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EQ U E S TR I A N LIVING EQLiving.com
A PORTFOLIO: TRAVEL AND ENTERTAINMENT FEATURES FROM EQUESTRIAN LIVING
THIRD ANNUAL TRAVEL GUIDE
SERENITY OR ADVENTURE: FIND YOUR ESCAPE
UTAH See Page 44
A M A Z IN G E S C A P E S ARGENTINA See Page 46
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DUBAI See Page 40
F O R H O R S E LOV E R S IRELAND See Page 42
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ew travel destinations offer the adventure, the history, and the spectacular beauty of Iceland. The black ashes of recent volcanic eruptions and the bubbling hot springs remind visitors of the true power beneath the earth’s surface, while tall snow-capped mountains and lush meadows beckon them to explore further. Horses were brought to the island over a thousand years ago by the Vikings, and the animals have been isolated there ever since. As a result, the Icelandic horse is unique, known for its flowing mane and its tölt, a smooth running-walk gait. Experienced horseback riders are invited to join Adventure Women on a custom-designed riding trek. Offered only to women, the trip includes three nights at an Icelandic farm and two nights at a
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GLACIERS AND VOLCANOES ON THIS WOMEN-ONLY ODYSSEY
guesthouse in the countryside. The daily rides, which are quite strenuous, range from 12 to 20 miles per day through valleys, mountains, lava fields, and rushing rivers. Each woman rides up to six different horses during the trip, though the entire herd of nearly 70 horses accompanies the group most of the way. To end the week, the itinerary also includes a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon mineral hot pools, where guests can experience a well-deserved massage. To experience Iceland is to gain insight into the past in a way no longer possible in many other parts of the world. Iceland’s isolation has left much of the evidence of its long history intact, while the processes that formed our planet are so clearly and pristinely displayed. What better way to explore it than the way it was done for over a thousand years: aboard an Icelandic horse? PAGE 105
HOMESTEAD RESORT, VIRGINIA
elebrating its 250th year, the Omni Homestead has seen centuries of history, eras of war and peace, and visitors of all kinds, including some of our country’s founding fathers. The luxurious resort is also a National Historic Landmark, having welcomed its first guests a full decade before the American Revolution. In 1766, the Homestead was just an 18-room lodge located on a 300-acre tract owned by Thomas Bullitt. Over the years, buildings and wings have been added and, of course, updated. Today, the resort encompasses 2,300 acres and has 483 guest rooms. The historic ambiance and cozy rooms are rivaled by the extensive list of indoor and outdoor activities available. Summertime offers sportsman fly-fishing, hiking, and archery. Winter activities include skiing, snowmobile tours, and ice skating.
LUXURY ABOUNDS AT THIS BIRTHPLACE OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
The resort owns 48 horses and offers horseback riding and carriage rides throughout the year. The equestrian center, situated about a quarter-mile from the front entrance, welcomes guests to meet the horses, and those with reservations can take trail rides through the clean, mountain air of the Alleghenies. The resort also offers lead-line rides for children. Situated above a natural mineral spring, the spa at the Homestead incorporates the healing benefits of hot baths into the various treatments offered in its 28 treatments rooms. The spa’s river reflexology walk, which is fed by the hot springs, boasts a naturally pressurized deluge shower. Thomas Jefferson sought relief for his rheumatism in the springs for over three weeks, taking the waters two times per day. He described the springs and resort as “of the first merit.” High PAGE 105 praise, indeed.
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PER AQUUM DESERT PALM, DUB AI
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our full-size championship polo fields surround this manicured estate, just 15 minutes from downtown Dubai. You can watch the highest levels of the sport of kings being played October through April, directly from your room’s wide windows. Or if you’d prefer, catch a sunset chukker from the rooftop terrace. Here, the mix of European and Arabian influences is a notable break from the conventionally opulent luxury hotels that dot the city. The Per Aquum Desert Palm merges classic forms of local architecture with avant-garde design to create an oasis of lush green fields and shady palms in the ancient sun-soaked desert. Service and dining are of the highest levels, provided by polo-shirt-clad attendants. Venture just outside to search for bargains at the souk or cruise the Dubai Creek aboard a traditional Arabian dhow.
A UNIQUE MIX OF EUROPEAN AND ARABIAN STYLE
Or climb into a vintage Land Rover for a desert safari to a Bedouin camp inside a royal desert retreat and dine under the stars, while lamps flicker over the sand. Equestrian style is on full display at the Per Aquum Desert Palm. “A giant statue of a horse’s head in the outer courtyard sets the tone: this is a hotel obsessed with all things equine,” says The Telegraph in its review of the resort. “There are polo magazines in reception, by the pool, and in the rooms; pony statuettes in the lounge; even the phone pads have pictures of polo players on them.” Not only can you witness world-class horse sports, but as a guest you have access to a huge number of horse-related activities at the breath-taking equestrian facilities. The 300-stall stable offers riding and polo lessons, and three tracks loop the grounds for riding, jogging, and cycling. PAGE 105
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CONNEMARA , IRELAND
or many equestrians, Ireland is a mecca of horsemanship. Breeders, trainers, riders, drivers, and adventure seekers have long gravitated toward the country’s equestrian culture, unique breeds, and beautiful landscape. Another dream shared by many riders: riding on the beach. To complete this equestrian bucket list, look to the west coast of Ireland in a region known as Connemara. Connemara Equestrian Escapes offers custom itineraries for horseback journeys, ranging from three to seven days, that follow the wild atlantic way, with the breath-taking grandeur of the region’s mountains, lakes, and coastline and the promise of plenty of beach riding. The company is run by a family that breeds and competes horses. Their homebred Connemara ponies are produced specifically for extra height, kind temperament, sure-footedness, and sometimes quirky personalities. A selection of Irish draft horses,
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RIDE ON THE BEACH WITH THE HELP OF SUREFOOTED CONNEMARA PONIES
renowned for their strength and intelligence is also available for taller riders. Founder Cáit Goaley explains, “These trips are an opportunity to lap up the peace, tranquillity, and everything else this special place has to offer with the help of our honest and surefooted Connemara ponies and Irish draft horses.” Most vacations begin at Cáit’s luxury farmhouse on the shores of Lough Corrib. Other accommodations along the route include some of Ireland’s highest-rated resorts: the Renvyle House Hotel and Resort, the Cashel House Hotel, and Ballynahinch Castle, all unique and incredible historic resorts. Luxurious yet cozy, these lodgings will ensure a memorable stay. In addition to the trail adventures, some guests choose to include intensive cross-country clinics or a hunting break. Recently, the company also launched their equine-assisted wellness retreat, which offers non-riders the benefits of the calming presence of a PAGE 105 horse.
THE FOUR SE ASONS , LANAI, HAWAII
n a 90,000-acre secluded island just nine miles from Maui, the Four Seasons Lanai is a paradise of old Hawaii. Untouched by fast-food restaurants and traffic lights, the island is a lush and natural oasis, where relaxation and luxury meet natural beauty and the rich traditions of island life. Set atop a red lava cliff, the resort has just reopened after comprehensive renovations. The newly refurbished interiors are inspired by Hawaiiâ€™s diverse and storied influences, with details like walls lined with artisan-produced lokta paper from Nepal and mahogany floors covered by hand-woven wool rugs. Rooms offer an incredible level of technological comforts, from fully integrated intuitive lighting, temperature, service, and privacy controls to 75-inch platinum-bezeled televisions and an in-room iPad Air.
RELAXATION, LUXURY, AND THE RICH TRADITIONS OF ISLAND LIFE
Relaxation is the top priority of this island oasis. The spa offers Hawaiian rituals, including kalu au pai, a mini treatment that begins with the exfoliation of the feet followed by tapotement, or pai, on the soles of the feet to stimulate the flex points with kala au, small sticks made from guava wood that grows on the island. The oceanside paradise borders a marine preserve that teems with colorful reef fish and protected species like spinner dolphins and green sea turtles. Laze on the white sand beaches or play a round of golf on the award-winning golf course, which offers a happy hour during sunset. Guests can enjoy the beautiful ocean vistas off the back nine while sipping a specialty cocktail. Travel 15 minutes upcountry, and you can enjoy horseback riding and lessons in a dramatically different environment of lush vegetation and high views. PAGE 105
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n the otherworldly landscape of southern Utah, a unique resort blends seamlessly into the vast desert. It offers easy access to some of America’s most magnificent National Parks and protected areas, including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley. Amangiri is an Aman destination, one of a group of luxury hotels and resorts in 20 countries around the world. They are renowned for their design, space, and privacy. Aman’s destinations are located in some of the most diverse and awe-inspiring natural or historic landscapes. Each instills a sense of peace and a connection to the natural environment. This jaw-dropping resort, like the surrounding landscape, is dramatic and majestic, yet intimate. Its ground-hugging design uses clean lines and natural materials to mirror the serenity of the stark desert scenery. Wide glass doors and skylights contrast the
DESERT RESORT OFFERS SERENITY AND ADVENTURE
cool, remote escape of the shady caves near the canyon wall. Looking for adventure? Early morning hot-air balloon flights launch directly from Amangiri and soar over Lake Powell, the Vermillion Cliffs, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The resort’s extensive trails and expert guides offer horseback riding adventures for all levels. Paleontological interpreters will accompany you to explore and even excavate fossils and dinosaur tracks at the nearby Tibbet Spring Bone Bed Quarry. Navajo guides take you to slot canyons and introduce you to ritual dances and storytelling. For those in search of tranquility, the desert spa aims to reflect the healing traditions of the Navajo through the four elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. Treatments include massages, scrubs, wraps, PAGE 105 and flotation therapy.
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LA B AMB A DE ARECO, ARGENTINA
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n an elegant estancia in the pampas of Argentina, two worlds meet: the quiet, working world of the gaucho and the fast, hard-hitting play of polo. Several friends and I arrive at La Bamba de Areco in the heat of a February summer, having just completed over 200 miles of biking through the Mendoza and Salta regions of Argentina for a deserved rest at this colonial estate. Weâ€™ll be cherished guests for a luxurious stay while being plied with delicious food, quick-footed horses, and generous hospitality. We had driven the 120 kilometers from Buenos Aires and entered the South American pampasâ€”the grasslandsâ€”home of the grand estancias and the hard-working gaucho. Leaving the paved road, we navigated the muddy trenches of recently rainedon dirt roads, passed through a pair of iron gates, and were greeted by resort staff at the entrance to a grand stone house. Formerly a postal stop on the
The travelers: Jamie Fields, a gaucho, Annie Penfield, Alexis Waller, and Ana Ines.
Royal Road in the 1860s, the building has been transformed into a boutique hotel with a menu of plush amenities. Hours later, I am happily on the back of retired polo pony, Agatha, walking behind a gaucho, who is dressed in his uniform of loose pants, silver belt, white shirt, straw hat, Vans shoes, and of course a cigarette; he speaks no English. I shift in the sheepskin-covered cattle saddle, press my feet into the leather stirrups, hold my reins in my right hand, and ride the dirt lane in the intense sun of a blue-sky day. La Bamba de Areco serves as the base for the international polo team of the same name, and we soon pass the empty shed-row stalls of the polo barn. The property includes two polo fields, and guests can watch matches or daily practice sessions during the season. Now, at the height of summer, the polo ponies are turned out to pasture to rest before the season resumes in March. Continued on page 48
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Continued from page 47
Rounding the corner of the barn, we stride onto the manicured polo field. The gaucho picks up a canter. He doesn’t look over his shoulder, but I am sure his eye is on us and his thought lingers: can they ride? We lope the perimeter of the field, continue down a tree-lined grass avenue, and pull up to a sudden halt at a gate. Seeing that we are not only still mounted but also right on his tail and grinning madly, the gaucho leans over to loop the chain off the post and presses his horse’s chest to push open the gate. Again we are off at the canter, passing herds of cattle and shiny, chubby, polo ponies at pasture. a Bamba is a working ranch. The gaucho opens a holding pen and releases a small herd of cows and calves. With no direction (again, he doesn’t speak English), we move behind the herd to keep them in a pack and push them across the pasture towards the open gate. The sun is intense, and Agatha is slicked in sweat. A light
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A demonstration of the special trust between a gaucho and his horse.
breeze ruffles the knee-high grass around us, and, once the herd enters the new pasture, we turn back and search the tall grass for a missing calf. The gaucho is an emblematic part of South American tradition since the 1600s. The word gaucho perhaps has its origins in the Quechua word for orphan, huachu, or in the Arabic chauch, meaning cattle herder. The Moorish influence is obvious in a gaucho’s horsemanship and customs. Nowadays he is a horseman who lives on an estancia and takescare of the cattle. His inseparable companion is his criollo horse, a legacy from Spain bred on Argentine soil since the 17th century. Gaucho and horse work together from sunrise to dusk. On festive days both dress up, the horse in its silver-decorated tack and the gaucho with knife or facón. During our stay at La Bamba, we witness a training demonstration of gaucho style. First, he stands like a scout upon the saddle, then he drops behind his horse and crawls between its legs to come to rest on the ground at its hooves. He places a hoof on his
chest as the horse stands by quietly chewing. This trust between horse and gaucho is implicit during gaucho games, in which gauchos gallop while standing on their horses’ back, or compete in equestrian skills, or simply demonstrate the rapport required in everyday working-farm tasks by leaning to the ground and pulling a calf into the saddle. Oh—and yes—that missing calf was recovered and carried to pasture to rejoin the herd. After our ride, we rest by the pool and await the lunch bell to call us to the open-air pavilion for a multi-course meal prepared on the huge wood-fired parrilla (barbeque). Platters of grilled meat and vegetables with homemade bread and tasty chimichurri sauce circulate the table. The grand finale to the meal is crepes, filled with dulce de leche, covered with sugar, branded with the La Bamba logo, and topped with homemade vanilla ice cream. Following lunch we visit San Antonio de Areco, one of the oldest towns in Argentina, only 13 kilometers (about 8 miles) away. Narrow cobbled streets, iron gates, flowering trees, murals, churches, bars, and museums distinguish the town. The shops open only in
The author, ANNIE PENFIELD, part owner of Strafford Saddlery in Strafford, Vermont, is a rider and writer, whose work has appeared in several literary journals. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family and horses in Vermont.
the late afternoon. We explore a tack shop and marvel at the skill of the local craftsmen. We admire the fine weave of a crop and the silver and leatherwork of a decorative gaucho bridle. Evening at La Bamba brings cocktail hour, a fourcourse meal, and conversation with fellow guests from around the world. At this point, we have only tasted a small portion of what this grand estancia has to offer. Excursions by carriage or mountain bike, Argentinian bowl games, hot stone massages, fly-fishing, and numerous other options offer an unforgettable and restful experience. After a fine Mendoza Malbec, we are content to retreat across the courtyard to our high-ceiling bedrooms. I fall asleep surrounded by horses: a polo-pony portrait on the wall, a photograph of a horse’s face above my headboard, a window to the polo field, leather stirrups decorating the dresser, and a bedside table piled high with books on polo, gaucho traditions, and Argentine history. All these elements of grace and sweat, history and luxury, polo and cattle, are the sensory experience that is La Bamba. PAGE 105
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ituated on the second largest island in the sunny Bazaruto Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique, the AndBeyond Benguerra resort is a gateway to an underwater paradise of marine life. Set in a protected conservation area, the resort offers pristine reefs teeming with life. A deep lagoon, unaffected by the tides, makes for perfect swimming and snorkeling. The lodge is sheltered by a canopy of casuarina pines that opens up to panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. While the island is fringed with golden, sandy beaches, its interior is a lush patchwork of forests, wetlands, and freshwater lakes. Explore the
RIDE BAREBACK INTO THE AZURE WATERS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN
island on foot or horseback, uncover traditional culture at the local village, or climb soaring sand dunes. The resort can offer you a castaway picnic, with incredible ocean views and romantic total seclusion. Horseback adventures allow guests to spend late afternoons cantering along the waterâ€™s edge, exploring the islandâ€™s hidden tracks, or indulging in a gentle wander along endless beaches. In tune with nature, horseback riding is the perfect way to absorb the beauty of Benguerra. You can ride bareback into the azure waters, splashing and laughing, as you float along into the waves aboard your island horse. Afterwards, hop off and allow your horse a sandy roll on the beach.
