HOSPITABLE // Quinta do Riacho is located in the small village of Sato da Serra on Madeira Island. Company service included pickup ad drop off in Funchal, and the practicalities are in order.
More than anything though, Quinta do Riacho is a love story. Their love for all animals have led them to help several dogs in need; some were rescued from the streets, others re-homed. Paula’s passion for and study in horses let her to take on this venture to begin with; she took on a few neglected horses and nurtured them into healthy, calm and kind horses. Paulo, who was working as a civil engineer at the time, soon joined the farm full time. Some might consider Paulo a true modern gentleman of today; supporting his woman and growing to share a dream. However, he puts is slightly differently: “Paula was already bossing me around all the time; I thought I might as well make a living off of it!”. Anyone visiting will notice that this loving irony and genuine care shines through; not only in the project that have taken on, and the animals and the business itself -but to the wellbeing of the guests. Their passion is admirable and Paula is a indeed a woman of inspiration.
“Forget glass slippers. This princess wears boots! Observing Paula at Quinta do Riacho help Vivaldi find the right tune before handing him over to a more experienced rider than myself, I can’t help but admire her courage, patience and dedication going into this business full heartedly; strong, majestic animals with a mind of their own.”
Forget glass slippers. This princess wears boots!
AUTHENTIC // Depending on weather conditions and guests there are several different trails available to chose from. The ranch is located next to the Madeira Natural Park and has a wide range of paths that allows visitors to explore the levadas and the Laurisilva Forest from a horseback.
“I can definitely see why some people get hooked; riding a horse presents a certain amount of freedom and it’s a very natural and quiet way to soak in the sensational experience of Madeira. Never mind the motorcycles, busses and cars; if you want authentic horsepower THIS is the real deal.”
Never mind the motorcycles, busses and cars; if you want authentic horsepower THIS is the real deal
MEMORABLE // The tour BeLeave Magazine went on lasted around 1½ hours and the ride took us along the Levada da Serra do Faial and through the Laurisilva Forest.
“When Paolo bowed in the direction of my horse I saw a beautiful, white horse worthy of a princess and with the letter ‘M’ branded on his bum. It was meant to be: M for Michelle! Or so I thought. I soon realized Paolo was referring the grumpy Vagabond next to the Knight in Shining Amor: 17 years old Rofty! Riding him was a nice experience though. Although he used to be called “Wild Devil” in Portuguese, and although he may have sprinted a little to catch up at times, and at one point decided to jump over a bundle of branches in the forest – a bit to my surprise, I must admit – the ride and the jump actually made the experience really exciting and memorable; I suppose I got a glimpse of what it means to be ‘riding a horse’ as opposed to simply ‘sitting on a horse’. It was a fun trip!”
I got a glimpse of what it means to be ‘riding a horse’ as opposed to simply ‘sitting on a horse’. It was a fun trip!
IMMERSIVE // The tours are flexible and clients can enjoy this experience at a pace that works for them, whether first timer or more experienced rider. This gives the possibility for an individualized trip, which is a good basis for an immersive experience.
“Looking over Rofty’s soft brown ears and down the Santo da Serra village was breathtaking and I soon realized I was the lucky one; Rofty might be a little rough around the edges but he was most likely the closest I’d ever get to a real Prince in that moment in time – someone that I could count on. I felt safe in his presence and when I closed my eyes from time to time during the ride, I could feel every movement with every step through the hilly landscape of Madeira.”
Looking over Rofty’s soft brown ears and down the Santo da Serra village was breathtaking and I soon realized I was the lucky one; Rofty might be a little rough around the edges but he was most likely the closest I’d ever get to a real Prince in that moment in time – someone that I could count on.
There is something eye-opening and magical in dealing with real animals and spending a day at Quinta do Riacho: How often do we really let ourselves trust another human being – let alone a horse with a bit of a temper?
When in Madeira you have to try it! We certainly #BeLeave it was an enjoyable ride!