Reviews
22 reviews   
Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany Short Break

5 star rating   22 May 2024

Clare (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Great Riding, Great Scenery, Everything We Could've Asked For | The horses are sooooooooooo well trained and responsive we honestly couldn’t believe it. I cannot speak highly enough about the quality of the horses, how well they were cared for and how well we were matched to them. My horse Roomba was fast, which I'd asked for, but didn't have ANY of the qualities you sometimes get with a highly spirited horse, e.g. cheeky, misbehaving. She was perfect, and forward going. For my husband, who has slightly less experience, they paired him with Binoda who took great care of him without having any of the qualities of a traditionally reliable horse - she could go with the best of them, and was also incredibly responsive.

Franco, their trainer - this is clearly his passion and his life and he looks after and trains those horses better than anyone I've ever met. This is his craft and he's amazing at it - the guides would say you could always tell if a horse had recently worked with Franco because they were so soft on the reins, and to have access to horse with this kind of world class training is incredibly rare.

In terms of pace and terrain, there was lots of variety, a good amount of cantering, trotting and up and down hill work - despite there being weather conditions that slightly tempered the amount of terrain we could cover, they were amazing at making sure we got every last ounce of the riding that we could - without ever compromising our safety, of course.

And last but certainly not least - the guides!!!! Ailsa is the best guide I've ever had in my entire life, in any riding capacity. She made it so unique and personal and clearly cared about helping us improve our riding above and beyond just guiding us through the incredible hills and valleys. She even let us play with her German Shepherd and would give us a lift back to big house after a ride, which she absolutely did not have to do. It's cringe, but I would honestly say we made a new friend in Ailsa!!!


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany Short Break

5 star rating   22 May 2024

Debbie (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Fantastic! | I have been fortunate to ride all over the world and am delighted to say that the horses at Castellare di Tonda were some of the best cared for and well mannered that I have ever experienced. Ailsa our guide was excellent. Her care and attention was second to none and nothing was too much trouble for her.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Castellare Train & Trail Short Break

5 star rating   8 May 2024

Rosie who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Short break western riding holiday was fantastic! | Ailsa and the team were just fabulous, very knowledgeable and helpful . I throughly enjoyed the lessons with Franco, I had very little experience with western riding and over the 3 days he taught me the basics for western riding. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was just what I needed !
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your feedback and it's wonderful to hear how much you enjoyed the riding at Castellare di Tonda.]


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   4 May 2024

Julie (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Well trained and cared for horses, a great guide, fabulous food and scenery! | Tuscany is green and beautiful in the spring! The rides out into the forests and vineyards were amazing with lots of significant ups and downs but many smooth spots as well. The picnic sites and food provided on the picnics were amazing. We had significant rain and were offered reining lessons in the covered arena in place of a couple rides. Great instruction on well trained horses.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

4 star rating   4 May 2024

Sharon (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Great Experience | The horses were magnificent. Well cared for and well trained. Ailsa and the team, headed by Franco took the time to assess us and make sure we were well matched with our horses and that we understood how to ride a reining trained horse, for their continuity and for us to get the best out of them. Caring for the horses was an underlying theme that we appreciated and understood.
The terrain was typical bucolic Tuscany and the sights were amazing wherever we looked.
We had three full days of riding with fantastic picnics for lunch and then the rain moved in. We still rode, but then moved into the large indoor arena and elected to have lessons. Ailsa and Franco were very flexible and accommodating to ensure we enjoyed our time.
Ailsa looked after us outside the riding as well, smoothing out any issues and making great recommendations for restaurants and sites to visit.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your feedback and I'm so pleased that you enjoyed your riding holiday in Tuscany.]


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   30 September 2023

Margaret who has been on 7 In The Saddle rides. Castellare Di Tonda | Riding on very well trained easy going horses I loved Reida my lovely chestnut mare - wonderful to ride through the Tuscan countryside - olive groves, fields, vineyards and woods and see the Medieval villages and chapels. We had great canters and yes some loping up the hills. Ailsa and Franco are brilliant with true passion with training the horses and their well being. Ailsa was a fantastic guide and cared for us every step of the way.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   30 September 2023

Morna who has been on 7 In The Saddle rides. A wonderful week Western riding in sunny Tuscany | Before I went, I wasn't sure about Western riding but with a little tuition and a willingness to try and do as we were told, I soon found it to be relaxing and fun. I rode a wonderful horse and as the week went on the riding got better and better. It is not a fast ride, although we had some lovely canters, as there are a lot of hills, some of them very steep. Ailsa, our guide, was excellent.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   30 September 2023

