Chris’s Lesotho Exploratory Expedition

In this edition of GG Journeys, In The Saddle’s Chris Day tells us about her experiences on the exploratory expedition to Lesotho.

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In May 2018 I had the honour to ride with an intrepid group of guests on our exploratory expedition to Lesotho. It has taken me a while to come down from the great heights we reached, both physically and mentally, and gather my thoughts about everything we saw and did.

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Chris and her trusty Besotho pony, Skevango

I reached the decision that words are insufficient to describe our experiences, so here are a few pictures that I hope capture some of the wonderful moments we shared.

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Heading up to Thamatu Pass

Having met our trusty Besotho ponies and, passports in hand, crossed the border at Bushman’s Nek into Lesotho, within moments the mountains rose to greet us and we started to climb. The views beckoned us on, and our trail led ever upwards to Thamatu Pass.

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A cold and ice morning

The weather in the mountains is always unpredictable. After riding through driving sleet on the first day, we awoke to a cold, frosty morning with snow on the mountains surrounding us.

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As the sun rose over Thamatu Lodge

But the sun started to shine through with the promise of a golden day ahead. We were pleased to head out with the sun on our backs and a trail that kept us well below the snow line!

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Local herdsmen and their cattle

We tried not to disturb the herds we passed, but were always greeted warmly, if a little shyly, by the villagers and herders tending them. We met many shepherds and their dogs high in the mountains; it’s a lonely life.

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Some leading on foot downhill and over rocky terrain is required

The trails led us from the mountains where the eagles soared above us, through narrow valleys and onto open grasslands where we could try out our horses’ paces. There were times, many times in fact, when we had to lead our horses over steep or rocky terrain. Thankfully, this was usually downhill!

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What a view at 3,000m!

The highest point of the trail was riding from Thamatu village over a pass at 3,000m. It seemed like the whole of Lesotho lay before us. My horse, Skevango, seemed to like the view!

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The Three Bushmen

As the clouds swirled around the ‘Three Bushmen’ I think we all had a reflective moment that will stay with us for a very long time. We traversed the mountains before dropping down into Monument Valley, with impressive formations in the weathered sandstone rocks.

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Skevango, a fine example of a Besotho pony

“I will not change my horse with any that treads but upon four pasterns …..” Henry V may have first spoken these words in Shakespeare’s play, but I think they were also written for this very moment. The Besotho ponies we rode ranged in height from 13.2hh to 15hh, and I have never ridden such sure-footed horses anywhere. They had wonderfully calm and happy temperaments, knew exactly where to place their feet on the stony ground we covered, and loved to canter when we got the opportunity. If I could have made space in my suitcase for Skevango ……..

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Looking back from Thule Pass

Blue, blue skies as we road up to Thule Pass at 2,900m.

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Incredible mountain views

Sometimes, these mountains can make you feel very small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things …….

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An amazing journey on horseback

Is it really fair that the last views of the trail are so beautiful? At least it keeps you looking forwards to what will come, and not over your shoulder at what has been. One thing is for sure, Lesotho simply begs for a return visit.

For more information on the Lesotho Expedition or to book your place please call Chris on +44 1299 272 237 or email chris@inthesaddle.com or visit our website.

Categories: Equestrian Travel | 3 Comments

Caves, Waterfalls and Castles of Bulgaria

In this edition of GG Journeys, In The Saddle’s Lucy Downes tells us about her week in Bulgaria in June 2018.

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On our website, the first sentence describing this destination is: “The land in Bulgaria is perfect for riding because there are almost no fences or gates.”

I must admit that I wasn’t convinced. Can you really ride for 6 days and not pass through a gate or ride around a fence? And the answer is a resounding yes. Once we had left the horses’ stables to follow the ‘Caves, Waterfalls and Castles of Bulgaria’ itinerary we really didn’t see any fences all week!

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The open landscape is perfect for riding

Having arrived the day before, at breakfast the whole group chatted over toast and jam, excited about meeting the horses we would be riding over the next week. As if she’d read our minds, our guide Maria arrived and transferred us the short distance to their stables.

Our boys were already tacked up and patiently waiting. The horses ridden by guests are nearly all geldings, with a couple of stallions such as my steed – a little dapple-grey stallion named Hector.

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My stallion ‘Hector’

There is a range of Shagya Arabs, pure Arabians and cross breeds of Shagya and East Bulgarian horses, all ridden in a variety of saddles and bridles. Hector had a very comfortable Podium saddle with a sheepskin cover, perfect for the long 3-7 hours we would be riding.

Some of the horses were in Western saddles, with other in full endurance tack.

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An example of the endurance tack modeled by a gorgeous pure bred Arabian

Straight out of the stables we were riding in beautiful open countryside, with the Balkan Mountains in view. Throughout the week we had the perfect mix of pace and terrain, with long canters through fields and across hillsides. Each day we were treated to views that would go on and on…

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Beautiful views through our guide’s horse’s ears

The horses aren’t the only highlight of our rides in Bulgaria – this is a country full of fascinating history and culture, which your hosts will be eager to tell you all about.

Our first visit, with our guide Rumi, was to the 19th restored village of Gabrovo. Here we saw old-fashioned machines all powered by water set in a beautiful location near the mountains.

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An old style washing machine in Gabrovo

As the name of the ride implies, we also visited some spectacular caves and waterfalls – my personal favourite being Devetaki Cave. When you drive up to the location of the cave, you can only see forests. But as you start walking closer, the mouth of the cave appears and you can see why this natural bunker was used in the war to hide huge fuel tanks. Now that the tanks have been removed, it has returned to its former beauty with a number of species of bats calling it their home.

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The very impressive Devetaki Cave

Another tour not to be missed whilst the horses have a day off is to Krushuna’s Waterfall,  located near Devetaki Cave.

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Krushuna’s waterfall emerging from behind the trees

Rumi’s knowledge about all of these different destinations is extensive and the castle at Veliko Tarnovo has a long and impressive history. It was interesting to learn about the different battles, betrayals and romances surrounding this hill fortress alone!

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Looking down at the wall’s of Veliko Tarnovo castle from a guard tower

All four of our 7 night itineraries combine riding and sight-seeing, allowing you to make the most of your time in Bulgaria. The Caves, Waterfalls and Castles of Bulgaria (which I joined) and the Medieval Bulgaria are based on the north side of the Balkans, whereas the Kingdom of Thracians is in the south – perfect for a return visit to ride your favourite horse.

