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If you'd like to experience a piece of beauty of Spain and ride an Andalusian horse, Epona Equestrian Center offers you your dream holiday. You'll enjoy riding the horse with trail riding in the beautiful Spanish countryside and training in classical dressage. Epona Equestrian Center believes that train and training combination is one of the best ways to have fun, make new friends and see Spain from another angle.
The Epona programs include accommodation in standard twin rooms for two people, sharing. For single occupancy, there is an additional supplement fee. You are ensured that you will feel at home in the comfortable and elegant, relaxed atmosphere of this warm and welcoming hotel, with its friendly and multilingual staff, who are available at all times, ready to make your stay within these ancient walls, a truly unforgettable experience.
The hotel is full of history, charm, and elegance while at the same time, comfortable and modern; and is located only 20 minutes from Sevilla Airport (SVQ), with breathtaking views over the fertile valley, the Vega de Carmona, all the way to the great river Guadalquivir 30 kilometers away, and the Sierra Morena mountain range behind. The name of the hotel comes from the Moorish term Alcazar, meaning "a fortified palace", and the Spanish, "reina", or queen; therefore, it is the queen's palace.
The building was originally erected by the Moors in the 13th century as a fortress adjunct to the Puerta de Cordoba, in an era when the town was one of the most important caliphates of Andalucia. After the Moors were pushed back to their last strongholds in Granada and Málaga, in Medieval times, the Christian kings of Castille also favored Carmona to fix their royal residence in the region.
Specifically, King Alfonso XI showed a fondness for the town and while the royal residence in Andalusia was the Royal Alcazar in Sevilla, he housed his favorite concubine, Leonor de Guzman, in the comfortable and impregnable Alcazar de la Puerta de Cordoba.
When he died of the Black Plague in Gibraltar, his only legitimate child, Pedro I inherited the throne but due to the constant disputes for the crown, that he had to suffer from his nine illegitimate half-brothers, he maintained Leonor as a prisoner in the palace until her death. He also favoured Carmona and built the Alcazar del Rey Don Pedro (now the Parador) as his royal residence.
However, as legend has it, during the 15th century, another King of Castile, Juan II, embarking on another war with the Sultans of Malaga and Granada, sought the safest town in the province to house his beloved queen and his heir and keep them nearby. He chose Carmona as the most impregnable town and the Alcazar de la Puerta de Cordoba as the safest and most comfortable residence for his family. From that time on, it became known as the Alcazar de la Reina.
The palace, totally restored in the 1990s in the original Mudejar style and refurbished in 2007, boasts spacious and elegant lounge areas and patios, an outdoor solarium with saltwater swimming pool, and a total of four different options for wining and dining, The Tabanco Restaurant, the Terrace Bar, the Tabanco Tapas Bar, and the official Guinness Irish Pub.
The rooms are ample, airy, comfortable, and very tastefully furnished. They all feature:
The indoor arena is 20m x 60m and boasts a top level competition standard sand and fibre surface to further enhance the quality of your riding experience.
The stabled horses are housed in a purpose built American barn, with generously sized stables, complemented by wash down and farrier areas, tie up stalls, tack and feed rooms etc. The barn is surrounded by the paddocks accommodating the trail ride and retired horses as well as stallion turnout pens and staff accommodation. Everything is to hand which helps to create a professional and yet very positive environment for both the horses and staff.
Guests enjoy a welcoming and spacious guest lounge and dining area. The adjoining terraces are centrally located meaning it is possible to watch lessons in both the indoor and outdoor arenas, whilst sitting on the terrace, if you so wish. There are guest lockers and shower rooms which are especially welcome during the warmer months. There is also an outdoor unheated swimming pool and patio area, where you are welcome to spend time relaxing between lessons if you wish.
All Epona programs are based in an impressive 16th-century hacienda where the García family will make you feel totally at home. This program includes visits to Jerez de la Frontera (to see the famous Andalucian Stallions performing the show "Those Amazing Dancing Andalusian Stallions"), riding in Doñana Natural Park and the beach, and a visit to Seville on the last evening for a typical Flamenco dancing show.
The immediate countryside allows for miles of open, slightly rolling land in which frequent trots and canters will be possible. Fast gallops are not possible, as Epona does not have a turf. You will be riding through fields of wheat, sunflowers and olive groves, and orchards of orange and peach trees.
This peaceful sight, where the only sound you will hear will be the horses' hooves, the birds, and the breeze rushing through the wheat will let your mind roll back to when the Romans cultivated this land 22 centuries ago and when Cervantes rode these same tracks, when collecting olive oil taxes; you will be riding in a different direction every day so the rides are varied.
One of the rides will be in the Doñana Natural Park, one of the largest natural reservations in Europe. Here the terrain is very different to the land around Epona as you'll be riding through sandy dunes where the air will be scented by lavender, thyme, rosemary, and the nearby ocean. You will be walking through the dunes and then you'll reach the virgin beach of "El Asperillo", the best spot for a trot and a long canter.
However if you don't know how to trot or canter or you don't wish to do so, you will be taken on a separate ride where you'll go at the pace in which you're comfortable. All ride leaders are fully qualified and speak fluent Spanish and English.
