Every year we introduce new rides to our portfolio of destinations and it is always amazing to get feedback from the various locations after the first guests visit! Read this month’s feedback on some of the latest additions to In The Saddle’s riding holiday offerings…
Hungary is one of the more recent additions to our riding holiday portfolio but the feedback we have received so far from visitors to this country has been fantastic! Seasoned equestrian traveller and In The Saddle customer Rosie Tarbox was really taken with Homoki Lodge, which offers fast riding in the southern Great Plain. “The horses are super-fit and very well behaved,” she tells us. “The riding was straightforward and fast for the most part with lovely long canters and gallops on excellent terrain. However, if you don’t like trotting for long distances – be warned – that can be quite testing! You do need to have some stamina as the rides are 3 hours long in the morning and 1.5 to 2 hours in the afternoon, with the only stops being the odd comfort break! We ate well – the food was typical Hungarian for the most part and very good. This was an enjoyable week – whilst the riding was fast for the most part, it was not difficult, just so long as you are riding fit. Also there is sufficient chill-out time to do your own thing if you wish and also to take the opportunity of having a massage, a sauna or a spa visit!”
Janet Whatley reiterates that fitness is vital before enjoying this holiday. “The horses were amazingly fit and the four I rode were different but amazing in their own way,” says Janet. “Be prepared to trot and canter for a long way, you don’t get the opportunity to do this kind of riding in the UK so just enjoy it, and if you get the chance to try the Hungarian saddle go for it, it’s like sitting in an armchair. We did ride for 3 hours or more in the morning (fast and furious) and up to 2 hours in the afternoon, still at a good pace. The Hungarian guides at the front tell you what pace they want, the guide at the back is the English speaker so there is no problem understanding what is going on. If you want a fantastic fast ride I can’t recommend this enough!”
You will need good stamina for the riding at Homoki Lodge
For Claire Entwisle, Homoki Lodge proved to be both unique and authentically Hungarian. “The terrain is open grassland and sand tracks which is perfect for long canters and gallops,” she states. “The horses are of mixed Hungarian breeds but all quick, safe and without vices. The highlight of this trip was a day at the ‘The Animal Fair’, an annual event, which was included in our itinerary as a special request. It gave us an opportunity to learn more of the history and significance of horses and horsemanship to the Hungarian people and view breed standards for the Gidrun, Nonius and Furioso (Romanian/Hungarian). Think along the lines of a County Show, with amazing long horn cattle, pony club show jumping and a cattle handling class which included ‘reversing’ and ‘slalom’. Also some beautiful carriages (and carriage horses) on display plus the very Hungarian ‘sport’ of synchronous whip cracking.”
El Bronco is a fabulous ranch in the Kiskunsági National Park which is a great choice whether you are new to riding, new to Western or an accomplished rider! Having been newly renovated everything is spic and span, as Stephanie Lauridsen confirms! “El Bronco is beautiful and well kept – the cleanliness of the place is really nice,” she says. “The horses are super sweet, calm, but by no means slow. It gives you a really good gateway to Western riding and the horses available are from beginner to competition level. This was a holiday I will never forget, and I may even go back!”
Learn Western Riding in a beautiful location at El Bronco
Nicola Guenigault also enjoyed learning the Western way of riding at El Bronco and it provided a fantastic trip for her Novice father! “The horses were really well trained, friendly and responsive,” she says. “The horses were perfectly matched – my girl was just right for a more experienced rider who hadn’t tried Western before, she was capable of spins, half passes, sliding stops, collection on command – you name it, but forgiving when you accidentally swapped back to English style and confused things!
My dad is a novice and I was amazed to discover his horse was really young, the little guy did not put a foot wrong all week and Dad completely fell in love with him – real testament to their breeding and training.
The Wellness facilities were amazing, I had a soak in the Jacuzzi pretty much everyday after riding – it was really nice that it looks out over the stables and paddocks. The Food was great, with something different everyday so we got to a number of Hungarian dishes. The “picnic” days out were more like having the restaurant brought to you outdoors! In addition we also got a demo of some of the natural horsemanship techniques they use in the roundpen and Robert taught us to lasso a wooden “cow” one evening. Overall it was a great experience, and I am definitely planning on going back. The staff were all so lovely and if I were looking to buy a horse I would give serious consideration to El Bronco – the quiet, consistent handling and training they do from birth really shows when you ride their horse.”
Learning in Portugal
For some people a trip away on horseback is all about learning and experiencing something new and this is why Anne-Marie Perkins chose Monte Vehlo in Portugal. This luxurious Lusitano stud farm offers not only top class dressage instruction, but also rides out into the Alentejo countryside – perfect for a combination of training and relaxation! “A wide variety of horses were available and each was matched according to the riders ability and confidence,” says Anne-Marie. “There were lots of opportunities to watch other riders ride both inside and out. The instructors had good judgement and a great sense of humour and were able to deal with the mixture of languages of the guests although mostly all was said in English. They also had good feeling on when to push someone a little and when not to. Mark and I learnt a great deal about how to ride with much greater sensitivity and how to adapt to a gentler way of being with your horse. The hack out was also a really nice change and in April there were lots of spring flowers about and it gave opportunity to sit in a traditional bull fighting saddle.”
Improve your riding or enjoy trail rides at Monte Vehlo
Having searched for the perfect Moroccan adventure we are really excited to introduce several itineraries this year and Jill Pain was one of our first guests to give feedback when she booked on the Horses, Dunes and Nomads ride. “You would not believe that you are riding stallions, they are very well behaved and full of spirit but I felt very safe,” Jill says. “The accommodation varied between hotels at the start and end and the riads in between. All were clean and comfortable, although some of the riads were in unusual places i.e. half way up mountains!”
You wouldn’t believe you were riding stallions in Morocco
If you want to find out more about the latest trips available from In The Saddle get in touch with us today!