Posts Tagged With: horse riding

Romania’s Wide Open Spaces

Becky Clarke from In The Saddle tells us about her trip to Romania in October 2017. Here, she highlights the best bits of her trip from the beautiful scenery to the sure-footed horses.

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Romania, and particularly Transylvania, was somewhere that’s been on my ever-growing list for some time. The thought of wide open spaces, no fences and a willing horse made me eager to visit Equus Silvania, the home of Barbara and Christoph Promberger.

Equus Silvania Lodge

I actually arrived mid-way through a Centre- Based week where riders go out for c. 4 – 5 hours a day and then overnight at Equus Silvania. I then joined the first few nights of the Transylvania Trail ride which starts and finishes at Equus Silvania but throughout the week you move on to various villages as you journey through the countryside.

The accommodation in the lodge is in lovely ‘cabin’ style rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom. Downstairs there is a lovely long dining room where everyone sits together for breakfast and dinner.

On the Transylvania Trail ride, the accommodation is more basic because you are staying in local guesthouses and even sometimes people’s homes. I really enjoyed that feeling of being right out there in rural Romania and particularly the guesthouse in Corbor which is lovely.

The landscape that we rode through was amazing and I was lucky enough to experience the full splendour of the Autumn colours from so many different vantage points.

The riding itself was the most fantastic experience; the horses were truly a pleasure to ride. Their stamina was impressive and they were so willing to do what was asked of them.

One of my highlights both on the Transylvania Trail and also whilst on the the Centre-Based ride was un-tacking the horses at lunchtime and just letting them roll (if it wasn’t raining). They absolutely loved it!

Transylvania is a relatively unspoilt area, rich with history and culture. Whether you are on the Equus Silvania stay or the Transylvania Trail ride, there is an element of culture included.

Bran Castle

Something else I really enjoyed was visiting the bear hide. Deep in the woods, a short walk from a forest track is a bear hide where we had the opportunity to try and spot bear – it was very exciting and we were lucky enough to see eight!

The areas that we rode through were so diverse, from the forests with their bright beautiful canopies to the open and rolling farmland and the autumn colours just made everything so much more vibrant.

I think that for those who’d like as much riding as possible and don’t mind basic accommodation, the Transylvania Trail would be perfect; for those who would like to ride for  few hours a day but with the choice to be more flexible and come back to the same place each night, Equus Silvania is more ideally suited.

In my opinion, Romania is somewhere everyone should visit at least once. One day I’d love to go back and experience the Winter riding!

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For more information on the Romanian rides or to book your place please call Becky on +44 1299 272 244 or email rebecca@inthesaddle.com.

Categories: Carpathia, Equestrian Travel, Equus Silvania, horse riding, Horse riding in Romania, Horses & riding, in the saddle, in the saddle, Riding Holidays | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Ingeborg from Namibia

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 by a talented and popular guide who is well know for her love of Arabian horses – Ingeborg from Okapuka in Namibia.

0821.How long have you been guiding at Okapuka?

I’ve been guiding since 2000 when my ex-partner and I set up the riding safari operation at Okapuka.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

I used to be an HR manager before I decided that Namibia would be my home. I started riding when I was a youngster. My first pony was a white Shetland mare, called Walda who was most probably not bigger 11hh; later I had a chestnut gelding, a New Forest pony called (believe it or not), Quicky! During my riding years in the Netherlands I saw one of my competitors in the dressage ring riding a white purebred Arabian and I was completely in awe. That’s how my fascination and love for the breed started and I promised myself one day that one day, one day I would be the owner of such a magnificent creature. I stopped riding when I turned 18 and only started again just before coming to Namibia on a holiday (not a riding holiday), not knowing riding would become my profession. When we started the horse safaris there was doubt that the Arabian horse would become our partner. In a way I’m still an HR manager, but now it’s Horse Resource Manager.

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

When my ex-partner and I set up the company there was no question in my mind that I would do the guiding as well. It wasn’t a person, but the country inspired me; wide open spaces, abundance of wildlife, 360 days of sunshine and the smell of the earth after the first rain (if Chanel, Dior, or whoever could put that smell in a bottle I would be the biggest user). I love horses, especially purebred Arabians, horse riding and what better way to do that than in Africa.