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Riding across farmland with the Balkans in front of us

The Balkan National Park Trail and our 8 night Old Bulgarian Capitals itineraries are great for more adventurous travelers seeking long hours in the saddle. These rides include camping nights and travel further into the Balkan Mountains.

For more information on our rides in Bulgaria or to book your place please call Lucy on +44 1299 272 238 or email lucy@inthesaddle.com or visit our website.

Categories: Equestrian Travel | Leave a comment

Why I fell in love with Los Alamos…

Imogen Brown from In The Saddle tells us about her trip to Los Alamos in October 2017. Here, she highlights the best bits of her trip from the friendly hosts to the exhilarating beach riding.

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Being our best-selling European destination, I had high hopes for my visit to Los Alamos in October. I am pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint. From the moment I arrived at the airport and met Andrew (one of our hosts for the week) I instantly felt relaxed. And when I arrived at the villa I was greeted by Rhiannon who had prepared a delicious lunch of Spanish omelette, local meats, cheeses and bread.

Your hosts Andrew and Rhiannon.

The Los Alamos villa very quicky feels like home. With the open plan dining room, lounge and kitchen you can easily help yourself to a drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, and recline into one of their comfy sofas. Alternatively, there are plenty of places within the gardens or by the pool where you can read a book or catch some sunshine.

The lounge and dining area of Los Alamos.

As well as this homely atmosphere the most important thing, as with any riding holiday, is the horses. I can’t remember the last time I went to a riding centre and wanted to bring all of the horses I managed to ride home. Rachel (our horse manager) is a marvel at matching horse and rider and this special talent really gives you as a rider a sense of confidence when mounting up on the first morning.

Each of the horses at Los Alamos is fit and forward going and within the herd there is a fabulous mixture of horses including pure-bred Andalusians, Arabs, Thoroughbreds and cross breeds. From confidence giving steady horses to more challenging horses for an experienced rider they really have a horse for everyone.

One of the lovely Andalusian Horses they have at Los Alamos, Pitu.

Throughout the week I rode three fabulous Andalusians each with their own personality. Pitu, Taverna and Hercules made my week truly special and if I could have fitted them in my suitcase I would have brought them all home.

Hercules, one of my horses during my stay.

All of the horses are well-schooled, forward going and polite. These horses are a credit to Los Alamos and are one of the main reasons people return year on year. These fabulous horses, matched with the gorgeous surroundings that you get to explore with them makes for a truly special experience. Whether it is meandering through the natural park, cantering on the beach or galloping up the many firebreaks you never know what you are going to find around the next corner.

Shady forest trails protect you from the sun.

The guides at Los Alamos – Rachel, Jose and Roberto – know their horses and the area you are riding so well that you instantly feel comfortable and relaxed. How they remember all of the routes and trails around the forest is beyond me! It feels like they know where every twist, turn, rock and tree root can be found and the surefooted horses know which lines to take to keep you and themselves on track.

Rachel, Jose and Roberto, your guides at Los Alamos.

Twice a week you get to experience the thrill of cantering down the beaches of Cape Trafalgar on your mighty steed with the wind in your hair. There really is no feeling like it and I don’t think you could have wiped the grin off my face those mornings if you’d tried! You ride to match the tides and so during my stay this meant mounting up and leaving the yard early in the morning as the sky changed from jet black to inky blue and the sun started to peak above the horizon.

There is nothing better than riding in the surf at sunrise.

Meandering through the forest with a short canter to blow away the cobwebs, we hit the beach and the horses all perked up. After a short blast to get used to your horse on the beach, it was down to the water’s edge where we really saw what our horses could do. The hard wet sand makes for a fabulous surface and I couldn’t have thought of a better way I wanted to start my morning.

Cantering down the beach on my favourite horse of the week, Hercules.

The last thing that I think makes Los Alamos special is the food. Whether you love Spanish food or you would prefer something else, Rhiannon has a brilliant way to meet all dietary requirements. Lunches are all at local bars with simple but tasty food, with Spanish omelettes, fish, chicken, pork and a variety of vegetarian dishes. Home cooked dinners courtesy of Rhiannon ranged from spaghetti and meatballs, homemade chicken kebabs and freshly cooks langoustine.

Tasty Spanish seafood for our last dinner at Los Alamos.

There are many reasons that this is our best-selling European destination and after just a week there I now understand why so many people rebook for the following year upon their return and why they are so fully booked so quickly. With friendly people, brilliant horses and fabulous riding it’s hard not to fall in love with Los Alamos.

A group of very happy riders after a canter down the beach.

 

For more information on Los Alamos or to book your place please call Imogen on +44 1299 272 242 or email Imogen@inthesaddle.com.

Categories: Andalusian, beach riding, Equestrian Travel, horse riding, horse riding in Spain, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ride reviews, Riding in Spain | Leave a comment

Romania’s Wide Open Spaces

Becky Clarke from In The Saddle tells us about her trip to Romania in October 2017. Here, she highlights the best bits of her trip from the beautiful scenery to the sure-footed horses.

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Romania, and particularly Transylvania, was somewhere that’s been on my ever-growing list for some time. The thought of wide open spaces, no fences and a willing horse made me eager to visit Equus Silvania, the home of Barbara and Christoph Promberger.

Equus Silvania Lodge

I actually arrived mid-way through a Centre- Based week where riders go out for c. 4 – 5 hours a day and then overnight at Equus Silvania. I then joined the first few nights of the Transylvania Trail ride which starts and finishes at Equus Silvania but throughout the week you move on to various villages as you journey through the countryside.

The accommodation in the lodge is in lovely ‘cabin’ style rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom. Downstairs there is a lovely long dining room where everyone sits together for breakfast and dinner.

On the Transylvania Trail ride, the accommodation is more basic because you are staying in local guesthouses and even sometimes people’s homes. I really enjoyed that feeling of being right out there in rural Romania and particularly the guesthouse in Corbor which is lovely.

The landscape that we rode through was amazing and I was lucky enough to experience the full splendour of the Autumn colours from so many different vantage points.

The riding itself was the most fantastic experience; the horses were truly a pleasure to ride. Their stamina was impressive and they were so willing to do what was asked of them.

