Jeff on a morning ride
On parade through town
Leading the drummers on horseback
Getting ready to enter the parade
Feria Nurca
Tony riding Duende
Tony on Duende
Riding to the Feria
Preparing for the Parade
Riding in the Feria is a big social occasion
Anything horse drawn takes to the streets
Horse paddocks amongst the olive groves
Foot parade through village streets
Lunch time at the finca
Terrace and swimming pool at the finca
Decorated oxen pulling traditional carts
Sunet on the way home from the Feria
Competa town
Traditional dress is still commonly worn

Andalusia is famous for its colourful festivals. Throughout the year, but particularly in the spring and summer, every local village will stage a "Feria". Each feria also has a "Romeria" which is the mounted display. Horses are beautifully turned out, their traditional tack is gleaming and everyone puts on their party clothes - black trousers and white shirts with traditional hats for men, or colourful ruffled dresses for the ladies.
These very special rides offer an opportunity to participate in local festivals on horseback, preparing the horses the day before, riding to (or boxing if further away) the horses to the villages and taking part in the displays. There is a carnival atmosphere and anyone on a horse is especially welcome!

There are 16 beautiful, well schooled and immaculately cared for Andalusians, to choose from at the finca sure to be admired in the fiesta. The traditional finca offers riding for all levels, but to participate in the parade it is necessary to have complete control over your horse. Accompanying beginners or non riders can participate on foot in Ferias and share in the atmosphere while riding on other days if wished.  

The finca has been restored to create a mountain retreat sure to charm riders or non riders. Extensive gardens with shady orange & lemon trees, indigenous plants and hammocks with views across the swimming pool all the way to the coast are perfect for lazy afternoons. The warm welcome extended by Donna, Jeff and Ricky ensures that everyone returns for another 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 ML of on 13/10/2013

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
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Additional Comments
Horses and Tack
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Meals
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Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response Yes and the days were explained to us the day before we went out.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
What could we do to improve this ride? Offer more days, 10 days ect
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced? 8
Please explain why you scored it as you did The rides were long, but the horses were very easy to ride and i never felt i was matched with a horse that wasn't suitable.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response I did and she booked!
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Any other comments
Unicorn comments

Day 1
Arrive and transfer. Settle in, meet other participants over dinner and discussion of programme.

Day 2
Today we meet the horses and select our perfect match. There is an opportunity to ride in the arena before heading out for a mornings ride to see how you get on with your new partner. Return to the finca for lunch and after a rest on the terrace ride out again, on a different horse if you would like to change. About 4 hours of easy riding.

Day 3
Today is devoted to getting our horses ready for the feria as well as the saddles and any costumes. If there is time we may go for a very short ride but as tomorrow will be a very long day both for us and the horses, we generally don't ride.

Day 4
A very early start. We either ride to the feria if it is one of the local villages, or we box the horses if it is further away. Donna and Jeff are with you all day. Most of the day is on horseback socialising, watching other parades and of course taking part in the horse parade. We tie our horses for breaks at the local tavernas and lunch. At the end of a long day we head back to the finca again, either on horseback or by vehicle. This may well be after dinner!

Day 5
We sleep late to recover from yesterdays exertions with a late brunch. Later in the afternoon we head off for an afternon ride culminating at sunset on a high spot with marvellous views and enjoying a drink while watching the sun set over this very special part of Spain.

Day 6
Departure after breakfast.

Accommodation
The beautiful Finca is set deep in the National Park and surrounded by nature. The original farm house is 500 years old and has been lovingly restored and consists of 2 double bedrooms and one small (child) single. This is suitable for 2 singles sharing the bathroom or a group of friends. There is also a one bedroom restored apartment containing a double and a single bed with bathroom; and a garden chalet apartment with room for 3 or 4 people sharing the bathroom. The views from the terrace to the ocean, peaceful terraced gardens and swimming pool make this a delightful retreat with horses on your doorstep. The Finca can be reached on a dirt road of 4 miles. Ricky, Donna or Jeff are happy to drop guests off at the beach, nearby villages or other activites and attractions when not riding and pick them up by arrangement.