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

I would either have stayed an HR Manager or just mucked out stables, I guess. I have never thought about it. I don’t think there ever was a plan B!

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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?

What is it there not love about the job? Being outside, enjoying beautiful scenery, having gorgeous Arabian horses around me and seeing smiles on the faces of my guests. The downside? Well I could say there is none, but then I would be telling a lie. The most horrible thing is to have to say goodbye to a much-loved horse. That is something I cannot and do not want to get used to.

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

I have a few favourites, but the one who always makes my heart beat faster is my Monster as I affectionately call him. His official name is ‘Nabilah the Makers Masterpiece’, a straight Egyptian Arabian grey gelding who is turning 20 in December. He has a wicked sense of humour, is a drinker of the wind and I trust him with my life. If he would be human, most probably he would be my husband!

Masterpiece & Ingeborg

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

When guiding I couldn’t do without a good lead horse. In general it’s difficult for me to live without sunshine, white wine, my horses, dog and cats and my family – and not in this particular order.

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

My most memorable endurance ride was the competition where my guests and I all came first in our different weight categories and distances, and won some Best Conditioned Horse Awards. My most embarrassing competition was where I fell off my horse in front of my guest rider and ended up in hospital. Thank goodness, the guest rider continued and finished the ride!

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Finding my most memorable safari week or ride is very difficult; there have been so many memorable riders and rides, and situations. My most memorable rider is a Belgian lady, saying that even though she loved the place, horses and rides she would not return as there were so many more beautiful riding places that she were on her bucket list. But then she came back every single year, once or twice until the year she passed away. My most memorable ride was earlier this year when taking guest riders on their first ride and meeting 2 male leopards having a springbok breakfast, followed by a rhino sighting, followed by being enclosed by giraffe, followed by ….. I had to explain to them that this was exceptional and to please don’t expect this every single day! My most memorable situation was when we were having a good canter and suddenly 2 rhino came thundering out of the thickets deciding to join us for a short while; our tempo increased slightly and so did our adrenaline level!!

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

I sit on my stoop with a good book, a glass of Sauvignon Blanc being greeted by Doggos, my dog and being surrounded by purring cats.

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

Look, listen and learn, be aware of your surroundings, horses and guests and the interaction between those 3.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

To Europe to visit family.

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Thank you Ingeborg 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 Ingeborg from Okapuka 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 Holidays, riding holidays namibia, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – John Sobey from Macatoo, Botswana

Continuing with our meet the guide blogs here is another talented and popular guide, John Sobey from Macatoo –  you will be able to meet John at the Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015.

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1.    How long have you been guiding at Macatoo?    

We started Macatoo back in 1995, so it is over 20 years now.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

Before Macatoo I was based in Maun, Botswana doing mobile safaris (1993-95), as well as guiding in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. I have also guided on horseback in Kenya and Tanzania.

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

For as long as I can remember I had always wanted to live and work in Africa, so guiding seemed to be the natural route to take.  Also I knew more about horses than cars so horseback guiding was really the only option for me! I first went to South Africa, but soon realised that Botswana was the only place offering the true wilderness that I was searching for.

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

I have no idea, there was no Plan B!

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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?

There really is so much that makes the job amazing, not least because guiding in the Okavango is always different, it’s never the same. High water, low water or no water, the seasonal variation is never-ending. That is why I came back to the Delta out of all the other locations. The down sides are you cannot watch enough rugby (but given England’s recent performance perhaps that’s a plus….?!).

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

My favourite horse was ‘Ambos’, a 16.3hh Hanoverian. He was an amazing powerhouse of a  horse but was the perfect, trusting lead horse. He would lead in to any problem without question. Who would he be if he was a human…that’s too tough a question to answer, but probably somebody brave!

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

I couldn’t live without the open spaces and the wilderness, it’s what I’ve become so used to now.

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

There really are so many memories, its hard to choose. Galloping alongside a herd of giraffe and zebra with Sir  Mark Todd was not bad!

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

With a book or newspaper back at my tent overlooking the floodplains.

