- Spain El Rocío, Doñana and the Atlantic coast
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Spain El Rocío, Doñana and the Atlantic coast Spain's Atlantic Coast
In Andalusia it is still possible to ride through the most unimaginable landscapes for several days, combining nature with the most ancient traditions. To the West of Sevilla, this equestrian vacation takes riders on the pilgrimage roads to El Rocío. Leaving from the south of Sevilla, we will ride through the olive groves and the orange trees, in blossom in the early spring of Sevilla. We will visit some private Haciendas and follow the Caminos to El Rocío, a traditional pilgrimage to this unique white village, home of the sacred Virgen del Rocío and named the International village of the horse.
All the houses have stables and all the streets are sand tracks. In the times of the pilgrimage, this village hosts thousands of horses - many of them Andalusian stallions. The Doñana nature reserve stretches of a 100,000 hectares protected area and it is one of Europe’s most valuable natural landscapes. The landscape of this area is of great diversity: forests of pine and savine, eucalyptus and cork oaks; dunes, marshlands and preserves. Thousands of birds come to spend the winter in this paradise.
Ride through the lesser known parts of the reserve, the hidden lagoons, the shrub forests and the dunes, we will reach the most Southwestern coast of Spain and the never-ending empty beaches of Doñana.
• Jodphurs or riding breeches
• Half chaps and short riding boots with a good sole (don’t try new boots for a riding holiday)
• Long sleeve shirts and T-shirts
• Warm or light fleece (depending on the time of the year)
• Decent rain jacket, warm or light (depending on the time of the year)
• Light rain trousers
• Hat with a brim and sun glasses
• Riding helmet (a few helmets are available at the riding centre). Not mandatory but advisable.
• Riding gloves
Casual clothes for the evenings
Flip-flops or sandals, especially in the summer for the picnics by the river
Sunscreen and lip balm
About the Horses
The horses are Hispano-Arab, Anglo-Hispano Arab and Andalusian breed ranging in height from 15 - 16 hh, and selected for their good nature and endurance. The horses have been carefully bred and trained by Alfonso Gonzalo de Bustos, a great horseman, who is an expert in Andalusian dressage or Doma Vaquera, and passionate about all the Andalusian traditions. At present, he is competing in TREC. The horses are excellent, quite spirited, fun–to–ride, very well-trained and very fit.
The pace of the ride is moderate to fast, with many opportunities for good trots and canters. The terrain is excellent, with predominantly sandy tracks in the pine forests and good terrain when riding though the “dehesas” (oaks land and pastures) and the private estates. The ride will be led by Alfonso and Maria Elena
Exploring Doñana National Park, which is one of Europe’s most valuable natural landscapes. The landscape of this area is of great diversity: forests of pine and savine, eucalyptus and cork oaks; dunes, marshlands and preserves. Thousands of birds come to spend the winter in this paradise.
Stay and experience Spain's famous fincas, country homes where equestrian pursuits have always been part of their history. Visit the famous pilgrimage site of El Rocio.
Lodging is very comfortable and full of charm. The Cortijo de La Corbera, where the ride starts and ends, has accommodation in the finca, eight beautiful bedrooms, charming and with all the facilities. The Cortijo Ardea Purpurea (Purple Heron), in the boundaries of the Doñana Park has been built in the traditional country style, with thatched roofs and wood beams, and it has the atmosphere of a charming lodge.
In the magic village of El Rocio, we’ll stay at the Hotel Patp Malvasía, one of the traditional houses of this horse village, which has been restored as a comfortable hotel with beautiful views of the marshlands.
The last two nights, new to this ride, will be spent at the luxurious Parador of Mazagón 4*. It is situated right on the Atlantic coast with the best views of the ocean and direct access to the beach. It has a beautiful garden with a swimming pool and spa, a great way to end this exciting week ride.
