Kiss, our handsome buckskin Quarter horse made it into a German equestrian magazine last year.
Kiss, our handsome buckskin Quarter horse made it into a German equestrian magazine last year.
Its been a busy period for our horses on the covers of different magazine. This is the third magazine cover since November that has had a Castellare horse on it.
The horse featured here is our Big Chex to Cash colt, out of our pretty Palomino mare Hollywood Glamour Girl. He is half brother to Wimpys Jac Sun (in a previous post) and is also up for sale!
The rain has been persistant the past four days, inspiring me to use this nice summer evening photograph in todays post instead of one of our wet, muddy horses looking as annoyed about the rain as I feel.
The rain started on Friday, and by around 3pm in our head office at Empoli it was teeming down. Just running the five meters to my car had me completely soaked… and the rain just didnt let off at all. It rained all day, it rained all night, and then all the next day, and the next and the next. The Aurelia (road between Pisa and Versallia) was closed due to flooding. The fields were flooded, the football field at Maddonna del aqua was completely submerged, and yesterday as I drove home from work, a huge lorry was upside down near a flooded bridge. The rain has caused chaos all around, and the horses dont look too impressed either (even though they do all have field shelters).
Today we had a visit down at the stables by a local Parelli trainer, who may come and take some courses this year at CT. She needs the indoor arena due to the crazy weather too.
We had two new arrivals this week. One black and one white. Both geldings come from the north of Italy, by the former owner of Shamal (our Palomino guide horse). The grey gelding is huge. Tall, powerful, and with a big honest head. The black gelding is slightly smaller, more compact and with a big thick neck and shorter head. Both are beautiful looking horses, and hail originally from Argentina.
They will be out this season with clients, and I am excited that we now have a couple more big horses for our slightly heavier or taller riders.
Photos to come (when the rain stops!)
Our Medieval Tuscany vacation is our most popular riding holiday.
This trip includes 5 full days riding leaving one day midweek free to relax. On the non riding day we offer a free transfer to the train station where you can catch a direct train to Siena or Florence for the day. This trip is the ideal mix between an active equine holiday, and a cultural break in Tuscany. On three days you will have Tuscan picnic’s brought out by a backup vehicle, on the other days riding we return to base for a siesta at lunch time, allowing time to enjoy the pool in-between rides.
Below are a few images of last years rides to give you an idea of what sort of trip and riding we offer our guests.
Collection at Pisa or Florence airport in the afternoon for your transfer to the farm. You will be accompanied to your apartment and will have time in the late afternoon to wander down to the stables and perhaps take a swim.
In the evening enjoy an aperitif on the terrace and meet your guide to discuss the riding over dinner.
Our Medieval Tuscany ride takes place in a beautiful region of Italy that is world famous for its white truffles.
Ride between quaint medieval villages and ruined castles where the traditional rural lifestyle of cultivating and harvesting grapes, olives, truffle and mushrooms continues today. Travelling by horseback brings you in close interaction with your surroundings. You are required to take your time, and inhale the wonderful culture that surrounds you as you ride the ancient trails that thread through wooded hills, valleys, rivers and vineyards in this unique historical and natural paradise.
The following is an illustration of the likely itinerary. However this is flexible and routes may vary due to local conditions, but always with your best interests in mind.
You have the opportunity to become familiar with your horse and tack in the arena with a lesson in western riding before riding out into the 800 acre estate for a morning ride.
After lunch take another 2 hour ride in a different direction. The medieval hill towns and valleys around the estate offer a wonderful cross-section of Italy’s charms, and you will be presented with striking views of the rolling hills, olive groves and the farms own Chianti vineyards.
Today you head out for the day through olive groves and over rolling hills to Ghizzano. Passing under the village of Castelfalfi and through an old abandoned cattle farm an old trails takes you past sunflower fields and along long sand trails amongst the beautiful backdrop of a panoramic view of Volterra.
After lunch surrounded by Mediterranean brush filled with strawberry trees, you ride back to Castellare di Tonda along lovely tufo sand trails and passing huge rolling turnout paddocks where the foals can be seen grazing and playing at liberty.
Another full day ride takes you to Blaconevisi, a hilltop village that looks out over a stunning 360 panorama surrounded by rolling Tuscan farmland for a sumptuous picnic lunch.
Behind the village is an old merchant trail that will take you to Barbialla, a truffle plantation and organic Chianina cattle farm. The Chianina is one of the world’s oldest breeds of cattle and historically of immense cultural value to the Tuscans. Return home via the rolling hills lined with Sangiovese vineyards.
Today is left as a free day from riding and you can take the opportunity to visit Florence or Siena.
For those that would prefer simply to relax at the farm, we recommend the Wellness Clinic and Spa treatments as an excellent cure for muscle fatigue after riding.
After breakfast you depart for the morning to Castelfalfi castle. Riding down deep into the canyon you cross the stream and ride up into Castelfalfi, a hilltop borgo and castle that was built by the Long bards.
Learn about the mysterious legends that surround the castle as you ride up to its fortressed walls, passing the old chapel that holds the remains of a medici princess.
This is pure Tuscany; rolling vineyards, golden wheat fields and dense forests rich with colour. It is not unusual to spot wild boar on this ride, and the stunning backdrop did not go unnoticed by the film director Bennini, who filmed his adaption of Pinocchio here a few years ago.
This afternoon you have the choice to exchange your afternoon trail ride for either a Spa session in the hydro spa circuit or for a one hour private Western riding lesson with Franco. An experience that is highly recommended to our riding clients.