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

I would say don’t think that it it’s going to be easy; there are no quick routes. You will have to be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up, but the end result will be worth it.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

Holidays are few and far between, but where possible I try to get out to visit other camps and lodges in Botswana to learn more and get more ideas. After being out in the bush for long stints it’s also nice to just to relax and spend some time at home.

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Thank you John 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 John from Macatoo 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 Safety, Equestrian Travel, horse riding, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ride reviews, riding botswana, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays africa, Riding Macatoo, Riding Okavango Delta, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Paulo Junqueira from Ride Brazil

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 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 another popular guide –  Paulo Junqueira from Ride Brazil.
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1.    How long have you been guiding on the Bahia Beach and Canyons and Waterfalls rides?

8 years.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

I had not guided prior the starting with Ride Brazil, although I did quite a lot of solo riding throughout Brazil in search of exciting trails.

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

I always wanted to live and work with horses and this opportunity came about when I found out that Brazil has the third largest population of horses in the world. It also has excellent horses and a huge variety of trails to explore. Brazil wasn’t yet a destination for international riders as there were not many quality rides available. I did some research into how rides were run in Africa, Spain and Argentina to learn all that was involved in the responsibility of guiding people on a ride.

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

Living in the countryside with my horses gives me a great opportunity to write, which I love doing. I would love to study and work in horses ethology and also write about my own experiences.

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 love what I do because I can turn someone’s holiday into an unforgettable experience; an experience of a lifetime. The recognition I receive at the end of the ride is something that is priceless. I wouldn’t say there is a downside to guiding rides in such beautiful places, along with people who love horses; it is always a great pleasure. Although it is also a great responsibility, and sometimes (luckily very seldom) we have people who don’t understand that we are dealing with an animal and we have to be flexible.

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

Enduro do Haren was a favourite of mine. He was a wonderful stallion who sadly died a few years ago. Now I have favourites on both of the rides I guide. In Bahia it is Shakira and in the Canyons area it is Ornero. At home my favourite horse is my palomino called Elmo.

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

I could not live without nature. City life is not for me anymore. When I am guiding it is essential that I have a brave horse who is always ready.Canyons ride (3)

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

I can say that I am always lucky to have good groups. pantanal

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

I like talking with guests in the evening about how the day’s ride has gone. I also enjoy sharing my experiences gained from riding around the world.

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

I met some people who were interested in guiding as they saw it as an adventure and an opportunity to travelling. First of all, you need to love horses and great determination. First apply as trainee in a good destination with a reputable company. Then follows the hard work!

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11.    Where do you go on holiday?

I like to discover new places with new cultures while on horseback.

Thank you Paulo for the fantastic images and another interesting article.

You can meet Paulo from Ride Brazil 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, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, riding holiday brazil, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Annemee van Aubel from Cerfcheval, France

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 another popular guide – Annemee van Aubel from Cerfcheval, France.    IMG_9312

1.    How long have you been guiding at Cerfcheval?

I started guiding here in 2001.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

I am Dutch but worked for a while in France doing different things to get some experience and to learn.

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

I love travelling on horseback and also showing people around. This is a very good way to really get to know a country and visit places that you would not otherwise see.

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

I never made a plan B, but I was a sailing instructor in the past. I really enjoyed this time in my life, but I prefer the contact with the horses and my dogs that my current role provides.

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 love to be with my horses and to work outside, discovering new landscapes and making new friends. The difficult sides of the job are being responsible for everybody and staying positive even when the weather is bad and things are not going as you would like them to.

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6.    Can you tell us about your favourite horse?

I don’t have one favourite – I have three! I love my mule Sascha, my half Arab Oslo and my lead horse Imperial who had a difficult history before he came to Cerfcheval.

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

My pocket knife and my dogs.

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

It is difficult to choose, but one of the most memorable was a 650km ride I undertook with my son from Cerfcheval to Lyon. Another memorable ride was with a guest who wanted to swim every day on the Monts de Blond ride. It was October and rather fresh, but I managed to find some mountain lakes for him. He would swim out quite far and I was left on the bank wondering if I’d have to jump into the really cold water to help him if he got into difficulty!

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

Apéro, (as we say in France), followed by a good meal with a glass of wine with fellow riders.

