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Equiberia - Gredos Summer Ride

The Rides

Equiberia - Gredos Summer Ride: Ave

Sierra de Gredos

Summer Ride

ávila – castilla y león

7 nights – 5 days riding – 1 day in Ávila

The Sierra of Gredos is one of the most characteristic regions of the Iberian Peninsula situated between the provinces of Avila, Cáceres and Salamanca, and crossed by the Duero and Tajo rivers. The landscapes are full of light and colour and natures splendour. Ride up slopes of oak and pine trees; cross rivers of pristine waters; discover wildlife from rocky overlooks, and gallop across pastures and open fields. The small villages display their architecture, their traditions, and the way of life of their people, isolated in this inaccessible nature that shapes their unique character.


This summer itinerary is designed to enjoy the best riding in Spain in the summer: Riding in the Gredos Mountains, in the Sierra de Gredos. The days riding combine, on one side, the altitude of the mountains and the alpine valleys - all above 1500 m; and, on the other side, the swims in the rivers and in the mountain gorges.


This week ride is an ideal proposal for the summer with very pleasant full day rides, very diverse landscapes, with great mountain views and pristine mountains rivers. It is really a summer holiday, with fun day rides, long picnic lunches and beautiful pools to swim – some are great Jacuzzis! , followed by sunbathing siestas.


This is a part of Spain where you can enjoy a great ride in the middle of the summer!
(Average temperature in Navarredonda de Gredos: July-August 25oC Maximum during the day – Minimum during the night 12oC)

Trip summary

Moderate inn-to-inn ride
Ideal ride for small groups or families in the summer
The rides can be easily tailored to the riders’ abilities and interests

Trip length
8 days - 7 nights - 5 days riding - 1 day visit of Avila
From Sunday to Sunday
Distance covered 95 miles/ 150kms km

Group size
No minimum. Maximum 10 riders.
All departures are guaranteed.

Airport
Madrid

Riding ability
Intermediate to experienced. Reasonably fit riders.
For private groups or families the ride can be adapted to beginner riders

Horses
Andalusian and Hispano-Arab Excellent Andalusian and Hispano-Arab, very well-trained, responsive, sure footed, happy, fit and fun to ride, with a lot of personality!

Tack
Excellent leather English general purpose saddles
Seat savers and small saddle bags

Time in the saddle
From 4 – 6 hours (one day)
Long breaks at lunch time to swim in the beautiful river pools

2015 DEPARTURE DATES
July 15-22; July 22-29; July 26-August 5; August 5-12

2015 PRICES
From 1300Euros.
Please contact us. Special offers for early bookings and small groups of 4 or more riders

Weight limit
90kgs – 198Ibs

Languages
English, French, Spanish

Best time to visit
April to October

Climate
Dry continental weather
Temperatures are strongly influenced by the altitude, with the average of 1400m (the highest point is 1700 m and the lowest is 1000 m ) .
Temperatures in summer are very pleasant, with bright blue skies, and cool evenings. Average temperature in Navarredonda de Gredos: July-August 25ºC Maximum during the day – Minimum during the night 12ºC.

Your hosts and guides
The Gredos rides are lead by Maria Elena, founder and owner of Equiberia. She is knowledgeable, qualified and hospitable. She takes great pride in the quality and the character of the horses and is adept in matching horse and rider.
The Equiberia team assistant guides and helpers are enthusiastic, motivated, attentive and charming.
Out attention to the detail is outstanding. We go as far as we can to anticipate all the little things that can make a difference. We have a lot of repeat guests that come back every year. We can give you direct references of riders from many different parts of the world.