Jane who has been on 17 In The Saddle rides. Girls on Top In Tuscany !! | The riding on this holiday more than met my expectations. Ailsa our guide took every care and left no stone unturned. Ailsa and Franco the horse trainer are passionate about their horses and they appreciated that we were eager to share their passion and learn their style of riding to get the best experience. I had ridden in a western saddle before but I hadn't realised how skilled and sensitive this form of riding is. I was also surprised at how comfortable I felt in the saddle all week. All four of us were perfectly matched with horses that were very well schooled, in fact some of the best schooled horses that I have experienced on a riding holiday and I have done quite a few! They could be ridden in any order. They have perfect manners. Riding in the Tuscan countryside was a joy as it is so beautiful, and our trails were interested and varied with little riding on roads necessary.
Tears were shed when we left as we had the most fantastic time and I am definitely planning to return.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   30 September 2023

Louise who has been on 4 In The Saddle rides. This holiday exceeded all expectations. | Our guide Alisa was excellent and very safety conscious and very informative. Although Franco didn’t speak English - Alisa translated his words of wisdom to us. The 4 of us in our group were very well matched with our horses. Riding and scenery was very varied with some beautiful scenery.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   23 September 2023

Patricia (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Perfect Holiday | Excellent


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   16 September 2023

Clare who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Amazing | Exceeded expectations
Wonderful, well cared for horses
Varied terrain
Lots of canters
Beautiful views
Friendly hosts
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you for your lovely feedback, we are so pleased you had a wonderful time.]


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   9 September 2023

Jan (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) From start to finish this holiday was wonderful | I had the most amazing week at Castellare di Tonda!

From start to finish this holiday was wonderful.

It was my first ever riding holiday and I travelled alone. Becky from in the saddle was incredibly helpful and informative and couldn’t have done more to make booking and holiday prep any easier - thank you Becky!

I was a little nervous as I’d had a recent bad experience riding which had massively knocked my confidence.

The team at Castellare are some of the kindest people I’ve had the pleasure to come across - non more so than Ailsa who made the week perfect!

Ailsa is a fantastic riding companion and all round wonderful human - from the first moment I was put at ease and had so much fun riding out through the most beautiful countryside.

Ailsa’s kindness and support didn’t stop with the riding - she also helped me find a lovely wine tasting for my non riding day and was on hand for any questions about anything holiday related.

I had the great pleasure of spending the week riding Rossa who is a joy! Kind and safe but will respond to your leg and seat so well which makes canters the most fun! A beautiful soul she was lovely on the ground too and I had as much fun grooming her as riding her - fell a little bit in love and if I could have taken her home I would have done!

The practical stuff - accommodation is what you’d expect in Italy… basic but everything you need and exceptionally clean and tidy. Food in the restaurant was really lovely and lots of variety.

10/10 would recommend and I’ll definitely be back! Huge thank you to Ailsa and Rossa for helping me fall back in love with riding again - I’m indebted you both.

[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you so much for wonderful feedback. I'm so pleased to hear how much you enjoyed your holiday at Castellare di Tonda :)]


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Heart of Tuscany

5 star rating   22 July 2023

Kristine who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. The perfect place for us and it was SO fantastic | Lovely days on horseback. Challenging in just the right way. Safe and strong horses in varied landscapes with a skilled guide.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Heart of Tuscany

5 star rating   8 July 2023

Jane who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Great fun | Ailsa was brilliant and took great care of us. She matched both Simon and me with suitable horses and we had a lovely time. We asked Ailsa to confirm to you what she thought Simon's riding level was so that we have an independent view on it for our next holiday. She said to us she thought it was Intermediate plus which is a great achievement for him.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   1 July 2023

Tracy (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) The best holiday | Ailsa our riding guide was lovely and fun. She is so experienced she gave us the perfect horse for our ability. I trusted my horse completely which made the week stress-free and memorable. The rides were so scenic and enjoyable. I would go back tomorrow if I could! She made our holiday one to remember. I didn't want to leave.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: I'm so pleased you enjoyed the riding!]


