Monthly Archives: October 2015

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Paulo Junqueira from Ride Brazil

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another popular guide –  Paulo Junqueira from Ride Brazil.
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1.    How long have you been guiding on the Bahia Beach and Canyons and Waterfalls rides?

8 years.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

I had not guided prior the starting with Ride Brazil, although I did quite a lot of solo riding throughout Brazil in search of exciting trails.

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3.    How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

I always wanted to live and work with horses and this opportunity came about when I found out that Brazil has the third largest population of horses in the world. It also has excellent horses and a huge variety of trails to explore. Brazil wasn’t yet a destination for international riders as there were not many quality rides available. I did some research into how rides were run in Africa, Spain and Argentina to learn all that was involved in the responsibility of guiding people on a ride.

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4.    If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

Living in the countryside with my horses gives me a great opportunity to write, which I love doing. I would love to study and work in horses ethology and also write about my own experiences.

5.    People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

I love what I do because I can turn someone’s holiday into an unforgettable experience; an experience of a lifetime. The recognition I receive at the end of the ride is something that is priceless. I wouldn’t say there is a downside to guiding rides in such beautiful places, along with people who love horses; it is always a great pleasure. Although it is also a great responsibility, and sometimes (luckily very seldom) we have people who don’t understand that we are dealing with an animal and we have to be flexible.

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6.    If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

Enduro do Haren was a favourite of mine. He was a wonderful stallion who sadly died a few years ago. Now I have favourites on both of the rides I guide. In Bahia it is Shakira and in the Canyons area it is Ornero. At home my favourite horse is my palomino called Elmo.

7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

I could not live without nature. City life is not for me anymore. When I am guiding it is essential that I have a brave horse who is always ready.Canyons ride (3)

8.    What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?

I can say that I am always lucky to have good groups. pantanal

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

I like talking with guests in the evening about how the day’s ride has gone. I also enjoy sharing my experiences gained from riding around the world.

10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

I met some people who were interested in guiding as they saw it as an adventure and an opportunity to travelling. First of all, you need to love horses and great determination. First apply as trainee in a good destination with a reputable company. Then follows the hard work!

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11.    Where do you go on holiday?

I like to discover new places with new cultures while on horseback.

Thank you Paulo for the fantastic images and another interesting article.

You can meet Paulo from Ride Brazil at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, riding holiday brazil, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Annemee van Aubel from Cerfcheval, France

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another popular guide – Annemee van Aubel from Cerfcheval, France.    IMG_9312

1.    How long have you been guiding at Cerfcheval?

I started guiding here in 2001.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

I am Dutch but worked for a while in France doing different things to get some experience and to learn.

3.    How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

I love travelling on horseback and also showing people around. This is a very good way to really get to know a country and visit places that you would not otherwise see.

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4.    If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

I never made a plan B, but I was a sailing instructor in the past. I really enjoyed this time in my life, but I prefer the contact with the horses and my dogs that my current role provides.

5.    People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

I love to be with my horses and to work outside, discovering new landscapes and making new friends. The difficult sides of the job are being responsible for everybody and staying positive even when the weather is bad and things are not going as you would like them to.

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6.    Can you tell us about your favourite horse?

I don’t have one favourite – I have three! I love my mule Sascha, my half Arab Oslo and my lead horse Imperial who had a difficult history before he came to Cerfcheval.

7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

My pocket knife and my dogs.

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8.    What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?

It is difficult to choose, but one of the most memorable was a 650km ride I undertook with my son from Cerfcheval to Lyon. Another memorable ride was with a guest who wanted to swim every day on the Monts de Blond ride. It was October and rather fresh, but I managed to find some mountain lakes for him. He would swim out quite far and I was left on the bank wondering if I’d have to jump into the really cold water to help him if he got into difficulty!

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

Apéro, (as we say in France), followed by a good meal with a glass of wine with fellow riders.