A support vehicle will follow the riders during the entire trip, meeting for aperitifs, meals and at night. Breakfast, aperitifs, lunch and dinner are included while on the trek. The local cuisine is excellent and much consideration is taken when planning the meals to provide visitors with a sampling of the many different dishes produced in the area. Lunch is usually a picnic in the countryside with set tables, chairs... and small feast everyday! Some lunches will be cooked on the spot; others prepared the village bars o restaurants, always exquisite. Dinner is at the hotels will feature a varied selection of the typical cuisine.
Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice.
The usual schedule for meals: Breakfast 8.30. Aperitif at 12.30pm. Lunch at around 2.00pm. Dinner is usually served at 9.00pm.
The Ideal Traveler
It is not necessary to be an expert rider but it is essential that riders have trail riding experience, can easily manage a horse at all paces and be familiar and comfortable handling a horse on the ground. The pace of the ride will vary, but the ride includes walks, trots, canters and gallops depending on the terrain. A level of fitness is required, as the days are 4-6 hours. Riders can assist in taking care of their horses if they wish - but it is not necessary. Horses will be ready for the riders to get on every morning.
El Rocío, Doñana & the Atlantic Coast
Ride through the olive groves and the orange trees, in blossom in the early spring of Sevilla, visting private Haciendas and follow the Caminos to El Rocío, a traditional pilgrimage to this unique white village, home of the sacred Virgen del Rocío and named the International village of the horse. All the houses have stables and all the streets are sand tracks. In the times of the pilgrimage, this village hosts thousands of horses - many of them Andalusian stallions. Explore the pristine Doñana nature reserve with its amazing beaches and diverse birdlife.
2016 Dates & Rates
8 days – 7 nights – 6 days riding
February 21-28. March 13-20, April 3-10, April 17-24, October 23-30, November 6-13, November 20-27
$3,213 USD* per person
Single Supplement $298 USD* (250 Euros) payable in cash upon arrival
El Rocío, Doñana & the Atlantic coast Sample Itinerary**
Day 1 SEVILLA – CORTIJO LA CORBERA (UTRERA)
Pick up Meeting time around 16:30 – 17:00 at the Sevilla airport – or at the Santa Justa train station if you are in Seville already. Transfer to the equestrian centre La Corbera, south of Sevilla, near Utrera, about 20-30min from Sevilla.
It is a beautiful Cortijo, a traditional Andalusian country estate. Introduction to the horses and the stables. Welcome drink at the Cortijo and distribution of the rooms. The accommodation is at the finca, with 8 charming bedrooms in overlooking the fields and the horses. Welcome dinner and night at La Corbera.
Day 2 HACIENDA LA CORBERA - HACIENDA LA INDIANA
This day will be a short ride for the riders and the horses to get accommodated. Ride through agricultural land and pine woods. Aperitif in the countryside. near the pine woods. Some trots and canters to the area of the beautiful Hacienda La Indiana. Picnic lunch in the woods. In the afternoon, ride back to La Corbera. Dinner and night at la Corbera.
￼￼￼￼￼Day 3 HACIENDA TORREQUEMADA - VILLAMANRIQUE DE LA CONDESA – ARDEA PURPUREA
Ride will start at Torrequemada, a XVI c. Hacienda of Andalusia. After a brief visit of Torrequemada. This is a traditional stop of the pilgrims on their way to El Rocio, the Camino de Triana, from where we will start the ride. Through farming land of olive trees we will get to the pine forest for the aperitivo stop. We will follow the Camino de Triana, and stop for a picnic lunch at the Dehesa de Torneros. In the afternoon we will cross the river Quema, where the pilgrims heading towards El Rocio, traditionally are baptised!. We will ride on to Villamanrique de la Condesa, to the beautiful cortijo Ardea Purpurea. Dinner and night at this charming place dedicated to the Purple Heron, due to its great location for birdwatching in the boundaries of Doñana.
