Archive for the ‘Equestrian Aid’ Category

Horse Orphanage

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

On the outskirts of Florence, Italy, there is an orphanage specifically for old police horses that have been abused or damaged in some way.  Some are very very old, some very young, but they all share in their bad abuse.  Never have I seen horses in such poor condition!  Horses respect us as man, but here it is very evident that man does not respect these poor brutes.  Some had been abandoned in stables where glass and nails peppered the floor, and they were left to stand in their own faeces for days with no food or water.  Others had been whipped so violently that large scars marked their hair as if they had been branded.

But the horse that sticks out most firmly in my mind was a little dappled grey that was missing an ear and had a long white scar down his nose.  There had been a riot some years before where the police horses had been caught right in the middle of it, and at a large disadvantage.  One of the rebels had taken out a long penknife to try to scare the police away.  He slashed at them without thinking, and cut deep into the horses nose.  With this, the police horses stepped back somewhat and tried to escape.  Looking down at himself, the protester had seen blood on the knife and saw what he had done.  Seeing the police scare and back off a little, he reached up to the horse and in one fierce sweep he slashed the dappled grey ear off, causing the horse to fly up and the policeman to come out of the saddle.

The policeman survived, and set up this home for poorly treated and retired police horses, and to this day he swears he will dedicate the rest of his life to these horses.

Be sure to check out Equestrian Escapes’ chosen horse charity, The Brooke.

Man’s best friend

Monday, April 26th, 2010
This is a picture of Angel Eyes that my mother took

Notice the white star on the forehead

If ever you feel weary, and all alone, look not to the dog but to the horse for comfort. Horses are good listeners, and will stand beside you in perfect harmony if you run your hands gently down their back, and speak with a very gentle tone. 

When I was a little boy I used to climb up to the hay barn above the stables, and perch on one of the beams above my Mother’s favourite mare.  She didn’t seem to mind, as she munched away on the hay I dropped down to her and I spilled out my thoughts, and even made up stories aloud.  This became a ritual whenever I came home from school for the holidays, and my old friend would always be there to greet me with her long black fluttery lashes and open face with a white star fixed squarely on her forehead.

At the start of the Christmas holidays I came home with so much excitement as Christmas was coming, and that meant presents!  We also had recently arranged to catch some rays on a horse riding holiday to the coast of Spain. But that night, as usual, I snuck out to the stables. I remember vividly the large wooden ladder-type staircase up to the hayloft, with slippery mould growing off it.  I treaded carefully and opened up the stiff hatch.  From there I could see the lit stable, and my special beam.  I carefully balanced along the beam and gently lowered myself into a sort of sitting position, only to look down and find the stable bare.  I couldn’t understand it and looked in the paddocks.  She wasn’t there.  In the darkness I could see no white star, and no open face.  Walking slowly back to the house I went to my Mother.  Sadly, the mare had been found lame in the paddock and had had to leave us.  I couldn’t believe it, wouldn’t!  My best friend and listener had gone and left me and Christmas was forgotten. The horse riding holiday to Jerez came and passed and before I knew it the stunning scenery and beautiful landscapes had passed me by.

As most horse lovers will already know, this is both a sad fact of life… and riding, but with riding, more acutely. The average horse lives to between 20-30 years; there are records of up to 51 years old according to many sources. So throughout a life-long riding affair it is most likely that you will suffer a loss more than once.

When Christmas day finally rolled around the corner my mum gave me a massive hug and told me how sorry she was. She knew deep down I wasn’t interested in opening presents this year but still she told me she had something for me to remember our mare by, and it was perched on the beam in the hay loft. I reluctantly walked outside into the cold and made my way over. The cold bit my arms and I hugged my T-shirt for warmth. I walked up the wooden stairs and climbed through the hatch only to see nothing on the beam. It was the first time I had been here since… So I sat down and pondered, staring dead ahead at the opposite wall. I could practically hear Angel Eyes below me. All of the memories came rushing back and as I looked below I could see her with her blotchy coat of brown and white. Except… no star on her forehead? I dropped down gently and put my hand on her cheek as I examined her closely. This wasn’t Angel Eyes! Mum opened the door to the stables and smiled. I wrapped my arms around her and my Christmas was saved.

