In the unspoilt Extremadura region of western Spain this circular horseback trail explores the birthplace of some of the great conquistadors from the 15th and 16th Centuries. The pristine countryside is perfect for horse riding holidays, with a pleasant climate through autumn, winter and spring. Learn about Francisco Pizarro and his brothers who went to Peru, and Francisco de Orellana who completed the first known navigation of the Amazon River in its entirety. Trujillo was founded in prehistoric times on a granite batholith and is a great mix of different cultural design. A 10th Century castle built by Arabs sits at the top of the town, while palaces built by returning conquistadors dominate the centre around the Plaza Mayor.
Starting from the ancient town of Trujillo you ride out into the woods and pastures of the surrounding landscape to Villuercas Geopark. The terrain is ideal for faster riding and allows for plenty of long trots and canters through forests of holm and cork oaks. The Mediterranean forests known as Dehesa create a paradise for birdlife and plays a crucial role in biodiversity and conservation in the area. Look out for storks, eagles and swallows along the route. The mountains of Villuercas rise up on the horizon for impressive views and all around there are geological and cultural sites of interest to explore, before riding back towards Trujillo at the end of the week.
Enjoy good food and local wines at mealtimes, with accommodation in comfortable rural hotels along the trail. Tapas is served at midday over a short break, followed by a two-course lunch with table, chairs and good wine at about 14:00. Dinner will be at a local hotel, often serving traditional and locally sourced dishes. A support vehicle is always close by with the luggage, so it is not necessary to carry much on the horses.
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MADRID – TRUJILLO
You will be met at Madrid Airport at 15:00 and transferred to Trujillo (approx. 2.5 hours). There will be time to visit to the spectacular town of Trujillo before a welcome dinner at the hotel where you will learn about the ride and region on the map.
After breakfast you will transfer from Trujillo to Herguijuela and meet the horses. Once everyone is paired up, you set out riding through the Dehesa, the Mediterranean forest, which is considered to be the habitat most similar to that which covered Extremadura thousands of years ago. Enjoy a relaxed lunch in the countryside with excellent home-cooked paella, good wines, salad, fresh fruit and tea or coffee. After lunch you ride on a short way to Garciaz where the horses spend the night. You will be driven 15 minutes to the hotel in Madroñera for dinner and overnight. Riding time approx. 5 hours.
Today you can enjoy beautiful views of the best preserved Mediterranean forests from horseback. The dominant species are the evergreen oaks, the holm or cork oaks and the deciduous oaks. Look out for the local wildlife along the way, including vultures, eagles, azure-winged magpies, red-billed choughs, shrikes and ravens. Stop for lunch in the countryside and then continue riding in the afternoon with magnificent views of the Sierra de las Villuercas, the Villuercas mountains in Berzocana. Dinner and accommodation are at a very nice rural hotel with spectacular sunsets over the Villuercas Geopark. Riding time approx. 7 hours.
There are more spectacular views on the ride today over the impressive Villuercas landscape. Villuercas has been declared a Geopark (UNESCO, 2011) because of its Cultural and Natural Heritage and, of course, the great geological value of its relief, with a lot of interesting and visible geological elements. It is a very rural region, mostly fields with stone walls. You will stop in one of these fields for another tasty lunch. The afternoon provides some great opportunities for long canters. Dinner and overnight at a nice rural hotel. Riding time approx. 6 hours.
After breakfast you can enjoy many good trots and canters through the Dehesa. Livestock can be seen everywhere; cows, sheep, goats and Iberic pigs are mostly kept in the traditional way here. In the afternoon you have good canters to your overnight stop. Dinner and overnight at rural hotel. Riding time approx. 6 hours.
Today you will ride in Dehesa Extremeña with good and long trots and canters to return to the beginning of the ride. You will spend the night at the same hotel in Trujillo as the first night. There will be a farewell dinner at the hotel in the evening.
After breakfast at hotel you will leave Trujillo at 10 a.m., to be at Madrid Airport approx. 12.30 p.m. so please do not book flights before 2 p.m. All riders will be transferred at the same time, so if any rider needs to arrive Madrid earlier, all riders will depart earlier or you can arrange a private transfer (at extra cost).
2019/20: If there are 3 riders transfer cost will be €50 per rider each way. If there are 2 riders transfer cost will be €75 per rider each way, payable locally. Groups of 4 or more riders transfers included.
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.