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10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

It is a great job. Don’t count your hours and find yourself some good horses, as they are your best friends and need to take people around safely.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

Often in the Pays Basque with my dogs. I don’t take holidays very often. Otherwise I just take my horse, my mule and my dogs and discover some new parts of France.

Thank you Annemee for sending some lovely images and another interesting article.

You can meet Annemee from Cerfcheval, France at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

Categories: Equestrian Safety, Equestrian Travel, horse riding france, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding in France, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Jenny Richardson from Castle Leslie in Ireland

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another experienced guide – Jenny Richardson from Castle Leslie on the Emerald Isle.

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1.    How long have you been guiding at Castle Leslie?

I have been the Equestrian Business Manager at Castle Leslie Estate for 4 years.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

Before this I was the manager of the Burn Equestrian Centre in Belfast and then before that I was head instructor at Jebel Ali Equestrian Club in Dubai.

3.    How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

I had a keen interest in horses all my life. I started riding at an early age of 3. My parents were into horses but against me going into horses for a career, as it involves such long hours and hard work!! At the age of 16 I went to Enniskillen College and studied a National Diploma in Business and Finance with equine options. I got good grades and then progressed onto the Higher National Diploma and then finally a Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Science along with my BHSAI. When I graduated I was keen to work with horses and got my first job in Dublin running a small riding school and teaching; at this point I knew it was for me!Pic 3 - Jenny and client Clinton and Castle Leslie Blue

4.    If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

I guess I always knew it was going to be something with horses at an early age and never give any thought on anything else!

5.    People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

I adore meeting different types of people from all over the world and the stories they have to tell. Every morning when I look at the lake at Castle Leslie Estate I think I’m an extremely lucky girl to have this on my doorstep. I have a great job you never get sick of the fantastic grounds at Castle Leslie and the spectacular wildlife.

6.    If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

Apart from my own horse, my favorite horse is Percy. Percy is on loan to Castle Leslie Estate, from Lady Caledon. He is a 15.2hh striking looking cob who has a fabulous personality. He walks as if he is Brad Pitt and takes a lot of guests by surprise as they often think he is a plod but actually he is a pocket rocket!!

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7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

I guess my horse Daisy. She is fab out on hacks and is a pure lady when it comes to getting on and off and giving people leads. She is very trusting even when deer jump out last minute.

8.    What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?

Every ride at Castle Leslie is memorable. The estate is 100 acres so you never actually get bored!! From marriage proposals, seeing unique wildlife, to falling into the lake and taking out famous stars it’s actually hard to pick!!!

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

I love spending time with my horse Daisy and I also own a short hair miniature sausage dog Dylan so I enjoy walking him. I also enjoy a nice glass of wine!

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10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

It’s a tough game!! Rain, hail, snow and shine you’re outside. You will meet all sorts of guests. Occasionally there are some people who may not be as experienced as they think and it’s your job to look after them and keep them safe whilst still making sure they enjoy their stay. You also need to have all your teaching certificates and know a lot about the country and other countries so you can keep the conversation entertaining. If you can speak other languages then this is an added bonus!!IMG_0721

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

I tend to stay away from horses on holiday as I would feel it’s like a busman’s holiday!! I like to go and visit friends in Dubai or enjoy spending time in Ireland.

Thank you Jenny for sending some of your photos and for your help in producing another great article.

You can meet Jenny from Castle Leslie at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

Categories: castle leslie, Equestrian Safety, Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays ireland, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Duncan Over from Kujwana, Botswana

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another of our guides – Duncan Over from Kujwana in Botswana.

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1.       How long have you been guiding at Kujwana?

I have been the camp manager at Kujwana for a year after volunteering here for a month previously.

2.       Where did you guide before this?

This is my first job in Africa. Before coming here I was an officer in the British Army. Having spent time in Kenya training I had already caught the African bug. I came to Kujwana as a guest three years ago and fell in love with the camp, the horses and the delta. From then on I had only one job in mind and last year it became a reality.

