The visitor enters the Recreo de las Cadenas through the main gate: a semi-circular entrance with a small gatehouse on either side, decorated with the chains which give the property its name. Once through the main wrought iron gate, the visitor contemplates the beautiful gardens which stretch out before him as far as the Royal School Foundation itself, characterised by their great variety of exotic plants and standing amongst them the great fountain which adorns the centre of the gardens and whose playful splashing invites the visitor to enter further into the interior of the Royal School Foundation.
We continue walking and find ourselves just in front of a building designed in authentic Andalusian style, known as the Picadero (indoor arena), combining the deep yellow tones of albero sand with the brilliant white of the Andalusian houses. With the capacity to seat up to 1,600 spectators, access to the interior presents no difficulties or architectural barriers. It is the ideal place to witness the daily training sessions of the horses and riders. When we have watched the training sessions for long enough we can get to know the rest of the facilities on a guided tour. Our visitors' staff will attend to you in different languages every half-hour, from 10:30 until 12:30, explaining first the history of the Royal School Foundation, its origins, how it functions, its educational role and many other anecdotes which form a part of the equestrian world.
The guided tour begins just outside the Palace, a beautiful example of 19th century architecture designed by Charles Garnier (Paris Opera House and Montecarlo Casino among others). From this point we are guided into the 19th century through the history of the Pemartín family, the first owners of the Recreo de las Cadenas.
As visitors stroll through the main rooms they can contemplate the different art and photographic exhibitions which are usually on display each year.
Afterwards, tourists may admire the place where the harnesses are made and repaired. This intricate work is carried out in the harness workshop by the master harness maker and his apprentices.
Once we reach the stables, an octagonal complex made up of five stables each with twelve boxes, we can finally visit our famous horses. Just in the centre of the stables is the tack room, made of wood, where they keep all the harnesses used for daily training and for the performances themselves.
In the stables we can also see the poem which Rafael Alberti, poet of the Generation of 1927, dedicated to the School upon the concession of the title "Royal School"; the Honours Board naming the breeders who have collaborated with the Foundation and, last but not least, figures cast in wrought iron which depict some of the exercises performed during the show.
Once the tour is over, visitors may go back to watch the training sessions, buy souvenirs in the gift shop, visit the bar or simply enjoy a peaceful stroll around the facilities: gardens, galloping arena or outdoor training arena.
If you buy a joint ticket to visit the Royal School and the Horse Carriage Museum, located just behind the Royal School, you can now visit the museum and discover the wonderful world of driving thanks to a splendid collection of carriages and the very latest multimedia technology.