Fernando, Jane, Caty, Vivi, our staff, and all the horses
Epona Equestrian Center
November and December Soto clinics
December clinic group
This December, Epona held it's 27th Clinic with Olympic silver medallist and chief professor at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez, Rafael Soto. In addition to the wealth of experience he has gained from riding in three Olympic Games and his precise technical knowledge, Rafael is a natural teacher and is able to define and explain the concepts he wishes to teach in excellent detail. He sets himself apart by being simultaneously uplifting and encouraging, and yet pushing each rider to achieve their best. Without fail, every rider finished their lesson with Rafael with a huge smile on their face and 'I loved it!' was the most-often repeated sentence of the week.
Over the November and December clinics, riders from Germany, South Africa, the United States, Norway, Australia and Holland attended. The clinics are not just for advanced riders; the aim of these clinics is to improve and learn, and the environment is unfailingly upbeat, encouraging and non-competitive. The clinics offer an amazing learning opportunity for all ranges of riding experience, from novices to professional riders - with unanimous agreement that it's an experience of a lifetime!
Jappeloup - the movie
Statue of Jappeloup at the Olympic Museum, Lausanne
In 1988 a little horse 1.58m high called Jappeloup de Luze jumped his way into history by winning a gold medal for France at the Seoul Olympic Games. He was famous for his feistiness and for tossing his rider, Pierre Durand, off at the previous Olympics in Los Angeles; not something any proud Frenchman would be too happy about!
Jappeloup made it up to his rider at the next Olympics by winning the individual gold; his rider repaid the favor by tying the medal around Jappeloup's chest for the victory lap. Jappeloup is to this day considered one of the greatest show-jumpers; because of his small height, and also because of his unconventional breeding (Selle Francaise and Thoroughbred) and conformation.
Seville played host to the Olympic scenes in the movie, Jappeloup, which has just been filmed. Instead of using stunt riders, who are unable to jump true Olympic-sized fences, some of the world's top showjumping riders were flown in to recreate the competition scenes. Look out for the movie in 2012!
Dr. A.Spengler riding Mimoso
"Dear Jane, Jane, Caty, Fernando, Vivy,
Our time with you and the horses was a wonderful mix of relaxing and activation and learning.
No weight-problems despite the good food!"
Thank you Dr Andreas Spengler! We are looking forward to seeing you in February this year, for visit number three.
My time at Epona
My name is Jane, and I have been at Epona for the past 6 months (the name confuses many people - I'm not Fernando's wife, she's been here longer than that!!) helping Vivi and Caty with the horses, and doing some marketing including developing these newsletters. I came to Epona in 2010 as a client in the High School and Classical Dressage programme and could not wait to return; as many of you also feel, Epona offers, to horse-lovers from all over the world, something very special.
I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Fernando, Jane, Caty, Vivi, Fali and all the dogs and the wonderful horses here for making Epona feel like home, and for showing me a little slice of heaven. It was an honor to work here and to be able to ride and help school the very talented young horses. An extra special thank-you to Caty, who tirelessly and patiently taught me everyday and who improved my riding tremendously; I know there's a long way to go but I have improved more than I dared hope in this time! Her instruction, combined with working with, and watching Vivi ride and train the horses, was inspirational.
Riding Habanero with Rafael Soto
What better way to round out my time at Epona than with some lessons from Rafael Soto... I partook in the final day of the December Soto Clinic, where the hours of training beforehand paid off. While a lesson with an Olympian will always be the highlight, the time Caty takes beforehand coaching and schooling riders (on the horses Vivi has trained so well) really is what makes the end result such a success. They are a very talented twosome and together with Jane and Fernando, make Epona unique and I believe, the best dressage holiday property in the world.
Thanks also to the guests who stayed while I was here; it was a pleasure to meet so many interesting people from all corners of the globe and the best thing is, we all love horses! I look forward to keeping in touch with many of you and hope to see you when I'm back at Epona sometime - I can't wait!
Rafael Soto clinic dates for 2012:
12-19 February 18-25 March 11-17 November 9-14 December
Solomillo de cerdo con salsa de castañas
(Pork tenderloin with chestnut sauce)
This is one of Jane's most delicious meals! It works really well as a Christmas dish (if you're planning next year already!) The chestnut sauce is full of flavour and is a perfect compliment to the pork.
500-600gms Pork tenderloin (1 unit)
2 Tables. Olive oil
Optional 2-3 tablespoons Brandy
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
2 Tablesps. Onion, finely chopped or grated
1 small glass red wine
1 Tables. Cornflour
250 gms Chestnut pureée (See recipe below)
Using tinned or bottled chestnuts, simply blend 250 gms.
Using fresh chestnuts
Score the base of 300gms of chestnuts and scald in boiling water for 3 -5 minutes.
Peel, removing both the outer and inner skins. (Leave the unpeeled chestnuts sitting in the water while you peel, to keep them warm).
Put the peeles chestnuts in a pan, cover with milk and boil for about 40 minutes until soft, then blend.
Wipe tenderloin and remove any fat or sinews. Salt and pepper and leave to sit for ½ hour.
Heat oven to 220ºC (425ºF, Mark 7, Hot)
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until just smoking (hot).
Brown the tenderloin quickly on all sides to seal in the juices, but not cook through
Optional: Heat the brandy (microwave 1 min.) and pour over the meat. Flambé the liquor.
Pass the meat into a baking tray and set aside the frying pan with the olive oil for use later.
Pour the red wine over the meat and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, basting with the liquid now and again.
Meanwhile sauté the onion and garlic slowly in the leftover olive oil until soft.
When the meat is cooked, pour the juices from the baking tray into the frying pan with the onion and garlic and keep the meat warm in the oven.
Add the chestnut purée, mix the sauce well and cook. Mix the cornflour with a little water and
add to the sauce little by little, as required, to reach the desired consistency.
Cut the tenderloin in thick slices (medallions) and arrange on a dish. Cover with the chestnut sauce and serve hot