3.       How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

I was inspired by a very close friend of mine who worked out here for many years. Whilst I was in the Army he would send me constant insights into life in the Delta and I promised him I would at least visit to see it for myself. After finally finding the time to visit him and meeting Barney and PJ (the owners of Kujwana), as well as our lead guide Rodgers I was inspired by their knowledge of the area and the animals and wanted to learn more about it for myself. A year after visiting as a guest I returned as a volunteer and was further amazed by the intricacies of the area and the job. I wanted to learn more about the animals, the area and how to run a camp in the middle of the bush and luckily in PJ and Barney, I had two of the most experienced people in the business to teach me. From then on I was hooked and every day I continue to be amazed and further inspired by my surroundings.

4.       If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

If I hadn’t moved out here I would still be in the Army. I was still enjoying my job at the time of leaving and only left due to an insatiable urge to get back to Africa. I was very fortunate that the timing was right and a space opened up for me in the company. I haven’t looked back since!

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5.       People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

There are so many things I love about this job. I love the fact that I am out on horse back almost every day and in such an incredible setting. Every morning I get up and look forward to the day ahead, knowing that it will be different from the last. I’m not sure I will ever find riding at home in Scotland as exciting again without the constant presence of antelope, giraffe and elephants. Not to mention the burst of excitement when one spots a lion, leopard or honey badger!

I also thoroughly enjoy the interaction I have with the guests. I have learnt more about the world and its cultures from sitting around a camp fire with the huge variety of guests we are lucky enough to have then I ever did travelling with the Army.

I can honestly say that there are very few downsides to my job. I suppose the distance from home and limited communications with family and friends would be the biggest. I work incredibly hard and for very long hours, but after a career in the Army I considered this the norm so it really doesn’t bother me. I don’t think there are many jobs in the world that you can truly believe are perfectly suited for you. I am however fortunate enough to have found one of them.

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6.       What is the name of your favourite horse? And if they were a human, who would he/she be and why?

My favourite horse is called Black Mamba. A Kalahari farm horse, he arrived at Kujwana in 2011. One of six wild horses backed out of the Kalahari desert, he gained his name from the hissing noise he made at anyone who approached him when he first arrived. An amazingly brave and caring horse, Mamba and I have had some great adventures together.

Who do I think he would be if he was human? That’s a difficult question! His best friend in the yard is a horse called Scorpion – another of the Kalahari ponies – they make a great pair and they often remind me of Dennis the Menace and his pet dog Gnasher as they charge around the yard causing the chaos. They are both incredibly brave horses but are full of mischief and take every opportunity to remind you who is boss! Not quite a human but probably as close as I can get! Mamba is a fantastic horse with a strong character and he is always my first choice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7.       What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

I want for very little out here and I am used to living without many of life’s little luxuries, such as tv! As I learn more about the Delta and its many inhabitants I think the most valuable thing (actually a person) to me is Rodgers our lead guide. Having worked here for 25 years his knowledge base is second to none. The most patient and laid back man I have ever met he has been, and still is, teaching me all there is to know about reading animal behaviour, tracking and surviving in the bush. An incredible individual whose passion for the Delta is second to none. I think my time out here to date would have been very different without his guidance and teaching.

8.       What has been your most memorable ride?

There have been so many memorable rides for so many reasons. It’s always incredible to get your first sighting of a rhino, leopard, lion or wild dog. I often get more excited than the guests! For me though I think a ride that I will never forget was in July this year when we rode with a pack of wild dog as they prepared to hunt. My favourite animals in the Delta, it was incredible to see them prepare and then spread out in prefect formation to pursue a Tsessebe. We watched from a distance as they surrounded their prey and eventually made the kill. A very successful pack I have followed their progress closely over the past few months. They now have 5 new puppies and I take such pleasure in seeing them healthy and thriving.

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9.       How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

I have a beautiful veranda that looks onto the river running past the camp. After a long day’s ride I always take some time to myself to sit and watch the Pied Kingfishers diving and reflect on the day. This is normally aided by a cold beer of course!

