Trail Riding and Training
The immediate countryside allows for miles of open, slightly rolling land in which frequent trots and canters will be possible. Fast gallops are not possible, as we do not have turf. You will be riding through fields of wheat, sunflowers and olive groves, and orchards of orange and peach trees.
This peaceful sight, where the only sound you will hear will be the horses hooves, the birds and the breeze rushing through the wheat, will let your mind roll back to when the Romans cultivated this land 22 centuries ago and Cervantes rode these same tracks, when collecting olive oil taxes. You will be riding in a different direction every day so the rides are varied.
One of the rides will be in the Doñana Natural Park, one of the largest natural reservations in Europe. Here the terrain is very different to the land around Epona as you'll be riding through sandy dunes where the air will be scented by lavender, thyme, rosemary and the nearby ocean. You will be walking through the dunes and then you'll reach the virgin beach of "El Asperillo": the best spot for a trot and a long canter.
However if you don't know how to trot or canter or you don't wish to do so you will be taken on a separate ride where you'll go at the pace in which you're comfortable.All our ride leaders are fully qualified and speak fluent Spanish and English.
What is classical Dressage?
From it's origins in Ancient Greece with Xenophon, until the present times embodied in the four European Schools of Equestrian Art, Classical Dressage has evolved into different styles, but always maintaining the same goals: To achieve beauty and perfection in the performance of dressage and High School movements, only possible through harmony, balance and complete communication with the horse.
Classical Dressage went beyond admiring the rider for his courage and skill as a soldier and gradually started to appreciate other talents such as feeling and sensitivity elevating horsemanship to a new level: horses began to "dance" and Dressage gained the status of a new form of Art. Comparable to Ballet, it requires the technique and strength of an athlete, but also the sense of feeling and aesthetics which, when performed correctly will succeed in moving the spectator. At Epona we have horses and instructors prepared to cater for guests of all levels, from complete beginners to advanced riders. Groups are formed so as to keep the levels similar and usually are of 2 to 4 riders.
The excellent facilities including a large covered school, will make your lessons more enjoyable. The Epona instructors are qualified by the British Horse Society, the Association of British Riding Schools and the Spanish Equestrian Federation which means that they are trained to always have the horse and rider's safety at heart. Over the years, the knowledge gathered (having trained in Dressage under many masters of various nationalities) has allowed them to form their own training and teaching techniques, which keep the pupils' learning and enjoyment is the main priority, as well as safety and the horse's wellbeing. Their aim is to pass on the knowledge acquired, keeping in mind the principles and objectives of Classical Dressage. Beginners will benefit hugely from the lessons because, although things are kept simple, you know that your basic skills will be correct and solid, enabling you to pursue whichever discipline you choose down the road. At a more basic level, lessons will focus on the rider's balance, seat, position and control, while at the same time gaining confidence in the three basic gaits, walk, trot and canter.