Reviews
43 reviews    1 2
Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   12 March 2020

Janet who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Dressage and Trail riding with beautiful Lusitano horses and expert instructors in fabulous surroundings. | Fantastic to meet the brood mares, to ride very well trained dressage horses and enjoy the fabulous accommodation and beautiful landscape. Everyone at Monte Velho were very welcoming and helpful.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   6 March 2020

Polly who has been on 5 In The Saddle rides. Lovely relaxing week at a friendly location. | The riding was excellent, and the quality of teaching and horses very high.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   22 February 2020

Zarum (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Great Experience. | This family-owned and run property shows how this wonderful family took a raw canvas 25 years ago and have painted a masterpiece of a property and resort for lovers of dressage and the Lusitano horse. We were attracted to the combination of old world feel and modern accommodations when we first researched the property. The Owner is an architect who has seamlessly blended the transformation of the ruined farmhouse they started with and the modern pods that house the bedrooms. One of the first things you come across when entering the property is the brilliant views in all directions. As you drive up to the parking area you are surrounded by dressage arenas and stables housing some magnificent horses. Further views of the surrounding fields yielding an array of pregnant mares. In fact, one night after arrival we were blessed with the sight of a foal who the day before we had walked amongst its pregnant mother. The experience of standing amongst this newborn, its mother and the other one and two-year-old Lusitanos was one of the highlights of the visit. We checked into our spacious and modern room with a sweeping view off the balcony. The dining room was a warm, and welcoming room where we dined three times a day on some great food surrounded by other wonderful guests. The conversations almost always revolved around each person's dressage lessons that day or their trail ride around the property. Adjacent to one of the room pods and across from the dining room is a common space in the form of a very comfortable and spacious living room with an honesty bar that is available to guests 24hrs. From the sliding doors of the common living room, you step out onto patios which look out to the swimming pool and acres of stunning scenery laced with the famous Portuguese cork tree and a small lake where you can take out a canoe. Also in that area is the gym, sauna, and massage room. The staff is all exceptional from the kitchen staff who greet you and cater to your appetite to the riding staff who work with you to better your dressage level. We can attest to the fact that after a week we left far better riders than when we arrived. The property is also a breeding facility where currently one of Portugal's entry into the upcoming summer Olympics in Tokyo and his stunning steed are training. One suggestion I would make to future guests is this. If you are a fairly new rider or you want the full attention of the instructors during your lesson, make sure you book the lessons in that manner. Otherwise, you may find that you will have one instructor to two people and they have to balance the time of the lesson between the two. Other than that, it was a great week and we hope to be back in the future. You won't be disappointed at Monte-Velho whether you are a rider not.

[Imogen from In The Saddle says: It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed your time at Monte Velho and that you gained so much from your lessons.]


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

4 star rating   8 February 2020

Alison who has been on 12 In The Saddle rides. Lovely horses. | I chose to just take lessons and having been there once before I knew what to expect. They have some new horses and the horses I rode all taught me something. Being taught a couple of times by Joao (now selected to represent Portugal for the Olympics) was a real privilege. Other lessons were good although could start to feel a little 'samey' over time.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   4 January 2020

Giulia Adriana (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Amazing and peaceful | Excellent


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   12 November 2019

Veronica who has been on 3 In The Saddle rides. Truly memorable. | Please add any further comments on the riding e.g. did it meet your expectations: I rode two trail horses and four arena horses (we had a trail ride and lesson each day). The only blip was my very first trail horse, Conquistador, who is the biggest trail horse, i.e. the smallest, lightest (43kg) person was on the biggest striding horse! I was OK but then slightly anxious about later horse matches. However, my first lesson was on trusty Xico so all was well. I haven’t had arena lessons for many years and never Dressage lessons. I enjoyed the lessons more than I thought I would and the instructors deserve a medal for patience! The experience exceeded my expectations.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   26 October 2019

Cilka who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Great for serious dressage riders | The dressage instruction was excellent. I was very tired at the end of the lesson! The trail rides were all similar, however. So while it was a pleasant ride, there wasn't much new to see each time we went out.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   21 September 2019

Juliet who has been on 6 In The Saddle rides. Lovely horses and great standard of teaching from all trainers. Only improvement would be the chance to discuss your previous experience and goals at the start of the stay - but if you mention to your trainer what you would like to work on they will do their utmost to accommodate - so don't hesitate to have a chat!


