Anna with Monty Roberts
working in the arena
Anna with Gigi
The ranch
Teaching on the course
Anna at home with her horses
Erna, Gigi and Dolly
Anna with Gigi
Rding in the hills above the ranch
Riding in the hills above the ranch
Riding in the hills above the ranch
Bedroom at the ranch
Fire

Complete a Monty Roberts Join Up course, a gentle method of communicating with and training horses based on non violence, while enjoying all the services of a welcoming Western Ranch situated in 12 hectares of good rugged riding country in the beautiful Algarve.

In the mornings certified Monty Roberts instructor Anna Keckhoff de Sacchi teaches the join up course, culminating in a full day course at the end of the week. In the afternoons we ride out on trails which pass through scented macchia, trees and shrubland, over hills and dales and along paths that are only accessible on horseback, by mountain bike or walking. You may not see another soul, meaning you are free to enjoy the magnificent views and the peace of the countryside around you, just horse and rider. To finish the week we head out on a full day ride.

All the horses are schooled in Western style using natural horsemanship, where a closeness and trust is developed between horse and rider. They are kept in a large paddock which runs in front of the accommodation, so your day will begin with a view of grazing horses and the smell of freshly brewed coffee coming from the nearby kitchen. 

The Wild West is at the back door - you'll explore it daily from the back of your horse and on return to the ranch in the evenings you can sit around the camp fire and enjoy some drinks relaxing under the beautiful Algarve night skies.

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 KJ of Warwick on 24/10/2017

Ride Summary
I loved the riding, not a lot to do other an that.
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
I felt an outsider at times, as I don't speak German, and it was spoken quite a lot
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

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     (X) 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:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
About the amount of German that is spoken there, I would understand if it was Portuguese but it felt rude to ask the staff and customers who were German to speak English.
What could we do to improve this ride?
The rides were great, although I did sometimes have to ask Stefan what he said as it was in German as he would forget
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:
Well they can cater for everyone, the first three of us did have one fast hill dash, the back three horses were about 10 seconds behind when we got to the top, but it was all very safe
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
I had a good holiday, so would recommend
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 good time! I will remind Stephan to speak more English! :)

Day 1
Arrive and transfer to the ranch. This is about an hours drive and you may arrive at anytime. There is no riding today.

Days 2-5
After breakfast the course work starts at 9am and carries on for about 3 to 4 hours. We break for a welcome lunch until 2.30 pm followed by 3 hours riding through the beautiful surrounding countryside.  If you would rather relax you are free to do what you want in the afternoon, be it swim in the pool, relax in the sun or your hosts would be happy to take you to the beach or nearest town and pick you up again for no extra charge.

Day 6
Today we work on the course all day (about 6 to 7 hours) with a break for lunch.

Day 7
For advanced riders there is a full day ride today, following trails for 3 hours through forests and scented Macchia trees to a large impressive Dam. Here you will enjoy a well deserved BBQ at a small Portuguese restaurant for lunch. The 3 hour ride back to the ranch takes you via a different route with the impressive coastline always in view. Beginners will ride for 3hrs only in the morning and will have the afternoon to relax at the ranch.

Day 8
Departure. After a sad goodbye to your lovely hosts and of course your trusty steed you will be transferred back to Faro. Again, your departure flight may be at any time.

A Typical Day;

8am-9am
Breakfast - choose from an array of food including bread, cheeses, a selection of meat, yoghurt, fruit and fresh soft boiled eggs. A feast to start the day! Course work with Anna in the arena till lunch time.
Course content:
Content of the course:
- theoretical introduction by Anna incl video by and with Monty Roberts
- Join Up with a horse run by Anna
- Introduction to working with the Dually halter by run by Anna
- Introduction to working with the double lunge by run by Anna
- Join Up together with Anna and then alone
- Preparing for the communication (body language) with the horse
- Introduction to the psychology of horses
- Ability to work independently under the guidance of Anna with the Dually Halter
- Ability to work independently under the guidance of Anna with the double lunge

12.30 - 2:30pm
Lunchtime - the lunches are also relaxed, help yourself to whatever you can find in the kitchen, from last nights lovely leftovers to bread, cheeses, meats and fruit. And of course help yourself to a cooling can of something from the fridge!
Next it is siesta time...or you may choose to have a dip in the pool, have a walk or simply relax in the sun with a good book.

2:30pm - 5:30pm
Meet at the stables, catch your horse from the field and tack up, ready for the off at 3pm. On the first riding day you will be introduced to Western tack and shown how to tack up, however there is help available everyday and horses are checked prior to mounting. There is plenty of guidance too for those new to western riding and you are encouraged to take the natural horsemanship approach when around your horse. It is strange to see the bustling town of Portimao in the distance while you are sat on a horse at perfect peace in the hills above.

5.30pm
Back at the stables you untack your horse and give him the final groom of the day, before slipping him a few tasty treats to say thank you. Now there is free time to shower and do whatever you like - sit around the large outside dining table, beer in hand, and talk about the days events.