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

It is a great job. Don’t count your hours and find yourself some good horses, as they are your best friends and need to take people around safely.

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

Often in the Pays Basque with my dogs. I don’t take holidays very often. Otherwise I just take my horse, my mule and my dogs and discover some new parts of France.

Thank you Annemee for sending some lovely images and another interesting article.

You can meet Annemee from Cerfcheval, France 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 Safety, Equestrian Travel, horse riding france, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding in France, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Jenny Richardson from Castle Leslie in Ireland

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 another experienced guide – Jenny Richardson from Castle Leslie on the Emerald Isle.

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1.    How long have you been guiding at Castle Leslie?

I have been the Equestrian Business Manager at Castle Leslie Estate for 4 years.

2.    Where did you guide before this?

Before this I was the manager of the Burn Equestrian Centre in Belfast and then before that I was head instructor at Jebel Ali Equestrian Club in Dubai.

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

I had a keen interest in horses all my life. I started riding at an early age of 3. My parents were into horses but against me going into horses for a career, as it involves such long hours and hard work!! At the age of 16 I went to Enniskillen College and studied a National Diploma in Business and Finance with equine options. I got good grades and then progressed onto the Higher National Diploma and then finally a Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Science along with my BHSAI. When I graduated I was keen to work with horses and got my first job in Dublin running a small riding school and teaching; at this point I knew it was for me!Pic 3 - Jenny and client Clinton and Castle Leslie Blue

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

I guess I always knew it was going to be something with horses at an early age and never give any thought on anything else!

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 adore meeting different types of people from all over the world and the stories they have to tell. Every morning when I look at the lake at Castle Leslie Estate I think I’m an extremely lucky girl to have this on my doorstep. I have a great job you never get sick of the fantastic grounds at Castle Leslie and the spectacular wildlife.

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

Apart from my own horse, my favorite horse is Percy. Percy is on loan to Castle Leslie Estate, from Lady Caledon. He is a 15.2hh striking looking cob who has a fabulous personality. He walks as if he is Brad Pitt and takes a lot of guests by surprise as they often think he is a plod but actually he is a pocket rocket!!

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

I guess my horse Daisy. She is fab out on hacks and is a pure lady when it comes to getting on and off and giving people leads. She is very trusting even when deer jump out last minute.

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

Every ride at Castle Leslie is memorable. The estate is 100 acres so you never actually get bored!! From marriage proposals, seeing unique wildlife, to falling into the lake and taking out famous stars it’s actually hard to pick!!!

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

I love spending time with my horse Daisy and I also own a short hair miniature sausage dog Dylan so I enjoy walking him. I also enjoy a nice glass of wine!

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

It’s a tough game!! Rain, hail, snow and shine you’re outside. You will meet all sorts of guests. Occasionally there are some people who may not be as experienced as they think and it’s your job to look after them and keep them safe whilst still making sure they enjoy their stay. You also need to have all your teaching certificates and know a lot about the country and other countries so you can keep the conversation entertaining. If you can speak other languages then this is an added bonus!!IMG_0721

11.    Where do you go on holiday?

I tend to stay away from horses on holiday as I would feel it’s like a busman’s holiday!! I like to go and visit friends in Dubai or enjoy spending time in Ireland.

Thank you Jenny for sending some of your photos and for your help in producing another great article.

You can meet Jenny from Castle Leslie 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: castle leslie, Equestrian Safety, Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays ireland, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Duncan Over from Kujwana, Botswana

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 another of our guides – Duncan Over from Kujwana in Botswana.

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1.       How long have you been guiding at Kujwana?

I have been the camp manager at Kujwana for a year after volunteering here for a month previously.

2.       Where did you guide before this?

This is my first job in Africa. Before coming here I was an officer in the British Army. Having spent time in Kenya training I had already caught the African bug. I came to Kujwana as a guest three years ago and fell in love with the camp, the horses and the delta. From then on I had only one job in mind and last year it became a reality.

