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Horse Riding Holiday Spain

This listing has one of the 10 most popular offers available in Spain

The Contraviesa mountain range lies between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Mediterranean sea. Due to the proximity of the coast, the climate during the spring and late autumn are very mild, rarely dropping below 15 degrees Celsius, and during May, reaching the mid 20 degrees. The main industry of the area is the cultivation of almonds, figs, and vineyards. Little has changed here over the centuries; on many smallholdings, the mule and ox still pull the plough and the horse and mule still provide the transport. The early winter months are another lovely time to visit this area and are rarely cold. This ride offers an extraordinary range of scenery, vegetation, and climate.

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 198 pounds / 90 kilograms
  • Horse Height Range: 14.3 to 16.1 hands
  • Horse Breed: Andalusian horse (PRE) and Andalusian-Arabian cross horse

Meet the instructors

Dallas
Read more

Highlights

  • 6 days of riding
  • Approximate daily riding time: 5 to 8 hours
  • Follow old Roman and Moorish bridle paths, dirt tracks, and dried-up riverbeds
  • Pass through different terrain each day
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 7 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


6 days with instruction
Airport transfer included: Málaga Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
17:00
Check-out Time:
18:00

Accommodation will be in small family-run hotels offering twin-bedded rooms with en suite bathrooms. The accommodation is comfortable, very clean, and pleasant. Every effort is made to use the best accommodation available, most of the hotels are small with no more than 12 or 16 rooms. There are no porter services available and most of the rooms are on the first or second floor.

Casa La Sevillana (Nights 1, 2, and 7)

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 the 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.

Hotel Rural Los Bérchules (Nights 4 and 5)

The hotel is run by a family team with extensive knowledge of southern Spain and many years experience in catering. On the outskirts of the village of Bérchules at an altitude of 1320 meters, the hotel is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and is the ideal location to explore the Alpujarras. You can be sure of a warm and friendly welcome at Hotel Rural Los Bérchules.

It stands on its own grounds with private parking on the outskirts of the village and within easy walking distance to the shops, bars, bank, church, and bus stop. There are 10 en-suite twin bedrooms, four en-suite single bedrooms, restaurant and lounge/bar, library, swimming pool, gardens, Wi-Fi and satellite TV, as well as Ceragem massage bed. The pool is available from June to late September.

Available on request are transport, laundry, special diets, maps, etc. The pinewood paneled lounge/bar overlooks the valley and mountains to the sea. It has comfortable sofas and a wood-burning fireplace. Light meals and refreshments can be served here and outside on the long terrace. The double rooms have en-suite bathrooms and 1.05-meter twin beds with memory foam mattresses and duvets. Each room has a balcony with a table and chairs and beautiful views down the valley.

The gardens are now established with flowers, shrubs, and trees and the swimming pool, with its loungers and sunshades, is for the exclusive use of hotel guests. The pine-paneled dining room seats 35. Guests are welcome to exchange books from the library. Books in the lounge are about the region and its history, as well as on cookery, travel, and other topics of interest. There are also games and puzzles, maps and postcards, and information on walks and places of local interest.

La Fragua (Night 3)

Hotel La Fragua is situated in Trevélez, one of the few places in Spain where the environment allows to cure ham through a natural process. The hotel complements the tourist promotion with two hotels and a smart restaurant trying to keep the essence of the Alpujarra. They also contribute to preserving the local patrimony supporting the local culture and gastronomy.

Hotel Alqueria de Morayma (Night 6)

This is an attractive hotel situated in the orchards above the river Cadiar.

Program

On the Contraviesa and the lower slopes of the Alpujarra, spring can start as early as February with the wildflowers blooming right through to May.

Follow old Roman and Moorish bridle paths, dirt tracks, and dried-up riverbeds. Here, you can literally ride from winter to spring and spring to summer and back again in a week. The pace of the ride is determined by the terrain. On days 3 and 7, the paths are narrow and there is a lot of climbing. On the other days, there are opportunities to trot and canter. Where the paths are steep it is necessary to dismount and lead the horses.

Day 1

Transfer from Malaga airport to the village of Bubion at a designated time. While in Bubion, you will be staying in the charming Casa la Sevillana. A comfortable 19th-century townhouse with 7 bedrooms with private shower rooms, a large patio, a sitting room, and a breakfast room, located in the heart of the village within a minutes' walk from the local restaurants and cafes. Dinner with the rest of the riders and a briefing on the following days' activities.

Day 2: Approximately 6 hours of riding

After breakfast, you will be collected and driven to the stables situated 5 kilometers from the village of Bubion at an altitude of 1650 meters. Today is a day ride local to the stables enabling you to acclimatize slightly to the area and the altitude, also acquainting you with your horse prior to setting out for the week.

Leaving the stables, take a small path up through summer pastures to join the main forestry track into the National Park. Here, there are opportunities to canter. Follow the track to approximately 2300 meters where it joins a bridle path. Following this path through the pine woods, come out on the ridge of Barranco Habali at approximately 2,100 meters.

