Western - Starrides

Tuscany Italy: (IT-ITVAL)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/italy_tuscany_western_stationary.aspx

Introduction
Tuscany Italy  
At only half an hour from Florence in the midst of the Tuscany countryside - olives, vines and woods surrounding ancient farms, villas, towers and castles. This riding center offers horse lovers a change to stay in a typical stone farmhouse with Tuscan charm and atmosphere. It is surrounded by green pastures and beautiful olive groves, from which we make our own olive oil.

You will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at the riding center, our Italian cuisine and most of all of our forward-going and well-schooled horses: many people come again and again.

A riding program will be available to suit your every requirement. It is possible to ride in both the morning and the afternoon, choosing between lessons and one or two-hour rides out in the countryside. Lessons and rides are arranged according to the experience and preparation of the rider so that everybody can get the most out of the experience. You can also request to add on more ride time. The days' timetable is based around the care of the 35 horses, who have been schooled at the riding center in Western style. Your guide and his horses will lead you through the Tuscan countryside - its varied terrain being suited perfectly to both horses and their riders, providing the best work out for the Western horse and spiritual tonic for the riders.

Accomodation

Accommodation

This is a stationary ride, so all nights are spent at the same location.

Description
The country estate offers horse lovers a typical charming stone farmhouse surrounded by green pastures and beautiful olive groves from which the center makes its own olive oil. The house is a refurbished watch tower which once belonged to the Guidi Counts in the 11th century. Guests are welcomed into a friendly, calm and relaxed atmosphere.
The 6 rustic bedrooms are very spacious – typical of old Tuscan rural homes. Accommodation is in 2- to 4-bedded rooms, according to your needs (single rooms available on request).
Bathrooms are separate and each one is shared between two bedrooms. There is a maximum of 18 beds available.
When you are not riding you can relax in the green surrounding at the center or walk up to Camorli (2.5 km) and relax at the pool!

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we are unable to find another rider to share.


Meals
All meals are included.

At the farm, a wide variety of authentic Tuscan country dishes is served, and the cook, a Tuscan chef, is always happy to satisfy the culinary wishes of the guests. The center is renowned for its great range of pasta dishes and the tables are never lacking in olive oil or flasks of Chianti! Every meal is planned and balanced with different typical recipes and the seasonal genuine ingredients. The menu is rich satisfactory, Italian and tasty!
We all dine together, either indoors or on the terrace, which offers a stunning view of the countryside. 
 
Italian breakfast – tea, coffee, milk, fresh bread and butter with various marmalades and honey, yoghurt and muesli.
Lunches on the day rides are eaten either picnic style (cold pasta salad, salami, cheese, vegetables) or in a local restaurant.
For dinner, we offer a wide variety of authentic Tuscan country cuisine. We start with 2 different kind of "pasta" such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and rigatoni with black cabbage and potatoes. Then comes meat, like the typical arista - a pork cut - or fried chicken: in the traditional Tuscan way! - accompanied by zucchinis and carrots or garlic peppers

Chianti wine, water and extra-virgin olive oil are included with all meals in full board.

Special Diets:
Vegetarians catered for, but please let us know in advance.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding
Lessons and rides are arranged according to the experience and preparation of the riders so that everybody can get the most out of the experience. Riding programs can adjusted.
There are many different rides, as the surrounding countryside is also vast and varied, and they can be adapted to suit all levels.

Tack
Our horses are all trained western style by Franco, although English saddle is also available. During trails, horses are equipped with saddlebags to carry the daily picnic lunch.

Pace
The pace is adapted to the trails. It is moderate in general, with trot, canters and gallops when possible.

Riding Helmet
We supply riding helmets. For your safety, we recommend to ride with a helmet. Riders under 18 will not be allowed to ride without wearing a helmet.

