I was fortunate enough to visit this beautiful establishment twice whilst studying abroad in Spain the fall of my junior year of college. My first visit was with my international school and we did not get to see a show but toured the facility and went through the museum. The second visit was a bit more of an extraordinary affair when I look back on it now. I lived with a Spanish family in Sevilla and I had another American roommate. My roommate and I befriended some Spanish guys through a language practicing program run by our school. Both gentlemen were studying to be engineers and graciously invited my roommate and me as their dates to a banquet hosted by their engineering department that was held at the riding school.
Ah, Spain, what a gift it was to know a little part of you.
The school is located in the city of Jerez de la Frontera, a lovely Andalusian city known as the birthplace of the trinity of southern Spanish traditions; sherry, flamenco, and spanish horses. Called the unofficial horse capital of Spain, Jerez not only houses the Royal School of Equestrian Arts, it is also home to the Spanish Military Stud Farm; hosted the 2002 World Equestrian Games; and throws an annual spring fair that is simply known as Feria del Caballo to celebrate the city’s love of horses.
On my first trip, I had a gorgeous sunny day to stroll the grounds of the school. I was a bit preoccupied with the thought that this might be my only visit here and we were not going to see the show. In fact, “preoccupied” probably doesn’t quite cover it…I was livid. But the majesty of the grounds and a tour through the stables soon soothed my mood.
My second trip to Jerez came about a month later. Our evening with the engineers, started with a lovely reception with drinks and tapas in the gardens at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art and after, we were treated to a private show. We saw a Doma Vaquera demo, in-hand airs above the ground, driving, dressage, and of course copious amounts of Spanish walk. The school looked beautiful lit up at night and although no flash photography was permitted during the show, I at least got a few snaps.
After the show, we ended the evening with a lovely dinner served at the nearby Tio Pepe Winery where we dined among 300 year old casks of aging sherry in the Apostle Room. A truly unforgettable evening.
If you ever get a chance to go to Spain, especially southern Spain, there are a TON of horsey activities you can do, where you can see some absolutely breathtaking examples of the Pura Raza Espanola breed and the national pride surrounding horses. Definitely put the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art on your equestrian bucket list!