Category Archives: cowboys

Maremmani Horses

Last year we made a photo excursion down to the south of Tuscany, to photograph some very special horses. The Maremmani. The group of riders we photographed were passionate Tuscan riders, who kept alive the Butteri style of riding, and the love of the hardy and strong minded Tuscan cowhorse, the Maremmano (and one adorable rare Tolfetano mare).

Below are some of the photos. It was an amazing day, with really wonderful people, and the horses were something out of this world.

If you ever have the chance to ride one of these horses (there are many trekking centers in the south of Tuscany) and try the fantastic traditional tack, you should jump at the chance.

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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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Our Twelve Farmsteads: Pietrafitta

Pietrafitta is one of the more isolated farmhouses, located very close to the litle village of Sughera, and overlooking the horses 20 acre turnout field, our lake, and the medieval village of Tonda. The stone building has been divided into 6 superior style apartments and is furnished in a contemporary-style with natural, warm Tuscan tones. This is the perfect villa for families or groups looking for private outdoor space and views, or even for those looking for a picturesque wedding cerimony. This is always one of the first farmhouses to book up, so we reccommmend getting in quick if you would like to stay in this very beautiful villa.

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Reining at the WEG Normandy 2014

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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 equitourism@libero.it

Quarter Horse. Trail Extraordinaire

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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).

 

Changable Seasons of Tuscany

Yesterday 5 new clients arrived for a riding holiday here at Castellare. One arrived around 7 hours late due to her flight being diverted to Bologna, and the four who did manage to land spent the day thinking that maybe they had arrived at the wrong destination; wasnt Tuscany meant to be warm and scenic? Were they in Italy, or the moors of Scotland?

Cyclone Penelope hit the Tuscan coast early Saturday morning. The storm that hit Montaione around 4am was one of the most intense I personally have ever witnessed in Italy. Lightning lit up the sky for over an hour, and the noise from the thunder was deafening. The storm was also accompanied by a fierce wind that tossed about rubbish bins, blew down trees, and banged about the wooden window shutters. After an intense hour of storms it settled down to heavy rain, and that rain carried on for most of yesterday.

The forecast looked grim for the early part of the week, but as I write this post the sun is shining, and the sky outside is a vibrant blue. The sad faces of resident tourists last night (who had just arrived from Germany, North Italy and the Uk) have now been replaced by jovial happy expressions. Tuscany is never predictable, and always changeable. If this weather carried on, we will have some faboulous riding this week!

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