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A beautiful horse riding retreat in Andalucía

A few days ago, Lucy, editor of Cara Magazine, tagged me on Facebook, reminding me that this time last year her and I were nestled high in the hills of the Spanish countryside at the beautiful Los Olivillos retreat, hanging out with horses, eating amazing food and generally loving life. So I thought it was high time I shared some shots from that trip, many of which ran in the September 2017 issue of Cara (and a good few which are previously unpublished). 

 

Here’s some beautifully written background on the retreat from Lucy:

Phone network and data roaming be damned at Los Olivillos, a working olive farm and stables tucked away in a national park in the Sierras Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama in Andalucia in southern Spain. The park covers a gargantuan area of 40,662 hectares split between Malaga and Granada provinces, the former’s airport some 55 kilometres away. It’s where rebels and bandits once rode their mules through precarious, narrow paths during the Spanish Civil War, and through which merchants traded food and supplies. But city life and past hardships feel worlds away from this tranquil hillside idyll where nature reigns supreme: an endless caravan of ants, the swooping swifts, the jittery geckos and slithering lizards.

Run by Donna Forsyth, a British former chef (that’s her hand below holding the basket of delicious looking fresh veg), she has been at the helm of the equestrian retreat cum farm for 15 years, alongside her stepson, Ricky and horseman, Jeff.

My days shooting here were blissful: I’d wake just after dawn, and sneak out with my camera to capture the light rising, hitting various parts of the estate, as well as the horses quietly going about their business. 

Then, I would accompany Lucy and the other riders out on one of their wanders (theirs on four legs, me on four wheels) – sometimes up into the mountains, sometimes down to a postcard-pretty nearby village.

Afterwards, we would return to Los Olivillos for snacks, followed by some processing, maybe a nap and even a dip in the pool. This would be followed by more shooting as the sun set and some incredibly delicious food cooked by Donna.

I don’t horse ride, but I feel I would return here for everything else! I love this part of the world (Ben and I actually Airbnb-ed in a farmhouse in Andalucia back in 2013, and it was so idyllic, we still talk about it).

You can see the pics as they ran in Cara and read Lucy’s wonderful piece (as well as get travel tips and details) right here

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