Bookings Inscription Form and deposit
You can book direct with us or through any of our agencies.
Please contact us equiberia@equiberia.com

Horses and Riding

Riding ability
Intermediate to experienced. Reasonably fit riders.
It is not necessary to be an expert rider but it is essential that riders have trail riding experience, can easily manage a horse at all paces and be familiar and comfortable handling a horse on the ground. A level of fitness is required, as the days are 4-6 hours. Riders can assist in taking care of their horses if they wish - but it is not necessary. Horses will be ready for the riders to get on every morning.
Ideal ride for small groups or families in the summer
The rides can be easily tailored to the riders' abilities and interests
For private groups or families the ride can be adapted to beginner riders

Horses The horses are Hispano-Arab, Andalusian, Arab and Lusitano breed ranging in height from 15-16 hh, and selected for their good nature and endurance. The horses are excellent, very well trained, responsive, fit and fun to ride, happy horses with a lot of personality, and very much loved.

Pace of the ride The pace of the ride varies with the terrain. The ride includes walks, trots, canters and gallops depending on the terrain. Overall it is a moderate pace, with some slow parts due to the mountainous terrain. There are open areas through the valleys where it is possible to canter with excellent tracks for exciting rides.

Tack Excellent leather English general purpose saddles, with deep knee rolls. Every piece of the tack is in excellent condition
Small saddle bags are provided.
Seat savers and riding hats or helmets can be provided too.

Time in the saddle From 4 to 6 hours (one day)
The total distance of the trip is about 95 milies/150km.

Weight limit 90kgs / 198 pounds

Your hosts and guides The Gredos rides are lead by Maria Elena, founder and owner of Equiberia. She is knowledgeable, qualified and hospitable. She takes great pride in the quality and the character of the horses and is adept in matching horse and rider.
The Equiberia team assistant guides and helpers are enthusiastic, motivated, attentive and charming.
Out attention to the detail is outstanding. We go as far as we can to anticipate all the little things that can make a difference. We have a lot of repeat guests that come back every year. We can give you direct references of riders from many different parts of the world.

2015 Accommodation and Meals

The selection of the accommodation and the service in every aspect of the ride is of outstanding quality.

Accommodation

• Option 1: Paradores
Five nights are spent at the National Parador of Gredos ***, an ancient hunting lodge built by the king Alfonso 13th, the first Parador opened in Spain. Other accommodations will be comfortable rural hotels. One night at a charming country hotel in the village of Navalperal de Tormes. The last night in Avila is spent at the luxurious Parador of Avila, a 16th century Palace in the historical centre of monumental Ávila, backing onto the majestic city walls.

• Option 2: Rural hotel in Navarredonda de Gredos and 2* hotel in Avila.
Five nights accommodation in a comfortable and family run hotel in the village. One night at a charming country hotel in the village of Navalperal de Tormes. The last night in Avila will be at a charming hotel in Avila , very well located in the heart of the old town, near the cathedral.

Single accommodations can be arranged in any of the options at an additional charge.

The accommodation has been carefully chosen for the quality and the welcoming to the riders and to the horses. Every night, the horses stay in a field next to the hotel where the group stays. The contact and the relation with the horses are very special in this ride.

Food & Wine
Breakfast, aperitifs, lunch and dinner are included while on the trek. The local cuisine is excellent and much consideration is taken when planning the meals to provide visitors with a sampling of the many different dishes produced in the area. Lunch is usually a picnic in the countryside with set tables, chairs... and small feast everyday! Some lunches will be cooked on the spot; others prepared the village bars o restaurants, always exquisite. Dinner is at the hotels will feature a varied selection of the typical cuisine.
All the drinks are included during the meals. Tasting of Spanish red& white wines; sherry; beer, juices, soft drinks and water.

A support vehicle will follow the riders during the entire trip, meeting for aperitifs, meals and at night.
Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice.

2015 Dates & Prices

2015 DEPARTURE DATES
View our departure dates here
These are the dates programmed for 2015.
If you would like a tailor-made programme at any different dates, please let us know.

2015 PRICES
Please get in touch with us
Special offers for early bookings confirmed before the end of February and small groups of 4 or more riders.