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   21 September 2019

Maxine who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Fabulous holiday.... total immersion in horses and luxury accommodation. | The level of tuition and range of horses were the best I’ve experienced.... just a note that it is worth outlining your riding ability with the trainer for the day to get the best out of your riding lesson. The trail ride was amazing - I wish we had organised more than one during our visit.... riding out around the estate was superb.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   21 September 2019

Angela who has been on 5 In The Saddle rides. Relaxing, informative & fun. | Instructors able to assess riding faults very quickly & work on these progressively. On final lesson thrilled to ride movement not attempted before.
However, on occasions MV horses were schooled in the arena at the same time as two riders were having lessons. This may be fine for riders experienced in riding in busy warm up areas but for more novice riders trying to ride an unfamiliar horse, concentrate on one's instructor and worry about where another horse and rider are is quite stressful.
Loved the schoolmaster horses.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   18 September 2019

Linda (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Luxurious and challenging. | Excellent


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   29 June 2019

Shoulders back - exactly! (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Fantastic learning opportunity. | I have a prelim/novice level understanding of flatwork so was slightly anxious that I would be out of my depth here. I needn’t have worried though as after a week of lessons and trail rides on so many different horses my riding had improved significantly. Lorena’s teaching combined clear instructions, encouragement and sensitivity regardless of who she was teaching (and I watched many other lessons). However, I would advise anyone to communicate what you want to achieve from each lesson and to question an instruction if it is not clear to you. The outcome of the experience depends on all concerned after all. Which brings me to the trail rides. Personally I had a great time and long collected canters through beautiful countryside are my idea of heaven, but Cesar who leads the rides is a very dry and somewhat brusque character at times. I found him hilarious, but I think if you are nervous or a beginner he can be a bit daunting. So to précis, keep an open mind, a sense of humour and you will appreciate what these well schooled, hard working horses and people have to offer. I will definitely be returning.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   23 June 2019

Sway who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. It was that good, I have booked to go again! | I was very satisfied with the overall standard of the horses, I was satisfied with the tack apart from one saddle which was split on the seat, this was not so comfortable to ride on - I was lucky that I only had to use this saddle the once, but even then it had caused a rub & sore spot on my right butt cheek which then needed ‘managing’ for the rest of the holiday - thank god for sudocrem!!!


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   12 June 2019

Niccho who has been on 5 In The Saddle rides. A boutique hotel experience with high level training and hacking. | I had specified before arrival that I am older (62) and hadn't ridden for over a year. However, I don't think this was taken on board in my initial horses for lessons and hacking. Once I had explained to staff on the ground I was very satisifed but horses I rode on the first day were too much for me in my non-riding fit state.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   8 June 2019

Tracey who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Fantastic. | There was just one horse that maybe wasn’t a great match but one had gone lame and he was ok and they did look after me.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

4 star rating   29 May 2019

Graham who has been on 8 In The Saddle rides. Hot Holiday | The weather was quiet hot and I saw a little to much of Virtuoso not an easy horse to motivate in the heat, but then I had Regalo most days, swings and roundabouts I guess. Would have liked a few more different horses with more of a change of instructor as well


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

4 star rating   26 May 2019

Abbey who has been on 9 In The Saddle rides. Instructive but relaxing. | It was nice to have been recognised and I think they remembered the standard we were at. But it would have been nice to have been asked if there was anything you wanted to achieve.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   26 May 2019

Peeps who has been on 9 In The Saddle rides. Great place. | Had been before so did know what to expect this time, still great horses and instruction.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   25 May 2019

Lisa who has been on 4 In The Saddle rides. Restorative experience for body mind and spirit | Coralie and Cendrine were extraordinary instructors.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   23 May 2019

DL (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Fantastic riding holiday at Monte Velho | The horses are well trained and we had a brilliant time with the trial rides


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   14 May 2019

Susan who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. When I go to Monte Velho I am not interested in the trail rides, I am going only for the opportunity and experience of riding experienced dressage horses. So my aim is really to improve my riding but also to get the feeling and experience of what the lateral work, flying changes, piaffe, passage, extensions and collections should feel like on a horse that had the capability to do them, so that I can then have a better understanding of what I am trying to teach my horse.

Unfortunately, there is no discussion with my instructor as to what, if anything, you want to get out of the holiday and from each lesson.

You are allocated a horse for each lessons and I don't know the rationale, if any, behind the allocation. You then do as the instructor determines, there is no consultation/discussion as to the plan for the lesson. I don't mean that it has to be anything lengthy but just for example "this lesson we are going to work on medium trot or flying changes".

I do enjoy and learn from the holiday, but I know with a little bit more structure I could get so much more from it and all my expectations would be met.

Likewise, we are interested in the breeding programme, what stallions they are putting to which mares, how the offspring are being produced, the schedule for bringing young horses on etc is fascinating and very interesting but there is nobody there to provide information or discuss this with.