Day 4 VILLAMANRIQUE - PALACIO DEL REY - EL ROCÍO
Ride through pine woods and the Dehesa de Boyal, a forest of holm and cork oaks. We will follow the Camino de Pilas, through agricultural land and enter the pine forest, where we’ll stop for an aperitivo. Through beautiful pastures and Andalusian horse-breeding farms, we will reach the Raya Real, an impressive wide sand avenue surrounded by forests of pines, cork oaks, and eucalyptus, where the Caminos to El Rocío meet for the last part of the pilgrimage. Lunch near the beautiful Palacio del Rey, a royal hunting lodge built for Alfonso XIII. In the afternoon we will reach the destination of our pilgrimage on horseback: El Rocío. We will stay at a traditional house of El Rocío, converted into the comfortable Hotel Pato Malvasía, with beautiful views of the marshlands.
Day 5 EL ROCÍO
Half-day ride. We will ride in El Rocío, the international village of the Horse, and visit the church Ermita de la Virgen del Rocío. It is a unique village: all the houses have stables and all the streets are sand tracks, where it is possible to canter from the church to the bar. In the times of the pilgrimage this village hosts a million people and thousands of horses! Aperitivo near the river Ajolí. Lunch at a restaurant in El Rocío. Night at the Hotel Pato Malvasía.
Day 6 CAMINO DE MOGUER – DOÑANA NATURE RESERVE - CABEZUDOS
Following the “Camino de Moguer”. This Camino follows the stream of La Rocina, which runs for 40km, and it is call “la Madre” and its waters area the source of the marisma – the marshlands which are the heart of Doñana. Along its banks one can often see many different species of birds and at times, deer and the wild boars, as well as a variety of plant species. Aperitif stop in the countryside surrounded by pine trees where the pilgrims from Huelva rest when making the Rocio pilgrimage. Ride to the lagoon of Rivatehilos through forest of savine and mastic shrub. Lunch near the lagoon. In the afternoon ride to the abandoned village of Cabezudos, where the horses will stay. Transfer to the Parador of Mazagón 4*. Dinner and night at the Parador.
Day 7 CABEZUDOS – ATLANTIC COAST – MAZAGÓN
This day we will ride in the most Western part of Doñana. This area is very little known and it has a unique beauty, combining lagoons with forests of great diversity, wild shrub, rockrose, mastic, rosemary, thyme... and some spectacular wild flowers in the early spring. Aperitivo by the Laguna de la Piedras. We will gradually abandon the forests to reach the dunes, which in this part of the Doñana are fossilized. We will have lunch at the top of the dunes with our first gaze at the Atlantic Ocean. Through the dunes, we will finally descend towards the beach. Riding along the coast for more than 7 kms, we will end this beautiful ride with some exhilarating canters on this never ending beaches of Doñana. Farewell dinner and night at the Parador of Mazagón.
Day 8 SEVILLA.
Breakfast and transfer to Sevilla, to the airport or the Santa Justa train station. End of the programme.
** Itinerary is subject to changes.
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I can't thank you enough for a wonderful, wonderful riding vacation. It was the best ride we have been on. Your thoughtful attention to every detail made the difference. It is always a determining factor with us when the horses are so well cared for, and cared about. I loved riding Ur. He is such a character, and his wonderful, comfortable canter, made all the long canters so much fun, especially for someone who NEVER rides like that! I wish he was ready for retirement -- I have just the place for him!!
It was delightful meeting you. Thanks, again.
This is just to say thank you so much for a brilliant week. The horses were magnificent. All your organisation: of the routes, the accommodation, the lunches, the aperitifos and the swims was outstanding. Above all you and your team were charming, caring and most hospitable. We couldn't have enjoyed our time with you more, and are already working out how soon we can come back for more. I can see just how much work you all put into arranging the trips - the result is a great success.
Thank you so much for everything.
With very best wishes
Dai & Loraine, UK
That was the most wonderful ride. How we all enjoyed it!!!!!!! You took care of every little detail so we didn't worry about a thing. The horses were well trained and very capable of doing their job safely and efficiently. Their tack was in excellent condition. Everything about your stable showed how much you care about the riders and the horses. Meals were fantastic. You made it fun, we appreciated all your cooking and generosity with food and wine. It was such a good time plus we got in lots of riding over different kinds of terrain, through quaint villages, along picturesque streams and rivers, through pastures and forests. I loved riding in sight of so many mares and foals. What beautiful horses they all were!
