Castilla province is not only the heart of Spanish culture but also home to a rich tradition of wine and food. On this riding holiday in Spain we explore the vineyards of Ribera Del Duero on superb pure bred Spanish horses. We stop to taste fine wines at some of the oldest and most iconic wineries in Spain. We overnight in excellent hotels with much character and comfort. We dine in some of the finest restaurants and sample the best and freshest local cuisine: wine and meat and good horses are the focus of this ride.

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

Ride Summary
Super holiday
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     (   ) Excellent     (X) 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     (   ) Excellent     (X) 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     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Ursula is a superb guide. It is unusual to find this in someone who doesn't actually own the ride / horses. She speaks excellent English, is professional and fun, and has a passion and knowledge of the area which one would expect from a local person who has lived there all their life, and shares this knowledge proactively which is great!
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
I rode a beautiful and clever horse. He is my second favourite horse ever and I thoroughly enjoyed him. Ursula helped me to understand him which was much appreciated as he was showing off a little at first and I mistook this for him being nervous. He was a joy to ride.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (   ) Excellent     (X) 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:
I asked Sarah quite a few questions about the ride and although she had not been on this ride, she did contact others to help with understanding how the ride was etc.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

What could we do to improve this ride?
To have just a one or two more canters per day. And one small but important thing - to provide a better way of carrying water whilst riding. I was provided with a saddle bag after I asked but the norm is to bring your own water bottle and tie it (using a leather lace) to the saddle. Bottles were lost and were crushed by the lace and it was difficult to access the water bottle during the ride.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
6
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
I found the ride easy and I find it difficult to answer this question. I scored 6 because some mornings are long so you need to be fit for this. And the long canters are beautiful and you need to be confident for that, although they are on very easy tracks and we encountered not dogs or other things to spook the horses.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
I have recommended Unicorn to friends already. Sarah and Fiona have been very helpful. I've been on 2 rides with you this year and one or two last year.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:
Keep doing a great job. I would love to return to ride with Ursula on the ride near Seville in November if I can. I would also like to take the ride near to San Sebastian. Ursual and Jose have a lot of super rides to chose from.
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time :)

Day 1
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. 

Day 2
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. 

Day 3
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.

Day 4
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.

Day 5
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.

Day 6
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.

Day 7
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.

Day 8
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.

Horses & Riding

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.

Rider requirements

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.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 17 st/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.

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:

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: commerce@ukinspain.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.

Climate Summary

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.

Climate Chart

Health

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

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 adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.

230V 50HZ with a two pronged round pin plug

Film and Camera Equipment

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.

Packing List

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.

Programmes

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.

Departure Dates

2018: 26 May; 30 June; 1, 8 September.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20188d/7n6double pp1,565
20188d/7n6single supplement129
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20188d/7n6double pp1,715
20188d/7n6single supplement139
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20188d/7n6double pp2,009
20188d/7n6single supplement165
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20188d/7n6double pp18,139
20188d/7n6single supplement1,485
Other Activities

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.

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):
Madrid Airport (MAD)
Transfer:
Included from meeting point. Transfer time is approximately 2 hours. Return flights departure around 12 pm noon.
Flight Guide:
Madrid - London return from £60. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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