IMAGINE getting up a family posse for a trek into the mountains this summer, or cantering along the sands at sunset with a stirrup cup to finish.
Andalucia is the perfect place to discover your inner Lone Ranger and you don’t have to be a veteran vaquero or Tonto to try it!
There are riding stables all over the region waiting to ease you into this exhilarating outdoor sport and help you win your spurs.
Andalucia is the cradle of the Pura Raza Espanola, royalty in the horsey world. This sturdy but elegant breed originated in the Jerez countryside and has been prized by kings and sultans throughout history for its prowess as a war horse.
But don’t worry if you normally shy away from bucking broncos with large teeth – Andalucian horses are also noted for their intelligence, discipline and docile nature.
In case you’re tempted, the Olive Press has picked out some of the best classes, routes and group excursions offered by riding centres in Andalucia for all levels and ages.
You’ll appreciate the wonders of nature from a whole new angle – Hi Ho Silver Away!
Set in the foothills of Granada’s Sierra Nevada surrounded by olive groves, El Club Hipico La Zubia will give the kids a great start in the saddle.
Riding instructors have over 20 years of experience in both teaching and competition and offer lessons (practice and theory) for kids of all levels in small groups or one-to-ones, with classical dressage and jumping an option for intermediates. A 30-minute initiation class costs €12.
The centre bases its philosophy on respect for the animals, the essential foundations of horsemanship, and their immaculately groomed horses certainly have a beautiful home.
Birthday parties can even be organised, giving children a fun afternoon in the countryside with supervised pony rides, games and a chance to feed the horses. https://www.centroecuestrelazubia.es/
For an unforgettable day out the whole family can enjoy, head up to Paddock Paradise in the Serranía de Ronda, a trekking centre that lives up to its idyllic name.
Tucked away in the middle of a Mediterranean forest with awesome views of the Tajo river and the romantic city of Ronda, the centre boasts the most spectacular routes, the happiest horses and the most authentic rural experience – for families, couples and equestrian experts.
One of their most popular excursions is the horse trail with forest picnic – a three-hour experience for a minimum of four people, priced at €75 per person.
Or for true romantics, the Dream Sunset route is probably the most original way to propose to your loved one that won’t break the bank. This linear trail of circa three hours takes riders through olive grove country and right into the old city of Ronda via its famous Puente Nuevo bridge. For a grand finale there’s a bottle of champagne on ice and sunset views from the Ermita rupestre de la Virgen de la Cabeza, a ninth century hermitage cave dug out of the rock face. The panorama is the perfect backdrop for popping the question.
Paddock Paradise prides itself on keeping its horses in conditions which simulate their innate habitat to keep them content and motivated. The animals are kept loose in open meadows to free-range feed ecologically, their working hours are kept on a tight rein so they don’t overdo it, and horseshoes, spurs and whips are outlawed: https://www.paddockparadiseronda.com/
Seasoned equestrians looking for a more challenging ride through Andalucia’s wild outback can saddle up for a horse trek through bull ranch country in Cordoba Province.
The two-hour route organised by Entre Toros y Caballos will give you a glimpse into the running of a traditional ranch dedicated to the breeding of horses, cattle and toros bravos.
The welcome includes an introduction to the history of the farm and its current owners, a demonstration of Doma Vaquera (cowboy dressage) and a chance to ride out with the head herdsman to view the livestock and experience part of a typical day.
Riders need to know how trot and gallop and the excursion is not recommended for beginners or under-16s. Priced €70 per person for a minimum of two people, you can do it year round.
The ranch also organises longer tailormade horseback trails of up to five days duration through some of Andalucia’s most beautiful landscapes. Packages include accommodation, transport and visits to the best shows and events in the region (coronavirus permitting), such as the Royal School of Equestrian Art in Jerez, the Feria of Sevilla in April and the Sanlucar Horse Races in August.
For more information contact Diego Martinez at email@example.com
If the idea of galloping along a virgin beach with the wind in your hair and the waves at your hooves whips you up into a romantic frenzy, this is the excursion for you. Donana Hipica El Pasodoble in Matalascañas, the closest coastal town to Donana National Park, has privileged access to its protected dunes and pristine sea shore where there’s not a chiringuito nor a beach towel in sight. This classic two-hour trek over rolling dunes down to the sea is suitable for all abilities and ages from five years up. It is a group activity shared with other clients, priced from €30 p.p. Check their website for more info: https://www.donana-rutas-caballo.com/en-gb/home
If you’re just looking to sit back and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Andalucian horse, surrounded by magic and music, Club Hipico El Ranchito in Torremolinos showcases their incredible discipline and dancing abilities to perfection.
Ritmo a Caballo (Rhythm on Horseback) is an authentic equestrian ballet – 90 minutes of classical and cowboy dressage with Spanish music and period costumes. Directed by José Carlos González Guerrero, Spanish dressage champion in 2009, this magical choreography between horse and rider has been running every Wednesday at 5.45 pm for 28 years without a break (until now – since the pandemic you’ll need to check the website for updates on what’s on).
Also planned this summer is Andalucian Night, which includes the horse show, dinner and flamenco.
Ritmo a Caballo Show: 26€ / 15€ for Adults / Children 6-11 yrs. Show plus dinner: 57,5€ / 36,5€: https://ranchito.com/ritmo-a-caballo/