BENGUERRA , MOZ AMBIQUE
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NAYARA SPRINGS , COSTA RICA
he ultraluxe Nayara Springs sits under the misty Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Accessible only by a 200-foot-long footbridge, the secluded resort is for adults only and attracts honeymooners and horse lovers from around the world. The rainforests of Central America are dense with vegetation and animal life. Huge, colorful plants line the stone pathways of the resort. Chirping frogs and the steady thump of warm rain on your villaâ€™s terrace will lull you to sleep in your extravagant four-poster, kingsize bed. Outside, an infinity pool merges into the forest, allowing swimmers-turned-birdwatchers to spot
ESCAPE TO THE RAINFOREST FOR LUXURY AND SECLUSION
toucans, hummingbirds, and macaws. Relaxation abounds in the spaâ€™s unique open-air bungalows, which offer volcanic mud treatments, or in a complimentary yoga class conducted in an incredible all-glass pavilion. Riders of all levels can enjoy horseback excursions into the rainforest, crossing rivers and traversing coffee plantations and dense jungles. Depending on your need for speed, walk or gallop with your guide across pastures or through the jungle to the volcano. Other adventures include zip lining, whitewater rafting, and eco-tours that cross the numerous Arenal hanging bridges in a 600-acre nature reserve. A hike to the nearby Chato Peak, a dormant twin to the Arenal Volcano, will take you to a splendid crater lake and the La Fortuna waterfall. PAGE 105 A PRIL/MAY | 201 6 | EQ L I V I NG .CO M | 5 1
TURTLE ISLAND, FIJI
t is a few hours until the sun will rise on Turtle Island, Fiji, and in the darkness of my bure, I am slipping into my jeans, a bikini top, and a long-sleeved coverlet—odd attire for a beach vacation but the perfect mix for this equestrian who is going to find herself combining this salty, ocean vacation with her great love of horseback. My “bure mama” arrives to take my fiancé and me to our horses, who will guide us through canopies of mahogany trees to the ocean and beaches of the Fiji Islands. Yesterday’s footprints in the sand are washed away and replaced by the shoeless prints of our horses as they carry us down the beach to a table set for two, where a delicious champagne breakfast awaits. Turtle Island is nestled in the Yasawa Islands in Fiji and is privately owned by Richard Evanson and his family. Evanson grew up in the U.S. in the Pacific Northwest, where he was proud to call horses and cattle a part of his life. Now a world away, he owns an island where 14 couples can reserve villas, lie on a private beach for the day, and enjoy their own exotic, romantic, picnic luncheon with delicacies such as
LEAVE HOOFPRINTS ON THE BEACH OF A BLUE LAGOON IN FIJI
lobster and champagne. The island’s blue lagoon is recognizable from the Brooke Shields movie that once made these beaches famous. Amidst the snorkeling, spa treatments, and sand and sun, Evanson and his family stay true to their roots of stomping hooves and the smell of leather. You can ride through 100,000 mahogany trees and a dense rainforest to a beach. Guided by horsemen at your side, you’ll feel as though every care in the world has disappeared as you breathe in the salty air. You’ll watch the horses break coconut shells with their hooves and drink the milky liquid within. Later, as my trip draws to a close and a seaplane arrives to carry me back to the mainland, it seems only fitting that the same horses that had carried me to my sunrise breakfast came trotting out of the rainforest and onto the beach to bid me farewell. They stood looking into the ocean waters for a brief moment before galloping back down the beach, once again leaving their hoofprints in the sand. MEG WEIR currently lives with her fiancé on her family farm in Edmond, Oklahoma. An avid lover of travel and horses, she dreams of the day she can return to Turtle Island. PAGE 105
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EQ LIVING FEATURES
30 MORE EQ FAVORITES KAKSLAUT TANEN FINLAND See the Nor thern Lights from your glass igloo.
ST. MORITZ SWITZERLAND The famous winter resor t with snow racing and polo.
TWIN FARMS VERMONT A 5-star luxur y inn in Vermont horse countr y.
TENAYA LODGE CALIFORNIA The place to stay at Yosemite, winter or summer.
HOME RANCH COLORADO A beautiful ranch in a beautiful Rock y Mountain set ting.
SQUAW CREEK CALIFORNIA World-class resor t near beautiful Nor th Lake Tahoe.
LODGE AT GLENDORN PENNSYLVANIA 1500 acres of nature at your door.
ST. REGIS ASPEN COLORADO Polo, mountains, and the luxur y lifestyle of Aspen.
DOS BRISAS TEXAS A winning blend of a beautiful set ting and rustic flavor.
GLENEAGLES SCOTLAND Golf, horses, and much more at this timeless resor t.
SELMAN MARRAKECH MOROCCO A unique palace of alluring charm.
RANCH AT ROCK CREEK MONTANA A private stream-side cabin.
IL BORRO TUSCANY The Ferragamofamily’s restored 700 acre estate and villa.
GRAND OAKS FLORIDA Bring your horse with you for a long winter getaway.
TANQUE VERDE ARIZONA 150 horses wait to take you on a ranch experience.
BLANCANEAUX LODGE BELIZE A getaway in a tropical paradise.
CASTLE LESLIE IRELAND A sought-after luxur ycastle experience.
DOMAINE DE LA BAUME FRANCE Provence with horses and luxur y.
PATAGONIA CHILE Explore the amazing landscape on horseback .
GIRAFFE MANOR KENYA Giraffes vie for your attention at the breakfast table.
CASA DE CAMPO DOMINICAN REPUBLIC A golf and equestrian resor t.
LUXURY AT SEA Make an unbridled escape aboard an equestrian-themed yacht.
ELEPHANT POLO INDIA Play a chukker of unforget table polo in Jaipur.
DOHA QATAR Horses have been par t of the culture for many centuries.
PALM BEACH FLORIDA An unequaled array of equestrian events, shopping, and beaches.
MIRAVAL ARIZONA Spa that promotes a healthy lifestyle through horses.
SALAMANDER VIRGINIA An iconic equestrian luxur y resor t destination.
DOG MOUNTAIN VERMONT A chapel dedicated to man’s best friend, his dog.
RED HORSE INN NORTH CAROLINA A small foothills inn per fect for horse lovers.
WOODSTOCK VERMONT Horses are the stars in this beautiful New England village.
MOROCCO SEE PAGE 68
AMAZING ESC APES
ITALY SEE PAGE 70
SCOTLAND SEE PAGE 67
F O R H O R S E L OV E R S E Qâ€™S T H I R D A NN UA L T R AV E L FEATUR E: F RO M M A R R A K ECH TO MON TA NA , F RO M D E C AD E N T TO ROUG H IN G IT.
ARIZONA SEE PAGE 72
T H E I N N AT D O S B R I S A S , T E X A S
he Inn at Dos Brisas, tucked quietly between Houston and Austin, Texas, amidst 313 acres of rolling hill country, welcomes guests in impeccable style. Once a family ranch retreat, it has evolved into a highly esteemed, all-inclusive, five-star luxury resort. Its charming character and seamless blend of sumptuous surroundings and rustic flavor makes Dos Brisas an irresistible destination. The inn is an idyllic choice for guests looking for a quiet escape or an action-packed getaway. Visitors with an equestrian experience in mind will be thrilled with the range of options. Guided trail-rides throughout the ranch grounds are a popular choice for guests with basic riding experience, and romantic carriage rides, punctuated with picnic lunches and wine, speak to those looking for a way to unwind. B R I N G YO U R HORSE
The resort is now home to the second largest privately owned indoor riding arena in Texas and is available to guests and the public. Private and group lessons are offered as well as boarding for those traveling with their horses.
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SUMPTUOUS SETTINGS AND RUSTIC FLAVOR ARE A WINNING BLEND.
For more relaxing pursuits, an additional array of recreational choices await. Golf, biking, tennis, and clay shooting embody the sporting side of the resort. After an exhilarating day of athletic endeavors, you’ll want to schedule time to reward yourself with a soothing spa treatment by the private plunge pool. For an urban-themed day trip, consider taking a short drive to Houston to explore the plethora of cultural venues, museums, and upscale shopping. FIV E-STAR RESTAU RA NT
Unique to this intimate resort is the on-site Forbes fivestar rated restaurant—the only restaurant in Texas to have earned this award. Delectable ingredients cultivated on acres of the resort’s organic farmland yield innovative culinary creations overlaid with a hint of Texas flair. Your inner oenophile is bound to be indulged by the staggering wine collection that awaits your sampling. At the end of the day, guests can retreat to a private hacienda or casita outfitted in ultimate luxury. Dos Brisas embraces the indoor-outdoor experience, and each room features French doors that open onto a private patio and the PAGE 94 tranquil views beyond.
he Gleneagles Hotel, resting high atop the pinnacle of grand bastions, exudes old world charm and flawless attention to detail. This five-star hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, surrounded by 850 acres of beautiful countryside, offers an unparalleled escape for the discerning traveler and anyone who loves the great outdoors. Golfers consider Scotland synonymous with the sport, and Gleneagle’s three championship golf courses—regarded among the best in the world—offer avid players a winning blend of beauty and challenge. Other outdoor skills can be tested in falconry, archery, off-road driving, and gun-dog school. Children are invited to enjoy a multitude of sports, games, and even a spy school. A R I D E R ’ S D R EAM
This destination is above all a horse-rider’s dream. The equestrian school, complete with fully accredited coaches, offers lessons in every discipline of horsemanship from beginner to expert, and all takes place at the on-site, 50-acre facility. Introduction to polo is available along with carriage-driving packages for those who would rather drive than ride. Although grand in style, each of the luxury accommodations has an individual personality more typical of an intimate hotel. A day of venturing off the grounds should be set aside for excursions to nearby castles and palaces, or through the Dalwhinnie Distillery where tours include a range of single malts paired with artisanal chocolates from the Highland Chocolatier. What a perfect way to indulge in local tradiPAGE 94 tions!
A TIMELESS ELEGANCE GREETS THE DISCERNING TRAVELER.
G L E N E AG L E S , S C OT L A N D
SELMAN MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
arrakech, a city that enchants visitors with culture, history and magic, is known for the vibrant maze of markets that line the narrow streets of the Moroccan Medina. Souks, with their riotous displays of carpets, tapestries, baskets, and exotic spices, tempt shoppers from around the world. Just minutes from this bustling hub of one of Africa’s busiest cities is Selman Marrakech, a five-star luxury hotel renowned for its refined atmosphere and flawless blend of modern lifestyle and Moroccan tradition. At the foot of the Atlas Mountains, what once seemed like a mirage is now a distinct palace of alluring Moorish charm. Selman Marrakech is a family-owned business that reflects their unique combination of passions for horses and the hospitality industry. “Just as palaces showcase pieces of art, we have decided to go for a live installation of the most beautiful breed of horse in the world, the Arabian Thoroughbred, which is an integral part of our history and culture,” said owner Abdellam Bennani Smires. Bennani Smires entrusted the design of the hotel and onpremises horse farm to famous French architect and interior designer, Jacques Garcia.
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WHAT WAS ONCE MERELY A MIRAGE IS NOW A PALACE OF ALLURING CHARM.
“We wanted to create a place to be and live and to generate a unique experience, whose soul is part of the history and heritage of Morocco,” added Bennani Smires. The hotel offers guests a variety of sumptuous accommodations and amenities, including superior and deluxe rooms, generous suites, and one- and two-bedroom Riads complete with private gardens, pools, and butler service. Favorites among the guests are the private alcoves and terraces that create a sense of utter privacy and escape. The Garcia-designed stables boast 16 stalls, four outdoor paddocks, and a garden for private events. “I wanted to offer people the chance to gain access and to share this otherwiseclosed equitation world,” said Bennani Smires. Be sure to reserve restorative time at the hotel’s Henri Chenot signature spa after a full day of exploring. It offers some of the most innovative approaches to well-being in the region. There are several restaurants and bars throughout the hotel, serving French, Asian, Mediterranean, Moroccan, and international cuisine. If you are traveling with children, “Selman Kids” offers a program that treats children to magical moments of fun and PAGE 94 learning.
ontana is undeniably a rider’s paradise. Its wide-open views, sagebrush hillsides, and alpine peaks against azure skies are best seen on horseback. Located in Philipsburg, Montana, halfway between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, the Ranch at Rock Creek experience combines adventure with the spirit of play. Travelers can thoroughly immerse themselves in the culture of western Montana rather than observe it through the slats of a corral. Hosted by knowledgeable guides, adventurers of all levels of expertise can traverse mountains, ranchland, and wildflower meadows in the extensive outdoor activities program that includes horseback riding, target shooting, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and a ropes course. The Ranch at Rock Creek isn’t a nose-to-tail property. With 6,600 acres to explore and miles of trails to enjoy, there is ample room to spread out. Trail rides vary based on rider ability. Novice riders may prefer shorter excursions, while more advanced riders should plan to take advantage of half or full days of the ultimate Western riding experience. For equestrians looking to gain
TRY MONTANA “GLAMPING” IN AN UPSCALE, STREAM-SIDE CABIN.
skills in reining, cutting, roping, and more from National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) professionals, look into the five-day horsemanship clinic offered May 13-17, 2015. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. Part of the five-star luxury experience is to have all the necessary accoutrements for an authentic western-style adventure at your fingertips. The resort’s rod and gun club can outfit even the slickest of city dwellers with cowboy hats, boots, riding helmets, and more. Evening tours of the ranch can be enjoyed from an original Wells Fargo stagecoach or on a sleigh ride pulled by Percherons through pristine winter snow. The ranch offers guests myriad luxurious accommodations, including Granite Lodge rooms, authentic log cabins, and unique private homes. The definitive Montana “glamping” experience can be enjoyed in one of the delightful canvas cabins situated along the property’s trout stream. Each accommodation at this relaxed haven is as distinctive as it is magnificent, just like the Montana PAGE 94 landscape.
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A guest takes in the view of the village from the infinity pool. Top right: Exploring the estate on horseback is idyllic. Below: Il Borro wines age to perfection.
I L B O R R O, T U S C A N Y
nter the gates to Il Borro and you will be pleasantly transported into another world. The estate and medieval village of Il Borro, weathered by time and historic events, has been fully restored to its former glory and now shines like a jewel in a Tuscan crown. At the core of this stunning preservation is the Ferragamo family, known for its luxury-leather empire. Earlier dynasties such as the Medicis and the Savoys have also taken turns safeguarding the Il Borro domain. The 700-acre estate in the heart of Tuscany is surrounded by natural beauty. Olive trees, vineyards, and cypresscovered hillsides all contribute to the iconic image of the province. Il Borro, in the center of the Chianti region, takes claim to the first recorded Chianti production. With great pride the Ferragamos operate a thriving wine-making business that turns out award-winning varietals. Equestrians can enjoy trail riding through the enchanting landscape or taking a leisurely carriage ride through Chianti. Tennis, golf, and biking are also ideal options for soaking in the gorgeous backdrop. Museum tours and trips to observe local artisans at work are available, along with visits to Florence, Sienna, and other nearby medieval villages. 7 0 | EQ U E S T RI A N L I VI N G | T R AV EL & EN T ERTAI N MEN T
THE FERRAGAMO FAMILY HAS RESTORED IL BORRO TO ITS FORMER GLORY.