Equestrian Horse Riding Holiday

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

These four words are absolutely vital to our philosophy here at Equestrian Escapes. When we consider a new package, or putting a new destination onto our list of “To be scouted…” we ask ourselves a few questions to help determine whether it is suitable for our style. Our style of course being linked closely into our desired impact on the customer and the overall quality and delivery of the Equestrian Escapes product range.

Question number one.

Is is fit to be an Equestrian Escapes Horse Riding Holiday? Now by fit I mean does it tick those oh so necessary boxes that we know our customers need. Have we got those vital three C’s? Comfort, Culture and Climate. I heard you laugh! I’ll admit, we let our various England, Wales and Ireland venues slip under the bar with the weather reviews but this is for two very good reasons. One; we know our own land. Two; we have seen living testament over the past few decades to the amount of dedicated riders and horse lovers who are completely willing to brave gale force 27 winds and an icey bout of rain in England. And do you know why they do it? Simple. These people love their animals and these conditions only make you enjoy the good weather more. So needless to say, we launched our domestic range and it still is a smash hit. People love a good UK riding holiday. That’s the kind of holiday they want more often than not, given the current economical climate.

Question two.

When are we getting out to this new possible destination to have a thorough look at the available accommodation, riding centers and restaurants? We refuse to reccommed something to our customers unless we know it’s good. First hand sampling of all you will encounter, bar the unpredictable… for instance, no we did not test the air for possible traces of volcanic ash. Within reason, but with dedicated dilligance. That is how we always aim to operate when considering new destinations for your next horse riding holiday.

Question three. If we have aquired good answers to our first two questions then…

How soon can it be up on the website and available to you? How soon can it be ready? We want it sooner. The way we see this near final stage of the riding holiday process is that you could be going on your single holiday of the year in three weeks time. That’s right you, the customer. So what if you’d like to go to Madrid with your family of four this year on a riding holiday, you have already seen the standard we work at and would rather find yourself a new location than a different tour operator. That is customer loyalty, and that is what we strive to achieve. We want our relationships to strengthen over time with our customers. You should feel both confident and excited about your trip just knowing that Equestrian Escapes are the people who have been with you each step of the way. It is an Equestrian Escapes horse riding holiday and you should expect no less.

The Equestrian Escapes Logo

In the future, this will be further recognised as a symbol of honesty

Dear Sarah

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write to thank you for organising the most fabulous holiday for my husband, Ben and son, Oli.  It was a total and complete all-round success!  They both just loved it – I really can’t be sufficiently effusive or grateful. 

Of course, as you predicted, the highlight was Alfonso.  He was clearly charming – attentive, kind, enthusiastic and an expert with his horses.  Both boys raved about the riding and Alfonso’s skills.  He clearly looked after them well beyond what was expected. 

The hotel worked well and they both enjoyed being in Jerez and seeing the horses.

Thank you Sarah – it was a wonderful experience that I know Oli will remember all his life.

I’m just hoping to find an excuse to go myself as I’m hugely jealous!!

All the best,

Lucy”

That testimonial was recieved just today (21/4/10). It is an unprompted thankyou from yet another happy customer about the horse riding holiday she bought for her husband and son.

Lets get started on your tailor made trip, contact us.
Alternatively seek some riding holiday advice from our qualified staff.

Or just ring us at your leisure on: 01829 781 123

Summer Shudders

Monday, April 19th, 2010

What is it about the English as soon as the sun comes out?  They slap on their factor fifty, roll up their sleeves to reveal pale and pasty bingo wings, and get all excited about the countryside!