10.   What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

My advice would be to get out there and give it a go as a volunteer first. This gives you a great insight into the company, living in the environment and allows the outfitters to see you. After this you can build on the skills that you have seen are required and work towards applying for a permanent job. This type of work is not suited to everyone and it takes a lot of time and money to get permits to work abroad. Volunteering allows you to confirm that it is the job you imagined it to be, and trust me, you will know very quickly. Be prepared; you must have a skill set suited to the job and be willing to put in some seriously hard work.

11.   Where do you go on holiday?

I have so much of Africa still to see that on my time off I normally stay within the continent and travel to new places. I do love to go home to Scotland however and enjoy trips in to the Scottish highlands.

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Thank you Duncan for your wonderful images and a wonderful insight into your life in the Delta.

You can meet Duncan from Kujwana at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.



Categories: Equestrian Safety, Equestrian Travel, horse riding france, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, riding botswana, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays africa, riding kujwana, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Louis Geyer from Cape Winelands, South Africa.

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another popular guide, Louis Geyer from Cape Winelands, South Africa

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  1. How long have you been guiding at Cape Winelands?

Since it was established in 2008.

  1. Where did you guide before this?

I was guiding at Horizon here in South Africa.

  1. How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

It was a life choice and meeting people like Carmen Cowley and Shane Dowinton made it easier.

  1. If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

I never needed a plan B!

  1. People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

I love spending the time with people sharing a common love. The down side is the lack of time to get to know the people better, from whose lives you touch.

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  1. What is the name of your favourite horse? And if they were a human, who would he/she be and why?

I can honestly say I don’t have one particular favourite riding horse. However my up and coming Shire cross stallion called Charleston is the love of my life as I had him from birth!

  1. What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

My own saddle that has come with me for 16 years already.

  1. What has been your most memorable ride?

Seeing an English lady in her 70’s transform into a 16 year old girl on the gallops across the plains! An inspiration.

  1. How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

A good old South African Braai with friends is the best way to relax after a busy day.

  1. What advice would you give a 21 year old who wants to train for your job?

Get some formal and recognised equestrian qualifications, ride as many horses as you can (especially the difficult ones), learn to accept that administration is part of working with horses and travel a lot. The people you will meet have been all over the world and you need to be able to hold a conversation with them outside of horses.

  1. Where do you go on holiday?

Every year I do a ten day safari in the Kruger away from horses spending time with my family.

Thank you Louis for giving us an insight into your life as a riding guide.

You can meet Louis from Cape Winelands at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

Categories: Equestrian Safety, Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, riding south africa, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Oliver Christen from Homoki Lodge, Hungary

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is a special article from the owner of Homoki Lodge Hungary, Oliver Christen.

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1.    How long have you been welcoming riding guests to Homoki Lodge?

It’s now been nearly ten years since the first guest arrived here at Homoki Lodge.

2.    Did you do any guiding before this?  If now, where did you learn to ride?

No, I did not guide before. I learned to ride here in Hungary.

3.    How did you get into riding and/or guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

It was back in 2001 when the local Hungarian Cowboys (Csikos) caught my attention and also gave me the opportunity to  learn about their way of riding, which is a natural style and mainly taught by your best teacher “the horse itself”.

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4.    If you hadn’t started taking guests at Homoki Lodge, what was your Plan B?

Actually there was no plan B. I was burnt out from my former profession. Living and working  with the horses it became excellent and well-needed therapy for me.

5.    People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

Probably it is indeed the ideal job for those who are completely open to the wonder of nature and its creatures allowing us to discover the world together. The down side is that in the you still have to cope with daily duties in order to run a business well.

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6.    What is the name of your favourite horse? And if they were a human, who would he/she be and why?

