Goga Galic, Far and Ride.
On Friday afternoon I met up with my host Mate in Split and we went to Kupres. The trip was around 2 hours from Split to Kupres and it was nice, even though it started raining when we entered Bosnia and Herzegovina. When we arrived in Kupres, Mate took me to his house where I stayed for the rest of the weekend. I met his lovely wife Nada, his son Marko and daughter Ana. We had a nice late lunch and went to see the ranch where there is the stables and cabin for the guests. The cabin is really nice, a mixture of wooden beams and a rustic look with more modern features. The ranch is situated just 2 kilometers outside of Kupres town. There I met Mate’s friend and partner, Marko, and his horses. The stables are great. They clean the stables every day, sometimes twice a day if it’s winter. The horses were outside in the pasture and only the Arabian stallion Maroko and two other horses were inside (who just came a few days ago for the stabling). Mate and Marko cleaned the stables and they prepared feed for each horse before letting the horses in the stables. It was so lovely to see the horses coming to the stable from the pasture. Young, year old foals were the first to arrive followed by other horses, twelve of them in total. They all waited patiently to be put into their own box. After the horses were taken care of, Mate and I returned to his house where we had a nice cup of tea and snack followed by a chat and relaxation.
On Saturday morning, after a lovely breakfast, we went back to the ranch where I helped Mate and Marko around horses – we let some out into the pasture and saddled the horses we were riding that day. Their friend Lepi joined us and we went off to explore the Kupres fields, meadows, pastures and little hills covered with grass. Even though it was cloudy and bit chilly (12C) it was great riding. Mate rode Vidra, Marko rode Suzy, Lepi rode Casper and I rode Ruby. Suzy and Vidra were followed by their foals who didn’t have any trouble following us, they really liked the outdoors. Some of the fields were covered with water because of the rain which was falling for over 10 days. We had several gallops and canters and while riding we saw ant hills destroyed by bears in search of a fast snack. The bears avoid people and it’s very rare to see a bear because they keep away. We were crossing fields covered with all sorts of blooming flowers which are rare to find in other places because spring comes a bit late in the Kupres region. You can find a lot of purple and pink small orchids which are very rare in the UK and in the rest of the Europe. We crossed a creek several times and we went to the place where creek goes underground and then, through underground channels, it exits in a place several kilometers away. This place is called Ponor where once stood a water mill. Further away there is old burial place with rock blocks called Stecci which are ancient and people say that the bigger the rock, the bigger the man was who was buried there. We had a rest there before we rode back to the ranch. On our way back we saw a fox who ran into her den when we came close. When we returned to the ranch we took care of the horses and Marko prepared a lovely lunch. It was meat with potatoes and vegetables under Sac (a metal dome covered in coal). The meal was so delicious. We had a nice evening and we were happy because the clouds finally were clearing.
Sunday morning started great, it was so nice to wake up and look through the window to see clear blue sky. The weather was perfect, a sunny day with temperatures of over 26C. After breakfast we went to the ranch and Mate and Marko decided that we would go and see the lake. The ride was wonderful! Today I changed horses with Mate and he rode Ruby and I rode Vidra who was perfect for me. We rode through green hill tops, pastures and we crossed creeks several times. It was so nice to see little villages and fields surrounded by big mountains with trees. The sights were amazing. We were followed by Mate’s friend who took pictures for us from his dirt bike. We had several gallops and the horses are amazing – they listen to all of your commands and they are very calm and easy going. It was so beautiful when the lake appeared in the field and when we arrived there we unsaddled the horses and had a rest. I went to explore the lake. The water is so clear there and you could see sweetwater crabs which only live in clean water. The water was also full of small tadpoles and in the sky we saw eagles and a lot of birds in the forest which is next to the lake. My shirt was full of spots where insects hit me while we were riding. I suggest that riders put their bug repellent on because there are a lot of insects in the grass. Here people don’t put insecticide in the pastures and fields and the food is organic. After the break we saddled the horses and we were on our way back to the ranch. We crossed several small villages and a wellspring and both us riders and horses drank the fresh water which was coming out of the rock, it was so refreshing. The nature there was so great with green pastures and hills wherever you look. You can ride for days and never cross the same route. Kupres is heaven for people who live in the cities covered with concrete. It is a place where you can rest your soul and enjoy the freedom.
When we returned to the ranch we had grilled trout for lunch which was so tasty, the best trout I have eaten in my life. After lunch we relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful day. Later on I went with Mate to his house where we transferred photos onto the computer. I packed my bag and went back to the ranch where I waited for Mate’s friend for my transfer back to Split. I can’t wait to go back to Kupres again. It’s the place to be in every season.
Read more about this ride here: Kupres Farm, Bosnia and Herzegovina.