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Join this amazing short horse riding holiday through some of the most spectacular scenery in the national and natural park of Sierra Nevada. You will ride out on three very different day rides, returning nightly to the home base. The diversity of bridle-paths and forestry tracks will allow you to explore many of the more inaccessible ravines and valleys of this mountainous region. The routes are so planned that you will ride over totally different terrain each day, from the high summer pastures and streams fed by the snowmelt, down to the whitewashed villages in the valleys. Enjoy this unforgettable riding experience!
The accommodation will be at Casa La Sevillana. The place was formerly the rather splendid residence of the local manager of the national electricity supply company, Sevillana. When electricity supply was denationalized in Spain and assets were sold off, the family bought the house, renovated it throughout, and converted it into comfortable and attractive bed and breakfast accommodation in the dramatic setting of the Poquiera Gorge in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in an area known as Las Alpujarras.
The views are breathtaking, snow-capped peaks in the immediate north and towards the Mediterranean Sea in the south. You can even see the Rif Mountains of Africa if conditions are right. Set in the small, ancient, white-washed village of Bubión, Casa La Sevillana is conveniently placed a few minutes away on the country road which winds up the gorge to Capileira, one of Spain's highest villages. This is a perfect base for you who love mountains and nature.
An intricate network of paths and tracks at all levels will satisfy walkers of every ability and inclination and there is one of Spain's finest stables very close by (the owner lives in the village). Local facilities are excellent. There is ample free parking. Shops, bars, and restaurants are a stone's throw away.
Those of you who have arranged to be collected from Malaga Airport (AGP) will be picked up at a pre-arranged time and driven to the village of Bubion, just over a two hours' drive. While in Bubion, you will be staying in the comfortable Casa La Sevillana. Your host (Dallas Love) will meet you at 20.30 and take you for dinner in one of the local restaurants within an easy walking distance of your accommodation.
After a relaxed breakfast, you will drive up to the stables (five kilometers from the village) to meet the horses. Once everyone has been introduced to their horse, you will start the ride with a steep climb through evergreen Holm oaks and pasture lands to join the main forestry track into the national park. This track allows for some steady trots and canters as it climbs high above the valley Poqueira to join one of the old bridle paths winding through pine woods and summer pastures to an altitude of approximately 2,300 meters.
Picnic lunch will be at the tree line approximately at 2,400 meters with spectacular views down the Barranco Habali, across the Contraviesa mountains to the Mediterranean, and on a clear day, Morocco. Descending on one of the firebreaks, you will pass the remains of trenches and gun placements from the Civil War (1936-1939) and down through oak woods to the main forestry track, leading back to the stables. This overall journey will take approximately five hours.
Riding at a lower elevation (between 1,300 and 1,800 meters), you will follow a combination of forestry tracks and bridle paths through pine, oak, and chestnut woods. During the course of the morning, in addition to the woodlands, you will pass through pretty terraced farms and orchards above the villages of Pitres and Portugos. After lunch, you will return to the stables on one of the main forestry tracks offering opportunities for some good canters.
Today, the highest ride of your stay will take you to the base of the Mulhacen (at 3,486 meters, the highest mountain on the mainland). During the morning, you will have a steep ascent on old Moorish bridle paths and sheep tracks over rough and steep terrain, crossing Moorish irrigation channels and snow fed streams. There may be places you have to dismount and lead your horse.
After a picnic lunch by one of the mountain streams, you will have a much gentler descent on dirt roads down through pine woods to the control point of the national park, where you join a small path leading through the woods and down to the stables. Because today will be largely climbing, there will be no canters. The scenery and the paths are quite breathtaking. You may have a farewell drink with your guides.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Malaga Airport (AGP) at a pre-arranged time.
With more than 30 years knowledge of this region, Dallas has chosen a selection of trails offering an amazing diversity of terrains, views, and flora. The rides will follow ancient bridle paths and drovers' routes, dating back to the Moorish occupation and before. Many of these paths have been in use for a thousand years or more as have the terraces and irrigation channels they transverse. Through parts of the mountains, there are more recent dirt tracks providing opportunities for canters and gallops as do some of the river beds on the spring and autumn rides.
The paths, in many places, are built into the rock and it is necessary to lead your horse on some of the steeper descents. Likewise, it is necessary to lead the horses through the narrow village streets. Here, it is possible to forget the pressure of daily life and to ride all day, meeting only the occasional shepherd or farmer.
The horses are purebred Andalucian (PRE) and Andalucian Arab or sports horse crosses ranging from 14.3 to 16.1 hands. Some of the horses are home bred. Others came as youngsters and most of them stay with Sierra Trails for life. They have been carefully selected for their good natures (a trait of the Spanish horse) and endurance.
The horses are fit, happy, and strong. They enjoy their work and are a pleasure to ride. These are not the average riding school or trail horse but well-bred and schooled horses, responsive, and fun to ride. One of the most frequent comments from riders is that the quality and schooling of the horses far exceeded their highest expectations.
They lead a happy and healthy life, working hard when needed and free to be horses in a herd when not working. During the season, they work one week on and one week off. As a result, they are not sour, enjoying their work and being with people. When bringing in new horses, ideally Sierra Trails prefers for them to be unbroken and unhandled so ensuring that they are correctly started. This initial contact and ground work is essential for a good future working relationship with people.
Most of the horses have been started, backed, and schooled by Mordecai. There are selections of horses to suit different riding levels and great care is taken in the selection of horses according to the riding abilities and preferences of each individual. Sierra Trails keeps about 22 horses and each one has its own personality which is special in its own way. Knowing very well their different characters is essential in matching the horse to rider. Nearly all the horses have a basic training in classical dressage. They are light, responsive and forward going.
These rides are suitable for competent to experienced riders. In order to participate on one the ride, it is necessary that you can control a horse outside at all paces and that you can mount and dismount without assistance. While for fitness, you will need to be reasonably fit to participate on the rides. In addition to being riding fit, you will be required to lead your horse on some of the steep descents and need to be comfortable walking on rough ground. There is a weight limit of 90 kilograms.
The stables are situated in the spectacular valley Poqueira, above the picturesque villages of Pampaneira, Bubion, and Capileira at 1650 meters. They are possibly the highest stables in Europe just over an hour drive to the coast, an hour and 15 minutes to Granada, and a little over two hours from Malaga. The Sierra Nevada covers an area of approximately 2,000 square kilometers in the provinces of Granada and Almeria in the south of Spain.
Sierra Nevada National Park covers 86,210 hectares and another 86,000-hectare natural park, making it the largest park in Spain. With more than 20 peaks over 3,000 meters, it forms the highest mountain range on the mainland. The many microclimates have given rise to the richest botanical life in Europe. 2,100 plants have been cataloged in the park and 60 of which are unique to the area.
The food is fresh local produce. The area is famous for its air cured hams, cheese, and trout. A special effort is made to enable the visitor to sample the different local dishes, ordering what each place cooks best. Please specify if you have any special dietary requirements.
Federico Garcia Lorca Airport
Transfer available for additional US$41 per person
Transfer available for additional US$41 per person
Please book your flight to arrive at Malaga Airport (AGP) or Federico García Lorca Granada Airport (GRX). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request.
Sierra Trails can arrange collection from Malaga Airport (AGP) or Federico García Lorca Granada Airport (GRX) for an additional cost of 35 EUR per person each way. The collection time should be no later than 4 p.m. and the return transfer on the day of departure would get into Malaga on earlier than 10 a.m.
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