Testimonials ~ Europe
Spain - Gredos Mountains
“Maria Elena is the most amazing person and absolutely made the trip. My horse was perfect for me. The company on the ride was friendly and we all looked out for each other. The rides were well thought out for the hot temperatures. The FOOD !!! OMG amazing.” RT (New Zealand)
“An amazing ride - I was impressed by the perfect organisation. Maria Elena is a wonderful guide.”
"It was all absolutely excellent – so well organised, great company, fabulous rides and of course horses; stunning scenery; amazing food and attention to detail…. Really absolutely fantastic. Maria is such a special lady – determined to bring out the best in everyone, game for anything, lovely, witty , charming, generous, patient, dedicated…. A total pleasure from start to finish and we all loved it…”
A special break for me, and one that I would recommend to all. With particular thanks to Maria Elena who was utterly professional, funny, informative and passionate about her lifes work."
“It was wonderful from start to finish and as much as we were all looking forward to it, the whole thing completely exceeded our expectations. I loved discovering the Gredos Mountains - what a beautiful and varied area, spectacular scenery and we had a week of uninterrupted sunshine which is very lucky in October I gather. Marie Elena was a wonderful guide, so warm and generous, full of fascinating information and her team were all excellent too. The horses were beautiful, lively and fun to ride but so well schooled so that we all felt really well looked after by them. I also loved seeing how beautifully they are looked after and their herd lifestyle which clearly makes for very happy, relaxed animals. The organisation of each day was amazing and so well planned so that aperitifo and lunch stops appeared just when you were feeling like a break! It was also a total bonus to find some beautiful rivers to swim in. I really enjoyed the mix of places we stayed in and for me the stand out ones were night 3 (Lola's) for it's location and after dinner drinks on the terrace star gazing and night 5, another beautiful location, felt like a mountain hideaway but arriving there to be met with large G&Ts to sip whilst watching the horses roll was heaven! I sincerely hope to be able to book another Ride World Wide holiday sometime in the future with high hopes or persuading Ed to join me, just need to get him riding first! Many thanks again.”
“Maria Elena and her team were amazing, and ran everything with such attention to detail. The horses were beautifully cared for and schooled, and the ‘aperitivo’ and lunches were outstanding. All the places we stayed were charming and very comfortable.”
“Where do I start? The scenery and the wild flowers in bloom. The horses, particularly Nemo. The hosting of Maria Elena. The picnics. The support of Maria Elena’s team. My special birthday ‘surprise’… She has a fantastic set of well trained horses who are a joy to ride. Her logistics work well in the background and everything seems to run like clockwork. The pacing of the ride builds progressively as the week goes on and the riders become stronger. We will recommend this trip to our friends and plant to do another in the next few years - can’t wait to return”.
“Maria Elena was a fabulous guide and I can’t wait for my next ride!”
“Maria Elena was exactly as wonderful as in the reviews on your website. The weather, the scenery, the wild flowers were glorious, the deluxe picnics produced out of the van incredible, the horses keen and well looked after. I was really sad to say goodbye to my companions, we all had such a great time and I do hope I can do another holiday with Maria Elena sometime. THANK YOU!”
"BEST VACATION EVER. Will do it again"
"the Gredos ride was one of the best! The scenery was breathtaking. The wild flowers display magnificent. The accommodation was good, as was the food. Our host, Marilena, was exemplary and, above all, my horse was super. I didn't have to do a thing! It was a very congenial group too. In summary, I had a GREAT trip! Am thinking of Seville next year after hearing promising comments by some of the group".
Highlights: Lovely changing scenery, excellent organisation, horses and tack; To be able to ride the horses to the overnight and leave them just outside and go and see them in the morning; The service given by the support team; A couple of really exceptional hotels to stay at; The Lunch on the last riding day was fantastic!
Maria Elena is a wonderful host and an excellent riding guide. She has some really well kept, happy horses who are a joy to ride. Her organisation of the support team and her attention to detail means that pretty much everything runs like clockwork. Due to my weight, I had to borrow Nemo who doesn’t belong to Maria Elena and was a bit of a handful to ride. He is an excellent horse but is more highly strung than most of her horses. We did have a good week together once Maria Elena showed me the tricks to riding him”.
Highlights:"The quality of the horses; The scenery; The organization being so good made for a relaxing holiday. Food and wine was amazing.
A couple of the days were very long - very well managed with breaks etc and it is probably not feasible to shorten them. The whole trip was brilliantly organised and delivered, Marie Elena strikes just the right note, professional but also good fun. The Booklet we were given with maps, commentary etc was excellent, with the other rides in Europe I have been on we have barely been able to get hold of detailed map of the route".
Highlights:"Too many to mention but the care of the horses, food, drink accommodation, scenery, attention to detail to enhance our experience buy the guides and support crew.
"I did not think anything could top Sicily last year and friend’s experiences of Marie Elena’s rides were wholly accurate and surpassed my expectations".
“ just to say that Marie Elena's Gredos ride was by far the best one we have been on, except for Patagonia, and actually riding in the mountains with a 360 degree vista and no sign of civilization was very similar to the Andes when we were out in the open and not deep in the vegetation on the old trials. The cattle and horses we saw en route were lovely and her organisation was 100%. Horses and tack again perfect and the attention to detail extraordinary - Amanda misplaced her new sunglasses and magically it was arranged they should be dropped at a petrol station and our taxi stopped on the way to Madrid and we picked them up. The Parador hotels were beautiful and the pace of the ride was excellent. On the Wednesday it is a half day and the hotel had a pool, hot tub and sauna. We had some good visits to castles, wine shops, where Nigel made a purchase and could not have enjoyed ourselves more”.
“ Very well run, with excellent horses, we were even able to handle a foal, Bonita, born recently. The noises of running water and cow bells. There are many streams/pools/rivers in what I had thought was an arid area. We had a hot and sunny week but there were breezes and it was not uncomfortable riding weather. The beautiful and varied scenery, and the opportunity to observe village life and traditions. Fabulous Spanish food, particularly the meal prepared in the fisherman’s hut by the river. The availability of swimming in freshwater pools most lunchtimes for those that wanted it”.
“ I do not know where to begin … it was all excellent. I loved my horse totally and Maria Elena was fantastic company and a great ride leader. I really appreciated the stops for the aperitifs and the quality of the lunches was super. The hotels were great as was the catering in the evening. The scenery was stunning and the amount of riding was just right. The pace was great with lots of opportunity to canter. The swimming in the rivers at lunchtime was also much appreciated. All in all it was fabulous!”
“ The enthusiasm and professionalism of Maria Elena and her team. Forward going and independent thinking horses. The beautiful scenery and riding terrain. Swimming at lunch time. Excellent food and wine throughout and the accommodation at El Milano Real.
Adding the gastronomic aspect to this trip really differentiated it. I was initially sceptical about whether I would have the energy to think about cooking after spending time in the saddle, but it was impossible not to be enthused as we were talked through (and given samples of) local techniques and recipes by such experts as Paco and his equally passionate team. I am now planning my Spanish tapas dinner party where there will be at least two, if not three, different variants of Gazpacho”.
