Late Summer Pleasures

Summer has officially finished, but as I write this post in mid October we are all in tshirts in the office.

The weather is still divine here in Tuscany, and if it were not for the slowly changing hues of the surrounding landscape, one might be mistaken for thinking we were still in August.

Last months rides all went very well, and it was lovely to meet all of our international clients and learn about their lives during long days in the saddle.

Right now the team are busy opening up our turnout field to offer more space for the horses over the winter. We are closing up for winter at the end of the month, and many of the horses have already been turned out for their winter rest.

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Christiane Slawik Workshop Autumn 2014

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Last month we had our Autumn Christiane Slawik photo/riding workshop. It was again a really fun week, with a great mix of people from all over the world. The uniting factors being a love of horses and photography.  The weather started out fabulously, but we did have one terror storm midweek, causing us to change the liberty shoot in our top arena to a ‘wild west in Tuscany’ session out in the 25 hectare turnout field, using our semi wild retired horses and breeding stock.

Again we visited the Murgese farm in La Spezia to photograph these magnificent black horses in liberty. It was a highlight of the course, and the horses seemed to remember the drill from last year, and put on a fabulous show. A special feature of this course, is the excursion up to photograph Murgese horses (the only Italian baroque breed, and very rare in northern Italy.. even rarer outside of Italy). Our friends at Gottero ranch have an amazing selection of some of the best Murgese horses in the country, and an amazing location where we can photograph them.

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Marco and Hidlago made a great team in the riding/sunset shoot.

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The morning view from the stables after the storm the night before.

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On our lake shoot we expected a day of rain, instead the weather suprised us all. It was spectacular, sunny and warm – and our bbq in front of the stables was a great success. Here we all are post photo shoot enjoying the Castellare wine while Alessio and Jawad prepare the bbq.

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Liberty shots in the fondo chiuso with Franco and Marco. Our horses had a great time chasing around their buddies in the name of photography.

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Shakir showing off in the dust bowl shoot.

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Sunset shots above the vineyards with Antonio and Hidalgo.

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In the end, great people, great riding, and a whole lot of lovely photos at the end to remember it by.

If your keen to join us next year, we will be holding the course the same week (Septemeber 2015).

Get in touch if you are interested in joing us!

Christiane Slawik Workshop June 2014

Apologies for the long break in posts. I finally have a moment to put up some of the great photographs taken during the June Christiane Slawik workshop.

The whole week was a real experience. Highlights were for me, the visit down to the Val d’Chiana to photograph Maremmani horses, and the lake liberty shoot (with all the participants piled into the back of Francos pickup).

We have the next course in one month (6 September) and we still have three spots left. If you are interested, get in touch and we will book you in!

Below some comments from the last participants:

To say it the italian way: Bravo! Fantastico! Wonderful shootings, unforgetable trails and a wonderful team! Now I know what’s dolce vita! Grazie!! K.H.

i’ve had a wonderful week, with beautiful horses and an amazing scenery. The shoots were informative and Christiane takes time to explain the things you don’t understand. Thank you! R.S

We traveled from New Zealand to experience this workshop.  It was an amazing week filled with beautiful horses, lovely people and the amazing Christiane.  She was full of talent, energy and enthusiasm which inspired us all.   Many thanks, we hope to see Christiane in New Zealand soon!! ES

Diese Reise war eine sehr gute Entscheidung. Die richtige Mischung aus lehrreichem Workshop, Entpannung und vor allem extrem viel Spaß. Christiane Slawik muss man einfach in Aktion erleben. Die Leidenschaft die sie für die Pferde und ihre Arbeit hat überträgt sich sofort auf die Kursteilnehmer. Die Ausritte mit Jessica und die Reining Stunde bei Franco waren einfach super.
Die wunderschöne Landschaft der Toscana und das gute Essen runden das Bild ab.
Vielen Dank dass ich dabei sein konnte! C.B.

Die Tage mit Christiane Slawik und den anderen Workshopteilnehmern waren spannend und sehr lehrreich.  Eine tolle Erfahrung – selten hat man Gelegenheit so viele nette Menschen kennenzulernen und so beeindruckend schöne Pferde zu fotografieren. DANKE!  M.F

Um es auf Italienisch zu sagen: „Bravo!!! Fantastico!!!  Einzigartige Fotoshootings, unvergessliche Ausritte durch die toskanischen Weinberge und ein wundervolles Team. So funktioniert also das „dolce vita“! Grazie!! K.H.

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Spring happenings at Castellare di Tonda

We have been busy busy at the stables this past couple of months, with some lovely riding groups and interesting trail adventures. We had a new arrival (pic below) who is just as gorgeous as her daddy the sadly deceased Gemini Pine who we had to put to sleep last year. This little filly’s mum is Snapper, the fabulous reining school horse so many of our clients have enjoyed riding. With a mum as nice as Snapper, and a famous father (Gemini was one of the best reining horses in the world in his prime) this little filly is set to be a great prospect. Shes super cheeky too, and already loves to do sliding stops in the sand!

Last month I managed to get over to the Badminton horse trials to meet visitors old and new on the In the saddle stand. It was great fun meeting so many interesting people, discussing western riding, and watching some of that fantastic horsemanship at the event. Tonight I will be picking up our favorite equine photographer Christiane Slawik for next weeks photoworkshop.

Here are a few picks taken the past couple of months, and as soon as we have some new picks of the workshop I will load them up too!

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Castellare Views while riding

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Opening week

It seems that our winter closure has gone on forever.

Castellare closed last year in November, and we are finally reopening to the public on Friday.

The whole resort is a hub of excitement, with the team of builders hurrying to finish up the restaurant, apartments, and Spa renovations.

The farrier was here this morning to shoe the horses required this month. We have our first riders arriving on Saturday, and we are busy all month with back to back riding programs.

Last week Alessio and Lhoussain spent days working on the estate trails, fixing the washed out bridges, filling in holes in the trail, and clearing fallen trees.

I took Brownie out on Friday to Castelfalfi, and we also found a few hairy spots down in the Carfolo park. Brownie started the ride much like any young horse that hasnt done much all winter..a little insecure and wanting to play.. but after three hours of hard work, he was back to his usual relaxed and calm self.

This year we have the additions of Scout and Boy (yes, they belonged to a married couple.. hence the names). Both horses were exported from a well known Argentinian stud to Italy a few years ago, and are wonderful, surefooted horses for trail riding.

Unfortunately the last few days have not been great weather wise – though Friday is set to clear, and next week should be lovely and sunny for our guests.

Below is a great little article that came out recently in a new equine mag in the Uk. ‘Nagmag’

 

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Childrens Horse Riding Holiday Italy

One of the similarities between horses and humans is the desire to be part of a group.  For both our children and our horses, this desire to be part of a community supports feelings of safety and connection.

 

 

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Our horses are specially selected for their friendly and social personalities. At Castellare di Tonda children can experience safe and successful interaction with these magical creatures, watched by professional instructors.

Motor skills are developed as children learn to ride, groom and tack up their horses. Our covered tondino and arena offersa safe and secure environment where experienced instructors are always close at hand as new skills are learned. As children learn the skills required to prepare and ride a horse,  their own self-confidence increases which in turn transforms into a willingness to learn skills in other areas of life.

Learning to ride at Castellare is not a scary experience, but rather an interesting and rewarding one.

 

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