These aren't meant to be negative criticisms as we do love the place and we appreciate that you can't please everybody, but if these elements could be addressed it would significantly enhance our Monte Velho experience.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   11 May 2019

Nicola who has been on 4 In The Saddle rides. So good I rebooked while I was still there! | Excellent


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   10 May 2019

HL from Los Angeles (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Such a beautiful place, great horses, good food, awesome people. I couldn't ask for more, I really like this place a lot. The trail ride was amazing, they own 250 hectare land with beautiful spring flowers in May. So lovely | From show jumping to dressage was a struggle for me personally. But everyone else had fun for sure.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   10 May 2019

Lancashire Lass who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Brilliant once again | We had a brilliant time. Rode horses of a high standard of training under expert instruction. The instructors were very good, enthusiastic and friendly.
We had three different trainers - all excellent! All were good but particularly liked Cendrine who was really enthusiastic and encouraging. The whole experience was great - the horses were very well cared for and turned out to a high standard. Diago was attentive as ever - took us on a really interesting wine tasting session tour of the stud and explained the breeding programme. His parents had lunch with us one day and were equally friendly and good company - explaining the history of Monte Velho. We also had the chance to see some of the young horses in the schooling sessions.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   9 May 2019

SKK who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Hmmmm. After last year's exceptional time at Monte Velho I was surprised at the slightly chaotic arrangements for trail riding this year. Lessons were fine, and I was well-matched with horses and the instruction was excellent - Sandrine, Coralie and Leana were all great teachers. I felt I really progressed in the ring and built on my novice skills, gaining confidence - a real necessity for me.

However the trail rides were a bit of a mishmash. There were beginner riders (4 lessons only in once case) on trail rides, and the matching of riders to horses was haphazard, with experienced rider guests intervening and rearranging the mounts to accommodate the beginners as the staff seemed to have no real idea of individual capacities. There seemed to be a limited range of trail horses and juggling became an issue.

Also, the leaders were mixed. Beatrice was fine but there were difficulties with Cesar, who is new to Monte Velho. He is a real horseman, and has very fixed ideas about how the rides should be managed which resulted in one of our fellow guests (not a beginner) losing all confidence and wasting two days before a lunge instructor could be found for her and her beginner companion. I found his lack of teaching skill and fixed views on what constituted a collected canter a bit bullying. A fellow (very experienced) rider confided to me during this ride that he felt that Cesar lacked the psychological insight to handle the situation. I felt humiliated and was relieved that he left after my second ride out for an operation.

Having said that, my hip was giving me problems and so I dipped out of the last two trail rides I was booked for in order to preserve myself for the fabulous lessons.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

4 star rating   9 May 2019

Anne (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) The whole holiday was great fun and a wonderful experience, with lovely people, both the staff and owners of Monte Velho and our fellow guests.
The one caveat is that more attention should have been paid to the organisation of the rides, particularly the trail rides. It was silly that my wife's name was on the riding lists and not mine: it was always clear in the booking and run-up that I was riding and she was not.
More importantly, we all filled in competency forms, and it made no sense that experienced and adventurous riders were paired with novices. Thus limiting what they could do. Nor did the trail-ride leaders seem properly briefed on our relative competency: before two of my three rides out, horses had to be swapped around after relative novices were paired with more fractious horses, in one case quite frighteningly, which introduced an unnecessary level of tension.
That said, it was a beautiful setting, we had a brilliant time, and would happily do it again.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

4 star rating   22 April 2019

Tiina (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Perfect place and service, but I was disappointed on the horses I got to ride. Only 2 out of 8 dressagelessons were with horses I liked. | There were excellent horses, but I did not get a chance to ride those. Only two times (of all together eight times). Some lessons were very basic with the horses with no energy to move forward, and that kind of exercises and horses I can everyday ride at home also with much cheaper price. So some riding lessons I would have been glad to skip.

[In The Saddle comment: We have spoken on the phone about your holiday and understand that you did not discuss these issues with your instructor. We do always recommend that each guest talks to their instructor about what they would like to achieve from their lessons to ensure that your goals are met].


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   28 March 2019

Julie who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Wonderful | Would have liked the lessons more matched in ability as the more experienced riders were doing more technical moves which took a lot of the lesson.

Would love to have early morning stretch class of some sort before lessons.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   28 March 2019

Riding at 70. who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Riding and relaxing heaven. | A very positive riding experience. The horses were so highly trained it was a pleasure to ride them and easy to learn from them. They knew their job both for the lessons and for the trail ride. The tutors were excellent, both extremely knowledgeable, sympathetic and also encouraging to riders at all levels. It exceeded my expectations in all ways.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   21 March 2019

Palamino (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Beautiful location, friendly and relaxing. | Rode three different horses, sometimes a bit “busy” in the arena with 4 horses and 2 instructors when there are riders who are not aware of riding etiquette. I would like to have had a chance to do the lateral work without having to avoid other riders.

Overall a brilliant experience for two days riding with four lessons. If I was going to be there for a longer time, I would have liked to have ridden the same horse to establish more of a relationship.


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   16 March 2019

Sue who has been on 12 In The Saddle rides. Fab horses and riding, food, accommodation and stunning location | Excellent


Monte Velho - Portugal

Monte Velho

5 star rating   28 February 2019

happihorse who has been on 4 In The Saddle rides. Absolutely fantastic! | Great lessons on a variety of horses with fantastic instruction which really helped me develop my riding over the course of the week.


43 reviews    1 2