Homebred PRE, Pure Hispano-Arab, Anglo-Arab and cross horses with English saddles and tack are utilised. The horses are responsive, well behaved and good natured, ranging from 15 - 16 hands. Most have been bred at home by your host so are adapted to the area in a natural way. They are perfectly groomed and well shod. The saddles have silicone seat savers and there are 2 light saddle bags attached to the front of the saddles.
The ride is at a reasonable pace with some long trots and canters. The terrain is mostly pasture and woodland, though there may be some rougher ground. There may be occasion when the terrain becomes steep to lead the horses and walk alongside.
Riders should be able to walk, trot and canter confidently and have experience of riding over varied terrain. It is an advantage to be able to mount and dismount unaided but not essential as help is usually at hand. There is a minimum age of 10 for children who must be competent riders.
The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Rural hotels in very remote villages are part of this trail. All rooms are twin with extra beds available if arranged in advance. The hotels offer beautiful views in really peaceful locations and some have swimming pools.
Meals are a highlight of this ride and are of a Mediterranean flavour including paella, excellent Avilan beef, salads, fish, iberic ham and sheep cheese. Excellent red and white local wines and aperitifs are included in the price with your meals. The back-up vehicle will meet the ride at around 12pm for some delicious tapas which includes jam, manchego cheese, olives, nuts and cold drinks. The ride then continues until 2pm when the ride will stop for lunch. The comfortable lunches in the countryside have tables and chairs and there is always a starter, main course, fresh fruit, coffee/tea with chocolate and biscuits, good wines and cold refreshments.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
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.
Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk
The British Consulate in Madrid is at the Calle de Fernando el Santo 16, 28010 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 7008200. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ukinspain.com.
The Spanish Embassy in the U.K can be found at 39 Chesham Place, London SW1X 8SB. Tel: (020) 7235 5555.
Extremadura has a continental climate with cool, mostly damp winters and hot, dry summers. From June to September the summers are warm to hot. After September temperatures fall back to average values. It freezes only little in Extremadura. Thanks to the many hours of sunshine you can easily be outdoors even in the winter months and enjoy the splendid scenery and the omnipresent quiet.
No special health precautions are required for visits to Spain, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!
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
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 adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
230V 50HZ with a two pronged round pin plug
There is electricity in the hotel rooms and camera equipment can be recharged each night.
It is recommended to take a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. There are a number of riding helmets available for use on-site.
Short riding/ walking boots
Half chaps (recommended)
Warm jacket (depending on time of year),
Long trousers (for evenings)
Long sleeve shirts,
Trainers/shoes for the evening
Sarong or wrap
This is a 7 day/6 night programme with 5 days riding on set dates. Extra dates can be arranged for groups of 4 or more.
2020: 9, 23 Feb; 8 Mar; 12, 26 Apr; 4, 18 Oct.
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`The New Spaniards’ –John Hooper, ‘Driving over Lemons’- Chris Stewart, ‘The Story of Spain’- Mark Williams, ‘South of Granada’ – Gerald Brenan, ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ – Ernest Hemmingway, ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’- Laurie Lee and ‘Don Quijote de la Mancha’ – Miguel de Cervantes. For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com
Storks, eagles, swallows, vultures, eagles, azure-winged magpies, red-billed choughs, shrikes and ravens.
Non-riders can travel in the support car and join the riders at meal times and join in any other activities. Or if they wish, they can rent a car in Avila and explore on their own and join the group for the evening meals.
Castilla y Leon is very historical region. Riders can visit, before or after the ride, very interesting towns like Toledo, Salamanca, Segovia, Avila... All are towns full of history.
Spain is a beautiful and diverse country, the second largest in Europe. The official language is Castilian Spanish but Catalan, Galician and Basque are also spoken. Territory includes two island archipelagos – the Balearics and the Canaries – and two enclaves on the North African coast, bordering Morocco – Ceuta and Melilla. The African influence can be found throughout Spain but especially in the south, for example the guitar was invented by the Spanish when they added a sixth string to the Arab lute. Music and art permeates Spanish culture, most obviously displayed in the fire and passion of the Flamenco and the stunning modern architecture found in the cities.
The famous siesta is still enjoyed by the majority of Spaniards, most shops close at lunchtime for two or three hours so everyone can escape the often scorching afternoon sun. Evening meals are served late into the evening with plenty of wine or sangria. Often meals can last two or three hours, especially if your host is serving Tapas, small and varied dishes of meats, bread, vegetables. Paella is also a delight and very popular across the country.
Spain is one hour ahead of GMT 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 for Spain is +34.