My boyfriend and I took a one week course over the Christmas period. We had a personalised programme consisting of two hours of lessons in the morning and a four hour trail ride in the afternoon. The lessons were taken at The School and the trails were accompanied by a guide at a local partner company.
During the period we were there, there was a visiting instructor called Lucia who taught the majority of our lessons. I've taken lessons from a handful of instructors and I can say that Lucia is hands down the best I've come across. She has a knack for figuring out what is the root cause of whatever difficulty you are experiencing and finding the solution to it. This teaching method is very different to that of most instructors who just bark the same stuff at you, telling you what you are doing wrong without thinking why and how you can fix it.
The horses are very well cared for and are generally well behaved. Manège horses are generally lazier and more sensitive to the signals you give them (you need to make sure you are giving them consistent signals to make them do what you want) than trail horses that tend to be more forward going and take cues from the leader even without your having to tell them what to do every step of the way. It was no different here and the mare I was riding in the manège did not always do what I wanted her to because I sometimes made mistakes by giving her mixed signals or not being firm enough. Lessons in the manège are very important in my view and cannot be replaced by solely doing trail rides for this very reason. Since controlling horses in the manège require a higher degree of accuracy and discipline, to truly learn to ride well, lessons are indispensable (unless you've been born on a horse).
The owners are super friendly and are very concerned that you get the most out of your time at The School. They were constantly asking for feedback when we were there, asked if there was anything we particularly wanted to work on in the lessons or wanted to do on the trail rides. The guide from the partner company who took us on the trails was fine overall but did tend to take us on the same routes every day and at the start of the week went at a very slow pace until we told him we wanted to speed up a bit! Since we loved riding on the beach we didn't really mind going there repeatedly (maybe 4 days out of the 7?) but if you would like to do a different trail every day, you will need to be very clear (and firm) on that request. As for us, we were fine with the beach route and every day the pace did pick up so we were quite satisfied.
Since we were riding with them the whole day, Jacqui gave us the option of eating home cooked meals at the School clubhouse at lunchtime for 10 Euros per head per meal rather than our going off and finding a restaurant to eat every day. If you are also offered this option, I would recommend you take it as Jacqui is a fabulous cook and will cook local dishes or European according to your wishes (she is English but has lived in Djerba for a long time).
All in all, we came back very satisfied with our week programme. Especially given that the whole thing was privately arranged just for the two of us (not combined with any other customers) and given the quality of the teaching, we found it great value for money. I would most definitely go back if the opportunity arises.
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