One of my highlights both on the Transylvania Trail and also whilst on the the Centre-Based ride was un-tacking the horses at lunchtime and just letting them roll (if it wasn’t raining). They absolutely loved it!

Transylvania is a relatively unspoilt area, rich with history and culture. Whether you are on the Equus Silvania stay or the Transylvania Trail ride, there is an element of culture included.

Bran Castle

Something else I really enjoyed was visiting the bear hide. Deep in the woods, a short walk from a forest track is a bear hide where we had the opportunity to try and spot bear – it was very exciting and we were lucky enough to see eight!

The areas that we rode through were so diverse, from the forests with their bright beautiful canopies to the open and rolling farmland and the autumn colours just made everything so much more vibrant.

I think that for those who’d like as much riding as possible and don’t mind basic accommodation, the Transylvania Trail would be perfect; for those who would like to ride for  few hours a day but with the choice to be more flexible and come back to the same place each night, Equus Silvania is more ideally suited.

In my opinion, Romania is somewhere everyone should visit at least once. One day I’d love to go back and experience the Winter riding!

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For more information on the Romanian rides or to book your place please call Becky on +44 1299 272 244 or email rebecca@inthesaddle.com.

Categories: Carpathia, Equestrian Travel, Equus Silvania, horse riding, Horse riding in Romania, Horses & riding, in the saddle, in the saddle, Riding Holidays | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Amazing Azores

Claire from In The Saddle visited the Azores in October and here is her report of her trip.

My arrival in the Azores was timed perfectly with Storm Ophelia.  The island had been issued with a red weather warning, the first in 10 years.  Despite the wind and lashing rain, we were greeted warmly by Rui, who was born on the island but speaks perfect English.  We had a short drive of 15 minutes or so to the Quinta da Terca, home of Christina and Claude de Laval.  It was too wet to meet the horses so we were shown our rooms and had time to unpack before dinner.

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Our lesson in the arena

The next morning we had beautiful sunshine!  We had an introductory lesson which was a lot of fun! Christina is a great teacher with a positive attitude and sense of humour. In the afternoon we headed out on our first trail ride and ended up with a spectacular view of both sides of the island.

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Some of the beautiful flowers that were still in bloom in October

The Azores is a really green place, naturally fertile due it being a volcanic island.  It was amazing to see flowers blooming in October and everywhere a vivid shade of green.  So it’s easy to see why we call it the Green Island Trail.  This Green Island Trail itinerary has the most riding hours out of the different itineraries available with a combination of full day and half day rides totally around 24 hours riding over 6 days.  The riding is quite diverse and you see different areas of the island on horseback as well as non riding excursions.

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Stunning scenery

We visited a tea plantation, hot springs and thermal baths at Furnas.  The thermal baths were perfect for relaxing the muscles after riding. There is also an amazing botanical garden to explore with avenues of ginkgo biloba trees, beds of camelias and the last of the hydrangeas (which the island is also famous for) as well as many more exotic flowers and plants.

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Botanical gardens at Furnas

Food is a very important feature of this holiday.  Breakfast is a vast buffet of different exotic fruits from the island.  You can try the pineapples that the island is famed for growing.  Lunch is often a hot option even when you are on the trail.  There is always plenty of salad and bread so it’s impossible to go hungry (poor horses!)  Dinner is a three course evening meal by Christina and each one was delicious and filling.  It’s a mixture of traditional Azorean cooking combined with Swedish (where Christina originally is from) which Christina has coined as ‘grandma style cooking’.

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The breakfast buffet

The thing that makes Quinta de Terca so unique is how relaxing a place it is.  I felt at home straight away and I can see how guests return again and again.  The communal dinner table is great for getting to know more about the other guests.

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Meal times were a highlight of this trip! That’s me in the pink jumper on the right

There are around 48 horses at the farm and what is amazing is that most are rescued.  They are lovingly cared for and re-schooled to become great trail horses.  Many of the horses are ex-farm horses and had worked quite hard in their previous lives.  They are now healthy, shiny and a joy to ride.  I found it fascinating to look through the book which details a bit about their past lives with some before and after pictures.

Claire at the lookout point over the Twin Lakes at Sete Cidades

It was interesting to ride a different horse each day.  Over the week I rode Ole (a retired dressage schoolmaster/ex-bullfighter horse Lusitano x Arab);  Estrella (normally a guide horse); Ultima (a chunky chestnut mare); Aurora (a bay mare); Imperado (grey Lusitano); and Chico (a bay gelding, who was one of the few horses that came to the farm overweight!).

We were given our pick of horses on the last day.  It was hard decision between Ultima and Chico but Ultima won in the end.  Our last ride was spectacular around the Sete Cidades to see the twin lakes.  The story is that a blue eyed princess fell in love with a green eyed shepherd but the king forbade their relationship.  Their tears of sorrow formed the two lakes. It does depend on the light but normally one looks distantly green and the other blue.

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Splashing around in the ‘green lake’

As well as the Green Island Trail there are three other itineraries available:

The Atlantis Trail is suitable for intermediate riders who are happy to walk, trot and canter in open countryside or for more experienced riders who prefer to ride for less hours.  This is also a combination of half and full day rides with about 17 hours riding in total and one completely non-riding day.

The Relaxed Ride  is for people who wish for a more flexible itinerary and to explore the island more. It includes 10 hours riding and you stay at the Quinta on a bed and breakfast basis.  For this option you really need your own rental car to explore on your own.

For complete beginners, or riders who wish to gain confidence there is also a ‘Learn to ride week‘.  This provides ten hours of riding lessons either in the riding arena or out on trails and also theory lessons. The aim is that by the end of the week you join the spectacular full day ride to Sete Cidades.

For more information or to book your place please contact In The Saddle +44 1299 272 997 or via email rides@inthesaddle.com

Categories: Equestrian Travel, horse riding, in the saddle, Riding Holidays, riding in the azores | Leave a comment

Looking back at my Cowgirl Adventure

In this edition of ggjourneys, In The Saddle’s Becky Clarke tells of her stay at Hidden Hollow Hideaway in June 2016.

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It’s been a while now since I visited Montana and still most days I find myself day-dreaming of the wide open spaces, beautiful horses and the immense sense of freedom that comes with having the wind fly through your hair!

I have been to a fair few places in my life and yet whenever anyone asks me about my favourite, my mind skips back to the days I spent chasing calves and watching the sun rise over the Rockies.

