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Portugal by Horse

Farm Holidays with unique holiday cottages and a magic salt water pool. Amazing moments with horses: Horse riding in nature for experienced and inexperienced riders. MTB trails, hiking trails and other adventurous activitys or just relaxing by the magic swimming pool. An unforgettable holiday in Nature!

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Farm Holidays Portugal by Horse 

Portugal by horse was created in 1996 in central Portugal.

Liesje grew up in the region of Antwerp (Belgium). In 1996 she left for Portugal with 2 horses, 2 dogs, some chickens and a tipi, setting out for a new challenge, a new life, Portugal by horse was founded.

She moved 5 times in 3 years but always in the same region. Finally settled in Midões. A very beautiful and historical village near Tábua.

João grew up in Alcantarilha-Algarve and Lisbon City. He always dreamed of moving to the Alentejo and live closer to nature. He studied Management of Computer Networks and later Geography at the University of Coimbra. Before moving to Midões he worked in Lisbon in the area of Information Technology.
Then he met Liesje and everything changed…

Together they built a unique holiday farm with horse riding holidays and Holiday homes surrounded by nature, a little paradise in central Portugal.

You can go horse riding in the most beautiful nature & feel the magic of horses, staying in Enchanting original holiday homes looking out on a magic Valey. They organize private Horse Riding Lessons, horse riding, Natural horsemanship lessons and Romantic or special holiday escape packages. You can also go hiking, have private yoga lessons, massages or reiki experiences at their holiday accommodations.

With heart and soul Liesje and João take care of the farm and everything that is included. João is the guide for the horse riding hacks and your teacher if you would like to learn more about horses and their behavior. He will teach you how you can ride in a horse friendly way, together with your horse.

For all the other activities João & Liesje work together with colleagues in the neighborhood.


We believe horses can only be Horses once they have freedom…

Our Horse paradise started more than 20 years ago with a few horses, they are still with us after giving a lot off joy and happiness, to us and our guests.
Our herd of 13 horses: some rescues, some very old, some still young, have 25 hectares of land to graze & play.
Most of our horses are retired and have a good life in the herd, their family.

We take care of our horses until they pass away…that is our agreement!

We have 5 strong and young horses that can do long rides,
3 horses are retired cause they have problems with joints and ligaments, 1 horse with mental health problems, 1 blind horse
and 3 old horses that only do small jobs like lessons or walking rides with children.
When you ride a young horse at our place, you are helping all the horses that are old, retired and rescued. The work of that young horse is making it possible and sustainable to give a good life to all the other horses.

We believe that horses have the right to have their full SPIRIT and work in partnership with us, humans. We developed communication techniques where you show the horse you want to be a Leader and not a Master. We believe this communication is the key to work with a horse without any pressure and without fear.

We give Natural Horsemanship and horse riding sessions, communicating and preserving the high sensibility of horses.

Once you feel this… you will get in a different Horse riding dimension!

When our horses have to work, they are temporarily in their stables, which have the particularity of being open so they can see, touch and smell each other. In winter, when it rains a lot and it´s cold, they go to their stables to sleep and eat, but during the day they go to the meadow again, rain or shine. All of our horses are what is usually said “barefoot”, that is, they have not used horseshoes since 2006. We believe that they are therefore healthier and happier. The hooves are trimmed every 6 weeks by Tom de Graeve, the Bare foot trimmer from Portugal, a specialist in “bare foot trimming”.  In the summer during work, they wear  “Renegade “ hoof boots.

We have: two Haflingers, 4 Lusitano thoroughbreds, 4 Portuguese Cross, one Garrano one KWPN and one Selle Français. They all have their own character.
At Quinta da Alegria we ride with English saddles.


Breed: Lusitano
Birth: 1997

Quo-Vadis, is a pretty Lusitano, with his long legs he’s very forward. He listens very well to voice and mind. He is one of our first horses, a very sweet horse, you just have to think where you want to go, and he takes you there. He is a grandpa now so he takes the lighter weights.

He came with 6 years to the farm, they called him crazy and dangerous, I must say I have never seen that part of him, living in a herd with freedom brings out the best it seems.


Breed: Cruzado Português
Birth: 1993

Not for riding

The baroque horse. What a character, and definitely the merriest and the sweetest. Lola is already a grandma horse now and is completely blind since spring 2022, therefore she is all by herself in a separate field. It is amazing how she walks around between the trees and rocks, on her private meadow, finding her food her water, the gate. We do not use her anymore for riding, she can enjoy her retirement spending time eating and sleeping.

Lola came to our holiday farm when she was 8, she was very sweet since the beginning. She trusted humans completely, you could easily lay or sit on top of her when she was laying down. a truly wonderful horse.


Breed: Lusitano
Birth: 1992

Lusia is  used for guided walks with children or lessons.

Walking light as a feather, this mare takes you everywhere. She is always happy and wanting to work, graceful but with her own will. She trusts her rider and is very sensitive as she has been taught to ride in the natural way. Lusia is your partner in the horsemanship lessons or riding lessons in the picadeiro, she is an old lady so only lightweights can ride her.

Before we adopted Lusia she was used as a breeding mare for 10 years. When she arrived she was never ridden before and it was definately a challenge, very scared and with no confidence in people.


Breed: Haflinger
Birth: 2000

Milo is one of the smartest. Children and grown ups learn to ride on Milo. She is very mischievous but also a hard worker and willing to learn, she is funny, very smart and as you can see, … very naughty and  sweet… She’s the protector of the herd in the field but less secure outside.  A very curious horse who has tried to escape under the fence many times and put her “catch me if you can” face on.

