Horseback Riding in Portugal

Monte Velho


The Monte Velho Equo Resort is a boutique hotel located on a Lusitano breeding farm and is an ideal base from which to experience wonderful trail riding and world class dressage instruction. The owner is an architect and his wife an interior designer, so the buildings are carefully and exquisitely designed. The property blends with the surrounding countryside which one can explore by horseback, and the rooftop pool offers amazing panoramic views of the Alentejo region.

The resort can provide riding according to your interest and level of experience, including both dressage lessons and trail rides. The stud farm has been dedicated to breeding Lusitano horses for the sport of dressage since 1994. Their horses have wonderful gaits and characters and have been very successful in competition, and the lesson horses can provide the thrill of such movements of passage, piaffe, flying changes and pirouettes under the careful tutelage of talented professional instructors.

In addition to lessons, Monte Velho has unique conditions for trail riding, taking advantage not only of their 620 acre property, but also all the surroundings which have been classified as a National Ecological Reserve. In fact you can ride through this absolutely stunning area for several hours without ever crossing paved roads. Instead you ride through various dams and experience a typical Alentejo landscape, with its cork and holm trees, the herds of cattle, in a totally natural environment.

For activities beyond riding, Monte Velho can organize themed meals, outdoor picnics and canoeing in the dam. The city of Évora, considered World Heritage by UNESCO, is only about 20 miles from the Monte Velho Equo Resort.

Guests may choose between standard and premium rooms depending on availability. Each room opens to a furnished balcony with a view of  the typical landscape of Alentejo. There is a pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and options to purchase massages.

  • Overview:
    All horses used are purebred Lusitanos. Many have been bred at the farm which hosts you, and range from having at basic dressage training to very advanced training. English saddles and snaffle bits are used.
  • Horse Breeds:
  • Trip Pace:
    Depending on ability and desire
  • Tack:
    English tack, dressage in lessons, is used. Some traditional Portuguese tack also available for trail rides.
  • Weight limit:
    200 lbs
  • Hours of Instruction:
    Lessons are one hour each.
  • Instruction and Training:
    Choose from two lessons daily, one lesson daily, one lesson and one trail ride (1.5 hr) daily, or two trail rides daily. Lessons have a maximum of two students and trail rides have a maximum of 5. Lessons take place between 9am-12pm and 2:30-4:30pm. Trail rides have a flexible schedule. Trainer Joao Torrao represented Portugal in the 2020 Olympics on Monte Velho stallion Equador. He specializes in reaching riders at any level and helping them advance their riding by better communication with their horses. He was trained by Coralie Baldrey, a graduate of the famed Cadre Noir in Saumur, France, who has a talent for working collaboratively with both horse and rider to help bring out the innate talent of each. Coralie is still present at Monte Velho, continuing her training with Joao. Joao is joined by Lorena Souza, a graduate of Equine Sciences at the Elvas School of Agriculture (ESAE) with first-class honors, Brazilian born Lorena is a certified Dressage Instructor who has a passion for teaching. With 4 years of experience in Dressage training at the Centro Hipico Pedras Salgadas, her enthusiasm, energy and attitude have inspired hundreds of students. You may also see Coralie's sister also teaching some lessons, as well as Monte Velho owner Diogo Lima Mayer. The horses are pure bred Lusitanos and they are trained through Grand Prix level. As a breeding operation, Monte Velho has several internationally recognized competitive dressage horses and recently, were honored with the chance to cover some Andalusians, bringing the breed even more depth and talent.
  • Types of Instruction:
    Clinics and Lessons, Dressage Training

The Monte Velho property offers additional activities for those who are non-riders. Walks/hikes around the area are endless, or you could use one of the 6 available bikes to explore the territory. The dam also offers or canoeing, all at no extra charge. There is a gym on site, and massages available to book at cost. Tours/sightseeing of nearby towns can also be arranged, at an additional cost.

At the farm, or from Lisbon airport for an additional fee.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

3 nights / 4 days / 3 days riding

Dressage program
three 1 hr lessons
Intensive Dressage five 1 hr lessons
Mixed program
three 1 hr lessons and three 1.5 hr trail rides
Trail program
three 1.5 hr trail rides
Intensive Trail
five 1.5 hr trail rides

6 nights / 8 days / 7 days riding

Dressage program five 1 hr lessons
Intensive Dressage nine 1 hr lessons and one 1.5 hr trail ride
Mixed program
five 1 hr lessons and five 1.5 hr trail rides
Trail trail
five 1.5 hr trail rides
Intensive Trail
ten 1.5 hr trail rides

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Flexible start and end dates for stays of either 6 or 3 nights. No riding on Sundays. 2023: High Season is April 2-July 1, August 27-October 28 and December 24-31. Medium Season is February 26-April 1, July 2-August 26 and October 29-November 25. Low Season is January 1-February 25, November 26-Decmember 23

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,5756 nights in a shared premium room on dressage & trail program during high season
  • Pricing Variation
  • 7 days/6 nights/5 days riding
    High Season Dressage Intensive Dressage Dressage and trail Trail Intensive Trail Non-rider
    Single Premium room $2,730 $3,440 $3,150 $2,370 $2,790
    Shared Premium room $2,155 $2,865 $2,575 $1,795 $2,215 $1,375
    Medium Season
    Single Premium room $2,330 $2,920 $2,630 $1,970 2,270
    Shared Premium room $1,900 $2,485 $2,200 $1,540 $1,840 $1,240
    Low Season
    Single Premium room $2,040 $2,630 $2,340 $1,680 $1,980
    Shared Premium room $1,720 $2,305 $2,020 $1,360 $1,660 $1,060

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Contact Megan Barrett

From the moment I arrived at Monte Velho I could feel the magic in the air. The accommodations were designed to allow you incredible views of the countryside and the barns that housed their beautiful Lusitanos were meticulously kept. The staff was always very friendly and the level of instruction was outstanding. Having the opportunity to ride their highly schooled lesson horses was a thrill and I watched everyone who rode throughout the week, including myself, make incredible advancements with their riding skills. The days we were able to hack out over the beautiful countryside were exciting, especially during the times we were encouraged to gallop with abandon. The food was extraordinary with a variety of delicious options to accommodate everyone's palates. And I discovered that Portuguese wine is DIVINE. I have experienced many riding holidays around the world and have always said that I don't have time to return to a particular place because there are so many places yet to experience. But I can assure you that I will indeed return to Monte Velho next year!

Foose, 2022