Today’s full day ride incorporates some diverse and interesting riding. Forest trails, creek crossings, open fields, abandoned ruins, and finally the highlight of San Vivaldo monastery. Here you tie the horses in a shady area, whilst you enjoy a picnic lunch in this extraordinary religious retreat.
Constructed between 1500 and 1600 on ruins that date back to 1100, San Vivaldo became known as the Jerusalem of Italy. San Vivaldo was created to allow devoted Catholics the possibility to take a sacred pilgrimage without having to travel to Jerusalem (which at the time was controlled by the Turks, and was therefore very dangerous). Still a working Franciscan monastery, there are 18 chapels through the San Vivaldo Park; and each represents a part of the life and passion of Jesus Christ.
You return to the stables via the trail of the wolf, an old forest trail that has been used for hundreds of years by travelers on their way to Volterra. The trail leads you past a Cinta Senese pig farm and interesting swamp sections where the rider feels almost as if he is traveling through the Amazon.
After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Price low season: 1188 € per person. Price Mid Season 1320€ per person.
INCLUDES Seven nights accommodation; half board; picnic lunch on three days; wine with dinner; riding as per program; return shared transfers from Pisa airport at a set time, Florence airport or Castelfiorentino station (at set times); tourist tax; twice weekly apartment cleaning.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT To guarantee a single one bedroom apartment €180 . If you are willing to share, and a sharer is available, there is no single supplement for a single room in shared apartment with shared bathroom. The supplement is payable in advance and refunded when we find you a sharer.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Lunches on the two days when we return to base, and on the free day; Spa treatments; other activities; gratuities.
NEAREST AIRPORT Pisa or Florence
NOT INCLUDED Flights to Pisa or Florence.
The World Equestrian Games is the most prestigious and competitive international event for reining, and it only comes once every four years.
Reining made its appearance on the FEI World Equestrian Games scene in 2002 and became an FEI discipline in 2001 with its big international debut at the FEI World Equestrian Games at Jerez.
Whilst in the past people had difficulties associating the image of Italy with that of cowboys, Reining has soared in popularity among Italian horsemen, and today many of the worlds best riders hail from “il bel paese.”
We will be present at this years WEG in France, and personally I cant wait for the chance to see some of the worlds best reiner’s in action.
If you are interested in learning more about the exciting sport of Reining, we have a special week long training holiday for experienced riders of either English or Western disciplines, looking to understand why this sport is so catchy. Stay in one of our Tuscan apartments, enjoy the pool, the landscape and the fabulous food – and work on your riding with our world class Quarter
Whether you’re interested in improving your skills, horsemanship, horse training, or want to learn specific reining maneuvers, our week long intensive reining course with Franco our international trainer is perfect for you.
During the week you will ride every day both morning and afternoon for one hour with Franco. On the final morning you will have a mini competition, with Franco as the judge to test the skills you have learnt in a competitive setting.
Incorporate the basic concepts of Reining as a training method. You will learn the importance of gaining control over your horses feet, mind and body without resistance. The ultimate aim in a well trained reining horse. The idea behind early lessons is teaching the horse how to connect his mind and feet together to work with us rather than against us.
Work with communication between horse and rider and maneuvers of a higher level; maximizing the horse’s talents and eliminating the resistance.
The course emphasizes basic development of the reining horse with the goal of having your horse go where you want him to go, at the speed you want to go, with the attitude you want him to have.
Interested in finding out more?
Send us an email at email@example.com
The Quarter Horse was developed as an all-around work horse and for racing short distances.
This breed is the most popular in the U.S. and has the largest breed registry in the world. This breed today can be used for pleasure riding, ranch work, racing, and as even dressage and jumping. One of their top uses, however, is trail riding.
Quarter Horses make excellent trail mounts for several reasons.
Their calm, easy going temperaments are legendary.
Our beautiful chocolate stallion Footwork, could be trusted with an elderly rider, or a child.
Quarter horses are often selected as a first horse for novice adults.
These horses are powerfully built, with dense hind quarters that enable them to climb steep inclines with ease, which makes them ideal for the terrain around Castellare di Tonda, which is mountainous and challenging.
These horses have tough hooves and they are resilient enough to withstand the rocky medieval roads and other hard surfaces we come across out on the trail.
Probably the most endearing quality of the Quarter Horse is its sweet disposition, and in fact in our entire stable of over 50 horses, we don’t have any bad natured horses. A testimony to the owners choice in breeds (Quarter, Paint, Criollo and Fjords).
We wish everyone a happy new year. 2014 is the year of the horse according to Chinese astrology, so we hope that this brings fortune to all of our many horses at Castellare di Tonda.
The weather today is sunny and clear, and we have almost all of our trail horses turned out for the winter, enjoying the sun and well deserved rest period.
Many of the horses are unrecognizable. Shakir the little arab is like a puffy white snowman, as are the Fjords and Iza our Haflinger. Franco still has the Reining prospects in full work, and these horses (up for sale) look fabulous.
The estate is under renovation this winter, and will reopen at the end of March. The horses will start going back into work at the end of this month, so that they are ready for the end of March and April’s riders.
As of yet we have had a fairly mild winter (compared to 2012/2013). Hopefully this keeps up, and the trails will not need to be restored like the start of this year (when flooding caused havoc all over the area).
Below is a photo of the geldings last week. Red, Shakir, Dali and Navarro (all waiting for snacks).