“Maria Elena’s ability to ‘marry’ the rider with a suitable horse was most impressive. She was kind, considerate and a brilliant hostess. I am very grateful to her for making the holiday so enjoyable. I did hope to lose weight during the week, but the food and drink was abundant and I, obviously, too greedy! Highlights - Silver Service outdoor and with stunning views, on the final day” (JC, Dorset)
“Initially I thought it was quite an expensive holiday but on my return I would describe it as being cheap for everything it included. I hope to return which I certainly did not expect prior to going. My neighbor has just remarked that he has not seen me looking so refreshed and happy for a long time”.
"I have to say I had a great time on my holiday! I really enjoyed it and was bowled over by the Gredos Mountains and the riding, couldn't have asked for better. It is a perfect place to ride, with wooded valleys and then the high hills with fantastic views….lovely wildflowers and broom to ride through. Maria Elena was such a great hostess, fun and full of energy and so interesting and friendly. She looked after us superbly in all respects…The horses were beautifully looked after and cherished and obviously cared for greatly which for me made the ride as you felt they enjoyed is as much as we did. The wild flowers were superb just as you predicted!
The evening food in the Parador isn't perfect but quite honestly we had such superb 'aperitivo' and lunches on the ride that would have been sufficient! The breakfasts were delicious!
So yes, thank you for arranging a great holiday. I do hope to return at some point maybe to do the Segovia ride...."
" Maria Elena is a superb organizer. Everything went like clockwork and her staff have the same very professional attitude to making sure everything is just perfect. We were perhaps, lucky in that our group was great fun and, while being serious about our riding, had many, many laughs along the way. The wild flowers and variety of landscape were outstanding".
"Fantastic horses, beautiful attention to detail in rides, swimming at lunchtime, great food and company. This was a wonderful trip, each day was different, it just kept getting better and better. Maria Elena is a wonderful guide, host and companion. Planning our next trip to her!"
"when filling in those forms it always looks a bit creepy when only the Excellent box is ticked, but I really thought, as did all our team, that the three days could not have been bettered. Maria is just the best host, the horses were terrific and the riding was really good fun. The setting there is amazing and each day was different and perfect.
As people that hunt we are used to bombing around like lunatics and there was a worry that it would all be a little tame, but it was terrific in every way. The walking through glorious country, the stopping and swimming and eating - all fantastic - truly. So thank you".
"Landscape, rivers, mountains, getting away from it all. Forward going well behaved horses. Size of the group was excellent. Standard of riding was good all round, which made it easy to relax. Maria Elena is a wonderful guide, so experienced (with brilliant English). Her calm and positive approach made for an excellent holiday. Her longstanding association with the area and affection for it was clear. So glad I went, Many thanks".
“Maria Elena is an amazing guide and hostess. She is kind efficient, thoughtful and always makes sure everyone is happy and all goes well. She is a mine of information about the (very interesting) area”
“I loved it. I was nervous beforehand. Horse selection perfect. M-E kept an eye on me. Generally excellent. We will definitely be back”
"A simply brilliant week! Maria Elena was as thoughtful and generous a host and as impressive a horsewoman as ever and I had my favourite horse again who was in even better form than he was ten months ago. The snow of the first day turned to hot sun by the end of the week and the smell of broom, lavender and thyme was heavenly. We had an exceptionally nice group of riders. Can't wait to go back!"
"Although you provided accurate details of the trip, I never expected it to be as amazing as it was. I have had the best time ever on this holiday and would like to thank you and especially Maria Elena for memories I will always hold dear to me. I am going back for more next year!"
"Very professionally run ride yet incredibly friendly, warm and hospitable. Even had a cake with candles on my birthday!"
" Would have liked to bring my little horse home! Scenery beautiful as was the weather."
" Maria Elena was truly delightful, her horses were all well cared for and she really took care to partner the right horses and riders together. By far the best European ride we have been on".
J&A C (Glos)
"I had the most WONDERFUL week with Maria Elena. This was certainly the best of the approx 8 riding holidays I have had. It was glorious countryside, the horse of my dreams and she is an exceptionally nice positive person to be around. The organisation was superb and the 'casas rurales' that we chose instead of paradores were wonderful. I would recommend this holiday to anyone who likes to ride exceptionally well schooled and light-mouthed horses. I still miss mine a lot".
"Maria Elena was a complete star as leader and organizer. Her efficiency and generosity were amazing, so was her knowledge and more importantly understanding of the Gredos area, its people, history and agriculture. The horses were great and the long rides were intelligently paced to suit everyone. Her ‘invention’ of the aperitivo stop ¾ of the way through the morning’s ride was a stroke of genius. Bum hurting? A bit saddle-sore? look for the white and orange van, it was always there. THANKS".
Highlights of the trip: Swimming in the deep pool below the 11th Century bridge before lunch. Last day, high in the mountains.
"Professional from start to finish. Having lived in four different Spanish cities across Spain, I had no idea that such a hidden paradise existed in Gredos. Every day was like travelling through another landscape, another country. It has felt like I have been to Spain, Italy, France, Scotland, Peru and Argentina all in one go! Bravo Maria Elena - a class holiday with superb organisation, horses and staff."
Was the trip accurately described to you: No it was better.
Highlights of the trip: I would not know where to start, saw a hoopoe.
“You probably already know that Maria Elena is EXTRAORDINARY. She makes everyone feel that having them as guests is the most wonderful thing that could happen. Her care and consideration provided by her and her two adorable assistants is beyond any call of duty. Her little booklet giving details and map of each days ride is so good… Yours still in a daze”.
"To all at Ride World Wide: Thank you - another triumph
Highlights of the trip: Scenery; fast canters; fabulous company; great staff at Maria Elena’s; swimming in river; delicious sherry; paella outdoors every time; grill or BBQ outdoors (woodsmoke); large picnic rugs.
The Parador is utilitarian (food not great) - it might have been fun to have taken over the smaller hotel in the village. Maria Elena was very professional, entertaining and engaging. Her staff were particularly good too - helpful, smiling, horses always immaculately groomed, nothing too much trouble".
My fifth visit! The Gredos is a wonderful place to ride - stunning scenery, lovely horses, great riding - and the food and drink is pretty good too! So why go anywhere else?
Beautiful scenery, excellent hotels and food, well schooled horses, perfect hostess running the ride, with attention to detail at all levels.
My 4th time in the Gredos with Maria Elena. As ever she is a superb host – very attentive to detail, very welcoming and very friendly.
The quality of this trip is outstanding in everyway. Maria Elena and her grooms make sure that every need is catered for. The quality of the horses / tack / trail / accommodation / food / hospitality all amazing....nothing is too much trouble....it is the best riding holiday I have been on (out of many). I want to highly, highly recommend the holiday.
Maria Elena was a fantastic host running a very professional yet friendly and welcoming operation and I would not hesitate to recommend this week to clients.
NL-M (W Sussex)
This was a fabulous holiday – carefully planned and executed. Maria Elena inspired confidence and matched horses to riders very well. My daughter got the horse of her dreams and still talks about him.
…the best riding holiday I have done. Maria Elena is a wonderful hostess and guide at all times. The scenery was stunning – no need to go half way round the world! I think she feel some people are put off coming to Spain in the summer as too hot, but the Gredos are always pleasant due to their altitude - with lots of rivers to swim in at lunch!