Horses
The well-being and sound preparation of our horses is of prime importance to us. Our horses are all carefully selected by us for their good nature and trekking ability and we have horses suitable for all riding abilities. They are well-balanced because of the natural way of their maintenance, living together outside in herds. The horses are secure on any kind of terrain and well trained for lessons in the arena.
Our stables has 35 horses of different breeds (Maremma, Quarter horse, Sardinian, Anglo-Arab), all of which have been trained or re-trained following the principles of “natural horsemanship” to guarantee maximum physical and psychological condition and reliability.
Our horses are not restricted to lonely stables but live altogether outside in the fields, which allows them to remain healthy, both physically and mentally. Their diet is constantly monitored and their work regime adapted individually according to age and condition.
The same attention is given to the relationship between horses and riders, so as to guarantee each guest the best suited workmate, offering also the possibility of using a variety of horses throughout the holiday. Our riding philosophy is based on mutual respect and confidence between the horses and the riders.

Guides
Trekking groups are accompanied by a guide over the whole journey, and another person that meets the group in the evening with the rucksacks and necessary equipment. A first-aid kit accompanies all trips, but you should not forget personal medicines, for example those for allergies.

Attractions in the area
The farm is located on the Strade del vino Chianti Rufina (wine route) so we suggest to visit the cellars with wine tasting in the neighborhood.
The closest village is Pontassieve (6 km away) with a colourful market on Wednesday morning.
Florence is only about 20 km away.
By car, you can easily visit some of the region's famous sights including Arezzo, San Gimignano, Siena... (all located within about 1-hour drive of the farm) 
Shopping at outlets with many famous Italian brands can be found within a 30-min drive of the farm. 

Itinerary

It is possible to ride both in the morning and afternoon, choosing between lessons and one or two hour rides out in the countryside. Lessons and rides are arranged according to the experience and preparation of the riders so that everybody can get the most out of the experience.

Riding Lessons
Lessons are organized according to the level of each rider and we can teach at any riding level from beginner to experienced. 
Riding lessons are available in English, German and Italian.
There is a large outdoor sand arena (35x75 m) with a "panoramic viewpoint" overlooking the valley.

The first lesson in Vallebona is an introduction to our style of riding, which combines English, western and trekking techniques and styles. The horse training is Western Californian used mainly in Western Pleasure and Trekking – with one or two hands, with the knowledge of new training techniques Parrelli / Andersen.
The instructors carry out the lessons on horseback so that they can constantly demonstrate and assist the riders.

Thanks to the trustworthiness and experience of our horses, even absolute beginners can ride out on a hack in the countryside after their first hour's lesson. Over one week in Vallebona beginners will learn to develop a good seat on the horse and be able to control it in walk, trot (sitting and rising) and canter.
Beginners' lessons start with work on posture and balance, in walk, controlling the horse with one and two hands, before going on to changing direction and breaking into trot on demand.

For riders with a bit more experience we analyze the various methods of controlling the reins (direct, open, neck and indirect reins) and the effect each of these has on the horse (stop, change of direction, turn on the forehand, lateral steps, roll back), applying them to the different paces of walk, trot and canter.


Hacking
The countryside around Vallebona is varied and spectacular, the rides are very different. We can go for rides through olive groves and vineyards or climb up the hills across forest of cypresses and pines or canter along the river.
As the surrounding countryside is vast and varied, we can adapt our trails to suit all riding levels.
The pace is adapted to the trails: moderate in general, with trot, canters and gallops when possible.

On Fridays, we usually organize an all-day ride (4-6 hours in the saddle) with a stop for a picnic somewhere scenic, or lunch at the Castello del Trebbio where you can visit the cellars and taste some wine before riding back to the farm.


Note: We supply riding helmets. For your safety, we recommend to ride with a helmet. Riders under 18 will not be allowed to ride without wearing a helmet.


