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.]

The Riding

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

How would you rate your room(s) for comfort and facilities?
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How would you rate the standard of the food?
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Do you have any comments about the accommodation and food?

The food was tasty, however, it would have been nice to have a little more variety specifically more what I would deem (maybe wrongly) Italian cuisine. It would have been wonderful to have more pasta dishes, perhaps a pizza night, and the possibility to buy gelato/ice cream during the day. You receive one menu for the entire week.

I think the fact that it is very difficult once onsite to get food other than paying additionally for lunch is not great and will definitely hire a car next time, luckily Ailsa was kind enough to drive us to the supermarket so I was able to buy lunch for the week and some ice creams and beer. I believe there used to be a little shop on site. They would definitely benefit from getting the shop back. The accommodation was ok, although with being semi self catering basics would have been very helpful eg washing up liquid. The hamper was also a little underwhelming - although the coffee was lovely!
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: These are very helpful comments and so thank you very much, we will certainly follow up with the ride.]

Before Your Holiday

Did you have all of the information you needed to:

Plan and prepare for your holiday?
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Feel comfortable about your transfers and what to expect?
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