Horseback Riding in Spain

Epona Intensive Program

Overview

This riding holiday is designed for those who share our passion for horses and want to spend a week focusing on training and improving communication with your horse in a relaxed and safe atmosphere.

The entire Garcia family is involved in the day to day activities at the center.  Jane and Fernando as well as their daughter Vivi are BHS and Spanish Federation certified instructors, who specialize in dressage instruction and training. Vivi is the head instructor at Epona and is fluent in English and Spanish. She is a Graduate of the prestigious Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, having completed the four year course which honors her with the title of “Jinete” (rider). Two of those years she was a protégé of the famous Olympic medalist Rafael Soto, with whom she still rides.

Many of Epona’s Andalusians are trained to a high level for the more experienced rider but the center caters also to beginners and nervous riders. The program consists of 8 dressage lessons and two lunge sessions across the wee. It also provides opportunities to appreciate the fascinating culture of the area which includes a visit to the Royal Spanish Riding school in Jerez and a Flamenco show in Seville.  This is a great destination for non-riding companions; the medieval town of Carmona and the city of Seville were both founded in Roman times and occupied under Moorish rule.

Guests at the center will stay in the charming four-star Hotel Alcazar de la Reina, in Carmona, a former palace. 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 as is the welcome dinner on Sunday night at the hotel. The other dinnes are an out of pocket expense.

  • Overview:
    The center currently owns 30+well schooled Andalusian (Raza Pura Espanola) and Andalusian crosses. The tack is English. Most horses are ridden in snaffle and 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:
    English and Dressage
  • Weight limit:
    187 lbs/ 85Kg

Non-riding partners can have a great time at Epona and at the hotel in Carmona, taking a siesta 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 April 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 advance 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).

Golf:
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.

Seville

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Sunday: Afternoon transfer from the Sevilla train station at 4.30PM. Settle into your accommodations, a former Palace, once the residence of a Medieval Queen, which is nestled in the heart of the breathtakingly beautiful medieval town of Carmona. In the evening, you will be joined at the hotel by one of the Epona’s hosts, for a welcome dinner, where you will meet the rest of the week’s guests. After some friendly introductions and conversation, you are free to spend the rest of the evening at your leisure, and to relax before the beginning of what we hope will be an unforgettable week.

Welcome to Epona

Day 2

Monday:

After breakfast at the hotel and a quick transfer to Epona, you will have a short guided tour and a chat with our instructors. Your first lesson will be an assessment for your instructor, who will note your good points and the areas which need to be worked upon. It is also the first chance for you to get used to your horse and the more sensitive style of riding required for the Andalusian and Iberian horses.  After a well earned break, get ready for your first lunging sessions.

Once the morning lessons are over, relax with a book on the terrace or in the comfortable guest lounge. You are also more than welcome to stay and sit by the arenas and watch the daily training of our horses or make use of our private pool (between the months of April to November). Meet the rest of the group for lunch in our beautiful dining room and enjoy your first experience of typical Andalusian home cooking and sample our excellent local house wine.

Your second dressage lesson will be in the afternoon. The lessons are designed to improve your school work, position and dressage skills and they will also teach you how to communicate better with your horse. Group sizes are usually of 2 or 3 riders at a similar level, and never larger than 4.
Day 3

Tuesday: Start out with an early breakfast before leaving at 8.30AM for Jerez de la Frontera, in the pr0vince of Cadiz, one hour and a half by car. Jerez is internationally renowned for its production of sherry and brandy. However, the main attraction of the day will be the visit to the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestra, a classical equestrian show ‘How the Andalusian Horses Dance’. Watch the magnificent Andalusian stallions at their best, in their beautiful 18th century riding hall, performing piaffe, passage and the ‘airs above the ground’ such as courbette and capriole.  Vivi Garcia trained at this school for four years and frequently performed in the show.

Please note: the additional cost for the entrance ticket to the “How the Andalusian Horses Dance” performance is €32.  Return for a late lunch at Epona. Continue with your dressage instrucion in the afternoon inspired after having watched the show in Jerez.

Day 4

Wednesday:

As the week progresses so will your dressage, hopefully performing more advanced movements. After the lesson, stay and continue observing the daily training of the geldings, mares and stallions, from young and green to very advanced.  At Epona the schoolmasters are also regularly trained to keep them sensitive and in good shape so that our guests can enjoy and get the most out of their lessons with them.  Lunch at Epona followed by another lesson in the afternoon.

Day 5

Thursday: Same as Wednesday with one morning and one afternoon lesson, except that today your second lunge session is also included.

Day 6

Friday:

In the morning, enjoy your last dressage lesson. By this time you might be performing some of the more advanced movements (this will depend on the rider’s ability).

Last lunch at Epona.

An Epona Diploma is presented to all participants this day.

Afternoon

After a relaxing afternoon back in Carmona, get ready to visit the historical heart of Seville.

Here you can visit the tack shop, always a highlight, and after a quick walk around.

It is then time for a classical Flamenco Show. The show features dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and wonderful flamenco guitar.

This Flamenco show is optional and has an additional cost of €35.

Alternatively, you can stroll the streets around the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the palaces and mansions that are a part of this world famous city. The photo opportunities are endless and you will be spoiled for choice. There are also many shops around the city centre, so there is plenty to do before it’s time to meet up with the others for dinner.

After the show it is a short walk to the typical Spanish night market where you can choose your own meal, from a range of Spanish and International cuisine, accompanied, of course, by some superb Spanish wine.

Day 7

Saturday: After breakfast take advantage of the transfer back to the airport or train station starting at 8AM and through 11AM. (Check out of the hotel no later than 12PM)

Have a safe onward journey and we look forward to welcoming you back

Itinerary Addendum

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

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Sunday to Saturday, year-round. During 2023 Epona is closed from August 13-26 and December 24 - January 06, 2024. During 2024 Epona is closed from August 13-26 and December 15-28.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,280

  • Single Supplement
  • $360

  • Transportation
  • Pickup on Day 1 from Santa Justa train station at 4:30pm is included. If you want to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel in Carmona, cost is around 50 Euro.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,485
  • Single Supplement
  • $385
  • Transportation
  • Pickup on Day 1 from Santa Justa train station at 4:30pm is included. If you want to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel in Carmona, cost is around 50 Euro.
Additional Pricing Information:
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

This trip was awesome. It was the most physically strenuous one I have ever been on and I loved it! Lots of fast trots, canters and gallops, beautiful surroundings. Awesome! ***** 5 star.

Annie Reece