beach riding

Why I fell in love with Los Alamos…

Imogen Brown from In The Saddle tells us about her trip to Los Alamos in October 2017. Here, she highlights the best bits of her trip from the friendly hosts to the exhilarating beach riding.

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Being our best-selling European destination, I had high hopes for my visit to Los Alamos in October. I am pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint. From the moment I arrived at the airport and met Andrew (one of our hosts for the week) I instantly felt relaxed. And when I arrived at the villa I was greeted by Rhiannon who had prepared a delicious lunch of Spanish omelette, local meats, cheeses and bread.

Your hosts Andrew and Rhiannon.

The Los Alamos villa very quicky feels like home. With the open plan dining room, lounge and kitchen you can easily help yourself to a drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, and recline into one of their comfy sofas. Alternatively, there are plenty of places within the gardens or by the pool where you can read a book or catch some sunshine.

The lounge and dining area of Los Alamos.

As well as this homely atmosphere the most important thing, as with any riding holiday, is the horses. I can’t remember the last time I went to a riding centre and wanted to bring all of the horses I managed to ride home. Rachel (our horse manager) is a marvel at matching horse and rider and this special talent really gives you as a rider a sense of confidence when mounting up on the first morning.

Each of the horses at Los Alamos is fit and forward going and within the herd there is a fabulous mixture of horses including pure-bred Andalusians, Arabs, Thoroughbreds and cross breeds. From confidence giving steady horses to more challenging horses for an experienced rider they really have a horse for everyone.

One of the lovely Andalusian Horses they have at Los Alamos, Pitu.

Throughout the week I rode three fabulous Andalusians each with their own personality. Pitu, Taverna and Hercules made my week truly special and if I could have fitted them in my suitcase I would have brought them all home.

Hercules, one of my horses during my stay.

All of the horses are well-schooled, forward going and polite. These horses are a credit to Los Alamos and are one of the main reasons people return year on year. These fabulous horses, matched with the gorgeous surroundings that you get to explore with them makes for a truly special experience. Whether it is meandering through the natural park, cantering on the beach or galloping up the many firebreaks you never know what you are going to find around the next corner.

Shady forest trails protect you from the sun.

The guides at Los Alamos – Rachel, Jose and Roberto – know their horses and the area you are riding so well that you instantly feel comfortable and relaxed. How they remember all of the routes and trails around the forest is beyond me! It feels like they know where every twist, turn, rock and tree root can be found and the surefooted horses know which lines to take to keep you and themselves on track.

Rachel, Jose and Roberto, your guides at Los Alamos.

Twice a week you get to experience the thrill of cantering down the beaches of Cape Trafalgar on your mighty steed with the wind in your hair. There really is no feeling like it and I don’t think you could have wiped the grin off my face those mornings if you’d tried! You ride to match the tides and so during my stay this meant mounting up and leaving the yard early in the morning as the sky changed from jet black to inky blue and the sun started to peak above the horizon.

There is nothing better than riding in the surf at sunrise.

Meandering through the forest with a short canter to blow away the cobwebs, we hit the beach and the horses all perked up. After a short blast to get used to your horse on the beach, it was down to the water’s edge where we really saw what our horses could do. The hard wet sand makes for a fabulous surface and I couldn’t have thought of a better way I wanted to start my morning.

Cantering down the beach on my favourite horse of the week, Hercules.

The last thing that I think makes Los Alamos special is the food. Whether you love Spanish food or you would prefer something else, Rhiannon has a brilliant way to meet all dietary requirements. Lunches are all at local bars with simple but tasty food, with Spanish omelettes, fish, chicken, pork and a variety of vegetarian dishes. Home cooked dinners courtesy of Rhiannon ranged from spaghetti and meatballs, homemade chicken kebabs and freshly cooks langoustine.

Tasty Spanish seafood for our last dinner at Los Alamos.

There are many reasons that this is our best-selling European destination and after just a week there I now understand why so many people rebook for the following year upon their return and why they are so fully booked so quickly. With friendly people, brilliant horses and fabulous riding it’s hard not to fall in love with Los Alamos.

A group of very happy riders after a canter down the beach.

 

For more information on Los Alamos or to book your place please call Imogen on +44 1299 272 242 or email Imogen@inthesaddle.com.