When I first arrived at Hidden Hollow Hideaway Ranch, I was beyond excited to be joining one of their  cattle drives! My childhood summers as far back as I can remember would consist of my cousins, my sister and I riding off from the farm, across the fields in search of some cattle to round-up (much to my grandfather’s annoyance)!

Hidden Hollow Hideaway is owned and run by the Flynn family whose roots can be traced back to the 1860s when Kelly’s ancestors followed the gold rush to Diamond City. Kelly, Jill and Siobhan Flynn were at the ranch whilst I was there and after welcoming the group and showing us to our rooms, it was time to ride.

First though, we got to meet our steeds and it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the beautiful ‘Cub’ – and what an absolute gentleman he was too.

As it happened our first full day of the week was the cattle drive itself. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but it was everything I hoped it would be!

To start with we had to scour a huge pasture for a couple of hundred head of cattle! This was a slow and careful process, making sure to get all of the calves and not split them from their mothers. Getting the bulls to move sometimes also proved difficult……

The bulls were sometimes more interested in each other than moving on.

After we had brought the whole herd together and crossed the river, we proceeded to drive the cattle up towards the mountains.

Kelly explained to us all that it was really important to keep the calves up in the middle of the herd. This was because once the herd is moving and they separate from their mothers, they try to go back to where they last fed. In this case it would be several miles back down the mountain and so we all worked hard driving the herd from the back and sides.

Once we had navigated up through forest paths, down ditches and over streams, it was time for what Kelly called the ‘stampede’! I’ll admit I wasn’t quite sure what to expect…….

About a mile along from where we were, the track became narrow and twisted downhill through a section of forest. This is where the cattle would start to run due to the downhill momentum. At the bottom they needed to be turned 90° right so that they didn’t head straight into a deep gully….. and guess who got taken along with Kelly…. yep it was me!

I’ll be honest – it was exhilarating! We sped around and ahead of the cattle before dropping down and through the forest. Before we’d even gotten to the bottom of the track, we could hear the herd picking up the pace, the sound of their hooves echoing through the trees.

I’m glad I didn’t try to take any pictures during the stampede but here is a nice one at the bottom of the hill once the herd had settled again. My angel Cub stood like a rock the entire time.

Although it was a hard 7 hours in the saddle, it was the cattle drive I have always dreamed of! And the view from the top was just …..WOW…..

Becky on the beautiful Cub

The riding during the rest of the week was an array of trails across the beautiful countryside. Siobhan told us stories as we rode which made the hours slip by far too quickly for my liking! In the afternoons when we weren’t riding, there was the chance for gold panning, rifle shooting or even fishing if we didn’t want to relax.

Hidden Hollow Hideaway is a working ranch and so every week is different depending on what needs to be done. However something that always needs doing is changing the irrigation pipes.

One morning I volunteered to meet Kelly at 5:30 and help him. It was great to hear all about how he set up the pipes to run water uphill and how each of the different systems work. It really put into perspective how much work is done behind the scenes – and also helped work up an appetite for breakfast!

Working at sunrise on the irrigation pipes.

Jill’s cooking throughout the week was another highlight for me. The family style, help yourself approach worked really well and we would all sit around the table together each meal time. There was a different desert each evening which was brilliant but I was slightly worried I wouldn’t fit back into my jeans by the time I left!

The main lodge at Hidden Hollow Hideaway

Each evening there was the option to go with Kelly on a wildlife drive. I remember finding these drives really interesting and learned to identify several different dear types as well as being lucky enough to see mountain goats!

There is no wi-fi at the ranch which is really nice. It allows you to just get away from everything and really get immersed into rural Montana life. With the big belt mountains behind you and the brilliant horses you get to ride, you can just forget about everything else and enjoy your surroundings.

If I had the opportunity,  I’d be back out there in a heartbeat.

And the last picture has to be of Cub.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Riding Holidays, Riding in Montana | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Magical Mongolian Adventure!

Claire Douglas from In The Saddle tells us about her recent trip to Mongolia. Here, she highlights the best bits of her trip from the tiny horses to amazing vistas.

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I was so excited when I was offered the chance to visit Mongolia as it has been a lifelong dream of mine to go there!  I think this is because of its strong connection to horses and how horses are still central to the country’s culture.  I set off to my epic trip half way across the world, landing in Ulaanbaatar, the capital.  I was joining a special agent trip combining the current rides we offer, so that I could experience the two very different locations, the Orkhon valley and the Bayan Gobi desert.

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The view of the Orkhon valley

Shortly after arriving, we were whisked off to the Hustai National Park for a late lunch followed by a jeep safari to spot the wild Przewalski horses (the Mongolian word is ‘takhi’) that have been re-introduced into the park in 1992.  Due to their great camouflage they were very difficult to spot!  Eventually we had a sighting and rushed over in the jeep to see them, parking nearby.  After a short walk up hill we spied the herd and their babies.  It was a great sight to see the closest link to prehistoric horses that exists nowadays.

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Tahki horses in Hustai National Park

After this we drove a further four hours towards to the Orkhon valley arriving at night at our next ger camp.  Ger is the Mongolian word for yurt.  We also met the horses and the herdsmen to be accompanying us the next day.

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A traditional ‘ger’ tent

I was paired with a small chestnut horse (around 12hh) with a small white marking on his forehead.  He was incredibly sweet and very responsive to neck reining (which is how they have trained the horses to steer).  It does take some time to adjust to these tiny horses (I’m 5’ 8’’) with their short strides and flattish gaits.  Mongolians traditionally ride in wooden framed saddles (see below) luckily for us they have adapted more comfortable saddles for the guest riders (although less colourful).  The adapted saddles consist of a cushioned frame with metal handles to the front and back which is comfortable for long hours in the saddle.  It is a different riding style compared with traditional English riding as Mongolians stand in the stirrups during anything faster than a walk for long periods at a time.  I found the stamina of these horses to be incredible, they just keep going and going! We completed 40 km the first day and due to their size and flattish gait, the overall experience was quite smooth and not too tiring.

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A Mongolian horse with traditional saddle

Another highlight was staying with a traditional Mongolian family.  It was fascinating to see how they live without many of the modern day conveniences that we take for granted such as running water and electricity.  Family life is very busy with the men herding the animals and tending to them whilst the women milk the mares and yaks as well as cooking for the family.  We were invited to bring the yaks down from the mountains which was a magical experience during a golden sunset.