I could go on and on about how wonderful it all was and have been regaling family and friends with stories ever since I came home. We had such a good time, we are planning on coming again in a couple of years and will try to bring more with us. Thank you so very much for the experience of a lifetime.
We can't thank you enough for everything you did to give us such a wonderful time on the ride last week. We both enjoyed every minute,& seeing all that beautiful Spanish countryside & even getting wet!! & you couldn't have looked after us all better. We loved our horses, & you were SO clever at fitting the rider to the horse!! Nothing was too much trouble for you & we are most grateful for all you did for us, would you please pass on our thanks to your girls. We are recommending your ride to all our friends!
Hope we might see you again someday, & once again many thank for a memorable holiday. Love from
Jenny & Richard, UK
Just want you to know that we had a really fabulous trip. You outdid yourself. We loved the country, the fit horses who were so well taken care of, the wonderful meals, our small rural hotel and its cuisine, Avila and of course your great personality. It all worked well, even after my rocky start. We are talking it up and hope we can get you some customers. Take care.
Thank you for the most wonderful riding holiday! I enjoyed every minute of it and am missing George already! We were so lucky with the weather and having such a good group and the countryside was so beautiful. Again many thanks for a really amazing time.
Many thanks again to you and your girls for a really relaxing and beautiful holiday. We really appreciated the attention to detail that made our holiday flow so well and it really met our every wish for our perfect horsey holiday.
Jo and Hywel, UK
I just wanted to thank you for the most wonderful holiday ever. Everything was perfect - exciting and varied rides, beautiful horses, fantastic scenery, wonderful food and drink, great company, classic hotels and you even managed to lay on spectacular weather. I had such an enjoyable and relaxing time. Your organisation and personal attention was outstanding - I couldn't have asked for more and I guarantee that I will be back next year, hopefully with a group of friends. Please pass on my thanks to the girls
Muchas, muchas gracias y hasta el proximo ano
Chio Mic, UK-Egypt
Spain Guidebooks & History
Fodor's Spain 2010 (Fodor's Gold Guides) (Paperback) by Fodor’s
Fodor’s helps you unleash the possibilities of travel by providing the insightful tools you need to experience the trips you want. Although you’re at the helm, Fodor’s offers the assurance of our expertise, the guarantee of selectivity, and the choice details that truly define a destination. It’s like having a friend in Spain! Updated annually, Fodor’s Spain provides the most accurate and up-to-date information available in a guidebook. Fodor’s Spain features options for a variety of budgets, interests, and tastes, so you make the choices to plan your trip of a lifetime. 8-pg. color insert; full-color pullout map
Spain: The Root and the Flower: An Interpretation of Spain and the Spanish People (Paperback) by John A. Crow
This is the late John A. Crow's classic study of the cultural history of Spain and its people, which he last updated in 1985 but which seems as fresh and pertinent as when he first wrote it. Crow devoted a lifetime to Hispanic studies and here provides a historical interpretation of Spanish civilization from its earliest beginnings to the present. The scope of this study is remarkable and includes chapters on Roman Spain, the Jews in Spain, the Moors, life in medieval towns, and the Golden Age of Spain, plus a view of Franco's legacy.
Dressage: The Art of Classical Riding (Hardcover) by Sylvia Loch
A lavish history of classical riding, from ancient times to modern competition, now available again. Featuring more than 100 photos. Classical riding historian Sylvia Loch here traces the development of classical equitation ‹ from antiquity, through the Baroque period of splendid enlightenment, to Nuno Oliveira, the Spanish Riding School, and modern dressage competition. Remarkably, this is the only English-language book to comprehensively cover all the great masters, past and present, and to explain in depth the methods and schools that they represent.
The Sun Also Rises (Paperback) by Ernest Hemingway
Equitrekking Host Darley Newman’s Pick: “Travel through 1920’s Paris and Spain with Hemingway’s quirky cast of ex-pats as they feast on decadent food and wine, take on nightlife in Paris, fish in Basque country and witness the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Though it was written decades ago, Hemingway’s story and descriptions of life in Spain still resonate today. I recently reread this book. I remember enjoying it when it was required reading in high school, but enjoyed it even more after traveling to Spain myself as an adult.”
