I visited the Epona Centro Ecuestre (Epona Equestrian Center) on April 29 –May 5, 2012 and wanted to send an evaluation of my time there. Firstly, I want to say that it is beyond rare in my experience to read a description of a trip – or almost anything for that matter – and believe that I will truly get everything that is offered. That said, at Epona, I got the trip description and more.
I signed up for the Classical Dressage and High School Training program which promised 2-3 riding lessons a day plus 2 in-hand lessons. After trainers Caty and Vivi talked to me about my riding experience, I was assigned 2 horses – Corsario and Seneca – to ride daily. Both were perfectly suited to my riding abilities and, because of that, I didn’t have to think about anything but learning new movements and improving the ones I already ride on a regular basis. Each lesson added new exercises and movements and, by the third day, I was riding piaffe! For an amateur dressage rider, the opportunity to ride the Grand Prix movements of piaffes and passage, as well as the Spanish Walk, was beyond my wildest dreams. And, each day, my riding improved as I had hoped.
I also took two lunge line lessons with exercises to improve my balance and flexibility and worked with a talented stallion for the in-hand lessons where I learned to school piaffe, passage and Spanish Walk.
My week culminated, as promised, with a private lesson from Rafael Soto, a Spanish Olympic Silver Medalist, who is currently the technical director of the Spanish Riding School in Jerez, Spain. It was an experience I will never forget.
The grounds at Epona are beautiful and so comfortable. My quarters overlooked a beautiful courtyard and were comfortable and clean. There are two sitting rooms to hang out in and beautiful places around the property including outdoor sitting areas, a rose garden and a pool. The weather was sometimes inclement, but not an issue as there is a covered arena on the property so my lessons went on without a hitch as scheduled.
Jane is a spectacular cook and served 4-5 course meals at both lunch and dinner and served new bottles of white and red wine at the table for both meals… every day. A fine breakfast was also served. Fernando, her husband, is a great host and took us on a couple of great excursions, including a trip to see a performance at the Spanish Riding School in Jerez, a couple of dinners at great nearby restaurants, a visit to a tack shop in Sevilla and a flamenco performance.
All told, I am happy to recommend a visit to Epona without hesitation.
Susan J. Marks