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Holiday Report: Portugal Showjumping and Dressage

December 3rd, 2015

Portugal Showjumping and Dressage, 2015.

Natalie Garner, Far and Ride.

In September this year I travelled back to Portugal for a long weekend in order to visit our wonderful partners at our new Portuguese Showjumping and Dressage destination. Located just ten minutes from the town of Abrantés, right on the banks of the river Tagus in the very heart of Portugal, the riding centre is a very professional outfit owned and run by Vitor and his wonderful daughter Filipa. Along with their hard working and dedicated staff and instructors, the centre is a great location to practice your riding skills and learn some new techniques, as well as regularly playing host to National and International competitions.

Instructors Jorge and Paulo are both professionals in their respective fields and are happy to share their vast knowledge and experience with their pupils. By the end of the first session, their kindness and gentle encouragement really help me to feel at ease, relax and enjoy my time in the saddle. By the end of my stay, I am confidently jumping small courses of showjumps, as well as performing advanced dressage movements such as half-pass and piaffe with great familiarity. But of course, the horses are of the utmost importance and those whom I have the privilege to ride are all comfortable and pleasurable to deal with. For my dressage lessons I enjoy the company of two beautiful Lusitano horses and in the jumping no less than three fantastic and dynamic warmbloods.
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Packing for a Riding Holiday

June 11th, 2015

PACKING FOR A RIDING HOLIDAY

Written by Holly Anthony, Owner and Travel Advisor at Far and Ride.

Riding in Latvia

Photo from Gauja National Park, Latvia

 

Here are some tips to help you pack for a horse riding holiday. Your packing needs will depend on what sort of riding holiday you have booked, the time of year you are travelling, the country you are going to and also your own personal needs, but hopefully these tips will help you with the basics. The lists are by no means exhaustive… I haven’t even gone so far as to mention taking your passport and you might not get very far without that! If you are heading out on a Far and Ride holiday soon then you will receive a packing list from us which relates specifically to your chosen holiday, though you should feel free to contact us at anytime if you need some advice on what to take.

The following is based on my own personal experiences and following my good fortune to have ridden in almost 20 countries worldwide (with more to come!). There is nothing worse than finding yourself abroad on an adventure feeling unprepared, cold or uncomfortable so I recommend that you take some time to plan what you are taking with you. I like to write myself an elaborate list in the week before I go and then I don’t let myself leave the house until everything is ticked off!

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Holiday Report: Dordogne Farmhouse

November 4th, 2014

Dordogne Farmhouse, France, July 2014. 

Natalie Garner, Far and Ride. 

In July 2014, I went to visit our new partner ride – the Dordogne Farmhouse – in the beautiful Dordogne region of Southern France.

Arrival Day

Arriving into Limoges on Monday, the weather was clear and cool. As my RyanAir flight touches down on the tarmac, the small, modern, glass fronted airport comes into view; a sense of quiet peace hangs over this whole area. Passing through the double doors which separate “luggage collection” with “arrivals”, I scan the room beyond. My first impressions of Gill, are of a lady who is down to earth and resilient and, as a nervous single traveller, I am relieved to find that she is very amiable and quite happy to talk to me about her business, and life in France – I feel I can begin to relax! Gill has collected me in her own car, so with the sun shining we begin the 55 minute drive to her farmhouse in the Perigord-Limousin Regional Natural Park. The countryside I witness, as we drive down the sleepy “main” roads of this region, is green, undulating and fertile. Arriving to the farmhouse, I am greeted by the boisterous characters – Lily and Rosie. The house itself is built of a yellow granite stone – most probably quarried from small mines somewhere on the property – off-set by beautiful mint-green shutters and doors as well as elegantly draped grape-vines and honeysuckle flowers. Inside, the house has a warm and homely feel, with tasteful decoration and a cosy kitchen-lounge. My room, “Aubére”, is clean and comfortable and features some glorious modern innovations; an electric power shower and large flat screen television, as well as some more character features such as wooden beams and bare stone wall behind the head board. Overall, my first impression is of an inviting and contemporary country cottage.
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Holiday Report: Dahab Adventures

March 26th, 2014

Holly and Ronaldo in front of the Blue Lagoon

Dahab Adventures, Egypt, 2014.

Holly Anthony, Far and Ride.