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Heart of Tuscany Short Break

4 star rating   17 May 2023

Suzanne (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Western riding in Tuscany | The weather prevented the riding we were expecting, constant downpour making terrain unsafe for riding out


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Heart of Tuscany Short Break

2 star rating   17 May 2023

Heather (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) OK so although the staff did their best I think it's important that you know the following, we were only able to ride in the school for at best 1 hour each for two out of the three days, we had one sunny day so rode up around a track for 1 hour. The weather really dictates whether you can ride or not because of the terrain, the horses cannot go on the roads and I understand why. So in essence this was not a riding holiday as I would have hoped, the spa was closed when it was raining so that was also not an option, we had a great time as a group because you could put us in a room for three days and we would get along and make the best of it but it's important that you make it clear to anyone booking. We are used to hunting in any weather, you dress appropriately and get going. Thanks.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Heart of Tuscany

5 star rating   18 June 2022

Morag who has been on 6 In The Saddle rides. An outstanding equestrian experience | This was our 6th visit to CdT, and I'm delighted to say that the horse I rode this year was the best yet. She was powerful and forward-going, but excellently schooled, thus sensitive and responsive: an absolute joy to ride. We travelled new trails and some old favourites, with the high temperatures always taken into consideration, so there were plenty of descents into the cool shady forests after taking in some classically Tuscan views.

The care shown by all the staff with regards the horses' welfare, and ours, was excellent, in particular flexibility in terms of start and finish times to avoid the hottest time of the day. Hats off to Franco, Ailsa et al. for making our holiday so special.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Heart of Tuscany

5 star rating   18 June 2022

Emma who has been on 3 In The Saddle rides. A privilege to ride such well trained and cared for horses, unlike any others | The riding went above and beyond all expectations and then some. The hacking was lovely with wonderfully well-trained horses matched to each rider incredibly well, through beautiful countryside.
However, the absolute highlight of the holiday was having a lesson with Franco on a Western-trained quarter horse names El Wimpy. Initially, I had wanted a lesson as I am so used to riding English I wanted to make sure I was riding correctly for how the horses were trained (totally unnecessary as you are given a lesson on day one to understand the basics which is all you need and they respond incredibly well) I was completely blown away in my first lesson riding my trail horse Ros I decided to book another. This time I was on El Wimpy.... I can honestly say it was the most incredible lesson in my life and an experience I will never ever forget, he was the most well-trained horse I have ever had the privilege to ride. Franco is an amazing teacher and trainer he helped me do my first ever 'spin' and also sliding stop, more importantly than this I had lost confidence in my own abilities and he gave me that back (not gonna lie I was crying by the end!)
I was also incredibly impressed with how well the horses were looked after, they were all in impeccable condition, fit with a shiny coat, well mannered and happy.

I do need to make a special mention about Ailsa who really did go above and beyond to look after us, ensuring we were well looked after every step of the way her generosity knew no bounds to the point of driving to the pharmacy to get medication for my mum who was under the weather. Her translating skills were also pretty incredible during my lessons! She is a true asset to Castellore and a genuinely wonderful human being 🙂
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you for your feedback and I'm so pleased to hear how much you enjoyed the riding. It's wonderful to hear your experiences.]


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   11 June 2022

Steve (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Amazing holiday | I cannot praise the riding enough. I’ve never ridden such well trained horses, ever! They spook at nothing, not snakes, flapping sheets, fast cars or very steep inclines or drop offs.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany Short Break

5 star rating   1 June 2022

Sean (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Fantastic riding holiday in amazing countryside | Yes it did. After initial trepidation in the indoor arena learning 'Western' with Franco, we were out on a trail. Our confidence grew together with our understanding of our horses. Very good package of rides around the area with welcome lunch stops.
Thankfully dry and no flies so perfect conditions for us and the horses.
Ailsa was an absolute star, she was very in tune with the group, keeping us safe and maximising our enjoyment. Going out at 6am to mark a twisty trip with paint says it all. She was ably assisted by Costansa and Diego and with Franco's oversight they were a great team.


Castellare di Tonda - Italy

Medieval Tuscany

5 star rating   30 April 2022

Nici who has been on 3 In The Saddle rides. Loved it | Wonderful location, loved the variety of forests and the open vineyards.
The riding experience was great, the horses are well trained, sure footed and extremely well looked after.

The riding is relaxed, yet it never gets boring as the scenery is stunning and the trials are varied.

What makes this places extra specials are the trainers and guides. The level of care and hospitality is on another level. I felt the the whole team had a genuine interest to make the experience excellent. It starts with being carefully matched with the right horse (I was on the same horse all week, very happy as I liked her so much) to the carefully curated trail routes that offered variety, scenery, and daily change. Then the elaborate 'picnics' which turned out to be 3 course lunches, to just everyone being genuinely lovely.

I was excellent overall, I hope to go back there soon.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your feedback and we are so pleased that you enjoyed your time at Castellare di Tonda.]


22 reviews