Accommodations are a perfect synthesis of contemporary design and traditional Tuscan style and run the gamut from beautifully appointed suites to exclusive villas and farmhouses in the heart of Il Borroâ€™s countryside. Meals are meant to be savored in Italy, and the resort celebrates this culinary heritage by offering a unique range of modern Tuscan cuisine, light fare, and informal bistro meals, all served in inviting cosmopolitan settings. The spa, complete with an infinity pool overlooking the estate, offers myriad treatments and programs tailored to each guest. This is truly a calm oasis in an incredibly seductive environment. A variety of private culinary and wine-touring day trips can be readily arranged for visitors. Traveling throughout the region is a great way to fully experience a slice of authentic Tuscan culture and cuisine. Full-day wine tours to choice vineyards in nearby regions will offer discussions about wine production and the art of identifying the nuances of various Tuscan wines. Tuscany also produces some of the finest cheeses and olive oils in Italy. Stopping at a local osteria to engage in conversation and sample these earthly delights will certainly be PAGE 94 time well spent.
xploring the world may be fun, but don’t your horses deserve a getaway too? You can bring your horses with you to the 400-acre Grand Oaks Resort near Ocala, in the heart of Florida’s horse country. You’ll have a comfy private cottage, and they’ll have their own barn and paddocks. Although some guests bring 20 horses, the average guest travels with 2 to 6. Many of the 29 cottages have been designed so you can look directly into the attached cozy barns from your bedroom and check on your horses. The cottages range from one to six bedrooms, and some offer separate accommodations for grooms. For horse people who prefer to travel in luxury RVs with their animals, the resort offers 45 premium slips. Horse boarding options include self-board, full-board, and groom rentals. Grand Oaks shares the lush, moss-draped grounds with the Florida Carriage Museum, one of the world’s largest
Above: Tom Warriner, Grand Oaks general manager, takes EQ editor Stephanie Peters for a drive. Below, one of the private cottages that include its own barn, paddock, and fenced patio that keeps your dogs nearby.
collections that is open to the public. (See the EQ Winter 2014 issue.) The resort was originally a go-to destination for carriage drivers. Now under the ownership of Tom Golisano, the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, the property is becoming a tropical escape for equestrians of all disciplines. With over $3 million invested in footing and irrigation alone, there are facilities for dressage, reining, polo, racing, and hunter jumper shows. A 54,000-square-foot indoor arena with flexible footing, as well as outdoor arenas, cross-country and jump courses, and polo fields have just been added. Besides the numerous nearby golf courses and the attractions of the Ocala area, there is an on-site salon, spa, Orvis outfitter, bar, and restaurant just a short stroll or ride away. Stay for a week or stay for months, because Grand Oaks Resort is an equestrian destination unlike any other. PAGE 94
G R A N D OA K S R E S O RT, F L O R I DA
MANY GUESTS STAY MONTHS AT A TIME. IT BECOMES THEIR HOME AWAY FROM HOME.
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THE EQ TEAM TAKES A CITY SLICKER’S ESCAPE TO A TUCSON, ARIZONA, RANCH.
BY JILL NOVOTNY PHOTOS BY GEORGE KAMPER
live in Brooklyn, New York, and ran the New York City Marathon the day before flying to visit Tanque Verde ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The marathon is a unique experience. It summarizes the intensity of New York and life here: overwhelming, energizing, diverse, crowded, and highly competitive. It’s intense enough to walk the streets on a normal day; to run them with crowds of thousands is an amazing experience. A day later, when I stepped off the plane in Arizona and hobbled down the steps to baggage claim, I was met by Jeff, who welcomed me warmly and began a fascinating lecture describing the culture, history, environment, and vegetation of the area and that lasted the 40-minute shuttle-van ride. Because it was dark, he pulled over to shine the headlights on various plants and trees. I arrived at the ranch later than the others, and it seemed quieter and darker than any place I could remember. I was definitely not in New York City anymore.
Below: George Kamper and Jill Novotny
A M ERICA’S LARGEST
Tanque Verde is the nation’s largest working dude ranch. It is nestled among the Rincon Mountains of Arizona and bordered on two sides by Saguaro National Park. The ranch spans 640 acres dotted with ponds and crisscrossed by a huge network of trails. There are currently about 150 horses that are herded into corrals each morning and saddled up for guests to ride. In the last 175 years, the ranch has been an important landmark for the area. It changed owners only three times. The first owner, Don Emilio Carrillo, bought the ranch in 1856, just after the land was transferred to the U.S. from Mexico. In 1904, it was raided by bandits, and Carrillo was hung from a beam in what is the card room at the ranch today. Cattleman Jim Converse bought the ranch from Carrillo’s son and built the present day ramada in the 1920s to welcome eastern visitors. During a bar-room brawl, Converse accidentally shot a Mexican cowboy. His troubles with the law led him to sell the ranch to Brownie Cote. Brownie’s son Bob and his wife, Rita, are around the ranch nearly every day and are well-known to ranch guests. I awoke the next morning as the sun rose on the chilly desert and joined George Kamper, EQ’s photography director, for a hearty breakfast before our first ride. We entered Continued on page 90 SUM M E R | 2 0 1 5 | EQ U ES TRIA N Q UA RTERLY | 73
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TA N Q U E V E R D E , A R I Z O N A a door marked Wranglers Room, and I felt nostalgic for the summer camps of my childhood. We were assigned horses that would be ours for the rest of the trip. I mounted my horse, Red, a rather lazy, steady fellow with an unhurried manner. We set out to a ring, where we English riders learned the Western way to hold the reins and practiced trotting around. When each of us had satisfied the ride leader, we took an easy trail ride through narrow, sandy trails. It looked like the riding at the ranch would be simple group trail rides, slow and relaxing. It wasn’t until later in the ride that I first caught wind of a “lope test.” The phrase was repeated in whispers, until I finally asked one of the other riders about it. She had been coming to the ranch since she was a child and spoke of the tradition with reverence. The lope test, she explained, is the highest level of riding offered at the ranch. Each rider is asked to perform several maneuvers, including a lope, the Western version of a canter. T I M E F O R T H E SPA
When I dismounted, my marathon-weary legs had gone from rubbery and sore to wooden and aching, so I decided to pass on the planned hiking trip for something more therapeutic. An outdoor yoga class sounded perfect. Much like the rest of the ranch, the class was unpretentious but excellent. After an hour of stretching and breathing deeply at the foot of the dramatic Saguaro Hills, I was ready to mount up again. Next on the itinerary was the sunset ride. The landscape opened up, the shrubs turned to sparse cacti, and huge, rocky mountains spread out ahead of us. I sat back into the wide, Western saddle and allowed Red to take me up the 9 0 | EQ U E S T RI A N L I VI N G | T R AV EL & EN T ERTAI N MEN T
slight incline to the foot of the hill. “Is anyone afraid of heights?” yelled our guide. Smiling, I expected her to be joking about a hill or an overlook. Instead, we scrambled up and down banks and ledges that I would never have attempted on my Warmblood back home. I was impressed. This was not your average trail ride. I tried my best to stay out of Red’s way as he adeptly pulled me up and over rocks and around each cactus and ditch. I caught glances of wildlife like hares and cactus wrens and remembered what a friend from the Southwest had told me: “If it doesn’t bite, scratch, or sting, then it’s not from Arizona.” As the blue moonlight pushed the last redness to the edges of the sky and darkness arrived, the group’s chatting stopped, replaced with silence. Was everyone else feeling my sense of adventure that bordered on nervousness? Thirty-five minutes later, we returned to the stable under a bright full moon. As soon as our feet were back on the ground, we made for the Dog House Saloon, the ranch’s on-site bar. The simple, square room was alive with conversation. I ordered their signature homemade Prickly Pear Margarita, and we all chatted excitedly about the day’s adventures. TH E L O P E TES T
The next morning, we headed out early for the lope test. I wobbled to the stable like a cartoon cowboy, unable to bend my saddle-sore legs. I feared that the combination of my useless legs and my lazy horse might spell failure in my test. As we lined up on the stable porch, we were told that we were not going to ride the horses we had been riding so far for the test. Murmurs of dissatisfaction spread over the
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TA N Q U E V E R D E , A R I Z O N A group, but I was glad. There is nothing like a steady and trustworthy horse, but in my condition I was quite ready for one with pep in his step. I mounted the unfamiliar Uno and joined the lineup as we crossed the paddock. The gates swung wildly in the wind, and the hay was picked up and thrown around as if by invisible vandals. I could already feel my horse’s hind end bouncing restlessly as I asked him to halt. I squinted, cowboy style, as my face was coated with a thick layer of dust, and volunteered to go first. At my first motion, my horse leapt into the lope. I spent the four or five strides along the length of the ring learning to steer with one hand and finding my balance in my long stirrups. “And brake!” shouted the wrangler through the wind, and I sat into a halt. Amazingly, I was one of two riders to pass the lope test, and the only one to continue on for a lope ride, which was much like the other trail rides but at a fast gait. Because it was only me and the wrangler, it was easy to settle into a pace and enjoy the ride. Along the way, a few pieces of trash had gathered along the trail, obviously a result of the extreme wind. The rugged cowboy easily jumped off his horse and picked up each piece of trash. I decided then that I loved this place. We picked up a lope down the sandy trails of Saguaro National Park. It was one of the most delightful experiences I can remember on horseback. That night, we walked a path to the cottonwood grove, a stunningly picturesque corner of the ranch where a weekly barbecue dinner is held. A guitar player strummed country tunes where we ordered local beers and filled our plates right off the huge grill.
By the morning of our last day, the routine was already familiar. We arrived at the stables ready for our morning ride and wistfully snapped photos of the warm desert we would be leaving in just a few hours. Our ride took us through a whole new terrain, sandy and open, and ended at an old homestead, where we found an old covered wagon with a sign that read “Bob’s Famous Old West Pancakes.” Famous Bob (photo at left) filled our plates with blueberry pancakes, eggs, and bacon. The picnic tables, covered in checkered tablecloths, were filled by guests of all ages. I overheard a conversation between a family from Brooklyn visiting for a second time and a couple who had returned to the ranch for each of the 33 years they had been married. WA RMTH I S L U X U RY
The uniqueness of Tanque Verde made the experience a luxury. But instead of a luxury resort, it was more like a family gathering—comfortable and unceremonious. Above all, it was a strikingly warm place, which no doubt accounts for the huge percentage of returning clientele. It is a place that feels familiar the instant you arrive. The rich green lawns and waterfall by the pool are opulent and beautiful, but luxury is not the aim. Tanque Verde is a highend resort built on authenticity, history, and warmth. As I exited the airplane and walked slowly down the corridors into the terminal at LaGuardia Airport, I looked down at my dusty cowboy boots and considered speeding up my steps to the usual New York City pace. But my saddle-sore legs would simply not allow it, and I walked on at my own relaxed speed. I could pick up city-slicking again tomorrow. TRAVEL & ENT E RTA INM E NT | EQ U ES TRIA N Q UA RTERLY | 91
TANQUE VERDE GALLERY
EQ’s photography director, GEORGE KAMPER,
The West has long fascinated George, who has
and deputy editor, Jill Novotny, recently spent a few
assembled a gallery of his favorite “cowboy” images
days at Tanque Verde, a guest ranch in Tucson, Arizona.
from this trip. You can also see his full cowboy
(See page 72.)
gallery (that includes his visit with Lyle Lovett last year in Texas and an excursion to a ranch in Moab, Utah) at tinyurl.com/EQ-cowboys
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WA R M T H
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COURTESY PINEHURST RESORT
SOUTHERN PINES S
outhern Pines, in the heart of the North Carolina Sandhills, is a prime destination for horse people and golfers alike. Equestrians are drawn to the soft, sandy footing and the large, welcoming, and diverse horse community. Golfers revere neighboring Pinehurst. In fact, golfers are as numerous as horses, with 43 courses within a 15-mile radius. And everyone appreciates the temperate winter weather with typical January days in the 60s.
WITH HOLLY MATT AND CARLY NEILSON
At the heart of the equestrian community is the 4,000acre Walthour-Moss Foundation (WMF), with its beautiful, signature longleaf pines. According to Stephen Later, the chairman of the foundation, “WMF is a defiant remnant of the longleaf pine forests and savannas that once dominated our country’s southeastern coast. It’s a place to escape quotidian concerns and find acres in which to ride and sense the Continued on page 85
5 HOLLY MATT
CAROLINA HORSE PARK
sights and sounds that greeted travelers, from Siouan Indians to Highland Scots, in centuries past.” Adding to the draw of Southern Pines is the 250-acre Carolina Horse Park, which holds events attracting international-caliber competitors in hunter jumper, dressage, eventing, and combined driving. Horse people who come to visit enjoy 192 permanent stalls, 6 championship-level cross-country courses, show rings, trails, a derby field, and a steeplechase track that hosts the annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase.
Opposite 1. The grounds of the 250-acre Carolina Horse Park. 2. The exciting Stoneybrook Steeplechase. 3. The very active Moore County Hounds hunt and conserve the Southern Pines area. 4. Will Faudree competing in a three-phase event. 5. Combined driving competition at the Carolina Horse Park. 6. Jumpers compete at the Carolina Horse Park. Below: The Walthor Moss Foundation is the local favorite place for a hack and one of Southern Pines’ main draws for equestrians.
world. Vermont eventer Gayle Davis recently purchased a small winter getaway there and says, “I had been traveling to Southern Pines during the cold New England winters since 2006. I recently bought a tiny farm right across the street from my coach, Denny Emerson. What a fun area to ride, take advantage of the climate, and enjoy all the great restaurants and shops! I don’t think you can match the area for beauty, small-town friendliness, and horse activities.”
he area draws full-time residents as n its inaugural year, 2014, the Carolina well. Dr. Jim Hamilton of SouthInternational built a world-class eventing ern Pines Equine recalls making venue, and they are setting the bar even the town his home, “After 20 higher in 2015. There will be increased years in the horse world in New numbers of competitors, prize money York and Ohio that didn’t allow much time to upwards of $75,000, and a generous dose raise a family, we started the hunt for a horse of southern hospitality for owners, sponsors, community that needed what I had to offer and patrons, riders, volat the same time prounteers, and grooms. vided a good family The USEF network environment. Southwill be producing a ern Pines provided all live and on-demand that and more.” video production of Hamilton adds, the international com“In a way I had come petition. home again. Here was For more than a a town that revolved century, Southern around the horse—a Pines has been home thread that bound the to the Moore County community together. Hounds, the oldest It was the diversity of fox hunt in North equestrians that drew Carolina. Witness the me to this town— blessing of the hounds hunter jumpers, on Thanksgiving eventers, combined morning, when the drivers, coaching, hunt holds its opening dressage, western meet. pleasure, and endurResident and top ance riders. It has equestrian architect been my home ever SOUTHERN PINES, NC Holly Matt elaborates, “This is horse since and has thankfully provided me the country like none other in the sense of unique opportunity to do what I love in access on horseback or carriage. You can the best of environments.” $$ ride out of your barn for hours, visit your The town’s magnolia- and azalea-lined 50 31 $350K– $2M 89 69 9 MOS. neighbors, ride to town, ride through streets are always buzzing with activity. AV E R AG E AV E R AG E MONTHS OF DINING, AVERAGE thousands of acres in the foundation, train It’s sprinkled with an array of shops, anJ A N UA RY J U LY DAY COMFORTABLE A RT S , H O R S E FA R M DAY RIDING C U LT U R E PRICE with top trainers, all without getting tique stores, restaurants, and parks. Comin a trailer. And the footing is the best HORSINESS mitted business owners work together to RALEIGH INDEX around.” She finds the location a plus as keep the village vibrant. Chef/owner of 1 well, “It’s an easy drive to top shows up Ashten’s Restaurant Ashley Van Camp CHARLOTTE and down the coast, and it has a train SOUTHERN notes, “We are so lucky to have such a PINES P O P U L AT I O N 13,500 station right in the middle of downtown. viable downtown. We all work to protect RALEIGH, 59 MI. N E A R E S T A I R P O RT You can get to New York or Miami! Very it and nurture it.” 1. The Weather Channel; 2. EQ Editors; 3. Realtor.com; 4. EQ Editors. civilized.” Country Bookshop owner Kimberly Southern Pines horse country hosts some Douglas Taws agrees, “Southern Pines might of the best trainers and breeders in the be the most cosmopolitan small town you 1
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BRANDI SWARMS/THE PILOT ANN PRINGLE
7 PATRICIA TOCCO
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could ever stumble upon. The restaurants rival those in any foodie city. You’ll see horse-drawn carriages drive through town all year long, but the spectacular sight is the carriage parade hosted every year by the Moore County Driving Club. In the fall the entire town gathers on cold, early Thanksgiving morning (with hot coffee and spicy bloody marys) for the Blessing of the Hounds. First Friday was started by three friends who wanted to be able to listen to great music in a setting where their kids could run around and play. Now it is a destination event for six months of the year and draws hundreds of people.” The Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities is the cultural center of Southern Pines. Originally, Weymouth was the 1,200acre estate of the James Boyd family, named for its resemblance to Weymouth, England. Boyd was also a poet and writer. He and his wife, Katharine, entertained literary guests such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Sherwood Anderson.
