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Holiday Report: Molise, Italy

September 6th, 2010

Holly and Promise with a wonderful backdropMolise, Italy, Valley of the Bear Trail, 2010.

Holly Anthony, Far and Ride.

From 21st – 28th August 2010, I escorted a group of Far and Ride clients on The Valley of the Bear Trail in Molise, Italy. We run escorted trails to benefit clients who may feel uneasy about travelling alone, or simply those who are looking for extra company during their holiday. The trip was without doubt a success and this is my ‘holiday report’. I hope that you enjoy it!

“In sella!”

Our Saturday arrival to the farmhouse of Astrid and Carmine, the hosts of this destination, was delayed by a few hours due to baggage claim taking longer than usual. As this was my first time escorting clients I admit that I was somewhat nervous about our late arrival, though I knew that Astrid and Carmine were easy going as Sue from Far and Ride has been there twice before. I needn’t have worried – we were greeted with smiles, hugs, kisses and drinks! It was the perfect welcome after a long day of travel. We threw down our luggage and made our acquaintance with the other guests before settling down to chilled glass of local wine or a refreshing beer. Dinner was next up and I was certainly not disappointed with the cooking which I had heard so much about – delicious pasta followed by perfectly cooked meat, bread and a refreshing salad (with melon in… an idea which I will try at home!). To round it off we enjoyed some fresh local peaches before heading to our various quarters for a good night of sleep. The farmhouse features a large bedroom which can accommodate six (and has screens for privacy), a double room available for couples and a ‘museum’ which is available for socialising and also has a single bed. The large room and museum are situated around the back of the house and have their own separate shower and toilet block. The double room in the main part of the house is next to the farmhouse shower room also available to guests.
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Holiday Report: Kupres Farm, Bosnia and Herzegovina

June 11th, 2010

Goga cantering in KupresKupres Farm, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2010.

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.
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Holiday Report: Petra Trails, Jordan

June 7th, 2010

Patrizia with one of the beautiful ArabsPetra Trails, Jordan, May 2010

Petra to Wadi Rum Trail (10 day), Patrizia M.

From 13th – 22nd May 2010, Patrizia took the 10 day Petra to Wadi Rum trail at our Petra Trails destination in Jordan. Below is the feedback that she kindly offered to share with us all by answering the questions on her feedback form.

How would you sum your holiday up in 2-3 sentences?

A breathtaking experience where no detail was left to chance. I enjoyed the striving for excellence and the company’s really genuine passion for equestrian tourism.

Overall, how did you find the holiday?

Very relaxing. I felt in safe hands since the 8th Feb when I received a very reassuring email from Jessica regarding my dietary requirements. During the tour, while having the impression that time had stopped ticking, everything was run smoothly under the guidance of experienced, capable and knowledgeable people.

What was your favourite memory?

It’s difficult to only pick out one, but I was astonished by the loving and caring manner with which the horses were accurately treated. Not to mention the fact that no request was ever denied throughout the tour. Probably the most enjoyable memory is the visit to the local children and the fire that was set up every night.
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Holiday Report: Escorted Trail, Magic of Istria, Croatia

May 26th, 2010

Magic of Istria, Croatia, Escorted Trail, May 2010

Emma Thompson, Far and Ride

Riders and ruinsThe trip began with a good flight from London Stansted to Pula and we were greeted by glorious sunshine. Petar (the owner of the horses and organiser of this ride) transferred us to the ranch and it felt good to be back in such a beautiful country after my last visit in November. After some time to relax, dinner began with a traditional home-made soup, followed by pasta with a tasty chicken sauce. Dessert was a bowl of mini doughnut pieces covered in sugar, we all looked at the bowl and said “we will never eat all of those.” How wrong we were! We drank locally produced wine and mistletoe liqueur whilst getting to know each other. Then it was time for bed so we would be ready to meet our horses in the morning.

Breakfast, served at 8.30, consisted of coffee and tea (we brought tea bags over!), bread, butter, home-made jam, salami, cheeses and ham. Some of us walked with Petar to collect the horses whilst the others went in the car. I was introduced to Michelle – a 6yr old Appaloosa mare of around 16hh. My first impressions were that she seemed spirited and a little insecure. The other horses were Vita (4yr old coloured mare, solid type), Sharon (10yr old Appaloosa, 16hh), Valentino (Petar’s horse, 15.2hh and 20 yrs old!), Victoria (15.3hh, 15yr old bay mare) and Fulia (16.2hh warmblood type, chestnut, gentle giant!). Sue and I lunged our younger horses (Vita and Michelle) and although Vita did not want to comply to start with, she soon learned to trust Sue. Michelle had nice paces and listened well.
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Holiday Report: Beach Hotel, Tunisia

May 4th, 2010

Morning lessonBeach Hotel, Tunisia, 2010

Holly Anthony, Far and Ride

During April 2010, my partner and I took a short trip to the Beach Hotel in Tunisia where I enjoyed some riding and we both took advantage of the wonderful hotel facilities. This is a great destination, both for tuition and for the trail ride, which would suit families with non-riders as well as small groups or single travellers.