Alternatively for those looking for a more lively evening set up, a local hotel located 4 miles away provides a comfortable stay strolling distance from the village of Canillas de Albaida. This very traditional white washed village has many terraces and restaurants. The hotel offers twin and double rooms, a good restaurant across the square, convivial evening bar (often attended by locals who tie their horses outside) and terrace wtih spectacular sunset views. Many local activites can also be arranged by the hotel.


Horses and Riding
The 16 Andalusian horses give a choice of mount for all levels of rider. Beginners can have some tuition in a school area before heading into the mountains. The traditional saddles are easy to ride in and the horses respond easily to light directions, making this an ideal place to learn/try riding. It is not uncommon to meet locals on their horses in this very traditional part of Spain. Horses are welcome in all the villages and most tavernas have a place to tie your horse. For more experienced riders there are good tracks for some faster riding and more challenging lively Andalusians. English saddles are available if wanted. Some routes are also steeper and technically challenging.

Non riders
Non riders can participate in the festival on foot. Before and after the romeria there are numerous other activities available for non riders, all bookable on site.

 

Riders who booked this ride also considered:

Ride To Jatar - Spain
Relax for a few days, getting used to your horse and explore the local area before setting off on a challenging trail to Jatar along steep routes across the mountains that have been used for centuries by muleteers to transport fresh goods from the coast to the interior. On arrival at Jatar you have a day to relax and enjoy the healing hot springs - or undertake more strenuous explorations - before returning via another spectacular route.

Andalusian Mountain Retreat - Spain
East of Malaga deep in the mountains the Parque Natural Sierra Tejeda, Almijara Y Alhama Competa is the peaceful setting for a wonderful retreat.

Forest and Beach, Andalusia - Spain
A traditional finca, run by an English family, situated at a small coastal village between Barbate and Conil in Southern Spain, close to some of the most beautiful unspoilt beaches in Europe.

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 16 beautiful Andalusians from 14.3hh to 16.3hh. Many are bigger and stronger than the average and this ride can comfortably cater for heavier riders. The horses are all lovingly looked after to the best English standards. They are fit and well fed, clipped and rugged in the winter, fed and inspected twice daily. They are all well schooled with no vices and ridden in curb bits with traditional saddles for comfort. English saddles are also available for those who prefer. Some of the horses are more showy and forward going, others are schoolmasters. All are very responsive making this an easy place to learn to ride. The horses all wear halters under the bridles and are all experienced at participating in parades. A range of riding helmets is available on site and riders are encouraged to wear one although this is not compulsory. Saddles are equipped with small saddle bags to carry en route essentials such as sunscreen and water bottles.

Rider requirements

Although the every day riding can be tailored to all abilities, only riders fully in control of their horses can participate in the parade.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 16st /224 lb/102 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The beautiful Finca is set deep in the National Park and surrounded by nature. The original farm house is 500 years old and has been lovingly restored and consists of 2 double bedrooms and one small (child) single. This is suitable for 2 singles sharing the bathroom or a group of friends. There is also a one bedroom restored apartment containing a double and a single bed with bathroom; and a garden chalet apartment with room for 3 or 4 people sharing the bathroom. The views from the terrace to the ocean, peaceful terraced gardens and swimming pool make this a delightful retreat with horses on your doorstep. The Finca can be reached on a dirt road of 4 miles. Ricky, Donna or Jeff are happy to drop guests off at the beach, nearby villages or other activites and attractions when not riding and pick them up by arrangement.