A lovely holiday. Superb scenery to ride through – hillsides and meadows covered in wild flowers. Excellent horses, willing, sure footed and responsive. Not only a riding holiday – a gastronomic one as well. Food and wine was varied regional and excellent! All helped by Maria Elena – She is a superb host, extremely engaging but also very hardworking and attentive to detail.
Overall the ride was excellent. One of the hotels – on the second to last night – could have been improved. I would have enjoyed the chance to canter and gallop a bit more, but this didn’t happen due to various circumstances, eg weather.
Maria Elena was an excellent host and did everything to ensure our needs. The horses were in excellent condition, well schooled and responsive. The holiday was thoroughly enjoyable.
List of clothing v. useful. It was a very relaxing holiday with a good balance of riding and leisure time. The organisers are concerned that holidaymakers may think Central Spain is too hot in the summer, but this is not so as you are high enough to be cooler.
"Maria Elena and assistants were great. We all really enjoyed the ride and the hospitality."
"Really excellent…. Maria Elena and Emilio were great, really friendly and warm. Scenery was fantastic. Great variety ...lovely horses with tons of personality and spirit"
"Maria Elena and Emilio are excellent guides and their attention to detail in every aspect of the holiday was amazing - one of the best holidays I’ve been on... The hotels were excellent and the picnics absolutely wonderful. I don’t think I could fault this holiday and the efficiency of your company in Devon in any way."
"Having been before, one could imagine that the standards could have dropped, but they most definitely haven't..."
JL & EK (London)
"A couple of the hotels could be improved upon however all were clean and hospitable. Overall it was an excellent holiday. Maria Elena and Emilio are perfect hosts and the care of their horses was exceptional. The scenery was stunning and the memory of riding through some of the remote villages will always remain with me. I would definitely ride with them again. Thank you for your professionalism at Ride World Wide - and the advice to take a rain coat was a good one!"
"We had an excellent holiday which certainly lived up to our high hopes. The main reason for its success - despite variable weather which included snow - was the brilliantly efficient, friendly and interesting way Maria Elena and Emilio looked after us and the thought and planning that had gone into the itinerary. The three of us who fished for trout were very grateful for the trouble Maria Elena took to make this possible. Very many thanks to the efficient and friendly help of the Ride World Wide team"
"The lunches were excellent and fresh fruit for aperitivos was very welcome. The dinners depended on the accommodation and I would have preferred some plainer food options. The ride was well paced in view of the terrain. My horse was as fresh and forward going on the last day as the first. Also very well schooled and light to handle, as I believe the other horses were. Overall nothing was too much trouble for Maria Elena or Emilio and the two girls were very helpful in taking care of the horses when we slid off!"
"This was a lovely riding holiday and Maria Elena and her husband were v good hosts. The trip was very well organized. Would definitely recommend to friends, we were very well looked after."
Spain - Segovia
“Just to let you know this was a wonderful trip – I loved the scenery, the flowers, the old towns and churches and, most important, I had the perfect horse for me! Fantastic organisation on the part of Maria Elena and Enrique - and you. Thank you.” JR (Orkney)
New Segovia to Valladolid Vineyard Ride “Another lovely trip. Despite being rather nervous I shall be back to be looked after by ME who I trust to select a suitable horse for me” - Seville and Menorca are beckoning”.
“Highlights: Lucia’s Spanish omelette each day at Aperitivo! The chance to try local food specialities, including the roast lamb and suckling pig specialities, and experience the many historical / cultural aspects to the trip and the different types of accommodation. Excellent guiding by Enrique, with lots of cantering; the ground was challenging in places, but I always felt safe. Enrique managed all the timings very efficiently, and he and Olegh were very helpful with mounting up. My mare was a bit grumpy at the start of the week but we ‘came to an understanding’ and she went very well for me.
There was a LOT going on, both with regard to the riding and the cultural aspects. The days are very full, so plenty of energy is required. Tuesday was a fast and long (but excellent) riding day, so it was a good idea to finish riding a little earlier on the Wednesday and visit the gorge and Hermitage (as we did and as was planned). The evening meal at the restaurant we went to in La Granja was A1. I particularly liked staying at the ‘Drover’s House’ off the Market Square in Pradena. The ‘spirits’ measures in the village bars are approximate and generous! The meals are large and the evening meal is eaten late, according to Spanish custom - I did have to ‘pace myself’ and be strict with myself as to how much I ate! Enrique took ‘group’ photos at places of interest each day during the ride, and at the end gave each of us a ‘memory stick’ with them on”.
“Our hosts, Enrico and Maria Helena (and the other guides, driver, cook etc) were all wonderful and looked after us superbly - ever helpful and friendly. Nothing too much trouble. It was quite an expensive holiday, but they gave value for money - we never felt they were being "stingey" or taking short cuts - the food and wine flowed ad lib, the horses were good, we hardly had to lift a finger all holiday - everything was done for us, all sorted, thought out and well organised throughout.
On the last evening (Saturday) we stayed in the beautiful smart and modern style Parador which is high up on a hillside on the edge of Segovia. In the late afternoon we went down to the town, and had a v pleasant time being shown round the historical sights ….- ending up in the Plaza for drinks (of course!) and a few tapas. There was a wonderful atmosphere there - busy, bustling and jolly on a warm evening. We had to tear ourselves away and get back to the Parador for our evening meal.
The meal at the Parador was excellent and a prime table had been reserved for our group on the large outdoor balcony of the restaurant with fantastic views over Segovia and its floodlit cathedral. Our group all had a fantastic fun final evening ….We felt we would have probably preferred to have lodged in the town, with drinks ad tapas in the Plaza before dinner in a local restaurant, and be part of the more informal atmosphere of the Spanish people enjoying Saturday night in the Plaza, and be able to go on to a bar afterwards for example.
So this is not a complaint - just an observation”.
"Oh where to start. It was an absolutely superb ride in every way but not for the fainthearted. Certainly it was the fastest ride I have been on since Kenya in 1998……...This is a real 1st class operation. Maria Elena is absolutely wonderful as was Enrique and staff team...accommodations, food, horses, tack..organization of ride...tours...everything......Highly highly recommend this ride to the fast and furious."
"I was just going to drop you a line to say what a great time we had even though it snowed more than one morning!
Great team of people and the most perfect horse for me. I even jumped some ditches on the last day and did a proper (wet legs) river crossing.
Will fill in the form in due course but we will definitely be in contact about other holidays through you".
Spain - Seville
“The ride was even more splendid than I expected. The riding, the scenery and the places we stayed in just got better and better, it was a totally brilliant holiday.” Highlight of the trip was the town El Rocio, riding through the beautiful flower meadow and the Dona Ana National park. Maria Elena was just outstanding and her team really made the trip.”
“Highlights were Maria Elena as our guide; the horses, which were excellent; riding into El Rocio eleven abreast(!); lots of cantering on good ground; riding along the beach at Mazagon; swimming in the Atlantic (not on horseback!) and being in a private group (that does make a difference!!).
"Staying at El Rocio was a unique experience, Jerez - amazing dancing horses, well worth a visit.
