Posts Tagged With: horse riding in Europe

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Rodrigo Ferreira from the Azores

We would like to introduce another popular guide, Rodrigo Ferreira from Quinta da Terca in the Azores. You can meet Rodrigo and Christina (owner of Quinta da Terca) at the Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015.

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1.    How long have you been guiding at Quinta da Terca?

4 years.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

I was a guide at a Quinta Turistica called Brancelhe in Vigira do Minao, Portugal.

3.    How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

When I did my studies at Escola National de Equitacao in Golega, my biggest interest already was trekking and I wrote my final project about Turismo Equestre. My passion has always been and is horses and nature, therefore being a guide suits me perfectly.

4.    If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

To become a competition rider.

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 enjoy showing guests the beautiful and fascinating Azorean nature from horseback. I love to meet people from all corners of the world and learn and talk about other cultures. I try to be a riding “ambassador” for the Azores. For the downsides, to get caught in extremely heavy rainfall or a storm when you are far away from home is not the best!

6.    If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

Olé. Olé is brave, curious, alert, smart and gentle – he would be a true gentlemen if he was a human.

7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

When guiding I always want to have a mobile phone and my saddlebag.

8.    What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?

I can not name any specific ride but what I can say is my absolute favorite ride is the full day route to Sete Cidades (the twin lakes) this area for me is the most perfect place in the world, it is like riding in the book “Lord of the Rings” and all my rides here have given me good memories.

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

Quality time with my family and a nice dinner.

10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

You need to be very responsible, a leader, a problem solver, and a very good rider! I would recommend getting a trekking/trail guide education before applying for a job.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

Mainland Portugal to meet relatives and friends.

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Thank you Rodrigo for some fantastic images and another interesting article. Olwen and the team look forward to seeing you in a few weeks’ time.

You can meet Rodrigo and Christina from the Azores 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.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Lusitanos, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Riding Holidays Portugal, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Magnus Sigmundsson from Iceland

The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December will be full to the brim with talented and experienced riding guides from around the world. Here, we have an article written by Magnus Sigmundsson from Iceland.

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1. How long have you been a riding guide?    

Since 1985.

2. Did you do any guiding before becoming involved with Hestasport?

No, I learned first to guide and lead horse tours from old friends, Björn Sveinsson and Ragnar Stefánsson. I grew up in the countryside of Skagafjörður, in north Iceland. Our valley is often called “The valley of the horses” because history and breeding of the Icelandic horse is very connected to this place, all the way back to the time of settlement. I studied to be a marine engineer and sailed between the harbours of the world for many years, but the countryside and horses were always on my mind.

3. How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?

Sveinn, the father of Björn was a very good friend of my father and we can say that he started long horse riding tours in Iceland in 1974 when he rode with a group of 13 riding guests from Switzerland across Iceland from North to South. Of course people have travelled on horseback all around the world for thousands of years, but this way Sveinn was the “founder of Hestasport”.

I was fascinated with everything connected to these tours. The horses were beautiful and in great shape, the adventurous riding trails surrounded by the untouched highlands of Iceland were breath taking.  To me horse riding is like a dance between two different worlds. Therefore it was especially great to see how much horse people from other countries enjoyed exactly this feeling, when riding the unique gated horses in the Icelandic nature. The Icelandic horse is the only breed in Iceland and as far as we know, the only naturally five gaited horse breed in the world.  So for a long time Icelanders didn’t realise how unique this breed had developed on the island, since the first settlers brought it here.

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4. If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?

I liked to be a sailor, but I have always been a nature “lover”. I was interested in the idea of sharing nature experience with other people by building up tourism in Iceland and especially in my area, the Skagafjord, where so many possibilities were not yet discovered.

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?

To open possibilities for other people to experience the same exciting and fun things that I love so much. To enjoy the horses in the wild Icelandic nature and create some unforgettable memories.

Guiding and organising horse tours is a huge physical and mental effort. But of course it is also fulfilling and lots of fun and that’s also where the energy comes from that I need!

6. If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

After so many years of guiding horse tours it is a bit hard to make a difference between many unforgettable good horses that were my favourites. Every single one of them had it’s own unique characteristics. I adore horses that are courageous, soft, strong, willing to work and know where to put down their feet. Many of them are gone but I am happy to mention: Taktur, Búi, Gimsteinn, Jarpur and . . . and . . . what about comparing them to . . .  Rolando! 😉

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7. What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

I need to be alone every once in a while.

