Posts Tagged With: horse riding in Romania

Heard on the grapevine: Kicking off the season

If you are pondering where to go, which trip to embark on or how best to see some of the world by horseback this year then hopefully comments from our past clients will help make the decision easier! In our latest blog, we hear about trips across the globe, from trekking in Spain to thought-provoking challenges in Romania…

Somewhere that is not often considered as a destination for horseback riding is Romania, however Peter Lewis had a fantastic adventures when he booked the Equus Silvania centre based ride. “I thoroughly enjoyed the riding and rode four different horses over the five days.” He tells us. “All of them were well behaved, responsive and forward going. As someone who hasn’t been riding for long, but keen to improve, I found the mix of paces excellent and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to “let the horses run” – although my legs were feeling it a bit at the end of the week!”

“Transylvania was great riding country, with quite a lot of climbing through forests to beautiful view points and the chance for faster riding on the lower meadows,” Peter explains. “Although the accommodation was not “five star” it was perfectly appropriate for a riding holiday – clean and comfortable with en-suite facilities and the food was filling and tasty. Juliane, Ame, Tilmann, Tabea and Theresa were very friendly and made me feel completely at home .The visit to the bear hide was great (we saw 11 bears) and the site seeing at Sighisoara and Viscri gave a great insight into Romania. I was also able to squeeze an extra half day sight seeing at Brasov.” Sounds perfect for combining riding and some cultural experiences to learn more about this wonderful country!

A trip to Romania is memorable for all the right reasons

A trip to Romania is memorable for all the right reasons

Another destination that is still relatively undiscovered for horse riding is Hungary, and if you like varied riding then take note of what Mrs Winup says… “The countryside was excellent, long sandy lanes perfect for long canters and gallops, beautiful woods and wide open fields and common grounds where you could let the horses go. Accommodation was in a rustic farmhouse – think white washed walls and local knick knacks – simple but clean and perfectly in tune with the local surroundings.” As with any riding holiday fitness can make a difference, as Maria Harvey found out. “The riding in Hungary was fantastic, but you do have to be fit. Expect your muscles to ache, but a great massage will sort them out midweek. I rode 6 different horses and felt completely safe on all of them, although I did have a favourite!”

Hungary is relatively undiscovered

Hungary is relatively undiscovered

Spain is well known for its equestrian culture, exquisite food and great wines, and all of our In The Saddle trips to Spain combine these important elements to create the perfect horse riding holiday. Although well known for it’s fantastic beach riding, Spain has other hidden treasures as Sarah West found out when she took part in the Alpujarra Ride in the Sierra Nevada. “My husband and I had a fantastic holiday,” she says. “The scenery is absolutely stunning and each day brought with it very different views and terrain. The group was a perfect size and lovely mix of ages and riding experiences, giving us plenty of conversation along the mountain tracks, not to mention in the evening over a glass of Tinto de Verano.”

Of course having the right horse always makes a difference and this is something that is carefully thought out. “Dallas has such a good understanding of the personality of each of the horses,” Sarah goes on to say. “She was able to brief us all on our allocated horse before setting off. By the end of the week we all understood the personalities of each other’s and agreed we’d been perfectly matched. The riding challenged us all in different ways with long canters along mountain tracks, steep inclines/declines, narrow mountain paths, and a good number of hours per day in the saddle. We each finished the week having learned something from our horses. If I didn’t have a flight home booked I might have stayed forever! “

If a week is too long however, why not do what Amanda Volkmer did and book onto the Poqueira Sierra Nevada Short Break. “This was the most amazing experience I’ve ever been able to be a part of,” she says. “I would do it again in a heart beat… Dallas and Janette were wonderful people and guides and the stables and horse were beautiful and well maintained.” What more could you want?

The Sierra Nevada offers a wonderful view of Spain

The Sierra Nevada offers a wonderful view of Spain

Going a little further afield, Costa Rica is thought of for beautiful colours, sunshine and a tropical vibe – but also, for Dawn Burdyshaw, as a haven for horse riding! “The entire holiday exceeded all expectations,” she says. “The country is amazing. Our guide, Hector, has unlimited knowledge and explained everything with great understanding and enthusiasm! Anna, our cook, produced the best food, was accommodating, friendly and took very good care of the house and guests. The horse master, Stanley, was the BEST! He was fun, witty and took us on fabulous rides! It was hard and sad to leave!”

