Quinta do Rol - Portugal

Quinta do Rol

2 star rating   24 March 2019

Julie-Anne (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Boot camp on horseback | The lessons varied from enjoyable through frustrating to miserable.
The instructors were moody, shouted at everyone there like children. When I tried to stop to explain that he was asking me to do something that I had no idea what it was, Pedro screamed at me to keep moving and just try. He told me to “Traverse down the long side” I had no idea what this was and he wouldn’t tell me so I guessed I needed to go sideways across the school. When I did he screamed “why are you doing that!!!!” When I said I don’t know what it is he just kept saying “Traverse down the side”!!!!! He was trying to get me to do flying changes, of which I did a couple then he wanted more and more and more. By this time the horse had had enough and started bucking. No matter what I did he kept shouting and the horse kept bucking in the end I got off. Pedro let out a rant in Portuguese and made me get back on. It was my last lesson and awful.
Both instructors were intimidating they decided the mood of the day and sometimes it was clear they were both in a mood and the clients were on the receiving end of it.
[In The Saddle: we have spoken to you on your return. We understand you had one fabulous lesson on a dun horse and had booked to have a second lesson on this horse, but that it had not gone well for you. We are aware that sometimes the Portuguese instructors can become very excited, they may raise their voice and become animated and some people feel intimidated by this. We are sorry you felt this way and are discussing this with the owners at Quinta da Rol so that they can talk to the instructors].

The Riding

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

The Accommodation

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

Do you have any comments about the accommodation and food?

The food was very poor on the first day, €25 for a slice of omelette is scandalous, the evening meal was a squid risotto which was so gritty it was like eating sand. It was better subsequent days but it would be nice to have some alternative even if just a cheese salad in case you don’t like something.

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?
5 star rating

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

The information you sent out was excellent. However when we arrived we were shown round the accommodation and just told the school was across the road. We luckily met some other clients who had taken a photo of a board in the school and were able to tell us what time our lesson was in the morning otherwise we would have missed it.

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

It was all handled very well. I personally would like to pay the balance on a credit card. [In The Saddle - we prefer to receive payment by debit card or bank transfer but going forward we are amending our policy and will also accept payment by credit card.]

Do you have any other feedback for us?

I really don’t understand how the reviews for this holiday are all excellent when I witnessed 3 people in tears due to the instructors bullying. This is supposed to be fun. We were asked in the beginning what we wanted to achieve and most people said to enjoy it and enjoy the horses. [In The Saddle: in our experience, emotions can run very high during dressage lessons. The instructors are very passionate about their skill. We know they don't set out to bully people, but they do want everyone to push themselves to achieve.]