The views from the terrace to the ocean, peaceful gardens and swimming pool make this a delightful retreat with horses on your doorstep. The first floor apartment is just a few steps away from the Finca and consists of 3 separate beds with en-suite bathroom. There is no TV at the Finca, and phone reception is unreliable although there is broadband connection. The Finca can be reached on a dirt road of 4 miles. Ricky, Donna or Jeff are happy to drop guests off at the beach, nearby villages or other activites and attractions when not riding and pick them up by arrangement. Alternatively for those looking for a more lively evening set up, a local hotel located 4 miles away provides a comfortable stay in the village of Canillas de Albaida. This very traditional white washed village has many terraces and restaurants. The hotel offers twin or double rooms, a roof-top sunterrace with jacuzzi, a good restaurant a short stroll away, convivial evening bar (often attended by locals who tie their horses outside) and terrace with spectacular sunset views. Many local activites can also be arranged by the hotel. Most of the food at the Finca is home grown organic with fresh eggs and vegetables daily. Donna was a chef at the Grovesnor Hotel in a previous life, so the food is outstanding.

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

Climate Summary

Spring and autumn is generally a good time to visit and the days are sunny and warm (25 Celsius). In the summer it can be very hot with temperatures exceeding 30 Celsius on a regular basis. Overnight thunderstorms are common in the mountain regions but are generally gone by morning.

Climate Chart

Film and Camera Equipment

There is electricity available on all nights at the Finca and hotel. Telephone reception is poor in the mountains although on the terrace at the Finca 2 bars of reception can be received. The hotel has good mobile reception. There is almost no internet reception although on special request wifi is available at a nearby cafe while enjoying a drink/coffee/meal.

Packing List

Light summer clothing is need on most departure dates. You need a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. 2 pairs of riding trousers (these can also be jeans or chinos as the local saddles are similar to Western saddles) half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket (Winter, Spring and Autumn), shorts, long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, 4 pairs of socks, raincoat (seasonal), sun block, camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt, binoculars, lightweight riding boots (can be sturdy shoes with tread and a heel) and a change of footwear - trainers or sandals.
A range of riding helmets is available on site.
For the fiestas a pair of black trousers and nice white shirt with broad brimmed hat will ensure you fit right in.

Programmes

Set dates based around the dates of the Ferias are offered. The exact day of the parade are liable to change slightly if the town hall deems it necessary.

Departure Dates

2017: Available throughout the year (excludes 25/26 December), please enquire
2018: Available throughout the year (excludes 25/26 December), please enquire
2018 Confirmed: 12 May (Nerja Festival)

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20176d/5n4double pp835
20176d/5n4single supplement105
20176d/5n4non rider679
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20176d/5n4double pp975
20176d/5n4single supplement119
20176d/5n4non rider789
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20176d/5n4double pp1,155
20176d/5n4single supplement139
20176d/5n4non rider935
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20176d/5n4double pp9,659
20176d/5n4single supplement1,175
20176d/5n4non rider7,829
Wildlife

Eagles can often be seen soaring using the thermals from the mountains. There are wild boar in the area and may be seen in the evenings from the terrace at the Finca. Dedicated wildlife spotters may be lucky enough to see an ibex.

Other Information

This particular part of Spain is very traditional and the present younger generation is far wealthier than their parents who can still tell vivid stories of Franco's time and their jobs as muleteers and fishermen. The mountain is criss-crossed with traditional mule routes which were in regular use until 25 years ago. Fresh produce such as fish, oranges and lemons were taken from coastal towns such as Torremolinos across the mountain range to inland cities such as Granada with corn and grain being returned. Mules are still used in the national park today as the best way to access the steep and rough back country.
Fiestas are still very much a way of life and absolutely everyone turns out to participate, usually in their best traditional dress. They are very inclusive and visitors are warmly welcomed, especially if on a horse!

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Malaga airport or town
Transfer:
From Malaga €80 per car each way divided amongst the passengers. Payable on site. Transfer time is approx 1 hour.
If hiring a car you MUST hire a 4x4.
Flight Guide:
London - Malaga return from £50 with Ryanair
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