Kingdom of Castile Ride

Central Spain Spain: (IT-SPGRE1)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_gredos_castile_horseback_riding_tour.aspx

Introduction
Central Spain Spain

Once upon a time the Kingdom of Castile was a medieval kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula; today it is known as a historical plot of central Spain. The kingdom emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century and this ride explores the territory that was once developed and patrolled by nobles and peasants on horseback: the breathtaking region of the Gredos Mountains. The varied terrain is a delight to be discovered on the back of our equine friends: the northern side of the Sierra de Gredos is a rugged terrain and home to fast flowing rivers that run through small farming villages while the southern side offers a soft and warm landscape dotted with orchards and vineyards. Wildlife in this area includes mountain goats (an icon of the Gredos Mountain), black and griffin vultures, and golden and imperial eagles. Gredos is a classically privileged and austere area conditioned by northern winds and situated in a clear, crisp altitude. Here, rocks mix with prairies protected by pine forests, creating an ideal location for horseback treks. The tranquility, silence of the mountains, and clean air combine with excellent horses and knowledgeable guides to create an idyllic riding destination. This trip enjoys long canters across pine forests, crossing rivers of crystalline waters and tasty lunches to not only provide sustenance but satisfy the taste buds. All these factors add up to create wonderful days in the saddle. The horses are of pure Hispano-Arab descent and are beautiful and noble: they maintain the excellent character like the Andalusians as well as the fortitude of the Arabs. Every evening, we come to a small and charming rural hotel where we enjoy the exquisite Castilian local gastronomy. Some nights will be spent in paradores - historic noble houses restored to high end hotels.

We offer 4 different itineraries throughout the season:
A. Four Valleys of Gredos
B. Castles of Gredos Mountains
C. Pristine Waters of Gredos
D. Gredos to Salamanca Ride

Accomodation

We choose the best lodgings in the area: comfortable, charming, picturesque, rustics, luxurious!

At the end of day we will return to our comfortable bedrooms with private baths before sitting down for a tasty dinner. Each hotel along the way will have a field where the horses stay the night. We only have to glance across the landscape to check up on them.

Most overnights are at charming rural hotels where we enjoy the exquisite regional cuisine, known for its tendency to be gourmet. We will also experience modern hotels, built in the traditional European style, located in areas of outstanding beauty.


Riding

The horses and tack...
The pure Hispano-Arab horses were all bred, brought up and trained by your host and guide. They all have an excellent character suitable for the treks and have been trained and adapted to the Gredos' natural way. They are versatile and safe in the stony  trails of The Gredos Mountains and enthusiastic and quick in the flat and sandy glens of the valleys. They are noble and have character similar the Andalusian horse, are tough and versatile as the Arabian horse, and are very excellent companions. Most of them are of a beautiful grey colour, and their sizes is between 15 ½ hands and 16 ½ hands - a perfect size for these trails and the type of terrain. We use very comfortable English saddles, which are well adapted to the back of our horses. Also, we use silicon seat savers and light saddle bags. The horses can be ridden with snaffle or rubber pelham or simply with a head collar, thanks to a natural training.

From the guide and owner:

Horsemanship...
The training method is based on the psychological connection between man and horse when he looks at me straight in the eye, a short glance will be enough for him. "I let him see who I am. My mood, my psychological attitude, what I communicate is the most important aspect." It is very important not to keep looking so that the horse doesn’t feel any kind of pressure.

My Attitude: I offer no resistance. In that way, the horse can perceive that I just want to be a friend, not a predator or a leader. This is extremely important as well as slow movements and relaxed arms which help gain the horse’s confidence.

Confidence is gained during the first sessions in the circular track when the horse perceives that I don’t demand immediate results. Another important point to achieve is that the horse’s jaw, neck and back muscles are relaxed. It is not possible to ride a horse without this relaxation state. The technique applied and the knowledge of language expression of the horse are also very important.

Horses Body Language...
The ears indicate the horses’ state according to their position. Straight forward, backwards, in different positions, fallen, in constant movement. During the horsemanship session in the circular track, it is important that the horse hears us. That is indicated when his ears point towards the interior side of the track where we are located. The tail is also very important regarding horses’ body language. A simple movement may indicate irritation and thus prevent an attack. Therefore, a relaxed tail pointing to the ground indicates a serene and confident horse. The mouth is also very meaningful. The gestures made while eating, the tongue, the lips relaxed or tight are also indicators of tension.

Stud Breeding Farm...
We have PRE (Pura Raza Espanol)  mares as well as Hispano Arabe mares. We use stallion of very good origins  and descended from the legendary horse Zacateco, tjhoe horse of the Spanish Army.

We breed the horses in the wild of the mountains. They are rustic and adapted to the harsh climate and the stony soil of Gredos. They are used to riding along the uneven slopes of the Gredos and are excellent to ride on any terrain. They are strong and resistant, strong-willed but noble, and beautiful as any other breed. We believe the Hispano Arabe is the best for long rides, delighting the rider with its smooth movement and tireless trot and gallop. The Hispano Arabe is a master piece of nature and it is only available in Spain.


