Epona Soto Clinic

Southern Spain Spain: (IT-SPSR30C)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_andalusia_epona_clinic.aspx

Introduction
Southern Spain Spain
Dressage clinic week with Rafael Soto!

Who in the dressage world has not heard of the Spanish Olympic Team Silver Medallist Rafael Soto? His charisma has earned him the respect and popularity of Dressage enthusiasts and fellow horseback riders alike, the world over. That final gesture and enthusiastic 'There you have it', followed by the flamboyant Spanish Walk performed by his equine partner 'Invasor' as they leave the ring, has become their trademark, and provokes uproars of applause and attracts audiences wherever they go.

What most people don't know is that the spectacular 'Invasor' was a difficult horse in his youth and was rejected by other riders as 'impossible to train' due to his immense size and strength.
Besides being a brilliant Spanish dressage rider, his teaching techniques are equally impressive combined with his exceptional personality and endless knowledge. Rafael is completely fluent in English, French and German.  Amazing is his command of technical equestrian terms and vocabulary. Obviously, language is a prime element in communication, but Rafael not only talks, he transmits and demonstrates in such a way as to make understanding very easy, encouraging and energizing his pupils into achieving more than they believe possible.

Whoever participates in one of his clinics will end up thoroughly satisfied. Rafael is a very friendly, unpretentious person who enjoys making new friends who share his passion with to his pleasant and extroverted character. 

Accomodation

 

Accommodations:

For all the programmes, accommodation and full buffet breakfast will be included at the Alcazar de la Reina, a beautiful four-star Superior category hotel in the heart of the historic and monumental centre of the old part of the city of Carmona, just a few minutes drive away from the Hacienda. The hotel is full of history, charm, and elegance while at the same time comfortable and modern, and is located at only twenty minutes distance from Seville International airport , with breathtaking views over the fertile valley, the Vega de Carmona, all the way to the great river Guadalquivir, thirty kilometers distant, and the Sierra Morena mountain Range behind. The name of the hotel comes from the Moorish term Alcazar, meaning a fortified Palace, and the Spanish, Reina, or queen. Therefore it is the Queen's Palace. The building was originally erected by the Moors in the 13th century as a fortress adjunct to the Puerta de Cordoba, in an era when the town was one of the most important caliphates of Andalucia.

After the Moors were pushed back to their last strongholds in Granada and Málaga, in Medieval times, the Christian Kings of Castille also favoured Carmona to fix their royal residence in the region. Specifically, King Alfonso XI showed a fondness for the town, and while the royal residence in Andalusia was the Royal Alcazar in Sevilla, he housed his favourite concubine, Leonor de Guzman,  in the comfortable and impregnable  Alcazar de de la Puerta de Cordoba. When he died of the  Black Plague in Gibraltar, his only legitimate child, Pedro I inherited the throne,  but due to the constant disputes for the crown that he had to suffer from his nine illegitimate half-brothers, he maintained Leonor prisoner in the palace until her death. He also favoured Carmona and built the Alcazar del Rey Don Pedro (now the Parador) as his royal residence. However, as legend has it, during the fifteenth century,  another King of Castile, Juan II, embarking on another war with the Sultans of Malaga and Granada, sought the safest town in the province to house his beloved Queen and his heir, and keep them nearby. He chose Carmona as the most impregnable town and the Alcazar de la Puerta  de Cordoba as the safest and most comfortable residence for his family. From that time on it became known as the Alcazar de la Reina.

 The Palace, totally restored in the 1990s in the original Mudejar style, and refurbished in 2007, boasts spacious and elegant lounge areas and patios, a outdoor solarium with salt-water swimming pool, and a total of four different options for wining and dining: The Tabanco Restaurant, the Terrace Bar, the Tabanco Tapas Bar and the official Guinness Irish Pub.

Other services available in the hotel, which may be of your interest but  not included in the programme:

  • Room Service
  • Private Parking. There is a small basement car park which has to be reserved and a fee charged. However it is awkward to manoeuver and there is normally ample parking space  in the street in front of the hotel, in full view of the lobby and an outdoor parking enclosure a few meters away from the front entrance.
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service
  • Sauna, massage and beauty treatments (upon request and subject to availability)
  • Business centre: fax and photocopy service.
  • Wifi internet in all the public areas
  • International magazines and newspapers
  • Swimming pool towels
  • Florist  (upon request and subject to availability)
  • Outside of the normal Epona transfer times, shuttle service to/from airport and train station

The rooms are ample, airy, comfortable and very tastefully furnished and feature:

  • Two large (1m wide) single beds. For double occupancy beds are placed together, for twin, they have a space between.
  • Full en-suite bathroom (tub and shower)
  • Air-conditioning and central heating
  • Satellite T.V.
  • Safe
  • Minibar (consumption not included in the price)
  • Hair-dryer

Room Occupancy
The single supplement fee applies if we are unable to find another rider to share.

Meals:

All breakfast are included in the price of your programme, for the Rafael Soto clinic, Monday to Sunday and for all other programmes, Monday to Saturday.

