Communal area in the house
Your instructor
Dressage moves
Extended trot
Entrance to the house
The manor house
Trail riding
Tack room
Dressage tack
Dressage instructor
The dining room
Peacocks at the farm
Horses in the field
The stables
The house
The house and grounds
Indoor arena
The stables
Snooker table
The salon
Double room
Twin room
One of the rooms
The kitchen

Situated in the renowned and beautiful Alentejo region, famous for its long heritage of Lusitano and bull breeding, is this picturesque farm and equestrian centre. Stay for a short or long break and brush up on your technique with private dressage lessons combined with trail rides into the surrounding countryside. Explore the areas olive groves and exceptional wines, this is also an ideal destination for accompanying non-riders who can enjoy wine-tasting and visits to local sights.

Accommodation is provided in the stunning French-style manor which is on-site. The bedrooms are all newly renovated and have private bathrooms. The manor house is equipped with common areas where you can watch cable TV, play billiards or read a book from the library. Alternatively, you can relax with a glass of wine and spot the peacocks wandering the grounds!

This is the ideal holiday for those who are short on time but want to relax in a peaceful setting while taking part in dressage lessons on highly-trained horses. The programme is fully bespoke so guests can ride or not as they wish and enjoy a mixture of lessons and trail rides.

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There are a variety of programmes available at this destination; you can choose between classical dressage lessons or working equitation lessons. You may also opt for a combination of the two or simply enjoy a peaceful and relaxed trail ride, along the picturesque surroundings of the farm. You can book individual tailormade lessons to fit your needs and wishes, all lessons are private although if travelling with a friend and you wish to have lessons together then semi-private lessons can be arranged. Riders from all levels are warmly welcome - lessons will be adapted to your level of experience.

Each day, breakfast is served at 8am, lunch is at 1pm and dinner at 7.30pm. The lessons start at 9am and go on until lunch. After lunch you can enjoy a short siesta before starting lessons in the afternoon from 3pm until 7pm.

Sample 4 night stay

Day 1
Fly to Lisbon airport and be met by your host in Arrivals. Transfer to the farm (around a 2 hour drive) in the beautiful Alentejo region. Settle in to your accommodation and make use of the many facilities to relax; read a book from the library, take a swim or play a game of pool. Dinner is served at 7.30pm in the dining room before you can settle in for a good nights sleep ahead of your first ride the next day.

Day 2 - 4
Start your day with breakfast, served in the dining room at 8am before heading over to the stables to meet the horses. Your instructor will match you to one of the centre's 12 dressage horses and you will begin your first lesson at 9am. Lessons are bespoke and private so you can discuss with your instructor what you would like to work on during your stay,  Stop in time for lunch at 1pm followed by a siesta before resuming your lessons in the afternoon or taking a trail ride. After riding, relax by the pool while you wait for dinner at 7.30pm.

Day 5
After a final breakfast it's time to say goodbye to your hosts and head back to the airport for your flight home.


You will be taught by Patricia Palmeiro. Patrícia studied at the Escola Profissional de Desenvolvimento Rural in Alter do Chão (EPDRAC), one of the most famous riding schools in Portugal. She has been working as a professional rider for almost 20 years  and has been training and extending her equine knowledge  with well-known riders such as Filipe Canelas Pinto, Paulo Caetano, João Paulo dos SantosMaster Fernando Bonito, Master Lupi, Col. Martins Abrantes (dressage), Col. Balula Side (jumping) and Leonel Santos (WE). 
Patrícia is a highly experienced classical rider and teacher. She is a sensitive and understanding teacher. Besides teaching and training horses, Patricia regularly competes at national level in dressage and working equitation. In dressage she is ranked among the Top 3 in both Prix St. Georges and Intermediate levels.


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

This is a flexible based stay so you can book individual tailormade lessons to fit your needs and wishes. It is possible to have Classical Dressage or Working Equitation lessons or you can opt for a combination of the two or simply enjoy a peaceful and relaxed trail ride along the picturesque surroundings of the farm.

The lessons are given in the on-site, spacious, indoor arena or at the outdoor training facilities. 

The school horses at this destination are all PSL’s; Puro Sangue Lusitano. The Lusitano is known for its braveness, talent for collection and willingness to work. All the horses have been chosen from the best stud farms based on their character, physique, level of education and their rideability. During the lessons you will have the opportunity to work on all the lateral movements; piaffe, passage, Spanish walk, tempi changes and canter pirouettes - and try a full Working Equitation trail parcours. The horses are also safe and comfortable to hack out. You may choose between traditional Portuguese tack or English riding apparel.

