Cappadocia Trails riding holiday in Turkey - Far and Ride
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Cappadocia Trails, Turkey





Reviews



VERY GOOD!! Well organised, good order, good material and horses. Fantastic landscape. Demanding (trail) the way I like it. Much cantering!! Lovely. Ahmed and Raphael (guides) did a very good job. Friendly, careful, helpful, checked everybody's saddles and fittings. Real friends.

Leif A.
Excellent. Good horses, well looked after. On the 'luxury' holiday the hotels were fantastic. Favourite memory... taking the horses bareback into the lake for a swim!

Glynis M.
It was an amazing experience - probably one of the most unique holidays I've ever had. It was thoughtfully prepared and well organised - all I had to do was enjoy the fantastic riding. The teepees were great and the hostel/guesthouses were totally gorgeous. The food was delicious and the hosts really made an effort to accommodate my vegetarianism. The horse was great and the saddle was the comfiest I've ever used. The guide Nico was a mine of information and clearly had invested a lot of time finding unique trails for us.

Sophia H.
Very enjoyable, fantastic scenery, busy and very friendly people - both those we had direct contact with and other locals. Very relaxed and informal trail. (Favourite memory?) Cantering uphill "Wild-West" fashion to come out on top of a ridge, with an amazing panoramic view of the wild scenery. Good, reliable, sturdy little horses. (Guides) helpful and very friendly - made it like a family day out every day. (Accommodation?) The cave guesthouse was very basic but very authentic - gave us a real feel of the country and it was very nice not to be isolated in a "posh" hotel. Plenty of food - actually more than enough!

Heidrun & David C.
I'm very pleased, fantastic I would say. Good planning, good horses, the guides were so nice and the scenery was marvellous!

Christer S.
Amazing - a real adventure, test of my riding skills and a huge buzz. I had a big grin on my face, especially on the last day when we had a mad, twisty, up and down canter that my horse loved.

Kate G.
Excellent! Very active - long canters and some walking up and down steep sections. Stunning scenery - Cappadocia is beautiful! Was very happy with my horse (Tootsie) and the equipment. Guide was excellent, very knowledgeable about the area and history. Very passionate about his horses and the trails. And good fun!

Sarah C.
Incredible scenery, something totally unique to that part of the world. Fantastic long canters through challenging terrain. Very well kept healthy horses, schooled excellently and of course a wonderful group of ladies!

Katherine W
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Arab and Arab X

Nature of horses:

Forward-going, responsive and sure-footed.

Height of horses:

Around 15hh

Weight limit:

Strictly 85kg / 187lbs. If you are close to this weight then please enquire as experienced riders can sometimes be accommodated for a supplement with use of a second horse.

Tack type:

McClellan saddles and horses primarily ridden in snaffles or sometimes Pelhams.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

Experience the incredible and unusual beauty of Turkey's Cappadocia region from the back of a horse. Something like a cross between the Grand Canyon and a moonscape, Cappadocia boasts some of the world's most unusual and spectacular landscapes. Traversing the countless valleys and mountains by horseback brings riders in touch with the area's breathtaking beauty. Forget the tour buses or even the rental cars - this astonishing region of Central Anatolia is best seen from a horse.

The farm is just a short distance from the villages of Ortahisar and Urgup. Located in the heart of the national park, away from roads, it is the perfect starting point for these trails and the exploration of Cappadocia's most famous valleys. The stables are composed of 25 forward-going Anatolian Arab and Arab mares who will surprise you with their robustness and agility. They are around 15hh, the ideal size for the tortuous paths. Horses are assigned according to riding levels and riders preferences and of course, according to size.

The ranch is owned and managed by French-born Nicolas who decided to make Cappodocia his home more than eight years ago and has been organising horse riding tours ever since. Riders must be of a confident intermediate standard or above and have good physical fitness as you will be required to lead your horse at times. For this reason, you must also be able to mount and dismount unaided.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation is dependent on your chosen programme. Guesthouses are family run and typically Anatolian. There are double rooms with en-suite toilets and shower. Most guesthouses offer free internet access and a laundry service. For the luxury option, boutique hotels are used which have been selected for their historical architecture (cave hotels), special atmosphere, high quality of service and attention to detail. Single rooms can be arranged at an additional cost.