Categories: Andalusian, beach riding, Equestrian Travel, horse riding, horse riding in Spain, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ride reviews, Riding in Spain | Leave a comment

Morocco – Sun, Sand and Arabian Stallions

In this blog entry, Lucy Downes from In The Saddle tells us about her recent trip to join the Essaouira Coastal Trail in Morocco. Here, she highlights the best bits of this ride, from the first-class horses to the delicious food.

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If you feel in need of nice weather and a gallop on beautiful horses, but don’t want a long flight from the UK, then our rides in Morocco are ideal. We have a number of itineraries from riding along the coast or camping in the desert to trekking in the mountains.

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Welcome to Morocco

I jumped on a flight from Stansted and arrived in Marrakesh less than 3 hours later. I couldn’t believe the difference in culture and way of life just a short journey away. It was fascinating wondering around the medinas and little shops of Marrakesh and Essaouira. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not get hassled and it was fun haggling with the locals.

I bought a lovely sheep leather handbag and there were lots of wooden carved jewellery boxes and ceramic pots to buy, as well as beautiful rugs – it’s just a shame I couldn’t fit more into my suitcase!

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One of the back streets in the medina at Essaouira

I met the group in Marrakesh where we all got to know each other over dinner. The following day we all headed off to be introduced to the beautiful Arabian horses that would be our steeds for the week; most were stallions but there were also a couple of geldings.

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The horses are ridden in GP saddles and snaffle bridles

Abdel, our knowledgeable guide and experienced horseman, talked about each horse with passion and a lot of love. We were then shown how to tack up and handle the stallions with a firm but very fair approach.

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Lucy and Tissia meeting for the first time

All of the horses are forward going, well behaved, sure footed and great fun to ride. When on the beaches, it was such a thrill to be able to let the horses go – and they can certainly shift!

My horse, Tissia, was around 15.1hh. This was the average height of all the horse, although one or two were slightly taller. When cantering on the beach there were some horses that had an extra gear, but all were easy to stop and everyone had big grins on their faces at the end of the beach! The beach canters were incredible and were a real highlight for me.

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Splashing through the waves just before some faster riding

The days were a mixture of fast beach rides, scenic mountain tacks and riding through little country villages. On the way we would see people fishing, donkeys, camels and goats.

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The local donkeys would wander over and finish any food the horses had left after dinner!

After an exciting morning ride, we would ride on to our lunch spot. The back-up team would already have arrived and set up a large tent with the sides rolled up to provide some shade. Lunch would be served and the horses would be watered. The food was so tasty and there was always plenty to go around.

For breakfast there was a range of cereals, toast with jam and fruit. Lunch would be a buffet of pasta or rice with fresh salad and fish – it was lovely have a lighter lunch as we would remount after an hour of relaxing.

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Relaxing at the end of the day

When we had finished riding for the day and un-tacked the horses, we would help ourselves to biscuits and nuts. Dinner would be served after everyone had showered (or washed off with a very appreciated hot bucket of water!) and then the tents were pitched.

For dinner we helped ourselves to vegetables and there was always a meat dish – lamb, chicken etc. All our meals were always served with classic Moroccan tea.

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It was lovely having a canter at the end of the day when the sun was setting

At the end of the day, we would let the horses roll and pitch up our tents. Then we’d look over the map to see where we had been and where we would be heading the following day.

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It was such a pleasure to ride fit and sure footed horses

By the end of the week I’d had a blast on sun-drenched beaches, enjoyed Moroccan cuisine, had an insight into the local culture and loved riding my little Arabian stallion.

If you are looking for some fast, exciting riding on lovely horses that you are forward going each with their own character, then our rides in Morocco are perfect. You will need to be willing to get stuck in with tacking-up, grooming the horses and pitching tents, but for me this just added to the overall experience. It was nice to be able to bond with the horses off and on the ground.

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Many thanks to Lucy for this insight into what makes Morocco brilliantly unique.

Whether you want to join a desert, mountain or beach ride, we still have availability for  this season. For more information on our rides in Morocco, please call the office on +44 1299 272 997 or contact Lucy via email on lucy@inthesaddle.com

Categories: beach riding, Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Riding Holidays, riding holidays in morocco | 1 Comment

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