The custom build state-of-the-art indoor riding arena measuring 20 x 40 metres is both light and spacious with a high-quality surface. The hall has a sprinkler system that enables a dust-free environment, even in the dry season. For spectators, it has a glassed-in lounge and viewing arena where you can relax with a drink. Next to the indoor arena, you will find the grooming arena and tack room where horses are prepared for riding and washed down after exercise. There is also a big sanded outdoor arena measuring 27 x 65 metres with a full Working Equitation trail parcours (including a bridge, gate, bell at the end of the corridor, livestock pen and many more.) For those who prefer to hack out, rides along the picturesque Alentejo surroundings and cork trees of the farm offer ta relaxing day out in an unforgettable environment. Please note that trail rides are in walk and trot only.

Rider requirements

Riders of all levels are warmly welcome at this destination - lessons will be adapted to your level of experience and even novice riders will have the opportunity to experience advanced exercises such as piaffe, passage and flying changes on the beautiful and well trained Lusitano schoolmasters. The minimum riding age is 8. Please be aware that there are no hats or boots to borrow at this destination so you will need to bring your own.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

You will be staying in a 600 hectacre estate is located in the county of Avis, in Portugal. This tranquil, French-style manor has been in the family since 1842 and was originally the country residence of the famous poet,  Mário Saa, who wrote a large part of his work here. Today, the main house has been carefully restored, keeping its original form without sparing any modern amenities. Homemade meals are enjoyed in the family’s spacious dining room, after which you can take your coffee or a glass of wine out onto the balcony to enjoy the sun and the serenity while watching the handsome peacocks roam freely around the farm.

Breakfast is served at 8am followed by lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7.30pm. Food is plentiful and homemade and dinner includes a glass of red or white wine or a soft drink and tea and coffee.

The entire ground floor of the main house is dedicated to accommodation. In the common area, you can watch cable TV, play billiards or read a book about horses from the library. Or, depending on your preference, you can enjoy a glass of wine and look out over the farm and countryside beyond. The rooms are newly renovated double rooms, with comfortable single or double beds. All of them are equipped with private bathrooms and shower facilities.

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
The British Consulate in Lisbon is at Rua de Sao Bernardo 33, 1249 –082, Lisboa. Tel 351 21 392 4040. email:

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


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


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

There is electricity and WiFi at your accommodation. Please note that the WiFi is via a satellite connection and therefore may not be very fast at times.

Packing List

Riding trousers - breeches or jodphurs
Riding boots, paddock boots or riding sneakers (with heel)
Half chaps (optional)
Riding gloves (optional)
Riding hat - there are no hats available to borrow at the farm so please make sure you pack your own.
Lipbalm with sunscreen
Insect repellent
T-shirts and shorts
Long sleeved shirts
Sweater, sweatshirt or fleece
Informal wear for evenings
Lightweight rainwear
Water bottle
Continental 2 pin adapter plug

Linen, towels and a hairdryer are provided.


This is a flexible programme with anyday departures available year round. Minimum 3 nights.
High season - 16 March until 31 May and 1 October to 15 December
Mid Season - 16 February to 15 March; 1 to 30 June and 1 to 30 September
Low Season - 16 December to 15 February and 1 July to 30 August

Departure Dates

2021 any day departures. Minimum stay is 3 nights.

A single room can be booked for no extra supplement when available.
No of   
Riding days Product item description £
2021 - Low seasonper night1double pp125
2021 - Low seasonper night1non-rider81
2021 - Mid seasonper night1double pp155
2021 - Mid seasonper night1non-rider81
2021 - High seasonper night1double pp179
2021 - High seasonper night1non-rider81
No of   
Riding days Product item description
2021 - Low seasonper night1double pp139
2021 - Low seasonper night1non-rider90
2021 - Mid seasonper night1double pp169
2021 - Mid seasonper night1non-rider90
2021 - High seasonper night1double pp199
2021 - High seasonper night1non-rider90
No of   
Riding days Product item description $
2021 - Low seasonper night1double pp179
2021 - Low seasonper night1non-rider115
2021 - Mid seasonper night1double pp219
2021 - Mid seasonper night1non-rider115
2021 - High seasonper night1double pp255
2021 - High seasonper night1non-rider115
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
2021 - Low seasonper night1double pp1,449
2021 - Low seasonper night1non-rider935
2021 - Mid seasonper night1double pp1,759
2021 - Mid seasonper night1non-rider935
2021 - High seasonper night1double pp2,069
2021 - High seasonper night1non-rider935
Recommended Reading

- Journey to Portugal by José Saramago. This Nobel prize winning author describes his rediscovery of his homeland after decades of exile, exploring many Portugese regions away from the tourist track.