Milo is born at the farm in 2000, fruit from Maxim and Melanie 2 Haflingers we brought from Belgium when we moved to Portugal, unfortunately her parents past away a while ago.


Breed: Haflinger
Birth: 1993

Grandma Trudy. The  children love her because she is very gentle with everybody. All children for many years, start to learn horse riding on Trudy, she also goes still on gentle rides outside. She is still the alfa mare of the herd thanks to Milo and her boyfriend Gypsy, but because of her old age and arthritis she stays sometimes behind.

Trudy moved to Portugal together with me in 1996, she will stay until the end…like all the other horses.


Breed:  Cruzado Português
Birth: 2002

Not to ride

She is part of the family since summer 2011. Bonnie is a very pretty lady with her dark hair and in winter she even looks like “Black Beauty”. Bonnie is very sweet and gentle but with lack of confidence due to mistreatment in her young life. She now has tendinitis  which makes she walks very difficult and is not used for riding or any other sort of practice. She just enjoys her life the best she can with her friends and her daughter Linda.

Bonnie was donated to us when the owner could not see a better life for her in another place than @portugalbyhorse


Breed: Garrano
Birth: 2007

The Português warrior horse. The Garranos were used in the battles against the Romans a long time ago. He is the big man in the field the one that keeps the order the one you can trust and trusts you. He is Trudy’s lover boy and friend of Milo. Together with Gypsy you can take the whole herd walking behind you to a new field. He was not well-treated in the past but with lots of love and positive attention he became a fantastic horse. All the horses have respect for him.
He is a pretty boy who knows what he wants, the fastest of them all and the teenagers love him…

We rescued Gypsy locally in a small stable.


Breed: Cruzado Português
Birth: 2011

Linda is a fickle mare she needs a rider who knows where he / she stands. Two hands on one belly with her mother Bonnie, a little unsure with puddles on the road but the river and pond she finds super fun. Linda is a calm mare for those who are in need for a tranquil ride. She does not like to be brushed but with gentleness, beeing firm and a bit of hay to nibble you get to brush her with less trouble 🙂 .  Linda is 1 of the horses for the longer rides.

Linda was donated by her owner just before he past away. She is also the daughter of Bonnie so they joined again @portugalbyhorse


Breed: Selle Français
Birth: 2010

New in the herd since 5 February 2016

Fly was a dangerous gelding when he arrived at the farm in May 2015… attacking, biting, ears to the back. After being re-educated by the herd & João who approached Fly with natural horsemanship, he became a different horse. Through our faith in him, he also gives confidence to us. He is now very sweet and loves to cuddle, he is still unsure of new people but that is changing rapidly. Fly is the leading horse on treks but now also ridden by our experienced riders.

We could safe Fly cause of donations we got from many people, his old owner wanted to bring him to the slaughter house but still wanted a big amount of money if we wanted to stay with him.

Farm Holidays Portugal by Horse

Holiday farm-Quinta da Alegria

The best of Farm Holidays are the little things, the simple pleasures that always remain linked to our memories. The things we share with our friends and family. When we discover some of these things for the first time, we are taken to another dimension of our life… the dimension of pure joy.

The Joy of finding eggs and enjoying them for breakfast, picking fruit from the trees, being surprised by the animals running around the farm and helping to feed them. Bringing hay to the meadow for the horses at the rear of the tractor, or watch the horses run across the field when you look out the window.

Farm stays bring you the Joy of pushing your children in a wheelbarrow and having a picnic in the shade at a hidden place in the valley. Meet Laurinda, the lady with the goats, on her way.

The joy of feeling the sweet summer breeze on your skin. Watching the sunset with all it´s colors and see millions of stars for the first time in your life by the campfire, while listening to all the mysterious sounds of the night you have never heard before.

Holiday farm Quinta da Alegria has the ideal setting for families. At Quinta da Alegria parents can enjoy their holidays, while children have a safe haven to play. Also for couples, we have the perfect place to enjoy your privacy and peace in nature around our social animals or close to the beautiful salt water pool that is available to all our guests.

History of our holiday farm

Quinta da Alegria was originally Quinta da Regada, as this place is abundant in water springs, it is located south of Midões in central Portugal.

It was last inhabited by pastor António Pereira who lived here with his family. He had a large sheep herd and many people came to this place to buy or exchange sheep and goats.
One day, while holding a rocket at the village party, he had an accident and ended up losing his hand. The treatment did not go very well and ended up creating an infection and died. The Quinta was abandoned, full of brambles and bushes, the fruit trees became wild and others disappeared.

It was in this situation that we found Regada in 1998. The roof of the house almost fell, the wine in the barrels transformed into vinegar, the house and its furniture covered with a layer of 12-year old dust.

What started out as just 3 hectares is now about 25 hectares of meadows and fertile land and Quinta da Alegria is very different…

Our Village Midões

Our little village Midões has quite a lot of history. This you can see from the buildings around such as the palace, the church, the houses of the Portuguese nobility and the Celtic graves.

Many of the paths around the accommodation are following the trail that João Brandão took to escape from his prosecutors. This Portuguese Robin Hood lived in the 19th century and fought for the rights of the poor. Only 130 years ago there was terror and poverty in this region.

Also you will notice the cultural impact left by the Romans with their roads, bridges and buildings which we sometimes cross on our rides. There used to be a real hippodrome in Midões they say.

This means, our guests will have unforgettable days of nothing but dazzling nature. Lots of culturerelaxation for the body and mind on a trip to never forget.