Heard it on the grapevine in June

With our In The Saddle clients jetting off all around the world we often receive details of amazing sights, exciting trips and fabulous hints for other travellers. We hope that these fabulous snippets of real experiences and useful advice will give you valuable insight into some of the trips available, and help you make the decision of ‘where next’ that little bit simpler…

It seems that as well as the horses, food and hospitality is very important to a lot of our customers and recent holidaymakers visiting the Azores certainly enjoyed the local delicacies…

Liz Kennedy took part in the Green Trail Ride and not only did she find that she had excellent horses to ride – all well schooled and matching her ability – but she was amazed at the quality of the food. “I’m in awe of Christina’s ability to look after 34 horses and cook a cordon bleu dinner every night. I think that my favourite was the breakfasts – fruit, different types of bread and cheese was perfect for me. No curly sandwiches on the picnics – only fresh pasta or quiche and a table and chairs to sit on. I also liked the opportunity to help myself to coffee, tea and drinks whenever I wanted. The scenery was beautiful, especially on the last day and most of the rides were a good mixture of slow and scenic with fast paced and exciting.”

The hosting skills in the Azores also impressed Natalie Taylor who took part in the Learn to Ride in a Week trip with her husband. “It was really lovely to see that all the horses are really well cared for and loved, all of their individual characters shine through. Christina is an excellent teacher and we both really enjoyed our lessons with her and felt that we learnt a lot. We were also allowed to try ‘join-up’ which was a magical experience. The food is amazing! Christina is a brilliant cook and Claude is a wonderfully, entertaining Maitre D. Our room was very comfortable and we really appreciated the champagne and chocolates that greeted us on arrival. A wide range of toiletries is provided so you don’t need to worry about forgetting anything. It was a complete break from everyday life and we are really looking forward to returning.”

Azores - Cete Cidades

Breathtaking views in the Azores

Speaking of food, Joan Baillie has recently returned from the Golden Circle trip in Iceland where she got the chance to sample the local delicacies! “The food was spot on,” she said. “We were even introduced to fermented shark – it tasted like strong fish and was chewy as rubber – and Black Death – a local type of schnapps that was stronger than the shark! This was to give us a taste of local Icelandic culture! As for the riding our guide gave us tips on riding the Icelandic Horses and was totally safety conscious. Every person seemed to have a horse suited to their ability.”

The Icelandic Horses are unique

The Icelandic Horses are unique

Excellent hosting can make all the difference to your trip and Keth Iren Braut discovered this when she returned to the Alentejo Coastal Trail in Portugal. “We and the horses were very well taken care of by Miguel – as always – and we had such wonderful days both in and out of the saddle.
All but one night was spent in small and cosy B&B’s with impeccable service and hosts. Great food and wine were served everywhere we stayed and it was a lovely group of people. Fantastic horses, amazing rides in beautiful scenery and last but not least; lots of laughs!”

Lots of laughs to be had in Portugal!

Lots of laughs to be had in Portugal!

For those of you with an adventurous spirit the Fish River Canyon ride in Namibia will certainly indulge your inner explorer as recent client Kim Simkins discovered. “The first few days are slow due to the terrain being so rocky and tough so expect to have to dismount and lead on steep bits but once onto flatter ground there were some long canters and great gallops over seemingly endless terrain. We stayed in some great campsites with fantastic scenery in a real wilderness area. It is hard to comprehend the scale from photos! You need to be a reasonable rider as there are loose horses running with you and you need to be aware of where you are and where everyone else is to avoid problems. Don’t expect to sit and take no part in the ride! I would take earplugs as, apart from snorers, you can be sleeping close to the horses and campfire, so if you are a light sleeper you may need them! Most of us had gone to bed by 10pm so don’t expect wild nights – racing scrabble was as exciting as it got! Camps were set up by the time we arrived at night so it wasn’t long after watering the horses that we had a gin and tonic in hand! We got stranded in Cape Town by sea fog on the way back but In The Saddle rang before we got to the airport to tell us our flight was delayed by 23hrs, and found us a guesthouse for the night which was lovely and so accommodating. That’s the second time In The Saddle have rescued us abroad – thank you!”

It is hard to comprehend the scale of Namibia from photos alone!

It is hard to comprehend the scale of Namibia from photos alone!

If you are an experienced rider then Motswiri Camp in Botswana will provide the perfect balance of exciting riding and wonderful hosting, as Jackie Harrison found out. “The riding was fantastic. You do need a certain amount of riding fitness and In The Saddle are absolutely right to rate this as only for experienced riders. The fly camp was wonderful – it was so remote and yet we were so well looked after! Motswiri Camp is a magical place – and there is a range of activities on offer as well as riding. We booked this as a holiday of a lifetime and it fulfilled this criteria many times over!”

The riding is exciting at Motswiri Camp in Botswana

The riding is exciting at Motswiri Camp in Botswana

When you are on a horseback safari there are certain occupational hazards – as Louise Yarnold found out when she went to Macatoo recently! “My only problem here was trying to sleep through the sound of elephant snoring! I had three lovely horses, which were well suited to me. There was lots of variety in the riding, we went in and out of the water and I always felt completely safe which made for a very enjoyable time. The guides and all the camp staff are really lovely people and nothing is too much trouble. It is the best riding holiday you can go on and worth every penny. The only bad thing is that it spoils you for any other!”

Did you know that elephants snore? They do at Macatoo!

Did you know that elephants snore? They do at Macatoo!

And finally, for some customers, like Rosie Dorey who went on the Chateaux of the Loire trip in France, leaving their steeds behind is hard! “The holiday for me was primarily about the riding and I loved every minute in the saddle. The horse was perfect for me- exactly the right size and temperament, and with such a comfortable saddle I could have happily continued riding through day and night! Visiting the Chateaux was an interesting and enjoyable addition to the holiday made more so by each one being so different from the last. Given half a chance, I would have packed my horse into my bag to bring home with me…. but unfortunately there was a size issue!”

Every Chateaux you will see is different when riding in the Loire

Every Chateaux you will see is different when riding in the Loire

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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