Dressage Clinic with Rafael Soto

Dressage Clinic with Rafael Soto

This is a seven night, six day dressage programme that culminates with four private dressage lessons with Olympic Silver Medalist, Rafael Soto.

Guests will be immersed in the day to day riding and training that goes on at Epona. It’s a great chance to get a real feel for the sensitive Andalusians and Iberian horses, and to learn more about them.

Depending on your ability, you will get the chance to feel many of the advanced dressage movements, such as Passage, Piaffe, Pirouettes, Flying Changes and, of course, Spanish Walk.

This programme includes six group lessons (group lessons are typically made up of two to three riders of similar level) and two lunge lessons, all designed to help you get the most out of your four private lessons with Rafael Soto.

During your stay with us we also include cultural excursions to the heart of Seville, to view a flamenco show, and the world famous horse show in Jerez entitled «How the Andalusian Horses Dance» all whilst staying in one of the most beautiful medieval towns in the world.

This programme offers an unrivalled combination of six shared dressage lessons, on highly trained Spanish horses, two lunge lessons and four private lessons, with the world esteemed Olympic silver medalist , Rafael Soto, all alongside the culture and heritage that makes the Andalusian region of Spain so special.

This is a unique programme that will not be found anywhere else.

This programme is only run over pre-set dates and has a maximum number of five riders per clinic. As a result, early booking is highly recommended.

Our weight limit for this programme is 80kgs.

Who is this programme for?

The ‘Dressage Clinic with Rafael Soto Programme’ is ideal for riders who have an elementary understanding of dressage to advanced dressage riders.

Rafael is not only a superb rider and trainer of horses, but he is also a highly skilled teacher of riders. Rafael has a great eye for detail, he knows all the Epona horses extremely well, and his positive teaching style brings out the best in all his riders, regardless of their current abilities.

This programme is designed for those who have a great passion for Dressage and who want to progress their ability and understanding in a safe and supportive environment.

Typically, our ‘Dressage Clinic with Rafael Soto Programme’ riders are adults, with no upper age restriction, who are passionate about learning more about Classical Dressage

Many participants have visited us before, often on our Trail and Training or Intensive Dressage programmes.

Many others are first time guests to Epona, who want an unrivalled dressage experience and who have a desire to take their pleasure or competition riding and knowledge to the next level.

Introduction to Rafael Soto

Who in the dressage world has not heard of the Spanish Olympic Team Silver Medallist RAFAEL SOTO?

His charisma has earned him the respect and popularity of Dressage enthusiasts and fellow riders alike, the world over.

That final gesture and enthusiastic ‘There you have it’, followed by the flamboyant Spanish Walk performed by his partner ‘Invasor’ as they left the competition ring, became their trademark, and provoked uproars of applause and attracted audiences, wherever they went.

What most people don’t know is that the spectacular ‘Invasor’ was a difficult horse in his youth and was rejected by other riders as ‘impossible to train’, due to his immense size, strength and laid-back disposition.

Biography

Rafael was born in Jerez de la Frontera, where horse tradition is very strong, in 1957. He is a dedicated horseman who has been training horses and riders all his life, following in his father’s footsteps and commencing his riding career at a tender age when his father bought and ran an equitation centre in Palma de Mallorca.

It was there that he had his first important dressage success, becoming Balearic Regional Champion in that discipline in 1982.

In 1987, he obtained his Spanish Instructor’s Qualification, and returned to his native city to pursue his equestrian career.

After winning his first National Championship in 1994, with ‘Flamenco’, he was chosen to form part of the National Dressage Team, representing Spain in the 1995 European Championships. From that date on, he has continued on the Spanish Team, going from strength to strength with his two partners, first ‘Flamenco’ then ‘Invasor’, both Pure Bred Andalusian stallions.

Rafael’s most important successes in Dressage competitions are:

Rafael is the Director of the Royal School of Equestrian Art in Jerez and trained the international Spanish dressage team. He is fluent in Spanish, English, French and German.

A personal note

The Garcia family feel privileged to count Rafael as one of their dearest friends. His talent around horses is well documented but what many possibly don’t know is that he is a man full of humour, integrity and empathy.

‘We feel honoured that he chose to collaborate with us here, at Epona, many years ago now, and so many clinics later, he has confirmed our impressions that he is a truly gifted trainer, mentor and clinician.’ Fernando Garcia Carvajal

What is involved?

Our establishment is world renowned for its depth and quality of classically trained, yet kind and generous, Spanish horses.

At Epona we enjoy the luxury of having both horses and instructors, who between them, are capable of training guests of all levels, from advanced competition riders to beginners.