8. What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?

A lot of years ago we were riding the Kjölur route across the country on a six day tour, with 13 guests who were all men from the Faroe Islands that were all relatives and friends. This tour was memorable for a lot of reasons. I will gladly tell you the stories of this trip when we meet in Iceland.

9. How do you relax after a day in the saddle?

After a long horse trip I like to go for a walk and then relax in the hot tub.

10. What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

Use those good years and gain some more knowledge and experience from lots of places.

11. Where do you go on holiday?

I love to visit warm countries with a lot of sunshine. Last year I was in Nepal to visit good friends.

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Thank you Magnus 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 Magnus from Iceland 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.

 

Categories: Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, in the saddle, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding in Iceland, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Rudi from Catalonia in Spain

Here is another popular guide Rudi Stolz from Spain. You can meet Rudi at the Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Diogo from Monte Velho

Read here about Diogo Lima Mayer, manager of the wonderful Monte Velho in Portugal. You can meet Diogo, Francisco, Mariana and Gonçalo from Monte Velho at the Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015.

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1.    How long have you been taking riding guests at Monte Velho? How did it all begin?

The ‘Monte Velho’ Stud Farm was established in 1994, when my parents bought the property in an unpredictable move. My father’s passion for horses came after a medical prescription, following a stress diagnosis caused by overworking. At that time, he bought his first horse named ‘Embaixador’ and started having riding lessons in Quinta do Pombal in Sintra, very close to our family home. Things got more serious when he joined two friends and bought the first mares in the Alter Real auction in 1992, which are still the pillars of our stud-farm.

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Since I was a child, I remember coming almost every weekend to Monte Velho with our family, where my enthusiasm for our breeding and genetics has born. Our property was exclusively dedicated to the family and the Lusitano breeding until 2013, when we’ve decided it was time to share our treasure with other people. Almost all riding infrastructures were already built to support the stud-farm, so with the construction of the rooms we were ready to start the project.

2. What has been your biggest achievement to date? This could be in riding, or anything related to Monte Velho.

The Monte Velho’s horses have won several national and international awards, both in Dressage contests and also model/gaits shows. I would perhaps highlight the 4 Champion of Champions awards that we have won, with three of our horses, in the most important Lusitano horse Competition – The International Festival of the Lusitano Horse.

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Queixosa MVL won the Festival in 2000 and 2005, Vexada MVL won in 2007 and Dihamante MVL in 2011. Queixosa MVL is still the best scoring mare within the Lusitano breed among more than 5000 mares spread worldwide. For the future we aim to have a MVL horse competing in the Olympic Games. We’re working consistently on that direction, and within our young squad of competition horses there is a lot of talent!

3.    How did you get in to riding? Was there someone who inspired you?

My father was the one who has sowed the seed and the passion for horses in me, since I was 7 years old. I have always been the riding travelling companion of my dad, and his fellow on the equestrian activities in Monte Velho. He’s still without any doubt my biggest inspiration.

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4.    If you hadn’t become involved in equestrian tourism, what was your Plan B? Or perhaps you have another job too?

Prior to join the Monte Velho Equo-Resort project, I had a managerial career with L’Oréal Paris, where I was a brand manager in DPGP – Mass Market. My marketing and managerial experience background has been very helpful in my new experience as Hotel Director.

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?

This is absolutely true. Actually this job has surpassed all my initial expectations, working with nice people, good horses in a beautiful place, you can’t get any better. But it can also be extremely stressful some days, guaranteeing that every day all our guests have their horses in impeccable condition and prepared in time, it’s always a challenge!

6.    If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?

My favorite horse in Monte Velho is called GIRALDO MVL (Rubi AR x Vexada MVL). Giraldo is a 4 year-old stallion with the best genetics we can possibly find within the Lusitano breed. His father competed in the London Olympic Games 2012 (placed 14th in the Final) and his mother was a Champion of Champions with 86 points.

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I call Giraldo the ‘Mustang’ because of all his power, his daring character that makes no one indifferent. I believe he can be The One. If he was a human? Perhaps he would be Mohammad Ali. Let’s hope that Giraldo can win as much as Ali did!

7.    What can you not live without (when hosting, riding or just generally)?

My mobile phone! Managing a team of 12 people and knowing we have daily changes to our schedules and some unforeseen events, means your phone rings almost every minute. Much of my job is co-ordinating my team duties and activities, and assuring that our guest comments are processed in-time to everyone, to change whatever is necessary.

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8.    What has been your most memorable ride or time at Monte Velho?

