Excellent point to point trail horse riding holiday in Spain. Ride north from the small white-washed villages of Burgos to the Atlantic Ocean at Santander and enjoy the fast beach riding along the Atlantic Coast.

The horses are all Pure Spanish (PRE), forward-going and very responsive and ridden in Spanish style saddles. Accommodation on each night is in comfortable small hotels and guest houses with en-suite bedrooms, the food typical of the region.

This Spanish horse riding holiday will appeal to riders who are interested in a combination of scenery and culture with comfortable hotels, good company and beautiful horses.

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 HP of Wohlen b. Bern on 05/10/2016

Ride Summary
Honestly, I think José's riding trails leave rather little room for improvement (I took part in two of them).
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (   ) Excellent     (X) 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     (   ) Excellent     (X) 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     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
José and Ulla are both very kind, helpful and well organized.
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
Of course I am fully aware of the fact that a true spanish caballero dislikes broken bits and would always prefer a kerb. However, my beautiful but rather nervous and sensitive horse, as well as I myself, might well have profited from a broken bit.
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     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Other ride staff     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Try to give a more precise description of the meeting point in terminal 1 of the vast Madrid airport. Actually, Terminal 1 has two entrance halls. The meeting point is in number 1.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
No, not really. However, providing the names and phone numbers of the hotels where nights are spend on the trail might be helpful.
What could we do to improve this ride?
Honestly, I think José's riding trails leave rather little room for improvement (I took part in two of them).
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:
Overall riding is not difficult but there are a fair number of steep ascents and descents as well as narrow passages that somtimes require the rider to get off the horse and leading it.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

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 great time! :)

Day 1 
Transfer from Madrid airport to Covarrubias.

Day 2 
SOTOPALACIOS – ALTOS DE DOBRO
We leave Sotopalacios, a small village near Burgos and neighbour of Vivar del Cid, where El Cid was born and begin your way to North of Burgos towards Santander´s beach. We ascend to the Paramo de Masa and finish our first day in Altos de Dobro

Day 3 
ALTOS DE DOBRO - CORCONTE
We leave Dobro and descend into the Canyons of the Ebro for a truly beautiful and memorable morning ride. Passing through small towns, we climb to the port Tornos and later cross the Desfiladero de las Palancas passage. A steep climb follows before we rest for lunch on the river shore in Hoz de Arreba. In the afternoon we arrive in Soncillo where the stage ends and we make our way to the Spa Corconte, full of history and legend next to the Ebro dam near the Puerto del Escudo.

Day 4 
CORCONTE - CASTILLO PEDROSO
We leave Corconte and the Ebro dam climbing to the mountain top surrounded by virgin grasslands and some wandering animals, heading towards Sel de la Carrera. Here we have lunch and then to ascend to the mountain Cildo and descend to Castillo Pedroso, a typical mountain village.

Day 5
CASTILLO PEDROSO  – CASTANEDA
We make our way to the Valley of Pas and the sea coast between grasslands and forests of eucalyptus. We eat in the chapel of Aés and then ride along the river Pas on our way to Castañeda.

Day 6
CASTANEDA  – LIENCRES 
Meandering through the eucalyptus forests and through small villages to Puente Arce where we eat. Our afternoon ride takes us down to the beach of Liencres.

Day 7
LIENCRES – LIENCRES
On the last day we will enjoy our time on the beach, galloping in the waves and enjoying the fresh sea air.

Day 8
Breakfast before your transfer back to Madrid airport.

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, and 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. There are some large and strong horses, so there is a higher than usual weight limit of 105kg. Due to the long rides 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 231 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The hotels used en-route are all very comfortable 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 cover a range of local dishes and are always freshly prepared. Continental breakfasts, extensive lunches and 3 course dinners are the norm.

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:

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 while the valleys on this Gredos ride start to be pleasant in March 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, 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 may be arranged for groups of 6 or more.

Departure Dates

2019: 14 September
2020: 18 April; 5 September

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20198d/7n6double pp1,635
20198d/7n6single supplement145
20208d/7n6double pp1,685
20208d/7n6single supplement145
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20198d/7n6double pp1,859
20198d/7n6single supplement165
20208d/7n6double pp1,915
20208d/7n6single supplement165
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20198d/7n6double pp2,205
20198d/7n6single supplement195
20208d/7n6double pp2,269
20208d/7n6single supplement195
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20198d/7n6double pp20,435
20198d/7n6single supplement1,785
20208d/7n6double pp21,029
20208d/7n6single supplement1,785
Recommended Reading

`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

Other Activities

Non riders are welcome to accompany the ride in the luggage transfer vehicle. Each night is spent in interesting local villages and hotels and there is plenty to do and see. The main cultural items are visited with your guide en route and non riders can join in here.

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. Approximate transfer time is 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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