8 Days La Contraviesa Horse Riding Holiday Andalucia, Spain

Week-Trail Horse Riding Holiday Spain

This week-trail horse riding holiday offers you an extraordinary range of scenery, vegetation, and climate. You will follow old Roman and Moorish bridle paths, dirt tracks, and dried-up riverbeds. The pace of the ride is determined by the terrain. Here, you can literally ride from winter to spring and spring to summer and back again in a week. Where the paths are steep, it is necessary to dismount and lead the horses. Take this horse riding opportunity to witness the beauty of Spain!

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

Highlights

  • 6 days of horse riding
  • Approximate daily riding time: 5 to 8 hours
  • Chance to get an acquaintance with the horse
  • Horse riding guide and a backup vehicle for luggage
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • Airport transfer

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English

Airport transfer included: Málaga Airport

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Accommodation

During this horse riding holiday, you will be accommodated in some 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

One of 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.

Program

Itinerary

Day 1

Those of you who have arranged to be collected from Malaga Airport (AGP) will be picked up at the pre-arranged time and driven to the village of Bubion. While in Bubion, you will be staying at 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.

Day 2

After breakfast, you will be collected and driven to the stables situated five kilometers from the village of Bubion at an altitude of 1,650 meters. Today will be a day ride local to the stables, enabling you to acclimatize slightly to the area and the altitude. Also, you will be acquainted with your horse prior to setting out for the week.

Leaving the stables, you will take a small path up through summer pastures to join the main forestry track into the national park where there are opportunities to canter. This journey will take time for approximately six hours’ riding. You will follow the track to approximately 2,300 meters where it joins a bridle path. Following this path through the pine woods, you come out on the ridge of Barranco Habali at approximately 2,100 meters.

Here, you will 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. The overnight will be in the Casa Sevillana Bubion and a set dinner will be in one of the local restaurants.

Day 3

Today, you will 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, you will 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. This journey will take time for approximately six hours’ riding.

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 will start the 600 meters' climb to the picnic spot in the shade of the pine woods. After lunch, you will 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 minutes' walk down an old stone path into the village. The overnight and dinner will be in the comfortable Hotel Fragua situated in the old Berber quarter of Trevelez. Use of pool is available from June to September.

Day 4

The route will continue east to the village of Berchules. After a 10-minute walk through the streets of Trevelez, you will water the horses in one of the many springs, mount up and head down to the river. Once across the river, the many centuries old bridle path follows first the Moorish irrigation channel and then works its way up through evergreen Holm oak and pine forests to the open pasture lands of the Sierra of Juviles. The journey will take time for approximately six hours’ riding.

Descending across the open hillside, you will have great views towards the coast of Almeria and the Contraviesa mountains. You will climb again before stopping for picnic in the oak woods. After lunch, you will join a dirt track leading you to the village of Berchules. The final descent into the village is on foot, followed by a 15 minutes' walk through the streets to the stables and the hotel. The overnight and dinner will be in the comfortable Hotel Berchules. Pool is available from June to the end of September.

Day 5

Today, you will do a circular ride dropping down to the Contraviesa foothills, riding through very different and rapidly changing terrain. The morning will start with approximately a 15 minutes' walk down to the riverbed where you will mount up and ride through small-cultivated terraces and orchards to the tiny village of Narila. The journey will take time for approximately six to seven hours’ riding.

After a steep climb out of the village, the terrain becomes much more arid and eroded, green cultivated land giving way to wild rosemary, thyme, almonds and fig trees. Ten minutes on a small secondary road will take you to the village of Golgo, where you will 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 which will take you down to the valley of Yator. On late afternoon, you will join one of the dry river beds which offers opportunities for some great canters and short gallops. In the end of the day, you will cross and recross the river of Cadiar, passing through orchards and small holdings to rejoin the bridle path leading back to the village of Berchules. The second night will be spent in the charming Hotel Berchules. Pool is available from June to late September.

Day 6

Today will be a slightly shorter ride heading down to the Contraviesa range. The trail will take you down to Cadiar River which you will follow for about 20 minutes before starting the steep climb through almond and fig farms. The journey will take time for approximately five hours’ riding.

On the higher slopes, you will pass through vineyards reaching an altitude of approximately 1,500 metres, from where there are wonderful views of the Alpujarras and the high peaks of Sierra Nevada. Picnic lunch will be in the almond groves. Tonight, you will stay in the attractive Hotel Alqueria de Morayma situated in the orchards above the river Cadiar. Pool is available from late May to late September.

Day 7

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

This descent is on an ancient Roman path cut into the sides of the gorge and must be made on foot leading the horses. It will be approximately a 30-minute walk down to the bridge from which you will ride up past the pretty village of Busquistar and on to Portugos for a well-earned lunch. In the late afternoon, you will continue northwest along paths and dirt tracks to Bubion. You will stay overnight at Casa la Sevillana and have a farewell dinner. Please note that the journey will take time for approximately eight hours’ riding.

Day 8

On day eight, you will be transferred to Malaga.

The trails

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

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.

Riding ability and fitness

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.

Instructors

Dallas Love
Dallas owns the longest established holiday riding center in the Alpujarra. Since 1987, her top quality Spanish horses have provided unforgettable holidays for hundreds of people. The week rides and much of the short breaks are led by Dallas. Working with horses most of her adult life, she established the first stables in the Alpujarra and now has more than 20 horses. The horses have been backed and schooled by Dallas and her brother Mordecai Love, a professional dressage trainer. Many of the horses have a basic training in classical dressage.

Location

The Contraviesa mountain range lies between Sierra Nevada Mountains and Mediterranean Sea. The main industry of the area is the cultivation of almonds, figs, and vineyards. Little has changed here over the centuries. On many small holdings, the mule and ox still pull the plow while the horse, as well as mule, still provide the transport. Federico García Lorca Airport (GRX) is a one and a half hour drive from Bubion.

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.

Food

During this horse riding holiday, you will be served breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. On day one, you will savor dinner in one of the local restaurants while on day seven, you will enjoy well-earned lunch in Portugos. 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.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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

  • 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 horse riding
  • Horse riding guide
  • Transfer to and from Malaga Aiport (AGP) at the pre-arranged time
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • Backup vehicle for luggage

What's not included

  • Airport transfers outside the pre-arranged time
  • Flights
  • Personal and medical insurance

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Malaga Airport (AGP). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Sierra Trails will pick you up from the airport.

Clients for this horse riding holiday will be collected from the airport on the day the trek commences. The collection will be no later than 4 p.m.

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 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
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