“The great thing about our experience at Establo San Rafael, was the personal attention we received; all our lessons were one on one, and all were on really good horses that were appropriately responsive to what we were trying to learn.
Brenda is an excellent and very patient teacher: Raymond (8) who could ride very little and concentrate even less LOVED his lessons and learned a great deal; by the end of the holiday he was circling barrels, riding bareback, trotting with confidence and moving around the horses in the stable with calm knowledge. Brenda has several horses suitable for beginners and advanced beginners and allowed Raymond to quickly progress to Al, her 4 year old pony, who Raymond absolutely loved. I had ridden quite a bit over the years but would have described myself as a beginner since I had no seat to speak of and no confidence: Brenda managed to give me both and, by letting me ride all her wonderfully responsive horses, made me understand how much more to riding there is than trying not to fall off!” -Juliet
“Establo San Rafael was more than I had hoped for. I traveled from Canada to Costa Rica alone and really didn’t know what to expect. I spent three weeks on the farm and can honestly say that by the end of the third week I was wishing I had more time. The horses are beautiful, well cared for, and full of personality. There is a horse for everybody, whether you’re a beginner or have been riding your whole life. I would definitely recommend E.S.R; Brenda is an amazing coach. The trails were beautiful. The area is beautiful and even if you aren’t into horse back riding there is a waterfall/swimming hole nearby that I visited a few times. Overall, my time in Puriscal was amazing and I would definitely recommend this farm to anyone.” -Justine.
“Just wanted people to know that I spent 6 weeks on this beautiful ranch and had an amazing time! The horses are the best taken care of that I’ve seen in Costa Rica and have many abilities. I learned a lot about medical care and general horse knowledge (Brenda is like a walking -or should I say riding, horse dictionary), dressage, Parelli Natural Horsemanship and jumping among many other things. The views in San Rafael are breath taking… If you want to get better in speaking horse you should definitely contact Brenda!” -Maiju.
“My stay here was a great experience. No hassle to get to and from for its close proximity to San Jose, though once you arrive at the farm it feels like a world away. It’s a very peaceful and natural setting with great views and zero traffic(except for the animals of course) and Brenda and her family make you feel at home. I highly recommend this place to anyone with any level of interest in equestrianism, Brenda has a wealth of information and is sure to give you an experience both rewarding and educating.” -Gabriel
“While browsing the work exchange opportunities on HelpX one really stood out: the chance to be an equestrian intern in a rural, untouristy part of Costa Rica. We’d get to learn about horse care and best of all, the horses at Establos San Rafael looked really well cared for – something that can’t be said everywhere in Latin America.
It was definitely a unique experience. We loved the middle of nowhere location amongst the forest covered green hills of Puriscal; our cute, rustic cabin; the welcoming American family who run the farm; and of course the horses. The nine horses were beautiful, friendly and hadn’t had their unique personalities beaten out of them. We learned so much from Brenda the owner, both about riding and the Natural Horsemanship techniques they practice.It certainly wasn’t easy though. I’m not used to manual labour, and this plus early starts and riding once or twice a day took a toll. I felt constantly tired, muddy and even after 11 days my body didn’t stop aching. It was worth it though and I can see how some interns stay for months.” – Simon & Erin
“Traveling to Establo San Rafael was amazing. To this day, it remains my favorite trip of all time. The farm is exceptionally beautiful, which makes living and riding there almost majestic.
Brenda, the owner of the farm, has a special pack of horses that are each unique. For this reason, she can accommodate all levels and styles of riding. I would recommend her trips to anyone.
Brenda is not only one of the kindest people I have come across, but also one of the most knowledgeable. She is a phenomenal horse lady- with tons of experience across many types of riding, a special teaching ability, and a natural way with horses. I learned so much from her during my stay- and I am an advanced rider who has a background in competitive horseback riding. Needless to say, everyone who wants to learn from her will succeed- and will have a fantastic time doing it!
The experience Establo San Rafael offers is like no other. I won’t expect to find anywhere like this again…and I very much hope to return one day.”