Type of horses:
A mix of Bosnian/Arab crosses, some pure Bosnian horses, some pure Arabs and some other crossbreeds. None are really bigger than 15.2hh (they average around 14.2 - 15hh or so).
Nature of horses:
The horses here are mostly forward-going though there are a few more steady options. They are rarely shod (as it's generally not necessary for the terrain).
Height of horses:
14 - 15.2hh
90kg (approx 14 stone 2lb or 198lbs)
English - some of the tack here is very basic as it is not easy to source in the area.
This destination is set in the natural beauty of the Kupres Plateau and is a lovely way to see some untouched landscapes and a little known part of the world. There are vast expanses of open space including fields, magnificent forests, mountain lakes and rivers to be explored and you will receive a friendly welcome from the hosts. This riding destination is extremely good value and an insight into the rural life of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a hidden gem for horse riders. Most of the horses are forward-going, though there are some steadier options available, and your hosts can alter the riding to suit your requirements. Riding here is generally of a relatively fast pace so riders here should be willing and confident to canter, or at least to have a go!
There is a selection of horses available at the stables and usually some homebred foals, all of which are well loved by the owners. The horses are mostly domestic mares and Arab crossbreeds but there are a few other breeds as well, all of which are sure-footed and excellent for the environment. Although life here is quite different to that which most of us know, the horses are well fed and kept on pasture in the day and in stables at night (during winter they are often stabled full-time because of the snow). They are mostly small ranging between 14hh - 15.2hh. Mate and Marko grow their own hay and oats with which to feed the horses in the winter time.
This destination is a great option for those on a limited budget who want to explore somewhere new and who like adventurous riding. It is not a luxury option but although simple, it will show you the true region and the warmth of the people. The accommodation is comfortable, clean and cosy and you are really able to feel at home there. The countryside is stunningly green when there has been plenty of rain and there are many beautiful sights to see. Riding is arranged according to the wishes of guests and your hosts sincerely hope that you will want to visit them again and again. This is also a superb destination to learn to ski in January and February - the slopes nearby are ideal for this and Mate is a great teacher. You can also ride in the snow! Other things to do in warmer months are swimming, hiking, cycling and rafting, to name just a few. It's also possible to camp during the summer!
Imagine cantering across carpets of wild flowers in different shades of pinks, purples, blues and yellows or foraging for sweet wild berries or mushrooms, heading out on horseback or by tractor to catch some crayfish for dinner, swimming in the beautiful natural lake, trying your hand at a spot of 'Kupres golf', taking a trip into Croatia to raft on the crystal clear rivers, hiking or cycling through unspoilt nature, hiring a jeep to go off-road to find the herd of wild horses living peacefully in the hills. As one guest said, this holiday is truly "good for the soul".
Holly from Far and Ride has visited this destination three times (2011, 2012 and 2014) as it's her favourite place in the world. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about this special place!
Accommodation is in one of two cabins (small houses on the farm) which have one double bedroom, one bedroom with two beds, a gallery area with single sofa bed and a double sofa bed in living area. There is also a mini kitchen area (fridge, sink and hob), toilet and shower. In addition, 2km further away there are three double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms available.
Please note that other guests may also stay in the cabin at the same time as you, unless you specify that you wish to be alone (something which may incur an extra cost). The two bedrooms are separated but in the case that there are other guests at the same time, you would be required to share use of the shower room and communal areas.
Next door to these cosy cabins, which have a log burner and TV, is another cabin which is the social area. This has a big coal cooking area, a bar and lots of seating. Here you eat your meals and socialise in the evenings - Mate and Marko will often go home before you go to bed and you can shut up the bar whenever you are done. PLEASE NOTE: you will find that the locals and other guests smoke heavily inside the bar area. There is a big extractor fan over the coal cooking area so it's not too bad, but you must be comfortable with this to enjoy the trip!
Outside there is a covered seating area with fireplace/cooking area and some chairs and a hammock.
Cabins now have free internet for the guests!
Food here is in the traditional style and homemade. Breakfast consists of items like bread, cheese, ham, jams and honey with juice and tea/coffee. You eat this in the accommodation cabin before you head to the stables or out to ski. Tea, milk and sugar are generally provided and they will buy you anything that you need. Lunch is a variety of pies, stews, goulashes and similar, always served with bread and sometimes with salad or vegetables. There are also local dishes like meat wrapped in cabbage leaves. Dinner is usually something grilled like fresh fish, chicken or sausages. The hosts are happy to find out what the guests like to eat and prepare something suitable but please bear in mind that this destination is heavy on bread, meat and potatoes!