hen asked about the differences between SOuthern Pines and neighboring Pinehurst, Abigail Dowd, executive director of the Weymouth Center, recalls a letter that Boyd wrote in 1927 to the Raleigh News and Observer attempting to correct an error they made in a story: “Dear Sir, At a single stroke, your powerful newspaper has... ruined my reputation. Although for nearly thirty years I have been a citizen of Southern Pines, you
describe me as coming from Pinehurst. The difference is immense. Pinehurst is a resort visited by golfers; Southern Pines is a town inhabited by foxhunters...You can, therefore, conceive my grief at your misapprehension. Especially when I tell you I am a foxhunter, and that all foxhunters are ex-officio Nature’s noblemen... Golf, on the other hand, is merely the most expensive and depressing form of pedestrianism. It renders its victims on the one hand gloomy and self-pitying, and, on the other, tediously and interminably loquacious. I know of no other practice, except the purchase and consumption of bad liquor, wherein good money can be spent for so pitiable a result...” There may still be a friendly rivalry between the two adjoining towns, but many families include both equestrians and golfers, and the area offers the best for both. As to her own feelings for Southern Pines, Abigail Dowd says, “Southern Pines is a unique oasis of culture and natural beauty. Its vibrant downtown is reminiscent of a New England village set within an urban forest and surrounded by beautiful longleaf pines. There are few places that offer the charm of a small town with so many impressive cultural arts offerings. I sometimes say that Southern Pines is what New England would be if it had grown up in
Above: The Pinehurst resort clubhouse. Opposite: 1. Chef Warren and 2. some of the restaurant’s delicious offerings. 3. Dr. Jim Hamilton of Southern Pines Equine. 4, 5. Walthor Moss Foundation chairman Steven Later and executive director Landon Russell. 6. Pinehurst’s Holly Inn. 7. Ashten’s restaurant chef/ owner, Ashley Van Camp. 8. Ashten’s welcoming entrance. 9. Linda McVicker moved to Southern Pines from Wisconsin in 1998. 10. Equestrian architect Holly Matt designs farms throughout America from her base in Southern Pines. (see “Let there be Light Barn Design” in the Summer 2013 EQ) 11, 12. Abigail Dowd, executive director of the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities.
the South.” Country Bookshop owner Kimberly Douglas Taws sums it up well, “The worst thing about Southern Pines is that there are too many fun things to do!” PAGE 94
E Q V I S I T S S O UTHERN PINES in Southern Pines, the Jefferson Inn is a busy, bustling place, with a lively crowd and music on the weekends. WHERE TO EAT The Sly Fox Pub is a real English pub with a great beer selection. Ashten’s is the hangout spot for the local horse crowd. The chef is also its owner, Ashley Van Camp, who says, “Our style is traditional but with a twist. We love to take classics and play with them.” The menu is globally inspired with Japanese, Italian, English, and Indian food, just to name
PINEHURST, SP ABERDEEN CVB
WHERE TO STAY There are a range of hotels and inns in both neighboring towns. Pinehurst has the famous Pinehurst Resort, which includes the Carolina Hotel and Holly Inn. The Holly is more cozy, and the Carolina is famous for its huge porch and rocking chairs. The resort offers clay tennis courts, spa services, and, of course, the best golf in the nation. Offering the only downtown accommodations
a few. Chef Warren’s is located on the shady side of Broad Street and crowned with a blue awning hung with baskets of kitchen herbs and colorful flowers. The interior is modeled after a classic Parisian bistro. Chef Warren is internationally recognized for his wild game preparations as well as the quality of his fish offerings. Also visit 195 for its great food in a great space. Try the curry. AND MORE Some others of note include: Southern Whey, offering gourmet cheeses and meats; The Country Bookstore, a local favorite; and Hot Asana Yoga, a community institution.
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EQ T R A V E L
olo has taken Ed Armstrong around the world. Now, Armstrong wants to take polo players and aficionados around the world with his Hun-Tre Polo Tours. Armstrong has created one-of-a-kind polo travel experiences to introduce the world of polo, its history, and some of the most beautiful venues and cities to polo lovers. Hun-Tre Polo Tours is a travel company specializing in polo-inspired tours for players and polo aficionados interested in combining the sport of kings with breath-taking sites and venues around the world including Argentina, London, the Dominican Republic, and Manipur, India, the birthplace of modern polo. Hun-Tre is Manipuri for “play ball,” which is shouted when the polo ball is thrown in. “The tours have a uniqueness about them,” said Armstrong. He is well-versed in every facet of the sport and has more than 30 years of experience playing polo, running a polo club, coaching, consulting, and putting together tours. “The history associated with Manipur as the birthplace of modern polo and the culture in that world is an education,” Armstrong said. “The people who live there are willing to share their stories. It’s not just polo, it is the culture of Manipur. This is where the English soldiers saw the Manipuris play the game and adapted it to their country.” The Manipur tour, called Origins, is held in late November in Manipur’s capital of Imphal, where the eighth International Manipur Polo Tournament is played on the world’s oldest polo field with indigenous Manipuri polo ponies. Several international teams, including one from the United States, compete.
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Travel to exciting polo destinations, including MANIPUR, the birthplace of modern polo.
BY SHARON ROBB
From November through April, Armstrong also offers tours to Casa de Campo polo in the Dominican Republic and Puesto Viejo polo club in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since being introduced to the game in 1986, Armstrong has worn many hats. “I have made a lot of friends around the world and made the contacts,” Armstrong said. “These trips seemed like a good fit for me, and they inspire me. This is where my knowledge is. I have always been an advocate of the sport.” rmstrong was chef d’equipe for Team USPA, which recently won the coveted International Arena Polo Test Match for the Bryan Morrison Trophy at the All England Polo Club in Hickstead. Armstrong put together the U.S. team, led by arena 10-goaler Tommy Biddle, that upset England, who had won the event every year since its inception in 2008. Armstrong is a member of the USPA arena, tournament, and international committees. He was Director of Tournaments and Clubs for the USPA, the sport’s governing body, for nearly 10 years and headed its intercollegiate and interscholastic programs before leaving to start his own polo company based in the Virginia/ Washington D.C. metro area. The Salem, Mass.,-born businessman also coached the Harvard polo team in the mid1990s and started the Byfield, Mass., Polo Club. He consults for other clubs and helps promote polo around the world. “The game is exhilarating,” Armstrong said. “It keeps you coming back. People say that it’s addictive, and that really is true. It’s a lifelong passion.”
Polo in Manipur
EQ F A V O R I T E S
PACK FOR ADVENTURE PRACTICAL AND CHIC TRAVEL IS IN THE BAG WITH OUR FAVORITE SUITCASES, DUFFELS, AND CARRY-ONS.
10 The Tacktrunk Bag, $1050, by Oughton Limited. An oversized packing case designed like a tack trunk, it is to be used either to carry one’s saddle on european horse buying trips, or simply as a great piece of luggage. Simple silhouettes and the interplay of materials and textures make it a classic style with a subtle equestrian twist.
WAYS TO TRAVEL IN STYLE
The Chesterford suitcase, $6280, by Swain Adeney Brigg in England combines the elegance and beauty of hand-crafted English leather luggage with the practicality of the steam trunk. Each piece is individually created in their Cambridge workshops by a single craftsman. Bridle handles are composed of 8 individually sculpted and hand-sewn leather components, ensuring comfort and longevity. High-impact wheels make the suitcase lightweight, durable and practical.
One for each of our destinations! (Page 58) Genuine Gladstone Bag (No. 1006), $498. This impor ted bag from J. Peterman is a classic style. Rich brown full-grain cowhide, handsome but durable. Cloth-lined with brass fittings and an adjustable shoulder strap, it is big enough to hold a lot, but not too big to carry comfor tably.
Petit Avion Streamer Trolley, $595. This carryon-approved, lightweight bag from the Dressage Collection has four wheels and a chic vintage look, and is comprised of modern, quality materials. Standing 20” in height, it is large enough to pack for a long trip and compact for easy handling.
Cavalier II No. 97 Fawn Suede Duffel Bag, $1595. Ghurka offers the duffel bags for the travelers we all aspire to be: adventurous, elegant, and innovative. The perfect weekend carryon bag, it comes in rich fawn suede, trimmed with classic Walnut leather and lined in Ghurka’s signature checked fabric. This classic duffel bag is both elegant and durable.
Continued on page 18
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IT’S TRUE. LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY REALLY IS THE HORSE CAPITAL OF AMERICA.
he city of Lexington, population roughly 300,000, sits just askew of dead center in the state of Kentucky. It’s like a heart. As a town, Lexington certainly beats with loads of history and southern gentility. At the same time, it thumps with a surprisingly contemporary ﬂair. There’s a lot to like here. If you’re visiting, any guide or iPhone app will reel off the basic stats: the second largest city in Kentucky (Louisville being the ﬁrst), the 62nd largest city in America. It’s most famous for running the Kentucky Derby and brewing bourbon. (Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, and Woodford Reserve
BY CYNTHIA GRISOLIA
3,000-acre Lane’s End Farm, owned by the Farish family, has bred more than 300 stakes winners and is the home of the famed Thoroughbred mare Zenyatta.
are just three of the 19 major distilleries dotted around the region that produce as much as 95 percent of the world’s bourbon supply.) Once a part of Fincastle County,Va., the area was settled in 1775 by William McConnell and his pioneer party, who, upon hearing of the Colonists’ victory in the ﬁrst battle of the Revolutionary War at Lexington, Mass., dubbed their encampment along the Elkhorn Creek “Lexington” to venerate the event. (That campsite is now a 26-acre nature preserve known as McConnell Springs, a popular place to go and be outdoorsy.) Lexington soon became one of the ﬁrst permanent settlements on the frontier. In 1780 SUMM E R | 2 0 1 4 | EQ U ES TRIA N Q UA RTERLY | 87
t’s not clear exactly how the Bluegrass State came to be the capital of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. One theory is that by the late 18th century, settlers from Virginia brought with them a strong horse culture. It was Virginia pioneer William Whitley, in fact, who built the region’s ﬁrst racetrack at his home in the 1790s. (The famed Churchill Downs would not open for
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N EW DISCIPL IN ES MOV E IN
ut look around: The equine landscape is changing. Highstepping Saddlebreds, a close Thoroughbred kin, have long shared the countryside, but in recent years other sport horses, from Quarter Horses to Warmbloods, have discovered the secret of the Bluegrass. The impetus for the inﬂux of new breeds is attributed mostly to Lexington’s equine Mecca: the Kentucky Horse Park. Opened in 1978, the 1,200-acre theme park was the site of the ﬁrst Eventing World Championships held in the United States, which paved the way for the current Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. In 2010, following a reported $100 million-plus renovation, the park hosted the prestigious Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) and became one of the world’s most signiﬁcant horse-show venues. “In the last two years we
Rich history aside, most visitors to Lexington eventually ﬁnd themselves cruising along through farm country, their auto barely skimming the dry-stacked walls that separate the road from the blue pastures on either side. It’s these hills of azure that earned Kentucky its nickname: the Bluegrass State. There, a grazing broodmare might eyeball a car inquisitively. Up the road a ways, the sun glinting on a hood might send a herd of skittish yearlings into a stampede. It’s here that you get not only to the heart but to the soul of Lexington: This is horse country. And for the last 200 years or so, the horse of note has been the Thoroughbred.
8 9 GLINT STUDIOS
E N D L E S S PA STURES
another 85 years and Lexington’s oval, Keeneland Racecourse, not until 1936.) Others say it’s geological, pointing to the state’s mineral-rich water and soil as the perfect building blocks for strong-boned racehorses. Either way, over the decades the Thoroughbreds came and the champions were born. First-ever Triple Crown Winner Sir Barton, the revered Man o’ War, the dueling War Admiral and Seabiscuit, even the superstar mare Zenyatta were all bred in Kentucky–just to name-drop a celebrated few. (Alas, the legendary Secretariat was born in Virginia.) Today more than 40 percent of all bred Thoroughbred mares are bred on Kentucky farms. GLINT STUDIOS
Transylvania University, the ﬁrst college West of the Allegheny Mountains, was founded here, and it was instrumental in turning Lexington’s roughhewn heart into an economic and intellectual hub by the early 1800s. “If you were to bet on a city to become one of 1 the great cities in the United States in the 1700s, you’d bet on Lexington,” says University of Kentucky history professor Tracy Campbell. “Lexington seemed like one of the leading lights of the west.”
W H E N YOU T H I N K OF L E XI N GTO N, 3
T H E F I R S T T H I N G S T H AT
LE XI N GTO N ’ S FARM S
broodmare manager with a foal. 4. Bill
COM E TO M I N D A R E T H E
1, 2, 3. The winemaking Jackson family’s
Farish’s 5, 6, 7. Lane’s End Farm is the
B E AU T I F U L T HO RO UG HBR E D
Stonestreet Farms, where the barns are
home to many top breeding stallions.
FA R M S A N D T H E L USH ,
named after grape varietals, comprises
including Curlin, the leading money-
over 1,600 acres and homes 100 brood-
winner in North America. 8. One of the
mares and about 70 yearlings. They led
four circle barns at Gainsway. 9. Calumet
Nor th America in yearling sales in 2010;
Farm has produced 11 horses inducted
Jennifer DeLaittre, Stonestreet’s assistant
into the Racing Hall of Fame.
SUM M E R | 2 0 1 4 | EQ U ES TRIA N Q UA RTERLY | 89 PIETER ESTERSOHN
T H E 1,200- ACR E
KENTU CKY HORSE PARK H A S GROW N INTO O NE O F T H E WO R LDâ€™S TO P EQ UEST R IA N V ENUES.
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2 JAMES PARKER & KATHY RUSSELL | THE BOOK
N EVER A D ULL MOMENT 1. There is no comparable equestrian venue in the world that combines the Kentucky Horse Parkâ€™s array of attractions and competitions. 2. John Nicholson, a driving force in the growth of the horse park for 37 years, retired as executive director in April; read more about him on page 30. 3, 4. The 7,300-seat Rolex stadium. 5. Bill Cook worked to create the amazing International Museum of the Horse, which has a permanent collection of horse history and memorabilia, along with a rotating historical collection focused on a particular theme. Past themes
include A Gift from the Desert (Arabia), Imperial China, and All the Queenâ€™s Horses (Britain). 6. One of many activities at the park is Breyerfest (July 11th to 13th this year) 7. The 5,500-seat Alltech Arena. 8. Lee Carter, the executive director of Equestrian Events, Inc., the group that runs the famed Rolex Three-Day, on the course with a duck jump. 9. The American Saddlebred Museum honors the breed with awardwinning movies and unique, interactive exhibits; curator Kim Skipton and museum director Tolley Graves.
RAC I N G AT I T S M O ST E XC I T I N G 1, 2. Famous Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., hosts the Kentucky Derby. 3, 4, 5. Lexington’s Keeneland hosts races for some of America’s richest purses and is also the world’s leading Thoroughbred auction house, having sold more champions than any other. The beautiful grounds are open to the public.
have sold more property within a ﬁve-mile radius of the Kentucky Horse Park than any other brokerage in town,” says Zach Davis, president and principal broker for the realestate agency Kirkpatrick & Co. “What we have seen is a remarkable shift to sport-horse interests,” he adds, noting that a few exceptional parcels have sold for as much as $93,000 an acre. “Because of that central facility, the land around the park has changed dramatically as far as value and sales.”
Association in Lexington, an afﬁliate of the national NRHA.
A GOO D L I F E
But while riders, trainers, and horse owners come for the lush equine amenities, what they soon discover is that life is pretty good here even if you’re not a horse. “When we ﬁrst came here about ﬁve years ago, we were so surprised and delighted with downtown, “says hunter-jumper trainer Emily Smith, whose Florida-based Ashland Stables is headquartered in Lexington from May through November. “It has great restaurants, and the people here have such a happy, friendly attitude.”
ne business publication went so far as to call the area around the horse park a “veritable show jumper alley.” Indeed, numerous show facilities, many from the Wellington, Fla., area, have set up shop around the park, as have Warmblood breeding operations. And several riders of international acclaim– such as 2012 Olympian Reed Kessler and Grand Prix Champion Derek Braun–are calling Lexington home. “Kentucky is blessed,” adds Davis. “We have a lot of land, and a lot of it is very good land.”