Beautiful scenery and wonderful horses in Costa Rica

Beautiful scenery and wonderful horses in Costa Rica

They do say that horse riding is addictive and far more than just a hobby, and for Helena Broad a recent trip to the Azores was, in her words, life changing, and rekindled her passion for equestrianism. “Although I had chosen a learn to ride week (I was returning to riding after an 8 year absence), Christina and Steffy scheduled half day rides for me so I spent less time in the indoor school,” explains Helena. “This was exactly what I needed! Christina and her team spent a great deal of time and thought matching riders with mounts. They took into account what I’d asked for when I filled out my rider profile form, and after seeing me ride, they challenged me a little more each day. It was a privilege to see horses so well cared for and loved, many of them have had an unfortunate start in life and bear the physical scars but have certainly fallen on their hooves living at the Quinta!”

“São Miguel Island has some fabulous scenery, and the ride leaders always checked that the riders were happy,” Helena says. “Steffy happily chatted away about the flora and fauna, and told us about life on the island. I was in a fairly advanced group and we had some fantastic canters and gallops, particularly next to Sete Citidades. The meals were fantastic and always ready on time, and you must take the time to give Vivaldi an apple or pear in the evening. I am so pleased I chose this holiday, I had a fantastic time and it has reignited my passion for horses. I will return to Quinta da Terca.”

The food, hosts, horses and scenery are fantastic in the Azores

The food, hosts, horses and scenery are fantastic in the Azores

For a trip that is as spectacular out of the saddle as it is in the saddle, then Suzanne Segerstrom recommends Castellare di Tonda in Italy. “Riding through the Tuscan landscape is so beautiful, it’s almost surreal,” she explains. “Jess and Matteo made sure that we had an amazing experience both in and out of the saddle – they took great care of us out riding, but on days we were rained out, they were our tour guides to experience other sides of Tuscany. Long views across valleys and long canters across a field or up a road will feed your soul and the food was so good that my trousers don’t fit anymore”.

An Italian adventure to remember at Castellare di Tonda

An Italian adventure to remember at Castellare di Tonda

And last but by no means least, the Balkan Rides in Bulgaria is a ride that was introduced to us in 2013 and has proven to be an insightful adventure, as Eleanor Green explains. “I loved my horse, who was forward going but easy to stop and didn’t pull,” she says. “The horses are mostly Arabs and Shagya Arabs and all seemed capable and happy. They are pretty tough animals and are very used to being tethered at night or during lunch breaks. There is quite a lot of cantering so you do need to be a confident rider and the terrain is a mix of open fields, woods and heath/scrubland. You ride through some pretty dense undergrowth so long sleeves and chaps are a good idea! It is rural Bulgaria so the food is rustic, it’s not haute cuisine and the service is pretty informal (and slow on occasions) but portions are large and as a vegetarian, I had no problems. Bulgarians love cheese and it is in everything so it helps if you like cheese! Each day had some non-riding activities, visiting caves, monastery, preserved villages and craft centres, Veliko Tarnovo and the waterfalls so it is a good holiday if you are interested in the region and want to learn more about the country as well as riding. The countryside appears to have been almost completely depopulated with lots of abandoned and neglected land and villages which was a bit sad to see, but it does need make for good riding! You need to be fairly laid back and accept that rural Eastern Europe is in a time warp in terms of some elements!”

You can ride almost endlessly in Bulgaria

You can ride almost endlessly in Bulgaria

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

Five of the best… Winter Wonderland Trips

If you are one of the people who loves winter and embraces the snow then did you know there are plenty of places where you can ride through breathtaking winter wonderlands, and take in spectacular snowy views from the back of a horse? Read our pick of some of the best ‘snow chasing’ trips you can take on horseback…

The land of ice and fire
It may seem an obvious choice, but Iceland lives up to its name in the winter months and provides a snowy haven for winter wanderers! Situated just south of the Arctic Circle, Iceland is an enormous, unspoilt, natural landscape dominated by volcanoes, geysers, young mountains and glaciers and exploring it by horseback is truly memorable.