7:30pm
Dinner is served! Expect typical German dishes such as Schnitzel, stews and roast meat and help yourself to some fruit or a yoghurt for dessert. Again, drinks are on tap, be it wine, beer, cider or soft drinks. Your host Stephan also makes an excellent cocktail - Caprihinas; a lethal blend of rum, ice and freshly squeezed limes!

In the summertime the lunch break runs from 1pm-3:30pm and in the wintertime it runs from 1pm-2:30pm due to the weather and daylight hours.

Anna Kerckhoff de Sacchi

Anna was born in Hamburg, Germany and was certified by Monty Roberts as an instructor in 2004. She lived and studied at Monty’s Flag Is Up Farms in California from 2002 to 2005. Anna was trained extensively in the methods of Join-Up® and herself taught courses up to the Advanced level at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center. She travelled with Monty to his demonstrations on tour in the United States, Spain and Germany and demonstrated Join-Up® in front of audiences. Now she lives in Portugal where she runs her own academy and training facility with husband Claudio, a veterinarian. She regularly teaches courses in Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Germany. Anna is also certified as Coach for The Work of Byron Katie and as an Equus coach by Koelle Simpson. Anna’s main goal is to bring together people and horses to help and support each other.


Monty Roberts

 

Join-Up® is a gentle and non violent method of communicating with and training horses developed by Monty Roberts. The method is dedicated to promoting gentle, effective alternatives to violence and force in both equine and human relationships. Join-Up® International is governed by a distinguished Board of Directors. In 2012, The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, became patron of Join-Up® International.

“My goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it for horses and for people, too.” – Monty Roberts

Monty’s unique and gentle method of using the horse’s own language to achieve breakthrough results is revolutionary, but not magical. Communication is a gift we all have; it can be practiced and developed. The principles can be applied to human relationships as well. Join-Up® International seeks to foster the adoption of these skills among a greater audience, insuring their preservation for generations to come.

“Violence is never the answer.” – Monty Roberts

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

All the horses are schooled in western riding on the Ranch, where we develop a closeness and trust between horse and rider. Safety is of the utmost importance and we can only offer this if we can trust our horses. We have developed our own method through years of experience. The horses are first trained to recognise body language, the horse is then walked without rider behind the more experienced horses so they are never pressured or made nervous. After this the horse is introduced to saddle and then rider. It is necessary to accustom the horses to everyday noises and distractions e.g. barking dogs, traffic noise and sudden unexpected movements.


12 horses are available for our guests to ride. The horses are schooled daily with regular treks through mountainous countryside and across riverbeds etc. to maintain their sure footedness and excellent condition.  The Western style saddle gives the utmost comfort and safety to horse and rider alike on long day treks. Depending on the condition of the ground we walk, jog (which is a very slow trot) and canter. You will always be accompanied by one of our experienced guides on all trails.


Content of the Monty Roberts Join Up course: - theoretical introduction by Anna including video by and with Monty Roberts - Join Up with a horse run by Anna - Introduction to working with the Dually halter by run by Anna - Introduction to working with the double lunge by run by Anna - Join Up together with Anna and then alone - Preparing for the communication (body language) with the horse - Introduction to the psychology of horses - Ability to work independently under the guidance of Anna with the Dually Halter - Ability to work independently under the guidance of Anna with the double lunge.


There is no riding on your arrival or departure days.

Rider requirements

For the beginners programme you do not have to have any riding ability. You learn by handling the horse on-site. According to the principle ‘Learning by Doing’ we are soon able to do our first rides in the countryside. There is a minimum age limit of 18 for this ranch.

Guests who book the programme for advanced riders must be confident in walk, trot, and canter. They should be used to riding in the countryside and must be fit enough to ride between 2 and 6 hours a day. There are lots of hills and rough terrain in the Algarve, some of the very steep hills we have to lead our horses down. So riders should be able to mount and dismount by themselves and should be sure footed also.

We encourage our guests to catch, groom and tack up their horse by themselves. But there is always someone who can lend a hand!

Either a keen interest in Western riding and natural horsemanship or a willingness to learn is preferable for this ranch.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The Ranch is situated in 12 hectares of good rugged riding country, 3 km north of the little village of Mexilhoeira Grande (near Portimão) in the beautiful Algarve. It is a very quiet place and is an ideal destination for a relaxing holiday.


The accommodation consists of 4 apartments, each with 2 beds, a shower and toilet. They were built in 2000, are comfortably furnished and offer a private seating area to relax in. The beds come equipped with heated under blankets for the cold mornings and evenings you may experience in the winter.


In the separate kitchen and covered area a plentiful breakfast is served, with coffee, tea and a choice of fruit juices. Lunch is either taken outside on the trails or at the ranch you can help yourself to food. There are usually leftovers from dinner the evening before or you can help yourself to bread, cheese, cold meats, yoghurts and the like from the fridge.


A freshly cooked hot meal or BBQ is served for dinner, often with invited guests and friends. The evening meal is just one main course followed by coffee or tea. Again, guests can help themselves to fruit or yoghurt from the fridge for dessert.


The kitchen is always open and is for the use of guests at any time so you can help yourself whenever you need, the fridges are always fully stocked. Between the paddocks you can find the sun-heated pool, ideal for a refreshing swim in summertime between the rides, while watching the horses.

