Archive for December, 2011


Penny and Rio

The Riding Company trip to the magical Quinta da Fe in the heart of Portugal was in November. 4 intrepid ladies managed to squeeze themselves and their baggage into a Fiat Punto for the drive from Lisbon Airport to rural Alentejo. Upon arrival at c.10 pm we were greeted by our host Marc de Wery and ushered into the charming sitting room lit by a blazing log fire. A first night of relaxed chat and laughter set the tone for the week as we were shown to our rooms, each themed and decorated individually with artefacts Marc has picked up over the years. First impressions really count and Marc has made his communal areas warm and inviting.


Adele and Zorba

 The ‘Farm of Faith’ is a place to immerse yourself in the art of dressage, and to Marc, it is an art, rather than a sport. He is a Grand Prix rider, judge and top class instructor who offers not only riding on his Lusitano stallions but also theory lessons where he discusses his philosophy and guidance that complements the riding that he offers. The theory covers all sorts of aspects of body awareness that we never think of, both in our own bodies and our horses. The sessions were fascinating and backed up by watching DVD’s of some of the world’s top riders, many of whom Marc knows personally through his own competing and work with the Portugese National Team.


Marc and his bassets

Our group were rather nervously introduced to our horses the next morning for our first session with the maestro. We all rode rather tensely as one does with a new instructor and new horse and Marc assessed our needs for the week and planned a strategy to improve and relax all of us as individuals. I was paired with beautiful golden, dun Rio and Marc likes to keep you on the same horse whenever possible so you work as a team and develop a bond. Adele from Canada was paired with the stunning and temperamental grey Zorba, Sara with the elegant white Raposo and Anne-Marie with Lusitano cross, well mannered, Kelvin.


Tom on Raposo

With the help of his able British assistant Tom, Marc managed to turn us from dressage ugly ducklings into pirouetting princesses and dressage divas. The team on hand included ‘Super Mario’ responsible for maintenance of not only the gardens but also bodies as he is a sports masseur, and Paulo who cooked great food and ran the kitchen with great humour. Our fellow guests from Germany, Priscilla and Mario, added to the international flavour of the holiday and as a group we could not have enjoyed ourselves more. Meals are taken together in the intimate dining room where we enjoyed traditional meals prepared by Paulo including quail and a range of Portugese seafood amongst the dishes.


Sara on Raposo

On our 2 half days, we drove into the lovely city of Evora in pursuit of traditional Portugese custard tarts to die for (oh, and culture of course). Anne-Marie and Sally shopped till they dropped and on our 2nd visit Anne-Marie acted as our photographer, directing us like a pro! Her ‘3 ladies doing half pass without horses in front of the Roman Temple’ is destined to be a classic image. It probably was the only time I rode it perfectly!


Anne-Marie on Kelvin

At the end of a fabulous week we said farewell to our friends at QDF but have all vowed to return. If anyone would like to experience Marc’s magic contact kat@theridingcompany.com  and ask for availability. T: 01534 745795 or visit us on www.theridingcompany.com

There were so many highlights: riding around the arena to fine classical music, finally doing a decent shoulder in/travers/putting together a series of movements, sharing a room with Sara like a couple of kids at camp, Adele’s final hurrah, cantering on Zorba with her Spanish hat on, hair flowing behind, Anne-Marie doing a successful leg yield for the very first time after just a few months as a rider, Tom’s red slippers, those basset puppies, Marc’s Bach cello concerto which he is practising for a charity concert…oh and the horses, every one of them a delight.


The Maestro and Tom


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Riding Holidays for Solo Travellers – from The Riding Company

Going solo! When you mention solo holidays people automatically think ‘singles’ holiday, the two are quite different! Riders who are holidaying on their own can meet and enjoy the companionship of like-minded i.e. ‘horsey’ people, have their own room with no supplement, ride every day together and then have dinner together in the evenings. Riding in Good Company is our motto for these special weeks. 

Join us this Winter in the Alps for a Ride and Ski break or in Spring in Menorca, Sardinia, Portugal or to South Africa on Safari over the Spring Bank Holiday. These trips sell out very quickly as places are limited so get in touch for further details today!


Italy:Lamm Alpine Active 4* hotel in the spectacular Italian Alps:  GET FIT WEEK 14-21st January with a week of ski-ing, riding and then relaxing in the indoor pool and Spa!.Numerous different winter rides out in the snow on haflingers ridden Western style for all ages and abilities, panorama spa, Italian food and sociable bar. Guided snow-shoe walks, cross country and alpine skiing. Free hotel shuttle bus. Also ski touring and off-piste skiing for beginners through to expert with hotel guides. New Date book now for our popular Riding Company Action Week 3-10th March. This promises to be a great fun, sociable week. More details

Italy: Ride & Relax week at the Post Tolderhof: Sunday 18th –Sunday 25th March7 nights Ride and Ski trip : £568 per person (offer includes 7 nights for price of 6!) if happy to share aSuperior Room (30-35m²) with delicious breakfast buffet, afternoon tea with sweet and savoury options, excellent 5 course dinner on ¾ board course, use of the wonderful spa facilities and pool and return transfers from Innsbruck. Winter activity programme includes guided snow-shoe walks, winter hiking tours and ski safari. Riding – add £150 for the flexible 10 hour programme which includes group lessons and rides out.For keen skiers, Plan de Corones has some of the best and most varied facilities to be found and is linked to the huge Dolomiti Superski area.More details


Spain:Menorca: 4* boutique hotel Binigaus Vell with lovely pool, beautiful rides on Menorcan black stallions. Short Riding Break (5 days, 4 nights with 3 horse rides) Monday – Friday 2012 Dates: March: 5th – 9th and October: 1st. PRICE: · Riders: £760 for a single room. Full board with wine and airport transfers included. More details

Andalucian Hills: March 10th or 17th 2012 Gallops for Gourmets Join Karen and chef Neil Armstrong for a special luxury break cooking and riding based at the exclusive El Nobo Villa.
Shepherds and Smugglers: 17-20 April: A special ride geared up to more novice riders, join Karen to explore the ancient trails of Andalucia, There is currently a 10% discount on this week and just 3 places left.
Sweet Chestnut and Wild lavender: 23-26 May: A four day mobile ride for intermediate riders or above. 10% discount on the listed price for this special ‘get together’ tour.
Grazalema Combo Tour: 9-16th April: a 7 night tour new for 2012 featuring a 3 day mobile ride and 4 nights at the fabulous El Nobo Villa.
For More details follow the link.

