Monthly Archives: November 2016

I’m in my ‘ellie’ment!

Yesterday morning I had my final ride at Wait A Little and I was lucky enough to see the lions one last time from horseback.

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Gerti, the owner and host, then drove me through the neighbouring reserve to Garonga where I would stay the next two nights. (It is possible to visit Garonga either as part of a riding safari from Wait A Little, or to visit as a non-rider and enjoy the amazing game drives).

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My beautiful safari tent, overlooking the (currently dry) river.

Once at Garonga we went on an afternoon game drive and we saw so much. From giraffe, zebra and other plains game to a huge herd of around 30 elephants!

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Elephants are a personal favourite of mine and it was just incredible to watch so many pass our vehicle.

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Our guide and tracker during the stay.

The evening ended with sundowners with a lovely view and hyena crossing our path on the way back to camp! I went to bed with the sound of a lion’s roar nearby in the reserve.

This morning we headed out bright and early in search of game. Once again I was not disappointed, with sightings of buffalo, hippos and two huge male lions to name a few.

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What will this afternoon bring…

You can read Lucy’s earlier posts about her stay at Ant’s Lodges:

An Amazing First Day
Through Your Horse’s Ears
A Great Way To Finish The Day

and from her visit to Wait A Little
Seeing the Big Five ish..

Lucy Downes is a travel consultant with In The Saddle and is in South Africa visiting Ants Lodges, Wait A Little, Garonga Lodge and also a beach lodge in Mozambique. We will send more reports as she sends them to us.

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Seeing The Big Five… ish

After long goodbyes, I reluctantly left Ant’s Lodges and I have now been at the wonderful Wait A Little for a couple of nights – and already I have seen so much!

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We spotted a lioness from horseback – she had 5 cubs with her

On safari at Wait A Little in South Africa there is a good chance of seeing the Big Five. The term ‘Big Five’ refers to the five largest and most dangerous animals: lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard. In just two nights, I’ve seen all 5…ish!

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A young bull elephant at Xidulu Lodge

On the seven night safari,  you stay for two nights at the beautiful Xidulu Lodge which overlooks a dam; perfect for spotting game.

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Two male buffalo cooling off – an exciting sighting from horseback

The horses are really brave and well behaved in front of game, so you can often get closer to them than if you were in a vehicle. The horses are great at standing calm and still, which is perfect for taking photos.

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A black rhino spotted during a game drive

Taking a game drive is great for when the horses are resting. You can also travel further into the reserve.

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And finally, the leopard….tortoise!

Unfortunately we haven’t seen a real leopard yet as they are very shy, but we did see this wonderful leopard tortoise pictured above. We still have a couple more days, so I am keeping my fingers crossed I’ll get to see the final member of the Big Five before I leave.

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Many thanks to Lucy for this first report from Wait A Little. We hope you get to see that elusive leopard!

You can read Lucy’s earlier posts about her stay at Ant’s Lodges by following the links below:

An Amazing First Day
Through Your Horse’s Ears
A Great Way To Finish The Day

If you wish to read more about Wait A Little, click here.

Lucy Downes is a travel consultant with In The Saddle and is in South Africa visiting Ants Lodges, Wait A Little, Garonga Lodge and also a beach lodge in Mozambique. It’s an important part of her job and someone has to do it! We will send more reports as she sends them to us.

Categories: Equestrian Travel | 1 Comment

Holidays for Lusitano Lovers

In this blog post we take a look at the beautiful Lusitano and three of our Portuguese dressage centres where you can experience riding these wonderful horses for yourself.

Closely related to the Andalucian, the heritage of the Lusitano can be traced back to 900 B.C. and the primitive horses of the Iberian Peninsula.

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The beautiful Lusitano has many fans around the world

Lusitanos were originally used for farm work and as a cavalry mount. But the breed’s bravery, intelligence and athleticism mean that the Lusitano is also a popular mount for dressage and the traditional discipline of working equitation.

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Lusitanos are perfect for working equitation, as well as a wide range of other disciplines

If you would like to ride a flamboyant Lusitano in its native land, then why not consider one of our Portuguese dressage holidays?

Monte Velho
A firm favourite amongst In The Saddle guests, Monte Velho is dressage paradise in the heart of the Alentejo. Your host Diogo Lima Mayer and his team, will ensure you enjoy your stay so much, that before long you’ll be planning a return visit.

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Coralie teaching in one of the outdoor arenas

What sets Monte Velho apart are its incredible horses, excellent instruction and first-class accommodation.

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One of the stunning Premium Rooms

The semi-private lessons are delivered by experienced instructors who compete regularly. This means that any bad habits are quickly picked up on, to ensure you gain those few extra marks in your next competition, or simply get more out of the horse you ride at home.

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A lesson with Joao in the sunshine

Take a break from instruction with a relaxing trail ride through the cork oak plantations, passing the mares and foals along the way.

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The end of a trail ride Monte Velho-style

Recline by the pool with a glass of wine as you gaze out over the lake, or watch the instructors working the competition horses. This is your holiday and you can spend your time exactly as you please.

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The swimming pool at Monte Velho, with the lake beyond

You can read more about Monte Velho here. You may also wish to read my blog here.

Quinta do Rol
New for 2017 is Quinta do Rol, a family estate just north of Lisbon which is dedicated to rural tourism, wine production and the noble art of dressage.

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Pedro schooling in the indoor arena

Here, pure-bred Lusitano horses live like kings in an impressive purpose-built equestrian centre.

