This picturesque riding center provides trail riding in the morning, and afternoon dressage instruction, making for a memorable dressage holiday in Spain.
The entire Garcia family is involved in the day to day activities at the center. Jane and Fernando as well as their daughters Vivi and Caty are BHS and Spanish Federation certified instructors, who specialize in dressage instruction and training. Vivi is the head instructor at Epona and is fluent in English and Spanish. She is a Graduate of the prestigious Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, having completed the four year course which honors her with the title of “Jinete” (rider). Two of those years she was a protégé of the famous Olympic medalist Rafael Soto, with whom she still rides.
Many of Epona’s Andalusians are trained to a high level for the more experienced rider but the center caters also to beginners and nervous riders. The program offers enjoyable morning trail rides in the surrounding rural area. It also provides opportunities to appreciate the fascinating culture of the area which includes a visit to the Royal Spanish Riding school in Jerez and a Flamenco show in Seville. This is a great destination for non-riding companions; the medieval town of Carmona and the city of Seville were both founded in Roman times and occupied under Moorish rule.
Guests at the center will stay in the charming four-star Hotel Alcazar de la Reina, in Carmona. The hotel is located in the heart of the old town, surrounded by churches, convents and points of interest.
The center currently owns 40 well schooled Andalusian (Raza Pura Espanola) and Andalusian crosses. The tack is English. Most horses are ridden in snaffle and double bridles. They are very amenable and your instructor will always indicate how each horse should be ridden.
Non-riding partners can have a great time at Epona and at the hotel in Carmona, snoozing by the pool, going for walks and bicycle rides, taking Spanish lessons or sampling the local wines. While your partner is riding there is plenty of time to explore Carmona or nearby Seville. Carmona is the oldest continuously inhabited village in Europe and Seville has got to be one of Europe's most beautiful and enjoyable cities. You'll soon get the hang of cruising the tapas bars in the warm evening air, just like the locals.
As well as sightseeing in Carmona and Seville, walks in the local countryside or a swim in the Epona pool (from April to October), and a host of other activities can be arranged to keep non-riding guests entertained.
Flamenco Dance Lessons:
If you are a fan of true Flamenco dance, your visit to Epona is also a great chance to book one-to-one coaching with Eli Jara one of the finest solo Flamenco dancers in Seville. If you book in advance Eli is happy to come out to Epona to give private lessons for €90 an hour, or €60 an hour for groups of up to three.
Classical Flamenco Guitar Lessons:
If you are already a guitarist and interested in classical Spanish guitar then you will love the opportunity for a private lesson with virtuoso Juan Manuel Flores. If available, he is happy to bring two guitars to Epona to give you private instruction. Fee €90 an hour.
Land Rover Tours of the Doñana Natural Park:
Nonriders with a hired car have the chance to follow the riders to Matalascañas for the beach ride, and take a tour of the park themselves in a 4 x 4 Land Rover. The price of the 2 hour tour is 30 euro per person for a minimum of 2 people. If you do not have a rental car, a local driver can be hired to bring you to the coast for 90 euro (with up to 4 people in the car).
With two or three golf courses within easy reach by car, there's plenty to keep any non-riding golfing spouse amused. With advance notice, bookings and even a local driver can be hired to drop you off each day.
Sunday: Afternoon transfer from the Sevilla train station at 4.30PM. Settle into your accommodations, a hotel in nearby downtown Carmona, enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool or an afternoon siesta. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant “El Tabanco” with one of your hosts. Carmona is the oldest continuously inhabited village in Europe with narrow streets and fortified walls that hold the spirit of the Iberians, Phoenicians, Romans, Moors and other ancient peoples.
