Thank you for booking your riding holiday at Morgado Lusitano.  This page is to help you plan before you leave and describe what to expect when you arrive. It will also answer some commonly asked questions and give you some personal hints. Over time the policies may change from those expressed here.



MORGADO LUSITANO - Turismo Rural, Lda 
Quinta da Portela

Cabeço da Rosa

E. N. 116
2615 - 365 Alverca do Ribatejo



Morgado Lusitano  011 351 21 993 65 20  office

For all arrangements and details once at Morgado Lusitano outside normal business hours
Call general manager Alexandre D'orey  011 351 93 306 50 04 
While in Lisbon call Vasco Rodrigues at 011 351 93 6000 128

Do not hesitate to use these numbers once you arrive, Vasco and the rest of the staff are there to make your trip as worry free as possible.  

What to do before you leave...

Ride... To prepare for your lessons in Portugal you will find if you can put in an hour a day before you leave it will be easier for you to put in 2 -3 once you arrive. For those who ride western, some lessons in an English saddle would smooth the transition once you have arrived. If you have access to a dressage minded instructor a review of lateral work, such as leg yields, shoulder in, and half-pass is nice, however it is not necessary to master these movements.  
Read...  Sylvia Lochs book Dressage:  A study into the art of Horsemanship is really well written and it is interesting to be visiting some of the places and riding the breed of horses described. An excellent reference book is Jane Savoies' Cross-Train Your Horse: Simple Dressage for Every Horse, Every Sport.    Books 1 and 2. And I think that Academic Equitation by General DeCarpentry  is a big help when it comes to learning and understanding lateral work. I have a complete booklist on another page of this web. 
Relax...  We know how stressful leaving on a holiday can be, but rest assured that we have done this many times before and will make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

What to bring...

Identification.   A valid passport is required, but there are no visa or medical requirements. Check with the  Portuguese Embassy in your country if you think you have special circumstances. I also suggest you bring a current drivers license.  Be certain you have a print out of your airline itinerary, many times confirmation code is not enough and you must have a printed e-ticket.

Dollars and sense.  Morgado Lusitano accepts Visa/Mastercard,  American express or Travelers checks.  You can also pay in Euros and may qualify for a cash discount.  Other than taxi fares or purchases outside of Morgado, this is an all inclusive trip there is no need to bring large amounts of additional currency. If you wish to leave a gratuity, please see our note below.   The Portuguese use the EURO, it will be helpful to exchange $100.00 or so while at the airport while in the baggage claim area. I strongly suggest you have a ATM card with a PIN number that you can access from Europe.  Ask your bank to assure this.  This is the best way to get the highest exchange rate, but be aware that most ATM's have a 200.00 EUR0 payout limit per day.

You will need to have the return taxi fare from Morgado to the airport, this is usually less than 20.00 Euros. 

Clothes and riding gear.  
Lisbon is near the ocean so the weather is not extreme during any season.  However, July/Aug is hotter, bring light clothing and Nov/Feb is wetter so bring light rain gear. They have umbrellas there if needed.  I bring enough clothes that I do not need to do laundry.  There is no washing machine at the facility, but clothes can be sent out if necessary.  During the winter I like to bring fleece to wear when not riding.  Bring what you like to ride in at home, but have layered clothes so that as you warm up during the lessons you can remove excess layers.  The riding is not "formal" and you should be comfortable.
* Breeches or jodhpurs.  You can ride in jeans but the seams can chafe. Wearing breeches is normal, so for men you will not seem out of place.
* Riding boots or paddock boots and half chaps.
* Gloves, lightweight- these protect your fingers if you are not used to handling double reins.
* Spurs, only if you normally wear a very short set. Otherwise we will provide them if appropriate.
* Padded underwear,  Don't laugh, these can be a big help on an extended sitting trot!
* Extra undergarments, socks etc. Most riders work pretty hard get pretty sweaty.  Having fresh underclothes to put on before each ride help keep chafing to a minimum.  Washing clothes can be problematic because they must be sent out. 
* Riding helmet is suggested. I wear one anytime I am on an unfamiliar horse.
* Personal toiletries should include a bar of soap, chap stick, ear plugs, ointment (such as A&D) for tender spots, moleskin and ace bandage for any sore areas, aspirin or Aleve. Be prepared for an irritated seat and sore muscles, even with good preparation the lessons can be a bit tiring.
* Hair dryers etc that will run on 220 volt European plug.  Many will accept dual voltage with a plug converter.
* Bug spray, such as Off.  Flies seem to just be a part of a stable and even with a fly control program it is still more pleasant if they don't interrupt your concentration once astride. I even put some on the horses!
* Swimming attire in the summer.
* BOOKS!  Since there is plenty of time to relax, it is nice to have some reading material with you.  There is usually as small selection there from other clients who leave paperbacks when they finish them.
SPECIAL NOTE It is VERY important to have at least one days change of clothes AND your minimal riding gear in your carry-on suitcase.  There have been several instances where luggage has been lost for several days before being delivered.  Suitable replacements are not easily purchased in Portugal on short notice. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT AS AIRLINES SEEM TO BE LOSING BAGS MORE AND MORE OFTEN!!!    

