“Mountain to Sea- Fresh & Saltwater Trail”: Neda from Göttingen (Germany) decides to participate at an organised trail ride in Spain and reports about her riding vacation: the trails, the horses, the guide, the landscape, the accommondation and her personal experiences!
There are many different ways to travel. If you ride on a horseback however you have the unique possibility to discover secluded areas. I decided to participate at the “Mountain to Sea- Fresh & Saltwater Trail” which is organized by the travel agency “Panorama-Trails” and got to know the most beautiful spots of Catalonia.
Horseback riding in Spain: I am really excited when I sit in the shuttle bus which brings me to the fulfillment of my big dream: my first horseback trail ride. I am curious, a little bit skeptical and nervous because I do not know what I have to expect.
After my arrival in the beautiful hotel in La Palma I am already totally convinced that this week will be nothing but just wonderful. The hotel is situated in the middle of fields and forests and appears as the centre of coziness, silence and rest. I suddenly feel that my vacation in Spain has just begun.
“Panorama-Tails” organizes horseback riding trails in Spain
During the first dinner I get to know the other nine guests and our guide Rudi Stolz. Together with his highly qualified team of “Panorama-Trails” he offers a variety of riding vacations programs. You have the choice between a Beach Ride just for the Weekend, the “La Pasiòn” Gourmet Ride and many other wonderful and exciting programs. We have a delicious meal and Rudi explains us all details about the program and the week. Every participant has the possibility to tell about his personal preferences for the horse for the week.
There is a great attention on the wellbeing of the horses
The next day we go to the scenic farmhouse “Mas Alba”. At this beautiful place Rudi Stolz lives together with his 35 geldings which are all cross-breeds of Andalusian horses. Every horse lives in a big paddock box and has a lot of space. After some general instructions about the saddling and the equipment every rider gets to know his partner for the next week. Rudi takes the time to explain the main characteristics about every single horse so that the rider gets some tips how to handle him. You can easily see the close relationship between Rudi and his horses and it is obvious that he takes care about the wellbeing of every single animal. During the next days we will find out that these horses do not only look good and healthy but are also trained well and have a lot of endurance. After one week of trail riding every horse has at least one week of break for recovering. This explains the fact why the horses are really happy, motivated and powerful- and it just makes fun to ride them!
Riding through Holly Oaks and Pine Forests
Our first ride starts at “Mas Alba” and leads us through beautiful Holly Oaks and Pine Forests. We all have some time to get used to our horses and very soon I am sure that my horse Flamenco and I fit together very well. Besides me, all the other riders seem to be really happy with the choice of their horses too and once more we are convinced that Rudi has a great sense for humans and horses.
For our first lunch we make a break at a beautiful river. In the shadow of the tries we find a lovely laid table. Juanito, who is only called “Buffalo”, is the cook and fulfills all dreams. He is an original Catalan and offers the best Catalan food you can imagine: typical sausages, salads, self backed bread with garlic spread and original “cava” (Spain quality sparkling wine): after a visit at the “Buffalo” restaurant no one stays hungry or thirsty. Everywhere you can find little but lovely details like the checked tablecloth or the beautiful bouquet on the table. I have the impression that all members of the team do their very best to make every guest feel as comfortable as possible. The atmosphere is unique and I already know that I will never forget this great vacation (Surftip: Riding vacations in Spain).
The landscape of Catalonia is stunning and offers a great variety
We ride through the ravishing beauty of Cork Oak, pine and mixed forests or canter along the river Fluvia. Everywhere we can see parts of the Catalan agriculture in form of blooming vineyards or olive groves. From time to time we cross one of the little and charming villages with their unique architecture and hear how the hooves of our horses drub on the cobbles while we ride through the lanes. I will never forget all the different impressions and views: The panoramic view on the Pyrenees while crossing a mountain pass or the impressive rocks of limestone in the Garrotxa Nationalpark where just unique and unforgettable. Rudi guides us to areas you can definitely only reach by horse. We ride through the National Park of the Albera Mountains and along beautiful and nearly magical rock formations. Our horses take us up the hills of Rodas before we have an amazing view on the sea which will be our final destination.
Our trail ride leads us through secluded and beautiful nature
Rudi once discovered all the trails on his own and decided to choose them for the trail rides. We rarely ride along a street but instead just cross secluded and unspoiled nature. We never meet anyone else and are always excited to know which beautiful landscape we will pass next. When we have to ride along a rocky decline you can even have the feeling of great adventure. There is a sudden silence and you feel the concentration of every rider and horse. Rudi advices us not to concentrate on our horses but only on ourselves. He is right because the horses are used to the trails and absolutely sure of step. My horse Flamenco does not show any unsureness but brings me safe and without any problems to every single destination.
Some parts of the trail offer adventure and challenge
Along the trail we have to handle several challenges. Once a fallen tree blocks the way and there is no way to pass it. Rudi stays relaxed and just gives me the reins of his horse before he takes out a little handsaw and starts to cut the tree in little parts. It takes some time before the way is free again but all horses stay calm and relaxed. I have the impression that Rudi’s calmness gets transferred to the horses and riders. He knows how to handle the group and finds the perfect mix of challenge and relaxation. I always feel one hundred percent safe and know that Rudi has an overview and control over the whole situation. Even if a rider gets a little wound or one horse loses his horseshoe (what actually happens quite often) this does not disturb the relaxed atmosphere. Everything is just alright and Rudi solves all problems before we go on.
Generally we ride quite fast. However there is always enough brake for recovery and relaxation. I especially enjoy the long periods of canter through the forest or valleys. All riders are really impressed by the endurance of the horses and their willingness to run. Moreover they convince with their attentive perception and guardedness: they do not even have problems to cross a river bed with its stony and uneven ground.
Swimming with the horses in the lake
This definitely is one of my personal highlights! For nearly all of us riders it is the first time that we swim together with a horse in a lake so that we pay great attention to Rudi’s instructions. After he demonstrates us how to do it (he goes into the water with his horse Platano) we enter the water one after another. We all are really excited but again the great horses guarantee a perfect experience without any problems. My horse Flamenco just follows me into the water and we swim together. An incredible experience which I would definitely recommend to everyone! And now I know that you really do not need to be scared at all!
Cozy and typical accommodations
Not only the landscape and nature but also every single accommodation is beautiful and unique. We sleep in regional guest houses or little and cozy hotels far apart any kind of mass tourism. In the Pyrenees we sleep in little cottages and in the morning we have an impressive view on the mountains. In the little village Espolla we even spend the night in a little and old castle which has his very particular and characteristic charm (Surftip: Private Holiday homes in Spain).
Wherever we come we can feel the close relationship between Rudi and the respective landlord. The welcomes are always very warm and more than just friendly. We feel really comfortable and enjoy the delicious meals and the sometimes very characteristic and unique rooms and furnishings.
200 kilometers and 6 days on the horseback
After 200 kilometers and 6 days on the horseback we finally reach or destination: the Mediterranean Sea! I already become a bit sad and do not want to think about saying goodbye. One last time we eat in the restaurant “Buffalo” and drink our “cava” directly at the beach. It is the perfect last night of the trail ride and I am sure that I will come back soon. I become even sadder when I have to say goodbye to my horse Flamenco which was a great and very reliable partner for the whole week.
Here you can find more information about this trail ride and other offers for trail rides in Spain:
Travel report written by Neda from Göttingen/Germany
—All statements without guarantee—