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LOUISVILLE CONVENTION BUREAU
Western discipline riders are also among those who have found Lexington a most amenable place to work and train, pointing to available land, equine services, even the milder climate as the big draws. “We’ve got everything in our back yard here,” says Reiner and American Paint Association judge Mal McGuire, whose 30-acre stable is located just outside of Lexington in Midway. “The veterinary services are by far the best in the world, there’s the weather, and the location can’t be beat,” he adds. “We have a lot of horse shows here now, but we can go to just about any other show that we want within a three-hour drive–Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana.” McGuire was also instrumental in forming the Central Kentucky Reining Horse
WE S T E R N C OMES, TOO
nother consequence of the 2010 WEG is that Lexington has enjoyed a great cultural rebirth. Its arts and entertainment district has kicked into high gear–showcasing such venues as the 23,000 seat Rupp Arena, the Lexington Opera House, and the University of Kentucky’s Singletary Center–and it’s culinary corridors have exploded. Through it all, though, the town has never lost sight of its southern charm or historic roots. It’s a big city in a small town. “Our visitors are always pleasantly surprised to discover the breadth and depth of this community,” says Mary Ramer, vice president, tourism marketing, at the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. But in the end the one thing that seems to unite all comers is the horse. “There are few things in the world that are truly universal, but I believe that the horse is one of those things,” says Davis. “No matter where you are in the world, the horse has somehow played a role. And that’s why people fall so madly in love with the region–we are so devoted to this beautiful creature.”
H O RSE RAC IN G I S A L I V E AN D
W E L L AT L E X I N G TON â€™ S E L E G AN T K E E N E L A N D, A N D OF C OUR SE , TH E K E N T U C K Y D E R B Y AT N E A R B Y C H U R C H I L L D OW N S.
LEXINGTON CONVENTION BUREAU
IN HIS NEW BOOK, KENTUCKY: HISTORIC HOUSES AND HORSE FARMS, PRE-EMINENT ARCHITECTURAL AND INTERIORS PHOTOGRAPHER PIETER ESTERSOHN GUIDES US THROUGH BLUEGRASS COUNTRY. WE PRESENT AN ABRIDGED GALLERY OF FOUR HOMES. See more images from the book at equestrianquarterly.com/estersohn 94 | E Q U ES T R I A N Q UA RT E RLY | S U MMER | 2014
The lush green felds and iconic white fences of Calumet Farm.
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“I BEC AME ENAMORED WITH THE BLUEGRASS REGION WHILE VISITING GREAT FRIENDS OVER THE YEARS. FOR ME THE DRAW OF THE AREA WAS THE INTRINSIC WEAVING TOGETHER OF ARCHITECTURE AND HORSES, MY TWO FAVORITE SUBJECTS. I’VE BEEN RIDING SINCE I WAS 5 AND STUDYING, RENOVATING, AND PHOTOGRAPHING HISTORIC DWELLINGS FOREVER, SO THE SYNTHESIS SPOKE TO ME IN A VERY PERSONAL MANNER.” —PIETER ESTERSOHN
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Ashland was built by Senator and statesman Henry Clay. At right, the colonial revival gardens and the drawing room.
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The oldest sections of Marylou Whitney’s Maple Hill date to 1796. At left, a por trait of Whitney hangs above the ﬁreplace. SUM M E R | 2 0 1 4 | EQ U ES TRIA N Q UA RTERLY | 99
The kitchen of Simpson Farm, a stone farmhouse built in 1785 when the area was still part of Virginia.
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The double-elliptical stairway of Ward Hall, a majestic mansion built in 1853.
V ISITO R S A R E SUR P R ISED AT THE SO P H IST IC AT ED S HOPS, 11
RE S TAU RANTS AND CU LTUR AL ATTRACTIONS LEXINGTON HAS TO O FFER . BUT BEST O F A LL A R E THE FR IENDLY P EO P LE.
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LEXINGTON CONVENTION BUREAU
C. V. PELT
5 9 10
lunch. 4. The great-great-grandfather of chef Jonathan Lundy (Jonathan’s at Gratz Park Inn) established Calumet Baking powder as well as Calumet Farm. 5. No trip to Lexington is complete without tasting some ﬁne
Bourbon at the Bluegrass Tavern. 8,9 Greg Ladd opened Cross Gate Gallery in 1974, and the 11,000-square-foot Greek Revival building is the home to ﬁne sporting art. 10. Dudley’s restaurant has been a mainstay since 1981.
11, 12. The amazing tableware and decor shop, L.V. Harkness, owner Meg Jewett, with Mindy Mobley, Sue Ann Truitt, Lisa Kearney, and Janice Leake. See Meg’s home on page 104. PAGE 111.
E Q’S FAVORITES 1, 6. Lexington Polo president, Chet Lott. 2. Stop in for great coffee at Third Street Stuff. 3. French (via New York) transplant Krim Boughalem’s National Boulangerie is the spot for
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The Days of Wine and Horses BRIDL E WO O D E S TAT E : AN IDYL L I C H O R S E FA R M THAT IS AL S O A WO R L D - C L A S S V I N E YA R D
s you turn off the Pacific Coast Highway and meander towards Santa Ynez Valley, the soundtrack to the movie Sideways may come to mind. You may not be on a male- bonding trip or a wine tasting outing, but you will inevitably fall in love with this laid-back, central-coast region of California.
Just 30 miles nor th of Santa Barbara on the eastern edge of the Santa Ynez Valley, the 105-acre Bridlewood estate is home to worldclass wines, hillside vineyards and breathtaking views of the magnificent Santa Ynez Mountains. In keeping with the equestrian flavor of this winery, horse and carriage tours are offered on the weekends.
Once an Arabian horse farm and equestrian rehabilitation center, Bridlewood now stands as a state-of-the-art, award-winning winery.
his region of California, just 30 miles north of Santa Barbara, yields some of the finest wines in the country. It is the gentle balance of shifting winds in an opposing flow of warm and cool air that prevent the grapes from ripening too quickly – paving the way for a longer growing season, which enhances the grapes with a crisp balance between acid and sugar. Add to that the natural drift of fog from the Pacific that travels along the east-west Santa Ynez mountain range, and you have ideal conditions for producing a variety of award winning wines. Santa Ynez was not originally recognized for its ideal grape-growing conditions. The ranchers were first to settle here – appreciating the unique character and rustic appeal of the valley. It was a more recent discovery that the valley offered optimal growing conditions for wine makers. Today there exists a comfortable balance of horse farms and ranches and preeminent wineries.
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A RELAXED CAL I F O R N I A L I F E S T Y L E
Bridlewood’s winemaker, David Hopkins, says, “There is something so enjoyable about taking an evening ride and returning to a perfect glass of wine.”
The ranchers and winemakers share the sentiment that protecting the authentic casual atmosphere and minimizing development of Santa Ynez is essential. There is a nostalgic feel here, similar, the locals say, to what Sonoma and Napa Valleys felt like 20 or 30 years ago. They wish to preserve the appealing character of classic gentleman ranchers sharing the land with emerging winemakers. There is no better place to witness this blending of wine and horse than at Bridlewood Winery. Once an Arabian horse farm and equestrian rehabilitation center, it now stands as a state-of-the-art, award-winning winery. The Spanish Mission structure with white stucco walls and adobe tile roofs sits beautifully at the end of a tree-lined drive, surrounded by vine-covered hillsides. A Spanish-style bell tower and wrap-around verandas contribute to the welcoming atmosphere of this intimate winery. Continued on page 67
hat could be better than combinMichael Jackson (Neverland) have made SANTA YNEZ, CA ing fine wine, innovative food, scenic the area home, as well as an eclectic mix beauty, and the equestrian lifestyle? The that includes Bo Derek, Fess Parker, Santa Ynez Valley, just a short, gorgeous Steven Seagal, Steven Spielberg, Dolly drive from Santa Barbara and an easy day Parton, David Crosby, Kelly LeBrock, and or weekend trip from Los Angeles sprawl Jimmy Connors. 66 40 +1.4% $600,000 91 53 9 MOS. is known as the Napa Valley of LA. The growth of the valley’s wine indusSALES AV E R AG E AV E R AG E MONTHS OF DINING, AVERAGE But the area offers much more than try began in the early 1970s when Brooks PRICE J A N UA RY J U LY DAY COMFORTABLE A RT S , HOME wine. The New York Times said, “If Firestone, of the tire-making family, TRENDS DAY RIDING C U LT U R E PRICE racehorses dream of greener pastures, planted 260 acres with grapes. Firestone HORSINESS the bucolic Santa Ynez Valley might be Vineyards is still the largest producer in INDEX 101 exactly what they have in mind.” The the valley. SANTA YNEZ 5 verdant central coast California landscape Today, a wine-tasting visit can last an 154 1 of rolling hills and cooling coastal winds awfully long time – there are over 70 winSANTA P O P U L AT I O N 4,418 is popularly recognized as the setting for eries and tasting rooms. After the famous BARBARA SANTA 101 MONICA M E D I A N FA M I LY I N CO M E $ 84,467 1 the movie Sideways. What few people 2004 film Sideways brought the region’s 405 know is that it has long been an equesNEAREST AIRPORT SANTA BARBARA, 19 MI. wines to national fame, many visitors MALIBU trian paradise.” now follow the “Sideways Wine Trail,” 1. Weather Channel, days between 45 and 85 degrees; 2. Trulia; 3. U.S. Census. In Santa Ynez, horsey activities share stopping at the various restaurants and The valley is a wonderful place to spend a day, a equal billing with wine tasting. Like the gold stars wineries that appeared in the movie. weekend, or a lifetime. With one of the finest climates embedded in the walkways of Hollywood, the horseIn addition to wine and equine activities, there are in California and a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle, the area shoes of local steeds are part of Santa Ynez sidewalks. lavender farms, apple orchards, a quaint Danish village, attracts people who could live anywhere they choose. There are equestrian galleries, a local foxhunt, tack a casino, and numerous art galleries to fill your days. “Horse Whisperer” Monty Roberts (Flag is Up Farms), shops, English and Western horse shows, and a carSanta Barbara is close enough for dinner or a dayRonald Regan (well-loved Rancho de Cielo), and riage museum. time beach visit. 1
E Q V I S I T S T HE SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
PHOTO: KATIE ARNOLD
Go wine tasting (Obviously!) With over 70 wineries and tasting rooms to choose from, selecting which to visit can be difficult. Some of
our favorites include Bridlewood, Beckman, Zaca Mesa, and Carhartt. The Bella Cavalli (Beautiful Horses) Winery, which is located next to Monty Roberts’ Flag is Up Farms, combines a beautiful horse farm and fine wines. You can walk between them and visit both.
Visit the Horse Whisperer The home of “the man who listens to horses,” Monty Roberts, is open to the public. Flag Is Up Farms is the internationally renowned starting point for some of the world’s most successful performance horses and highest-earning racehorses. It is also the home of the Monty Roberts Equestrian Academy and equine celebrity Shy Boy.
Stroll the Towns The Santa Ynez Valley has several towns, each with its own unique character. Among them:
course, the Danish pastries. Los Olivos is a charming, understated village with a subtle European feel. Numerous wine-tasting rooms and ar t galleries line the quiet streets.
Santa Ynez has a western feel, with wooden sidewalks and an Old West historical museum. There are numerous vineyards and a 24-acre Equestrian Center with English and western events.
WHERE TO EAT
Solvang seems to have appeared out of Disneyland. It is a Danish
village with Scandinavian architecture and an interesting array of shops and restaurants. The highlight is, of
PHOTO: SHELDON BRANFORD
Take a Day of Wine and Horses Tour Each four-hour tour visits two equestrian facilities and two wineries. A delightful gourmet lunch is served on the morning tour, and sustaining happy-hour style hors d’oeuvres are provided on the afternoon tour.
PHOTO: KURT FISCHER
W H AT TO D O
Sides Hardware and Shoes Los Olivos, CA A white Victorian dripping with charm and a long-time favorite for great food, wine, and sumptuous deser ts, including home-made ice cream. Ballard Inn and Restaurant, Ballard, CA Roasted duck breast with sweet potato purée, herb-crusted tuna with Niçoise mashed potatoes, and wild striped bass with potato and ar tichoke hash are
a few of the favorites here. The Hitching Post, Buellton, CA Sideways-famous the Hitching Post is known for a first-class wine list and steaks cooked on an open grill.
WHERE TO STAY Alisal Ranch, Solvang, CA The resort has 10,000 acres of canyons, brooks, and forests and is best explored on horseback. Surely you will find the ideal sightseeing partner with one of the 100 horses available on
the ranch. Additional activities include a lake for sailing, swimming, or fishing, a pool, two 18hole championship golf courses, and a restaurant. Ballard Inn and Restaurant Ballard, CA The rooms at this cozy, elegant inn offer fireplaces and balconies. In addition to cooked-toorder breakfast and a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, you’ll be treated to evening coffee and tea, plus addictive chocolate cookies on your nightstand at bedtime.
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Several Gallo family members are accomplished equestrians and at least a dozen of senior Gallo management own horses and love to ride. Lush, scenic surroundings offer ideal riding conditions.
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The design of the winery pays homage to California’s historic missions with a welcoming Spanish-style bell tower. Breezy verandas, stone cour tyards, and cooling fountains provide ideal settings for relaxed samplings of Bridlewood’s finest. Toy Canto (bottom right), Retail Operations and Hospitality Manager, welcomes guests to the tasting room. Winemaker David Hopkins’ shir t (above) recalls the harvest of 2006.
Uniquely, the mountains run east-west, allowing the fog to roll in from the Pacific, which slows the ripening process. With more time to mature, the grapes develop a crisp balance between acid and sugar. The Gallo family purchased Bridlewood in 2004, appreciating the wine David Hopkins, winemaker, was producing – and the sheer beauty of the property. The family shares a passion for wine and horses – several family members are accomplished equestrians and at least a dozen of senior Gallo managers own horses and love to ride. The family keeps some of their horses here, where they can enjoy relaxed rides through 100 acres of Bridlewood and the linking, neighboring farms and vineyards beyond. P R E S E RVAT I ON
The exquisite remodel and preservation of the original equestrian center also held special appeal to the Gallos. Only minor architectural changes were made to the main structure. Stalls were removed and concrete floors were installed, making way for modern, innovative wine making equipment. Original doors, hardware, and bathing stalls are still
According to Davd Hopkins, “Winemaking is less about the latest technology and more about taking your time..”
in place. David Hopkins enjoys the fact that his office was once the sophisticated equine surgical suite. The property still boasts a race track, originally used for rehabilitation as well as paddocks, two lakes, and a waterfall. Retired horses bask in the bucolic setting, enjoying the California sunshine and grazing in the shaded paddocks. In keeping with the equestrian flavor of this winery, horse and carriage tours are offered on weekends. What better way for visitors to enjoy the history of the facility, experience the beauty of the property, and sample some of Bridlewood’s award-winning varietals? Bridlewood firmly believes that horses and wine go together. David Hopkins states there is something so enjoyable about taking an evening ride and returning to a perfect glass of wine. He fully embraces the concept that life is a celebration. To reserve a tour, phone 800-467-4100
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FRANCE PAGE 61
IRELAND PAGE 60
10 AMAZING ESC APES
KENYA PAGE 64
F O R H O R S E L OV E R S E Q T R AV E L : F ROM QATAR TO PATAG ON IA F ROM D E C AD E N T TO ROUG H IN G IT
IRELAND PAGE 60
Castle Leslie, perched above one of the three lakes on the property. At right: stately interiors of the castle exude Old World grandeur.
C ASTLE LESLIE, IRELAND
astle Leslie Estate, one of the top luxury castle hotels in Ireland, is a sumptuous destination for the discriminating traveler. Located in Glaslough, County Monaghan, it has long been a private escape for distinguished ambassadors, poets, and celebrity guests such as Bono, Mick Jagger, and Paul McCartney. For equestrians with a penchant for an aristocratic experience and unlimited riding options, Castle Leslie is nothing short of paradise. Recently revitalized, Castle Leslie has become an ultimate equestrian destination. The 1,000-acre property maintains two stables, full-service equestrian facilities, and an indoor arena. More than 300 cross-country jumps are scattered over the estate, and 21 miles of bridleways meander across the landscape, offering a gorgeous backdrop for a vigorous ride or an easy day of hacking. If you prefer a more structured equestrian vacation, there are three- and ﬁve-day instruction packages. Lessons are available for beginners, pleasure riders, and those looking to improve their skills in show jumping, cross country, and dressage. A less demanding and charming way to explore the property is by carriage. For those fortunate enough, Sir John Leslie, a descendant
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GUESTS INDULGE THEMSELVES AT ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER LUXURY CASTLES IN IRELAND.
of the original family, which dates back to the 1660s, may join you and share a bit of his colorful lore about the estate. CAST L E L ESL IE L U X U RY ACCOMMODAT IO NS
Flickering with welcoming candles, the castle includes 20 rooms, each tastefully appointed with antiques, family heirlooms, and walls graced with period sketches and paintings. Cozy up to your private ﬁreplace or next to a window overlooking the lakes and manicured gardens. Each room has an intriguing back-story and is worth investigating. The Old Stable Mews embody an authentic equestrian ﬂavor. Available in three-, four-, or ﬁve-bedroom conﬁgurations, they are the perfect choice for groups and families. The Lodge, adjacent to the equestrian center, includes 29 rooms with a mix of traditional and modern décor. There you may meet some of the locals who come to the Lodge to enjoy a delicious meal served with ﬂair at Snafﬂes Restaurant or share a pint of hearty Irish Stout and traditional country fare with friends at Conor’s Bar. Time to unwind? Be sure to partake of a soothing treatment at the castle’s full-service spa or hone your culinary PAGE 96 skills at the on-site cookery school.