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

The pronounced Atlantic climate brings at the Algarve coast not to hot temperatures in the summer and moderates winters, never under the freezing point. Most precipitation we have from November to February. The water temperature of the Atlantic is in the midsummer about 21 degrees. The most beautiful travel months are April/May or September/October, if the temperatures are not too high and in April/May the Cistus and wild Lavender bloomall over the hills. In addition, in the summer it is always relatively green in the countryside. The average temperature amounts to 17°C, the average air humidity is between 50% and 75%. In the winter (December, January, February) the temperature can drop below 10°C, and in the dry and hot summers the high temperatures (the hottest month is August reaching over 30 degrees during the day) are made comfortable by a constant light wind off the sea.
The whole year around the climate is perfect for horseback riding in the countryside.

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)

It is recommended that you bring anti-histamine cream/tablets in case of insect bites

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

The next town is about 20 minutes to drive by car. There you can get any accepted film and camera equipment.

At the ranch there is mobile phone reception and they also have WiFi.

Packing List

In the apartment you will find linen as well as a selection of towels.
For your holiday at the ranch it would be helpful if you bring along the following things:
- everyone has an obligation to take care and safety of their well being: riding helmet, if you want otherwise a hat to protect you from sun (or rain)
- jeans or jodhpurs, maybe chaps if you have some
- boots, but no rubber boots in case of the high temperatures, best would be boots up to the ankle with a heel
- long-sleeved t-shirts or blouses to protect against the sun
- sunglasses
- sunscreen
- mosquito repellant
- swimsuit
- travel medicine
- casual dress
- warm jumper beacuase it can get getting chilly in the evenings, even in summertime
- jacket against wind and/or rain
- torch (there are very occasional powercuts at the ranch)

Riding hats are not provided and children under 18 must wear a riding hat. Mosquito plugs and electic underblankets for the beds are also provided.

Programmes

There are set dates for this programme. More dates can be arranged on request for groups of 5 or more. The advanced rider programme includes more hours of riding while the beginner programme includes tuition as required.
The course content is the same for all guests.

Departure Dates

2019: 6 April

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20198d/7n6double pp - advanced course895
20198d/7n6double pp - beginner course839
20198d/7n6single supplement82
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20198d/7n6double pp - advanced course1,019
20198d/7n6double pp - beginner course955
20198d/7n6single supplement94
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20198d/7n6double pp - advanced course1,225
20198d/7n6double pp - beginner course1,149
20198d/7n6single supplement115
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20198d/7n6double pp - advanced course10,999
20198d/7n6double pp - beginner course10,325
20198d/7n6single supplement1,009
Other Activities

Although the holiday is specifically tailored for horse riding there are many other activities available locally for non riders including golf, places of historical interest, waterparks, etc. Some of the most fantastic golden sandy beaches are close by offering various watersports, with beachbars and restaurants with mouthwatering local cuisine. Independent transport will be required by non-riders and the hire vehicles can be obtained at Faro airport through companies such as Avis and Europcar.

Wildlife

During our rides we occasionally see a shepherd with his flock of goats, sheep or cows wandering the hills. There is abundant wildlife in the Algarve and many different and unusual species can be seen on the rides such as water turtles, eagle eared owls and even golden eagles have been spotted!

On the ranch there are lemon, clementine, orange and sweet pepper trees and out on the rides you will discover cork, eucalyptus, oak, pine and olive trees.

Other Information

Anna Kerckhoff de Sacchi

Anna was born in Hamburg, Germany and was certified by Monty Roberts as an instructor in 2004. She lived and studied at Monty’s Flag Is Up Farms in California from 2002 to 2005. Anna was trained extensively in the methods of Join-Up® and herself taught courses up to the Advanced level at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center. She travelled with Monty to his demonstrations on tour in the United States, Spain and Germany and demonstrated Join-Up® in front of audiences. Now she lives in Portugal where she runs her own academy and training facility with husband Claudio, a veterinarian. She regularly teaches courses in Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Germany. Anna is also certified as Coach for The Work of Byron Katie and as an Equus coach by Koelle Simpson. Anna’s main goal is to bring together people and horses to help and support each other.



Monty Roberts



Join-Up® is a gentle and non violent method of communicating with and training horses developed by Monty Roberts. The method is dedicated to promoting gentle, effective alternatives to violence and force in both equine and human relationships. Join-Up® International is governed by a distinguished Board of Directors. In 2012, The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, became patron of Join-Up® International.

“My goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it for horses and for people, too.” – Monty Roberts

Monty’s unique and gentle method of using the horse’s own language to achieve breakthrough results is revolutionary, but not magical. Communication is a gift we all have; it can be practiced and developed. The principles can be applied to human relationships as well. Join-Up® International seeks to foster the adoption of these skills among a greater audience, insuring their preservation for generations to come.

“Violence is never the answer.” – Monty Roberts

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):
Faro Airport (FAO)
Transfer:
2019: approx. £90pp round trip from Faro Airport, approx. 1 hour. Transfers are payable upon booking.
Flight Guide:
London to Faro with Easyjet £70 return
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