Electricity and Media
Electricity is 220 volts and uses a standard 2 prong European plug. Some items like shavers or hairdryers and computers will convert, however some will not.  Read your appliance before you plug it in.  There is a TV in each room but the channels are limited and in foreign languages. And computer is available during regular office hours if you need to check E-mail, at this time there is no high speed internet in the rooms.  By request you can use the telephone and fax, available in the office.  Digital media such as memory cards and digital video film is not easily purchased, so bring what you need from home.  If you are going to film your lessons, you may need as many as 10 tapes. If you need to use your cell phone, be sure to have the correct SIM card for the Portuguese area.

Airport hints
Lisbon airport is not a large facility and it can take some time to process you through customs.  Be sure to use the restroom on the plane before landing as the first bathrooms are after customs and getting through this point can take up to an hour, depending on how busy the airport is.  When lining up for passport control, assure that the line you are in says ALL passports (As opposed to EU passports) or you may wind up going through a long line twice.  The ALL PASSPORT line is usually in the center, and although this line may seem longer you must process through them.
A Morgado staff member will be awaiting your arrival and after you collect your luggage you will go through some frosted glass doors.  They will be standing next to the ramp with a green and white sign that reads MORGADO LUSITANO, Ride in Portugal.     

Questions and answers

Q. Do I need to learn to speak Portuguese?
A. Fortunately the answer is no. English is the unofficial second language of Portugal and many people understand and speak it, especially the younger set. At the facility everyone speaks several languages. In addition Charlotte or Rodrigo are usually there to translate for you on matters regarding horse or non-horse questions.