It was our fourth holiday with RWW and as far as I was concerned, the best. It was our second ride with Maria Elena and we want to do a third!" SW (Surrey)
Spain - Menorca
“The horses were wonderful - they took the tricky going in their stride. On the first day .. the picnic spot had altered .. we ended up going up step long steps to the picnic spot .. the horses weren’t phased! The coastline was lovely. The scenery changed everyday. The first and last hotels were fabulous! Maria Elena is so welcoming and a wonderful host. Catalina was also an excellent leader, who has great pride in her horses.
A wonderful beach canter / gallop!” “The ride is slow in pace - but definitely not for a novice rider - you need to be balanced! You also need a head for heights …
We ate very well - fabulous picnics, and good evening meals.
This was a great ride to explore a relatively unspoilt island.
The ride was seamless- which goes to show all the organisation behind it - with bags / horses etc being moved to be in the right place; lunch appearing set up on a beach etc etc.
We had a very enjoyable group as well. Thank you yet again!” LP (Bath)
Spain - Sierra Nevada
“We have just returned from a three day riding holiday in the Sierra Nevada with Dallas Love. We had an amazing time, the horses are super fit, very healthy, well behaved and responsive. Dallas and her brother Mordecai accompanied the ride.
Every day we stopped for an amazing lunch with wine and water supplied and prepared by Dallas and carried by our horses. The trails take you through white villages, pine forests, open plains and on high mountain trails, with wonderful scenery.”
C.H. & family (Dorset)
"I had the most wonderful week in the Alpujarras. Everything was top notch - the horses and the food and wine; all the logistics were faultless. I cannot recommend this trip enough.
Dallas has the most well trained trek horses I have ever ridden - forward going yet totally responsive and don't just do what the horse in front does. A real pleasure to ride."
“We’ve recently returned from a wonderful week in the Sierra Nevada on the Alpujarra Ride. Dallas is a marvellous and very experienced guide and we enjoyed every minute of our time with her.
The horses, that Dallas clearly adores, are beautifully schooled, well mannered, forward going and an absolute delight to ride and to be around.
The scenery of the Sierra Nevada is breathtaking with snow capped peaks, deep ravines, grassy mountain pasture, cultivated terraces and irrigation channels.
We loved the pretty whitewashed villages, with their narrow cobbled streets, colourful window boxes and water troughs fed by cool springs where we watered our horses. The small friendly hotels where we stayed and the local restaurants where we had dinner were a delight.
Dallas is a marvellous cook. Each day she prepared a delicious picnic, using fresh local produce, which we enjoyed in the welcome shade of the pine forests with our horses dozing nearby. All in all a fantastic week. Thank you RWW for arranging our holiday and for all your help and advice. Now we can’t wait to do the Marquesado Ride!”
(N.P-S East Sussex)
"The Sierra Nevada ride with Dallas was great and I would recommend it to anyone. The horses were amazing and lovely characters, the food and accommodation were excellent and Dallas was very knowledgeable and a brilliant guide".
"We had a wonderful time, the horses were superb, well trained but still responsive - what else do you want! Dallas organized the week brilliantly, the horses and riders were fed watered and treated well. The picnic lunches were excellent! We were led from one white village to the next, the scenery was amazing. We loved the hotels, they were all very diverse. The transfer of luggage was very efficient, all the staff put themselves out to accommodate us. We would recommend this holiday but you need stamina and a good head for heights!"
Mr & Mrs JH (Dorset)
"This was a most enjoyable holiday. We were fortunate and also had wonderful weather! Dallas runs a great operation and was always available. Her knowledge of the area helps understand the changes in the land, economy etc.
‘Highlights of the trip: The horses. Laurel was wonderful. They were fit and sure oofted and coped with the terrain so well. The scenery was wonderful. The places we stayed in were great - felt local and typical of area type places.
I only put a ‘good’ for pace: just that it is a slower ride. We knew this so not a criticism. We did have some lovely canters. It was a very relaxing week and I would certainly recommend the holiday and think about going again to do another itinerary".
"As ever someone from RWW had been on the holiday and has a good knowledge of the trek. We always consider RWW comments very helpful and accurate.
Stunning scenery, very good horses and tack, lovely places to stay.
My fall was just one of those horse incidents. It is a risk sport and I am fully aware anything could happen. I was cross that I didn't manage to stay on but one minute I was cantering along and next minute I was off the horse. I didn't feel him spook at all it was all so quick! I wasn't even going to mention it to you guys!
I took care after to stay at the back - just in case of more goats making an unscheduled appearance! - but the holiday was not spoiled at all. We had a fantastic time. The scenery was breathtaking and we did lots of riding which Lesley and I want. It was a small group which made the holiday all the more enjoyable. Dallas is a superb rider - she survived the goat experience without falling off!
Nothing was too much trouble and she took care to make sure everything about the holiday was good for us. I would have no hesitation in recommending the holiday and I would be happy to return for a second time".
"Well - what a fantastic short break away. Dallas only rode with us on one day and then we were with her assistant, Jeanette, who was amazing. I feel I have a new friend. I went on my own and lucky me to find very friendly others. Also had a dream horse - completely gorgeous".
"I have no negative comments to make. The holiday was without doubt spectacular. That goes for the scenery, horses, food, hotels and fellow riders. Thank you. I will enlist your help in the future".
"Another absolutely brilliant Ride World Wide experience!"
The trip was a huge amount of fun and Dallas could not have been more helpful. The most perfect riding holiday.
Loved every minute, can’t think of anything that would possibly improve it.
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday – it was better than imagined. Dallas Love was a great hostess, her horses appeared well and happy! Her picnics were a particular favourite - delicious!
SM (West Sussex)
This was a wonderful holiday - it suited myself and my daughter as newcomers to trekking holidays perfectly. Dallas managed to get the balance right and made it a unique experience. It might not suit some more experienced riders who wanted more opportunity to ride more expansively. This ride is very much trekking along steep rocky tracks in rugged terrain. Opportunities to canter are limited by the very hard surfaces. I loved it and the horses were so good, well mannered and responsive. It was a pleasure to be with someone who really cares for her animals and as an indicator, the tack was beautifully kept.
Dallas Love is a real professional and it shows! The horses are immaculate and her long experience means that they are matched to the abilities (or lack of ability!) of clients. The environment in which this holiday is conducted is deceptive. While on a sunny day it looks inviting, but it is clear that it could quickly become highly demanding. To be in the company of someone like Dallas was highly reassuring. We had a lovely and very memorable week. Attention to detail was evident at every turn.
The trip was perfect for me and very challenging terrain – but unfortunately the other 3 ladies that travelled with me did not read the notes re fitness and they could not get on or off without help which made the ride stressful for the leader and all others. Please could you emphasise a fitness level/vertigo fears and flexibility level as non-horse owners, unfortunately, do not have a realistic view of their riding skills or no idea of what physically challenging means!! I loved this ride and was amazed at what Dallas’ horses can do. Fantastic! (shame about the screaming at the back!)