Itinerary
We offer 4 different itineraries throughout the season:
  
A. Four Valleys of Gredos
   B. Castles of Gredos Mountains
   C. Pristine Waters of Gredos
   D. Gredos to Salamanca Ride




A. Four Valleys of Gredos
- 5 riding days

Day 1 MADRID- NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS

Meet in Madrid at the airport transfer to Navarredonda de Gredos .Enjoy a welcome dinner in a small charming hotel in Navarredonda.
Day 2  NAVARREDONA DE GREDOS-PUERTO DEL PICO SAN ESTEBAN DEL VALLE
Distribution of horses at the stables. Ride though the cordel path to join the cañadas we will get to Puerto del pico ,with a very beautiful views of the Tietar river Valley, where we will have lunch at the restaurant.
Afternoon ride, down the mountains to San Esteban del Valle by the very well preserved Roman Road from the second century.
Dinner and night at a nice hotel rural in San Esteban del Valle
Day 3 SAN ESTEBAN DEL VALLE--BURGOHONDO
Ride along the Valley of 5 Villas through gardens of fruits, cherry trees, fig trees, olive trees, grapes. We will get to the top of the valley ,Puerto de Serranillos, where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon we ride to the other side of the mountains to the Alberche river valley. We get to Burgohondo a town on the river Alberche
We stay overnight at very nice hotel
Day 4 BURGOHONDO—SAN MARTIN DEL PIMPOLLAR
Following the Alberche river valley, we ride through old towns, with stony houses and very different landscapes, on the north side of the mountains. Lunch in Hoyocasero. In the afternoon we will get to the highest villages in the mountains. We stay in San Martin del Pimpollar for the night , dinner at the hotel
Day 5 SAN MARTIN DEL PIMPOLLAR – NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES
We are still in the mountains, with pine trees, broom, stony walls, it is the region of the summer pastures of our horses. We will get very close to the source of the river Alberche . lunch in San Martin de la Vega. Afternoon ride to Navacepeda, through open landscapes with a beautiful views of the Gredos mountains.
Dinner at restaurant
Day 6 NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES --NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS
Short, easy and beautiful day, ride following the Tormes river valley.
Lunch at the river, an excellent spot for swimming in the clean and cold water.
Short afternoon ride and a few, fast good canters
Night and dinner at hotel in Navarredonda de Gredos
Day 7 Breakfast at hotel .Departure at around 10 am to be at 12 pm in Madrid airport.




B. Castles of Gredos Mountains - 5 riding days

Day 1  MADRID –NAVARREDONDA

Meet at Madird airport , transfer to Navarredonda 2 hours drive .
Stop in Avila for a short visit.
Welcome a enjoy dinner at hotel.
Day 2  NAVARREDODNA DE GREDOS- NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES
Distribution of horses will be a short day, riding through the Tormes valley lunch at fisherman,s hat and excellent paella .
Short afternoon to Navacepeda night and dinner at hotel.
Day 3  NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES-BARCO DE AVILA
The longest day and the most beautiful views of gredos mountains, we will ride at the top of the valley riding through small and remote sheepers villages, lunch at Lastra del Cano
Afternoon down the valley to Barco de Avila open valley and different landscape.
Night and dinner at hotel.
Day 4  BARCO DE AVILA –HOYORREDONDO
We will cross the river Tormes by the romen bridge in Barco de Avila and w ego to Salamanca province flat and dry area
Very rural region, fields with stone walls ,where we can see farmers riding donkeys. Lunch by the river
Afternoon fast good canters .night and dinner at a very nice casa rural
Day 5  HOYORREDONDO- NAVACEPEDILLA DE CORNEJA
Good trots and canters in the morning by the flat Corneja river
Valley lunch beside the river
Afternoon we will start climbing to the mountains
Night and dinner at hotel
Day 6  NAVACEPEDILLA-NAVARREDONDA
We will climbing the highest place of the ride with a magnificent views of the Alberche river valley and San martin de la Vega , we cross the river and continues to tormes river valley lunch with the views of the Gredos mountains . Afternoon short afternoon good canters to finish the ride
Day 7  Breakfast at hotel, departure at 10at around 10am to be at Madrid airport at 12 pm




C. Pristine Waters of Gredos - 5 riding days


Day 1 MADRID –NAVARREDONDA

Meet at Madird airport , transfer to Navarredonda 2 hours drive .
Stop in Avila for a short visit.
Welcome a enjoy dinner at hotel
Day 2  NAVARREDODNA DE GREDOS- NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES
Distribution of horses will be a short day, riding through the Tormes valley lunch at fisherman,s hat and excellent paella.
Short afternoon to Navacepeda night and dinner at hotel.
Day 3 NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES-BARCO DE AVILA
The longest day and the most beautiful views of gredos mountains, we will ride at the top of the valley riding through small and remote sheepers villages, lunch at Lastra del Cano
Afternoon down the valley to Barco de Avila open valley and different landscape
Night and dinner at hotel
Day 4  BARCO DE AVILA –HOYORREDONDO
We will cross the river Tormes by the romen bridge in Barco de Avila and w ego to Salamanca province flat and dry area
Very rural region, fields with stone walls ,where we can see farmers riding donkeys . lunch by the river
Afternoon fast good canters .night and dinner at a very nice casa rural
Day 5  HOYORREDONDO- NAVACEPEDILLA DE CORNEJA
Good trots and canters in the morning by the flat Corneja river Valley lunch beside the river
Afternoon we will start climbing to the mountains.
Night and dinner at hotel
Day 6  NAVACEPEDILLA-NAVARREDONDA
We will climbing the highest place of the ride with a magnificent views of the Alberche river valley and San martin de la Vega , we cross the river and continues to tormes river valley lunch with the views of the Gredos mountains . Afternoon short afternoon good canters to finish the ride
Day 7  Breakfast at hotel, departure at 10at around 10am to be at Madrid airport at 12 pm