Rates and Dates for Western - Starrides

Rates include:

7 nights accommodations at the riding center in private double occupancy rooms but with shared bathrooms, all meals with table wine, 6 horse riding days (total of 18 or 12 hours depending on chosen package)

Packages and Options




* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Transfer from Pontassieve train station, with return (rate per person)
- to be paid locally
45 $55
2019 Private taxi transfer from Florence airport (please inquire for rates)
- to be paid locally
0 $0
2019 Private taxi transfer from Pisa airport (please inquire for rates)
- to be paid locally
0 $0
2019 Tourist tax, pp 6 $10
2019 Non-rider, dbl, pp (low season) 530 $635
2019 Non-rider, dbl, pp (high season) 555 $665
2019 Discount for room division (3-4 people per room) -60 $-75
2019 Single supplement 200 $240

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
B 2019 03/23 - 04/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 18 riding hrs... 1 /18 Reserve
A 2019 04/13 - 04/26 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 18 riding hrs... 1 /18 Reserve
B 2019 04/27 - 05/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 18 riding hrs... 1 /18 Reserve
A 2019 05/18 - 09/20 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 18 riding hrs... 1 /18 Reserve
B 2019 09/21 - 01/11 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 18 riding hrs... 1 /18 Reserve

Dates Note: every Saturday-Saturday
Sold out dates: April 13 to May 4, May 25 to June 1, June 8 to 15 & July 27 to August 10

Other Info
Meeting: Pontassieve
Airport: Florence
Transfer: Pontassieve train station, Florence Airport or Pisa Airport

Climate:
                                                Florence area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

52

54

60

67

75

83

89

89

81

70

59

52

Average Low Temperature (°F)

36

37

42

46

54

60

65

65

59

52

43

37

Average High Temperature (°C)

11

12

16

19

24

28

32

32

27

21

15

11

Average Low Temperature (°C)

2

3

5

8

12

16

18

18

15

11

6

3

Source: NOAA


Seasons
To avoid the heat, it’s best to visit in spring and autumn. During the peak summer months of July and August, the weather can be very hot, but it still gets cooler in the evenings, as the riding center is located in the mountains. Autumn sees the countryside glow with abundance of wild mushrooms and just-pressed olive oil. The winters are not too chilly with the lowest expected temperatures in the peak of winter being around 0°C / 32°F.

What To Bring:
What to bring:
•Riding Hat: A hat is essential for protection from rain and sun. Hard hats are compulsory for under 18's. If possible, take your own or we can lend you one
•Riding Trousers: for the western saddle cow boy jeans are ideal – they are flatly seamed and are particularly long in the leg. Jodhpurs are fine if worn with half chaps.
•Long sleeve tops: Lightweight long sleeve tops protect from the sun and from scratches from branches and undergrowth.
•Footwear: The correct footwear is important for riding. We use light walking boots, high on the ankle, not too big. Ideally, short boots or gym shoes should be worn with half chaps. We do not recommend riding boots with a smooth sole.
•Waterproof jacket
•Ear plugs: can be useful in shared accommodation
•Warm sweater
•Hat:  to protect from sun and rain
•Swim costume, suncream, sun glasses
•Insect repellent: recommended in July, August and September
•Ear plugs: can be useful when sharing the room with other people
•a first-aid kit accompanies all trips, but you should not forget personal medicines, for example those for allergies.
•Sensible underwear: be sensible with underwear - dress for comfort. Torch, penknife
•We provide 2 towels - you may need an extra one
•Electricity 220 V, you need an European adaptor
•And don't forget to bring your camera
•Insurance documents: It's important to make sure you are insured for all the activities of your riding holiday. Our insurance pays for damages depending on our acknowledged responsibility of the accident. Payment is authorised following a request for damages to be considered by the insurance company. A personal policy is different in that it always pays you out according to your agreed contract. This is what we advise you to do. Be aware that occasionally personal policies exclude dangerous sports such as riding, but by warning the company you can include it.
•Payment is made on departure by cheque or cash; sorry we can't accept credit cards