I’ve had many memorable rides in Monte Velho, but I think the most memorable one was during last week. The group was composed of very experienced riders used to hacking with a lot of speed in their countries. I asked the group if they wanted a long canter. The answer was yes, and I had the same feeling of skiing from the top of the mountain down to village! It was a 15 minute canter, where we passed by three different properties, with moments of collected canter and faster canter as well. The 5 horses were always together, and it was rewarding to her one of them saying to me it has been the best hacking of his life.

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9.  How do you relax after a day in the saddle or hosting guests?

A long hot shower is the best you can get after a busy day! At least for me!

10.    What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?

I think managing an equestrian tourism business requires a set of different skills, from Business, Economics, Hotel Management, leadership and obviously Equestrian experience. I think my equestrian background gained from my childhood has helped a lot in this experience, but I would say the relationship and the experience we provide to our guests is the most important at the end of the day. The advice would be to have a consistent preparation, as this job requires a set of multi-task management and strong relationship insights to provide unique moments to the riders.

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11.    Where do you go on holiday?

I spend all the year thinking about my skiing vacations! I’m fortunate to travel to a ski resort in Switzerland every year, normally in February.

Thank you Diogo for an insight into life at Monte Velho. We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks’ time.

You can meet Diogo, Francisco, Mariana and Gonçalo from Monte Velho 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.

Categories: Dressage, Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, in the saddle, Lusitanos, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Riding Holidays Portugal, The Riding Holiday Show | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Jessica Morton from Castellare di Tonda, Italy

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 the 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 our first one – Jessica Morton from Castellare di Tonda, Italy

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1.    How long have you been guiding at Castellare di Tonda?
Four years.

2.    Where did you guide before this?
I started working with horses in NZ, and left high school to work with dressage horses in Germany. I also did an 8 month stint in Italy at a place called Il Paretaio, near Siena before returning to NZ. I came back 6 years later to do another season in Tuscany, followed by a season near Viterbo in Lazio at a center called Santa Cristina.  I then switched to western riding and opened up a business near Florence with my ex partner which we ran for four years.

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3.    How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?
Mine was a cliché really. I met a handsome Italian when I was in Italy on a working holiday. When I met him he had 6 horses, and was trying to set up a small trail riding business of his own. He was an excellent horseman, with more than ten years guiding experience -and he knew every trail from our side of Florence through to Emilia Romagna off by heart. His problem was that he spoke no English, and had no computer skills to market his business. We decided to work together, me doing the marketing and him leading the trails. We started taking backpackers out on day rides, and quickly moved on to operating week long inn to inn adventure trails –which we ran for four years, alternating the guiding between the two of us. That experience, which was immensely tough but also rewarding taught me more about horses and guiding than any book or instructor ever has.

4.    If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?
I was a flight attendant in New Zealand before moving permanently to Italy. I loved the flying lifestyle, but I could never go back to that sort of job now. It did prepare me for the customer service side of guiding, and also taught me flexibility. Flying was like riding, external factors such as weather often caused plans to change, and essentially we were there to look after clients in the case of emergency, much like a trail guide is required to do so on a riding holiday.

As a side job, I have worked freelance as a writer for equestrian magazine and as a translator for the past 6 years . In the winter I work in the marketing office here at Castellare, so I guess my plan B would have something  to do with writing, or marketing – or perhaps something language based (which is what I originally studied at university).

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?
Guiding a group of people is totally different to riding for recreation only. Don’t get me wrong, it can be immensely gratifying; but when I am working I am always thinking about something or someone on the trail. It might be whether a certain section of a ride  will be open after a bad storm, or whether the rider behind you is as experienced as they claimed, or perhaps a horse is acting strangely.. you can never switch off like when you are just responsible for yourself and your own horse.

The benefits are what everyone sees. Working outside in the sunshine while others are stuck behind a computer, meeting new people and hearing their unique stories, and of course experiencing things that other people dream about – whether its laughing with a shepherd bringing back his sheep or coming face to face with a wild boar on the trail. I also am lucky to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and I never forget that.

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6.    If your favorite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?
Shamal is my favorite horse. After a rough start to life in Argentina, he almost finished up in the Italian abattoirs.  Since he hails from South America, I would say if he was human he would have been some great leader or explorer like Simon Bolivar (the South American general). He is the most fearless, steady and independent horse I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

7.    What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?
A good guiding horse. Without a good horse, It is difficult to be a good guide.
Second to that, it would be a cell phone. For organization, calling back up teams, and most of all – for emergencies with horses or clients.