"Had yet another brilliant holiday in Spain. Dallas and her brother are excellent hosts – very organized. Stunning mountain riding – last day was the best – we rode up to 7,800 feet and it felt like the top of the world. It literally took your breath away. Excellent horses – Adra was very well schooled and forward going. She climbed mountains like a steam train. Would like to return one day and rate it as good as the Gredos which I thought could not be beaten"
HV (E Yorkshire)
"’Let people know there will be a fair amount of walking down steep rocky tracks... It is stated that the level of rider is one who can ride and control a horse out in the open at walk, trot and canter... Dallas’s horses are so fit and forward going that you should add gallop...!"
"As I’ve done this ride before I knew how much walking there would be, but I don’t think everyone else realized that there would be so much getting on and off... however I think it's worth the effort – fantastic scenery, horses etc..."
"Where shall we go next? The horses were so well schooled and good-natured and Dallas such a great guide that we’re stumped. Will anything else be as much fun?"
PS and family (W Sussex)
"Fantastic holiday – Dallas Love was excellent. I will definitely go on this kind of holiday again and now that I know the set-up would be happy to go alone."
"Dallas was an excellent guide & the holiday was very enjoyable. The ride is strenuous and challenging – we were the only "competent novices" and several of the others had a lot more experience. We managed, with support from Dallas & others & did not hinder the ride at all. The number of hours in the saddle needs to be v. clear - it must be one of the more 'serious' rides for novices... A great holiday - will be booking more (excellent picnics by the way)"
"This was a wonderfully, professionally run adventure. Great care was taken to match riders with suitable mounts which were all excellent, the rides breathtaking. I would honestly recommend this ride run by Dallas.
A fantastic time was had by my daughter and I. Congratulations."
"I had a fantastic time – Dallas put me on a brilliant horse – Polly. She has an uncanny knack of matching horses and people which is almost spooky! I think we were surprised to be cantering on such hard ground but that is just an English thing. The horses are used to it and so are their legs. Some comments have been made about the amount of getting on and off – not our group though! I know you mention it in the itinerary and any fit and competent rider should be able to cope. I didn’t have a problem at all – in fact it did me good. The correct footwear is therefore essential as not all riding boots are comfortable to walk in for long periods. I would dearly love to do it again perhaps in the spring for variety"
"A questionnaire cannot do justice to the amazing time we had. Dallas was an absolute inspiration - kind professional and incredible patience and attention to detail. Thank you very much indeed"
Spain - Can Muni & Catalan Coast
“Excellent attention from ride world wide team in advance of holiday – you are always most efficient. This was planned as a “taster” for us – considering further rides on different continents with different children (we have 6) in the future and will definitely come back to you again for advice.”
“The holiday to Catalonia was well organized, the staff were efficient and friendly. The quality of the food was excellent and the horses suited all abilities. I would highly recommend the experience, but do be prepared for long days in the saddle, for which you will be rewarded with exhilarating views and memorable experiences. Rosie was an excellent tour operator, she knew the venues and staff well and the channels of communication were always open. Nothing could go wrong, what an amazing experience.”
“You sold this trip short!! The accommodation was fabulous and far more luxurious than I had imagined it would be. Everything was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was the third trail I did while in Spain and by far the best of them all. Paloma was a fantastic guide and matched every rider to the perfect horse. Horses were very responsive and forward-going (in other words, well schooled and bombproof!). Will definitely be visiting Can Muni again…… the scenery was wonderfully varied each day but I enjoyed going into the mountains best. I was very fortunate that all riders in our group were very competent and no-one held the group back or in any way caused any problems. Really it was a lovely group (all ladies too!) Thoroughly enjoyed myself and am looking forward to going back with my son (12 years) who rides to perhaps try one of the discovery rides or do a centre-based family holiday”.
“Loved the horses and variety of scenery in the ride. Paloma was an excellent guide and we had a lot of fun. Some of the hotels were above our expectations (described as simple, basic accommodation), and were really lovely. Others were more basic, so the description is accurate. Thank you for a great holiday.”
“This was an overall wonderful holiday. However, the beach would have to have a special mention. What a wonderful memory of cantering along the beach with the rising sun and reflection off the sea.
We had been disappointed not to be able to do the High Pyrenees ride, and having done a similar itinerary from Can Jou, I guess there was some apprehension at doing a repeat ride. However, this was a thoroughly enjoyable week, well 5 days of riding, and did feel quite different. And returning to the beach was fantastic! Paloma is an excellent guide, and made the trip run very smoothly ….
The horses were lovely, and we stayed in some great places. The route offers interesting variation in terrain and scenery. A most enjoyable week.
Yet again …. Thank you for another wonderful holiday ….”
“ We had a marvelous time. Every single one of the questions in your box = excellent. Paloma's guiding was exceptional I thought, the horses exactly suited to the riders - really eerily so - and the accommodation much higher quality than I had expected. It was a really memorable holiday and we had an especially nice mellow group all about the same standard.”
“Paloma was professional, tactful, spoke excellent English and was always good fun. Nothing was too much trouble and she kept reminding us to ask for assistance if needed. The group were of a similar riding standard to us which made for a good holiday. I felt she matched the horses and riders very well. I had a lovely 4 yr old with excellent manners who was a great ride. Would have liked to bring her home with me!!! The tack was good - endurance bridles which made into headcollars very easily and I had a comfortable saddle.
The standard of accommodation was varied and we stayed in some really interesting places. I think they have improved compared to our previous ride. The food was excellent. The only small issue was with choosing food at the hotel next to the beach. Paloma read an extensive menu to us from her phone and it was difficult to remember what was offered. If guests need to choose their food the night before I think a printed menu would be better or less choice!
All in all, a great week. I would recommend the holiday to other riders.
As to Ride World Wide - 8 out of 10 of us booked through you - the other 2 guests were German. I don't think you need a better recommendation”. GS (Bucks)
“We had a great holiday. The hotel is clean and comfortable with reliable quick wi-fi. Very comfy beds. The breakfasts were tasty and extensive. We had picnic lunches which were good. We liked the bottle of wine and the variety each day. Supper was good 3 days out of 4 - tapas night was a bit too much deep fried out of the freezer. The horses were all fabulous. We were all well matched with fit, forward going sane horses. They were fast but not silly. Also presented some interest to experienced riders but still let us relax and enjoy. The rides were well chosen - highlights were the race track (I came last but my horse had the shortest legs!!), swimming in the lake and the gallop across the final field. We felt very lucky to be guided by Ellie who was charming, smiley and fun. She judged our abilities well and couldn't do enough for us. She took us straight back in her car to look for a mobile which had bounced out of the saddlebag (we did find it), and loaned us her own horse for a swim when ours proved reluctant. She apologised for things that weren't her fault (like 'discovering' a wasp nest) and she clearly wanted us to enjoy our time. Overall, a great relaxing short break which felt like a week. Highly recommended.”
"Paloma was outstanding! It was brilliant. Well done.”