Well, that was me, except I got REALLY excited.  On a whim I took my wife’s laptop into the garden and started surfing the internet for horse riding holidays.  The web pages were endless and I didn’t know where to begin!  Being almost computer illiterate I looked for something respectable, easy and accommodating – and there it was; Equestrian Escapes.  As I navigated my way through their clearly thought out website looking at the endless opportunities I could embark on, imagining myself in these beautiful pictures, I breathed a sigh of relief as my face began to spread into a grin.

There was Andalucía.  And Seville it would be!  The idea of a horse-drawn carriage showing off the city of Seville to me was the real clincher.  But, the Spanish country home, the inviting olive groves, the Spanish food as well as beautiful beaches needed little persuasion.

I am booked to go in a couple of weeks, and cannot wait!  Equestrian Escapes made a holiday made just for me, and I was able to choose from their many luxurious choices in order to make a holiday perfect for me.  I’ll let you know how the tapas tasted!

Ron Howarth

A long baking road

Yet another stunning day in Seville, Andalucia

Ron kindly gave us this article after becoming aware of our blog here at Equestrian Vacations for Equestrian Escapes. Soon after he wrote this and emailed it to our staff (know how you can find on our Contact Us page) he phoned up and arranged a holiday, within two weeks he was sat in Andalucia eating tapas for lunch after a great mornings riding. Now that is a good example of what we at Equestrian Escapes aim to achieve when delivering fantastic landscapes and scenery to our beloved customers. We’re here for you.

Equestrian Charity

Friday, April 16th, 2010

The Brooke horse and donkey charity works to save hardworking animals, and the communities that depend on them.  First launched in Cairo, the Brooke charity has grown, and now prevents the suffering of over 700,000 animals a year.  Such a charity needs all the support available, and relies on people like you to give generously to this very special cause. 

Why is this charity so special?

Their commitment.  Brooke charity realise the relevance of these animals to those who cannot afford other modes of transport, and need these animals to support their own families.  They are used in the transportation of water and building materials, much of which is done over harsh terrain.  These communities clearly love these animals and rely on them entirely, but simply cannot afford them the care that they need.  With very little money for their families, the horses come a close second on their list of priorities.  At Brooke, the horses come first, to provide them with the care that these communities cannot give them. 

What extent of care is given to the animals, AND the communities?

Through the charity, communities are educated in general care of their horses.  For example, in remote areas people believe in painful myths to cure the animals, which do more damage than good.  The Brooke charity work to stop these ‘cures’, and teach simple methods of avoiding lameness and other everyday problems such as exhaustion, malnutrition and dehydration.  Taking care of the horse means taking care of the community.  Extensive training is given to the animal’s owners, for example farriers, saddlers and feed sellers.  What the Brooke charity have also taken into consideration is that through helping these animals, and teaching people about them, one can bring communities together through their work.

Where will my money end up?

The money goes where it is needed, and it shows.  Today, the Brooke charity reaches communities in Egypt, Kenya, Nepal, Israel and the West Bank, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Jordan and Guatemala. Indirectly, the money goes to these poor communities who rely on these donkeys, horses and mules for their living.  A healthy animal results in a healthy income, whereby the community can then take care of both the people and the animals

Who are the people working for Brooke?

These people recognise the importance of these animals for communities.  They also strongly believe in the animal’s rights, and its value.  These people are well trained vets, ambulance teams, blacksmiths, community workers, but most importantly animal lovers!  Each horse, mule or donkey is treated with individual care to meet its needs.  These people then help to raise awareness and the level of welfare within communities, but we need your help too.

How do I donate?

You can visit The Brooke via the Equestrian Charity link below.  The Brooke charity is a prestigious and valuable society that has been recognised for its dedication.  That is why, at Equestrian Escapes we ask you to donate one pound to the Brooke charity, and for every pound we will match it.  Like many animal lovers out there, we value these animals and feel that they are entitled to a better way of life, and for the communities that rely on them, a better standard of living.  Go to Equestrian Charity to donate now, alternatively just contact us.  Thank you!

 “Working to help horses, donkeys and mules – and the poor families who depend on them”

Donkey trouble

The girls hear how this donkey was involved in a road accident but is now making a full recovery thanks to the Brooke

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