All our prices are fully inclusive. You will need a very limited amount of money for the week.

o Transfers from/to Madrid in private taxi are included
o Accommodation in comfortable and charming hotels, including luxurious National Paradores and 4* country hotels with spa and swimming pool
o Beautifully trained horses, in excellent condition and very well looked after in every aspect: feeding, grooming, veterinary care, and general well-being. You will feel it: they are happy horses.
o The days riding as described in the programmes, with itineraries carefully selected to make the best out of every day ride
o Knowledgeable, qualified and hospitable guides: Maria Elena, owner of the company, leads the rides personally, accompanied by attentive and charming support guides
o Excellent leather English GP saddles; small saddle bags and seat savers are provided. Riding hats or helmets can be provided too. Every piece of the tack is in excellent condition.
o All the meals are included: exquisite gourmet picnic lunches; aperitifs and tapas; fresh salads and fruit of the season everyday; selected dinners in the hotels; all the drinks are included during the meals: tasting of different red & white wines with the picnics; sherry at the aperitifs; beer, juices, soft drinks.
o A support vehicle meets the riders with 1 or 2 helpers, to transport the luggage and prepare the lunches, with set tables, chairs.., and to assist the riders when necessary.
o Out attention to the detail is outstanding. We go as far as we can to anticipate all the little things that can make a difference. We have a lot of repeat guests that come back every year. We can give you direct references of riders from many different parts of the world.
o The company is fully insured and legally registered in every department, tourism, equestrian and agriculture.

Please get in touch with us and we will tell you about our prices and how to benefit from our special offers.

Travel

MEETING POINT

Madrid
Riders will be met at the Madrid-Barajas International Airport.
Terminal 4, arrivals gate 10, at the cafeteria Medas (by gate 10). At 3pm, on the first date of the chosen week (always a Sunday).
Departure on the Sunday after the ride: any flight after 1:00pm
Pick up/ departure times can be tailored fro groups

Arrival
Any flight in time for the pick- up time at 3:00 pm of the first Sunday of the ride
If staying in a hotel in Madrid or in Avila, pick up can be organised from the hotel

Departure
Any flight after 1.00 pm, on the Sunday departure of the ride.

Before/After the ride
Equiberia can help with suggestions, hotel bookings, and other arrangements before or after the ride. Please contact us.

Packing list
The principle of “layers” is always very convenient, any time of the year.
We suggest the following

Riding

• Jodhpurs or riding breeches
• Half chaps and short riding boots with a good sole (don’t try new boots for a riding holiday)
• Long sleeve shirts and T-shirts
• Waistcoat (warmer or lighter (depending on the time of the year)
• Warm or light fleece (depending on the time of the year)
• Decent rain jacket, warm or light (depending on the time of the year)
• Light rain trousers
• Sun hat with a brim and sun glasses
• Riding helmet (a few helmets are available at the riding centre). Not mandatory but advisable.
• Riding gloves
• Small saddle bags are provided to carry only small things while riding
• Seat savers can be provided

Other
Casual clothes for the evenings
Swimsuit (swims in the river, spa, hotel with pool and spa)
Flip-flops or sandals, especially in the summer for the picnics by the river
Sunscreen and lip balm

2015 Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 MADRID - NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS

Meet in Madrid (Pick up at 3pm at the airport) and transfer to Navarredonda de Gredos (2 hour drive), a small village in the heart of Castile with a splendid view of the Sierra de Gredos. This is a region steeped in history, where the Moors and Christians fought, where Romans built roads that have lasted for centuries. Riders will enjoy a welcome dinner and night at the (luxurious National Parador of Gredos) (comfortable country hotel).

Day 2 THE PINEWOODS AND THE SUMMER PASTURES.
THE SOURCE OF THE TORMES RIVER.
NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS

Circle ride from Navarredonda, an easy introductory day, with a picnic lunch in the countryside, where we will cook an excellent paella. Riding in the woods and towards the source of the Tormes River and alpine pastures of the Sierra de Gredos. In the afternoon ride back to the stables in Navarredonda, returning for dinner and overnight to the Parador of Gredos (or at a hotel rural in the village).

