Horseback Riding in Portugal

Alcainca Dressage Program


This trip features dressage in Portugal and is one of the world’s premier places for lessons in classical dressage. The Lusitano stallions are not only magnificent animals, but are also trained to a high level of performance. One can take up to three hours of lessons per day.

There are rings both indoors and outdoors and the fine instructors can give lessons at any level. The program runs all year in this temperate climate. Accommodations and meals are on the property and there is an outdoor swimming pool and a small bar.

Lodging is onsite at the riding center.

Three meals a day are provided and will be served in a dining room located off the riding hall.

  • Overview:
    The horses are either purebred or part-bred Lusitanos, trained from a medium to an upper level dressage standard; able to do everything from a Shoulder In to Half Pass to Flying Change to Piaffe and Passage. The Lusitanos, which have the same origins as the famous Andalusians, are considered some of the finest horses in Europe. Together with their Spanish brothers, the Lusitanos were the first horses to be brought to the New World and are the ancestors of most American breeds. Classic dressage saddles with snaffles and/or double bridles are utilized.
  • Horse Breeds:
  • Trip Pace:
    To suit riders
  • Tack:
    Dressage saddles
  • Weight limit:
    180 lbs
  • Hours of Instruction:
    1 1/2 or 3 hrs depending on ability
  • Instruction and Training:
    There are two main instructors at Escola de Equitação de Alcainça and it is likely that you will have lessons alternating between the two, however one of them will most likely be more present throughout your stay for continuity and consistency in your training. - Mario Cardoso, who speaks English and Portuguese, is specialized in the training of young horses, as well as being a regional champion in Working Equitation. An accomplished dressage rider, Mario has worked and trained with Bruno Carrilho (owner of the Lusitano sport horse stud farm Quinta dos Cedros), Miguel Ralão (dressage rider, Olympic), João Moreira, José João Dinis, Vasco Freire’s Dressage Plus (one of the most important stud farm of Lusitanian sport of the moment), as well as riding in shows alongside Miguel Fonseca (several times world champion of working horse) across all of Portugal. - Sérgio Henriques, who speaks English and Portuguese, is a rider with extensive experience in the Working Equitation Discipline. He has competed in the National Working Equitation Championship for several years, accomplishing a Bronze Medal in the Portuguese Working Equitation Cup. Currently, he is a judge in the Regional and National Championships and in the Portuguese Working Equitation Cup. He is also a Portuguese Equitation Judge. More recently, Sérgio started competing in National Dressage Competitions. Sérgio has sought to evolve as a rider, participating in several classes and clinics with the riders, Eng.º Bento Castelhano, Pedro Torres, Jorge Sousa, Miguel Ralão Duarte, and Nuno Chaves de Almeida.
  • Types of Instruction:
    Clinics and Lessons, Dressage Training

While riders are on horseback, there are no separate activities planned for non-riders, who can enjoy the accommodations and region independently.

Lisbon airport for added transfer cost.

Itinerary Summary

This program has been designed with a great deal of flexibility. Each day experienced riders can have a 1 1/2 hour lesson, twice a day. Novice or beginner riders benefit from 1 1/2 hours of instruction once a day.

Dressage instruction, from beginning through class M, Dona Vaquera Spanish Riding style, and introduction into high school dressage is possible.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Year Round (Closed Dec 24-Jan 2)

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $230Per Person, per night with one 1.5 hour lesson daily during regular season
  • Non-rider Rate
  • $145per person, per night
  • Pricing Variation
  • Two lessons daily (3 hours)
    1 lesson daily (1.5 hours)
    High Season $280 $230
    November & December $250 $205
    January & February $225 $185
  • Single Supplement
  • $40per night
  • Transportation
  • $120
    Round trip between Lisbon airport and or hotel and stables, maximum of 3 guests
Additional Pricing Information:
Prices given are all per night. Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.

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Contact Biggi Hayes

I had a great time with our hosts in Portugal in September. The horses were in beautiful condition and so solid in a range of challenging conditions.  Our host and his team went the extra mile to make us feel at home and they handled the details so everything went smoothly and our safety was protected.  Our guide and ground crew rode or drove the trails the night before so they were sure the path was passable, they coordinated with a team stop traffic when we had large roads with fast traffic to cross and they were mindful of our comfort throughout.  Professional from start to end. I will remember the great warmth from our host and guides, as well as the Lusitanos, and the beauty and generosity of Portugal and her country people that few tourists are likely to experience.   We found it everywhere. Thank you to the entire Equitours team for a horse vacation I’ll never forget. And now that I’ve done a point-to-point ride like this I wonder if there is really any other way to see another country and know its people!   Can’t wait for the next trip.

Ritchie, 2015