8.    What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?
There have been so many memorable guests and weeks, it really is hard to choose.
I have had lunch with David Gilmore from Pink Floyd (he was on a riding holiday with his family) in a castle in Lazio. I’ve been present while guests proposed to their girlfriends during rides, had some incredible up close encounters with wild animals, felt the earth shake during a picnic lunch earthquake, ridden flooded rivers, survived incredible storms and shared many a glass of wine with wonderful people, who have shared some astonishing stories of their lives. That’s without a doubt the best part of the job – the exchange of ideas, stories, experiences.

9.    How do you relax after a day in the saddle?
In the summer months a cold beer and a refreshing swim.
In the winter, a warm fire and a good book.

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10.    What advice would you give a 21 year old who wants to train for your job?
There is so much more to this job than riding horses.
As a guide you will meet people from all over the world and even if they share different political or religious beliefs, you must continue to interact with them professionally. Nobody wants to ride with an antisocial guide, but there is also a fine line between banter and talking incessantly . Be aware that as a guide, you are in the hospitality business, and the customer is the most important element of that. As a guide you need to be up to the challenge that interacting with strangers on a regular basis poses.

Read up on the area. People expect their guide to be better informed than they are about an area–and of course, because they want to see scenery off the beaten track. Clients ask a lot of questions about native plants and  local history – so it pays to be informed about the area you ride through -and if you’re not a local – learn about the culture and history too.

Get your first aid certificate. I had to take this annually as a flight attendant, and think it should also be obligatory for anyone that works with horses. Like it or not, we do all work in a high risk industry – and its always better to be prepared just in case. If you have your certificate before you apply for a job as a guide, you  may have an edge over other would be applicants too.

Safety is one of the most important skills that a guide can have. You need to know how to read your clients and read your horses before an accident happens. It is rare than an accident on a ride will happen without any pre-warning, so an alert guide that practices good safe conduct is an asset to any outfitter.

Be prepared to live in some very isolated places. I think this is overlooked by many young people who want to work with horses. Horses are generally not found in cities, so be prepared to relocate to small towns or even national parks or remote farms, where there is no access to night life, restaurants or shopping. Also you should be prepared to live in some fairly cramped or crappy accommodation to start out– often without phone signal or internet connections. This can be hard for people who are used to living with family close by.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?
Usually my holidays are taken in the European off season, and usually these are spent back home with my family in either Sydney Australia or Christchurch NZ.  I tend to keep away from horses when I am on holiday!

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Thank you Jess.

Fantastic images and a wonderful article.

You can meet Jess from Castellare di Tonda 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 Picadilly 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.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ranch holidays, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Golegã Horse Fair looks amazing!

portugal_flagGolegã Horse Fair 2015 – Portugal

It is the time of year when Portugal says “Olá” to its greatest horse fair which takes place in the little town of Golegã, located north east of Lisbon on the west side of the river Tejo. Golegã is considered the capital of the horse (Capital do Cavalo) and it has been the site for a gathering of breeders since 1773, dedicated to showing the Lusitano horse at its best.

The area around Golegã is home to some of Portugal’s most famous stud farms. The Horse Fair or known locally as “The Feira do Cavalos” is held every November and lasts for a week. The festival overtakes the town, it is a spectacle like no other in the world and we recommend that every horse person puts this visit on their bucket list.

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Centuries old traditions

Golegã has top competitions in all disciplines as well as various shows and displays. Right in the middle of the town there is a large riding arena which is surrounded by the “Manga” where many horses and riders pass in traditional portuguese clothes.

The bustling party atmosphere of the Manga

The narrow streets of Golegã are filled with stands, giving a great opportunity to experience the exuberant Portuguese culture. You can also meet many Lusitano breeders in their ‘casettas’ (small cottages) and see them exhibit their horses in outside stalls.

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One of many great sights to see

You can witness some of the finest performances taking place in the town, as well as equestrian games, championships, carriage marathons and exhibitions. The town really bustles with excitement and enthusiasm.

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Displays in national costume

As the night falls, the party really begins; featuring evening performances by the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, and Luis Valença’s Centro Equestre da Leziria Grande. All day and night partying crowds celebrate Portugese style.

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Impressive team work

You will find horses everywhere – they too join in on the fun in the bars and even in the discotheques.

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An experience you will never forget

And to complement the party mood you will find plenty of  “água-pé” (a local wine) flowing and the smell of tasty roasted chestnuts in the air.

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The aroma of roasted chestnuts is a delight

 

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Say “Saúde” with the local tipple?