On nights where you camp, guests are required to help put up and take down their tents. Double tipi tents are provided along with floor mats and single camp mattresses. Camps have a “shower tent” with a bucket and a gas stove where you may heat the water.

Turkey is famous for its kebabs, mezes (different types of appetizers) and also very rich in vegetable and fish dishes. Central Anatolia is well known for its pasta dishes such as manti and gözleme, a hand-made and hand rolled pastry filled with, for example, spinach and cheese. Guests will be able to sample a vast array of different foods that are so beautifully prepared in this country.

Breakfast is usually continental style and is taken at the guesthouse or whilst camping, the Turkish way, sitting on a carpet under the communal tent. On most days you will ride to a local restaurant for lunch although some days lunch will be a picnic.

Dinner is Turkish style, comprising of a starter, one or two main courses and a dessert. Vegetarians can be catered for with prior notice. Water, tea and coffee are included. Cappadocia wine, beer and other drinks are available and payable locally.

 

Activities

This trail is specifically designed for horse riders, you will spend a long time in the saddle so evenings are spent relaxing. There are other activities available on the Family/Luxury Trail as listed.

Non-riders can follow a specific non-riding itinerary - this is designed for walkers/hikers who are happy to follow a non-guided trail using a GPS and guide book. The trails are 2-4 hours of hiking each day and you meet the riders at lunchtimes and in the evenings. Please enquire if you have a non-riding partner/friend who would like prices/itineraries for this.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, French and Turkish.

Health requirements: Fit and healthy, able to withstand long hours in the saddle.

Age limit: 12 years and above.

Tuition: No

Included: All riding, accommodation, meals, non-alcoholic drinks (water, tea and coffee), guiding and luggage transfer as per itinerary.

Not included: Transfers outside of set times, drinks, flights and travel insurance.

 

Travel Information

Turkish Airlines, BA and Easy Jet all fly to Istanbul, Turkey. From Istanbul Ataturk airport, you should take a domestic flight to Kayseri. There are a number of different options to take and guests should aim to arrive between 5am and 10pm. Return will be on the following Sunday morning, leaving Kayseri from 9am.

Transfer from/to Kayseri airport is available at any time of day, but will be charged additionally for arrival times outside of the above stated times.

You can also travel to Cappadocia by night bus from Istanbul or anywhere in Turkey. Buses are modern and comfortable but they are often full so you should book in advance (agencies can be found in city centres or at bus stations). From Istanbul, a one way ticket is about 25 Euros, and takes about 12 hours (with regular breaks).

Airport: Kayseri airport

Alternative Airport: Istanbul

 

Programmes


Sportive Guesthouse Trail



Leaving from the ranch between Urgup and Ortahisar, in the heart of the national park, the progressive trail takes you on a 6-day tour around Cappadocia, stopping at a different location every evening. From the peasants' Cappadocia of the south, to the most beautiful valleys of the north, a succession of fantastic rock formations, lush canyons, high plateaux, steppe-like landscape, along with vineyards and orchards, compose a surprisingly varied route. On the way, the villages reflect the Anatolian way of life while frescoed churches and other troglodytic treasures testify of the rich past of the area. Our itinerary takes place entirely within the national park.

During the week, it is possible to include a hot-air balloon flight over Cappadocia's surreal landscape at sunrise, as well as an excursion to the underground cities. Steam bath and a massage are also available at Urgup's traditional hamam at the end of the week.

Accommodation is in three charming guesthouses in Cappadocia's prettiest villages (Urgup, Ayvali and Uchisar), in front of which your horses are spending the night.

Sunday

Arrival at Kayseri airport. You will be met by your shuttle driver and transferred to your guesthouse in Urgup where you will have dinner with your guide. The transfer takes approximately 50 minutes. 

A welcome dinner will be served at around 8pm, for those guests who arrive in good time, and is a great opportunity to meet your hosts and guides.

Overnight at Hotel Surban in Urgup. 

Monday

You will be driven to the ranch in the early morning to meet and choose your horse and get acquainted with the tack. You will have time to test your horse on a 1km training course going around the farm. The trail will begin with one hour of riding through lush vegetation and along the stream of the Uzengi canyon. Villagers cook lunch for you on a woodfire at the foot of troglodytic citadels of dovecotes which have been carved out of the rock walls. 