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Experience views from snow capped mountains and volcanoes, to lunar landscapes and waterfalls, whilst riding the wonderful native Icelandic horses. Iceland is one of the most amazing places to ride horses, and the most fun. Tolting across the wilderness on an Icelandic horse is a unique experience, and one that every rider should experience at least once in their lifetime! Their willing attitude and strength provides riders with tremendous fun and the tolt is a fast gait that is comfortable and enables the horse to cover great distances.

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A Swedish adventure
If you want guaranteed snow and crisp white views, Sweden is a fabulous place to visit during the winter months. Often referred to as Europe’s last remaining wilderness, Swedish Lapland in northern Sweden is a vast landscape of towering alpine peaks and endless vistas of pine forest, Polar plains, meadows and glaciers. And what better way to explore this magical kingdom than from the back of a sturdy Icelandic horse?

on ice
On a trip to Sweden you can expect to see native wildlife including reindeer and moose, and if you are lucky, the famous Northern Lights. There are plenty of activities for riders, and non-riding guests, mixed up with cultural visits to learn more about the Saami nomadic culture. Combine riding through forests and open grassland with ice fishing, reindeer herding and sledding – to name but a few of the alternative activities available.

Sweden offers a snow-filled adventure for people that love the great outdoors and when you are not flying around the country on sleds or snowmobiles, you can experience the wonderful peace and tranquility of being in the wilderness covered in a blanket of snow!

sun riding
Escape to a winter wonderland
If you want to step back in time, then a trip to Romania will indulge the nostalgic amongst you! For many people in rural areas of this beautiful country, the main mode of transport is still horse and cart, and with no gates to open, or bridle paths and tarmac roads to restrict you, exploring the seemingly endless meadows, forest tracks and mountain rides will treat your senses!

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Exploring the wild Carpathian Mountains is not for the faint hearted so you should be a confident rider – the terrain can be steep, and there are areas for some fast paced canters. It is also the only place in Europe, west of Russia, where widespread populations of wolves, bears and lynx roam.

When you embark on the Winter Ride based from Equus Silvania, during January and February, there is a very strong chance that you will experience horseback riding through the snow. Ride up the forests and see wonderful views across to snow-capped peaks in the distance, enjoy delicious warming lunches in the guesthouse and relax in front of a roaring fire in the evenings to unwind.

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See the snow in Big Sky Country
If you have ever seen a Western film and felt a pang for the wide-open spaces, this is the destination for you! Surrounded by wild mountain ranges, open grassy plains and riverine forest, seeing Montana by horseback in winter is breathtaking!

Rocking Z in winter
Exploring Montana from the back of a horse means you can seek out the areas off-limits to vehicles giving an unbridled feeling of freedom and connection to the great outdoors. From crystal clear alpine lakes, to picture perfect meadows and foothills, everywhere you look in Montana is a feast for your eyes and spending time in this thought provoking country will take you far away from the wintery woes at home!

Montana offers many variations of horseback riding, from trail riding and cattle work, to natural horsemanship. Warning though, spending time in the evocative vast landscape that the legendary Monty Roberts grew up can lead to day dreaming about becoming a millionaire film star and owning a small chunk of this captivating countryside.

winter at Rocking Z
See snow-capped mountains in South America
Some parts of the world never escape from snow. A trip to Torres del Paine in the extreme south of Chile during the early months of the year may be technically during their summer, however the cool, refreshing mountain air is the perfect way to enliven the senses as you ascend up snow capped mountain trails.

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With several riding options in this area, Torres del Paine will certainly appeal to the adventurous as you trek through the National Park, experiencing towering snow capped peaks, glacial rivers, azure lakes and huge glaciers!

Perfect for travellers wanting to mix up their experience with some fast paced riding and more steady trails to peruse the local surroundings, the riding in Chile is diverse. The rugged, wild beauty of the National Park is so unique that much of it is protected and riding through it is a privilege that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. For a once in a lifetime winter experience, Chile offers something spectacular.