We can arrange for you to experience all of this for yourselves. If you are planning a visit to Alcainça this November then why not add-on a two day/one night visit to Golegã to join the party.

09 November 2015: Transfer from Alcainça to Golegã (departure time from Alcainça around 08:30 arriving to Golegã around 10:00). Day and evening at Golega. Overnight in Golega.

10 November 2015: Morning at Golega. After lunch transfer to Alcainça.

The cost is only £280 per person sharing and for any single travellers there is a £67 single supplement.

The price includes:

  • Transfers from Alcainça to Golegã
  • 1 night stay in hotel with breakfast (twin room)
  • Transfers to & from the Horse Fair
  • A visit to a Lusitano breeder
  • Guide assistance

There is availability at Alcainça before this Golega visit and for one night after.

Make sure you don’t miss out on this fantastic experience, as availability is limited. To reserve your place or if you would like to find out more information please call and have a chat with one of our specialist agents on 01299 272 997 or email rides@inthesaddle.com

Estamos ansiosos para ouvir de você em breve” 🙂 (We look forward to hearing from you soon)

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Classical dressage at Golegã Horse Fair

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Riding Holidays, Riding Holidays Portugal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homoki Lodge – NEW Luxury Glamping Yurts.

Combine exceptional luxurious accommodation with a magical autumn horse riding holiday amongst Hungary’s famous Puszta (grasslands). Canter along sandy tracks without being hindered by any gates or fences.

Yurts daytime

Homoki’s NEW Luxurious Yurts

Located in Southern Hungary, widely known as the Carpathian Basin, Homoki Lodge have recently opened their new luxury glamping accommodation to riding guests on a full board basis. These offer a unique style of comfort consisting of glorious gallery beds, air conditioning, underfloor heating and satellite TV.

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There are seven Yurts – three Superior Yurts, two Deluxe Yurts and two Luxury Yurts.

Apart from one of the Luxury Yurts which is all on one level, the bed in the yurts is on an upper gallery. On the ground floor is a seating area, shower and loo, desk and wardrobe. The yurts have underfloor heating as well as air conditioning for hotter days. They come equipped with a minibar, complimentary tea and coffee, safe deposit box, hair dryer, free toiletries, slippers and a bathrobe. There is also free Wi-Fi and a TV.

For those wishing separate beds, the downstairs seating area can be converted to a bed.

Homoki Yurt Superior gallery with double bed

The Superior Yurt is 20m square with its own individual entrance and a private terrace overlooking the garden. It has a double bed and a shower.

Homoki Yurt Superior (3)

The impressive Superior Yurt

Inside View

Spacious shower cubical

The Deluxe Yurt is available at a small upgrade. It also has its own individual entrance. Slighty larger at 26 square metres and also fully insulated, it has a private terrace and deck chairs overlooking onto the garden. In the Deluxe Yurt the bed is Queen size and there is a Jacuzzi bath (with shower) for a little extra pampering.

Homoki Yurt De Luxe (2)

The Deluxe Yurt with its relaxing whirl pool bath.

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Have a good night’s sleep in this large Queen Size bed.

The Luxury Yurt is larger again at 31 square metres. Each of the two luxury yurts has a private sun terrace with panoramic views of the Hungarian countryside. The Luxury Yurt has a King sized bed, jacuzzi bath and separate shower. Those staying in the Luxury Yurt are also offered a complimentary bottle of champagne and fruit basket.

Homoki Yurt Luxury split levels (2)

The Luxury Yurt with its large king size bed.

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Enclosed wardrobe and min bar.

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Jacussi bath and separate shower in the Luxury Yurt

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The horses are never far away.

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A comfortable seating area while enjoying your complimentary Champagne in the Luxury Yurt.

For stays up to November 2015, we are offering a fantastic 40% off the regular rate. Prices start at Euro 145 per person per night (c. £109) (based on two people sharing) for the Superior Yurt. This price includes full board and four to five hours riding.

See inthesaddle.com for more information on the riding at Homoki.

To check availability please contact our office on 01299 272 997 or email rides@inthesaddle.com.

Homoki Yurt Luxury Glamping by night (2)

Homoki Yurt Luxury Glamping by night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Riding Holidays, Riding Holidays Hungary | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A French Affair – Abbie tells us about her recent visit to Chateau Chazelles

Since first contact with Cathy Wainwright in October 2011 I had been keen to see Château Chazelles for myself. Quickly the ride became an In The Saddle favourite and by the middle of our first season of promoting this ride, Cathy’s horses, the accommodation and the breath-taking landscapes of the Auvergne had become almost legendary.

