Icelandics in Carpathia riding holiday in Romania - Far and Ride
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Icelandics in Carpathia, Romania




Programme


• Harghita Trail

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Icelandics

Nature of horses:

Gentle, friendly and calm.

Height of horses:

13.2 - 14hh

Weight limit:

100kg

Tack type:

Icelandic Saddles and bridles

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

Horseback riding is an integral part of the traditional Carpathian scene and the naturally gentle Icelandic horse provides excellent riding opportunities. The rolling hills of the Harghita Mountains with its fresh streams, rich wildlife and dispersed mountain villages provide a great setting for getting to know the Icelandic breed or for those looking for a relaxing riding week in nature.

The Icelandic Horses' gentle, friendly disposition and calm manner make them a delight for anyone to ride, while their unique gaits provide a remarkably smooth way to travel over rugged or snowy terrain, making long hours in the saddle more comfortable.

The tour’s base is located outside the small mountain village of Izvoare, amid the forested hills of the Harghita Mountains. The daily riding program is varied, beginning with a tölt lesson for novice Icelandic Horse riders and continuing with 25-40 km daily rides on forest roads, up to great viewpoints, through pastures, dense pine and beech woods and along river valleys. The pace is dictated by the terrain with certain opportunities to tölt, but it is also tailored to the group’s riding skills. A second guide may join the group if there are more than four riders, so that more experienced riders are not restricted by slower riders. There are times when you will need to lead your horse due to the rough terrain.

This riding programme is available all year round and each season adds its own specifics and beauties to the tour experience. There is often snow on the ground at the end of March or beginning of April, with a few crocuses and snowdrops poking their heads through the bare patches, whilst in May everything is growing so fast you can almost see the grass growing and the leaves bursting forth. This is the time when the forests become alive and you can enjoy the wide variety of bird songs as the breeding season starts. End of May and June are perfect for those looking for the wild flowers blooming. The beautiful Narcissus fields at the end of May are one of the many attractions of the regions.

July and August might be the best time for those restricted by the school holidays, but if you can travel between mid September and mid October, then you can experience the raw power of the deer rut, forests dotted with wild edible mushrooms and breathtaking autumn foliage. November and December has lower temperatures, but the weather is stable with rare rain or snowfalls. End of December or beginning of January is the time when snow showers and below zero temperatures arrive in the Harghita Mountains and last until end of February. During this period you can experience riding through cold, fresh air underneath snowy pine trees and crisp blue skies. If you bring adequate warm clothing, this tour can be an exhilirating experience and the best way to explore the winter wilderness of the Harghita Mountains.

This is also a fantastic holiday for accompanying non-riders, who can book alternative tours and activities whilst the riders are out on the daily rides. Whether they choose to spend their days hiking or snowshoeing, biking, birding, fishing, skiing or joining other guided tours in the area, there are professional staff to guide them on their Carpathian escapes. If you are fond of wild animals or nature photography you can visit the 320 ha wildlife park right next to your accommodation which is home to different species such as red deer, roe deer, elk, mouflon and wild boar. The park is kept in its natural state and with the exception of minimal fencing and access roads, the natural landscape, flora and fauna are left undisturbed.

At the end of your day spent exploring the wild beauty of the region, you and your companions will love the convenience of returning to this boutique lodge based in the heart of nature. If you’ve been horse riding all day or just walking in the surrounding mountains, step into the soothing shower. With a drink from the hunting bar, warm up in front of the fireplace and admire the mountain view.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You stay in a modern and stylish hunting lodge alongside a 320 hectare wildlife park, surrounded by the forested hills of the Harghita mountains. All rooms are equipped with private bathroom.

The lodge has a large dining and living area with a bar and fireplace, plus a terrace with wood stoves.

Traditional Transylvanian cuisine is provided which also includes locally produced game meat specialities.

Breakfast is a buffet of hot and cold foods with tea and coffee.
Lunch is either a picnic out on the trail or a traditional home-cooked meal.
Dinner is a gourmet three-course affair in the large dining hall.

Vegetarian and gluten free diets can be accommodated with prior notice.

All meals are included, but drinks are to your own account.

 

Activities

Non-riders are welcomed here and there are many activities which can be booked locally. You can go hiking or snow-shoeing, biking, birding, fishing, skiing or join other guided tours in the area.

If you are interested in wildlife or nature photography then the neighbouring wildlife park is home to red deer, roe deer, elk, mouflon and wild boar.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, German

Health requirements: General good health and fitness. You may have to dismount and lead your horse over rough terrain

Age limit: 14 years or older

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, riding, meals, airport transfers

Not included: Flights, drinks, non-riding activities, insurance

 

Travel Information

Return Bucharest airport transfers are already included in the price of your stay. It is approximately 4.5 hours by car from Bucharest to the ride base. We ask that all guests aim to arrive in Bucharest by 4 pm at the very latest in order to factor in the long transfer time.