“Want to go for a bit?” – Sam

In February 2014 I went out to visit our new partner stables in Dahab, Egypt, to learn more about the setup and sample the riding. Having already met one of the owners, Emma, back in December, I felt that I had a good grasp of the services they were offering and the sort of experience our clients should expect, but nothing is better than sampling it for one’s self! I flew into Sharm-el-Sheikh which is around an hour’s drive from Dahab Paradise, the hotel where I would be staying for the three nights of my trip. As well as based stays with hotels they also organise safaris/trails into Naqb National Park or to St Catherine’s Monastery, which include nights spent at Bedouin camps for an authentic experience. These are wonderful choices for experienced riders who also want to sample the wildlife and history of the Sinai Peninsula.

I had heard about the delights of Dahab from friends, who assured me it is a relaxed and welcoming town, famed for its peaceful atmosphere and incredible diving opportunities. Travelling in the midst of Egypt’s political troubles, I wasn’t too sure what impact this would have had on the area but I needn’t have worried – I felt perfectly safe from the moment our plane touched down in Sharm. I was picked up from the airport and we stopped off at the stables so that I could meet the other owners, Sam and Ali. They live on site, tending to the horses day and night, and I would soon learn that they are experienced horsemen and knowledgeable guides to boot. I would be riding with Sam during my stay but enjoyed many a conversation with Ali and it was evident that the care of both the horses and the guests is very important to him. I found the stables to be in excellent order, clean and tidy, with all of the horses happily munching away on their dinner. I couldn’t wait to see them all again in the daylight and to saddle up for some horseback exploring!
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Holiday Report: El Bronco Ranch

November 20th, 2013

El Bronco Ranch, Hungary

Holly Anthony, Far and Ride

Holly riding Panna

 

I visited El Bronco Ranch in May 2013 as part of a group of women who stayed at the ranch for a week. We went primarily for horse riding (of course!) but also to enjoy some of the ranch’s other activities such as a visit to the local cheese factory, a palinka tasting and even some line dancing! It is a wonderful destination for groups as the ranch has an open, sociable feel to it but it also welcomes single travellers, couples and families with open doors and warm hospitality. It is an affordable riding holiday destination and easily accessible from Budapest airport (transfer service available) which can be reached by many low cost airlines. Another benefit is that the ranch is open all year round and can offer great riding activities regardless of the weather – with an enormous indoor arena and sandy riding tracks, which provide excellent footing regardless of the temperature, riding in winter is no problem. They have also recently opened their wellness centre complete with jacuzzi and three types of sauna – the perfect way to warm up after a ride on a chilly day! Equally if you travel during peak summer then their outdoor pool is ready and waiting to cool you down after a ride in the warm sun.
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Escorted Trips for 2014

November 18th, 2013

Escorted Rides – ‘Ride with us!’

Every year we run a number of ‘escorted trips’ when one of us from the Far and Ride office joins a riding holiday. These trips are ideal for single travellers who are looking to join a like-minded group and they are a wonderful way to travel with peace of mind, make friends and enjoy great horse riding around the world.

In 2014 we have already been to Egypt and Botswana with a Croatia trip soon approaching. We have a few rides still available this year and if you are interested to join us then please get in touch for more information – we’d love to ride with you!

If you are a single traveller and unable to make one of the trips below, don’t despair. We have a number of riding holidays suitable for you and we can often match you up with others in the same boat.

For 2015 we have plans to ride in India, Kenya and Iceland, amongst other places! We’ll update you about those trips as soon as they are confirmed.

NB. None of our prices include flights or travel insurance but of course we can help you to organise these. Please just get in touch.
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Holiday Report: Catalonia Trails

November 13th, 2013

Holly and Al-HattalCatalonia Trails, Spain, 2013. 

Holly Anthony, Far and Ride. 

From 15 – 22 September 2013 I joined the Mountain to Sea Trail at our Catalonia Trails destination in Spain. I accompanied two clients, both single female travellers, and we were joined by a variety of others from Austria, Sweden, Germany and Holland. A Dutch lady on this trail was visiting this riding set up for the 14th time and goes twice a year! The trail starts and ends at the farmhouse of Can Muni in the small village of Pins and takes you on a wonderful adventure to the beach, fascinating medieval towns, up into the mountains and back again. It is a great ride for the practiced rider, capable of riding at all paces and over difficult terrain, and I would like to share my thoughts on it with you. Forgive me for the length but I didn’t want to miss anything out!