Here, stop for a picnic lunch. On a clear day, fantastic views can be had down the valley across to the Contraviesa, the Mediterranean, and finally, Africa! After lunch, the route descends through oak woods and open pasture lands to meet the main forestry track leading back to the stables. Overnight in the Casa Sevillana Bubion and a set dinner in one of the local restaurants.

Day 3: Approximately 6 hours of riding

Today on the five-star horse riding holiday, head east to the village of Trevelez, at 1,486 meters, the highest municipality in Spain that is not a ski resort. During the morning, gradually descend (approximately 350 meters) on forestry tracks and bridle paths. The path passes through orchards and small terraces as it skirts the villages of Capilerilla, Pitres, and Portugos.

There are a few sections where it is necessary to lead the horses on some of the steeper descents. Leaving the village of Portugos below you start the 600-meter climb to the picnic spot. With stunning views of the Med, picnic in the shade of the pine woods. After lunch, join the main forestry track to Trevelez. This track maintains pretty much the same altitude as it winds its way through woodlands and small mountain farms. There are some good opportunities for a nice canter.

At the end of the day, there is approximately a 15-minute walk down an old stone path into the village. Overnight and dinner in the comfortable Hotel Fragua situated in the old Berber quarter of Trevelez (Use of pool is from June to September).

Day 4: Approximately 6 hours of riding

The route continues east to the village of Berchules. After a 10-minute walk through the streets of Trevelez, water the horses at one of the many springs. Then mount up and head down to the river. Once across the river, the centuries-old bridle path follows firstly a Moorish irrigation channel. Then working its way up through evergreen Holm oak and pine forests to the open pasture lands of the Sierra of Juviles.

Descending across the open hillside, have great views towards the coast of Almeria and the Contraviesa mountains. Climb again before stopping for your picnic in the oak woods. After lunch, join a dirt track leading to the village of Berchules. The final descent into the village is on foot, followed by a 15-minute walk through the streets to the stables and the hotel. Overnight and dinner in the comfortable Hotel Berchules, their pool is available from June to the end of September.

Day 5: Approximately 6 to 7 hours of riding

Today, do a circular ride dropping down to the Contraviesa foothills riding through very different and rapidly changing terrain. The morning starts with approximately a 15-minute walk down to the riverbed. Here, mount up and ride through small cultivated terraces and orchards to the tiny village of Narila.

After a steep climb out of the village, the terrain becomes much arider and eroded. Green cultivated land gives way to wild rosemary, thyme, almonds, and fig trees. Ten minutes on a small secondary road will take you to the village of Golgo. You will then join the path leading you to the bottom of the valley.

After an early lunch by the stream in the shade of tall poplar trees, the path climbs steeply through the deeply eroded hills to join a dirt track that will take you down to the valley of Yator. Late afternoon, join one of the dry river beds which offer opportunities for some great canters and short gallops.

At the end of the day, cross and recross the river of Cadiar. Pass through orchards and smallholdings to rejoin the bridle path leading back to the village of Berchules. Second night in the charming Hotel Berchules.

Day 6: Approximately 5 hours of riding

Today is a slightly shorter ride heading down to the Contraviesa range. The trail will take you down to the river of Cadiar. Follow the river for about 20 minutes before starting the steep climb through almond and fig farms. On the higher slopes, pass through vineyards reaching an altitude of approximately 1,500 meters. From where there are wonderful views of the Alpujarras and the high peaks of Sierra Nevada.

Picnic lunch in the almond groves. Tonight, stay in the attractive hotel, Alqueria de Morayma, situated in the orchards above the river Cadiar, their pool is available from late May to late September.

Day 7: Approximately 8 hours of riding

On your final day of the trek, return to the village of Bubion, a long climb for the horses. Crossing the river Guadalefao, follow a steep bridle path west to the villages Lobras and Timar. From here, the route follows a small local road for approximately 7 kilometers. Afterward, beginning a descent into the spectacular gorge of Trevelez.

Descending on an ancient Roman path cut into the sides of the gorge, lead the horses on foot. It is approximately a 30-minute walk down to the bridge from which you will ride up past the pretty village of Busquistar and continue to Portugos for a well-earned lunch. In the late afternoon, continue northwest along paths and dirt tracks to Bubion. Overnight in Casa la Sevillana and farewell dinner, the last day of this 5-star horse riding holiday.

Day 8

Transfer to Malaga.

The trails

With more than 30 years of knowledge of this region, Dallas has chosen a selection of trails offering an amazing diversity of terrains, views, and flora. The rides 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 riverbeds on the spring and autumn rides. The paths in many places are built into rocks and on some of the steeper descents, it is necessary to lead your horse. Likewise, it is necessary to lead the horses through the narrow village streets.