Targu Mures, Sibiu and Cluj-Napoca airports are closer but with fewer flight options. If you prefer to arrive here instead then alternate transfers can be organised for 2 or more people, and may incur a discount:

Targu Mures: 2.5 hours journey - discount of 30 euro per person
Sibiu: 3.5 hours journey - discount of 25 euro per person
Cluj Napoca: 4 hours journey - discount of 15 euro per person

Airport: Bucharest

 

Programme


Harghita Trail



Explore the rolling hills, fresh streams and rich wildlife of the Harghita mountains from the back of a delightful Icelandic horse. Ride through beech and pine forests, onto pastures and up to plateaus amidst the mountains, where you can discover the thrill of the Icelandic's special pace - tolt.

Day One: Sunday

After transferring from the airport, you will be able to relax at the lodge or take a short walk down to the horses. Once all riders have arrived you will have a welcome dinner where you will meet your riding guide and the lodge manager. After dinner you will have a ride briefing and be given the opportunity to ask questions before relaxing with your fellow guests.

Day Two: Monday

After breakfast you are transferred to the horses. You will have a short riding lesson in the arena to acquaint yourself with your horse and tack, and to learn the special pace which the Icelandic breed is famous for. Once everyone is happy and comfortable, you set off into the mountains to discover some of the highlights of Izvoare. 

Pass a restored traditional sawmill and ride through the 320 hectare wildlife park where you may spot deer or mouflon herds from horseback. You'll have a scenic view of the tranquil lake at Zetea dam and the former hunting lodge of the Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. Stop for a picnic lunch before returning to the hunting lodge for dinner.

An option either tonight or Thursday night is to join a bear-watching tour to a hide at an additional cost of 20 euro per person (payable locally). 

Riding: c. 5 hours (22km)

Day Three: Tuesday

Todays ride takes you onto the western side of the Harghita mountains volcanic plateau, through spruce forests and vast pastures grazed by sheep and cows in summer. There are plenty of opportunities to canter or tolt on this part of the trail. Stop for a picnic lunch on the scenic plateau before descending on a narrow path through the dense forest into the Tarnava Mica valley. Ride through the small village of Subcetate and back to the ranch for dinner.

Riding: c. 6 hours (37km)

Day Four: Wednesday

Today is the longest day of riding, with lots of opportunities for long canters, gallops and tolts. Firstly, ride though the village of Subcetate and then climb a steep forest road to the top of Nyulad where extended pastures and meadows reach out in front of you. After c. 2 hours of riding, stop at the ruins of a medieval chapel where your guide will entertain you with tales of local legends. Continue riding through a narcissus field where the beauty and scent will transfix you in May, spreading for 50 hectares. 

Stop at a wooden lookout tower over the village of Dealu, situated on Orhegy hill (1,009m) and enjoy your picnic lunch. In the afternoon, ride towards the 22m Sacred Heart of Jesus lookout tower located on the top of Gordon hill. Ride back to the lodge through large meadows, descending into the Csencsed valley towards Zetea dam, and finally back through the wildlife park.

Riding: c. 7 hours (52km)

Day Five: Thursday

Today you ride north from the lodge through a beech forest and then dense pine forest, climbing up into the valley of the Izvoare stream. Here you can practice the comfortable tolt until reaching a clearing called Szelesberce where you stop for a short break. Continue riding and descend to the field of Sicasau and water the horses in the stream before stopping for lunch a nearby hilltop. Return to the hunting lodge through the wildlife park.

Riding: c. 5 hours (24km)

Day Six: Friday

Today you experience lots of changes of altitude. You set out in a similar direction to yesterday before ascending along the Rakottyas creek valley and up a hiking trail to a ridge at 1,600m. During this 7km climb you will have lots of short breaks to rest. After a more relaxing half hour of riding you reach the Madaras Harghita mountain resort where you have a warm lunch on the terrace. 

After lunch, follow a forest path which the locals call Hadak Utja or the Road of Battles and descend through dense pine and then deciduous woods to the ranch in Izvoare. Here you say goodbye to your horses and are transferred back to the lodge for a farewell dinner. 

Riding: c. 7 hours (28km)

Day Seven: Saturday

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. 

NB. Please note that the itinerary is a guide and may be altered depending on local conditions



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: You should be an intermediate rider, happy and balanced in the saddle in all three paces. You should have experience riding over varied terrain and be open to learning the unique additional pace of the Icelandic horse - the tolt. You may have to dismount and lead your horse over rough terrain.
Type of ride: Centre based Trail
Total riding time: 7 days/6 nights/ 5 days of riding (4-7 hours per day)
Departure dates: 2018:
Dates to suit, arriving Sunday and departing Saturday.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£819 per person sharing

Single supplement: £54
Non-rider: £398 per person sharing