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Milking of the yaks! Always done by the women.

Then next day we rode to Orkhon Falls, a beautiful waterfall appearing out of nowhere.  As we were out of season there was no one else there and it was great to have the view to ourselves. After lunch we jumped back into the cars and headed towards our next location, the Bayan Gobi desert.

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Orkhon Falls

We were paired up with new mounts (another little chestnut for me) and I found riding in the desert was really fun, especially up and down the dunes. However it is slower paced than the riding on the steppe as the sand is hard work for the horses.

Once we reached our lunch spot we were surprised by a caravan of camels heading in our direction, what a sight to behold!  We had the opportunity of riding these majestic beasts!  What a different sensation to riding a horse, much slower and much further off the ground.  We set off around the dunes finishing off with a race (mine decided not to enter and went no faster than a walk!)

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Bactrian camels

My trip ended with a visit to Gandan monastery and a traditional Mongolian show.  It was an amazing experience to see traditional musicians, throat singers and even a contortionist.  The show was really a first class experience.

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Traditional mask to ward away enemies

This is a country unlike any other I had visited before, the big blue skies and endless scenery have really made a lasting impression on me.  Riding these little horses alongside generations of horsemen is an experience I will never forget.

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A local herdsman

In The Saddle covers a range of adventurous rides in Mongolia:

For those adventurous souls who enjoy camping we have:

Camping trail, 12 nights, staying in 2 person tent, you explore remote areas of the Orkhon valley.  On three days you ride into the Naiman Nuur Park with pack yaks. You spend one night spent with a Mongolian family and another at a semi-permanent ger camp.

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The tents used on the Orkhon Valley Camping trail and Mongolia Express rides.

This is a a truly, ‘into the wild’ experience as on part of this trail your kit is carried by pack yaks as the area is inaccessible to vehicles.

The pace on these days will be dictated by the terrain and the pack yaks

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The pack yaks, leading the way!

For those who like the idea of a two destination camping holiday exploring both the desert and steppe, we have:

Dunes and Steppes of Mongolia, 12 nights, this combines riding in the Orkhon valley with riding in the Bayan Gobi Desert.  You stay in 2 person tents, spend one night in a ger next to a Nomadic family and one night at a semi-permanent ger camp.

The variety of scenery is amazing, riding in the desert is a fun experience.

The desert is tends to be slower paced than riding in the steppe due to the sand being hard work for the horses.

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Bayan Gobi Desert

If you don’t wish to camp but still want to experience this great country, the following trail would be suitable as you stay in comfortable gers along the way:

Ger trail, 12 nights, you stay at semi-permanent ger camps along the Orkhon valley and spend one night close to a Nomadic family.

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Semi-permanet ger camp at Hustai National Park

Mongolia Express, 7 nights, for those short on time this camping trail offers 5 days riding through Central Mongolia. You spend one night camping close to a Mongolian family.

For more information on the Mongolian rides or to book your place please call Claire on +44 1299 272 243 or email claire@inthesaddle.com.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Travel news | Tags:

Discovering Kyrgyzstan

In this edition of GG Journeys, In The Saddle’s Lucy Downes tells us about her adventure in Kyrgyzstan in August.

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When I told my friends and family where I would be going, many had not heard of Kyrgyzstan and didn’t have any idea where in the world it was.

Kyrgyzstan Political Map

My journey started at Son Kul Lake – which is between the Y and Z for KYRGYZSTAN in the map above.

Kyrgyzstan is a small country in the middle of Central Asia. It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. The country is 90% mountains and I would be exploring the Kyrgyz Ala Too mountain range in the centre of the Chu Valley.

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The mountain views just go on and on…

I flew with Aeroflot from London Heathrow to Bishkek, via Moscow. I hadn’t flown with this airline before, but I thought I would test it out because of the good connections and reasonable fare. The flight to Moscow is just over 3 hours and from there, I had a further 3.5 hours to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. I was very impressed with Aeroflot and I will be recommending this route to our future guests.

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The flag of Kyrgyzstan is red with a yellow sun in the centre that contains a depiction of a yurt.

I was met at the airport by Yann Guillerm, the owner and a guide and was whisked away into the mountains to meet the group. The ‘Great Trek’ is an epic 17 night adventure on horseback but if you’re short on time you can join the first 9 nights (Secret 1) or the last 11 nights (Secret 2). I was riding Secret 2, which starts at the beautiful Son Kul Lake. The rest of my group were on the full Great Trek and it was really interesting listening to their stories of the journey so far.

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Son Kul Lake.

We spent a couple of nights at Son Kul Lake as the highly nutritious grass by the lake shore is great for the horses while they rest, recuperating for the second half of the trek. Whilst at the lakes, we watched the exciting games played by the locals – using a dead goat – it was kind of like rugby on horseback!

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Getting close to the action during the games.

All the horses owned by Yann, Helene (Yann’s sister and another guide) and the team are much loved, well fed and great at their jobs. The geldings used for the guests on trail live in a herd up in the mountains throughout the season so they all get on together and it is a pleasure to ride them next to each other in an open order. They are strong working horses responding to voice commands, neck reining and traditional English riding. I had full faith in my boy throughout – from clambering up rocky tracks, navigating a narrow pass or leading him down a shingle slope.

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Enjoying the mountain grass.

A highlight of this trip for me was being able to interact with the local people and help in looking after the horses. The tack, especially the saddle and girthing system, was a challenge at first but was a great feeling when mastered! The traditional, handmade saddles sit on top of blankets to keep the horse comfortable. Another blanket is then folded on top of the saddle to keep the rider comfortable.

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My horse ‘Melman’ waiting patiently whilst I learned how to tack-up.

Sleeping in yurts, whilst being hosted by a local nomad family next to the lakes and in the mountains, with the flock of sheep outside, was a truly special and an unforgettable experience. All the families were friendly and great hosts – feeding us up for the next day’s riding and never letting my cup run out of Chai. All the meals were social occasions and we would often share the table with the team, local families and anyone else from the area who’d ridden in to meet us. Fresh bread and jams were the starter. Main was a traditional stew or soup and of course, lots of Chai. After dinner, we would rummage through our luggage and share sweets and chocolate which was a welcome treat. A round of UNO or other card games whilst wrapped in our sleeping bags was a nice way to wind down for the night.