Monday: After a leisurely breakfast mount up for the Old Hacienda Ride, a relaxed ride around the immediate countryside, through olive groves and eucalyptus trees, fields of sunflowers, wheat, cotton, and melons in late summer. Ride past impressive 16th and 17th century Haciendas and Cortijos, which were standing when Cervantes rode these same trails collecting olive oil taxes. Return to Epona for lunch and enjoy the first experience of typical Andalusian home cooking, washed down with an excellent local house wine. Enjoy your first dressage lessson after lunch and a quick siesta, after which you will be taken back to your hotel in Carmona. Late afternoon can be spent by the pool at the hotel, or if you are feeling in need of culture explore the old streets, archaeological sites or the second largest Roman Necropolis in the world.
Tuesday: Start out with an early breakfast before leaving at 8.30AM for Jerez de la Frontera, in the pr0vince of Cadiz, one hour and a half by car. Jerez is internationally renowned for its production of sherry and brandy. However, the main attraction of the day will be the visit to the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestra, a classical equestrian show ‘How the Andalusian Horses Dance’. Watch the magnificent Andalusian stallions at their best, in their beautiful 18th century riding hall, performing piaffe, passage and the ‘airs above the ground’ such as courbette and capriole. (Ticket price 27 Euro) Return for a late lunch at Epona, followed by a lesson in the afternoon.
Wednesday: After breakfast saddle up and set off for the Roman Bridge ride through fields of sunflowers, wheat and cotton, and ancient olive groves. In this countryside there are few fences. A landscape rich with a patchwork of different crops, still rotated year by year as they have always been, with wide headlands of uncultivated land separating one field from another and providing a natural bridleway across country. Enjoy the variety of wild flowers, butterflies and bird life. Before you know it you’re upon the river, full and flowing in spring, cool and shallow in summer and fall, a natural haven for bird life with abundant vegetation all year. Splash through the shallows, past water voles, terns and grebes, before emerging at a Roman bridge in a shady eucalyptus grove. After a break and a few photographs, ride back to Epona for a late lunch. Afternoon lesson to continue improving your riding skills.
Thursday: Set off for the seaside village of Matalacañas, stopping for breakfast enroute. Beautiful Spanish horses, most in full Spanish tack, will be waiting to take you on the Beach Ride. The ride follows an unforgettable route through the Doñana Natural Park, one of Europe’s last true wilderness regions and one of the largest wildlife reserves in Spain. Ride over golden dunes, through shrubland dotted with rock rose, bramble and heather. If you are lucky you could spot one of the many protected species which inhabit the area such as fallow deer, otter, boar, fox, lynx, imperial eagles, kites, vultures, storks, flamingos or herons. Enjoy a canter through the surf before returning back to Epona for lunch and a siesta by the pool.
Afternoon dressage lesson to continue improving your riding skills.
Friday: Mount up after breakfast for the last trail ride of the week, through olive and orange groves, past farmers working the land. In a region where there are no bridle paths the horses can wander anywhere as long as you respect the crops. In all of the years no farmer has never objected to Epona crossing their land, on the contrary, they are always pleased to see the horses and riders. In Andalucia everyone understands and loves the horse. Return to Epona for lunch.
In the afternoon, after a well deserved siesta, change into your city clothes ready to visit Seville, including a classical Flamenco Show (ticket price extra – about 35 Euro). The show includes over twenty dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and wonderful flamenco guitar. After a short walk through the old part of the city, arrive at an excellent restaurant providing both Spanish and international cuisine, for the last dinner of the holiday and some superb Spanish wine (dinner not included in price). Return to Carmona.
Saturday: After breakfast take advantage of the transfer back to the airport or train station starting at 8AM and through 11AM. (Check out of the hotel no later than 12PM)
This itinerary is flexible. Changes may occur at the hosts' discretion.
Trip Dates & Pricing
Sunday to Saturday, year-round except from mid-December through mid-January when they are closed for the holidays. During the month of August Epona is closed from 15-29 August 2020.
Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change.
Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.
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Epona November 2018: Super trip! Fernando and team were terrific, accommodations were great, fun riding (dressage lessons and trail rides) and extra activities, excellent food. THANKS
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