Looking for some interesting Spain travel ideas? What if I told you a short metro ride from Barcelona’s city center there was a horse with magical powers? Would you go? Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit but not by much.
Up in the mountains, above the city, is a riding center called Poni Club Catalunya. It was here that I met Antonia Ermaud, a master in Equine therapy. She hosts an amazing experience in which she and her magical horse Ibiza teach the public how to become horse whisperers!
The experience is a perfect combination of fun and a little self-care. While at the Poni Club, you’re surrounded by nature, horses, and views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Also, Antonia is a charming host who makes everyone feel comfortable. If you think this sounds like fun, then we highly recommend you check out Antonia’s website for more information.
Getting to Barcelona’s Poni Club Catalunya
From Plaza Catalunya, you can take the S1 train about 10 stops to Les Planes. It’s an easy ride with no transfers, and the Les Planes stop is in a peaceful and safe area.
When we arrived, Antonia picked us and two other guests up in her car and drove us the rest of the way. It was just another 10 minutes to the Poni Club.
Once we arrived at the club, we quickly changed our shoes, took in the views, and met a few horses and ponies in the stables nearest the main building.
As we took pics, Antonia gave us a bit of information about the club. She told us it started in the late ’80s as a riding school for young children.At its inception, the school was the first to use ponies to teach riding to kids in the area.
Now, the center has dozens of horses, too, and has classes and workshops for all ages. Along with this special horse whispering experience, they also offer horseback tours through the park.
Meeting This Crew of Barcelona Horses
After spending a little time with the ponies, we headed out to meet two groups of horses. As we hiked the short distance, Antonia gave us a brief overview of horse herd behavior. She explained the different ways horses communicate and told us what to look for as we approached the enclosures.
As we got to know the first herd, we almost immediately figured out which horse was the lead mare. Soon after, the group’s hierarchy became clearer.
It was amusing to see how each horse had a different energy and personality. Some horses were so excited to see us, while others really couldn’t be bothered.
Throughout our visit, though the lead mare was content to watch from a distance, she definitely kept an eye on things. Many times we saw the other horses look to her for approval before they approached us. We never knew horse herd behavior could be so fascinating!
Ibiza, the Magical Barcelona Horse
Though hanging out with the herds was fascinating, we were all anxious to meet the star of the afternoon. So Antonia finally introduced us to the magical Ibiza, a 24-year old white mare. Immediately, we were all star-struck. Ibiza’s calming and reassuring energy made meeting her feel like we were in the presence of an earth-bound unicorn!
One of the other guests on the experience was a 5-year old boy and his mom. It was terrific how Ibiza befriended him immediately, even though he was a little fussy. She paid extra attention to him and was extremely patient when they began working together. Within a minute, the little boy was calm and relaxed. It was like magic.
In fact, Ibiza was patient with everyone and adjusted her energy level, depending on who she was working with. For example, when Antonia had us do some movement work with her, I was nervously super chatty and awkward. But each time I asked Ibiza a question, she started to gait a little more enthusiastically, which made me feel more confident.
When my friend Emily worked with Ibiza, Ibiza matched Emily’s chill vibe perfectly, too. Without a care in the world, the two of them strolled leisurely through a small obstacle course Antonia had designed.
Dancing With Ibiza… Where the Magic Happens
Aside from moving through the course, we also took turns “dancing” with Ibiza. This was really where the magic happened. We started with a simple exercise in which we ran around and tried to get Ibiza to move with us. I felt silly at first but then just surrendered to the joy of it. I mean, it’s not every day I run around the countryside “whispering” to horses.
So, I went with it, which was actually fun, because Ibiza adapted to our different communication styles and changed how she moved each time. We each took turns dancing with her, and each time we did, we all grew more relaxed and confident. I don’t know if we were whispering to her or if she was whispering to us, but it was definitely a very magical experience.
Within an hour of spending time with Ibiza, all of us had changed a little. She taught us to be uninhibited, free, and child-like again without us even realizing it.
We were happier and grateful to be in that moment.
After Ibiza had tired us out, we headed back towards the main building. The sun was starting to set, and the golden hour cast the most magnificent light on the hilltops. To be among well-cared for and happy horses was such a pleasant experience that we were sad when it was time to leave.
On our way back into Barcelona, Antonia stopped at a look-out point so we could watch the final rays go down. The whole experience was so sweet that I would recommend it to anyone who wants to believe in unicorns or loves horses and animals.
It’s also a fantastic experience for someone who wants to get out of the city and get in touch with themselves a bit. I genuinely believe the magical Ibiza and her friends are in on a little secret, and maybe they’ll whisper it to you, too.