After lunch you will ride in the stream of Uzengi and your first long canter takes you to Avlak mountain with a magnificent encompassing view of Cappadocia. The rocky hills could provide the perfect background to a Western movie. The afternoon is spent riding through a huge valley where the ghost village of Karain is situated - the horses will be settled for the night near to Karain and you can enjoy a drink as you watch them. A shuttle bus will then drive you back to Urgup to spend a second night (driving time, approximately 25 minutes).

Overnight Hotel Surban. 

Tuesday

Today starts by cantering through the fields of the high Anatolian plateau (1600m): barley, wheat, oats and beans. You will dismount to walk and lead your horse along a steep trail, single file, for approximately 20 minutes. This brings you down to Damsa lake. The villagers will cook lunch for you over a woodfire when you arrive to Keslik Monastery. 

The scenery in the afternoon is made of bare hills surrounding the lake and you will also be overlooking a valley of fairy chimneys. In hot weather you can swim in the lake with your horse. There are tracks of soft red clay this afternoon, ideal for cantering, and you will eventually reach the village of Ayvali by passing through a hidden canyon. Here you will find your hotel. 

Overnight at Dilek Tepesi Cave Hotel in Ayvali. 

Wednesday 

This morning you have a quick start with another canter, bringing you to the underground village of Golgoli. Your sure-footed horse will take you off the beaten track, following scenic paths through rock formations, vineyards and orchards, all surrounded by table-mountains. 

You will arrive to the centre of the old Greek village of Mustafapasa, visiting on horseback, and then onto a scenic plateau with a chance for another blast on your horse. After a little more riding you will reach your hotel in Ayvali once again. 

Depending on the season and the weather, lunch today will either be in Mustafapasa or next to the swimming pool in Ayvali. 

Overnight at Dilek Tepesi Cave Hotel. 

Thursday

After leaving the hotel on horseback you will find yourself amidst varied scenery of narrow tracks, small canyons, farmed land and the wide open spaces of Subasi where shepherds are still leading their flocks. You wind your way along the lush, narrow canyon of a remote village, before galloping on large sandy tracks. Today you will visit a second and different type of underground village called Kirkule. 

Another long canter leads you through vineyards and orchards, over rolling hills of white tuffa to reach the fairy chimneys of Gomeda Valley. More riding fun awaits you here as you ride through the narrow corridors and archers of the Gumuslu canyon. Riding uphill you will reach one of the best restaurants for lunch, 'Babayan evi'. This serves very good, healthy, local style food. 

After lunch in this picturesque village you can start ascending the 'twin hills' of Cappadocia to reach a panoramic viewpoint which encompasses northern Cappadocia and the towering rock fortress of Uchisar. As you ride towards the village you can admire the multi-coloured rock formations of the famous Pigeon Valley and Uchisar's charming fairy chimneys. You will reach your panoramic guesthouse on horseback and enjoy a drink on the terrace. 

Overnight at Kilim Pension in Uchisar. 

Friday

This morning there is an optional hot-air balloon flight (additional cost) in the early morning - travel with the wind over Cappadocia's magical landscapes at sunrise. 

Today you wind your way through the rock tunnels, arches and small woods of the spectacular 4km-long canyon called the Green Valley. You make a detour through the famous Love Valley and its gigantic phallic rock formations, then into the Sword Valley and Red Valley. With its citadels of red, pink and ocre rock, and its beautiful troglodytic churches, this is Cappadocia's most spectacular ensemble of geological formations. 

A cave cafe located in an ancient monastery welcomes you for lunch. In the afternoon you explore more of the Red and Rose Valleys and then further out into the fields, surrounded by the rock hills of north Cappadocia. The winding paths of the Shepherd's valley take you back (with a long canter) to your guesthouse in Uchisar in time to admire north Cappadocia in the sunset. 

Overnight at Kilim Pension. 

Saturday 

This is your last riding day and you begin by exploring another beautiful canyon called the White Valley, named after the colour of its rock. You will ride through stone labyrinths and lush vegetation, passing by more of the impressive fairy chimneys which will leave you with lasting impressions from your ride. 