The beautiful landscape of the Auvergne

The beautiful landscape of the Auvergne

Leaving a rather lacklustre Spring behind in the UK, I set off in high anticipation for France. The drive from Lyon airport takes us past St Etienne and through the outskirts of Le Puy en Velay. By the time we are close to our destination, we have left the crowds of the city behind and are transported almost to another world. Quaint villages with houses made of local stone; the obligatory roses thriving in the gardens, fields are adorned with carpets of wild flowers and the sweet smell of hay fills the air.

View of the Château and Orangery

View of the Château and Orangery

We are met on arrival by Cathy and Frank and shown to our beautiful rooms. Afterwards we explore the château rather like a group of children rushing from room to room, before heading outside to meet the horses.

Harold, a handsome skewbald gelding with a delightful ‘look at me’ expression is one of the first to greet us. Grazing nearby is show Jumper Paulo, who is adjusting well to his new dual-purpose life competing with Cathy and showing guests the delights of the Auvergne. There are long-term residents Sky and Mr Zed; the latter has an illustrious past and is keen to show you what he can do! We meet cheeky Ukar, beautiful Matty, eye-catching Ricky, young horse Sugar and the two Irish gentlemen Paddy and Vincent. The horses are in great condition and are clearly cherished; you can tell this by the way that Cathy describes each one, giving not only their ages and heights but anecdotes from recent rides and their little personality traits.

Wildflowers in the background

Wildflowers in the background

There follows days of fabulous riding. Over the next few days we wind our way through the French countryside, stop for delicious picnics (brought to us by Cathy’s father Sean), and enjoy wonderful dinner parties in the evening. Each night we retire to our luxurious bedrooms. The chance of a soak in the bath is extremely welcome and the comfort of guests is never forgotten. From the supply of toiletries, to the library of books on the landing and the guest fridge bulging with refreshments of every kind, attention to detail is one Cathy’s many strengths.

A mighty cheeseboard

A mighty cheeseboard

Later in the week, a super ride through fields of vibrant cornflowers and shady forests of beech lead us to the village of Solignac. Leaving the horses in the shade, we have a delicious lunch at a local auberge (a sort of inn or tavern). Specialising in local cuisine and using ingredients sourced from the surrounding area is a hallmark of this auberge. We feast on rabbit terrine, pork in a mushroom sauce, cheese (from a vast array of local cheeses), followed by an apricot dessert.

Needless to say our ride home is rather a meandering affair as we are so full. Although there is still great excitement when we spot a family group of wild boar!

Riding along the banks of the Loire

Riding along the banks of the Loire

Another highlight was riding along forest tracks and through pretty villages to a picnic spot on the banks of the Loire. After lunch, it is a fun ride up, up, up a winding mountain road and into the hills again. We trot all the way up and the lovely Harold, so fit and willing, feels as though he would gladly take you up on the challenge if you ask him to do the climb twice over!

Abbie exploring little villages on horseback

Abbie exploring little villages on horseback

Go to Château Chazelles. Let Cathy & Frank show you and share with you their first rate horses, their beautiful château and the breath-taking scenery of this region. Before long you will feel as though you are staying with friends and want to return again and again as I do.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Riding in France, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Age is nothing but a number

Recently, 74 year old Stephen Theunissen returned from his sixth riding holiday with In The Saddle since his retirement in 2004 and we couldn’t wait to catch up with such an inspirational gentleman for our latest blog…

Stephen rode from the age of 6 or 7 years old up to his mid teens, when, in his own words, he got ‘distracted by motorized devices,’ as many young men do! However this foray into equestrianism had obviously already taken hold and in 1972, when he was in his early 30’s, he was motivated to take the hobby back up when his girlfriend at the time was a keen rider. “I didn’t actually marry her,” Stephen admits, “and my wife now really doesn’t like horses! However I was hooked and continued riding from then on.”

Steve
“At the time I was living near Windsor and used to ride at stables situated on the edge of the Great Park. I remember when I rode on Sundays we would often see Her Majesty driving her old 3 litre Rover to take what we assumed was a swift one with her mother after church!”

“I continued to ride casually and my eldest daughter took to horses,” Stephen tells us. “We had moved to Suffolk by this time and when she reached her early teens she persuaded me to buy my first horse. As I was over 50 years old at this time this action caused my father to call my older brother and ask him if I had lost my marbles!”

