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 MC of Warrington on 14/07/2018
Arrival in Madrid, Spain and transfer to the first nights hotel. It may be possible depending on the time of arrival, to visit Sepúlveda in the afternoon. Beautifully situated with picturesque town walls, churches and traditionally built houses. Dinner and lodging in La Cerca Blanca or Posada del Duratón or similar.
SEBULCOR – SACRAMENIA
We start our route in Sebulcor, a small town that allows the most direct access to the Natural Park of “Las Hoces del Río Duratón”. Riding between pine groves, forests of shore, sabinas and junipers, we traverse the Park and enjoy a precipitous view of the meandering S bends of the Duratón river at the feet of the hermitage San Frutos. We ride in the habitat of hundreds of leonados vultures and some Egyptian vultures, kites, eagles, sparrowhawks, and if we are really fortunate we will see the only pair of Real Eagles that nest in the park. Otters, genets and other species are prevalent. Upon arriving in the small town of Fuentidueña we stop for a wonderful lunch in a restaurant. After our siesta we head down the river Duratón to Sacramenia and the end of our first day. Dinner and lodging in La Cerca Blanca or Posada del Duratón or similar.
SACRAMENIA – PEÑAFIEL
Riding along the Duratón river we find the point where it joins the Duero River, we head towards Peñafiel with its majestic Castle (Tenth century and reconstructed in the fourteenth century and the National Historical Monument) and the Provincial Wine museum both of which we will have the opportunity to visit. We take a meal in Peñafiel. Dinner and lodging is in the hotel "Convento las Claras” or similar.
PEÑAFIEL – VALLEY OF CUCO – PEÑAFIEL
Today we ride a circuit around Peñafiel taking in the Valley of Cuco, down by the Castle of Curiel to come back again to the foot of the mountain where the Castle is located. Visit to the Wine cellar of PROTOS. Dinner and lodging in the Hotel "Convento las Claras” or similar.
PEÑAFIEL – OLIVARES DE DUERO
We cross the Duero river and once on the right bank we visit the most emblematic wine cellars of the region: Pesquera, Dehesa de los Canónigos, Emina, Vegasicilia. We also visit the Monastery of Santa Maria de Valbuena (San Bernardo) of the order of the Cister and permanent seat of the Foundation “Las Edades Del Hombre”.
We finish the day, too tired to ride further but with energy to visit another wine cellar or two, to drink (a little) and to eat, in Olivares de Duero! Dinner and lodging in the Hotel Fuente de la Aceña or similar.
OLIVARES DE DUERO – OLIVARES DE DUERO
We dedicate the day to riding, rising to the high lands from where shores of the Duero river can be seen stretching out before us, we have lunch and return to Olivares de Duero, there is wine-tasting and some more surprises. Our Meal is in a wine cellar in Villavaquerín. Dinner and lodging is in the Hotel Fuente de la Aceña or similar.
OLIVARES DE DUERO – OLIVARES DE DUERO
From the right shore we arrive to Sardón de Duero and cross the river to the left bank and visit the wine cellar of the Abbey Santa Maria de Retuerta, the Arzuaga wine cellars and then returning to Olivares de Duero to rest and to prepare for the evening. Dinner and lodging is in the Hotel Fuente de la Aceña or similar.
Transfer to Madrid and departure after breakfast, which concludes your horse riding holiday in Spain.
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.
The owner breeds and competes Pure Spanish horses (PRE). The horses are Spanish, Arab X and some Andalusian X, nd there are 35 excellent riding horses to choose from. They range in height from 15hh-16.2hh with some ponies available. They are all in well rounded condition and beautifully polished on a daily basis with traditional flowing manes, mainly kept stabled, shod all round and very well mannered. They are ridden in traditional deep seated Spanish saddles with soft sheepskin covers and traditional big stirrups. The bridles are mainly curb bits and the horses are ridden loose reined and respond easily to weight shifts and subtle signals. This is a very easy and relaxing style of riding similar to Western, some instruction will be given if wanted. The horses are all experienced and sure footed trail horses with temperaments that vary from quiet and reliable through responsive to fiery and showy. With 35 horses to choose from you are sure to find your ideal partner for the week. The riding is mainly at a walk due to varying terrain, but there are plenty (4-6) of opportunities for long and fast canters every day. Jose Manuel, your guide, is not too keen on trotting although this is possible if requested! The riding starts late morning, after 2-3 hours a break is made for lunch followed by a siesta and a similar length afternoon session to arrive late afternoon at your destination. All saddling and grooming is done for you although you are welcome to assist with your own horse.
Riders need to be able to walk, trot and canter. These horses are trained in the Spanish style and are used to being ridden with a loose rein when at walk and a light contact at canter.These horses are trained in the Spanish style and are used to being ridden with a loose rein when at walk and a light contact at canter.There are some large and strong horses, so there is a higher than usual weight limit of 105kg. Due to the long riders this ride is not suitable for children under 12 and all children should be competent riders. There is no need to saddle or clean your own horse on this ride unless you wish to. Assistance is available for mounting and dismounting and minimal walking next to your horses is required.
The weight limit for this ride is 231 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The hotels used en route are all very comfortable or even luxurious with twin or double rooms and en suite shower, toilet, bidet and basin in the bathrooms. They are always located in spots of particular interest and have a local character all of their own. The meals are taken at vineyards, fine restaurants and hotels along the way. The local specialities are based on meat (often lamb or beef), sausages, cheeses and the famous red wineries of Ribero del Duero valley. Everything is fresh and locally produced. The standard of food on this ride is gourmet.
Unfortunately vegetarian or other unusual dietary requests cannot be accommodated on this trip.
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: email@example.com www.ukinspain.com.
The Spanish Embassy in the U.K can be found at 39 Chesham Place, London SW1X 8SB. Tel: (020) 7235 5555.
The climate in this area is dependent on the altitude. In the valleys it can get very hot in July and August while the Sierras (mountains) are at their best then, spring and autumn are ideal for riding at while the valleys start to be pleasant in March already and are still fine in November.
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. Most towns and villages will sell some batteries and film.
It is recommended to take a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. There is a good range of riding helmets on site if you wish to borrow one. 2 pairs of riding trousers, half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey/fleece, warm jacket (depending on time of year), shorts, long trousers (evenings) long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, 8 pairs of socks, waterproofs (that work), sun block, camera, binoculars, a pair of short riding/ walking boots and trainers. On a practical level a bottle of water for refilling and the all essential loo paper (for outdoor emergencies only!) are handy.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding available on set dates. Other dates can be arranged for groups of 6 or more in June or September. Due to the grape growing and harvesting schedule this ride cannot be run in October.
2019: 31 August.
2020: 23 May; 27 June; 29 August.
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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
Non riders are welcome to accompany the ride in the luggage transfer vehicle. Each night is spent in interesting local villges and hotels and there is plenty to do and see. The main cultural items are visited with your guide en route and non riders will of course enjoy the food and wines as much s the riders.
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.