Tuscany - Il Paretaio 2014


Aug 11, 2007
Diary of my third visit to glorious Tuscany over the last two years - just love the place!


Saturday 20th

Down through Switzerland and into Italy arriving at Il Paretaio late afternoon to be greeted by Georgia. We had booked the tower room again this year and were soon settled in and feeling at home.

Sunday 21st

First lesson on Marcoz this morning, mostly in rising trot - my legs ache now, still, I did finally get him to canter - it took the whole week last time!


This afternoon I had Ivoire - he is shorter in both directions than Marcoz - he also has a habit of running your outside leg into the rail - so after just half the 50 minute lesson we do canter, whip on outside hand on his shoulder to steer him off the rail and motor biking round the corners like an out of control tank! My legs have recovered from this morning and still OK now.


Monday 22nd

Erm… Ivoire again! At 8 am ( that’s 7 UK time) He was sound asleep and only made it into a decent trot when I asked him for canter - Pietro insisted I use spurs, I can’t say I was very pleased at the idea!…. Totally wiped out now … so going into Barbarino this morning to order some olive oil to bring home.

Lesson number 4 and it’s Ivoire again but now we start to understand each other and I get some good work out of him - maybe the spurs are a good idea as he seems more responsive, the trot is faster and the leg yield is more controllable - he even stops trying to wipe my outside leg on the rail!

Tuesday 23rd

Lesson 5 and guess what - Ivoire again … I asked to work on walk trot and the trot canter transitions with him so we did lots of them and once he had warmed up he was OK on the right rein but wouldn’t canter on the left, so Pietro (RI) climbed on him and had to work hard to get Ivoire to canter on that rein too! Afterwards I got him cantering OK and the last canter I was told to trot after the corner but said NO I am enjoying the canter too much! OK oops

Lesson 6 - no Ivoire, I get Marcoz instead, bit sad really because I felt we were getting somewhere with him but Marcoz is good and had a reasonable lesson on him. Mostly slow / fast walk and leg yielding in walk and trot.

Wednesday 24th

Now half way through our holiday 8-(

This morning for lesson 7 I got Fiona, a mare at last!


She was delightful, forward going and light to ride, after about ten minutes she softened and worked round, so different from the boys!

The lady I was riding with didn’t want to canter so I got lots of time to practice with Fiona and got it down to a pretty instant strike off - one happy chappy here.

Following on from this morning’s success, I asked for Ivoire this afternoon and refused the spurs, Pietro says “I give you ONE chance” - I was determined that he would go for me so I did my usual warm up exercises of walk halt at the letters then riding squares to get him listening instead of their normal walk round the school. This paid off and he was more forward and we had some really nice trots and leg yields before asking for canter - got it first time too!!!

Thursday 25th

Thursday morning already and lesson 9 - 08.20 on my own with Fiona and Pietro - more freedom to work with the horse and do my favourite warm up exercises then lots of steady trotting on 20 metre circles followed by some more work on refining the canter transitions, they are getting lighter and more consistent, still some way to go, but good progress.

Then off to Barberino to collect our olive oil and some wine, followed by a trip to a local market for some Parmesan, then to Certaldo to sit in the square and eat ice cream - bliss!!!

Got back to learn that my next lesson is at 6pm on Fiona again (good) with Gianni ( the owner) - not sure if this is good or not, I will so have to do everything perfectly for him! It actually went very well, Fiona did what I asked, when I asked - Gianni said I had a good connection with the horse, so I was pretty pleased with that.


Friday 26th

Lesson 11 - Fiona & I were pretty well foot perfect, no cantering today but I felt that I have managed to improve lots of little things and my riding is lighter, more accurate and consistent - still lots of work to do, especially on my canter seat, but that will come.


Last year I took part in the Friday afternoon ride to music - but this year I opted to have a last lesson with Pietro and Ivoire to learn how to do the walk to canter transitions I had watched others doing during the week. After a few abortive attempts I got it to claps & cheers from the audience! Ivoire was full of energy, so much so that after each transition and a canter on the short side of the school, getting him back to trot and then to walk in time for the next canter in the corner was proving difficult - he just wanted to keep cantering!

Then it was my turn to relax and watch the others learning and doing their ride to music - the frivolity soon turned into deadly concentration as they realised that it was more difficult than they had anticipated but they made a jolly good job of it, even if they couldn’t count to five….

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Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
That looks and sounds like my sort of holiday, it sounds like you feel progression which is always nice when your hard work pays off :D


Aug 11, 2007
Absolutely! and it is even better when you find that it has an immediate effect when you get home and feel the difference on your own horse. :)
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