Italy: new holiday in Sardinia: Mandra Edera May 5-12th (May 7th is a UK bank holiday). Monte e Mare (Country and Sea) riding week based at delightful rural hotel . Ride for 5 days from the hotel in the heart of the countryside towards the coast, returning to the comfort of the hotel each afternoon to enjoy some free time relaxing by the pool or sight seeing. More details

Portugal: March 2012 Dressage at Quinta de Fe. Join other TRC riders and Marc for some top class instruction on his fabulous Lusitano stallions and some spring sunshine. The holiday includes full board and 10 hours of dressage instruction from Prelim level to Advanced dependent on your requirements and prices are just £585 pp if willing to share a twin room or booking a double or £695 for a single room. (prices exclude flights and transfers which are paid locally).This will be a great social week as well as the opportunity of a lifetime to ride amazing horses schooled to the highest level. Read more…

South Africa BIG 5: Riding Company Safari Week Spring bank holiday Saturday 2-9th June 2012 .We have a special offer onAfrican Safaris for 2012, £100 off the listed price if booked by December 15th 2011No single supplement if happy to share a room. Shared transfers. Read a report in Horse & Rider magazine. More details


Jan 14-21st Ride & Ski Lamm Alpine, Italy
March 3-10th Ride & Ski fitness week, Lamm, Italy
March 5th: Menorca short break
March 18th –25th Ride & Ski Post Tolderhof, Italy
March 10th or 17th: Gallops for Gourmets, Andalucia
March: Dressage at Quinta da Fe Portugal
April 17-20: Shepherds and Smugglers Trail, Andalucia
May 5-9th: Sardinia Mandra Edera
May 23-26th: Sweet Chestnut and Wild Lavender, Andalucia
June 2-9: Big 5 Safari in South Africa at Wait A Little


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Gallop in the snow in the mornings, swish down the slopes in the afternoon, take the reins of a sleigh!

Fantastic ski-ing in Austria. All sorts of playtime-in-the-snow possibilities for families and accommodation in traditional 3* chalet hotels to 5* pampering luxury. Most of our venues combine lots of different winter sports’ activities, not just riding: snow trekking, ski touring, ice-climbing, ski-joering and free-riding (off piste skiing), even carriage driving in the snow.

Join us this Winter Half Term in the Alps for a Ride and Ski break. These trips sell out very quickly as places are limited so get in touch for further details today!


Atzinger at Fulpmes Stubai

Excellent riding centre offering lessons in an impressive architect-designed indoor sandschool. High altitude skiing at international ski resort Stubai Glacier and at Schlick 2000. Riding Kindergarten with free daily pony rides from 4yrs old, horse-whispering and acrobatics courses for kids from age 6. Teen programme and adult riding. Super spa and pool and a delightful family atmosphere in this top class 4*venue. Amazing In- and Outdoor playing areas, petting zoo, kids’ theatre, puppet theatre.

HALF TERM 11-18 Feb from £1266 in a Premium room to £1809 in a large suite for 2 adults, 2 kids, 7 nights on ‘all inclusive half board’ with return airport transfer from Innsbruck.

The Martinerhof: relaxed 4* traditional family hotel close to Salzburg, making this a great ride and ski venue for the whole family. Sleigh ride excursions (half day with panorama picnic stop), pool and spa. Cross-country skiing taster session for all the family. Free shuttle to ski resort Dachstein West. ski lift next to the hotel. Kids club. Winter rides out on the coloured horses on extensive bridle paths. Horsewhispering courses for kids and adults. Free pony rides. Organic farm produce.

HALF TERM 11-18. Feb £1545 in Landhaus Anna (2 rooms with mountain views) for 2 adults, 2 kids, 7 nights on full board with return airport transfer from Salzburg. Great value for money.
Ellmauhof Family Hotel: Stylish 4* family hotel right on the ski slope of Saalbach Hinterglemm, with riding kindergarten for 3-6 yr olds and lessons for all ages and abilities. Indoor petting zoo, free kids club, indoor pools and spa. Sleigh rides. This manages to work brilliantly as a perfect place for kids (teens too) but also provides a stylish grown-up environment for adults, superb wine bar, cuisine and interiors designed in natural colours with an original flair. Free childcare (2 yrs+) 9am-8.30pm incl. lunch & juices all day. Free use of children’s activity pool and waterslide, entertainment programme, adventure Gypsyland play area. Excellent skiing; ski in-ski out convenience and lots of family-focused ski facilities and services. Next to the hotel, a gentle blue run leads to the bottom of the ski lifts where ski school meets or families can take the hotel’s free mini-train service up or down. 200kms of prepared pistes await you in the Saalbach Hinterglemm ski circus.

HALF TERM for 2 adult and 2 kids: £2793 for 7 nights all inclusive full board in a family suite with use of the extensive hotel spa facilities plus free children’s activities throughout the week.

Visit the website or give us a call. www.theridingcompany.com e: info@theridingcompany.com Tel:            01534 745795      

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