“We had an amazing time! It was such a brilliant holiday and, like Bulgaria, we were so grateful for your excellent organisation and being so thorough with everything. We were blessed with fantastic weather and thought the area of Spain that we were in was extremely attractive - a very cleverly designed route (the circular element was great, and a huge variety of terrain) and the horses excellent. You played down the lunches in the information pack (!) - we were given sumptuous Spanish homemade delights at every meal and other treats too, and the accommodation each evening was of a very high standard - comfortable, clean, and often luxurious. Paloma was great - clearly highly accomplished and reliable - a brilliant guide with a huge sense of fun, yet you felt in safe hands - she takes her job seriously and looked after us extremely well. She is obviously very fond of you - you clearly had a brilliant time on your recent trip to Spain! I have come back to England incredibly grateful for such a wonderful experience - absolutely loved it.”
“It was a really fantastic holiday and expertly lead by Paloma, who had devised the most wonderful circular trail.....Thank you for all your help and organisation in arranging the trip.”
“Enjoyed all – we didn’t stick to the itinerary at our request and the hosts were very flexible as we had 2 half days off to see Girona and rest as aching. We really enjoyed our trip. Our guide Cami was superb and gave me great confidence and I am now cantering long distances and feeling quite accomplished!”
"Can Muni was fantastic thank you I had an excellent trip and thoroughly enjoyed the riding and the food was fantastic too! They have a really nice set up which felt very professional with good quality horses by still small enough to be friendly and welcoming, it's nice when you feel the guides and staff genuinely want to do and have a drink with you or sit on the beach after the ride." Discovery Ride
"…the whole experience i'd rate as excellent!
-Scenery and trails were beautiful
- lodging and food very good value for money - horses were brilliant!!
- guides were superb!!!!! Luis and Paloma are very good at what they do.
Very safety conscious, friendly and know horses and the area!
- all schedules were well planned and kept I would change nothing and will absolutely recommend the experience and the place!"
"I just thought I would send a quick email to say thank you for suggesting the Two Beaches Ride to me. It's not one I would have picked out myself, but it turned out to be fantastic............great riding and a holiday rolled into one................I loved it. The horses were forward going and responsive, the riding fast and fun, the scenery was great, as was the accommodation and the food. The only comment I've got with the information given before the ride is that not enough is made of the food.........it was amazing, and one of the highlights of the holiday. I thought this ride was fantastic value for money considering the quality of the horses, accommodation and food...........and of course the wine. I will be booking another riding holiday towards the end of the year, so will no doubt be in touch then".
"The ride was recommended by one of your local customers and my expectations were very high before the ride. I am happy to tell that all the expectations were highly exceeded, the ride was fantastic, mainly because the size of the group and the perfect horse".
"Just completed the above holiday and can't find the report form so will
comment here: Ride was great- excellent horses, good hotels, good administration and
excellent guide (Annais, spelling ???)
All in all it was a really good holiday and good value for money.
No complaints at all."
“The entire week was a highlight. It was great to have Rosie there for a start as she could answer any questions, had knowledge of the area and knew the people running the taxis and the centre so that made it all more relaxing. Xavi was just fantastic. He knew all his horses so well, he knew the area so well and was constantly evaluating the weather, route, horses, riders, and changing anything as and when he saw fit. I felt completely safe at all times, even on some of the teeny but beautiful tracks we were crossing for the amazing views. He paced the ride perfectly and was so safe in the decisions he made and knowledge of the routes. He was adaptable and there was nothing he didn't fix/cut down/clear/heal/sort out for the entire week. Sergio his second guide was also great. Translating all week, he had wonderful patience with all of us and kept smiling throughout the entire week. Xavi did a debrief at the end of everyday showing us the route, the distance, the altitude of the day too. It was just fantastic all week. I've come home and talked about it until everyone is fed up of me, and recommended it to everyone who'd listen. As a loan traveller Rosie really made me feel comfortable and was great at getting the group chatting and together. I do think we were more of a cohesive group with Rosie being there and being very inclusive with everyone.” AS (Devon)
“The second day was the highlight! It was long and hard but had fabulous variety of terrain. Small streams to cross, rocky tracks to climb through rainforest style forests, lovely mountain vistas with high mountain churches and cows with bells and a fantastic gallop on a flat plain. It had everything. You could look back over the mountains and see the huge journey we had travelled. Absolutely fantastic.
The last day we rode down to the med and swam on the horses on Cap de Creus. It was wonderful. I’ve done a lot of riding in many amazing places but never experienced that.” RL (Devon)
“So much was a highlight! The horses were wonderful. The scenery was fantastic. The good was exceptional. The hospitality was superb. I can’t think of anything that required improvement. Paulo and Claudia took my daughter and I on the complete ride even though there were only 2 of us! A memorable mother / daughter trip! Thanks for your help as I find RWW to be thoroughly professional and most importantly, familiar with the rides as your staff is able to participate on them!”
What in your opinion were the highlights of the trip? “Comfortable, fit and ever-willing horses. Always ready to pick up the pace, but also completely controlled on the beach in an Atlantic gale. Great riding and varied scenery. Sandy tracks went on forever and you certainly need to be riding fit. The trail format works really well. Excellent food. Such variety and tasty home cooking for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not so sure about the octopus, but all part of the experience! Above all amazing hospitality from all of the team. Only wish we’d learnt a bit of Portuguese. We will long remember the final ride home in a gale force wind, when we deferred lunch and rode hard but the horses still didn’t put a foot wrong all day.”
“The riding was excellent, forward going horses and a wide variety of trails. The highlight was definitely the beach canters - just stunning! It was also great to be able to ride on arrival and departure day - made the holiday seem much longer. This is definitely the best of the 3 holidays I've had so far . Each aspect was pretty much perfect, from the farm where we stayed with the view of the horses and the sea, the staff (Claudia and Paolo were so friendly and Paolo was an excellent rider/guide), the food - breakfast and dinner at the restaurant were wonderful, the picnic lunches also from the restaurant varied and delicious. We were made to feel so welcome - included in Claudia's birthday celebrations and dinners with friends. I cannot praise the holiday highly enough - if it wasn't for the fact that I want to do lots of different holidays in different places I would happily return again!”
“Portugal was wonderful. Overall, probably the best European short break I've done because of the whole package; the riding, the food, the hospitality where all good making for a very relaxing break. The booking process is easy as ever with all the right information -the only thing I slightly underestimated was the Mosquitoes which had a good feast the first night until we worked out a spraying & repellent regime. The accommodation is comfy - basic but lovely to have tea in bed in the mornings & we sunbathed on our little terrace. The hospitality of everyone at the stables is very special. Claudia and Paulo have that very rare ability to make one feel like a welcome guest, creating the atmosphere where we could sit on a bench in the sun at the end of the days riding, sipping a beer from the honesty bar and watching Paulo shower the horses without feeling a shred of guilt.
The horses are completely professional and know their jobs very well. The pace wasn't always the fastest but the length of the canters and the horses fitness are exceptional. Paulo judged us well and we had maximum riding as we requested including extra beach time on the last days. One real highlight is the beachfront restaurant - the food is second to none and despite eating 4 times as much as I usually do, I didn't gain an ounce because it's all fresh fish, salad and fruit. It was Claudia's birthday the first night and we were made part of the party with more of that relaxed hospitality so we felt included but not pressured and part of a very happy atmosphere. So all in all a really great trip”
“Great location and excellent riding terrain. Lots of fast riding. Lovely horses; lovely hosts. Food was superb and typically Portuguese”.
