Western - Starrides

Tuscany Italy: (IT-ITVAL)
URL: http://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

You will be staying in a Tuscan farmhouse surrounded by green pastures and beautiful olive groves, from which we make our own extra virgin olive oil. The house originated from a watch tower which belonged to the Guidi Counts in the 11th Century.
Our guests are welcomed into a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, far removed from the formality of hotels.
Accommodation is in 2- to 4-bedded rooms, according to your needs (single rooms available on request). There is a maximum of 18 beds available. You can choose to share a room for up to 5 people for a small discount. The rooms are light, spacious and airy, typical of old Tuscan farmhouses.
Bathrooms are located outside of the bedrooms and each one is shared between 2 bedrooms.

When you are not riding you can relax around the farm or at the pool (in Camorli 2.5 km away).

Attractions in the area:
Our 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.
We are only about 20 km from the centre of Florence. 
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. 


Meals
We all dine together, either indoors or on the terrace, which offers a stunning view of the countryside.
The kitchen offers a vast range of dishes from authentic farmhouse traditions of the region, and our chef is always ready to satisfy any culinary requests from our guests. We plan every meal balancing the different typical recipes and the seasonal genuine ingredients.
The menu is simple and tasty, it is possible to stay half-board, although most of our guests are full-board: we are well known for our great range of pasta recipes, and the tables are never lacking in Olive oil or flasks of Chianti!

Breakfast usually consist of tea, coffee, milk, fresh bread and butter with various marmalades and honey, yoghurt and muesli.

On the Day-ride, our staff brings food and fresh drinks to your picnic place. Meals could be a cold pasta salad, salami, cheese, vegetables... When the picnic is to be carried in saddlebags we supply the riders with everything they need to carry the picnic on their horse with various salami, cheeses and vegetables.

For dinner we offer a wide variety of authentic Tuscan country cuisine. We plan every meal balancing different recipes and the flavours that the season's products can offer.
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 courgettes and carrots or garlic peppers

Chianti wine, water and extra-virgin olive oil are included in all meals (for full board packages only).

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. From the farm, you can explore the surrounding parts on all sides, climbing up mount Bardellone for a view of Florence, descending down to the river Sieve, or galloping up to the village Rufina, famous in the world of Chianti wine. You can ride through vineyards and olive groves to reach the little village of Doccia, or simply stop off in one of the celebrate wine cellars of the area to indulge in some local wine-tasting.
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.
There is a large outdoor riding arena (35 meters by 75 meters). The arena is a panoramic viewpoint and overlooks the Val de Sieve. Riding lessons are available in English, German and Italian. The lessons are organizes according to experience.

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.

Itinerary

Riding Lessons
- Riding lessons for all levels: from beginners to experienced riders.
- Lessons are organised according to the level of each rider.
- Our riding style combines classic riding techniques with western and trekking style
- We have a large outdoor school: 35x75 m: sand, well drained. Our arena is a "panorama viewpoint" overlooking the valley.
- Riding lessons conducted in English, German and Italian are organised according to experience
- Our aim is to allow you to discover Tuscany in the most enjoyable way.
- 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

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.

In the large arena 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 like riding through olive groves and vineyards or climbing up the hills with forest of cypresses and pines, cantering along the river.
- The pace is adapted to the trails: moderate in general, with trot, canters and gallops when possible.
- 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.

At Vallebona 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.

There are many different rides, as the surrounding countryside is also vast and varied, and they can be adapted to suit all levels.

From Vallebona you can explore the surrounding parts on all sides, through vineyards and olive groves climbing up rolling hills, descending down to the river, or galloping up to the village Rufina, famous in the world of Chianti wine.


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



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day trip, AP 18 riding hrs (high)€815$980
  • B
    20198 day trip, AP 18 riding hrs (low)€790$950
  • C
    20198 day trip, AP 12 riding hrs (high)€710$855
  • D
    20198 day trip, AP 12 riding hrs (low)€685$825
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* 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