“By the time my daughter was 16 she had put on a growth spurt and was increasingly keen on Pony Club activities and competitions, so we bought a 16.2hh Irish Draught X who was a splendid jumper and cross country horse, but a little slow so he was never going to compete seriously at senior level. When my daughter was at boarding school and then university I used to exercise him and even went out with the East Anglia Bloodhounds when I could! In 2004, when I got round to retiring, it was looking after the old boy that kept me fit and healthy!”

Elephant at Limpopo open country
It was also at the point of retiring that Stephen indulged in a lifelong ambition to go on a horseback safari. “Initially I had a goal to go on at least one safari ride,” he admits. “So I went to Macatoo in the Okavango Delta and enjoyed myself greatly. I liked it so much in fact that I booked to go to the Tuli Block the next year to a destination that was then run by the couple who now own Limpopo Valley Safaris, Louise and Cor. “

Limpopo elephant waterhole from tree hide
“Here was real elephant country and that gave some very exciting riding,” explains Stephen. “Around the camp was 6000 volt electric fencing that the elderly matriarch elephants would push young males through to get the oranges on occasions! I remember there was a water pump system that supplied a pool just outside the camp which the elephants used to come and drink from during the day. Usually, by the time we returned home from our evening ride, they would be long gone but on one occasion I remember them being there into dusk. After waiting for some time we had to run into the camp via the back entrance to be welcomed by our Gin and Tonics at the stables! It was a little hairy but exciting nonetheless.”

Limpopo view from the shower room
“The other thing that stands out from my trip to the Tuli Block was seeing lions from horseback,” Stephen divulges. “We were told that as long as we were 60 metres away from them we were quite safe, and luckily there was dried up river between us and them which would have taken some effort to venture across. We stood for some time and then quietly made our way to a a line of bushes and then had one of the longest canters I have ever had! It was on that trip that I got to canter with giraffe – who have the most amazing movement – and saw the Great Grey Green Greasy Limpopo River, which was actually dried up at the time – but made for very nice riding!”

Rascal at Limpopo
“The next trip I planned to do was Jordan but unforeseen circumstances meant that had to be cancelled so I went on the Dolphin Trail in Portugal instead,” explains Stephen. “It was very different riding amongst the Cork Oaks and along beaches on Lusitano horses, but interesting and fun in its way. Then I went to Okapuka in Namibia where we rode Arab horses. A very nice lady who bred them ran it and she had this amazing rough and ready turnout paddock that was 1300 hectares in size! When the foals were weaned they were left to run free for a 2/3years. The fences were high enough to stop the horses getting out, but low enough that giraffe , ostriches and antelopes could get in. This meant that the young horses became entirely habituated to the animals and by the time they had a saddle on their back they were at ease with the wildlife.”

Ant's Nest the hunt
“After that I asked the team at In The Saddle what I should do next, and it was recommended to me that I go to Ant’s Nest for the annual round up and census,” Stephen says. “It was a great suggestion! The first day we searched for buffalo that were due to be sold to a private game reserve. Off we rode in a group of about 22 of us staff and guests on horseback and guided by a helicopter to help us find them. We located the buffalo in a thicket and the vet went in to dart them with a rifle and sure enough four darted buffalo came out, two of them towards me. My horse at the time decided to back his silly self into a thorn bush instead of walking quietly away, which to my dismay was all captured on a video! Once caught the sedated buffalo were loaded onto a flat bed trailer and we watched from a safe distance hoping the vet had got his calculations right and they weren’t going to wake up!”

The catch
“During my trip to Ant’s Nest we went out on giraffe and antelope capturing expeditions in vehicles and spent four days counting animals. .The evening rides were very civilised , at the end of the ride we would reach a clearing where there were chairs and cold( alcoholic) drinks laid out. We then untacked the horses who were allowed to wander back to the stables by themselves! We eventually followed by Land Cruiser.”

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“I also distinctly remember the Ant’s Nest bred rhinos, which were located near to the house so they could keep an eye on them due to the threat of poachers.” Stephen goes on to say, “I remember a pair rhino walking towards a group of us on one occasion and an elderly black Labrador barked ,sat down and sent the rhinos on their way! They obviously knew who was boss! I would recommend anyone who loves animals to join this trip to Ant’s Nest – it was spectacular!”

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“I have just returned from the Green Island Trail on the Azores,” Stephen tells us. “I had an excellent time and enjoyed some fast riding and beautiful country the only problem was fighting the temptation to over-indulge in the excellent food! I was in great company, with four English ladies and two Germans, I being the solitary male! I have always found that the people on these trips have other interests and experiences as well so always enjoy myself socially. On every holiday I have been on the people have been interesting – one of the German women on this trip was on her 20th riding holiday!”