The name of the favorite horse is Vigéc (not the German word for how are you) it is Hungarian and means ‘agent’. He behaves more like the Habsburg’s emperor Franz Joseph and rules his herd by questioning if they are actually allowed to revolt!

7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

That is simple, the smell of nature with its hidden adventures.

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8.    What has been your most memorable ride?

I remember a beautiful day guiding out in the Puszta region, we were passing a farmstead. During a canter I saw a buzzard picking up a chicken in the yard and then to my surprise it dropped its prey right onto my lap! My reactions were quick and and I was able to catch it and bring it home alive. It was an ancient breed of chicken and we were able to raise lots of this particular breed for many years. Our guests are still enjoying their tasty eggs for breakfast!

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

Having a glass of a good Hungarian red wine and enjoying the peaceful and relaxing surroundings of Homoki Lodge.

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10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

To be aware of any little issue that might spook a horse. Always make sure that distances between horses are kept by all riders and check constantly for riding comfort within the group. Be friendly and communicative with your guests and let them know about fauna and flora as well as local traditions.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?
We only have time to go on vacation during winter and tend to go to a quiet romantic place with sandy beaches and turquoise sea.

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Thank you Oliver for some the images and for another intriguing article.

You can meet Oliver from Homoki Lodge at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

 

 

Categories: Equestrian Safety, Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding Holidays Hungary, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Andrew Gillies from Namibia Horse Safaris, Namibia

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another legendary guide, Andrew Gillies from Namibia Horse Safaris.

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  1. How long have you been guiding at Namibia Horse Safaris?

I started with NHSC in 2011.

  1. Where did you guide before this?

Before this I guided for The Conservation Corp and Wilderness Safaris in Namibia and also Equus Trails (as a riding guide).

  1. How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

Peter Starke has been my biggest inspiration. Author of “The White Bushman”, he spoke fluent San and was the most respected conservationist in Namibia (in Etosha).  Peter Starke was my Commander in Chief in the Cavalry, and I went on to become an instructor in the Cavalry.

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  1. If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

There was never a Plan B – guiding is my life and love it.

  1. People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

It is the ideal job – out in the environment in beautiful Namibia. It’s the best place to be, especially with horses.  Every day is a surprise and there are always unexpected experiences to be had. There is no downside except perhaps time spent away from family.

  1. If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

Winston Churchill – no nonsense, just get the job done!

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  1. What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

My saddle! I don’t need much in life; perhaps nice people and being in nature.

  1. What has been your most memorable safari?

Very inspired by some of our riders who in their 70’s and 80’s are still living life to the full. Some rides in Damaraland with encounters with big game are pretty memorable. During one ride we spent a half-hour watching an unusually relaxed Black Rhino. On another occasion we rode with a herd of Elephant. These experiences are rare and exciting; remember that Namibia does not have the tourist-habituated game one finds in Botswana and Kenya.

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  1. How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

With a beer, grooming horses – it’s very relaxing.

  1. What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

Learn to do everything from the bottom up.  You need to experience everything.

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  1. Where do you go on holiday?

Mainly the beach or the bush.

Thank you Andrew for the fantastic images and another insightful article.

You can meet Andrew from Namibia Horse Safaris at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays africa, riding holidays namibia, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Jenny Bawtree from Rendola, Italy

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another legendary guide – Jenny Bawtree from Rendola in Italy.

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  1. How long have you been guiding at Rendola?

I have been guiding at Rendola for over forty years.

  1. Where did you guide before this?

Previously I had been employed as a guide by a Swiss company in the Abruzzi Mountains east of Rome called “Rentahorse”. Not only was this company rather elitist, but it also had too many horses, too many employees and too few clients. It was not surprising, then, that it went bankrupt soon afterwards.galloping!

