1. How long have you been guiding in Catalonia?
It’s been 21 years now!
2. Where did you guide before this?
Before I came to Spain, I used to work as a mountain guide in the Alps.
3. How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?
I always loved working with the horses and had the idea of doing this work in Spain. I decided to move to Spain and build up my own business with trail riding – and that’s how I got into guiding. I came here with an inspiration and did everything to make my idea become true.
4. If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?
There was no Plan B for me. I knew I wanted to offer trail riding in Spain and did all that it needed to make this plan work – and it has worked.
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?
Actually, to me this job is truly perfect. Being outside, being with horses and with people is a perfect combination for me. I cannot imagine any other job that could be as satisfying as mine!
The downsides? That’s the paperwork that unfortunately also needs to be done!
6. If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?
My favourite horse is Tornado. If he were a human, he would be a very important friend of mine. Someone to whom I have a special bond, a very trustful relationship. I know that he would do anything for me and the teamwork is simply perfect. That’s how it is with Tornado – he is as powerful, reliable friend who has my full confidence.
7. What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?
Horses! As a guide I cannot live without a very good lead horse. And generally, I just can’t imagine a life without these animals around me.
8. What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?
Once I had a very special guest; a blind man contacted me with the wish to come on a trail with me. I invited him to come to Mas Alba for two days to see if it worked. I took him out on rides and we tried out the different situations that you deal with on a trail. The result was that he did the Mediterranean Trail – and it was amazing, how he managed everything! He totally fitted into the group and he did everything the others did; he brushed his horse, he put the saddle and the bridle on by himself, he always knew where his things were and where he had to go. It really was a miracle and to me the most memorable ride with guests I ever had!
9. How do you relax after a day in the saddle?
To me, the question should be how I relax after a day that I do NOT spend in the saddle…really, being in the saddle is nothing I have to relax from! The moment I get on my horse, I feel like being on a holiday!
10. What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?
Of course it is important that working with horses is the thing you really want to do and the thing you’re good at. Then, you also have to be sensitive to the people whom you guide. But the art of being a really good guide is to create a unity out of these two beings. Having a sense for bringing horses and people together and make them harmonize is a challenge – and it is a great thing when you see it work! Another important thing is that you keep in mind the time you spend away from home. Being a riding guide is wonderful, but you should really think about if this part of the job is something you can – and want to – handle.
11. Where do you go on holiday?
Actually I don’t really need to go on holiday, as my job gives me the feeling of being on holiday. But when the season is over, I have time to see other places. I travelled to Europe, North and South America – wherever I go, I spend my holiday there on horseback!
Thank you Rudi for some fantastic images and another amazing article. Olwen and the team look forward to seeing you in a few weeks’ time.
You can meet Rudi from Spain 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.