Quinta do Rol - Portugal

Quinta do Rol

1 star rating   30 September 2018

cat (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Not to be recommended. It did not meet my expectations at all.
The two horses that I rode and (many of the other horses that I observed) were very stiff and could hardly even walk and trot and the canter was like trying to ride a crippled horse. Which was a horrible experience. The instruction was very limited, the first 20 minutes consisted of the two instructors who were in the arena just talking in their own language to each other. I was merely just told to do things rather than having anything explained. I had provided my riding experience and knowledge prior to arriving at the centre which was that I had ridden to FEI level and am a grand prix dressage judge and a coach but the horses I was expected to ride were very basic riding school horses that were very stiff and seemed to have unsoundness issues. I tried to discuss with the senior instructor about the fact that the horses were very stiff and could hardly move forward to which he chased the horse around the arena with a whip just making him rush around. I attempted to explain that fast is not active and has nothing to do with classical dressage. The lesson was a complete waste of time and I felt for the horse being forced to work when he felt so uncomfortable in his way of going. I also on more that one occasion observed the instructor hitting the forearm of one of the horses which made a loud crack while the rider was attempting to do passage, the horse appeared stressed and was a welfare issue as the episode went on around and around the arena for a long time. This was commented on by other riders who also observed the episode. Clearly a welfare issue, horses should not be forced to perform like that while being hit constantly in the manner in which this occurred. For any rider who like myself who were hoping to ride the higher movements on well trained supple horses, this place is not recommended. [In The Saddle - we are very sorry that you did not enjoy your stay at Quinta do Rol. We have visited twice and have very positive feedback from many experienced riders who enjoy riding these highly trained and very well cared for horses.]

The Riding

How well were you matched with the right horse for your ability?
1 star rating
How would you rate the variety of riding, pace or terrain?
1 star rating
How would you rate the overall standard of the horses, tack and stables?
1 star rating

The Accommodation

How would you rate your room(s) for comfort and facilities?
3 star rating
How would you rate the standard of the food?
4 star rating

Do you have any comments about the accommodation and food?

The food was rather basic. I was told check out for any payment owing was on the last day but then was forced to do this on the day before I left which
I was not pleased about. I was also asked to vacate my room two hours prior to the check out time as stated on the agreement. [In The Saddle - as we have discussed, the cleaning staff made a mistake in asking you to leave your room early because some building works were due to be done. However this was immediately corrected and you did remain in your room until the regular check-out time.]

Before Your Holiday

Did you have all of the information you needed to:

Plan and prepare for your holiday?
2 star rating
Feel comfortable about your transfers and what to expect?
1 star rating

How could we improve the quality of pre-holiday information that we send?

Have integrity and be honest with riders who are expecting to ride well trained horses that they are only riding school stiff older horses. [In The Saddle: we have visited Quinta do Rol and we do not agree with your assessment of the horses. In addition we have the feedback from very many experienced riders who have had lessons at Quinta do Rol and who comment on the very high quality of the horses and instruction.]

How could we improve the way we handled your booking and payment?

I have asked for a full refund as the experience was just so horrible

Do you have any other feedback for us?

A thoroughly terrible experience and l woulld not recommend it. I expect a full refund. [In The Saddle: You had a three night stay and had paid for 4 lessons. The owners of Quinta do Rol did not charge you for two of your lessons (by giving you a credit for your airport transfers).]