Hello I am considering studying abroad in either Spain, South Korea, or Costa Rica in the future and I would like to continue riding. Does anyone know of any good equestrian centers in these countries? I ride mostly hunter/jumpers and have some basic dressage experience. Preferably I’d also like to find some place not too expensive as I have a limited budget-I would consider “working student” options.
Just go wherever and once you get there, look around. I expect SKorea would be the most expensive. I did a study abroad in Spain in 2011 (one of my many international excursions) and took lessons. It was “fun” considering I was a Saddle Seat rider learning a whole new discipline in another language. I learned a LOT though.
In all honesty you will have to just go with whatever is offered. Don’t go abroad with expectations for what you think you will find. If you want horses, go do horses, and be open. Maybe you will find a ranch and can learn something about cattle work, or to a traditional equestrian center and learn about dressage and jumpers. Also Hunter-Jumper is a very American thing. It’s only starting to kind of catch on in Europe, mainly for them to develop nice sale horses to export over here.
Study abroad is a blast. Have fun!
I lived in BF Thailand and had a great barn 5 min away. Now I live in urban France and there are a few barns on public transportation. In Istanbul however, not a horse in sight.
Costa Rica wont have much, Korea has barns but is pricey (great if you teach English though!), Spain will depend on your location and transport. Go anyway and if you’re meant to ride you will!
Me - I’d go to Spain. Good horses, Good food Good wine. (Oh, that’s right you want to study too…Skip too much wine)
Language not so hard as far east.
Re equestrian facilities - I would start by looking at facilities that are listed in riding vacation catalogs. (Equitours, Hidden Trails) They can probably give you some recommendations, if you contact them. Horse people know everyone in their area…
I had a situation similar to what you’re looking for in Spain…but that was 20 years ago (!). I’m biased but that was a wonderful year - I studied at the Universidad de Alcala de Henares and I believe they continue to have a strong foreign student program. I borrowed a bike and worked for riding at Las Cadenas in Camarma. That was a long time ago - I have no idea what things are like now, but I had a wonderful experience all around.
Your biggest issue with trying to ride as a student abroad will definitely be transportation. Most barns aren’t anywhere near a transit route and might be too far for even a taxi. Check out the schools you are interested in and see if any have an equestrian club. This might not be so common in other countries but when I went on study abroad in the UK nearly every school had one that organized lessons and transportation there/back. I would also suggest looking up the equestrian federations in each country for a list of accredited stables.
And like others have said, be prepared for a very different style of riding and coaching. In my experience, lessons in Europe tend to be less focused on the development of the individual and more about keeping everyone’s positions in line. Regardless, you will have fun and learn lots!
I lived in Sevilla for a year in 2011-12. I took lessons at the racetrack – they had a jumper/x-c barn that was linked up with a therapeutic riding school. The trainer is an ex-cavalry man and a total hoot. It was nice because public transportation could get me most of the way there. I walked from the end of the metro line to the barn for the first few months but soon enough met lots of people willing to give me rides from the station, and eventually the trainer started picking me up from the city center on his moped (always a fun experience!)
I can’t say I learned a ton, but I had a great time trying. Taking lessons in a foreign language is HARD, and I was already fluent when I arrived in Spain. There’s a lot of metaphor and specific language that gets lost in the translation, plus the differences in riding style made my life very difficult. I know the trainer thought I was a terrible rider because I was always So. Damn. FORWARD!!! which to him was the greatest sin.
If you end up in Sevilla, please let me know – I’d be happy to help you find the place. I’d also just recommend the city in general. It’s beautiful with a rich equestrian history (google Feria de Abril – I almost got talked into buying a horse there! :lol:) and amazing architecture. I miss it every damn day.
What was the name of the barn in Sevilla?
La Herradura – they have a Facebook page for their therapeutic riding center, but if you send them a message they can hook you up with the normal lessons. The trainer I worked with is Pedro (I think Garcia? Oh God, how have I already forgotten? :lol:).