Vivaldi looking for his evening carrot in the dining room at Azores
“So now at the age of 74, the question is where next?” Stephen asks. “My only regret is not taking up riding holidays earlier in my life, but now I have the perfect occupation for a healthy pensioner to take part in – I can’t think of a better way to spend my time!”

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Heard it on the grapevine in May…

With our In The Saddle clients jetting off all around the world we often receive details of amazing sights, exciting trips and fabulous hints for other travellers. We hope that these fabulous snippets of real experiences and useful advice will give you valuable insight into some of the trips available, and help you make the decision of ‘where next’ that little bit simpler…

Sheena Barnett recently travelled across the very eastern part of Spain on the Mediterranean Trails ride. Full of diversity, this region offers the chance to see medieval fishing villages, rocky coves, pine covered hills and long sandy beaches – all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Pyrenees. “This was my fourth riding holiday with In The Saddle and definitely the best,” Sheena said. “We crossed deep rivers and cantered for miles on a deserted beach and weaved between pine trees at a crazily fast canter. We had wonderful picnics under the trees followed by lazy siestas and delicious three course meals with lashings of wine in the evenings. If you like beautifully behaved forward going horses and long hours in the saddle with varied terrain and challenging riding then this is the holiday for you.”

Med trails
As one of our best selling holidays, we weren’t surprised to hear what a wonderful time some recent clients had when visiting Los Alamos in Spain. Riding out whilst viewing the beaches of Cape Trafalgar, across to the coast of Africa, this trip offers the tranquility needed to escape from everyday life, together with some of the best beach riding in Europe! “The holiday superseded our expectations,” commented Janine Sharpless. “Fellow guests became friends. To top it off the locals had a Feria (Fair), which our hosts took us too – what a bonus!”

Mrs Pawley was impressed with the quality of horses and of course the riding, “The horses were extremely well trained and looked after,” she says. “They were forward and responsive yet calm and collected. It amazed me that they would stand calmly waiting for instructions from the lead guide before a long gallop and not get fizzy but when the time came to go they were spectacular. I will never forget the horses or the experiences that I was able to have. A true inspirational holiday, did not want it to end.”

And of course meal times are a priority when you have spent all day in the saddle, as Jo Atkins confirms. “Every meal was superb,” she states. “We were treated like royalty when out – nothing was too much trouble and the ‘wobbly chocolate’ (Hot chocolate and Baileys) lead to wonderfully relaxed strolls home!”

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Meanwhile on the breathtakingly beautiful Island of São Miguel in the Azores, Janice Hill was embarking on the Green Island Trail which offers six days of exploration around the lush green volcanic countryside viewing glistening blue lakes, black cliffs, rugged mountains and hot mineral springs. “I think the amount of riding was just right – any more might have been too much but equally I go on a riding holiday to do lots of riding so did not want too much time just to chill out,” Janice explains. “Plenty of canters although most of them were uphill rather than on the flat – very fit horses – the ones I know at home wouldn’t have managed the number of uphill canters. The food was incredibly good, the picnics were fab too and they took us out Thursday evening to a lovely restaurant in Ponta Delgada all included in the price.”

Azores - Cete Cidades
For something “out of this world” as Sarah Le Fevre described it as, Tour Israel shows you some of the most breathtaking sights of this relatively undiscovered country. Explore from Nazareth, through the hills of Galilee to the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. “Spectacular location and some of the best vegetarian food I have ever eaten,” says Sarah. “All the Arab food – which is the overwhelming majority of food on this trip was utterly excellent. Great care and thought has gone into the trips planning: there is downtime as well as riding time and other sight/experience time. The Tzefira Pool, Masada and the sun rising in the Judean Desert will stay with me for a very, very long time.”

Israel
Brazil isn’t the first place you think of when picturing a riding holiday but Tracey Campbell is pleased to have discovered two of the most beautiful rides in the world. Canyons and Waterfalls provides trail riding through spectacular mountain scenery in Rio do Sul, while the Bahia Beach Ride is known for its golden sands and emerald seas, so provides travellers with possibly the best beach riding on the planet! “I was lucky enough to do both rides,” Tracey told us. “I was amazed at how much I enjoyed Brazil, the place has a good vibe. Paulo and the other guides all do an excellent job and because of the expanse of the place in most areas it is not necessary to ride in a long line. I will definitely return to Brazil to do the other rides. The people of Brazil are very friendly and welcoming.”

Brazil

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Riding Holidays, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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