Upon late arrival at Tunis airport (late thanks to flight delays), we were greeted by a driver with the hotel sign who led us the short walk to the van and loaded our luggage for us. It was a simple drive of about an hour to the hotel and although the driver entertained us with his choice of music rather than with conversation, this suited us tired travellers well and he took great delight in declaring “welcome to Hammamet!” as we drove through the tourist town. The hotel was welcoming but secure, with large gates and security at the entrance but a warm and inviting feel to it with well maintained flower beds around the car park and a jolly porter at the door. As we checked in at the reception, we were provided with a welcome cocktail and had to fill in small cards with basic information about ourselves. The receptionist gave us a meal card which detailed the dining times and then we were shown to our wonderful room – spacious, clean and comfortable. The porter explained the air conditioning before leaving us in privacy.
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Holiday Report: Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

March 24th, 2010

Swimming with the horses

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia, 2009

Plitvice Trail, Steve S.

Having arrived in Split we were promptly met by Ivo who whisked us into the town centre for a refreshing cold beer and ice cream whilst we waited for other guests to arrive. Although we were not there long, Ivo also arranged a brief tour of the city’s Palace before finally meeting the other guests and driving back to the ranch, a journey spent discussing the days ahead, what to expect and of course his horses. Whilst unloading the van Ivo asked if anybody wished to assist him in taking two of his horses to participate in a local opera and, as the other guests ran for the hills, Jane and I said “why not?” and were soon on our way to a local village. On arrival at the venue we were greeted by locals and invited into their houses to experience Croatian hospitality first hand – more food than you could ever eat and the first of the many schnapps we would encounter during our trip. Having taken Dora on stage a number of times it quickly transpired that this wasn’t just a small local opera but in fact the national opera that received coverage on the national TV and in the main newspapers. The horses were the stars of the show but this didn’t stop the local people treating us like long lost friends and giving us a fantastic start to our holiday.
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Holiday Report: Ranch Hotel, Turkey

March 24th, 2010

Sue riding on the beach

Ranch Hotel, Turkey, December 2008, Sue K.

I stayed at the Ranch Hotel over New Year 2008, and had virtually a personalized riding week, as it was the first time that they had opened over New Year. The setting is stunning and meals in the restaurant have one of the best backdrops you could imagine, looking out across the pool, past the horses grazing freely in the field below, over to the two bizarre volcanic peaks.

The riding was excellent, I rode the same horse all week (Selin) mainly because we got on so well on the first day – the pace was very fast, I have never done so much cantering, and the scenery was stunning with a great mix of snow-capped mountains in one direction and beach in the other. At that time of year the beach was almost totally deserted and we galloped flat out for miles. However if you wanted to go at a more leisurely pace, the horses were well trained and easy to control, despite gentle bits and bridles.

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Holiday Report: Andalucia Trail, Spain

March 23rd, 2010

Emma riding Lucero

Andalucia Trail, Spain, January 2009

Emma Thompson, Far and Ride

Here you will find wonderful and relaxed people who are friendly, helpful and fun. I was met by Ali (the husband of Sarah who hosts the riding) at Granada airport, who transferred me to the beautiful farmhouse. Ann, the owner, showed me to my room, which was in one of the little stone cottages. The room was pleasant with a homely and cosy feel. Ann had put the gas heater on for my arrival – it was unusually cold weather as it often reaches the teens in January. Nevermind, this was no reason to dampen my spirits!

The farmhouse is fairly simple, clean and comfortable with a cosy atmosphere. Each unit is self-contained with a private bathroom and most have their own kitchen and cooking facilities. This is where your adventure starts and ends for the trail programmes. Ann regularly works with ‘help exchange travellers’ or ‘Woofers’, who help her manage and maintain her land and farm her almond, olive and orange trees. It’s a great way to meet new people from around the world. I admired the views from the patio which extend across the town of Lanjaron and the mountain peaks of Africa! Lanjaron offers many attractions as there are plenty of bars, Tapas, places to eat, a park, the famous spa and some good Fiestas!

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Holiday Report: Mountain Farm with Trails and Tuition, Costa Rica

March 23rd, 2010

Juliet circling IluviaMountain Farm with Trails and Tuition, Costa Rica, March 2009, Juliet F.

My Trip to Costa Rica with my 8 year old son, Ray.

We had the best holiday we have ever had, it was just fabulous. My son learned to ride from scratch on a 4 year old pony called Al and I learned to REALLY ride as years of lessons had not taught me. Brenda, who was really generous with letting me ride her own lovely horses, is a very good and encouraging teacher of dressage and Elizabeth took me on some amazing trail rides.
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Holiday Report: Magic of Istria, Croatia

January 12th, 2010

The town of Motovun, Croatia.Magic of Istria, 2009.

Emma Thompson, Far and Ride

I have just returned from our new ride known as ‘Magic of Istria’. Having already visited and fallen in love with Croatia last year when I rode the Plitvice Trail, I was keen to return to this beautiful place and experience a different side of Croatia with its heavy Venetian influence.

Sue and I flew into Trieste airport because the flights to Pula are seasonal. We therefore had the longer drive to the farm which took us through Italy, Slovenia and into Croatia. Keen to explore and learn more about Istria, we were met by the welcoming owner, Petar, and we set off on the two hour transfer to his home. On the way we learnt that Petar is fluent in several languages and has made ‘appearances’ in many films as a stunt rider and even worked alongside Richard Gere. His humour, love of horses and curiosity make him a fun and welcoming host.

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