Category Archives: reining school

2016 season comes to an end.

Some great pics of one of our October weeks riding last month.

This year we have had some truly international clients. American, Brazillian, English, Norwegian, Finnish and German just to mention a few.

The horses are now on their 5 month winter rest in preperation for next season.

 

 

 

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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Restaurant and nightlife at Castellare di Tonda

 

The restaurant and outdoor terrace at Castellare di Tonda is the hub of the estate during the summer. It is here that breakfast is served every morning, and where dinner is served every night.

Once a week there is live music or a dj in the summer season, and our guests can sit outside and enjoy the balmy weather and beautiful view of the medieval church and surrounding Tuscan countryside.

The restaurant also organizes cooking classes in the kitchen once a week, where guests can learn some of the culinary secrets of our local chefs.

This is the place to meet for a cold beer or wine after a days riding, and where we all sit down for dinner through the evening.

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Medieval Tuscany Riding Holiday dates 2014

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. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

Saturday

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.
Sunday
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.
Monday
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.
Tuesday
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.
Wednesday
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.
Thursday
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.

Friday
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.
Saturday
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.

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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

Italian Monasteries to English Horse Trials

 

Last week we had a busy few days trying to cheat the weather, and manage to squeeze all full days of riding in before Thursdays predicted rain storms. We did it too, and managed to ride to San Vivaldo Monastery, Cedri, and the historic farm of Barbialla before the rain hit. Below is the picture of the Barbialla cemetary, a sad but very interesting spot hidden in the quiet Hills between Corazzano and Sughera.

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The British clients we had last week, were fine taking a half day in the rain on Thursday morning – and though the ground was sodden, the weather cleared up as we rode. We stopped off at the artists Riccardo Neggi’s house, and enjoyed a couple of nice canters afterwards on the road home. One of which was so bouncy on the little Arab, that I lost my car Keys and had to drive back afterward in the work car to find them. Lucky for me one of the riders spotted them enroute, thus I managed to avoid a long walk back down the muddy trails in search of the elusive item.

We had Paulo Arrantes here this week for a few days. He is our Brazillian agent, and also is a guide for two trails in his homeland.

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He was a really nice, easy going guy – and a good rider, so well suited to his four year old Paint horse Mascherone pictured below with him.

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On Friday (the clients day off) I dropped them up at the station to train into Florence for a day of culture and shopping, and I furiously tried to get everything ready for my 6pm flight to London. I managed to get to the UK without too many hitches, and trained out to a friends house for the night. On Saturday we bused down to Bristol to meet other friends, and headed to the Badminton Horse Trials; where I helped out on the In the Saddle stand over both Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

I managed to sneak out over lunch to watch some of the cross country, and met up with loads of clients, friends and possible new clients at the stand. It was a great event, and if you are considering attending in the future, I whole-heartedly reccommend it. Well organized, great shopping, food options, and even live music in the evenings.

 

Turnout Time

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Its that time of the year again, and to make the most of a quiet week of riding we turned out the majority of the horses into the big turnout field at the top of the property. This year the donkeys are out with the horses too. I turned out my two geldings with everyone else, and one in particular was not too fussed on the donkeys initially. I thought it was really sweet however, that the geriartric thirteen hand pony that has lived with them the past two years at the stables threw himself between donkey victim and big mean 16hh horse and fiercly defended his girls. Everytime my horse came near them he would fly at him, and eventually his authority was firmly established.

It is a beautiful sight to see these horses together. All colors, shapes and sizes – and they really deserve the grass and sunshine after this long, hard and rainy winter which has delayed their turnout period considerably.