As a result, you will enjoy group and private dressage and lunge lessons, that are both informative and safe, in purpose built training facilities, alongside like minded people, from around the world.

Our excellent bespoke facilities include irrigated indoor and outdoor schools and exercise track, which help make your lessons dust free and more enjoyable, especially through the heat of a Seville summer. Our indoor arena is 20m x 60m and boasts a top level competition standard sand and fibre surface to further enhance the quality of your riding experience.

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 as the main priority, as well as safety and the horse’s wellbeing.

Their aim is to pass on this knowledge, keeping in mind the principles and objectives of Classical Dressage, regardless whether to a pleasure rider or a professional rider.

Where do you stay

Your accommodation is in a 4* hotel, complete with a swimming pool, nestled in the nearby medieval town of Carmona, one of the famous white villages of Andalucia.

Carmona is the oldest continually inhabited town in Europe and as you stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, you will feel and breathe the spirits of ancient cultures (Iberians, Visigoths, Phoenicians, Romans, Moors), in the innumerable examples of their architectural influence in the churches, towers, palaces and mansions as well as in the inherited customs.

Carmona is one of Europe’s hidden gems and is a destination in its own right. You will never tire of wandering the streets and will discover that its timeless beauty changes from sunrise to sunset, and then at night. Carmona takes on a magical glow that will leave you spellbound. With at least fifty six small cafes and bars, you will be spolied for choice when it comes to a bite to eat or a refreshing drink.

Daily Itinerary and Cost

Afternoon

Guests arrive in the afternoon and settle in to their hotel, a former Palace, once the residence of a medieval Queen, which is nestled in the heart of the breathtakingly beautiful medieval town of Carmona.

In the evening, you will be joined at the hotel by one of the Epona hosts, for a welcome dinner, where you will meet the rest of the week’s riding members.

After some friendly introductions and conversation, you are free to spend the rest of the evening at your leisure, and to relax before the beginning of what we hope will be an unforgettable week.

Welcome to Epona!

Morning

After breakfast at the hotel and a quick transfer to Epona, you will have a short guided tour and a chat with our instructors.

Your first group lesson will be an assessment for your instructor, who will note your good points and the areas which need to be worked upon. It is also the first chance for you to get used to your horse and the more sensitive style of riding required for the Andalusian and Iberian horses.

Today, you will also have the first of your lunge lessons which offer a wonderful opportunity to improve your seat, balance and posture

Once the morning lessons are over, relax with a book on the terrace or in the comfortable guest lounge. You are also more than welcome to stay and sit by the arenas and watch the daily training of our horses.

Meet the rest of the group for lunch in our beautiful dining room and enjoy your first experience of typical Andalusian home cooking and sample our excellent local house wine.

Afternoon
Dressage lesson.
Morning

Early breakfast and pick up at the hotel at 8:30 a.m. for the drive to Jerez de la Frontera, in the province of Cádiz.

Jerez is internationally renowned for its production of sherry and brandy. However, the main attraction of this day will be the visit to the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre, and to see an equestrian performance titled, «How the Andalusian Horses Dance».

Here you will have the privilege of seeing the magnificent Andalusian stallions at their best, at home in the breathtaking setting of their 18th Century palace and the riding hall. They will be performing piaffe, passage and the airs above the ground (courbette, capriole, etc) in a spectacle of light, music and colour.

(Vivi Garcia trained at the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre for four years and frequently performed in the show. Her mentor and trainer for the final two years was Rafael Soto.)

Please note: the additional cost for the Jerez trip and the «How the Andalusian Horses Dance» performance is €29

Return for a late lunch at Epona.

Afternoon
Group dressage lesson.
Morning

As the week progresses so will your dressage, performing more advanced movements and to a higher standard.

Today you will have two group lessons (morning and afternoon) and you will be working on some of the exercises you will encounter during your Rafael Soto sessions. This is so you are fully prepared to get the very best out of all four of your private lessons with him.

Once your lessons are over feel free to stay and continue observing the daily training of the geldings, mares and stallions, from young and green to very advanced. We also train the schoolmasters regularly to keep them sensitive and in good shape so that our guests can enjoy and get the most out of their lessons with them.

Lunch at Epona.

Afternoon
Dressage lesson.
Morning

Group dressage lesson.

Today, you will also have your second lunge lesson. By now, you will have a good understanding of the importance of a secure and balanced position.

This second lunge lesson will give you an opportunity to work on any areas that need improving and will set you up nicely for your final two days of dressage training with Rafael Soto.

Lunch at Epona.

Afternoon

After a relaxing afternoon back in Carmona, get ready to visit the historical heart of Seville.