On crossing the picturesque village of Çavusin you dismount for a short walk to reach the plateau of Boz daha, cantering on the crest overlooking the Red Valley on one side and Devrent Valley on the other. 

The maze of woody, sandy paths of the valley of Urgüp invite you to more pacey riding, before reaching the valley of Pancarlik and its multicoloured rock formations, gardens and orchards. You return to the ranch in the afternoon. 

After a final tea on the terrace you have the option to be driven to the hammam in Ürgüp for a relaxing steam bath and massage (extra cost). There is a short transfer back to your guesthouse for a farewell dinner and overnight. 

Overnight Hotel Surban. 

Sunday

After breakfast, departure to Kayseri airport for your flight home to Istanbul. 

NB: This itinerary is an example. In case of rain, the trail will be modified accordingly to ensure the safety of horses and riders. Please note that the balloon flight date is subject to change due to local circumstances



Accommodation: Standard accommodation includes three guesthouses/hotels: Hotel Surban (Urgup), Dilek Tepesi Cave Hotel (Ayvali) and Kilim Pension (Uchisar). It is possible to upgrade to luxury accommodations - please enquire.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Confident, strong experienced riders only. This ride includes long canters over difficult terrain and steep down hill sections where you will be expected to walk and lead your horse. You must be able to tack up and to mount your horse without help several times a day.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 6 days riding, 5-6 hours per day (averaging around 35km a day). Canters can be long, 15 minutes at a time, and sometimes technical.
Departure dates: 2021: 4-11 April, 11-18 April, 25 April-2 May, 2-9 May, 22-29 August, 5-12 September, 19-26 September, 10-17 October, 17-24 October.
 
Pricing: 2021:

Low Season (4-11 April, 11-18 April, 22-29 August): £1191 per person

Mid Season (25 April - 2 May): £1343 per person

High Season (2-9 May, 16-23 May, 5-12 September, 19-26 September, 10-17 October, 17-24 October): £1473 per person

Single supplement (standard accommodation): £212 per person.

Upgrade to luxury accommodation (please enquire): £346 per person
Single supplement in luxury accommodation: £321 per person

*Optional hot air balloon flight available at an additional cost £139 per person. This must be booked in advance in order to guarantee your place in the basket!


Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Discovery of Cappadocia



An thoroughly enjoyable stay in Cappadocia tailored to suit families, children or adults who wish to enjoy a holiday on horseback in the midst of nature. Discover Cappadocia, its culture and its magical landscape with a week spent amongst horses, goats, cows and a variety of other farm animals, surrounded by a magnificent tableau of dramatic rock formations. Learn the basics of horsemanship and take rides amongst this incredible scenery. Enjoy farm life and some easy hikes in this beautiful region. In summer time there is the possibility to spend the hottest hours by a pool. 

Below is an example itinerary and can be modified on request in relation to guest's ages, interests and ability.

Sunday

Arrival at Kayseri airport and shuttle bus transfer to your guesthouse in Ortahisar. Evening meal with your guide. 

Monday

Meet and learn about the different animals on the farm before being introduced to the horses. You will be able to get on your horse for a good introductory walk around the farm on their training course, then lunch is served. All being well, you can then enjoy a 2 hour ride in the surrounding countryside. 

Back to your guesthouse in the early afternoon for a good rest before dinner.

Tuesday

Today you will ride from the farm to the village of Mustafapasa with lunch there. Your ride back to the farm takes you through the troglodytic city of Gomeda.

Dinner and overnight will be back at your comfortable guesthouse.

Wednesday

After breakfast you will be able to enjoy a 2 hour ride in the Yatak and Tartale Valleys with your equine friends. Lunch in Uzumlu Kilise before a walk to Cave-in through the Valley of Roses. 

Transfer back to your new guesthouse in Uchisar for dinner and overnight.

Thursday

This morning you will take the chance to explore the Green Valley on a 3 hour mountain walk. A well deserved lunch in the town of Goreme will set you all up nicely for a visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum. 

Dinner and overnight in Uchisar. 

Friday

A morning walk in the White Valley followed by lunch in Cavusin. In the afternoon you'll be transferred back to the farm for natural horsemanship training. 

Back to your guesthouse in Ortahisar for dinner and overnight.