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Quinta do Rol’s impressive equestrian centre

Once you’ve seen the horses you won’t be able to wait for your first lesson, because they are well-muscled and so beautiful to behold; definitely not your ordinary dressage schoolmasters!

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The beautiful ‘Alamo’ concentrating hard

Lessons at Quinta do Rol are always on a private basis, so you have the luxury of being able to concentrate wholly on what you wish to achieve.

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Lessons are delivered on a private basis

The resident instructor is Pedro Teixeira Farto, whose creative, passionate and clear approach to teaching will ensure you see great improvements in your riding.

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Pedro & Alamo

Accommodation is in three spacious guest cottages with private bathrooms. Each cottage has a terrace or garden area, where you can relax between riding sessions.

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A typical guest room at Quinta do Rol

When not riding you are welcome to make use of the swimming pool and tennis court. Or perhaps you’d like to watch other guests having lessons or the horses being worked from the comfort of the luxurious riders’ lounge.

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Relaxing with a drink in the riders’ lounge

You can read more about Quinta do Rol here.

Alcainça
Alcainça is a long-established and very well respected centre offering quality classical dressage training. You are sure of a warm welcome from senior instructor Georges Malleroni and his team.

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Georges Malleroni

The pure and part-bred Lusitanos are trained to a high level and are able to do shoulder-in, half pass, flying changes, piaffe and passage. Riders are split according to their experience level, with between two and four riders in a lesson. It is possible to pay a supplement for private tuition if you prefer.

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A lesson with Georges in the outdoor arena

Whatever your level, your teachers will be keen to see you improve. When you are not riding, you can relax by the pool or in the lounge area.

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The terrace and swimming pool at Alcainca

If you are keen to explore a little of your surroundings, then you could visit the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art at Queluz; go to Mafra or Lisbon.

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Alcainca is a Lusitano lovers’ ideal destination

You can read more about Alcainça here.

For more information or to discuss any of these great holidays, please do call me on +44 1299 272 239 or email abigail@inthesaddle.com

We look forward to arranging your next riding adventure!

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A Great Way To Finish The Day

Since riding over to Ant’s Nest from Hill, I have ridden two different horses. The first was a beautiful dun gelding, Rifiji. Next was a sweet little mare called Ice. Ice is a veteran in the group but still enjoys a good fast canter!

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This afternoon I decided to join a game walk. Our guide talked about the trees and pointed out tracks in the sand which we would have missed on horseback.

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All 10 rhino visited us this evening

We finished the day with sundowners at Ant’s home, the owner of the reserve. And here we saw the rhino! They slowly strolled in from the bush for their dinner.

dsc02592This has been a truly special day seeing these huge wild animals so close. I could have watched them for hours as they interacted with each other, showing their dominance and protecting their young calves. But slowly, they all headed back into the bush for the night.

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Baby saying ‘hi’ to dad as mum watches closely from behind

You can read Lucy’s other posts from her trip to Ants Lodge by following these links below:

An Amazing First Day

Through Your Horse’s Ears

If you wish to read more about Ants Lodges, click here.

Lucy Downes is a travel consultant with In The Saddle and is in South Africa visiting Ants Lodges, Wait A Little, Garonga Lodge and also a beach lodge in Mozambique. It’s an important part of her job and someone has to do it! We will send more reports as she sends them to us.

Categories: Equestrian Travel | 4 Comments

Through Your Horse’s Ears…

Today’s morning ride leads us through the reserve where we find zebra, blesbok, impala and warthog.  We were also lucky enough to spot an African goshawk and a colourful paradise flycatcher.

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Looking back through my photos this afternoon, I love the game shots which are through my horse’s ears. We managed to get close to the zebra as they are so relaxed with the horses.

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Our lead guide, Craig, answered the age old question and told us – zebras are in fact white with black strips. But he then threw a spanner in the works by telling us they have black skin!? So I’m not 100% sure now…

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At the end of each ride, we simply un-tack the horses and set them free into the reserve, whilst we enjoy sundowners. Because they live together,  the horses and game are very accustomed to each other.

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You can read Lucy’s other posts from her trip to Ants Lodge by following these links below:

An Amazing First Day

A great way to finish the day.

If you wish to read more about Ants Lodges, click here.

Lucy Downes is a travel consultant with In The Saddle and is in South Africa visiting Ants Lodges, Wait A Little, Garonga Lodge and also a beach lodge in Mozambique. It’s an important part of her job and someone has to do it! We will send more reports as she sends them to us.

Categories: Equestrian Travel | 4 Comments

An Amazing First Day

I landed into Johannesburg Airport to be met on arrival by my driver, Jonny. It takes just 2.5 hour to reach Ant’s Hill and I have already seen impala, ostrich and wildebeest on route.

dsc02359 Lunch is served on the verandah with the most incredible view! I already feel at home as the friendly staff introduce themselves.

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After lunch we head out on the horses in search of game. I am given Shumba to ride – a beautiful bay gelding.

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My room tonight is World’s View – and what a view it has! I’ve never looked forward to having a bath so much. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings…

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You can read more about Lucy’s visit to Ants Lodges by following these links:

Through Your Horse’s Ears

A Great Way to Finish The Day

If you wish to read more about Ants Lodges, click here.

Lucy Downes is a travel consultant with In The Saddle and is in South Africa visiting Ants Lodges, Wait A Little, Garonga Lodge and also a beach lodge in Mozambique. It’s an important part of her job and someone has to do it! We will send more reports as she sends them to us.

Categories: Equestrian Travel | Tags: , | 5 Comments

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