D. Gredos to Salamanca Ride
- 6 riding days

Day 1 MADRID –NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS
Meet at Madrid Airport transfer to Navarredonda de Gredos enjoy and welcome dinner.
Day 2  NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS–NAVALPERAL DE TORMES
Distribution of horses. Following the Tormes river at the bottom of the valley to the Charco de las Paredes Lunch and swimming. Short afternoon down hill to Navalperal. Dinner at hotel.
Day 3  NAVALPERAL-BARCO DE AVILA –BECEDAS
In the morning we wil go through catle path to Barco de Avila lunch at the Tormes river . Afternoon we will ride to sierra de Bejar to Becedas the last village at Avila province where the horses spend the night . we transfer the riders to Candelario to spend the night ( two nights) this town its one of the most beautiful towns in Spain.
Dinner and night at charming Posada rural.
Day 4  BECEDAS-CANDELARIO
This day it’s a short day half day , from Becedas to Candelario , we will go through villages of peculiar feature.
Afternoon free, to visit Candelario , the church to walk up the steep streets, walking along the channels that collect the water from the mountains, the magnificent examples of architecture in this town
Dinner and night at the same Posada Rural.
Day 5  CANDELARIO-NEILA DE SAN MIGUEL- GUIJO DE AVILA
Direction north to Salamanca through Puerto de la Hoya we will get Neila the San Miguel stop for lunch at the church. Afternoon the landscape its open and flat and we rejoin the Cañada Soriana Occidental one of the main paths of Spain.
We will spend the night at Guijo de Avila at rural complex in a very confortable cabins ,with a nice views of the river Tormes.
Day 6  GUIJO DE AVILA –HORCAJO MEDIANERO
We will cross the river Tormes by the embalse of Santa teresa huge reservoir water we will ride all day through the Dehesas of Salamanca with holm oaks bulls black Iberian pigs lunch by small river. Afternoon canters through the dehesa and holm oaks to Horcajo Medianero . Night and dinner at monastery with horses very close to us.
Day 7  HORCAJO MEDIANERO – ALBA DE TORMES
This day it s a long riding morning . these are the easter lands of the province where beautiful and clear horizons bathed by the waters of the river Tormes .
The history of Alba de Tormes its join of Santa Teresa life and death, where the body rest in one of the convents this is the end of the ride .
The horses spend the night in Alba de Tormes and travel back home by truck the next morning
Riders we transfer to Salamanca 20 min drive .
In the late afternoon walk by the streets of this historical town, dinner at restaurant by the Plaza mayor ones of the most beautiful main square of Spain . Night at hotel in the heart of Salamanca.
Day 8  SALAMANCA .MADRID
After breakfast walk in Salamanca to visit some monuments .
Departure from Salamanca at 12 pm in time for flights departing Madrid after 4pmAll riders will be transferred at the same time, so if any of riders needs to arrive to Madrid prior to noon all riders depart earlier or we will arrange transfer (at extra cost)

    All itineraries are subject to changes!!


Rates and Dates for Kingdom of Castile Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations (6 nights in 2 rural hotels or upgrade to 5 nights in a Parador and 1 night in rural hotel), meals - wine with dinner, 5 riding days

Packages and Options





Transfer and Other Options:



 Description
2012 Transfer from Madrid is included at set times on Day 1

Dates Note:

Other Info
Meeting: Navarredonda de Gredos
Airport: Madrid
Transfer: Madrid airport

Climate:

Castilla and León has a continental Mediterranean climate with long and relatively cold winters with an average of temperatures between 4º and 7º C (39.2º F and 44.6º F) and with warm to hot summers ranged from 19º to 30º C (66.2º F to 86º F).

The general lack of rainfall makes it easy for accommodating riding holidays and is excellent to enjoy the sun all year round whatever the temperature. The high altitude of the plateau and mountains accentuate the contrast between the winter and summer temperatures, as well as during the day and night.


What To Bring:
This list is only a basic guideline for you...

TRAVEL
Travel documents and Trip Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

RIDING GEAR
English or Western riding attire - whatever you are most comfortable riding long distances in!
Comfortable and worn-in riding boots
A hard hat is not required, but always recommended for safety
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection
Rain proof coat

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cooler evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Light summer jacket
Trekking boots /comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
Bandana
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for any electric appliances
Camera and enough extras (films, batteries, memory cards etc)
Belt pack
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm
Small bar of soap
Flashlight