Also included is the welcome tapas supper on Sunday evening.

Lunches will be served at Epona, and will consist of freshly prepared home cooked, combining mainly traditional Spanish dishes, which give you a taste of the renowned Mediterranean diet, with some International dishes and a selection of delicious home-made desserts.  In addition, a variety of fresh salad ingredients and fruit is always available.

We can cater to most diets including vegetarian  and gluten and lactose-free, etc..

The evening meals from Monday to Friday are not included in the price.

On Monday to Thursday you will find innumerable dining option in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, from elegant restaurant to tapas bars with tables in the street.

In the hotel alone there are five possibilities, including room service, if you just feel like a quiet night resting. About two blocks walk away from the hotel, you can find the city's hub of socializing, where, families meet in the evening for coffee, tapas or an ice cream. This is the Plaza San Fernando, popularly known as the Plaza de Arriba (the Upper Square) or la Plaza Redonda (the Round Square).

Equestrian:

Olympic size dressage arena 60 x 20 m
A 42 x 22 mts covered floodlit school with sprinklers
One additional floodlit dressage arena 30 x 15 mts. 
One multipurpose large arena: 50 x 50 mts.
A lungeing ring (20 mts. diameter).
There is unlimited "hacking" in beautiful countryside. You can ride
days and weeks, without stepping on a single inch of pavement and
without finding a single fence or gate.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
We are an Approved British Horse Society, Training and Examination Centre since 1985. We are used to training people of all abilities, from novice to advanced High School work. We are, therefore, happy to split riders into various groups and adapt our program as necessary to suit both experienced and less experienced riders.

Horses
Our horses are the most important thing for us. They are the ones who truly make this Equestrian Vacation something unique. There are over 60 horses of different breeds, shapes, sizes, levels of training and temperament. With this large number we can match each guest with the ideal horse. There is also the option to change horses if the horse and rider are not getting along.
Most of our horses are Andalusians or Andalusian cross breeds but we have lots of others breeds such as Warmbloods (Hannoverian, Holsteiner and Oldenburg), Anglo-Arabs, Thoroughbreds, different breeds of ponies and others.
But most importantly we would like to emphasize the good nature and willingness of all our horses. We have no kickers or biters and besides their training and work, we think they are all special in their own way; they are all individuals and so they are treated as such. Our horses are a part of our family.

Staff
Every instructor is fully qualified by the British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Schools and the Spanish Equestrian Federation. They all speak Spanish and English.
All ride leaders and assistant ride leaders hold diplomas from British Equestrian Tourism and the Federation of International Equestrian Tourism (FITE). You will only be taught or led by bilingual staff (some multilingual). All ride leaders carry mobile phones to summon rapid help in the unlikely event that this is necessary.

Facilities
Olympic size dressage arena (60 x 20 m)
Covered floodlit school with sprinklers (42 x 22 m)
Additional floodlit dressage arena (30 x 15 m)
One multipurpose large arena (50 x 50 m)
A lunging ring (20 m. Diameter)
There is unlimited "hacking" in beautiful countryside. You can ride days and weeks, without stepping on a single inch of pavement and without finding a single fence or gate.

 

Hard Hat
It is obligatory by law in Spain to wear a riding helmet for all riding activities. We do have a few helmets out, but it is preferable for each person to have his/her own, as a good fit is essential.

Non-Riders
Non-Riders are welcome to join their riding companions. They might even have the chance, to take one or several lesson for complete beginners. Alternatively, they can enjoy relaxing by the gardens or go for a swim in the pool. There are many non-riding activities available like sightseeing, golf, Spanish language lessons, flamenco dancing or singing, massage etc. Some of these activities need to be booked in advance.

Itinerary

This is a seven night, six day riding program - commencing Sunday after 4.00 p.m., ending Sunday before 11.00 a.m.

The training consists of:
2 Lungeing sessions to improve the classical seat
6 group lessons with our Chief Instructor, Catalina Garcia Dow BHSII, ABRSTC
These lessons will determine the level and most suitable mount for maximum benefit during the 4 x 45 minute private sessions with Rafael Soto.

Participants will also have a chance to sit in and observe the lessons of the other guests.


OTHER PROGRAM ACTIVITIES:
Visit to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art at Jerez de la Frontera.
Flamenco Show and dinner in Seville.
Last night cocktail/conference with Rafael and staff, where progress will be discussed and all participants will be presented with a Diploma and a signed portrait photograph with Rafael.