On the departure Sunday I started reasonably early and took a lift to London Luton airport for my flight to Barcelona. These riding holidays have set time group transfers and so I was to be collected at 6pm from Barcelona airport, along with many of the other riders. The meeting point at the airport was easy to find and the driver held a sign for us, ticking off our names from his list to ensure everyone was there. From here we made our way to Can Muni travelling via Girona airport to collect some other riders. After a little over two hours we were safely delivered to Can Muni and shown to our rooms. The farmhouse is owned and run by Juan and Isabel who speak very limited English but were always willing to help us, dashing around to carry bags and make sure everyone was OK. The real part of hostess is played by Birgit who is an experienced horsewoman and former guide (she still guides occasionally but has mostly retired due to injury) – she made sure that everyone knew what time to meet for drinks and dinner and that we all found our rooms. The rooms here are rustic and simple but clean and comfortable, each with their own bathroom. The buildings are in the traditional stone style of the area and there are some communal areas such as the dining room, sitting area and the covered terrace where we sometimes ate. There is also a magnificent pool and the stable yard is just a few metres from the farmhouse buildings, perfect for those who just can’t keep away from the horses!
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Holiday Report: Wellness Weekend, El Bronco Ranch, Hungary

October 31st, 2013

Kiskunsagi (El Bronco) Ranch, Hungary, 2013.

“Hungary for More” by Gemma Fielden. 

Sun, sand, spa… horses? At least three things you can expect to be wowed by at El Bronco Ranch, situated in the beautiful Kiskunsági National Park. The crickets are chirping, the horses are neighing and the jacuzzi is bubbling!

You are free to explore the ranch to your heart’s content and will always find an array of friendly horses (and adorable foals) who will vie for your attention. With their grassy verges, sandy corrals and picture perfect paving, you can discover the hidden gems of the ranch at your leisure. Watch a stallion in his daily training, go hiking through serene forests, gallop along miles of sandy trails or perhaps you’d rather relax with a detox in one of the three different types of sauna available to you all day, every day. Whether you are horsey or not, there’s something for everyone at El Bronco.

If you are taking a trip here for the horses and the Western riding experience you certainly won’t be disappointed. With quaint Quarter Horses, pretty Paint horses and handsome Hungarian half breeds you will be personally matched to the horse of your dreams! Well-behaved and each with their own individual personalities you won’t be able to help falling in love, I know I did. The only bad part is that you can’t bring them home with you… airlines tend to frown upon that sort of thing!
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Escorted Trips for 2013

February 25th, 2013

Escorted Trips for 2013

For 2013 we have organised four group trips (so far!) which you are welcome to join. These ‘escorted’ rides are ones which one of us from the Far and Ride office will join ourselves and they are an excellent option for single travellers looking to make new friends. Single travellers can be accommodated on almost all of our riding holidays (and in fact make up a large proportion of our customers) but we find that there is more and more interest in joining one of our escorted trips. Not only are you guaranteed some likeminded company but these dates are also more likely to gather several bookings, therefore creating a friendly group with the same interests and usually of a similar riding level. We’ve been running these trips successfully for the past few years now and have really enjoyed meeting new people and sharing wonderful riding experiences around the world.

Have a look at the options available so far and get in touch if you’d like to join in. If these dates don’t work for you then please contact us anyway as we can often match you up with other riders in the same boat. Many lasting friendships have been formed this way!
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Holiday Report: Catalonia Trails, Spain

February 20th, 2013

Catalonia Trails, Spain, 2013

Sue Woodbine, Far and Ride. 

In January 2013 our Managing Director, Sue, visited our Catalonia Trails riding destination in Spain. These horseback holidays were formerly known as ‘Can Jou’, an extremely popular outfit with an excellent reputation. The trails have now been revamped and are better than ever! Here is Sue’s report…

“I have recently returned from a short trip to Catalonia to see the new base for the horse riding holidays which were formerly known as ‘Can Jou’. The trail routes, team and horses have now moved to a different farmhouse called Can Muni in the Costa Brava – a traditional Catalan farmhouse situated in an area which is easier to access than the original farmhouse and with plenty of wonderful trails on the doorstep. Rather than joining one of their set trails, I was just making a short visit, out of season, to learn more about the destination for our clients.

I flew into Barcelona and was met by Anna in the new minibus that is going to be used for transferring the guests. The drive to the farmhouse is scenic and I was very happy to settle down and take in the sights and the sunshine. Set time transfers are available from Barcelona or Girona airports – there are more flights into Barcelona but Girona is closer to the farmhouse. We arrived at Can Muni which is situated in a tiny hamlet in the heart of the countryside. The accommodation is based around a 17th century farmhouse surrounded by stone cottages which have been converted from ancient barns. Catalan architecture remains at the forefront but the renovated barns have modern facilities, whilst still retaining all the characteristics of the original buildings. I was shown to my room which is based in one of the cottages adjoining the main farmhouse – the cottage has two double bedrooms, each with a modern ensuite shower room. There is a comfortable lounge area with a wood burning stove and TV which extends into a large kitchen area with a welcoming table.
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