  1.  How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

I must be grateful to “Rentahorse”, as it gave me the idea to create a riding centre that was completely different: with the aim of bringing the love of horses and riding to people from all walks of life.

children6 If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

When I first came to Italy I was a teacher of English at the British Institute in Florence and later obtained a post as reader at Florence University. However, I am a countrywoman at heart and wanted to pursue a career that would permit me to live in the countryside. Opening a riding centre 30 miles south of Florence enabled me to unite my love of the Tuscan countryside with my love of horses. I have never abandoned teaching and still hold classes for children during the summer months. I also have a few advanced pupils whom I enjoy teaching very much.

  1.  People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

I love the Tuscan countryside and really enjoy showing it to my guests, naturally on horseback. We have riders from all parts of the world and through my work I manage to meet a lot of interesting people. My riders are, in my opinion, the cream of every country: they ride not because it’s a fashionable thing to do, not because they want to show off their smart clothes, but because they love horses, good company and the countryside. The downside? There isn’t one for me! Of course, it involves a lot of work and long hours, but I am a happy workaholic anyway so this is not a problem.

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  1.  If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

My favourite horse is Silver, a grey Arab gelding. You could compare him to Gregory Peck, as he is good-looking and a perfect gentleman.

  1.  What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

What could I not live without? Well, obviously riding in the Tuscan countryside with its infinite variety. But I am also passionately interested in medieval Tuscan art and architecture and enjoy sharing my knowledge with my riders, offering them tours of local art-cities. I pursue my studies whenever I have the opportunity, mostly during the winter months. I also enjoy writing. I have written “Pietro’s Book”, the story of a Tuscan peasant farmer, published by Collins in 2003; the original Italian version is now into its third edition. Recently I have completed my autobiography ‘Tuscany on horseback: a horsewoman’s love affair with the land of Chianti wine’ for which I am trying to find a publisher. I am now working on a book about a fascinating but little known aspect of medieval sculpture. I haven’t mentioned my son Nicholas; I certainly couldn’t live without him: who else would deal so patiently with my frequent problems with the computer? He is a journalist but finds time to help me in all sorts of ways.

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  1.  What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?

My most memorable week was a few years ago in October. I was guiding a group of riders round Chianti and it had been raining so much that all the tracks had become torrents. When we arrived at the river Arbia, what was usually not more than a sluggish stream was now a raging mass of water a hundred metres wide. I ventured into the edge of the water until it reached my stirrups; then I looked back and saw five very pale faces! We turned back to our base, stopping only once to relieve ourselves, holding our raincoats over our bare bottoms in a vain attempt to keep them dry. When we got back to our base my colleague drove the riders to their hotel outside and in view of Siena, whereupon one of them, a paediatrician from Hawaii, threw herself on the floor and had a tantrum, demanding to be taken to the airport immediately! We did not comply, of course. Later I told some clients about this episode and one said that a paediatrician from Hawaii had done exactly the same thing on a trip in France…

Shewing horse at Rendola

  1.  How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

How do I relax after a day in the saddle? After dinner I usually sit with my guests either outside the house or in the sitting room beside the fire, drinking some red wine and chatting. If I’m alone I read or listen to music, mostly classical. But I go to bed early because I’m an early riser, (I usually get up at about five.).

10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

What advice would I give to a 20-year-old who wants to train for the job? Spend at least a year with a veteran guide. So much he or she can tell you about the job you will never find in books. Ride as many different horses as possible, as each one will teach you something more about this fascinating but complex animal. Interest yourself in every aspect of the area where your riding will take place: the flora, the fauna, the agriculture, the history. Not only will you be able to answer your guests’ questions, but it will make your rides much more interesting for YOU. Always give safety a priority: accidents can happen, but make sure that your lack of attention or sense of responsibility has not put any of your riders in jeopardy. Don’t expect to get rich if you take on this job; but you will enrich your life.

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11.    Where do you go on holiday?

Where do I go on holiday? Usually to England, where I still have friends and to which I still feel attached in spite of so many years spent in Italy. I usually go alone on long-distance walks, particularly in the North of England. I have also been on very enjoyable cultural tours in Italy, France and Germany.

Thank you Jenny for your wonderful images and a very insightful article.