Saturday

A ride to Pancarlik Valley for a picnic lunch with the horses, then back to the farm via the scenic valley of Ortahisar. There is the option to be driven to the hamam in Ürgüp for a relaxing steam bath and massage. 

Dinner and overnight in your guesthouse in Ortahisar. 

Sunday

After breakfast and bags are packed, you will be taken by road back to Kayseri in time for your departure flights.



Accommodation: Accommodation is in two guesthouses (Uchisar and Ortahisar).
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Minimum age advised: 5yrs. Beginners to advanced.
Type of ride: Based
Total riding time: 4 half days riding.
Departure dates: 2021: 8-15 August, 15-22 August.

Other dates may be available on request in April, May, June, August, September and October.
 
Pricing: 2021:

£767 per person.
Single supplement: £173 per person.

Price includes 7 nights full board accommodation, Kayseri transfers at set times, 4 days of activities with horses, 4 half days trekking on foot (self-guided with GPS), a donkey for small children (under 30kg) to ride on the farm.

NB: Hot air balloon rides are available but must be booked in advance of arrival. The cost for this is £139 per person, however, discounted rates are sometimes available for children.

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Sportive Comfort Trail



This is a sporty ride which involves plenty of adventurous riding and cantering, as much as on the Sportive Guesthouse Trail, but is less demanding. Participants don't have to walk and lead their horses for long durations and a groom service is included, plus the programme is six nights with five riding days so is a bit shorter. There will also be an additional guide once the group becomes more than four riders to ensure personal service.

You are able to choose from standard accommodation or to upgrade to luxury hotels instead.

Sunday:

Arrival at Kayseri airport. You are met by your shuttle driver and transferred in 50 min to your guesthouse in Urgup, where you have dinner with your guide.

Monday:

You are driven to the ranch in the morning to meet your horse and to get acquainted with the riding equipment. You can 'test' your horse on the training track around the ranch. 

Villagers cook lunch for you on the woodfire, at the foot of troglodytic citadels of dovecotes carved out the abrupt rock walls. 

The afternoon is spent riding through lush vegetation and along the stream of the Uzengi canyon, heading back to the ranch. You are then driven back to Urgup where you will spend a second night (5 minute drive time). 

Tuesday: 

Your first long canter is the ascension of the Avlak mountain (in case of rain, the Avlak mountain is unrideable and will be avoided), with a magnificent encompassing view of Cappadocia. The rocky hills could provide the perfect background to a Western movie.

You will arrive in the centre of the old Greek village of Mustafapasa and after lunch you can walk among the village's old houses, its Ottoman madrasa and its painted church... or you can take a nap! In the afternoon you can ride on varied scenery of narrow tracks, small canyons, farmed land and the wide-open spaces where shepherds still lead their flocks. 

Arrival to guesthouse in Ayvali and overnight. 

Wednesday: 

In the morning you have a quick start with a canter through the fields of the high anatolian plateau (1600m height): barley, wheat, oat and bean fields. You ride through a steep, single trail down to Damsa Lake where the villagers will cook for you again on an open fire. There is an opportunity to visit Keslik Monastery. 

Passing by and overlooking a valley of fairy chimneys, the afternoon scenery is made of bare hills surrounding the lake. You can visit the underground village of Golgoli. 

More canters along tracks of soft, red clay lead you to the village of Ayvali through a hidden canyon. You will stop at your hotel for your second night here in Ayvali. 

Thursday: 

Today's ride takes you through the beautiful valleys of north Cappadocia and onwards to the village of Uchisar. You will trot and canter through vineyards and orchards and over rolling hills of white tuff to reach Ibrahmipasa, a picturesque village from where you will start to ascend the 'twin hills' of Cappadocia. 

A canter at the top takes you to a panoramic viewpoint encompassing northern Cappadocia and the towering rock fortress of Uchisar. As you ride towards the village you can admire the multicoloured rock formations of the famous Pigeon Valley and Uchisar's magical fairy chimneys. 

You'll reach the village on horseback and enjoy a late lunch on the terrace. You may spend the rest of the day exploring the village, visiting the churches of Göreme's Open Air Museum or hiking through Pigeon Valley. 