A DIVINELY RESTORED 18TH-CENTURY GUEST HOUSE IN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN FRANCE
t is no surprise to ﬁnd Provence on a list of best travel destinations. The area has continuously attracted those seeking luxury and natural beauty. Domaine de la Baume is nonetheless a truly unique resort. It is located in Tourtour, a lovely French village that will enchant you with its restaurants and attractions. That is, of course, if you ever choose to leave the inn. Set on 99 acres, the grounds of Domain de la Baume include beehives used to make honey, an orangery, a stable, and 558 olive trees that produce over 2,000 liters of olive oil per year. The horses, though a lovely addition to the landscape, are more than decorative. Guests may take them for rides and explore the natural beauty of the property, which is covered in pine trees and trufﬂe oaks. A kitchen garden provides Chef François Martin the freshest ingredients. The grounds also include a formal French-style garden complete with ponds, a pool house, a chapel, and even waterfalls, beneath which guests can swim or receive massages. Inside the majestic building, a series of lounge areas—each cozier than the last—are often occupied by guests curled up with books or engaged in animated discussions over an aperitif. Unless, of course, they are out playing tennis, mountain biking, or sunbathing by the pool. The inn is accessible from three airports, each about an hour’s PAGE 96 drive, or by train from Avignon or London.
D O M A I N E D E L A B A U M E , P R OV E N C E , F R A N C E
G I R A F F E M A N O R , K E N YA
ooking for a more unusual travel experience to fuel your dinner-party conversations? Giraffe Manor, located in the suburbs of Nairobi, allows visitors an authentic look at the natural surroundings and culture of Kenya. Built in 1932 and modeled on a Scottish hunting lodge, the inn offers a pleasant mixture of traditional and modern elegance. Each of the 10 rooms is different, furnished with a large four-poster bed and modern comforts. But whatâ€™s remarkable is not the antique furnishings, the traditional home-cooked meals from the on-site chef, or the spiral staircase that greets visitors in the main entrance hall. What makes this inn remarkable are the herds of wild giraffes which can be found grazing peacefully on the lawns in front of the resort, or even reaching in through the huge windows to greet guests during breakfast. Special walls have been built to keep the animals safe and separated, though they can walk right up to the terrace and around the house. The resort was not originally built to house giraffes. During the early 1970s, the owners of the manor were assisting in the relocation of some giraffes and agreed to take in an orphaned Rothschild giraffe, whom they named Daisy. Now, 40 years later, Giraffe Manor is home to many giraffes. As wild animals, giraffes are rather shy. Visitors
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THE GIRAFFES VIE FOR YOUR ATTENTION AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE, THE FRONT DOOR, AND EVEN AT YOUR BEDROOM WINDOW.
should not expect to cuddle or kiss them, though their warm faces and horse-like eyes may seem to invite them to try. Still, many of the giraffes will let you pet and feed them, or curiously poke their heads in through open windows to look around. The manor is located within walking distance of the Giraffe Centre, a breeding center and nature preserve, which is included in the rate for guests. Also close by is an elephant orphanage that rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby elephants and rhinos. Karen Blixen, the Danish author of Out of Africa, is namesake to a nearby museum offering insight into the culture, history, and art of Kenya. Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is just 20 kilometers away and is one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in Africa. This cosmopolitan town, fondly nicknamed Green City in the Sun, has various tourist attractions such as the Kenya National Museum, many diverse restaurants, and great shopping. Giraffe Manor is a 40-minute drive from Jomo Kenyatta airport and 20 minutes from Wilson Airport. Rooms are offered from $505 per person, per night, and include meals and access to the nearby Giraffe Centre. The resort is closed PAGE 96 in May, but open for the remainder of the year.
estled alongside the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, Casa de Campo makes its home on the captivating southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. Perhaps the resort is best known for serving as the backdrop of two Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues and its outstanding golf. With 90 holes created by celebrated course designer Pete Dye, it is home to the only Caribbean course consistently ranked in the worldâ€™s top 100. Of course, there are the other amenities you would expect from a resort of this caliber: beaches, a 400-berth marina, spa, tennis, a 245-acre shooting field, and over 70 restaurants, shops, and bars. But what makes Casa de Campo especially intriguing to EQ readers are the equestrian activities. If youâ€™re seeking the thrill of polo, the Casa de Campo facilities are among the best in the Caribbean. Consisting of three playing fields, one practice field, and the largest
A LEGENDARY GOLF RESORT WITH EQUESTRIAN PLEASURES GALORE
string of polo ponies under a single brand in the world, there is no better place to enjoy this rigorous and engaging sport. Equipment, group instruction, and personalized training are available for beginners and medium-goal players. Guests may hire ponies for stick-and-ball tournaments, and families can compete against each other in matches held each week. Regular polo matches are played throughout the week during the season, which begins in early November and ends in April. But even those who have never ridden will have a chance to become championship polo players by playing donkey polo. Kids and CEOs alike all compete on an equal playing field in this highly competitive sport. Even if you have never played polo, or even ridden a donkey, you can play donkey polo. There are also trail rides and hunter/jumper lessons available. PAGE 96
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Unbridled’s lavish interiors feature more than 20 different kinds of wood and more than a dozen types of marble and stone.
6 L U X U RY AT S E A
yacht can give you access to places that few ever get to know, all while enjoying pampered luxury. It’s about having new choices each day and sharing extraordinary experiences with the people you care about. Lavishly luxurious and effortlessly chic, the Unbridled embodies superyachting at its best. Delivered in 2009, the creation of Unbridled was driven by its equestrian owner’s determination to build a truly unique vessel. With equestrian touches throughout, it embodies, on the open water, the same sense of freedom and adventure attained while riding. At 191 feet, Unbridled offers accomodations for up to 12 guests in six staterooms, as well as 13 crew members. The owner, inspired by his family’s long history of riding and breeding horses and his love for the sport of polo, wove
MAKE AN U NB RI DLED ESCAPE ABOAR D AN EQU EST R I ANT HEMED YACHT.
an equestrian theme into the ship’s design. The Unbridled logo contains a belt clip from a saddle in its imagery. The main salon contains a large grill behind the TV with horses galloping, the staircase is leather like a bridle, and all of the sconces on board are horses. Other amenities include a variety of water toys, hightech underwater diving system, stainless steel hot tub, and air conditioning on all outdoor decks. This kind of over-the-top luxury doesn’t come cheap. Unbridled is available for charter for the winter and summer seasons. Summer rates start at $350,000, with winter rates starting at $300,000 per week, plus operating expenses. But somehow for a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this, $25,000 per person for a week seems like a bargain. PAGE 96
IN JAIPUR, YOU TOO CAN PLAY A CHUKKER OF UNFORGETTABLE POLO.
lephants have long been part of Indian culture, representing strength and power. Often used in weddings and religious ceremonies, they have come to be associated with gaiety and celebration, and their undeniable intelligence can be attested to by anyone who has witnessed their curious and gentle nature. It is therefore fitting that after many years of enjoying the game of polo, India would invite these marvelous animals to join the fun. The idea began as a whimsical conversation between two British officers who happened to be polo players, and for many years, the game of elephant polo was played by only the highest levels of society in India, Nepal, and Thailand. Now a much more open sport, elephant polo was introduced to tourists by Vikram Rathore in 1998 and is available to anyone adventurous enough to try. Polo Sport, a tourism and lifestyle company that arranges events and helps foreign travelers in northern India, organizes elephant polo in six locations in Jaipur, offering riders a rare chance to witness and participate in games throughout the year.
Jaipur is the only place in India where one can play Elephant polo at a dayâ€™s, or even only a couple of hoursÂ notice.
Sixteen elephants are trained for polo and are not shy of the mallets, balls, and other elephants. Bollywood stars, American celebrities, heads of state, kings, and corporate leaders have all participated, and in 2006, Cartier organized a tournament in Jaipur which included many A-list guests from Europe and America. Though elephants lack the agility and speed of horses, their docile nature and majestic presence ensures that every match is unforgettable and great fun. The basic rules of elephant polo (which guests are welcome to break) are simple. As in traditional polo, play is divided into seven-minute chukkers, though in this game there are four instead of the typical six. Between chukkers, players switch in order to allow as many guests as possible an opportunity to play. There may be no more than two elephants of the same team on any half of the field at once, and players are only permitted three taps of the ball. Polo Sport also offers other mounted activities around the world, including polo on horseback and on camels, and other equestrian activities like the ancient sport of tent-pegPAGE 96 ging, where galloping riders spear targets.
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T R AV E L D I A RY
D O H A , Q ATA R
f given the opportunity to travel to the exotic Middle East country of Qatar, do it without hesitation. If your means of getting there happens to be on Qatar Airways, then consider yourself a most fortunate traveler. Through an interesting mix of circumstances, EQ was invited to accompany Carson Kressley and two fellow friends of American Saddlebred horses on a five-day excursion to Doha, Qatar. The opportunity to take this VIP trip was part of a fund-raising event for the American Saddlebred Museum as well as an opportunity to introduce Qatar to EQ’s readers. The public relations firm of Public|NY and Qatar Airways orchestrated a trip that none of us will soon forget. (See: The Journey on page 92.)
A L S H AQ A B EQUESTRIAN CENTER
It is essential to stress the Qatari’s profound history and love of equines. Arabian horses were the lifeblood of Qatar long before oil riches. For centuries these noble creatures enabled trade, long-distance desert travel, exploration, and growth. Ultimately horses were the key to survival, and Qataris are committed to not only preserving the bloodlines but also passing along respect for and admiration of these animals to future generations. 5 8 | EQ U E S T RI A N L I VI N G | T R AV EL & EN T ERTAI N MEN T
1, 2. Marco Larsen and Carson Kressley sampled from Qatar Airway’s amazing wine list. The flight from New York took about 12 hours. 3, 4, 5, 16. We were welcomed royally to the St. Regis Doha by personal butlers, complementary Rolls-Royces, and an extravagant outdoor feast. 6. Carson rode camels, attacked the deser t dunes in Jeeps, and 9. made friends during our tour of the private stables. 7, 8. Riders from all over the world were competing in the Doha Longines Global Champions Tour, including 11. American competitor Reed Kessler. 10. A room with a view. 12. Unlike in America, a horse-show makes front page news. 13. The Souk sold everything from local pearls to camels and falcons. 14. Publisher C. W. Medinger introduced EQ, which will now be distributed in Qatar. 15. Editor Stephanie Peters and Carson enjoy “Jazz at Lincoln Center” at the St. Regis.
The Al Shaqab equestrian center is the most striking example of the Qatari’s devotion to horses. Covering almost 250 acres on the outskirts of Doha, Al Shaqab is an historical site with sentimental value for the Qataris. It was the site of an 1893 battle during which loyal supporters of Sheik Jassim bin Mohammed drove out an Ottoman force that had come to arrest him. The stadium complex—which is entirely devoted to horses—rivals the world’s major sports venues of any discipline. The structure is an award-winning architectural extravaganza, designed by the renowned architectural firm of Leigh and Orange (based in Hong Kong) and includes an outdoor arena, air-conditioned performance arenas, lounges, restaurants, a warm-up arena and track, and a full-service riding academy. Expansive press rooms, serving mainly Europe and the Middle East, are outfitted with the most sophisticated technology and flanked by observation lounges. Our visit to Al Shaqab coincided with the final 2013 Longines Global Champions Tour competition. We had the opportunity to visit with American rider Reed Kessler after her first competition in Qatar. She too was awed at the facility, commenting,“It was so thrilling to ride in this stadium. It’s just amazing!” Continued on page 90
Top row: Brazil’s Marlon Zanotelli leaving the warm-up area; our tour of the vast facility required a golf cart; a new foal in the breeding barn. Second row: The state-of-the-art air-conditioned equine hydrotherapy and exercise unit incorporates a swim-
ming pool, equine jacuzzi, dry treadmill, and horse walker with integral lunging unit. This row: The expansive grounds. Bottom row: Chi Al Shaqab event director, Omar Al Mannai, and commercial manager Khaled Yousuf Al Jehani welcomed us; the aisle of one of the many barns.
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IWILLBEHOMESOON/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
A P E R S O N A L T R AV E L D I A RY
The attached riding academy plays an important role in preserving Qatar’s equestrian heritage and culture. Horsemanship is encouraged for children and adults and is available to riders of all levels. The royal family learned to ride at the academy, and it is where their children learn. While touring the facilities, we crossed paths with the Emir’s children returning from their riding lessons. Academy riders can experience dressage, show jumping, endurance, and other equine sports. Currently there are 200 students enrolled, with a waiting list of 600. It seems fitting that the academy is part of the Qatar Foundation and is located in the heart of education city, along with the academic outposts of Cornell, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, and other esteemed international universities. A P R I VAT E TOUR
Our entire group was invited to ride some prize Arabian horses at the academy and take a rare, private tour of the vast facilities, which are laid out to form a horseshoe. The stables are built in harmony with the stadium, as are the rehabilitation facilities and one of the largest breeding centers in the world, with a capacity for 400 horses. We couldn’t help but notice the astonishing attention to detail. There is an unwavering harmony to both the
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D O H A , Q ATA R
Many shops in the Doha Souk sell falcons. The raptors sit hooded on their perches, and premier birds cost as much as $1 million.
architecture and landscaping—each facility has its own unique purpose, and each building contributes to a cohesive homage to horses. There are numerous separate stables for dressage, show jumping, Arabians, breeding, and endurance. There is a veterinary center, visitor’s center, and an equestrian club with a panoramic view of the entire complex. The equine exercise center hosts an impressive mix of state-of-the-art equine hydrotherapy and exercise units, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and treadmill that is unequaled by any we’ve ever seen. The many air-conditioned stables are impeccable, with huge stalls, and the horses—primarily Arabians—are magnificent, fit, and groomed to perfection. Everywhere we went, we found the staff incredibly friendly, generous with their time, and eager to share Al Shaqab’s vision with the world. DOHA
To fully appreciate the city of Doha you must tour this fascinating blend of ancient civilization and modern development. The virtually new city makes it hard to imagine that not much more than 10 years ago Bedouin tribes thrived in the desert—traveling by horse and camels. Qataris living along the Persian Gulf spent their days on Continued on page 92
Continued from page 90
pearl-diving boats called dhows. Pearls were a major industry long before oil. Built along the Corniche, a seaside promenade, Doha’s skyline is a dramatically modern backdrop against the steady stream of dhows that still head out to sea. The riotous mix of buildings stands prominently along the azure water and was best described by our host, Marco Larsen: “Doha is the world’s petri dish of architecture.” The buildings are most alive at night, when they dance to a chaotic symphony of mutating colors, lights, and motion. A trip to a Souk—the traditional open-air Arab market—is an entertaining way to experience Qatari customs and history. Imagine a maze of long passageways and alleys, with curious twists and turns and brimming with merchants selling their wares. Colored lanterns and exotic smells wafting from spice shops lure you in. Vibrant tapestries, silks, pearls, and gold are irresistible and test the temptation of even the savviest shoppers. Unexpected were the many shops selling falcons, all sitting hooded on their perches. We learned that falconry is a popular but not inexpensive
but not inexpensive sport, with prices for premier raptors selling for as much as $1 million. If you stroll far enough through the maze, you may eventually find a camel souk, and if you lose your way, listen for the hooves of mounted police as they meander through the cobblestone walkways. CU LT U RE AN D AC TI VI TI ES
In its quest to become a global art center, Doha has an abundance of museums and points of cultural interest. If your time is limited, a trip to The Museum of Islamic Art is a must. Designed by world-famous architect I.M. Pei (the Louvre), it is built on its own island, positioned out of reach of encroaching skyscrapers. A stunning blend of modern simplicity and Islamic architecture, it is nothing less than spectacular, reminding our group of Los Angeles’ Getty Museum. While the EQ team was engaged in equestrian pursuits, Carson and friends enjoyed some of the other popular activities available to visitors. Dune bashing, a heart-in-your-throat jeep experience of being pitched about like a rag doll while traversing steep desert dunes, was enjoyed along with a camel ride. And of course there was shopping. Lots and lots of shopping! After a wonderful five days, we learned that, while Qatar might be the world’s richest country, we think it could also be the most welcoming. In short, it’s a new must-visit destination for equestrians.