You can meet Jenny from Rendola at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

Categories: Equestrian Safety, Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, rendola, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays italy, riding tuscany, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Joanna Westermark from Kaskazi Horse Safaris , Tanzania

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another popular female guide – Joanna Westermark from Kaskazi Horse Safaris , Tanzania.

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1.    How long have you been guiding at Kaskazi Horse Safari?

4 1/2 years

2.    Where did you guide before this?

Manyara ranch conservancy, a conservancy based operation in Northern Tanzania. Prior to that I guided down in South Africa, Kwa Zulu Natal where I led horse safaris.25-manyara-ranch

3.    How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

Growing up  in Sweden and Kenya I did a lot of riding amongst game throughout my childhood so it’s always been something that I have had in the back of my mind. When I went down to South Africa to study Field guiding and hotel and lodge management the seed was then planted.

4.    If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

I probably would have become a banker. Jo and Bob racing, Kaskazi Horse Safaris

5.    People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

We never refer to it as a job, it’s a lifestyle that you choose. I believe if your interests are in horses, the nature and wildlife I could not have asked for a better Lifestyle/job. The downside is that you can never “leave work”. It is a huge responsibility that will never end, even though you are on holiday. Apart from that I can’t come up with any other downsides. You deal with incredible people who are on holiday, that already puts our guests in a good mood.

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6.    If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

It would be my lead horse Heat Haze. He is brave and will master any challenge; he has a fantastic temperament and is a true character. We suit each other well, both of us are somewhat crazy!

7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

I could not live without my horses and dogs. I enjoy civilisation every now and then but I very quickly miss the bush. If I could, I would spend my life out in the bush with my horse, my dogs and a tent. Elsa and JO

8.    What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?

When my horse saved me from a cobra.

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

With a nice ice-cold beer around the open fire. Fishing murchison

10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

Work hard, aim high and believe in yourself. This will take you very far.  Life will always be full of ups and downs, but with no downs there are no ups!

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

I spend most of my holidays in Africa, although for my next upcoming holiday I will heading to South America.

Thank you Jo for the fantastic images and another wonderful article.

You can meet Jo from Kaskazi Horse Safaris at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

 

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Jessica Morton from Castellare di Tonda, Italy

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about the wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.

We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is our first one – Jessica Morton from Castellare di Tonda, Italy

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1.    How long have you been guiding at Castellare di Tonda?
Four years.

2.    Where did you guide before this?
I started working with horses in NZ, and left high school to work with dressage horses in Germany. I also did an 8 month stint in Italy at a place called Il Paretaio, near Siena before returning to NZ. I came back 6 years later to do another season in Tuscany, followed by a season near Viterbo in Lazio at a center called Santa Cristina.  I then switched to western riding and opened up a business near Florence with my ex partner which we ran for four years.

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3.    How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?
Mine was a cliché really. I met a handsome Italian when I was in Italy on a working holiday. When I met him he had 6 horses, and was trying to set up a small trail riding business of his own. He was an excellent horseman, with more than ten years guiding experience -and he knew every trail from our side of Florence through to Emilia Romagna off by heart. His problem was that he spoke no English, and had no computer skills to market his business. We decided to work together, me doing the marketing and him leading the trails. We started taking backpackers out on day rides, and quickly moved on to operating week long inn to inn adventure trails –which we ran for four years, alternating the guiding between the two of us. That experience, which was immensely tough but also rewarding taught me more about horses and guiding than any book or instructor ever has.

4.    If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?
I was a flight attendant in New Zealand before moving permanently to Italy. I loved the flying lifestyle, but I could never go back to that sort of job now. It did prepare me for the customer service side of guiding, and also taught me flexibility. Flying was like riding, external factors such as weather often caused plans to change, and essentially we were there to look after clients in the case of emergency, much like a trail guide is required to do so on a riding holiday.