Here you can visit the tack shop, always a highlight and after a quick walk around it is then time for a classical Flamenco Show. The show features dancers of national and international fame, traditional singers and wonderful flamenco guitar. This Flamenco show is optional and has an additional cost of €35.

Alternatively, stroll the streets around the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the palaces and mansions that are a part of this world famous city. The photo opportunities are endless and you will be spoiled for choice. There are also many shops and cafes in the city centre, so there’s lot’s to do before it’s time to meet up with the others for dinner.

After the show it is a short walk to the typical Spanish night market where you can choose your own meal, from a range of Spanish and International cuisine, accompanied, of course, by some superb Spanish wine.

Morning

Two private dressage lessons with Olympic silver medalist, Rafael Soto.

Depending on your ability, you will be performing the more advanced movements with improved confidence, knowledge and technique today.

You will be able to watch the other lessons, which gives you yet another learning opportunity, all helping to make this a very informative and enjoyable day, all the while alongside like minded and supportive fellow riders.

Lunch at Epona.

Morning

Two private lessons with Rafael Soto.

This is the day you will be able to consolidate everything you have worked on during the week, under the ever watchful eye of Rafael Soto.

As Rafael knows the Epona horses so well, his four lessons will be progressive and relevant to your individual needs.

Today he will help you get the best out of your horse and, most importantly, yourself.

You will then be presented with the Epona ‘Intensive Training and Dressage Clinic with Rafael Soto’ Diploma while we toast with delicious spanish cava.
We will then view the video of one of Rafael’s most legendary rides, aboard his impressive PRE Invasor on his way to winning his olympic medal. Rafael’s commentary during the projection of this video is an experience in itself!

Afterwards, it’s time for goodbyes and last minute pictures of your new Epona friends, animal and human.

Lunch at Epona.

Enjoy at your leisure the last relaxing evening in Carmona.

Morning

We offer complimentary transport to the airport and train station.

First trip at 8.00 am and the second will be at 11.00 am.

If you require a different departure time or day from the hotel to the airport or train station, please let us know, and we can organise a taxi for you. You will pay the driver in person and the transfer time is usually less than 25 minutes to both the airport and the station.

Have a safe onward journey and we look forward to welcoming you back!

The total price for this programme is € 2,450.00 per person which includes accomodation in 4 star hotel, breakfasts and lunches , all riding , welcome dinner on first evening, transfers, amenities, tours and services as described in general information.

Not Included:

Airport and Train Station Transfers

Epona offers complimentary transfers to and from the Seville train station at pre-set times.

Arrivals on Sunday

Departures from the hotel on Saturdays only

To train station or airport:

If you require a different departure time or day from the hotel to the airport or train station, please let us know, and we can organise a taxi for you. You will pay the driver in person and the transfer time is usually less than 25 minutes to both the airport and the station.

Why choose Epona

Horses for all levels | Epona Spain

Horses for all levels

Our large number of highly trained horses and well thought out programmes, enable us to accommodate beginners through to advanced riders.

Professional instructors | Epona Spain

Professional Instructors

Our qualified instructors bring a wealth of riding and training experience to the lessons.

Family business | Epona Spain

Family business

Personal and close attention from the García family, will make you feel like a valued guest and friend.

World class facilities | Epona Spain

World class facilities

Top class facilities (including covered arena) and ancient trail riding routes, are complemented by luxury accommodation in the medieval town of Carmona.

Cultural experience | Epona Spain

Cultural experience

Our programmes combine riding with the historical, cultural and scenic experiences our unique location offers.

Ideal riding holiday climate | Epona Spain

Ideal riding holiday climate

We enjoy an average of 300 days of sunshine.

Unique in Spain | Epona Spain

Unique in Spain

The only riding holiday centre in Spain officially approved by the British horse society.

35 Years | Epona Spain

35 years

We offer 35 years of uninterrupted experience in hosting and training riding holiday guests from around the world.

Testimonials

Katy Tudor | Testimonial | Epona Spain

Katy Tudor

Testimonials | Epona Spain

Intensive training

Came back from our 10th visit in March, and plan to go back next year. Need I say more, it´s just the most amazing place.

Helen James | Testimonial | Epona Spain

Helen James

Testimonials | Epona Spain

Dressage Clinic with Rafael Soto

Fernando, Jane, Caty, Vivi, this has been the best trip I have ever taken, everything was perfect, the horses, the land and the hospitality.

Peter Choong | Testimonial | Epona Spain

Peter Choong

Testimonials | Epona Spain

Classical dressage and High School training

Could it get any better? Great horses, fantastic instructor, wonderful meals and a real family feel. A gem to be treasured.

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