Q ATA R : T H E J O U R N E Y
f luxury travel is a favorite indulgence, rest assured that Qatar Airways meets and exceeds any expectations of airborne comfort. There is a rather overused maxim “It’s not the destination but the journey,” and in the case of Qatar Airways business class, it couldn’t be more accurate. The 12-hour flight from New York City’s JFK airpor t seems all too short to fully enjoy the comfort and amenities offered at 30,000 feet. The five-star service, culinary marvels, extensive wine lists, and unlimited entertainment are the perfect de-stressing precursors to a good night’s sleep. And sleep you will. Once settled into the complimentary grey flannel pajamas, one can fully recline in a cozy bed outfitted with Frette linens, quilted comfor ters, complimentary turn-down service, and dream-enhancing pillows. As a side note, when traveling from the United States on Qatar Airways, business class is first class, and we now understand why many critics choose it as the world’s best.
To extend this pampered state upon landing, consider splurging on Al Maha Services, Qatar’s upscale meetand-greet service, which provides a perfect foray into Arabian hospitality. It offered us full por ter service and a personalized bypass of the hectic pre- and-post-flight processing through passpor t, immigration, and visa
WHERE TO STAY
Our trip was scheduled prior to the completion of Hamad International Airpor t, the new five-star home base for Qatar Airways. Without question it will soon be a bustling, world-class, 600,000-square-meter facility a convenient 30-minute drive from Doha. It is
Doha has no shortage of five-star hotels. Two of our favorites are the Kempinski and the St. Regis Doha, that hosted the EQ team. The Kempinski is ideal for families or groups of friends traveling together. Accommodations range from one-to four-bedroom suites.
clearance, while relaxing in an ultraprivate lounge in both Doha and JFK.
slated for a phased opening beginning in mid-2014. Exciting news for equestrians are the soon-to-open live animal airpor t facilities designed to receive and transpor t significant numbers of horses. Qatar’s primary focus is to open the doors to greater international equestrian par ticipation and eliminate the traditional obstacles that often come with equine transpor t.
The St. Regis Doha offers the ultimate seaside experience at an elite westbay address. Middle Eastern mystique is integrated into modern yet timeless style. Your personal butler greets you upon arrival and is of assistance throughout your stay. Be sure to take advantage of their signature fleet of complimentary Rolls-Royces.
Qatar Airways is poised to fly thousands of soccer athletes, fans, and members of the press as Doha prepares to host the 2022 soccer FIFA World Cup. As par t of that preparation, the airline has joined the OneWorld alliance, offering a host of benefits for travelers.
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JAMES PARKER/THE BOOK LLC
Up to 3,000 horses compete in any given week within 15 show rings at WEF. Below, The traditional divot stomp, at the IPC.
PA L M B E AC H , F L O R I DA
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here in America can you enjoy the turquoise ocean of a luxury beach hotel, dine at more gourmet restaurants than your waistline should permit, shop a street that rivals Rodeo Drive, golf on some of the country’s best courses, and enjoy the highestlevel dressage, grand-prix jumping, and polo? There is only one destination we can think of: Palm Beach. The area has been a favorite of high society for years, and now it is the choice of equestrians as well. With fine shopping, beautiful beaches, and classic charm, Palm Beach is a window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous—both old money and new—where business tycoons and celebrities cross paths with heirs to some of America’s greatest family fortunes while shopping on Worth Avenue, the Rodeo Drive of the East. There are no boring getaways here. Deep-sea fishing cruises are nearby. Or you can spend a day at one of the area’s beautiful golf courses. Palm Beach County has more courses than anywhere else in the nation. To Palm Beach’s west lies nearby Wellington, long the choice destination for equestrians. When cold weather covers most of the country, Wellington hits its peak in show season, as pleasant temperatures provide predictably ideal conditions. Some of the biggest and most prestigious events in show jumping, polo, and dressage are held in Wellington every year, drawing large numbers of top competitors to the area.
WELLINGTON AND PALM BEACH OFFER AN UNEQUALED ARRAY OF EQUESTRIAN EVENTS, LUXURY, AND RECREATION.
Upper row: Shopping area at WEF; A new luxury resor t, Eau Palm Beach Resor t & Spa features 309 guestrooms and suites, casual and fine dining, a 42,000 square foot Eau Spa, private beach, and children’s activities; Lower row: A young rider at WEF, two views of Wor th Avenue.
Just as the area has the nations’s most golf courses, it also holds the record in polo, with over 80 active polo fields. Two of the best venues are the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) and the Grand Champions Polo Club. IPC is a private members club with many events open to the public. Every Sunday, fans flock to IPC for the highest goal tournaments played in the United States, including such prestigious competitions as the Piaget USPA Gold Cup and the Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship. Nearby Grand Champions Polo Club offers great field-side views of tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Flight Options. Hunter and jumper riders from around the world descend on Wellington each year for the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). It is the largest and longest-running event in equestrian sport. Twelve weeks of show-jumping action are held every year at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center from January through April. More than 10,000 exhibitors and up to 3,000 horses compete in any given week, within 15 show rings throughout the 100-acre equestrian show complex. Dressage lovers flock to Wellington as well. The new Adequan Global Dressage Festival is the world’s largest international and national dressage circuit. There are many other venues as well, such as the Ridge Wellington Turf Tour and the Citrus Series, the newest addition to the hunter/jumper competition landscape. PAGE 96
The stunning, minimalist design of the spa by New York’s Clodagh Design, manages to bring the magic of the desert landscape to life. Below: A welcoming entrance to the private casitas. Below, center: The Miraval Equine Experience.
M I R AVA L , T U C S O N , A R I Z O N A
orth of Tucson, amidst 400 acres of serene desert landscape and in view of the Santa Catalina Mountains, is Miraval Resort and Spa, the award-winning luxury retreat. With a core focus of promoting a life in balance, it delivers an experience that is both transformative and memorable. Miraval offers guests a variety of invigorating and physically challenging activities including hiking, mountain biking, and tennis. Exercises for body, mind, and spirit are offered through yoga, Pilates, and meditative labyrinth walks in the desert gardens. The Life in Balance Spa solidifies Miraval as a premier destination resort and spa. The treatments—vast in choices—are designed to transform guests through nurturing, rest, and renewal. Equestrian activities are also offered. Guests can enjoy a reflective trail ride or participate in Miraval’s signature Equine Experience with acclaimed equine facilitator Wyatt Webb and specially selected horses that will lead guests on rewarding journeys of self-discovery. At the end of the day, subtly lit walkways guide guests to their elegant casita-style accommodations. What a luxurious way to reflect on the day’s activities, healthful meals, and PAGE 96 personal accomplishments.
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MIRAVAL HAS AN ARRAY OF ACTIVITIES DEDICATED TO PROMOTING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.
Broadway producer and equestrian AMY NAUIOKAS’ favorite HOTEL: The Covent Garden Hotel in London. “Traditional English with a modern twist. And room 101 has the biggest bed in all of Europe!”
FEI 3* dressage judge and Central American Games Gold Medalist CESAR TORRENTE’S favorite RESTAURANT: Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru. GETAWAY: Curaçao.
German show jumper DAVID WILL’S favorite GETAWAY: Croatia. RESTAURANT: Grill Steakhouse in Bremen, Germany.
Ten-time U.S. National FourIn-Hand Driving Champion CHESTER WEBER’S favorite HOTELS: One and Only in the Maldives and 21C in Louisville, Ky. RESTAURANT: Hotel du Cap Eden Roc restaurant in Cap d’Antibes, France.
PHOTOS KODIAK GREENWOOD
Horse whisperer/artist MONTY AND PAT ROBERTS’ favorite HOTEL: Gritti Palace Hotel, Venice, Italy. “The view of the Grand Canal and the ambiance of the hotel was spectacular.” GETAWAY: “Heads and shoulders above all, my trips to Africa, going on the wildlife safaris and watching the abundant game.”
Fashion expert, TV star, and Saddlebred champion CARSON KRESSLEY’S favorite HOTEL: Qualia, on Hamilton Island in Australia. “It’s ridiculously luxurious, but still casual, chic, and relaxing.” RESTAURANT: Earth in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Ashland Farm trainer KEN SMITH’S favorite HOTEL: The Seagate Delray Beach because it is “casual but very nice.”
Movie producer and Arabian-horse breeder MINDY PETERS’ favorite WEEKEND GETAWAY Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, Calif. “Nestled into the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, the Post Ranch Inn exudes romance and relaxation.”
Grand Prix champion ASHLEE BOND CLARKE’S favorite HOTEL: Santa Catarina on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
ANN LEARY’S favorite HOTEL: Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy.
Young hunter/jumper professional SHAWN CASADY’S favorite GETAWAY: Phillips, Wisc. “It’s near in the north woods of Wisconsin and my aunt has a cottage up there. It’s great to relax, fish, eat, and enjoy peace.”
Top Canadian dressage rider DIANE CREECH’S favorite HOTEL: “I was in Las Vegas for the World Cup Final, and the Hotel Bellagio was absolutely incredible. I had never seen anything like it...the stunning indoor botanical garden and the chocolate fountain in the foyer.”
E Q ’ S F R I E N D S S H A R E T H E I R T R AV E L FAVO R I T E S Italian dressage rider SILVIA RIZZO’S favorite HOTEL: The Four Seasons in Sharm El Sheik. GETAWAY: New York City.
Olympian DEBBIE McDONALD’S favorite HOTEL: Casa Del Mar in Cabo. “We did this trip with our kids and their spouses, and it was one of the best times I can remember.” RESTAURANT: Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Cap d’Antibes, France.
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG’S favorite GETAWAY: Bermuda. “There is nowhere in the world I would rather go than the beach in Bermuda.” HOTEL: The Four Seasons in Dublin during the horse show. “So much fun and such a beautiful hotel.”
Pan Am Gold Medalist Dressage CESAR PARRA’S favorite HOTEL: “I am partial to the Lindner chain of hotels in Europe—partly because they are very nice, but mostly because my upcoming star is named after them, and I LOVE him!”
Reining’s first family TIM AND COLEEN McQUAY’S favorite HOTEL: Bellagio in Las Vegas. “Tim likes blackjack.”
Top Canadian hunter/jumper rider ERYNN BALLARD’S favorite GETAWAY: Prince Edward Island. “The most beautiful spot in all of Canada.”
L.A. Saddlery owner RENEE SPURGE’S favorite HOTEL: “Nestled between majestic redwoods and rugged coastlines, the Ventana Inn and Spa is my favorite place to hide out and recharge.” RESTAURANT: The Inn at the Seventh Ray, tucked away in Old Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles.
Champion reiners MANDY AND TOM McCUTCHEON’S favorite GETAWAY: “I think Turks and Cacois has the most beautiful beaches and clearest water I have ever seen.”
Grand Prix dressage rider DEVON KANE’S favorite HOTEL: Sea Island Resort in Georgia. “The beach is pristine, the grounds are gorgeous and inviting, and the staff is always more than helpful and very friendly. The atmosphere is warm, southern family style, but no expense is spared, and it is certainly a top-class resort. When I think perfection and relaxation, I think of Sea Island.”
Polo star NIC ROLDAN’S favorite HOTEL: Kurland Hotel in Pletenburg Bay, South Africa. “It’s a gorgeous hotel on a private polo farm at the base of a mountain range and close to the beach.” RESTAURANT: The Meatball Shop in New York City. “You can’t go wrong because the meatballs are delicious!”
President of Breyer Horses TONY FLEISCHMANN’S favorite HOTEL: Baur Au Lac in Zurich, Switzerland. “This gorgeous old hotel on the lake is completely restorative.” RESTAURANT: Il Buco in NYC. “The food is incredibly fresh and well prepared. And once a year, I have to have a fried hot dog from legendary Rutt’s Hut in New Jersey—although I usually regret it!”
2010 ASPCA Maclay Finals Champion HARLEY BARNHILL’S favorite HOTEL: The Monaco, Washington, D.C. “Love the modern décor, and it’s a short walk to the Washington International Horse Show.” GETAWAY: Key West. “It’s relaxed. You can do a lot of activities—or nothing at all.”
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1. 2. Everyone is welcome at the spring and fall races, held each April and October at Glenwood Park. 3. 4. Kinross Farm is a breathtaking example of the area’s beautiful farms. 5. Middleburg’s charming downtown. 6. The National Sporting Museum’s collection is a treasure for Middleburg.
KIM McCUSKER As editor of THE SCOUT GUIDE HUNT COUNTRY, VIRGINIA, I have been able to meet some of the most interesting people in our area. It has been my honor to share their stories and celebrate the contribution they make to our local narrative. The Scout Guide, currently found in more than 60 cities across the country, is a collection of locally focused publications that feature the premier independently owned businesses, artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs in their area. thescoutguide.com 94 | EQ U E S T R I A N LI V I N G | S U MMER | 2015
NATIONAL SPORTING LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
Middleburg BY KIM McCUSKER
he first thing you’ll notice is its sheer beauty: the carefully preserved architecture of a distant time, tree-lined streets cradled in lush open space, the endless rolling hills of its charming countryside. It is truly captivating. But, while the setting is breathtaking, it is the spirit of its people that beckons visitors to return and sometimes lay roots down of their own. Our residents are well-known actors, authors, artists, artisans, and even an Olympian or two. Jacqueline Kennedy spent much of her time here with John and Caroline while her husband was president, and she continued to spend many a hunting season here later in life. Elizabeth Taylor was a regular during her courtship and eventual marriage to local gentleman and Virginia senator John Warner. Of course, many Middleburg residents have lived here all their lives, and some enjoy the distinction of generations of family members
AN IDYLLIC VILLAGE IN VIRGINIA HUNT COUNTRY
calling the village home. Immediately you sense the camaraderie of this place—everyone knows one another, most attended grade school together (the Hill School to be precise, founded in 1926). It is a very close-knit community of incredibly interesting people, several of whom can be credited with tirelessly working to
preserve this place, its history, and its rich tradition of equestrian sport. George L. Ohrstrom Sr. and Alexander Mackay-Smith, for example, founded the National Sporting Library and Museum in 1954. While its understated exterior may be misleading, inside is an impressive display of history, culture, literature, and fine art celebrating equestrian, angling, and field sport. The list of patrons that have backed this cherished endeavor is a list of influence, power, and hunt country legend—George L. Ohrstrom Jr., Forrest E. Mars Sr., Paul Mellon, and John and Martha Daniels just to name a few. Today, Jacqueline Mars, Mrs. George L. Ohrstrom Jr., and Clarke Ohrstrom continue their families’ dedication to what is now a cultural epicenter of turf and field sport. It is the Reuter family that is responsible for the preservation of one of our town’s most cherished historical landmarks, the Red Fox Inn. It is the oldest established inn in America, TRAVEL & ENT E RTA INM E NT | EQ U ES TRIA N Q UA RTERLY | 95
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road to Boyce, Virginia’s, Other Elizabeth—the flagship, world headquarters of Elizabeth Locke Jewels. 42 21 $2.0M 87 63 9 MOS. Finally, a quick trip to Marshall, AV E R AG E AV E R AG E MONTHS OF DINING, AVERAGE J A N UA RY J U LY DAY COMFORTABLE A RT S , H O R S E FA R M Virginia, offers Tri-County Feeds, DAY RIDING C U LT U R E PRICE Fashions, and Finds—an impressive HORSINESS 70 95 12,000-square-foot, big white barn 70 INDEX BALTIMORE stocked with the very best in equesMIDDLEBURG trian style and decor. 50 ANNAPOLIS 50 66 Of course, add to all of this the WASHINGTON, DC P O P U L AT I O N 700 fact that on any given Saturday or 95 NEAREST AIRPORT WASH./DULLES, 15 MI. Sunday in the spring or fall, you can find a thrilling horse race somewhere experienced, one reminiscent of a fine antique in the area. The Middleburg Spring market in Europe, the other a walk through an Races at Glenwood Park (soon to celebrate its f course, alongside the Red Fox Ernest Hemingway novel. 100th anniversary) is a must experience. Or, Inn, you’ll find some of our arJust down the road in Millwood, Virginia, if polo is your sport, we have that, too, every ea’s most sought-after boutique the Locke Store, currently owned by Juliet Friday evening May through August at Great shopping. A few of the spots Mackay-Smith, is well worth the short drive. Meadow in the Plains. Furthermore, our longnot to be missed include Tully Serving in its current capacity as a mercantile standing tradition of fox hunting continues to Rector, Duchessa of Middleburg, Richard Allen since 1836, the structure of the store has hardly Clothing, and Highcliffe Clothiers; all offer thrive. Many of those residents associated with changed. Its modern inventory includes a wine impeccable style and flawless service. English equestrian sport in our area are the same famiselection from the finest vineyards of Europe Country Classics will wow with their custom lies who have worked so tirelessly to protect and the U.S., and a host of housemade lunch, line of fine country clothing, featuring beautithe open space and way of life that we all cherdinner, and baked goods that offer farm-toful fabrics procured exclusively from the finest ish. Have no doubt that they will continue to weavers in the British Isles. For the home, table decadence in every bite. Then, entice press hard and preserve this place we all hold Foxfire Antiques and the Outpost are to be your inner princess with a short trip up the PAGE 101 dear. with the original structure built in 1728. A young surveyor, George Washington, once visited the inn, and during the Civil War, it is said the tap room counter was a surgical table. A meal or stay at the inn is an essential—as it truly embodies hunt country. The inn offers lovely cuisine and a compelling collection of fine art that beautifully tells the story of the area and its rich history of fox hunting, thoroughbred breeding, and horse racing.