Sometimes picnics are taken for lunch (meat and bread of course!). You will find that the meals are freshly prepared with locally sourced ingredients - you certainly won't go hungry here! They also make their own cheese and guests can sometimes get involved in crayfishing and mushroom picking during their rides (in warmer months). These goodies are then cooked up for your next meal.
Drinks are not included in the cost and the host is happy for you to pay for these in Euros. As a rough guide, a beer (0.33l) or juice is usually about 1€, a bottle of wine can vary from 2€ - 20€ depending on the quality. If there is something in particular that you prefer to drink then just let us know and Mate or Marko can get some in for you. You help yourself to drinks in the bar area and keep a tally and pay at the end of your trip, it's very casual and easygoing. You can try some local schnapps and other home-brews!
Your hosts can also organise cycling, hiking, skiing, paragliding, rafting, motorcycling, swimming, fishing and off-roading. There is also the chance to try shooting some arrows in a "Robin Hood" style competition. These activities are undertaken at your own responsibility!
We highly recommend rafting on the Cetina River which is available in June, July or August at a cost of €50 per person.
Languages: English (Mate and Marko speak English to a conversational level), Croatian, some French and German.
Health requirements: None specific.
Age limit: 12+ for riders out in the countryside.
Included: Accommodation, meals, soft drinks with meals, horse riding (approx 4 hours per day depending on preferences and riding ability) and some other activities.
Not included: Flights, insurance, transfers, extra drinks, extra activities (such as rafting) and souvenirs.
Transfers can be arranged from either Split airport (150km, approx 2.5 hrs), the airport in Sarajevo (140km, approx 2.5 hrs), Zadar or Dubrovnik. Split and Sarajevo are the closest whereas Zadar and Dubrovnik are each over 4 hours drive away.
Return transfer prices for Split and Sarajevo (includes both directions):
1 person: €80 per person
2 people: €40 per person
3 people or more: free
Zadar and Dubrovnik transfer prices can be discussed, please just ask.
easyJet often has great deals for flying into Split from the UK, as does Croatia Airlines, WizzAir and Norwegian Air.
Ryanair now offers exceptionally good value flights from London Stansted to Zadar. Zadar is a little further from the destination and transfers cost more, but it can still save you money because the flights are so cheap!
If you need any advice on flights then please don't hesitate to ask.
Alternative Airport: Sarajevo
This package offers a combination of skiing and horse riding. Kupres is a beautiful destination for riding but is also a well-known ski destination. The ski resort you will visit is about 10km by car from your accommodation and the riding stables and your hosts will drive you everyday. There are two slopes and neither are too demanding, but there is plenty to do for all levels.
All ski equipment is provided and ski tuition can be organised for those who require it. The horse riding takes place within the area surrounding the farm (longer rides are not possible in the snow generally speaking). For experienced skiers there is the chance to try skijoring, being pulled by a horse whilst you ski. They also have a set of 'three person skis' which are wonderful fun!
Day 1: Arrival
Days 2 - 7: Horse riding in the mornings, skiing in the afternoons.
Day 8: Departure.
Riding in winter is limited in accordance with the snow levels but it is usually possible to ride around 1 or 2 hours each day. Skiing is generally for approximately 3 hours each day. There are no specific hours to this programme - if you just want to ride one day and then only ski the next day, that is no problem.
If you are a complete newcomer to skiing then that is not a problem - your hosts can teach you (additional cost)! Mate and his friends are excellent ski instructors and, in fact, they taught Holly from Far and Ride to ski from scratch.
If there is an extreme amount of snow then you can ski more and if there is less snow than usual then you can ride more!
|Minimum group size:||1|
|Maximum group size:||10|
|Ability description:||Strong Novice to Experienced - riders must be capable of walk, trot and canter in open countryside. You can be of any level for skiing, including a complete beginner.|
|Type of ride:||Based stay with trail rides.|
|Total riding time:||Dependent on your wishes, usually 6 mornings with 1 or 2 hours per day.|
|Departure dates:||This programme is available in January and February.|
£609 per person.