From it's origins in Ancient Greece with Xenophon, until the present times embodied in the four European Schools of Equestrian Art, Classical Dressage has evolved into different styles but always maintaining the same goals, to achieve beauty and perfection in the performance of dressage and High School movements, only possible through harmony, balance, and complete communication with the horse.
Classical Dressage went beyond admiring the rider for his courage and skill as a soldier and gradually started to appreciate other talents such as feeling and sensitivity; elevating horsemanship to a new level, horses began to "dance" and Dressage gained the status of a new form of Art. Comparable to Ballet, it requires the technique and strength of an athlete but also the sense of feeling and aesthetics which, when performed correctly, will succeed in moving the spectator.
At Epona, there are horses and instructors prepared to cater for guests of all levels, from complete beginners to advanced riders. Groups are formed so as to keep the levels similar and usually are of two to four riders.
The excellent facilities, including a largely covered school, will make your lessons more enjoyable. The Epona instructors are qualified by the British Horse Society, the Association of British Riding Schools, and the Spanish Equestrian Federation, which means that they are trained to always have the horse and rider's safety at heart.
Over the years, the knowledge gathered (having trained in Dressage under many masters of various nationalities) has allowed them to form their own training and teaching techniques, which keep the pupils' learning and enjoyment, is the main priority, as well as safety and the horse's wellbeing. Their aim is to pass on the knowledge acquired, keeping in mind the principles and objectives of Classical Dressage.
Beginners will benefit hugely from the lessons because although things are kept simple, you will know that your basic skills will be correct and solid, enabling you to pursue whichever discipline you choose down the road. At a more basic level, lessons will focus on the rider's balance, seat, position, and control, while at the same time gaining confidence in the three basic gaits, walk, trot, and canter.
The horses are the most important thing for Epona; they are the ones who truly make this equestrian vacation something unique. At Epona, threre are over 45 horses of different breeds, shapes, sizes, levels of training, and temperament. With this large number, they can match each guest with the ideal horse for the trail rides, dressage, and flat-work lessons. Please note that although there are many horses, Epona keeps groups of guests small.
Most of the horses are Andalusians or Andalusian crossbreeds but they have lots of other breeds such as Warmbloods (Hannoverian, Holsteiner, and Oldenburg), Anglo-Arabs, Thoroughbreds, different breeds of ponies, and others. Most importantly, they would like to emphasize the good nature and willingness of these horses. There are no kickers or biters and besides their training and work, they think they are all special in their own way; they are all individuals, and so they are treated as such. The horses are a part of the Epona family.
This horse riding holiday will take place at Epona Equestrian Center, Spain.
All breakfasts are included in the price of your Epona program; also included is the welcome tapas supper on Sunday evening. Lunches will be served at Epona and will consist of freshly prepared and homecooked meals, combining mainly traditional Spanish dishes, which will give you a taste of the renowned Mediterranean diet; with some international dishes and a selection of delicious homemade desserts. In addition, a variety of fresh salad ingredients and fruits are always available.
Epona can cater to most diets including vegetarian, gluten and lactose-free, etc. The evening meals from Monday to Friday are not included in the price. On Monday to Thursday, you will find innumerable dining options in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, from elegant restaurants to tapas bars with tables in the street.
In the hotel alone, there are five possibilities, including room service, if you just feel like having a quiet night of rest. About two blocks away from the hotel, you can find the city's hub of socializing where families meet in the evening for coffee, tapas, or ice cream. This is the Plaza San Fernando, popularly known as the Plaza de Arriba (the Upper Square) or la Plaza Redonda (the Round Square).
Flamenco Dancing Lessons with a professional dancer.
Epona is located between the beautiful cities of Seville, with many tourist attractions and spectacular monuments, and Carmona with its rustic charm and ancient pedigree. The cities of Cordoba (one hour away), Ronda, and Granada (two hours away) are ideal for day trips.
Epona can arrange grammar or conversation lessons with a qualified teacher.
A professional masseuse will help with your back and bones after a hard day of riding; you must book in advance.
At Sevilla Airport (SVQ), you can hire small planes for an hour. An official pilot must command the plane only for landing and taking off. You can enjoy the rest of the adventure.
Around Seville, there are five golf clubs where you can practice your favorite sport all year round. Epona can arrange reservations and transport. If you have your own car, they can provide directions.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport
Transfer not provided
Transfer not provided
Transfer not provided
Take the A-4 Motorway Madrid - Cadiz towards the South. Approximately 10 kilometers after passing Carmona, after "KM 519", take the next exit sign, posted "Los Nietos". Drive up the bridge and turn right when you get to the top and keep going for about 200 meters until the road forks, take the right and you will find the Epona entrance after approximately 100 meters. It's also possible to arrive by regular train, fast train, or bus.
Follow the signs for the A-4 towards Cordoba or the airport. Once you are on the N IV Motorway, drive approximately 20 kilometers out of Seville, then take the exit at KM 519, sign, posted "Los Nietos". Drive up the bridge, turn left at the top and cross over the motorway then drive for about 200 meters until the road forks, then take the right one and in about 100 meters you will arrive at the Epona entrance.
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