I stayed here 3 years ago and it was a joy to return here with my family for a half day trek amongst the hills that look out both South towards the Mediterranean and the West coast and Atlantic. 3 years ago I stayed here on my own, full board, for 2 weeks. I went riding every day and because the farm is so secluded was also able to completely wind down and treat the experience like a retreat. I didn't have a car (travelled to and from UK by train- trying to get my carbon emissions more earth friendly) and was collected free of charge from Lagos train station. I was looking for a simple honest experience and compared to the many riding holidays available worldwide this was the best value for money by a long way. And it is honest and earthy. The owners and their family run the whole business from the riding instruction to the cooking and all other hospitality needs. They have set it up and build it a piece at a time. Returning here after 3 years it was wonderful to see how extensions and improvements have been made (more showers, more chill out areas, more extensive vegetable, herb and flower gardens and more stables, all beautifully and creatively built without a whiff of Algarve package holiday mentality). The riding instruction is set at whatever level you want it, if you want to improve your skills then Manny is an intuitive horseman who can move you on or if you just want to try it out and have some fun he will make sure you are safe and not keep nagging you to keep you heels down! There are also endless tracks to travel and you can do them whilst driving a cart too. In 2 weeks I don't think we followed the same trail twice, there are so many gullys to explore and beaches to ride to and on and then have a picnic lunch. On today's visit we are renting a villa near Monchique (a family could easily stay at the farm and the rooms are charming but defn not ostentatious) and my 9 year old is horse obsessed so it was a treat to show my family where I had stayed. After helping to tack up and groom the horses (optional) we rode around the coral whilst we were all assessed for our ability (don't worry, you don't get scored or analysed, it's just to make sure you are matched well with your horse etc) and then set off with our 7 year old, who also has some riding experience, with her horse just next to Manny and her telling him to keep his heels down! We had several hours of joyous riding through flora and fauna which Manny told us all about and through ever changing spectacular views. And when we got back we sat down to a very reasonably priced freshly preared lunch which was something of a feast with everything from whitebate to grilled chicken and homegrown vegetables and a delicious rainbow of salads and home prepared chunky chips, olive bread, 2 desserts etc etc! We ate with the family and felt so welcome, not just another bunch of tourists, got loads of info on where to visit with the children and where the best local eateries are. I found them on both visits to be friendly warm hearted people who made a big effort to make sure we had a happy time. Thanks, I would defn recommend this experience to couples, families and singles alike, if you enjoy riding and charming rural idyll.
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