1. How long have you been guiding in Israel?
I established Sirin Riders in 2010 and I have guided all the rides ever since then.
2. Where did you guide before this?
I never guided rides before. I used to organize trail rides for group of friends all over Israel, but it was not until I started Sirin Riders that I began to guide in a professional way.
3. How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?
Horses for me are not a hobby, they are a way of life, from the day that I remember myself I am with horses. As a boy that was born in Kibbutz at the Jordan valley, I use to spend most of my time with my horses exploring the beautiful places of the Jordan valley. At a later stage I bought purebred Arabians mares that I used for breeding and trail riding.
In 2010, I left my position as EVP global marketing & sales for multinational company. I wanted to open my own business. The combination of horses & tourism attracted me. I surfed the net and there I saw some web sites offering international riding holidays. I read some of these web pages, and then I said “Israel should be in this industry, and I will be the one that will make it happen”…and the rest is history.
4. If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?
I would have stayed in the multinational business management arena.
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 really love what I am doing. In some cases I find myself riding on a Saturday morning, while I know that on Sunday I am about to start Tour Israel ride of 7 riding days, then I realize that in my free day (in Israel Saturday is our free day) I do exactly what I am doing in my working day!
I like the way that group of strangers that I meet at the airport at the beginning of the ride, transform within few days to a team of riders and friends. I love to see how the landscape changes every time, although we ride on the same trails. I enjoy watching the change in the perception in my guests’ minds toward Israel when they learn how beautiful and welcoming Israel is.
On the other hand sometime I miss the economical benefits of being top manager in multinational company.
6. If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?
My favorite horse is my purebred stallion Velaskes. He is a retired racing horse, I imported him from Russia in 2014.
It’s a pure joy to ride on him. He is a very special combination of a top athlete and a very responsive horse. As a breeding stallion he has some “issues” with mares so I use him for our trail rides just as my lead horse and on very special occasions. He reminds me of Alex the lion, from the movie “Madagascar” – Beautiful, strong, and full of self esteem!
7. What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?
A “must have” when I am on a ride is my coffee saddle bag. It gives me the option to prepare coffee wherever we stop for a break and whenever it’s needed. I carry on my saddle bag everything that I need in order to solve most of the problems that may happen during a ride.
8. What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?
The Exploratory Ride with In The Saddle in April 2011 is a week I will never forget. So much rain, every possible problem that could happen happened, and lot of nice ideas from my side that didn’t really work. At the end of this week I was so exhausted and depressed, and I was sure that that’s the end of my relation with In The Saddle. But then I had a feedback meeting with Tracy, who explained how impressed she had been with the horses, guiding and our ability to overcome the obstacles we encountered during the week. I can say that we improved dramatically from this 2011 ride.
9. How do you relax after a day in the saddle?
I relax during the ride, because when I come home after the ride I cannot relax – not with 5 children aged 9 to 22!
10. What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?
Go for it! It is the best thing that you can do for a living. A word of caution – don’t make any promoises that you can’t fulfill, just surprise them when you can do more.
11. Where do you go on holiday?
Skiing with the family at Monte Genevre in France.
Thank you Yair for some fantastic images and another amazing article. We all look forward to seeing you in a few weeks’ time.
You can meet Yair from Israel 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.