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

I was inspired by a very close friend of mine who worked out here for many years. Whilst I was in the Army he would send me constant insights into life in the Delta and I promised him I would at least visit to see it for myself. After finally finding the time to visit him and meeting Barney and PJ (the owners of Kujwana), as well as our lead guide Rodgers I was inspired by their knowledge of the area and the animals and wanted to learn more about it for myself. A year after visiting as a guest I returned as a volunteer and was further amazed by the intricacies of the area and the job. I wanted to learn more about the animals, the area and how to run a camp in the middle of the bush and luckily in PJ and Barney, I had two of the most experienced people in the business to teach me. From then on I was hooked and every day I continue to be amazed and further inspired by my surroundings.

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

If I hadn’t moved out here I would still be in the Army. I was still enjoying my job at the time of leaving and only left due to an insatiable urge to get back to Africa. I was very fortunate that the timing was right and a space opened up for me in the company. I haven’t looked back since!

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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?

There are so many things I love about this job. I love the fact that I am out on horse back almost every day and in such an incredible setting. Every morning I get up and look forward to the day ahead, knowing that it will be different from the last. I’m not sure I will ever find riding at home in Scotland as exciting again without the constant presence of antelope, giraffe and elephants. Not to mention the burst of excitement when one spots a lion, leopard or honey badger!

I also thoroughly enjoy the interaction I have with the guests. I have learnt more about the world and its cultures from sitting around a camp fire with the huge variety of guests we are lucky enough to have then I ever did travelling with the Army.

I can honestly say that there are very few downsides to my job. I suppose the distance from home and limited communications with family and friends would be the biggest. I work incredibly hard and for very long hours, but after a career in the Army I considered this the norm so it really doesn’t bother me. I don’t think there are many jobs in the world that you can truly believe are perfectly suited for you. I am however fortunate enough to have found one of them.

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6.       What is the name of your favourite horse? And if they were a human, who would he/she be and why?

My favourite horse is called Black Mamba. A Kalahari farm horse, he arrived at Kujwana in 2011. One of six wild horses backed out of the Kalahari desert, he gained his name from the hissing noise he made at anyone who approached him when he first arrived. An amazingly brave and caring horse, Mamba and I have had some great adventures together.

Who do I think he would be if he was human? That’s a difficult question! His best friend in the yard is a horse called Scorpion – another of the Kalahari ponies – they make a great pair and they often remind me of Dennis the Menace and his pet dog Gnasher as they charge around the yard causing the chaos. They are both incredibly brave horses but are full of mischief and take every opportunity to remind you who is boss! Not quite a human but probably as close as I can get! Mamba is a fantastic horse with a strong character and he is always my first choice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7.       What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?

I want for very little out here and I am used to living without many of life’s little luxuries, such as tv! As I learn more about the Delta and its many inhabitants I think the most valuable thing (actually a person) to me is Rodgers our lead guide. Having worked here for 25 years his knowledge base is second to none. The most patient and laid back man I have ever met he has been, and still is, teaching me all there is to know about reading animal behaviour, tracking and surviving in the bush. An incredible individual whose passion for the Delta is second to none. I think my time out here to date would have been very different without his guidance and teaching.

8.       What has been your most memorable ride?

There have been so many memorable rides for so many reasons. It’s always incredible to get your first sighting of a rhino, leopard, lion or wild dog. I often get more excited than the guests! For me though I think a ride that I will never forget was in July this year when we rode with a pack of wild dog as they prepared to hunt. My favourite animals in the Delta, it was incredible to see them prepare and then spread out in prefect formation to pursue a Tsessebe. We watched from a distance as they surrounded their prey and eventually made the kill. A very successful pack I have followed their progress closely over the past few months. They now have 5 new puppies and I take such pleasure in seeing them healthy and thriving.

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

I have a beautiful veranda that looks onto the river running past the camp. After a long day’s ride I always take some time to myself to sit and watch the Pied Kingfishers diving and reflect on the day. This is normally aided by a cold beer of course!

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

My advice would be to get out there and give it a go as a volunteer first. This gives you a great insight into the company, living in the environment and allows the outfitters to see you. After this you can build on the skills that you have seen are required and work towards applying for a permanent job. This type of work is not suited to everyone and it takes a lot of time and money to get permits to work abroad. Volunteering allows you to confirm that it is the job you imagined it to be, and trust me, you will know very quickly. Be prepared; you must have a skill set suited to the job and be willing to put in some seriously hard work.