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Most families have two yurts – one where they sleep and another where they cook.

The scenery on this ride is stunning and ever changing. The lakes and rivers are crystal clear, although very cold when having a quick wash whilst camping! From the top of a mountain peak, we had a view that went on for miles. All the guides have great knowledge of the area and Helene (my guide for this trek) pointed out towns in the distance, where we had come from and where we would be going. Helene is also really knowledgeable about the local traditions and culture on Kyrgyzstan and shared her stories over lunch and dinner.

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If the path was narrow, we would ride in single file. But most of the time we rode in an open order.

I rode up rocky mountain passes, across open flat farm land (which is great for a canter), and over green rolling hills where mare herds roam and sheep gaze. As the pace is mainly at walk due to the terrain and long hours, there were plenty of opportunities to take photos and enjoy my surroundings.

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Me and Melman after having a lovely canter through some open farmland.

Stopping for a picnic lunch on the side of a mountain, often next to a stream, was just perfect. After refueling with pasta, bread and a couple of sweets there would be time for a nap or quick explore on foot of the area.

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Leading the horses on foot down steep descents was great for stretching our legs.

On our last day before we all flew home, we had a full day exploring Bishkek and we visited the bazaar (like a market) which was eye opening! The bazaar is huge and Helene guided us through stopping at shops and speaking to the locals. I could have bought anything from fishing tackle to textiles and from spices to a new TV. Bishkek has a population of around 1 million and it was a massive adjustment being surrounded by people again having spent so long in the mountains.

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The market was so big – it was very reassuring to have such a knowledgeable guide like Helene to show us around.

This trek is not just about riding through great scenery – it’s about immersing yourself in the culture, trying traditional dishes freshly prepared (such as fermented mare’s milk called ‘kumiss’), learning the history of this great country and enjoying a digital detox.

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Blue skies and the open landscape made for beautiful sunsets.

The 2018 dates and prices are out and if you’d like more information about riding in Kyrgyzstan and wish to book your place, please contact Lucy on +44 1299 272 238 or via email lucy@inthesaddle.com.

 

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Riding expeditions | Leave a comment

I Left my Heart in the Namib Desert

In this blog entry Abbie from In The Saddle tells us about her trip to Namibia earlier this year.

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A blog is something I do when I return from a trip, to summarise and recount amazing horsey adventures in far off lands. But I’ve been putting off writing this one. Why? Because writing a blog means the trip is over, as if stamping the experience with a definitive “The End”, and if I’m honest I don’t really want to do that.

The Namib Desert Ride is more than a riding holiday, more than the sum of its parts – fast riding, camping and long days in the saddle – it is an experience like no other. I’ll tell you all about it, and although I am sad it is over, I’m sure I will enjoy reliving the most incredible adventure I’ve ever had.

When I last visited Namibia in 2012 I fell in love with the wide open spaces, a nothingness which has to be seen to be believed. The vast plains and endless horizons seem to encourage you to take time out from everyday life and just stop, and breathe, and take it all in. What stayed with me particularly was being in the desert, the feeling of freedom above the deep red soil and below the bright blue skies. I simply couldn’t wait to get back to the Namib Desert, where mile upon mile of open space seems to call you – it has to be the ultimate place for limitless canters.

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Namibia – the perfect place for limitless canters

In August I travelled to Namibia to cross the oldest desert in the world on horseback. The Namib Desert route is one of In The Saddle’s more challenging rides, encompassing a journey on horseback of some 320km from close to the desert oasis of Solitaire to Swakopmund on the fierce Atlantic coast. Ever since I joined In The Saddle back in 2006 I’ve been dying to do this ride and when the opportunity came up I literally jumped (up and down) at the chance!

Our riding group meets for the first time at River Crossing, a comfortable guesthouse on the outskirts of Windhoek. We are twelve riders in total, from France, England, South Africa and Denmark. About half the group have their own horses, but everyone has ridden for many years and all are experienced in the saddle. Our guide Andrew Gillies meets us at 17:00 for the ride briefing. After a thorough run through of ride safety and the signals Andrew will use to chance pace, we begin to relax and look forward to the adventure ahead. Over a cool gin and tonic we introduce ourselves and Andrew asks us what sort of riders we are and what we look for in a horse. Requests vary from “fast and spirited” and “fun and forward-going” to “easy to stop”. It is this information along with the details from travel companies like In The Saddle that Andrew and Telane use to allocate horses. A delicious three course evening meal and plenty of wine awaits, before early to bed after a long day of travelling.

The next day we are up early for our transfer to our first campsite at Ababis. It is a journey of about four hours and we spot oryx, springbok, baboons and secretary bird along the way. We stop at a viewpoint on the way and Andrew points out where we are going to be riding in the days to come. The incredible view heightens our excitement as we imagine the journey ahead – think of the amazing views, the adventure, the endless canters – we cannot wait! The sheer open space and lack of people will take some getting used to…whether you come from busy London or rural Shropshire.

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The viewpoint – taking in the vast desert landscape

We reach camp around midday and are met by Phoebe, Telane and Kim. The team take it in turns as back-up guide, but on this particular trip we are in the very capable hands of Kim from Germany who is on her third stint as volunteer. Kim is great fun to ride with and clearly loves her forays into the wilderness of Namibia. Phoebe is a constant beacon of fun and positivity. Cheerfully waving us off each day and then racing against the clock with the back-up crew to set up the lunch spot or the next campsite whilst at the same time preparing mouth-watering meals – she accomplishes so much that we begin to wonder whether she has an identical twin!

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“Phoebe’s Food Truck” – always a welcome sight

Telane, biologist and wild horse researcher, is in charge of the horses’ welfare. During the trip Telane is more often found with the horses than the humans, as she carefully checks them for sore spots, lameness and other ailments. I was fascinated to hear that when she meets a guest for the first time Telane will often ‘see’ a horse. For example when she met Claire on our trip, Telane ‘saw’ Lavoca. This was a great match as throughout the week Claire rode her horse with great sensitivity and I loved seeing them at a speedy canter weaving in and out between other riders, eager to get to the front, a big smile on both their faces!