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1. Cricket Bedford, a real estate agent and active member of Middleburg’s equestrian community was EQ’s tour guide. 2. Scruffy’s Ice Cream Parlor in the center of town. 3. Melvin Poe, a fixture in Nor th American foxhunting for more than 60 years,
died last year at 94. 4. Middleburg Tack Exchange owner Jo Motion was one of the first female race trainers in the country. 5. Neil R. Morris trains racehorses at Kinross Farm and is joint master of the Orange County Hounds. 6. Will O’Keefe has been the voice of the race meets for 35 years as an announcer at Glenwood Park. 7. Punkin Lee is a cornerstone of the Middleburg community and owner of (8.) Journeymen Saddlers, a leather workshop that serves
some of the top riders in the country. 9. David Greenhill, owner of (10.) Greenhill Vineyard and Winery just outside of downtown Middleburg. 11. Mark Metzger of (12.) Highcliffe Clothiers, a shop full of wonderful colors, patterns, and classic styles. 13. Tri-County Feeds of Marshall, Virginia. 14, 15, 16. The historic Red Fox Inn was established in1728.
SUM M E R | 2 0 1 5 | EQ U ES TRIA N Q UA RTERLY | 97 PIETER ESTERSOHN
LEARNING TO LISTEN
WITH SHERYL JORDAN
BY JILL NOVOTNY
riving through the center of Middleburg, one feels a unique sense of history. The town’s melding of elegant tradition and stylish dynamism is embodied by its relatively new addition, the Salamander Resort. It is a posh resort, full of luxurious accommodations and the highest level of service. The hotel is adorned with equestrian details, from room numbers in helmet-shaped signs to bits and buckles on chairs and in paintings throughout. Unlike most resorts, especially one located just an hour from downtown Washington, Salamander allows guests to ride, to board, and to enjoy horses beyond a simple trail ride. Sheryl Jordan, a horsewoman with over 20 year’s experience, has been director of the equestrian program at Salamander since its opening in 2013 and has created the program from scratch. Over her career, she has trained show jumpers, managed equestrian programs at resorts, and offered educational, therapeutic, and team-building programs for all types of groups, from at-risk youth to corporate employees. In addition to traditional riding activities, Jordan offers a unique program known as EquiSpective, a half-seminar and half-horsemanship lesson. Jordan radiates a natural warmth that permeates the Equi-Spective workshop and invites feedback and interaction. While in Middleberg, we had a chance to attend a workshop. Jordan’s introduction and the lecture that followed were informal and personal, ranging from corporate management to energy and auras. Participants gathered by the round pen—which she referred to as the think-tank—where a gorgeous pony stood patiently watching Jordan’s every move. 9 8 | EQ U E S T RI A N L I VI N G | T R AV EL & EN T ERTAI N MEN T
SALAMANDER RESORT’S EQUESTRIAN PROGRAM OFFERS A PRIMER INTO THE LANGUAGE OF HORSES.
Equestrian yoga and the barns at Salamander. The spa and pool are world-class. Harriman’s, one of the resor t’s fine restaurants, is modeled after a stallion barn.
“I hope that this experience is useful to you as a journey of self-awareness, and that it helps you to look at yourself in a new way,” she began. Throughout the session, she encouraged awareness of the environment, of others, and of nature. She emphasized the importance of respect, empathy, and authenticity when communicating with horses—as with interacting with people. At one point she described a posture in which one’s feet are firmly planted on the ground and the ribcage lifted. After everyone tried it, each participant described the change that they experienced in their confidence, their
mood, their ability to project their voice, and their physical stability. Throughout the session, Jordan carried a small book filled with quotations and what she calls nuggets of wisdom that reinforced her points with poetic, witty, or simply memorable aphorisms. She used a minute of silence to demonstrate the value of attention and focus and explained that being aware and attuned to one’s surroundings is paramount in being able to work with horses, to read their body language, and to return their communications in a sensitive way. “You want to be in a position to respond rather than to react,” she explained, and extended this point by applying it to situations in the workplace, where understanding co-workers is the first step to gaining their respect, building a good team, and successfully leading. Following the discussion, everyone entered the ring and practiced engaging with the pony by experimenting with body language and movement in what was essentially a basic lesson in natural horsemanship, or what people commonly refer to as horse whispering. Without ever mounting a horse, Equi-Spective participants are able to experience what most equestrians already know: the benefits gained by working with horses. Even seasoned equestrians can find the workshop helpful, as Jordan herself has found. “I had a group of five prominent horsewomen come to take part in Equi-Spective,” she explained. “They each told me that they had learned something about themselves or about how they interact with their horses.” As the session ended and the group discussed their discoveries, Jordan walked over to grab the pitchfork to pick up a new pile and laughed, “I may be in the New York Times, but I’m still scooping poop!”
EQ F A V O R I T E S
PACK FOR ADVENTURE
Bleeker Cabin Bag in pebbled leather, $898, by Coach. Richly pebbled cowhide lends handsome texture to this sophisticated design, assembled by hand from star t to finish. The perfect carry-on, it combines understated custom hardware, refined rolled handles, and a long strap for shoulder or hands-free crossbody wear.
Spectra™ Dual-Access ExtraCapacity U.S Carry-On, $585. This 8-wheel carry-on features an innovative design that makes traveling with hard-side luggage more convenient. The extracapacity, ultra-light suitcase has an integrated front zippered quick-access door, inventiveness and design that is evidence of its maker, Victorinox, creator of the famous Swiss Army knife.
WAYS TO TRAVEL IN STYLE One for each of our destinations!
GG Supreme Canvas Four Wheel Carry-On Suitcase, $2950, by Gucci. Beige/ebony GG supreme canvas bag made using an ear th-conscious process, with dark brown leather trim and beige cotton linen lining. Made in Italy. Four 360° wheels. Small size: W38cm x H56cm x D21cm.
Travelteq’s Weekender Bag, $720. This handsome bag is big enough to hold whatever you may need for a weekend out of town. Easy to carry and stow, with an adjustable leather strap, its classic look makes it a good choice for any type of holiday.
The Tote in Melton Wool, $420. Like the borough in England from which the material gets its name, Deux Chevaux’s Melton Tote evokes images of fox hunting across the rolling countryside. With its decorative striping, top-quality pebbled leather and nickel fittings, however, the Melton Tote is equally chic for the urban landscape.
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EQ P E O P L E
The host and producer of the award-winning EQUITREKKING is convinced that some of the most beautiful places in world are BEST SEEN FROM THE SADDLE.
Darley Newman is the host and producer of the Emmy Award-winning equestrian travel television show, Equitrekking, which broadcasts on PBS and networks in over 82 countries. Darley has appeared on the Encore Westerns Channel, writes for Practical Horseman magazine, and has a new series on the AOL On Network. She is the author of Equitrekking: Travel Adventures on Horseback, the founder of Equitrekking.com, and recently launched Top20Ranches.com and EquitrekkingTravel.com, which feature horseback riding and equestrian vacations.
arley Newman has an enviable job—provided you love to travel, ride horses, and meet people in the most awe-inspiring settings around the world. Her recollection of what sparked her
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Darley Newman (left) and local guide Alicia Morales ride the grassy hills of Uruguay outside of Alicia’s eco-friendly estancia during the filming of Equitrekking Uruguay.
interest in travel is a ninth grade trip to France, Italy, and Greece. She was instantly hooked by the thrill of experiencing different cultures and realized then that the best way of discovering a world of new people, places, and customs was through first-hand travel. (Learn more about her travels in our Q-and-A on page 24.) Her combined passion for travel and riding horses evolved into the concept and fruition of Equitrekking. She stands by an equestrian truth that, while riding, you not only form a spectacular bond with your horse but you can also communicate cross-culturally through all things equine. It is considered an unspoken
language shared globally by horse and riders. Darley feels this universal sense of equestrian camaraderie provides authenticity to her trips. On horseback, the locals can provide access to the hidden gems and unique lifestyles of a country that is rarely noted in guidebooks. The stunning imagery posted from Darley’s travels around the globe presents an obvious benefit of her job, but learning about the culture, cuisine, and day-to-day life of her hosts is equally rewarding to her. Darley believes that when far from civilization, survival comes down to nature. Accessing remote places on horseback and learning natural traditions passed down through generations is one of her favorite things. Stepping away from the city and into nature shines a light on what is truly meaningful in life. Continued on page 24
EQ P E O P L E
Continued from page 22 Travel blogger MARGO MILLURE
What is your favorite equestrian vacation that you’d recommend to equestrians?
of travelbelles.com spent time chatting with Equitrekking’s Darley Newman
Well, you can tell that I love Ireland, and you can never go wrong there because there are so many great places to ride. The Ring of Kerry, the Medieval Village Trek on the Cooley Peninsula, Castle Leslie… But I have to say that I fell in love with Cappadocia, Turkey. It is one of my favorite all-around travel destinations. You can ride horses from village to village and through amazing geological formations called fairy chimneys, visit underground cities, and eat really tasty food made with fresh ingredients.
in late 2012. EQ recently followed up with Darley to hear about the new locations she’s experienced from the saddle and how her rapidly expanding equitrekking business continues to introduce new travel adventures for equestrian wanderlust. How did the idea of Equitrekking come about?
PHOTOS CHIP WARD
Equitrekking is a combination of my passion for horses, travel, TV production, and media. I was working in television in New York City, N.Y., and wanted to combine these passions into something I could do on a daily basis, and Equitrekking just evolved from there. I wanted to get out and see the world. Through riding, I could reach these beautiful natural settings, spend time with horses, and meet local people—a great combination! You’ve met interesting people, such as Princess Alia of Jordon, and done a host of quirky things, including a whiskey tasting in Scotland at the crack of dawn. Fun aside, which experience has had a profound effect on you?
It actually wasn’t a travel experience. When I was first launching Equitrekking a few years ago, my mother passed away. It was sudden and unexpected. I was in the studio in New York City recording the narration for our pilot episode of Equitrekking, and when I came out to take a break, I saw all of these missed calls from my neighbors in Myrtle Beach. I left the studio immediately and got to the hospital in South Carolina in record time to find my mother was already gone. It changed my life. My mother had a true passion for life and was so creative. I know she’d want me to experience the most from life and pursue what I love. The whole experience taught me at a young age that life is short. I was just starting
Top: Darley rides the beaches of Donegal in Northwest Ireland. Above: Darley and local Bedouin guide in Lawrence Siq in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan.
Equitrekking and losing her made me want to go for it even more and pursue my dreams. What is one of the places you’ve been to with Equitrekking that you definitely want to go back to someday?
I’ve been to Ireland three times and would go back again in a heartbeat. I love the people, the villages and cities, the horses, and the pubs.
How do you choose where to go for Equitrekking? And where are you going next?
We’ve filmed 36 episodes now, in diverse locations including Jordan, Turkey, Iceland, Hawaii, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Alaska, Quebec, California, and beyond. We choose based on the time of year that we need to film, where we’ve gotten good recommendations from fellow travelers and viewers, and of course what makes sense for our budgets. We’re looking at a variety of destinations in Central and South America, as well as right here in the USA for the next season. Our latest season with Jordan, Uruguay, Great National Parks, Great American Ranches, Alberta, Turkey, and Botswana is broadcasting now on PBS stations.
What do you do for vacation?
I recently went on a dream vacation to Tuscany, Italy, for a friend’s wedding. My girlfriend and I rented an apartment in Florence, took a vineyard Vespa tour in Chianti, and had wonderful adventures. Equitrekking’s 36 high-definition episodes on PBS are taking viewers on global travel adventures in South America, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. To find out when the show will be aired in your area, visit PBS.org and type in your zip code.
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EQ T R A V E L
A BEL I Z E E S C APE Filmmaker FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA created BLANCANEAUX an idyllic equestrian getaway in a tropical paradise.
PHOTOS FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA RESORTS
BY DARLEY NEWMAN
hat could be more romantic than a sunset horseback ride? What about riding to a secret waterfall, hidden deep within a tropical paradise? You can do both at Blancaneaux Lodge, located deep in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve in Belize, close to the Guatemalan border and a variety of Mayan ruins. This is the perfect escape for those looking to recharge and add a little romance to their vacation. Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who visited the remote jungle setting in the 1980s, created this boutique, luxury resort. Strolling the grounds, you may feel like you’re on a movie set. It's jungle perfection, with flowers adorning the well-kept stables and shaded walkways, and birds that seem to fly by on cue. After you’ve enjoyed a locally sourced meal with fruits and vegetables grown in Blancaneaux’s own organic garden, meander over to the stables to select a horse. I recommend the ride to Big Rock Falls.
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Left to right: A moonlit fresh-water infinity pool. Blancaneaux Lodge horse stables encourage equestrian sightseeing. A creek-side hut is available for catered romantic dinners or a quiet getaway for daytime reading.
This approximately two-and-a-half hour excursion is relaxed enough even for your non-riding spouse or companion. Passing through forested trails, home to a variety of rare flora and fauna, you’ll journey to a secluded waterfall located in a more lush section of the forest. If you’re lucky, which I was on my trip, you’ll have the falls all to yourself. It’s here, after a short hike down, that you’ll want to have worn your bathing suit. Jumping into the cool waters by this impressive waterfall is exhilarating. For those seeking an added thrill, your guide may show you a spot where you can enjoy an electrifying leap off the rocks to plunge into the deep pool below. If you’ve ever had visions of swimming under a waterfall to enjoy your own version of a natural massage, this is the place to do it.
Back at the lodge, indulge in a signature cocktail at the eclectic Jaguar Bar or cozy up in your private cabaña. These thatched-roof retreats, tastefully decorated with antiques from Guatemala and colorful hand-made tiles, boast indulgent amenities like personal mineral-salted plunge pools and expansive decks. Best of all, as you fall asleep to the sounds of the Privassion River, which powers the resort’s own hydroelectric plant, you can feel good about staying at an eco-friendly, sustainable PAGE 111 resort.
Darley Newman is the host and producer of the Emmy Award-winning equestrian travel television show, Equitrekking, which broadcasts on PBS and networks in over 82 countries. She is the founder of Equitrekking.com, Top20Ranches.com, and EquitrekkingTravel.com, which feature global horseback riding vacations.