‘‘I would just like to say that the place and people are charming and, although the accommodation is pretty basic, the food was good and plentiful, lunch and dinner time fun and relaxing. And I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The horses were lovely and the final afternoon galloping on the beach on a horses that we had all got to know and trust over the previous days, was quite unforgettable and thrilling.
Claudia and Paulo and the rest of the team are doing their utmost to ensure that their guests are well cared for and have a good time. I can thoroughly recommend this week to anyone who wishes to recapture the very special relationship that we have with our fellow riders, horses and the landscape.’’ KK (Surrey)
“My horse, Ze. She was fantastic, I trusted her implicitly, she carried me, with my legs (being 6 foot) hanging down and was still at the front of the pack after 6 days. All the horses lost weight over the week, and there isn’t a lot of grass at this time of the year, but I know they are all resting for a couple of weeks, so that should help, they were all wonderful and we really got to know their characteristics after a week”. (NK, Wilts)
"For weeks after my return from holiday, I had flashbacks of cantering across the beautiful Portuguese coastline with the lovely blue sky and sun shining down and lying in the sun under the olive trees in the peaceful countryside after a lovely picnic lunch. I have never had full trust in a horse before as I had on this holiday and letting my horse out in the field after the week riding him and seeing him galloping off with his fellow horses was fantastic. Those experiences will remain with me always. Claudia and Paolo have truely nailed the horse riding experience down to a T!"
" I have been on 4 other riding holidays in different countries with another company, and have been really impressed with the service that I have received with you. Everything ran really smoothly with no hitches or problems. The actual Portugal holiday was brilliant; the horses are much loved and so well-mannered. The staff are so attentive and seem genuinely ready to please, and go out of the way to make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
Loved the fact that I was able to go anywhere on the farm, and look at all the young stock and stallions; nothing was too much trouble.
Thank you for a great week."
"I was amazed and in awe of Claudia’s and Paulo’s commitment and dedication to their horses. Letting the horses out to the field was an enjoyable event on the last day of riding to see them roam and gallop freely. Everything was well thought out including matching the horse to the right rider. Personal touches by Claudia in making us feel at home such as lending me some of her shirts for riding and baking a cake for one of the guests with her horse printed on it was lovely".
" It was a great holiday and I was really impressed by the quality and training of the horses. I think Claudia and Paulo exhibit real horsemanship (this comment is based on my experiences of having my horse on a livery yard for 12 years!)"
Highlights of the trip: Excellent horse and varied riding.
“The accommodation could do with a bit of improvement and updating…not a problem for me, it all worked, but some people may find it not up to expectations. The horses were fit and forward going; as always important to be accurate about your riding experience and type of horse you prefer. We were asked on the first night and I was given an excellent match.”
“We had a fabulous time, thanks. Everything I expected; lovely, quiet, well-schooled horses, a safe riding culture and a guide I had confidence in. In all honesty I could have done with another week as I had really relaxed by the end of the week, was riding a more challenging horse and was really having fun. Very hospitable place and Claudia went out of her way to talk to me the night we arrived and choose a suitable first horse for me. They are very professional with a good balance between fun and safety. Probably the most well-mannered horses of anywhere I have ridden.
What my experiences have taught me with riding holidays is to really do my research and talk in detail to the agency involved. Your agency probably provides the most comprehensive and honest ride descriptions”.
Dr & Mrs D F (Cumbria)
"Just to say many thanks for sorting out the great ride in Portugal, we all had a lovely time. Things could not be any better, riding, food, etc etc. Claudia and Paolo must be the nicest guide and host we have had, we recommend to anyone".
Excellent horses, fast riding, excellent food. Accommodation basic but more than acceptable.
Mr & Mrs TH (Herts)
The location is very rural. The canters are long and fast but no galloping. The riding is fantastic and scenery and the guide Paulo and horses the best I have found out of 5 similar holidays. The horses are friendly, calm, safe, well behaved and forward going. A credit to Paulo. The facilities in the rooms were basic .. and it is quite isolated. Overall I would go back but take a few extra things with me.
"The horses are in excellent condition, well schooled and willing to go. The Wintec saddles are very comfortable and all harness is in good condition. The scenery is very varied and (the ride) is taken at a relaxed pace. There are opportunities to canter pretty much every day. Everything runs to time, which is unusual for this type of holiday".
"I just wanted to say hi and to thank you once again for a wonderful week.
I enjoyed it immensely for many reasons - my horse, Claudia’s warm and generous hospitality, Paulo's good guiding skills, the friendly staff, the delicious food, the wonderful scenery, the sunshine and much more"
"Claudia was a perfect hostess, we got anything we asked for and Paulo (guide) was fantastic - especially with my mother - he treated her like his own grandmother!"
"H and I had a wonderful holiday….. Claudia and Paulo (guide) were excellent and exceptionally kind to me, the Ancient One!"
"......the location is outstanding and the scenery beautiful"
S & MB (Derbyshire)
"Riding was great, wonderful variety of terrain – fantastic"
"I enjoyed it immensely for many reasons - my horse, the warm and generous hospitality, Paulo's good guiding skills, the friendly staff, the delicious food, the wonderful scenery, the sunshine and much more."
"We were treated like a private party of personal guests – including being taken to a bull fight on the Sunday night".
"Everyone was very friendly and we were encouraged to wander around and get involved with the horses (tacking up). The inclusion of yoga was great (I have already done it before). Perhaps the PM session should have been 30 mins and more of a wind down than a full hour…The morning session was great. Because the yoga time was tight to fit in meals, swims as well as riding. Obviously I wouldn’t want the riding to be affected – perhaps breakfast could be organised up at the farm rather than the restaurant? I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday and hope I’ll be able to go with you again".
Portugal - Espirito Santo
“Eyke is a superb teacher - clear, very kind and a good laugh but also will push you when appropriate. The horses are incredibly patient and willing as well as schooled to a very high standard. It was amazing to get the feel of a responsive, properly trained and athletic horse. Also really useful to be able to watch Eyke ride, as she schools a couple of horses every day. The atmosphere is very relaxed, you are free to groom and tack up the horses yourself, Eyke is always there to help if needed but there is no-one peering over your shoulder which is nice. The horses are very much at the centre of things here.”
Italy - Santa Cristina
“This holiday was exactly as described in the ride world wide brochure. My sister and I had a wonderful time. The whole team couldn't do enough for us. I would like to return at some time in the future.” LG (Lancashire)
"I loved it all but the trip to the natural thermal spa and Christina's tour of the castle was most entertaining! The horses that I rode were beautifully mannered. On the last day we went to Civita di Bagnorenio which was extraordinary. Orvieto is well worth a bit of time too."
"We had a really lovely trip to Santa Cristina. So much so that we hope to return there for another trip in the future but possibly with your suggested add on stay in Ovieto or a visit to Siena.
Thank you all for the help and as ever great ride worldwide advice".
“ We had a lovely time with the team at Santa Cristina, it felt very much like we were at the home of Cristina and Antonio and were superbly looked after. We were privileged to have a night in the Castle followed by a couple of nights in the cottages, food was fantastic and a highlight of our time in Italy. The riding we really enjoyed, good varied pace and we really enjoyed the variety of rides that encompassed the hills, Lake Bolsena, open fields and wooded farmers’ tracks”.