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Claire and Lavoca – a perfect match (image courtesy of Joe Davies)

Next we are given a run through of what to do when we reach camp each evening. The horses are un-tacked, allowed to roll and led to water. Then they are left to dry and are brushed off later (we usually do this whilst waiting in the shower queue). Then we can take a stretcher bed, bedroll and bag to a spot of our choice, be it beside a tree, next to the horses or close to the campfire. The bedroll (each one named after animal species such as rhino, bush pig and impala so they don’t get mixed up) is ours for the duration of the ride and encompasses a sleeping mat, feather duvet and two pillows all tucked inside a waterproof and windproof canvas swag. The duvets are incredibly warm even if the pesky east wind is blowing, although there are extra blankets to use if you feel the cold.

After a lunch of oryx skewers, stuffed peppers, salad and fresh bread it is back on the road again as we travel the 150km to the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei. Andrew tells us about the different types of dunes. These dunes at Sossusvlei differ from those in the Kalahari because they are dynamic, ever-shifting in the wind and taking on a variety of shapes. We kick off our shoes and climb Dune 45, a few of us happy to go part of the way up and then sit and take in the view, whilst others climb right to the top. It is just beautiful.

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Karien taking in the view at Sossusvlei

Returning to camp we have time to de-sand ourselves with a hot shower before dinner. We are spoilt this evening as we are eased into camp life, for tonight we have hot running water and flush loos. There is much giggling over the ‘mini-Sossusvlei’ left in the shower by a fellow rider – how on earth did she manage to get that much sand into her shoes and still walk?! Making my way back to my stretcher after a shower I make the mistake of hanging my towel to dry on a nearby tree…only the following morning do I realise I’ve used a camelthorn tree and it takes a while to extract my towel from its fierce spikes!

Today’s the day – we get to meet our horses and set off on our desert adventure. There is Marnie a sweet grey Arab mare, Xerox the ‘photocopier’ horse, speedy Sundown, the chestnut ‘pocket rocket’ whose speed has to be seen to be believed, Titan a handsome dun gelding, fast and spirited Raven, front-runner Zarron, well-mannered Coco and my own diminutive ‘black Philip’. He was in many ways exactly what I’d asked for (small and straightforward), but he was also so much more than this; I cherished his professionalism, sweet temper and polite enthusiasm from start to finish.

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Philip – the perfect gentleman

After a hearty breakfast it is time for a saddling demonstration. The horses are groomed and tacked-up with an incredible level of care, which is continued throughout the ride. After the usual first-day adjusting of stirrups and saddles we set off towards the oasis town of Solitaire about 15km away. The horses are keen, but controllable except perhaps Raven and Joe’s first horse, each having their own ideas about the speed we should be going at. At one point Joe disappears off in front at a purposeful but unintentional canter, only to double back at great speed heading straight for us. A swift bridle change makes little difference, so a horse change is quickly carried out instead – much better, and well ridden Joe. At Solitaire we enjoy a delicious lunch of quiche and salad, followed by the bakery’s famous apple crumble – yum. A further c. 15km ride in the afternoon takes us to the first of our beautiful wilderness camps, Koireb, nestled in a dry riverbed.

Over the next few days we settle into the wonderful rhythm of camp life. Literally we eat, sleep, ride and repeat. It is priceless, absolute bliss, as if you are in a little bubble where it is only your fellow riders, your guides, the back-up team and your horses and it feels almost as though your normal, everyday life doesn’t even exist.  The day begins with Zarron’s high-pitched whinny and the call of the French rooster. We wake up each morning and watch dawn creep onto the horizon, getting dressed as quickly as possible in the cool of the morning. That first cup of tea and a rusk has never been so delicious as you gather your riding gear and break down your little camping spot. Breakfast is taken around the fire, and then perhaps there is time to snatch a quiet moment with your horse before the adventures of the day begin.

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A quiet moment with Philip (image courtesy of Namibia Horse Safaris)

Each day we set off to journey through amazingly diverse desert scenery, cantering across the plains with oryx on one side and zebra on the other. We enjoy a cold Savannah cider and lunch in the shade, before setting off again for more incredible canters and gallops across the open terrain. We arrive in camp, un-tack and let the horses roll and drink, before sipping a cool G&T whilst grooming the horses. Then a quick bucket shower to wash away the red-brown dust of the desert.

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Ganab camp – Phoebe grooming the horses at sunset

Each evening Andrew gathers us around the fire saying ‘Dearly Beloved’ and outlines the plan for the following day. Each day is different and yet filled with the same magical ingredients of good company, incredible riding and thrilling gallops; the only thing that seems to remain the same is that “breakfast is at seven”! After a delicious two course meal we go to bed each night feeling nicely weary and drift off to sleep playing ‘join the dots’ with constellations or counting shooting stars in the amazing inky-black African sky.

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The Namib night sky (image courtesy of Tony Marshall)

One day we are doing some LSD (Long Slow Distance – Andrew’s term for a steady canter) and Andrew stops us all, saying he can see something unusual ahead. So we approach slowly and to our disbelief, there in the middle of the day is an aardvark! He is so intent on his quest for termites that he seems oblivious to our presence and we sit and watch him for ten minutes or so. We edge closer and closer until finally he spots us and darts away in confusion.

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An unusual sighting – an aardvark out in the daytime

Another day we are not far from camp and during a canter, our guide takes us on a winding route through bushes and low trees as the sun starts to fade. Before we know it we are out in open ground again and in front of us, as if by magic are three giraffe. What a wonderful sight to end another incredible day in the desert (although Coco is not a fan and is still snorting by the time we reach camp!).

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Spotting three giraffe – the perfect end to an incredible day

One day the group splits off into pairs and has ‘wacky races’ along vehicle tracks which make for perfect going. A day or so later we canter across grassy plains so vividly green after the calcrete plains we have just crossed and then we’re invited to let loose, whoop it up and let loose our inner cowboys as we set off at a roaring gallop. My horse Philip is wonderful and tries so hard, but he’s not the fastest horse in the world. We set off feeling good, galloping well, but are soon enveloped in a huge billow of dust as those with more impressive turns of speak streak past us. Quite literally streaking in the case of Ben, whose wardrobe seems to be in a permanent state of malfunction, shirt undone and chest showing!

On our longest riding day from Ganab to Marble Mountain, we ride 40km before lunch and our 20km afternoon ride is one of my most memorable. The entire late afternoon ride takes us along sandy plains of perfect going and we ride towards the sinking sun,  literally riding off into the sunset – magical. During a long canter, Joe who has been part of the ‘rear guard’ until now suddenly storms to the front of the group, taking most of the others with him and setting off an impromptu cavalry charge – whoops!