Do you have an itinerary for each day?
A. Here is a sample lesson schedule for a 3 day stay, which can vary slightly depending on your requirements or other factors. Generally Charlotte will teach the morning lessons and Rodrigo will teach the afternoon lesson. Clients should plan on a total lesson duration, including tack up and saddle fitting, lesson goals, astride time, and dismount and de-brief of 1 1/2 to 2 hours per lesson. Lesson duration can vary according to rider fitness and abilities.  We make a real effort to assure a quality riding experience, and while there is no guarantee as to how long you will be in the saddle, suffice it to say that as long as you are having fun and the horse is not stressed, the lessons will continue. Most riders are fatigued after 45-60 minutes and it is unproductive to continue to ride after this point. In addition, if the horse is doing high level work, such as collected canter, pirouettes, piaffe, passage or tempi work, then the astride portion may be shorter.
There are usually 2 rides each day and morning lessons are generally at 10:00 and afternoon lessons are at 2:00.  This can vary according to weather, temperature and other factors, and sometimes this can be changed to suit an individual by prior arrangement.
Q. How many riders for each week?
A. Generally a maximum of four rider are scheduled for each week.
Q. How many riders in each session?
A. Usually only two, but if all friends in a party are of equal ability then sometimes they prefer to ride together. In that case as many as four can be taught at the same time. 
Is there a pool?
A. Yes, there is a pool at the housing facility, it is only available in the summer time.
Q. Will there be time for sightseeing?
A. Yes there is.  One of the reasons Monday is left unscheduled is so that you can visit the surrounding area.  The train station in Alverca can be reached by taxi, about a 6 Euro fare, or you can go directly to Oriente station, for about 12 Euro. Once there you can purchase a day pass on the Metro.  This link can take you Lisbon or to several other beautiful towns and historical areas, such as Sintra on the coast. Alternately a taxi ride direct to or from Lisbon is about 20 Euros. We will help you to understand the Metro, once you get the hang of them they are really fun.  Be sure to arrange any travel with the staff, so they are aware of your return time and can make arrangements for you to return inside the facility, which is secured at night.
Q. Are the rooms like hotel rooms?
A. Not in the homogenized American sense. Each of the rooms is a restored 18 century house, with thick walls and tile floors. Energy in very expensive in Portugal (petrol is $6.00 a gallon!) and for this reason The Portuguese tend to keep their rooms a bit cooler in the winter and a bit warmer in the summer than what we might.  I bring slippers and a bathrobe in the winter months.  The beds are comfortable but not huge is size, as this leads to excessive laundry.  
Q. Can I get a non smoking room?
A. Sort of... Morgado has a policy of no smoking in all its suites. But Portugal is a like much of Europe, where smoking is done virtually everywhere, including restaurants, shopping centers and hotels. Morgado is aware that many of their clients come from countries that are not as tolerant. As such they try to insulate the clients a much as possible, including a request that no smoking is done in their rooms. However, they have no control over others you may encounter in public places.
Q. Can I get vegetarian meals?
A.  If you would please inform the staff upon arrival and they will do their best to prepare you vegetarian dishes. Since most of the Portuguese cuisine is based on fish or pork, the choices can be a bit limited, especially since salads are not a big part of the diet.  The good news is that most of the food is prepared fresh, and they virtually always use olive oil. 
Q. I'm with a non-riding partner, are their other things they can do?
A. Certainly. Beyond the reading and resting that clients like to do in the library, you can hike around the property. In addition to that, this location is central to nearly a dozen championship golf courses, which can be accessed via taxi.  There is a very interesting aviation museum in Alverca as well.

Q. Can you advise me about tipping?
A. Not tipping in Portugal is considered normal, however many clients felt that exceptional service should be rewarded and were leaving tips anyways. Obviously since the behind-the-scenes crew was not receiving any, tips were beginning to cause problems.  So Morgado Lusitano now has a policy of "No individual tipping".  If you feel that your stay was exceptional, please leave a lump sum with Alexandre to distribute to the entire staff.  Unlike the USA where 10% to 20% is common, a very generous tip would be 5% of your holiday charges.  It is very important to note there that your holiday is All Inclusive and that a tip is in no way mandatory.

Q. I'd like to arrive a day early or stay an extra day in Lisbon to do some sightseeing.  Can you recommend any hotels?
I have had several clients stay at the two hotels that I am listing below.  One is moderate price and quality the other is high price and quality. Morgado can pick you off at the beginning of your stay at the hotel or at the airport.  Here are the links:

Q. When and how much do I pay for my trip?
A. Except for additional charges that you previously agree to (such as
outside trips) your riding holiday is all inclusive, and the total cost of your trip should be exactly as shown on this webpage

You will be asked to pay for your trip at the end of your stay.  Ask for an itemized receipt of your stay before you pay. If your riding holiday was in any way unsatisfactory, or there is any confusion about the charges please take the time to clear up any discrepancies at that time. Please ask personally for Mr. Alexandre D'Orey, as he is manager of the facility and has the final word on any billing questions.  Resolving any issues while you are there now is important as doing so at a later date can become quite cumbersome.


Driving Directions from the airport

 - Taking direction of A1/ Norte (North) blue signs (all the signs in Portugal that indicate highways are blue ) 
- Leave the 2nd way out in the motorway - ALVERCA, (stay in the right side line, no need to pay tolls )
 When you arrive in the rotunda you will come back - 360º - and follow the signs saying - MAFRA/ BUCELAS.
 In the 2nd rotunda follow the same signs: MAFRA/ BUCELAS.
 Then drive up the hill for approximately 3km and off to the left you will see the Morgado Lusitano riding arenas. There will soon be a wall and signs depicting the entrance to Morgado Lusitano, turn left there, and you will be very welcome.


Copyright © 2000/13 Last modified: March 01, 2013