Archive for the ‘Horses’ Category

Equestrian Escapes’ Horse Riding Holidays

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Equestrian Escapes’ Horse Riding Holidays

If you are looking for a holiday that is a bit different, and carries with it a sense of adventure, why not book a horse riding holiday?  Equestrian Escapes offers a wide variety of horse riding holidays, from Peru and Spain, Portugal and Italy, to the Uk and Ireland.  You can even take your horses with you on holiday, and learn new tricks together.  You can design your own riding plan to suit you from lessons, short hacks, half day rides to full day rides.

Riding in Berkshire

Accommodation is also varied, from pretty little B&Bs, to log cabin, quiet country hotels, to luxurious full board hotels and spas.

Here at Equestrian Escapes we are happy to discuss your perfect holiday.

Explore Dartmoor!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

We went with Equestrian Escapes to Dartmoor with our two girls, and had the most wonderful time!  Dartmoor National Park is so beautiful, and the horses are to die for!  We stayed in a lovely self catered cottage, and enjoyed a good pub meal in the evening.  Each day when we rode out the scenery was even more pretty every time, and saw a nice variety of wildlife, too – how lucky we were!  Dartmoor is really beautiful, and I suggest this holiday weekend to any family who needs a break away!

Explore Dartmoor with Equestrian Escapes

Many thanks,

Sophie and Paul

A PROPER Castle

Friday, May 14th, 2010

My Father used to love old buildings, and whilst growing up my parents used to take us around old broken down ruins and French Chateaus often tumbling down the hill side.  The usual scenario would be that we would be driving in some remote area of France, a grey wreck would be seen in the distance and Dad would decide THAT would be the picnic spot.  So, the usual climbing through thorns, and having to route around for the odd dock leaf because of stinging nettles everywhere, would ensue.  This could take a while, but Dad was dedicated.  Upon arrival, as it were, you were then made to perch on some mossy damp stone that had once been a chimney, and marvel at the arches as you munched on your bacon roll.

So, now that I was married, I thought it would be nice to stay in a proper castle.  And where better than Italy?  It really was a delight to feel the warmth of the place, and not have to zip your Musto right up to the top to prevent wind chill.  The surroundings were a complete sensation, and the castle was sheer luxury.

The Perfect Italian Castle Retreat

The beaches were as beautiful as advertised and not crowded so it was such bliss to canter along, before having the most delicious lunch.  Whilst I was thinking this could not get better, the vineyards stretched out before us, and the whole setting was breathtaking.  And that was only day one!

The most amazing holiday I have been on, a real experience, and something I would certainly suggest to anyone who is passionate about beautiful scenery, good food, luxurious buildings and above all, horses!

Many thanks, Jan Richards

Alentejo Region, Portugal…..

Friday, May 14th, 2010

If you like Portugal, and fresh fish, then the Alentejo Region is the place for you.  Fresh sardines for breakfast, cork and olive trees covering the surroundings, and the most beautiful and healthy horses you have ever seen.  It is very tranquil, and the beaches go on for miles.  Views of the Atlantic Ocean are certainly not one to pass up, and it is not every day nature’s beauty is so clearly defined around you.

The beaches are truly breathtaking as you can see

The colours of the flowers, and the varied vegetation are everywhere; be sure not to overlook it because once you are home you’re little vegetable patch will look like nothing in contrast.  If you would prefer to see the sights and not only horse ride, we were able to change it easily, and the beaches are sensational for swimming and sunbathing.  The fishing villagers are fantastic for long lunches, and walking is also gorgeous.  Porto Covo is located in a magical setting, and it is impossible for its beauty to go unnoticed.  Such a region should most certainly be explored, and I intend to go back to see more of this enchanting landscape.

Friesian Horses

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Equestrian Escapes Friesian Horse

Friesian horses must be among the most beautiful breed of horses.  The arch of their necks and the elegance in the way they pick up their feet are among the most enchanting features of horses.  None are like it; dramatic black, a noble attitude, and the size alone is impressive.  The thick, swishing tails, and the sheen in the sunlight give a magical quality to their dignified presence, and they are commonly used at funerals due to their colour and gracious stance.

In the summer, the sun changes the jet black to a more chestnut brown that ripples as they move.  The long lashes frame their gleaming eyes, and whiskers sit around the mouth.  Although they are strong and powerful, they have a very quiet way about them.  The most magnificent breed, and the perfect companion!

Bubbles

Friday, May 14th, 2010

When I was very young I had a horse called Bubbles. Named so because he had a beautiful, fluffy white coat and gentle grey spackles down his mane and back that then ran into much darker speckles on his behind.

He was extraordinarily gentle, and my first memory of him was with my mother and his owner.  My Mum had picked me up from school unexpectedly and driven me to this ‘unknown location’.  At the time, I had no idea where we were going, and thought maybe she was picking up horse feed or hay.  Then the surprise; we had come to try out a horse that could be mine!  We found him in a large green field that spread out for acres and when he was called, and whistled to, he came trotting up to the gate.  I was put on his back there and then, with a head collar, and I remember him being so so gentle.  We had to ride through a large farmyard that was then a building site, but the din and whir of the cement mixers didn’t trouble him, and we rode on together.  Immediately we fell in love with him, and I knew he was mine!