Day 3 ALONG THE TORMES RIVER. POZO DE LAS PAREDES.
NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS – NAVALPERAL DE TORMES

Morning along the river to Hoyos del Espino, and climb up to Hoyos del Collado. Riding along an ancient cattle path we will get to Navacepeda de Tormes. Descent towards the Tormes river and the Gorge of Barbellido. Luch at the beautiful Pozo de las Paredes, with a 14th century bride. Ideal for a swim!. Short afternoon with magnificent views to the village of Navalperal de Tormes. Dinner and night at a country hotel in the village.

Day 4 THE CATTLE PATH TO EL PUERTO DEL PICO
NAVALPERAL DE TORMES – NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS

From Navalperal, we will follow the cattle path to Navacepeda de Tormes. Then join the course of the Tormes. Lunch at a fisherman’s hut, at Hoyos del Collado. Ideal river pool for a swim. Afternoon by the river and through the pinewoods to get back to the stables in Navarredonda. Dinner and overnight at the Parador of Gredos (or at a hotel rural in the village).

Day 5 VIEWS OF THE SIERRA DE GREDOS
NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS – SAN MARTÍN DE LA VEGA

In the morning climb to the heights of Cañada del Horno, through open fields and dense broom areas, with a great panoramic view of the Alberche river valley. Lunch at a bar in the village . Afternoon with great views of the Sierra de Gredos. Descent back towards Barajas de Gredos and the stables in Navarredonda.
Dinner and overnight at the Parador of Gredos (or at a hotel rural in the village).

Day 6 BARBELLIDO MOUNTAIN GORGE AND SIETE FUENTES
NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS – BARBELLIDO MOUNTAIN GORGE

Ride towards the heights of the Sierra de Gredos with magnificent views.. Climb to the Covacha gorge and descent towards the gorge of Barbellido. Lunch by the river, excellent spot for a swim. Afternoon climb to the heights of Siete Fuentes and descent to the pinewoods of Hoyos del Espino. Ride back to the stables in Navarredonda de Gredos.
Dinner and overnight at the Parador of Gredos (or at a hotel rural in the village).

Day 7 AVILA MEDIEVAL WALLED TOWN
NAVARREDONDA – AVILA

Transfer to Ávila (1 hour drive). Day in Avila to visit this historic walled town from the 11th century. Avila is one of the World Heritage Cities of Spain, one of the 660 cultural sites in the world that the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. Recommendations for visits, tours and restaurants in Avila will be provided to the guests.
(Lunch this day is not included)
Dinner and night at the chosen hotel in Ávila.
The National Parador of Avila.(4* Parador). This Parador is a 16th century Palace in the historical centre of monumental Ávila, backing onto the majestic city walls. Dinner, night and Sunday breakfast at this luxurious Parador are included in the programme.
Hotel Las Cancelas 2*, with a great location near the cathedral and a great open air restaurant by the walls.

Day 8 AVILA – MADRID

Transfer to the Madrid airport (in time for flights after 1pm).

* END OF THE PROGRAMME *

History and Nature

About Avila
Strongly recommended a night in Avila, a medieval walled town, before or after the ride. We can help with hotel bookings. Pick up can be organised from Avila on the Sunday beginning of the programme.
Avila is one of the World Heritage Cities of Spain, one of the 660 cultural sites in the world that the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.

http://whc.unesco.org
www.spain.info/tourspain
www.avilaturismo.com

Avila is a medieval town, surrounded by walls constructed in the 11th and 12th century (2500m, 88 towers, 9 gates) to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors. The walls are still complete nowadays. Avila is the “City of Saints and Stones”. The birthplace of St Theresa and the burial place of the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada. Avila has kept its medieval austerity. This purity of form can still be seen in the Gothic cathedral and the fortifications which are the most complete in Spain. Charming squares and beautiful quiet pedestrian streets for a very pleasant walk around this old historic town.

