46.9 °F) in the coldest month, and comfortable 18.6 °C (65.5 °F) in the warmest month. Rain occurs mainly in winter, the summers being generally dry.

Climate Chart

Health

No special health precautions are required for visits to Portugal, for further details please see your local doctor.

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health requirements but sunscreen and fly/mosquito repellant would be useful.

Electricity

Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate 2 pronged adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.

Film and Camera Equipment

Electricity ia available in the cottages and in the covered arena for charging your cameras and phones. There are shops nearby if you need to buy extra film or batteries, otherwise take your own along.
There is free wi-fi connection in the cottages and Vodafone and local operators are the best for mobile phone signal.

Packing List

Your usual riding clothes:
Riding hat
Riding boots
Chaps
Jodphurs

In the winter: rain proof gear, warm clothes
In the summer: caps, sunglasses, swimsuit, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, fly repellent

Programmes

There are 7 days/6 nights/5 days riding and 4 days/3 nights/2 days riding programmes are available all year round

Departure Dates

All year round, any day arrival for week programme and Friday arrival for short breaks. Closed 24th December-1st January.

Pricing
A single room can be booked for no extra supplement when available.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 5 lessons1,175
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 10 lessons1,625
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n5Non-rider sharing room, half-board469
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2double pp685
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2non-rider sharing235
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 5 lessons1,315
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 10 lessons1,815
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n5Non-rider sharing room, half-board525
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2double pp765
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2non-rider sharing265
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 5 lessons1,555
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 10 lessons2,145
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n5Non-rider sharing room, half-board625
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2double pp905
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2non-rider sharing309
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 5 lessons14,415
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n56n Half board, 10 lessons19,909
2019 Week Programmes7d/6n5Non-rider sharing room, half-board5,769
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2double pp8,375
2019 Weekend Programme4d/3n2non-rider sharing2,885
Recommended Reading

Équitation académique générale – De Carpentrie
De l’art équestre – Xénophon
Centered riding – Sally Swift
Dressage – Kyra Kirklund
Luz da liberal e nobre arte de cavalaria – Manoel Carlos Andrade
Livro da ensinança de bem cavalgar toda a sela – D. Duarte (1435)

Other Activities

As Lisbon is on your doorstep the city can of course be explored, the Metro is only 1km away by foot.

Wildlife

Due to the location of this ride it is unusual for lots of wildlife to be seen.

Other Information

António Borba Monteiro - master rider, teacher of classical equitation, mestre picador at the Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre .

António Borba Monteiro was born in Portugal into a family of riders and breeders of horses and bulls. Within these surroundings, and under the watchful eye of his uncle, Guillerme Borba, Antonio discovered and learned the Portuguese traditions related to the great Lusitano horse.
On his 18th birthday he moved to his uncle´s home, the house of his grandfather, where he still lives today with his family. Alongside his passion for horses, Antonio also found the time to take a degree in Engineering, like his father. However with this knowledge he manages to interpret the dynamics and efforts of his horses.

In 1981, Antonio joined the Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre (EPAE), once again under the guidance of his uncle, and from there was introduced to Mestre Nuno de Oliveira. Mestre Nuno hired Antonio to work with his horses while he lived in Australia - such a great honor and responsibility! The Mestre once told Antonio - "if you improve them, I’ll give them to you…"

António Borba Monteiro has been a Master Rider of Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre since 1988, where he still participates in shows and the ongoing training of horses and riders. He practices all figures, that he teaches at the EPAE and at home, with his colleagues and his uncle. He also competed in dressage with horses from EPAE, at intermediate level.

At home, he continues his uncle’s work and improves the horses. At the riding centre, many pupils, teachers and horses of all ages and levels are willing to help anyone who is willing to learn about the beautiful Lusitano horse and join them in their great passion!

Other Country Information

The Portuguese have historically been the intrepid explorers of the world. In the 15th Century they discovered the sea route to India, via the Cape of Good Hope. Vasco da Gama reached India in 1498 and Pedro Cabral, trying to reach India, discovered Brazil two years later (1500). Other Portuguese explorers reached the Far East, China and Japan. The first circumnavigation of the globe was led by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan.

Portugal has a rich seafaring past, superb beach resorts, wistful towns and a landscape wreathed in olive groves, vineyards and wheat fields. Littered with UNESCO World Heritage sites and graced by one of Europe's most relaxed and attractive capitals.

Savouring life slowly is a Portuguese passion, and much of the best is humble - traditional folk festivals; simple, honest food drowning in olive oil; music that pulls at the heart strings, recalling past love and glories; and markets overflowing with fish, fruit and flowers.

Portugal is in the GMT time zone and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The international dialling code is +351

If you are hiring a car, you will need to know about how to pay any toll fees as these are done automatically and not on the road. This is a new system from January 2012 and the method for how to pay this will change throughout the year. Please check this website for current information: http://www.amoita.com/node/1414

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Lisbon Airport (LIS)
Transfer:
Included from meeting point, a short 15-20 minute drive away.
Flight Guide:
London to Lisbon return from £95
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