The horses

Meet the horse family. Much more than a business, the horses are Sierra Trails' way of life. Their wellbeing, care, and training are their highest priority. When not working, the horses live as a herd in a free, happy, and natural environment. The horses enjoy their work, like being with people, and are a pleasure to ride.

  • PRE

Pure-bred Andalucian (PRE) and Andalucian Arab or Sport horse crosses, ranging from 145 centimeters (14.3 hands) to 165 centimeters (16.1 hands). Most of the horses come to Sierra Trails as youngsters and most of them stay with them for life. They have been carefully selected for their good natures (a trait of the Spanish horse) and endurance.

  • Happy horses

The horses are fit, happy, and strong, they lead a happy and healthy life, when not working they are out together as a herd in the home paddock or free on the mountain pastures. In the yard, each horse has its own loose box for the colder winter nights or hot summer days. As a result, they are not sour, they work well as a team and enjoy being with people.

  • Correctly started

When bringing in new horses, ideally, Sierra Trails prefer for them to be un-broken and un-handled, so ensuring that they are correctly started. This initial contact and groundwork are essential for a good future working relationship with people. Most of the horses have been started, backed, and schooled by Mordecai Love.

Mordecai trained in Portugal as a classical dressage rider and has dedicated his life to working with horses. In addition to his passion for classical dressage, he is also very interested in Western training techniques.

  • Time and patience

A confident and happy horse is a safer horse and a better trail companion. The horses are usually backed and started between 4 and 5 years of age, it is important they are self-confident and physically strong before commencing with any schooling or trail work. Normally, the horses do not start trekking with clients until they are at least 7 years of age.

Most of the horses have basic classical training, helping to keep them supple and strong, so enabling them to carry your weight with balance and comfort. They are light, responsive, and forward-going, enjoy their work, and like being with people. 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.

  • Individual characters

There is a selection 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 keep about 22 horses and each one has its own personality, each special in its own way. Knowing very well their different characters is essential in matching horse to rider.

  • The Andalusian

Also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE (pura raza española), is a horse breed from the Iberian Peninsula, where its ancestors have lived for thousands of years.

  • History of the PRE

The Andalusian has been recognized as a distinct breed since the 15th century and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries. Throughout its history, it has been known for its prowess as a warhorse and was prized by the nobility. The breed was used as a tool of diplomacy by the Spanish government and kings across Europe rode and owned Spanish horses.

  • Conformation

Strongly built and compact yet elegant, Andalusians have long, thick manes, and tails. Their most common coat color is grey, although they can be found in many other colors. They are known for their intelligence, sensitivity, and docility.

Riding ability

These rides are suitable for competent to experienced riders, the horses are well schooled and forward going. It is expected that you are comfortable riding outdoors at all paces. There are a limited number of horses available for less experienced riders, but you still need to be comfortable at walking, trot, and canter on a quiet horse. Please send an inquiry if you wish to consult regarding your riding skills.

You will need to be able to mount and dismount without assistance, however, there are plenty of banks, stones, and rocks en route that makes for handy mounting blocks. The weight limits are:

  • 90 kilograms / 198 pounds for experienced riders.
  • 75 kilograms / 165 pounds novice/intermediate riders

Fitness

You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness to participate on one of these rides. In addition to being riding fit, you will need to be walking fit as on some of the steeper descents, you will have to lead your horses over rough uneven ground. Please note that these are mountain trail rides often at high altitudes so it's not suitable if you have a heart condition, suffer from vertigo, or have trouble walking downhill.

Instructors

Dallas Love

Location

The stunning Poqueira Valley

The stables are situated in the spectacular valley of Poqueira, above the picturesque villages of Pampaneira, Bubion, and Capileira at 1650 meters they are possibly the highest stables in Europe.

Close to the Costa Del Sol

Just over an hour's drive to the coast, an hour and 15 minutes to Granada, and a little over 2 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.

Incredible Sierra Nevada National Park

Sierra Nevada National park covers 86,210 hectares and the Natural Park, another 86,000 hectares, 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, 60 of which are unique to the area.

Food

You will be served breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The food is fresh local produce. The area is famous for its air-cured hams (jamon serrano), cheese, and trout. Special effort is made to offer the visitor to sample the different local dishes, ordering what each place cooks best.

On most evenings, dinner will be in your hotel, normally offering a selection of 2 or 3 different daily menus. Some hotels will offer a set menu determined a day in advance and offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Lunches on most days will be a full, homemade picnic, fresh salads, local cheeses, cold cuts, home-cooked meats, dips, etc. Sierra Trails endeavors each day to provide varied meals prepared using local products. Please specify if you have any special dietary requirements or food allergies.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 6 days of riding
  • Services of a guide
  • A backup vehicle for luggage
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Roundtrip airport transfers at a pre-arranged time

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Personal and medical insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Airport transfers outside the pre-arranged time.

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Málaga Airport Airport transfer included: Málaga Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Saturday October 15, 2022
(8 days / 7 nights)

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