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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.