Amazon.com Review- The Sun Also Rises is Hemingway's masterpiece--one of them, anyway--and no matter how many times you've read it or how you feel about the manners and morals of the characters, you won't be able to resist its spell. This is a classic that really does live up to its reputation.
Spain in Mind (Paperback) edited by Alice Leccese Powers
This spellbinding literary travel guide gathers poetry, nonfiction, and fiction about Spain by forty English and American writers. Here are letters and memoirs from Lord Byron, Edith Wharton, and Henry James; a poem about Picasso by E. E. Cummings; and a comic tale by Anthony Trollope in which two Englishmen mistake a Spanish duke for a bullfighter. W. H. Auden, George Orwell, and Langston Hughes record their experiences in the Spanish Civil War, Ernest Hemingway takes on bullfighting, Richard Wright is beguiled by gypsy flamenco dancers, and Calvin Trillin pursues an obsession with Spanish peppers. From Chris Stewart’s memoir of his rural retreat in Driving Over Lemons to Barbara Kingsolver’s idyllic portrait of the Canary Islands in “Where the Map Stopped,” the glimpses of another world in Spain in Mind will enchant you.
Equitrekking Coffee Table Companion Book & DVD
Equitrekking Travel Adventures on Horseback by Darley Newman with Photographs by Chip Ward available at Amazon.com
This companion to the PBS TV series, Equitrekking, proves that the world's most beautiful views are often best seen from atop a horse. This gorgeous book features dozens of scenic rides in the U.S. and around the globe. Denver Post review: For horse folk and dreamers, as well as fans of the show, it's a beautiful trip through stunning equestrian-friendly possibilities.
Equitrekking DVD's featuring Emmy winning PBS episodes, available in the Shop section of Equitrekking.com
Get off the beaten path to see some of the world's most beautiful horses and classic riding destinations with host and equestrian travel expert Darley Newman with Emmy Award-winning Equitrekking, the horseback riding travel series on PBS.
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Season Three: Arizona, Belize, Costa Rica, Kentucky, Quebec, Texas and Utah.
Season Four: Southern Spain, Alaska, Central Turkey, Quebec City and Beyond, Scotland and Wales.
Good Books for Horse Lovers and Equestrians
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Paperback) by Temple Grandin
Philosophers and scientists have long wondered what goes on in the minds of animals, and this fascinating study gives a wealth of illuminating insights into that mystery. ---Publishers Weekly
The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge (Hardcover) by Julie Whitaker with Ian Whitelaw
The Horse is an informative gallop through everything to do with the horse: evolution, history, biology, breeds, behavior, training, competition, health, and care—all gathered into an accessible gallery of solid information, essential facts, and fascinating trivia.
Hunter Seat Equitation (Hardcover) by George H. Morris
A classic by a world-renowned teacher and master equestrian--the definitive work on the art of teaching and riding the hunter seat, now updated to include refinements in Morris's insightful program of riding instruction.
The New Encyclopedia of the Horse (Hardcover) by Elwyn Hartley Edwards
Chronicling the history of the horse, this guide encompasses the early domestication of the horse, classical riding styles, as well as a survey of the great stud farms and current international sporting events.
Minimum 6 riders – Maximum 12 riders
Intermediate to Experienced. Paceis moderate to fast
Dates & Rates
8 days – 7 nights – 6 days riding
Various dates Feb, March, April, Oct, Nov
Hispano-Arab, Anglo-Hispano Arab and Andalusian breed
198 Ibs (90kgs)
Minimum Age to Ride
Children with parents or responsible adult on the summer rides.Age : Depends on ability, minimum 14.
Sevilla AVE Santa Justa train station at the agreed times (the train station is at a 10-15 min trip by taxi from the airport).
Meeting time 4pm on the first Sunday of the ride.
English, French, Spanish
Best time to Visit
Feb, March, April, Oct, Nov