Birds of the Sierra Gredos,
by David Tomlinson
The Sierra Gredos is an exceptional area for birds, and many interesting and unusual species can be seen here. Most obvious are the birds of prey: look out for black vultures (buitre negro), one of the largest and heaviest flying birds in the world, with a wingspan of up to 285cm. Black vultures are rare birds in Europe, and the Gredos is one of their most important strongholds. Much more numerous than the black vulture and almost as big is the griffon vulture (buitre leonado). The two species can often be seen soaring together. The griffon is a colonial, cliff-nesting species, but the black vulture nests in trees.
Several species of eagles can be found in the Gredos, including the golden (aguila real), the short-toed (aguila culebrera) and the booted (aguila calzada). The short-toed is a large, snake-eating eagle that is a summer visitor to Spain, as is the booted eagle. This is a small, buzzard-sized eagle, and is generally quite common. Two of the most conspicuous birds of prey are the red kite and the black kite (milano real and milano negro). They are extremely graceful fliers, and are often quite tame and approachable.
The most characteristic birds of the pine forests of the Gredos are the firecrest (reyezuelo listado), the crested tit (herrerillo capuchino) and the crossbill (piquituerto comun), while one of the special birds to look out for is the citril finch (verdecillo serrano). The citril finch is a highly localised bird, found exclusively in Europe. It likes alpine meadows.

Another speciality of the Gredos is the strikingly colourful bluethroat (pechiazul). The bluethroats that nest in the Gredos are the most southerly in Europe, as well as the most westerly. They are best looked for on dry, stony slopes densely covered in Spanish broom. The cock is the size and shape of a robin (petirrojo), but is easy to identify thanks to his distinctive blue-throat with central white spot.
In spring, one of the noisiest birds of the Gredos is the nightingale (ruiseñor comun), which can be heard singing where ever there is suitable habitat. Nightingales like dense, damp habitat, preferably by the side of streams or in hedges. The nightingale is a member of the thrush family, and so is related to the rock thrush (roquero rojo), one of the most handsome birds of the mountains. This species is a scarce summer visitor to the Gredos, but is well worth looking for.
Several of the villages in the Gredos have pairs of white storks (cigueña blanca), often nesting on the village church. They are never numerous in the Gredos (unlike in Extremadura, where they are often very common), but they are usually tame and confiding, drawing attention to themselves with their noisy beak clapping.

David Tomlinson is a British ornithologist, and is the co-author of the Birds of Iberia. He has visited the Gredos several times.

“Marie Elena, that was the most wonderful ride. How we all enjoyed it!!!!!!! You took care of every little detail so we didn't worry about a thing. The horses were well trained and very capable of doing their job safely and efficiently. Their tack was in excellent condition. Everything about your stable showed how much you care about the riders and the horses. Meals were fantastic. You made it fun, we appreciated all your cooking and generosity with food and wine. It was such a good time plus we got in lots of riding over different kinds of terrain, through quaint villages, along picturesque streams and rivers, through pastures and forests. I loved riding in sight of so many mares and foals. What beautiful horses they all were! I could go on and on about how wonderful it all was and have been regaling family and friends with stories ever since I came home. We had such a good time, we are planning on coming again in a couple of years and will try to bring more with us. Thank you so very much for the experience of a lifetime”. Claire, USA

“We can't thank you enough for everything you did to give us such a wonderful time on the ride last week. We both enjoyed every minute,& seeing all that beautiful Spanish countryside & even getting wet!! & you couldn't have looked after us all better. We loved our horses, & you were SO clever at fitting the rider to the horse!! Nothing was too much trouble for you & we are most grateful for all you did for us, would you please pass on our thanks to your girls. We are recommending your ride to all our friends! Hope we might see you again someday, & once again many thank for a memorable holiday”. J&R, UK

Equiberia is a registered trademark - Equitravel Ltd - 05635 Navarredonda de Gredos, Spain - Tel(+34) 689 343 974 - Fax.(+34) 920 348338 - equiberia@equiberia.com