Horseback Riding in Spain

Classical Dressage and High School Training


This week-long intensive dressage riding holiday in Spain culminates in a private lesson with Raphael Soto, an Olympic silver medalist in dressage. Soto is not only one of the world’s finest dressage riders, but also a gifted and charismatic teacher.

The main instruction will be given by Master Horse Trainer Viviana Garcia Dow.

Guests at the center will stay in the charming four-star Hotel Alcazar de la Reina, in Carmona. The hotel is located in the heart of the old town, surrounded by churches, convents and points of interest.

Food is typical, healthy Spanish cuisine using fresh, local produce, breakfast and lunches are included.

  • Overview:
    The center currently owns 45 well schooled Andalusian (Raza Pura Espanola) and Andalusian crosses. The tack is English. Most horses are ridden in a snaffle and are used to direct rein, some of the higher level horses are ridden in double bridles. They are very amenable and your instructor will always indicate how each horse should be ridden.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Andalusian and Andalusian crosses
  • Trip Pace:
    To suit riders
  • Tack:
    Dressage saddles
  • Weight limit:
    170 lbs
  • Hours of Instruction:
    Generally 3 hour-long lessons per day
  • Instruction and Training:
    This week-long intensive clinic culminates in a private lesson with Raphael Soto, an Olympic silver medallist in dressage. Soto is not only one of the world’s finest dressage riders, but also a gifted and charismatic teacher. The main instruction will be given by Master Horse Trainer Viviana Garcia Dow. Ms. Vivi Dow began riding when she was three, and started competing at the age of ten which has granted her many successes in different levels and disciplines. She is a graduate from the prestigious Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art, having completed the four year course which honors her with the title “Jinete” (rider). Two of those years she was under the tutelage of Olympic Medalist Rafael Soto, whom she still trains with. She is a Spanish Equestrian Federation, Association of British Riding schools and British Horse Society certified instructor. Training Facilities: Floodlit covered arena, 22 X 42 meters Two outdoor arenas, one of which is floodlit International Dressage arena, 60 X 20 meters Lunging ring
  • Types of Instruction:
    Clinics and Lessons, Dressage Training

Non-riding partners can have a great time at Epona and at the hotel in Carmona, snoozing by the pool, going for walks and bicycle rides, taking Spanish lessons or sampling the local wines. While your partner is riding there is plenty of time to explore Carmona or nearby Seville. Carmona is the oldest continuously inhabited village in Europe and Seville has got to be one of Europe's most beautiful and enjoyable cities. You'll soon get the hang of cruising the tapas bars in the warm evening air, just like the locals.

Other Activities:
As well as sightseeing in Carmona and Seville, walks in the local countryside or a swim in the Epona pool (from March to October), and a host of other activities can be arranged to keep non-riding guests entertained.

Flamenco Dance Lessons:
If you are a fan of true Flamenco dance, your visit to Epona is also a great chance to book one-to-one coaching with Eli Jara one of the finest solo Flamenco dancers in Seville. If you book in good time Eli is happy to come out to Epona to give private lessons for €90 an hour, or €60 an hour for groups of up to three.

Classical Flamenco Guitar Lessons:
If you are already a guitarist and interested in classical Spanish guitar then you will love the opportunity for a private lesson with virtuoso Juan Manuel Flores. If available, he is happy to bring two guitars to Epona to give you private instruction. Fee €90 an hour.

Land Rover Tours of the Doñana Natural Park:
Nonriders with a hired car have the chance to follow the riders to Matalascañas for the beach ride, and take a tour of the park themselves in a 4 x 4 Land Rover. The price of the 2 hour tour is 30 euro per person for a minimum of 2 people. If you do not have a rental car, a local driver can be hired to bring you to the coast for 90 euro (with up to 4 people in the car).

With two or three golf courses within easy reach by car, there's plenty to keep any non-riding golfing spouse amused. With advance notice, bookings and even a local driver can be hired to drop you off each day.


Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Sunday: Arrival after 4 PM, settle into your accommodations and enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant in Carmona.

Day 2

Monday: 1 semi-private lesson (1 hour), 1 private lesson (45min) and 1 lunge session (about 30 min)

Day 3

Tuesday: Visit to the Royal Spanish Riding School in Jerez to watch their training
session, 1 semi-private lesson in the afternoon

Day 4

Wednesday:  1 semi-private lesson, 1 private lesson and 1 ground work lesson: training for
Piaffe, Passage and/or Spanish Walk

Day 5

Thursday: 1 semi-private lesson, 1 private lesson and 1 lunge lesson

Day 6

Friday: 1 private lesson with Rafael Soto* in the morning and 1 ground work lesson. Afternoon accompanied visit to Seville including a stop at a famous tack shop,
Flamenco show and dinner

Day 7

Saturday: 1 semi-private lesson in the morning, departure before noon

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible. Changes may occur at the hosts' discretion.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Weekly, year round except for the Christmas holidays and during weeks assigned to the Soto clinics.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,650
  • Single Supplement
  • $320
  • Transportation
  • Pickup on Day 1 from Santa Justa train station at 4:30pm is included. Pickup from airport can be arranged at extra cost.
Additional Pricing Information:
Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.  

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Contact Biggi Hayes

Epona November 2018: Super trip! Fernando and team were terrific, accommodations were great, fun riding (dressage lessons and trail rides) and extra activities, excellent food. THANKS

Susan Mercer