11.   Where do you go on holiday?

I have so much of Africa still to see that on my time off I normally stay within the continent and travel to new places. I do love to go home to Scotland however and enjoy trips in to the Scottish highlands.

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Thank you Duncan for your wonderful images and a wonderful insight into your life in the Delta.

You can meet Duncan from Kujwana 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 Safety, Equestrian Travel, horse riding france, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, riding botswana, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays africa, riding kujwana, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Louis Geyer from Cape Winelands, South Africa.

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 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 another popular guide, Louis Geyer from Cape Winelands, South Africa

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  1. How long have you been guiding at Cape Winelands?

Since it was established in 2008.

  1. Where did you guide before this?

I was guiding at Horizon here in South Africa.

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

It was a life choice and meeting people like Carmen Cowley and Shane Dowinton made it easier.

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

I never needed a plan B!

  1. 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 love spending the time with people sharing a common love. The down side is the lack of time to get to know the people better, from whose lives you touch.

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  1. What is the name of your favourite horse? And if they were a human, who would he/she be and why?

I can honestly say I don’t have one particular favourite riding horse. However my up and coming Shire cross stallion called Charleston is the love of my life as I had him from birth!

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

My own saddle that has come with me for 16 years already.

  1. What has been your most memorable ride?

Seeing an English lady in her 70’s transform into a 16 year old girl on the gallops across the plains! An inspiration.

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

A good old South African Braai with friends is the best way to relax after a busy day.

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

Get some formal and recognised equestrian qualifications, ride as many horses as you can (especially the difficult ones), learn to accept that administration is part of working with horses and travel a lot. The people you will meet have been all over the world and you need to be able to hold a conversation with them outside of horses.

  1. Where do you go on holiday?

Every year I do a ten day safari in the Kruger away from horses spending time with my family.

Thank you Louis for giving us an insight into your life as a riding guide.

You can meet Louis from Cape Winelands 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 Safety, Equestrian Travel, Horses & riding, in the saddle, Ranch holidays, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, Riding safaris, riding south africa, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice, Travel news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Oliver Christen from Homoki Lodge, Hungary

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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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

“Meet the Guides” at The Riding Holiday Show – Andrew Gillies from Namibia Horse Safaris, Namibia

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 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 another legendary guide, Andrew Gillies from Namibia Horse Safaris.

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  1. How long have you been guiding at Namibia Horse Safaris?

I started with NHSC in 2011.

  1. Where did you guide before this?

Before this I guided for The Conservation Corp and Wilderness Safaris in Namibia and also Equus Trails (as a riding guide).

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

Peter Starke has been my biggest inspiration. Author of “The White Bushman”, he spoke fluent San and was the most respected conservationist in Namibia (in Etosha).  Peter Starke was my Commander in Chief in the Cavalry, and I went on to become an instructor in the Cavalry.

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

There was never a Plan B – guiding is my life and love it.

  1. People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?

It is the ideal job – out in the environment in beautiful Namibia. It’s the best place to be, especially with horses.  Every day is a surprise and there are always unexpected experiences to be had. There is no downside except perhaps time spent away from family.

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

Winston Churchill – no nonsense, just get the job done!

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

My saddle! I don’t need much in life; perhaps nice people and being in nature.

  1. What has been your most memorable safari?

Very inspired by some of our riders who in their 70’s and 80’s are still living life to the full. Some rides in Damaraland with encounters with big game are pretty memorable. During one ride we spent a half-hour watching an unusually relaxed Black Rhino. On another occasion we rode with a herd of Elephant. These experiences are rare and exciting; remember that Namibia does not have the tourist-habituated game one finds in Botswana and Kenya.

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

With a beer, grooming horses – it’s very relaxing.

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

Learn to do everything from the bottom up.  You need to experience everything.

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  1. Where do you go on holiday?

Mainly the beach or the bush.

Thank you Andrew for the fantastic images and another insightful article.

You can meet Andrew from Namibia Horse Safaris 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, Horses & riding, Ride reviews, Riding expeditions, Riding Holidays, riding holidays africa, riding holidays namibia, Riding safaris, The Riding Holiday Show, Travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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