Friday: 

Optional hot-air balloon flight in the early morning: travel with the wind over Cappadocia's magical landscape at sunrise (paid directly to the balloon company).

You enter another beautiful canyon called the White Valley and then sneak your way through arches, rocky labyrinths and lush vegetation, then into the Sword Valley and Red Valley. With its cidatels of red, pink and ocre rock, and its beautiful troglodytic churches, this is Cappadocia's most spectacular ensemble of geological formations. 

A cave cafe located in an ancient monastery welcomes you for lunch. In the afternoon, you keep exploring the Red and Rose Valleys, then ride out into the fields, surrounded by the rocky hills of north Cappadocia. The winding paths of the Shepherd’s valley take you back to your guesthouse in Uchisar, in time to admire north Cappadocia in the sunset light.

Friday:

On leaving the village on horseback you will ride through the rock tunnels, arches and small woods of the spectacular 4km-long canyon called the Green Valley. You will make a detour through the famous Love Valley with its gigantic phallic rock formations, then continue on until you reach the village of Ortahisar where you will stop for lunch. 

This afternoon brings the last canters on sandy tracks lined with trees. You cross the Valley of Pancarlik and its multicoloured fairy chimneys, then you arrive at the ranch in the afternoon. It's then a short transfer to your hotel in Ürgüp.

Saturday:
 

After breakfast, departure to Kayseri (or Nevsehir) airport for your flight to Istanbul.

NB. Please note that whilst this is the proposed itinerary, the guide may change the plan due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.



Accommodation: Standard accommodation includes three guesthouses/hotels: Hotel Surban (Urgup), Dilek Tepesi Cave Hotel (Ayvali) and Kilim Pension (Uchisar). It is possible to upgrade to luxury accommodations - please enquire.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Strong intermediate riders. You should be confident on rough terrain and able to control a forward-going horse in group canters. Riders are expected to tack up and feed their own horse and to mount/dismount without help.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days, 5 - 6 hours per day (28km a day on average). Canters are sometimes long, up to 15 minutes or more.
Departure dates: 2021: 13-20 June, 26 Sept-3 Oct.
 
Pricing: 2021:

13-20 June: £1191 per person standard accommodation, £1538 per person luxury accommodation

26 September - 3 October: £1343 per person standard accommodation, £1689 per person luxury accommodation

Single supplement in standard accommodation: £212 per person
Single supplement in luxury accommodation: £321 per person


Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



The Great Cappadocian Ride



The Great Cappadocian Ride is an incredible new concept combining a spectacular trail ride with an orienteering game and an endurance race. The event is being organised by three reputable stables working in conjunction with one another to provide a large selection of quality mounts and staff. You will ride in teams of six (including one guide), spending the nights in camps. It will take place just once a year during the best season, showcasing the most beautiful and unique landscapes of Cappadocia and providing a real adventure.

This ride is a challenge involving horsemanship, orienteering and team spirit. The winners will not be the fastest team, they will be the smartest team! The ride ends with a 40km endurance race. Nights are spent around the fire in comfortable camps offering a warm atmosphere and surrounded by your horses. The ride is not purely a quest for speed and performance but designed to draw on the riding skills and qualities of each rider and their spirit of solidarity, as well as their orienteering skills when navigating the labyrinth of rocks in Cappadocia. The aim is to follow the smartest route (using Google Earth), to find all the highlighted points along the way, to respect riding times and speed, to win the challenges and to prepare your horse for the final test - the endurance race!

The first 'Great Ride' took place in 2018 and involved 27 riders, then it ran again with great success in 2019. You will be grouped with riders from the same travel agency where possible. The 5 guest riders will be in charge of their strategy and itinerary but the guide is there to help show the way through the difficult passages. 

The ride starts at Bird Paradise Lake in the Sultan Sazli National Park and crosses Cappadocia from south to north, finishing up in the fantastic Red Valley. The itinerary will let you see all the varied landscapes that have made Cappadocia so famous. 

Itinerary:

Saturday 29th May: 

Arrival to Kayseri (or Nevsehir) airport. You will be met and driven to Sultan Sazli National Park - there is one transfer which goes at the end of the day, please check your flight times with us prior to booking. . The first night is spent in a guesthouse with direct views of the wetlands of Bird Paradise.