Rates and Dates for Epona Soto Clinic

Rates include:

Seven nights accommodations, breakfast and lunch, the riding clinic including 2 days with Rafael Soto,
Non-rider includes accommodations and all meals

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day trip, AP€2450$2940
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 Sevilla train station at 4:30pm on Day 1, return included 0 $0
2019 Transfer from Sevilla Airport on Day 1 via taxi, per car, each way
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
45 $55
2019 Ticket to Royal Andalusian School (Jerez), pp
- to be paid locally
27 $35
2019 Ticket to Flamenco Show, pp
- to be paid locally
35 $45
2019 Flamenco dancing lessons (course of 3 lessons)
- to be paid locally
150 $180
2019 Single supplement 270 $325
2019 Non-rider, AP, dbl, pp 880 $1,055
2019 Children 12 and under: 20% discount 0 $0
2019 Children under 3 -- FREE 0 $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 11/03 - 11/10 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /5 Sold Out
A 2019 11/17 - 11/24 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /5 Sold Out
A 2019 12/08 - 12/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /5 Reserve

Dates Note: Events:
Carnaval March 2-5, 2019
Semana Santa (Holy Week) Apr 14-20, 2019
Feria de Abril (Seville Fair) May 5-12, 2019
Feria Del Caballo (Jerez Horse Fair) May 4-12, 2019

Rates do not include:

Dinner (€10 +), Ticket to Jerez Riding School - Euro 25
Flamenco Show in Seville on Thursday night
Riding Helmet Required!!

Other Info
Meeting: Carmona
Airport: Seville
Transfer: Included from Santa Justa train station.

Climate:
                                                Seville area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

61

64

69

72

79

88

96

96

91

79

68

62

Average Low Temperature (°F)

43

45

48

51

55

62

66

66

64

57

50

46

Average High Temperature (°C)

16

18

21

22

26

31

35

35

33

26

20

17

Average Low Temperature (°C)

6

7

9

10

13

16

19

19

18

14

10

8

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

6

5

5

5

3

1

0

0

2

5

5

6

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Due to its inland location in southern-central Spain, the riding center experiences mild winters and hot summers.

Spring (May to June)
This is one of the best times to visit as the skies are clear and temperatures are getting warmer.

Summer (June to September)
June to September are the hottest months of the year but the ocean breeze makes the heat bearable.

Autumn (October to November)
This is another great time to visit as the heat starts to calm down and the conditions are perfect for riding.

Winter (December to April)
Even during the winter months it never gets too cold here. However, keep in mind that the sunrays can be quite strong and riding out, it is easy to get burnt without noticing. You should look for a total sun block, or at least factor 30+. You will still get tanned; it's just safer and recommended by dermatologists in this part of the world.


Special note - insects
It doesn't matter what time of the year you choose (though obviously summer is the worst season), you will probably experience more insects, especially flies, than you are accustomed to at home. The horses are used to them, but they can be bothersome when riding, so we recommend you bring along some insect repellent for yourself.

What To Bring:
The dress at the riding center is very casual, even for the visits, jeans and T-shirts or a summery dress, are fine. We do have a laundry facility you can use here, too, so you don't even have to pack too many riding clothes.
In Spring, Autumn and especially in the summer months, it can get very hot, so to avoid feeling sweaty and sticky all the time, try to stick to natural fabrics, especially cotton. There are   
many fantastic new products on the market, including full cotton seamless underwear, which is a blessing for the trail rides. Don't forget about fine cotton socks, too.

Trousers:
Of course, nothing beats the comfort and protection that proper cotton breeches or jodhpurs afford for riding, but if you don't intend to ride much after your holiday, you can get by with cotton tracksuit bottoms or leggings.

Tops:
Should be fairly fitting, and it is better to have at least half sleeves for protection to the shoulders against sunburn or low hanging branches on the trail rides. Even in the summer, they are just as cool and for the ladies, are much more "supportive" and comfortable so you can concentrate on learning in your classes. If you come in winter, it's good to bring tops you can wear in layers, T-shirts, sweatshirts and vests. Sometimes it is quite cold and suddenly it gets hot, so it's good to be able to add or subtract quickly.

Helmet:

This is obligatory by law in Spain, though not always put into practice, but here in Epona safety of our guests is our first priority, so it is mandatory for all riding. Light colours reflect the sun and keep your head cooler and cooling vents are a huge plus when riding in hot conditions. Also, some helmets come with a detachable net lining, which can be rinsed out everyday?. Fantastic! We do have a few helmets to lend, but it is much preferable for each person to have his/her own, as a good fit is essential If you are buying a new helmet, do try various different trademarks and models as they come in different shapes and you should find the one which fits the shape of your head.

Footwear:
Short jodhpur or paddock boots are the best option as they are much cooler and easier to transport, but if you are serious about your riding, we recommend that you use half-chaps along with them If you do not have riding boots and do not want to go to the expense of buying some, you must bring string shoes or boots with a small, 1cm heel and no buckles. Please note, sneakers, canvas shoes or sandals are NOT acceptable, even for beginners.

Gloves:
We recommend you wear gloves at least for the classes. We will be teaching you to ride a horse correctly on the bit which requires a good contact, and if you are not accustomed to this, plus the warmer conditions, blisters can develop on the first day, which will definitely spoil you enjoyment of the riding for the rest of the week

This list is only a guideline for you

 

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

 

RIDING GEAR
Normal riding gear, no rubber boots, please
Light pants without any strong seams
Ankle-high solid shoes with flat heels
Long sleeved cotton shirts (sun protection)
Riding helmet (mandatory)
Light gloves, if wanted
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Lightweight jacket or vest
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjama
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and enough extra films and batteries
Address book and pen (for pictures postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm