They are all extremely experienced and well trained, each with their own personality but all eager to please.
Please remember, when you ride with us, that our charges reflect not only the cost of the ride, but also the cost of discovering, maintaining and expanding this unique network of trails and descriptions. The menu on the left suggest a number of trails but this is not all. Each trek will be individually arranged according to the riders wishes.
We aim to provide an individual and personal service and look forward to welcoming you here at Villa Stabbia.
Please look here for some practical information regarding riding levels, physical restrictions, riding outfits etc.
This is why we here at Villa Stabbia have started to make some introduction treks for children.
To make that experience even more memorable.
The children will usually participate in the grooming of the horse and assist in fetching the tack. This way they will start to bond with the horse, get to know it a little bit and trust it.
Depending on the time of the year, time will be spent tasting the seasonal fruits and berries found on the route
and if lucky sometimes tracks from wild animals are found and will be examined.
The small trek is not just to introduce the child to the world of horse riding, but also to discover the nature surrounding the horses.
As always here at Villa Stabbia, the rider will be taught how to groom and tack up the horses (putting on the bridle, numnah and saddle). This will give the opportunity to get to know the horse and feel at easy in its company.
The first 30 min will take part in the arena or round-pen. Here you will learn how to sit and hold the reins correctly, how to get the horse moving - and even more important, how to stop the horse; not forgetting how to walk around obstacles down narrow paths as well as how to get the horse to walk backwards.
All the basics for controlling a horse, and if time permits maybe even the first rounds of trot. A bit like taking the "riding license".
Once the steering and controls of the horse is mastered, it is time to go out for a trek for the last 30 min. If the riders feel confident in the saddle, the guide will ride in front and they will follow. If however the riders feel the need for assistance from time to time, the instructor will walk along and be able to assist whenever requested.
As for the trek with the children, there is the opportunity to taste the seasonal fruits and berries found on the route - cherries have never tasted so good, as when freshly picked from the back of a horse.
A full day in the saddle - almost. It is of course possible to participate in the beginners trek (and take the "Riding License") then a short break to stretch the legs and then the 1 to 2 hour trip. It is the least demanding with less climbing in the mountains, very pretty, but can be done in walk and trot alone.
The shortest round treks from Villa Stabbia usually takes between 1 and 2 hours.
The easiest and maybe also most scenic trek is towards east, starts with a smallish walk - just enough to warm up the horses - followed by some climbing. It is not a great climb, but steady and at the top it gives a beautiful view of the valley and on a clear day, it is even possible to see the Padule (bird sanctuary). Thereafter the trip goes into the forest and follows a small stream before heading back again.
Depending on level of experience, it is possible to take a detour and go through the small village of Colle on the way back.
The trek can be done in only walk and trot, however normally there are 3 to 4 stretches of canter.
Anther small trek is towards the west of Villa Stabbia. Here it starts with a steep climb through the olive groove, followed by small tracks leading to yet another olive groove.
For very experienced riders, it is possible to canter a couple of time in the groove, before leaving it for a long trot. There is a steep decent, which of course the horses are very used to walk down. However if it was raining the day before, the riders walk next to the horses for the descent.
Hereafter there is a long trip into the forest ending with a long canter up the hill. The trek then winds its way though small back roads and ends up in the small village of La Molina, before arriving back at Villa Stabbia.
Although the trek can be done in only walk and trot, the rider must have really good balance and be able to get up and down from the horse unaided.
Flexibility however is the key and as always treks are planned according to riders experience and requests. As can be seen from the map with some of the treks in the vicinity of Villa Stabbia, it is always possible to combine some or make a detour or try out a new road or ..... Flexibility!
Which means treks can either start at Villa Stabbia, or treks can be where the horses are loaded into the truck and driven to a different location - like the Padule for example.
The most scenic route of the treks starting at Villa Stabbia follows initially the same route as the 1-2 hour trek towards the east. However, once in the forest after having ridden along the small stream, the route diverts further into the forest. There is the opportunity for a very long and easy canter at this point.
Hereafter the path goes further and further into the forest, up and down the slopes, mainly all in walk or trot though with the odd canter in between. When coming out of the forest, after having crossed another small stream, time for a very long and nice canter. Here the horses really have the opportunity to get some speed if the rider permits it.
Being at the highest point of the trek, it then goes downhill all the way back. Along the main road for a short while, before diverting into the small medieval village of Massa. With the sound of hooves on the cobbled roads, the trek goes thought the narrow roads before exiting though the main medieval gate. Her it is possible to stop for an ice cream or a quick coffee in the local bar. The trek continuous through an olive grove before ending back at Villa Stabbia.
For treks to the Padule - the horses are groomed and prepared, then loaded into the truck and when in the Padule, saddled and all ready to go.
All the treks in the Padule are for experienced riders - there will be several long stretches of canter, and often long trots as well. After spending most of their time trekking in the mountains, the horses enjoy the flat open areas and are all eager to move onwards.
As mentioned before, all treks can be planned according to participants wishes and experiences. Being a small riding centre also allows us the be extremely flexible when it comes to where to go and when.
Spending hours on the back of one of our friendly and forward going horses, in the company of our relaxed and informal but very experienced guides . . . . . and in the company of a small group of like minded riders. Enjoy.
Likewise, there are long stretches of canter as well as frequent periods of trot. Recommended for level 3 an up - click here for details.
The easier of the two starts out initially following the same route as for the 1 to 2 hour trek, though diverts to the south and follows long and varied routes in the forest, whilst slowly climbing in altitude. This ride shows a varied scenery but mainly in the forest, hill tracks, old green roads and long country lanes open for the canters . . .all leading to the peak of the ride, Malocchio. From here begins a slow descend still along forest paths, passing the odd farmhouse before ending up in the medieval village of Massa. The final stretch goes through an olive groove with arrival back at Villa Stabbia.
The second half day trek with Villa Stabbia as the base,
starts with a very steep climb in the olive groove, followed by
a long meandering trail through small villages, forest, olive
groove and even more forest. With a slow and steady climb, the
view over Montecatini Terme and the surrounding valley is just
After a small stretch on the road, there is the first option for a long canter in the forest. This trails become smaller and smaller, before only one horse can pass at a time - beautiful Tuscan countryside where few people passes.
For half day treks there are two main ones to choose from, both starting from Villa Stabbia. However if using the horse transporter, the treks can be at the Padule, the beach or somewhere in between. Tuscany is so big and there is so much to see.
The full day ride offers a wonderful day in the saddle for experienced riders as it involves a lot of climbing, several stretches of canter and maybe even a small jump over a stream. And what views - every hilltop or mountaintop seem to offer a more breathtaking view than the previous.
The duration of the trips are based on some long stretches of canter, and quite a lot of trotting. Although the horses are very very well trained, have done the trips hundreds of times and have years of experience plus are used to riders with different experience; the rider will have to have 100% control of the horse at all times. The steep climbs and we will be going through towns and along some stretches of road.
The most ridden trail follows the half day trek until the church in the middle of the forest. This is the most perfect place to stop for lunch as there is grass for the horses to eat and fresh running water. Beside the historical settings, the place also offer a welcoming shade in the middle of the day and peaceful surroundings are only interrupted by birds singing.
The lunch is usually a delicious picnic packed full of delicious, locally produced food and drinks. Non-riders who wish to join for the lunch are welcome, as transport can be arranged.
The trek will continue with a small visit to the 11th centaury ruin Verruchia followed then by a long and steady climb deep into the Tuscan forest.
There will be a visit to the small medieval village of Massa on the way back before the descent along paths in olive groves before reaching Villa Stabbia again.