This price includes 7 nights of shared accommodation, all meals, drinks with meals, rental of ski equipment, ski passes, transfers to and from ski resort, a go on the '3 person skis', skijoring for those with prior skiing experience (getting pulled by a horse whilst on your skis) and horse riding in the area around the farm (within 5km distance, longer rides are not possible in the snow).
Ski tuition is available at a small additional cost.
A seven night, six day holiday with riding on the 1200m Kupres Plateau, a beautiful area of Bosnian countryside. This is for intermediate riders and above who are looking for an extremely good value holiday with good horses in a little known part of the world. There is some lovely countryside to be seen and a warm welcome at the farm where you spend nights in a small cabin.
If suitable for the riders, you may sometimes ride up to 40km in a day, passing through small picturesque villages and visiting some landmarks. The countryside is diverse and includes magnificent forests and mountain lakes. Landmarks include Kukavicko jezero (lake), medieval tombstones (stecci) and remnants of an ancient Roman basilica. Nights spent out camping in the wild can also be arranged and we highly recommend trying some of the additional activities, such as a visit to the wild horses, skiing (in the winter!), paragliding, cycling, rafting, swimming, fishing and more!
From October to May (inclusive) the riding will generally follow the schedule as outlined below, though the order of the rides may be changed to account for weather and other unforeseen circumstances. From November to April (inclusive) there is slightly less riding each day, around a maximum of 4 hours per day, and you do not travel so far away from the stables due to the possibility of bad weather. Having said that the winter months are an excellent time to visit as you may well be able to ski!
Sample Itinerary (applicable from October to May inclusive):
Day 1: Arrival at the airport with transfer to the cabin accommodation in Kupres, dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Breakfast followed by a trail ride to Mt Stoer, standing at 1758m. This ride is approximately 3 - 4 hours in duration and you will return to the cabins for lunch. In the afternoon there is the option of a shorter ride of around 1.5 hours.
Day 3: Breakfast following by their 'Jaram' trail route, 3 - 4 hours in duration. Lunch back at the cabins and the option of a shorter ride of around 1.5 hours.
Day 4: Same programme as yesterday but you will follow a trail they called 'Jezero' in the morning.
Day 5: Same programme as yesterday but you will follow a trail they called 'Crni Vrh' in the morning.
Day 6: Same programme as yesterday but you will follow a trail they called 'Javorac' in the morning.
Day 7: Same programme as yesterday but you will follow a trail they called 'Mongolia' in the morning.
Day 8: Breakfast followed by transfer back to the airport.
|Minimum group size:||1|
|Maximum group size:||10|
|Ability description:||Intermediate - Experienced. Generally the rides out include all paces on a forward-going horse. Less experienced riders can ride one of the steadier horses but we generally recommend that you are comfortable at walk, trot and canter in open countryside and up for an adventure!|
|Type of ride:||Based with trail rides out.|
|Total riding time:||4 - 5.5 hours per day (approximately) for 6 days.|
|Departure dates:||Flexible dates all year round. There is snow in the winter so riding is limited (but you can ski instead, please see separate itinerary).|
£609 per person.
The price includes 7 nights of shared accommodation, all meals and 6 days of riding (approx 4 - 5.5 hours per day in total).
During November to April there is a maximum of around 4 hours riding per day and you usually do not travel so far from the stables, due to the possibility of bad weather.
NB. All guests are required to pay 1 tourist tax per day.
A non-rider programme which is ideal for families, groups or just anyone who prefers not to give riding a go. Riders and non-riders can easily be accommodated at the same time and it can also be possible to meet up during your activities. This is a lovely chance to relax and spend some time in the countryside.
Activities available include guided hiking, cycling, swimming, camping in the woods, picking fruits and mushrooms, fishing and looking for the wild horses. Except for the fishing (which is 10 per day), the other activities are all included in the price.
Mate and his family would love to welcome you to Kupres to spend some time out in the fresh air!
|Minimum group size:||1|
|Maximum group size:||10|
|Ability description:||None - this is a non-rider programme!|
|Type of ride:||Non-rider programme.|
|Total riding time:||None.|
|Departure dates:||Available from May to September.|
£328 per person.
Price includes 7 nights shared accommodation, full board, use of bicycles and a guide for cycling, hiking, swimming, camping in the woods, picking forest fruits and other nature activities.
Fishing costs an additional 10 per day.