- The Portuguese: The Land and Its People by Marion Kaplan, a one-volume introduction ranging from geography and history to wine and poetry, a useful overview of the country and its customs.

-  Reflections on the Equestrian Art by Nuno Oliveira.  A wonderful narrative and description of this dressage master's techiniques. Nuno Oliveira's knowledge, and love for his horses began in the 1940's and he became an international name in the world of classical equitation. In the 1950s and 1960s he gave exhibitions in Geneva, Brussels, Paris and London, followed by clinics in Saumur, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Australia and the USA. His pupils include some of the most talented dressage riders, officers of the Cadre Noir, and riders of the Portuguese School.

Other Activities

There are plenty of other activities in the region for riders and non-riders to enjoy. A selection of trips which can be organised by your hosts are:

-Boat trip on the “Barragem do Maranhão”
This wonderful boat trip takes about 90 minutes and includes drinks, cheese and sausage tapas. Even a swim in the lake is possible. During the summer sunset trips are most common, during the winter season the trips are organised in the afternoon. The lake “Barragem de Maranhão” is known to be one of Alentejo’s most beautiful and even Olympic canoeists use to come here for training. The boat trip starts at Casa da Moira in Avis around 7km from the farm.

Wine and regional product tasting at Sociedade Agrícola Monte Barrão
Taste one of the best Portuguese wines from Alentejo and book a wine tasting accompanied by regional products at the Sociedade Agrícola Monte Barrão. The Herdade do Monte Barrão has belonged to the Borges family since the 14th century and produces wine, olive oil, black pork sausages, cured sheep cheeses and mature beef. The white and red wine made under the Monte Barrão label at the Terras d’Alter winery is sold as: Barrão (white and red), BIB Monte Barrão (red) and Monte Barrão Reserva (red).

Day trip to the historical town of Évora
Visiting the storied walled city of Évora is definitely worth a day trip. The capital of Portugal’s Upper Alentejo region today has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site for its stunning combination of Roman, Gothic and Baroque and is shaped by 20 centuries of history. One of the most extraordinary sites in the city is the Capela dos Ossos, or Chapel of Bones, at the Church of San Francisco located at the southern edge of the old town. Wander through the narrow, winding streets inside the 17th century walls surrounding the town; visit the famous medieval cathedral and enjoy the architecture of the many convents and palaces. Have a traditional Alentejan lunch at one of the many lively restaurants. The town’s surroundings offer Neolithic monuments and rustic vineyards, perfect for a wine tasting.
Distance from the farm: about 74 km

A glimpse behind the “Coudelaria de Alter”
A must-do is a guided tour of the royal stud farm Alter Real. The “Coudelaria de Alter” was founded in 1748 by King João V with the aim of serving the royal stables and the Picaria Real with horses. The walled estate of approximately 800 hectares has a remarkable natural heritage of great scenic value in terms of flora and fauna. Today, the bay horses bred by one of the oldest public stud farms in the world, dance and shine at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Take the chance to make a carriage tour, to watch the mares and foals grazing and visit the riding schools, stables and museum, where you can learn more about the history of the stud farm. Every year, on April 24th, the stud organizes its traditional horse auction. Visits: from Tuesdays to Sundays either at 11:00 am or 3:00 pm (closed on 24.12., 25.12. and 1.1.)
Distance from the farm: 36 km

Discover Ponte de Sor
Ponte de Sor is a rural town, appearing rather quiet and unassuming. But there’s always something to discover or visit. Along the river banks of the river Sor, a range of sports and leisure facilities can be found, including a tennis court, municipal swimming pools, gym, a sport fishing track and the possibility of renting canoes. In the Arts and Cultural Centre you can see the largest mosaic in the world made of approximately 400.000 cork stoppers. A must-try are the traditional dishes such as lamb stew, pork specialties, migas (leftover bread, refried) cooked with pork and wild asparagus, honey cake or the typical Boleima of Ponte de Sor and many more. Distance from the farm: 22 km

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:

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Lisbon Airport (LIS), Portugal
2021: From Lisbon Airport to stables €60 each way per car (seats 4), payable on-site. Complimentary transfer for stays of five days or more.
Flight Guide:
Easyjet from £80 return
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