It's a surprise to me to find a big equestrian facility in the middle of a megacity. In São Paulo, Brazil, truly an enormous and congested city, the surprise is the Clube Hípico de Santo Amaro (the Santo Amaro Equestrian Club). In the midst of skyscrapers and heavy traffic, an old horse farm has been preserved, shut off from the bustle and chaos by high walls. It is an island of tranquility.
The facilities are enormous for an urban area: a perimeter trail through the woods offers a place for relaxing hacks. There are multiple indoor schooling areas and outdoor rings. Old stables, built around courtyards in the European style, house hundreds of horses. In this snapshot, a Brazilian Sport Horse rests after his bath in one of many cozy stable yards:
The dressage area is its own complex, with warmup rings, more stables, and several beautiful show rings. Seating areas are covered, to allow comfortable shaded viewing. At this schooling show there were judges in all three of the small buildings at the far end of the sand ring.
Back near the main entrance the focus is on jumping. There is a large grass stadium field, another of sand, a mirrored indoor schooling ring for flat work, with balconies for the audience, and an enormous open-air covered jumping arena for schooling and rainy days. A sand track surrounds the grass field:
The main jumping arena was hosting a schooling show the day I was there. The great pleasure is in being able to watch the competitors from the large restaurant pavilion, where the ever-popular Brazilian mega-buffet was offered.
The club offers lessons, clinics, and both schooling and pro-level shows throughout the year. Dressage and jumping are the focus, and the horses I saw were mostly warmbloods or sport horse crosses (for jumping) and pure or partbred Lusitanos (for dressage). Vaulting for children is also offered. Several times a year the facility also hosts breed shows or special events featuring other disciplines.
In typical Brazilian style, the club was both very full-service and fancy, but also very laid back and welcoming, with a cheerful, casual, family-friendly atmosphere.