As a side job, I have worked freelance as a writer for equestrian magazine and as a translator for the past 6 years . In the winter I work in the marketing office here at Castellare, so I guess my plan B would have something  to do with writing, or marketing – or perhaps something language based (which is what I originally studied at university).

5.    People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?
Guiding a group of people is totally different to riding for recreation only. Don’t get me wrong, it can be immensely gratifying; but when I am working I am always thinking about something or someone on the trail. It might be whether a certain section of a ride  will be open after a bad storm, or whether the rider behind you is as experienced as they claimed, or perhaps a horse is acting strangely.. you can never switch off like when you are just responsible for yourself and your own horse.

The benefits are what everyone sees. Working outside in the sunshine while others are stuck behind a computer, meeting new people and hearing their unique stories, and of course experiencing things that other people dream about – whether its laughing with a shepherd bringing back his sheep or coming face to face with a wild boar on the trail. I also am lucky to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and I never forget that.

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6.    If your favorite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?
Shamal is my favorite horse. After a rough start to life in Argentina, he almost finished up in the Italian abattoirs.  Since he hails from South America, I would say if he was human he would have been some great leader or explorer like Simon Bolivar (the South American general). He is the most fearless, steady and independent horse I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?
A good guiding horse. Without a good horse, It is difficult to be a good guide.
Second to that, it would be a cell phone. For organization, calling back up teams, and most of all – for emergencies with horses or clients.

8.    What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?
There have been so many memorable guests and weeks, it really is hard to choose.
I have had lunch with David Gilmore from Pink Floyd (he was on a riding holiday with his family) in a castle in Lazio. I’ve been present while guests proposed to their girlfriends during rides, had some incredible up close encounters with wild animals, felt the earth shake during a picnic lunch earthquake, ridden flooded rivers, survived incredible storms and shared many a glass of wine with wonderful people, who have shared some astonishing stories of their lives. That’s without a doubt the best part of the job – the exchange of ideas, stories, experiences.

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?
In the summer months a cold beer and a refreshing swim.
In the winter, a warm fire and a good book.

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10.    What advice would you give a 21 year old who wants to train for your job?
There is so much more to this job than riding horses.
As a guide you will meet people from all over the world and even if they share different political or religious beliefs, you must continue to interact with them professionally. Nobody wants to ride with an antisocial guide, but there is also a fine line between banter and talking incessantly . Be aware that as a guide, you are in the hospitality business, and the customer is the most important element of that. As a guide you need to be up to the challenge that interacting with strangers on a regular basis poses.

Read up on the area. People expect their guide to be better informed than they are about an area–and of course, because they want to see scenery off the beaten track. Clients ask a lot of questions about native plants and  local history – so it pays to be informed about the area you ride through -and if you’re not a local – learn about the culture and history too.

Get your first aid certificate. I had to take this annually as a flight attendant, and think it should also be obligatory for anyone that works with horses. Like it or not, we do all work in a high risk industry – and its always better to be prepared just in case. If you have your certificate before you apply for a job as a guide, you  may have an edge over other would be applicants too.

Safety is one of the most important skills that a guide can have. You need to know how to read your clients and read your horses before an accident happens. It is rare than an accident on a ride will happen without any pre-warning, so an alert guide that practices good safe conduct is an asset to any outfitter.

Be prepared to live in some very isolated places. I think this is overlooked by many young people who want to work with horses. Horses are generally not found in cities, so be prepared to relocate to small towns or even national parks or remote farms, where there is no access to night life, restaurants or shopping. Also you should be prepared to live in some fairly cramped or crappy accommodation to start out– often without phone signal or internet connections. This can be hard for people who are used to living with family close by.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?
Usually my holidays are taken in the European off season, and usually these are spent back home with my family in either Sydney Australia or Christchurch NZ.  I tend to keep away from horses when I am on holiday!

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Thank you Jess.

Fantastic images and a wonderful article.

You can meet Jess from Castellare di Tonda at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Picadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.

38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ranch holidays, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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