Sunday 30th May:   

After breakfast teams will meet together and the rules of the trail will be explained. You will meet your horse and start out with an hour of easy riding along the south part of the lake, through a flat landscape ideal for building confidence with your horse, team and guide. Each team will choose their own way and you will often be able to see other riders in the far distance.

After lunch your team will have three hours to cross some agricultural areas before climbing to the crater of Yesilisar. From there you will take either a long ride through Akkoy lake and Keslik village or will go directly to Erdemli Valley for the first night's camp. 

After dinner the day's rankings will be discussed and assigned. Overnight spend in Erdemli Valley. Before you sleep your team will meet to decide strategy for the next day. 

Monday 31st May: 

For the second day the last team will set out first. You will spend about six hours in the saddle with many different riding options. The day starts on a stony high plateau and through fields and meadows which are characteristic of the high Anatolian Plain (1600m height). You will be overlooked by the volcanic Erciyes Mountain with its snowy peak. 

You will have chosen your team's route, either going around Hodul Daha or riding downhill through the Dams Valley. The more challenging route will earn you the maximum points. 

Dinner tonight will be around a big camp fire and rankings for the day will be discussed and assigned. You can debate team strategies for the next day and then will camp overnight in the green and peaceful Karlik Valley. 

Tuesday 1st June: 

Now that your team has become familiar with the rules and has started to recognise how other teams are performing, the third day will be an exciting competition! Missing the entrance of a valley could mean you lose your position. 

There are many remote canyons to visit as well as underground villages and churches that you shouldn't miss along the way. Keeping your eyes open will ensure you win a lot of points! 

Later in the day the landscape turns to wide, open spaces where shepherds lead their flocks assisted by the impressive Kangal dogs. After a last canter across the steppes you will arrive at tonight's camp. 

Wednesday 2nd June: 

Today's ride will take you through vineyards, orchards, valleys and remote villages. Finding your way through the labyrinth of Cappadocia will make it difficult to arrive in time at the evening camp! Will you take one of the easier routes or a more challenging one?

Along the way you will encounter a training course where your horse will have to navigate some obstacles (mud, gates, U-turns, slaloms) in order to score points for your team. 

Tonight's camp is in the lush Uzengi canyon at the bottom of steep rock formations cut with troglodytic citadels and dovecotes. 

Thursday 3rd June: 

Arriving in the north part of the National Park you will see the most scenic and sculptural valleys of Cappadocia: the Zemi, Pigeon, Love and White Valleys. 

The day will end after a long canter across an open plateau, overlooking the maze of colourful valleys. 

You will spend the night in the beautiful Rose Valley where a big camp party is awaiting all the riders. 

Friday 4th June: 

Today is a recovery day. After an early wake up to admire the sunrise and witness the balloons taking off close by, you will take your horse for a vet check before being briefed with all the rules and organisation of tomorrow's 40km endurance race. 

There will be an opportunity to shop in Gorëme, to visit the open air museum or to laze around. There will be an equestrian show late in the afternoon. 

Overnight tonight is spent in a hotel. 

Saturday 5th June: 

Today is the endurance race with 40km to be covered. The race will follow Belgian rules - the speed limit is 15km / h and your horse's cardio rate on arrival at the finish line will make all the difference to your score. 

Overnight in a hotel. 

Sunday 6th June: 

Departure after breakfast with transfer to Kayseri or Nevsehir airport. 



Accommodation: The programme includes 6 nights in camp and 2 nights in guesthouses/hotels. The campsites include toilets, a bucket shower (with stove to heat water) and double tipi tents with single camp mattresses. There is a communial tent for dining. Guests are asked to participate in camp life, helping to load and unload luggage and to care for the horses, although tents are put up by the staff.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: The ride is designed for experienced, self-sufficient, confident trail riders who are looking for a fun, fast ride and a more challenging itinerary than a standard trail. You won't be riding nose to tail! You will be independent riders who are riding together. You must be in good physical condition in order to cope with the distance and the difficult sections of the trail.
Type of ride: Trail competition!
Total riding time: 6 full riding days, up to 40km.
Departure dates: 2021: 29 May - 6 June.
 
Pricing: 2021:

£1819 per person.

Single supplement: £212 per person.


Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.