It is incredible to be cantering along in the remote Namib Desert hearing only your horse’s breathing and the beat of his canter. At one point the evening light and the dust begins playing tricks on me, making it look as though the horse in front is in fact cantering towards me – eerie.

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Riding into the sunset (image courtesy of Izzy Crane)

On Day 6 the landscape takes a dramatic change and ahead of us lies a real challenge; crossing the Kuiseb Canyon. It was here that geologists Hermann Korn and Henno Martin went into hiding during the Second Wold War, as told in the book ‘The Sheltering Desert’. We ride into the badlands where we have an amazing sighting of a magnificent lone zebra who is really intrigued by us. Then we make a technical descent down steep terraces leading our horses on foot.

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Descending into the Kuiseb (image courtesy of Namibia Horse Safaris)

After watering the horses and a quick picnic lunch, it is time to begin our climb out of the canyon. From the base of the canyon the climb looks impossible, but the horses, guides and back-up team are incredible as they clamber across sheer rock and make light work of the steep, rocky ascent.

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Karen & Sundown climbing out of the Kuiseb (image courtesy of Izzy Crane)

We make it to Aruvlei our next camp by mid-afternoon, in plenty of time for a fabulous sun downer in celebration of surviving the Kuiseb.

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Mariette & Gill – sundowners at Aruvlei

As our adventure begins to come to a close we make our way up the Swakop River, the energy seems to change and the horses are on edge a little. Perhaps they can sense their journey is almost over? We have wonderful canters along the dry riverbed and gaze up at the rock formations on either side.

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The Swakop River – riding towards civilisation

On the way to our last stop on the trail we pause for a break under the shade of a tree and notice that the ground underfoot looks like huge fish scales, crunching underfoot.

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The Swakop riverbed looks like huge fish scales (image courtesy of Rebecca Hast)

Signs of civilisation begin to appear, a house, a fence, dogs barking; it seems so strange after having been isolated in the desert for ten days.

Our final ride is bittersweet, we’ve nearly done it, but we don’t want it to end. An idea circulates about heading north when we get to Swakopmund, riding up the coast to explore Damaraland and then on to Etosha, before turning south and heading back to Windhoek. Then having a little rest and doing some washing before riding south to see the Wild Horses and then on to explore the Fish River Canyon. What an adventure that would be…shall we start planning?!

As we ride towards Swakopmund we cross a railway and a few roads, before passing towering dunes and then we catch our first sight of the Atlantic Ocean. Our incredible Namibian adventure ends with a final thrilling gallop along the beach at Swakopmund, champagne corks popping as we reach the end of the beach.

It has been a wonderful ten days, full to the brim with adrenaline-fueled gallops, wonderful company, amazing food, ever-changing landscapes, dust, sunshine, and incredible game. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve finally fulfilled our dream of crossing the Namib Desert. As Joe put it so eloquently in his thank you speech to Andrew and the team, “we’ve ridden like hell and eaten like horses”.

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We did it – arriving into Swakopmund

So there it is, I’ve finally faced it and written my blog. I now have to write “The End” and admit that my adventure is over. But what will keep me going is the hope that one day I’ll return to the wide open plains of Namibia, where friends are made, challenges are met and the memories last until the call of the wilderness becomes too strong to resist.

The End

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As well as this adventurous ride crossing the Namib Desert, In The Saddle also features other challenging trail rides in Namibia including the Damara Elephant Safari, Desert Canyons Safari and Wolwedans to Wild Horses.

If you’d like to find out more about our Namibian rides, please contact Abbie on +44 1299 272 239 or email abigail@inthesaddle.com

Categories: Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays africa, riding holidays namibia, Riding safaris | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Azores – in all weathers

Janet has just returned from her fifth visit to Quinta da Terça in Azores. Being right in the middle of the Atlantic this little island does get just about every weather pattern heading for the British Isles, which this year meant some quite wet weather during October.

But Janet writes that “despite the wet weather we managed a full programme and Elizabeth, Jackie and myself even swam in the Terra Nostra thermal pool in the rain! I met a very nice Australian lady in the pool who seemed to be doing ‘Europe’, she was in the pool in a lovely golden bikini….. unfortunately she told me it was white when she entered! Rua from the Quinta keeps telling us that swimming in the pool is reputed to make you look younger, we keep trying but it does not seem to make any difference.

Flowers in bloom at Terra Nostra

 

Camelia in bloom (in October) at Terra Nostra

In different parts of the Island different flowers were out. In places the hydrangeas had finished flowering but in others they were in full bloom. In the Terra Nostra gardens some Azaleas and Camellias were out!

Riding by the Water Aquaduct (in the rain!)

Due to the heavy rain and thunderstorms that we had had during the week (fortunately mainly at night) it was not possible to ride around the Sete Cidades crater rim as the steep track down was unsafe and there were trees down, Also it was covered in mist/low cloud so we would not have been able to see the lakes from the viewpoint.

Riding by Sete Citades

However we rode not only around the lakes but along tracks in the area that we had not been on before.

Every time we return to the Quinta we have a warm welcome from Christina and Claude and all the staff and they always manage to vary the rides and find some new tracks for us to go along.

We also visit different places. This time we asked to go back to Terra Nostra as we enjoy the pool and the gardens and we still have not yet managed to see all of the Botanical Gardens. We visited a ceramic factory this time which we had not been to before. But unfortunately we could not go whale watching as the conditions were not right with the sea very rough at times.

All the horses are so lovely, have great temperaments and are forward going. There is one to suit everyone from novice to experienced rider. The meals are always very good and the picnics! We all felt we had benefitted and learnt a lot from the instruction/lesson given by Christina and also Rodrigo in the indoor school (the picador). We had an extra lesson as one morning it was pouring with rain so we asked for a lesson rather than a ride or sightseeing and it was well worthwhile.

Everyone at the Quinta is so good and helpful. We cannot wait to return there again in April and just hope the weather is better.”

Fortunately it didn’t rain every day. A view from the North Coast ride.

Thank you, Janet, for this lovely report.

Quinta da Terça is a wonderful holiday and we also hope very much that you have better weather next year.

Categories: riding in the azores | Leave a comment

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