...or cavalls a Espanya in Catalan...Horses and riding (Hipica) appear to play a much larger role in the Catalan culture than they do in the US. Numerous stables, called Hipica or Hipic Centres, can be found in the suburbs of Barcelona. Many of them, having been built on old estates, also have restaurants. There is one in our neighborhood within walking distance of our house. It was nice enough but very small and they only practice dressage (Means training in French. More on this for you non-horsey types in a later blog, I am too tired to explain right now!). At the moment I am rather fond of jumping. It is Ebro's favorite activity, so he will be boarded at a Hipic Centre that offers jumps and instructors who teach jumping. For you horse people who are curious, the board is only slightly higher than what one would pay here at a nice show barn. My husband and I had the opportunity one afternoon to visit a lovely dressage stable called Barcelona Horses/Can Alzina in the the town of Polinya. Here is where you non-horsey types might want to check out. The facility was beautiful and was being expanded during our visit. The footing was to die for (fabric based and dust free) and there was a large outdoor, and mirrored indoor school. The facility specializes in breeding, training and selling Pura Raza Espanola (PRE) horses, commonly known as Andalusians. The horses were housed in stalls that were very small relative to most stalls in the US. The facility had paddocks for turn out and the horses get schooled daily. Two of the trainers/owners, Agusti and Anabell, whom we had cold-called on the telephone, were so kind to allow our impromtu visit. The stable was built on Agusti's grandfather's land. We had a wonderful and very traditional Catalan lunch and vino tinto (red wine) at the stable's restaurant, Can Alzina. Afterwards, we had the pleasure of watching the schooling of a young (4 years old) palomino stallion named Pegaso JL (see pictures below: the one with the rider afoot is the Spanish walk; the last two are Restaurant Can Alzina and an animal pen). I plan on taking some lessons on one of their school masters during our stay. I have always dreamed of learning piaffe, passage and one-tempi changes but have never had the opportunity to ride a horse who knew these movements. It is something that is on my bucket list.