Epona Soto Clinic

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

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. 


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

Accommodation is included at the Alcazar de la Reina.
This is a beautiful hotel located in the heart of the historic center 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. It offers breathtaking views over the fertile valley, the Vega de Carmona, all the way to the great river Guadalquivir, 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 Andalucía. 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 dining: The Tabanco Restaurant, the Terrace Bar, the Tabanco Tapas Bar and the official Guinness Irish Pub.
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), a full en-suite bathroom (tub and shower) with hair-dryer, air-conditioning and central heating, Satellite T.V., a safe and a minibar (consumption not included in the price).
Wi-Fi internet is available in all the public areas.

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

  • 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
  • Treatments (upon request and subject to availability)
  • Business centre: fax and photocopy service.
  • International magazines and newspapers
  • Swimming pool towels
  • Florist  (upon request and subject to availability)
  • Outside of the normal transfer times, shuttle service to/from airport and train station
Room Occupancy
The single supplement fee applies if we are unable to find another rider to share.

All breakfast (at the hotel) and lunch (at the Hacienda) are included. Also included is the welcome tapas supper on Sunday evening. The other evening meals are not included in the price.

Lunches will be served at the Hacienda, 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. 

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).

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most diets including vegetarian and gluten and lactose-free, etc. with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


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.

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.

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.

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.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

The program starts on Sunday afternoon (arrival after 4 pm) and ends the following Sunday at 11 am.

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 private sessions with Rafael Soto.
- 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.

Non-Riding Activities:
Visit to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art at Jerez de la Frontera (to be paid extra).
Flamenco Show and dinner in Seville (to be paid extra).
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:

Accommodations, All breakfasts and lunches, 6 riding days, Transfers from/to Santa Justa train station at set times.
Non-riders: Accommodations with breakfasrs and lunches
Some helmets can be borrowed

Packages and Options

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2021 Transfer from Sevilla train station at 4:30pm on Day 1, return included 0 $0
2021 Transfer from Sevilla Airport on Day 1 via taxi, per car, each way (usually around 45 euros)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
45 $55
2021 Ticket to Royal Andalusian School (Jerez), pp
- to be paid locally
30 $40
2021 Ticket to Flamenco Show, pp
- to be paid locally
35 $45
2021 Flamenco dancing lessons (course of 3 lessons)
- to be paid locally
150 $180
2021 Single supplement 270 $325
2021 Non-rider, AP, dbl, pp 880 $1,050
2021 Children 12 and under: 20% discount 0 $0
2021 Children under 3 -- FREE 0 $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 12/05 - 12/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /5 Expired

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:

Gratuities, Transfers from/to Sevilla Airport, Dinners (€10+), Ticket to Jerez riding School, Flamenco Show & Flamenco Lessons


Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Epona Rafael Soto Clinic (IT-SPSR30C):
If your booking is affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it is possible to postpone your trip to a later date at no extra fee (depending on availability).

We are following  all the current protocols of hygiene and disinfection on the farm and are very happy to advise that the town of Carmona and the hotel where our guests stay have been among the firsts to receive the official stamp of "Safe Tourist Destination".
Here, at the farm, we have plenty of space to keep the mandatory 2 metres distance between clients and/or staff and, though masks are mandatory when outside, when riding here on the farm, we allow guests to remove them, if they prefer.  Guests will have to bring their own masks when they arrive in Carmona, and when they transfer to us from the hotel, but we do have a supply in case someone forgets or loses theirs. We also have a constant supply of hand disinfectant available.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

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

                                                Seville area














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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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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
Visa (check with your consulate)


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


Lightweight jacket or vest
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Underwear and socks
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Sewing kit
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