On Saturday we fly to Spain. I can hardly contain myself. Having flicked through the Lonely Planet guide to Andalucía I want to pinch myself that the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre is in the region where we are staying!
The Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre or the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, Jerez in Spain is where Spanish thoroughbreds known as the Cartujano or Andaluz are trained and showcase their incredible dressage. You can watch the horses in training and on certain days of the week throughout the year they perform at midday. There is also a carriage driving museum and a botanical garden (www.realescuela.org).
My finger hovered over ‘buy now,’ for tickets to one of the midday performances, but something made me quickly check the distance from where we will be staying before I pressed. But now I wish I hadn’t. This out of this world equestrian facility is three hours drive away.
How can it be in the same region and be three hours away? I’m not sure I can face three hours in the car there and three hours back with a ‘not especially horsey’ husband and two ‘are we nearly there yet?’ children, not even for the hottest horses on hooves, and they could be hot or we could be by the time we get there as it is nearly 40 degrees Celsius in August. However, looking at the opulence of their stabling, they could well be air conditioned, but I’m not sure our hire car necessarily will be!
This will be a future visit, where we will fly to Jerez de la Frontera airport (the one on the doorstep) and combine it with the week long Feria del Caballo in early May, one of Andalusia’s biggest festivals, where horses go through the Parque Gonzales Hontoria Fairgrounds in the north of the town with traditionally dressed Spanish male riders in flat topped hats and frilly, white shirts with their female partners, wearing long, frilly, spotted dresses riding ‘crupera’ (translated as sideways pillion – they must mean side-saddle and not two riders on a horse?); or later in the year the September Fiestas de Otoño which culminates in a massive parade of horses, riders and horsedrawn carriages could be fun.
I wonder whether the Feria del Caballo ties up with half-term?…