My Furry Friend

Friday, May 14th, 2010

My husband hates the idea of riding around on a horse, “the poor animal!” he would say as I saddled up my furry friend.  So, I decided to research horse riding holidays that would introduce him to it, and make him realise these are not “poor animals” at all.  I found Equestrian Escapes that tailor-made me a holiday that could cater for my husband’s lack of interest, and certainly his lack of talent on a horse, and we found ourselves in Bournemouth.

He was given lessons starting right from the beginning, and he loved it!  My next fear was that he was beginning to look like he had the potential to be a better rider than myself!  Problem easily solved – I booked myself a riding holiday with Equestrian Escapes, totally alone, so that I could ride horses somewhere breathtaking, and work on my technique all at once.  This time, my destination was Wales.

Equestrian Escapes cater for everyone, and the quality of the holidays are outstanding.  Through them, my husband and I found the Brooke horse, donkey and mule charity and now regularly donate to help improve the animals that live in such harsh conditions.  If you are an animal lover, and want to get more involved with animals and particularly horses, Equestrian Escapes will be perfect for you!

The Beautiful Brecon Beacons!

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

All I wanted was a bit of time, just my husband and myself, to re-connect and enjoy some fresh air, as well as beautiful scenery!  I have always liked horses, and have been on many horse riding holidays since I was a young girl.  I lead a busy life, and don’t have time to spend hours dipping into books and travel guides, having to sort out every detail of my holiday; I just like to get there!  So, my husband found this site, Equestrian Escapes who tailor-make holidays for people just like me.  The choice of places was remarkable, and we settled for Wales, the Brecon Beacons!

Logo

A symbol of honesty and quality

As soon as we arrived at the wonderful Georgian house, we were amazed at all the luxury!  Our room was enormous and so comfortable, and the stables were out of this world!  I was delighted, this was just what we needed.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I mounted my beautiful horse and followed our very friendly guide out for a ride in the countryside.

Once we retired back to the hotel, my husband wanted to swim, and I thought I might join him, and perhaps even check out the spa….  Woweee!  The facilities were endless, it seemed, and not over crowded so if there was ever a oproblem there were always friendly and willing staff on hand, really magical!

When it came to supper time, I was so hungry!  I opted for the ‘home grown meal’ that was simply divine; like nothing I could ever cook myself, and we enjoyed wonderful wine from an expansive selection.  And what a night we had!  All of the staff were friendly, the whole place immaculately clean and tidy, and the pool and spa were to die for as well!  In the morning, after riding out, we went to the farm where all of their homegrown produce is sourced, and again nothing could be faulted in such beautiful scenery.  Everything was immaculate and well maintained, and you could tell that a lot of love went into these, much like the horses they provided.

Equestrian Escapes, THANK YOU!!

Romance in Italy

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I fell in love on a horse riding holiday… I went alone, needing to get away from my work, and just to give myself a break. I decided on Italy, the country of love! Beautiful valleys sweeping away into the distance, the sound of running water from my Juliet-style balcony, the warmth of the sun on my face, and a waiter at my door with a large bottle of Dom Perignon (courtesy of the man in room 42).

Not to far from the castle at all

A beautiful Italian afternoon

I am not normally in the habit of accepting champagne from random men, but what the hell, I was on holiday, alone, and I wanted to let my hair down. The telephone on the side table started ringing and stopped as I gingerly picked up the receiver. “Hello?” Something swept over me as I heard this deep and husky voice from the other end of the line and butterflies flitted in my stomach. My breath quickened. I put down the phone slowly, all the while smiling to myself. The man from room 42… Hector, we arranged to meet just before sundown to ride out to the large lake at the bottom of the valley. He assured me the view would be breathtaking, and he would organise a picnic supper together by the lake. It all sounded very romantic! I decided that such an occasion meant a hair wash and tore into the bathroom to explore the soaps and other perfumed goods that you find in swanky hotel bathrooms.

Slightly tiddled from the champagne that I had managed to consume single handed, and nervous about my appearance as I made my way down to the stables. A little early, there was no one about apart from the grooms and I helped to tack up the dark mare that I was to ride. Over my shoulder came a dark shadow and I spun around to find myself gazing into deep hazel eyes, with gentle crow’s feet framing his lashes. I was shocked, stunned, and knew I should have shaved my legs! A basket picnic hamper, as promised, was saddled up with us, as well as deep red tartan rugs and some oats for the horses.

Hector was right, the scenery was spectacular and even to this day I remember every minute detail as we trotted down to the vast grey lake. The sun was setting, but the air was light with a slight breeze that played with my fringe. He commented on it, and carefully swept my hair back and behind my ears. I thanked him, but still he lingered close to me. At that moment, both of us astride gleaming dark mares, we shared a moment that will stay with me forever. And for our twentieth wedding anniversary next year, we are going back to Italy, back to the country of love, back to the many sweeping forests, back to the vast grey lake, back to the gleaming horses, and back to where I fell in love with my Hector.

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.

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