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For more information on winter riding holidays visit: www.inthesaddle.com

Categories: Equestrian Travel, Ranch holidays, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The final countdown to the Riding Holiday Show 2012

On Saturday 3rd November, the Royal Overseas League near Piccadilly in London will host the UK’s only exhibition dedicated solely to equestrian travel. Brought to guests by horseback holiday experts, In The Saddle, the show promises an action packed day full of information about inspirational equine adventures all across the globe.

With over 37 different riding outfitters coming to the Riding Holiday Show, attendees will feel like they have travelled around the world and back, with representatives visiting from Tunisia, Argentina, France, Italy, America and Africa – to list just a handful! To see the full list of exhibitors click here.


Visitors will all be entered into a range of exclusive competitions, including the chance to win a £5,000 Safari at Motswiri in Botswana for two, a short break at Los Alamos in Spain for two, and goodies from Ariat, Just Chaps, The Safari Store and Cotswold Outdoor! In addition, goody bags will be given to every person who walks through the door containing exclusive show vouchers to help you save money when purchasing all your riding holiday packing essentials!

As if this wasn’t enough, throughout the day there will be a full schedule of presentations from all manner of equestrians, including Olympic medallist Mary King, Cor Carlesen from Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris, Anna Wirth from Rocking Z Ranch in Montana and Major Richard Waygood MBE! Click here for a full timetable of presentations and to plan your trip to the Riding Holiday Show 2012.

Categories: Equestrian Travel, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five of the best… European Riding Holidays

You don’t have to stray too far from home to experience the thrill of an equestrian adventure, Europe has many hidden gems that are just a short plane ride away. Here we have put together our favourite destinations for riding holidays that you won’t forget…

Los Alamos, Spain

Where? The Atlantic coast of Southern Spain plays host to an exhilarating and exciting horseback holiday combined with the perfect dose of relaxation. Situated on the edge of la Breña National Park, when riding at Los Alamos you will enjoy views of the Cape Trafalgar beaches and across the coast to Africa!
Why? Los Alamos offers some of the best beach riding in the world with well-trained horses and a relaxed atmosphere giving visitors the chance to escape areas of mass tourism and experience the relatively un-touched rural Spanish lifestyle.

Chateau Chazelles, France

Where? This beautiful ancient ‘chateau-fort’ is situated in the Haute Loire department of the Auvergne region on the Massif Central, which is home to medieval French towns, gastronomic cuisine and historic monuments, making this holiday ideal for experiencing the local area and enjoying some fantastic riding. Why? Ride well schooled, quality horses along tracks through wooded valleys, past Roman villages, onto open pastures and through gorges – the terrain is varied and gives travellers plenty to feast their eyes on.

Equus Sylvania, Romania

Where? Explore the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania, the only place in Europe, west of Russia, where widespread populations of wolves, bears and lynx roam.
Why? Embark on daily adventures amongst the breathtaking and un-spoilt countryside, armed with saddlebag picnics and excitement for the day ahead. Riding fit, well-trained horses along gorges, through forests, across alpine meadows and into remote mountain settlements will give you a taste for the lifestyle of this beautiful country.

Iceland
Where? Experience magnificent views, from snow capped mountains and volcanoes, to lunar landscapes and waterfalls. Catering for a variety of riding standards, combine relaxing in northern Iceland with sightseeing, or challenge yourself on adrenalin fueled trail ride in the highlands.
Why? Iceland is home to the traditional Icelandic ‘tolting’ horses, which offer a unique experience that every rider should experience at least once in their life! Their willing attitude and strength provides riders with tremendous fun and the tolt is a fast gait that is comfortable and enables the horse to cover great distances.

Cilento Ride, Italy

Where? This delightful hilltop farm is situated in I Moresani, south of Naples and overlooks the beautiful Cilento National Park. This area on the coast of Italy, provides views out into the sea in a series of dramatic headlands and broad sweeping bays.
Why? With four itinerary choices there is a holiday to suit all equestrian enthusiasts, from the Campania Relaxed Ride, which integrates early morning rides with relaxed afternoons by the pool, to the Cilento Journey, which takes you through the breathtaking National Park. For something a little different, combine your riding holiday with cookery classes to learn the art of delicious Italian cuisine.

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

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