Highlights " staying at a lovely friendly and peaceful place and riding beautiful horses".
"… and I had a fantastic time at Santa Cristina. Everybody was very welcoming and helpful. The food was amazing - delicious and plentiful! It was a very peaceful time to go (we were the only guests along with two other riders), and we very much enjoyed the mix of being able to ride and then relax in the sun whenever and wherever we wanted.
All of our riding was led by Vicky ……. a very competent horse woman who went out of her way to be helpful and to provide horses that suited our ability, which wasn't too easy because the horses while wonderful and beautiful animals they were too soft and sensitive compared to what we are used to riding. While it was a privilege to ride those amazing horses, in hindsight it would have been best to have lessons on the horses before going out on hacks. …….As it was, the horses we rode were lovely, very willing and sweet natured. As I said, it was a pleasure to ride such beautiful horses.
We would definitely go back to Santa Cristina and would recommend it to the more experienced riders amongst our friends.
The venue is beautiful and riding in the Tuscany area was something special. Thank you for organising the trip. Perhaps we'll be in touch again next year."
"It was a wonderful destination. A fantastic venue with excellent food and lovely atmosphere. I would go again tomorrow if only I had the time!"
….the warmth and hospitality and personal care were exceptional.
The instruction in the school was really excellent. Jacomo is a very talented teacher indeed, Almost a horse whisperer. The horses were very well looked after…the rides and scenery were spectacular…the standard and quality of the food was amazing….
All in all lovely – I would definitely go again
Santa Christina is a warm friendly place with experienced staff and a good range of horses. Lessons are excellent and for the first time in my life I have enjoyed riding without feeling frightened. It would be useful to have car hire so you can explore the area when not riding. EW (Lancs)
"This is just a quick note to say thank you for the extra night which was very helpful as there was no chance of leaving earlier. We really
appreciated it. Santa Cristina was brilliant. A beautiful place. The lessons were superb,the hacks in beautiful countryside, the horses great and the food wonderful. The staff really looked after us. Please pass on our sincere thanks. I'll fill in the form soon, but I wanted to respond early and ask you to pass on our thanks and very best wishes to everyone at Santa Christina (Jacomo, Eva, Franco, Celeste, Marina and of course Antonio!)"
"we had a really wonderful time at St Christina. Everyone was so friendly, the food was superb and the accommodation was excellent too. We did some great hacks and also had some tuition which were both of a really high standard. I would recommend the place to anyone who loves Italy or wants to try the Italian way of life. I will email Antonio and the staff but please pass on my thanks if you are in touch."
Italy - Chianti
"I have now been back in London for two weeks, and I am still missing Rendola - and its inhabitants of course. I had the most wonderful time, felt at home the minute I walked through the door, adored the riding and felt incredibly privileged to be shown round Florence, Arezzo and other lovely places by such a knowledgeable and agreeable companion. The first full day summed it all up really – a ride in the morning, Franca’s cooking at lunchtime, Gregorian chant at San Miniato in the afternoon, the Ponte Vecchio at sunset and a pizza in town to round things off. Absolute heaven. Did I mention the Chianti?"
"A wonderful trip with Jenny at Rendola. Fantastic horses very well kept. Jenny so interesting and knowledgeable both about her horses and about the history of the area. Eraldo the BHS qualified chief instructor who spent years training in the UK is excellent! Well worth a trip to Tuscany, this was our second trip with Jenny and it didnt disappoint".
“We had such a fabulous time, I have never eaten so well in my life! The trip was unforgettable; the views, the food, I loved every minute.
"The riding experience was up there with the Nyika Plateau in things to see and hear, variety of challenge, lovely picnic rides. The horses were so responsive and willing, I felt like a good rider! The countryside was beautiful and the lovely old buildings. Both Jenny and Eraldo were helpful with advice and watched over the horses with loving attention".
T&B P (Devon)
"I enjoyed this holiday enormously. Jenny is an excellent hostess and guide, and Rendola is a special place. All the team were delightful and we ate extremely well. I wanted something relaxed this year and the mix of riding and culture was just right".
“I had a wonderful holiday at Rendola. The best riding holiday I’ve ever had ! The horses, the food, the scenery............. Thank you for your good advice, the horses and pace of the rides were perfect I didn’t get out of breath once! Will definitely go again to Rendola.….”
"This was the most beautiful ride ever! The horses were very good. A very congenial hostess. I especially enjoyed the short excursions without the horses as I am keen on history. The food was beyond par! Basic but clean accommodation. I will never camp again. In conclusion a fabulous trip. The other riders were friendly too. A relief!"
Sightseeing, culture, cuisine, Chianti !! Lovely trip. Other guests got on really well which made an interesting visit unforgettable. Jenny and staff made every effort to meet the needs of the group while maintaining safety.
This trip made us fall in love with Tuscany. The horses were well looked after and fit for the mountainous terrain. Jenny’s personality, obvious intelligence and love of horses, history and Italian cuisine made it a great break from our usual routine. We enjoyed every aspect of it. I wouldn’t change anything (despite friend having a tumble which left some aches and pains!). Eraldo the leader and instructor was very entertaining and has great ‘natural horsemanship’ skills.
Highlights of the trip: The day rides with picnics; the knowledge of the Italian guide about local traditions etc.
Jenny is an excellent host and the family atmosphere at Rendola is very charming.
It is a lovely friendly and informal place Rendola, made so nice by Jenny – always caring, friendly and you feel she has been a friend forever. Riding in May was so nice through the vineyards and olive groves. Splendid gentle paced holiday ..the food and wine excellently prepared and so good. DP (Herts)
Very welcoming atmosphere and Jenny provided so many interesting facts and details of her life, the village and Tuscany, which made the whole experience very special… you felt like a resident not a tourist!
Because of the terrain canters and trots are short but good. A good way to see the Chianti Hills. EA(Herts)
We asked if it was possible to have a lesson in the school instead of the Thursday afternoon ride. This was arranged, the instructor, Eraldo, even changed his day off to accommodate our request. The lesson was excellent – I need to gain confidence to start jumping again and this goal was achieved. The horses, all used for treks, were very well schooled and responsive. Maybe you could mention this as being available if required.
SD (W. Yorks)
A lovely place and very relaxed ride. Would recommend it to anyone wanting a quiet time (us!) or those new to trekking. Would be a bit tame for anyone wanting something more lively as everything done in single file and trots canters all very short. Jenny is a delightful hostess and the whole set-up with 3 generations of the Pinti family to help her is a wonderful experience of Tuscany as it used to be. No need to take any books to read as the house is full of them.
Lovely people, lovely animals, lovely food! Unfortunately I’m not very good at writing fifty words when just one will so it was just ‘Belissimo’.
Had a really lovely time - would love to go again.
I knew it was a slow ride so expectations not high …luckily there were always things to look at and usually lovely views and overall I enjoyed myself. A nice holiday in lovely country, v. good food, superb picnic lunches and interesting sightseeing (the places en route as well as Siena).
"Jenny was a wonderful hostess and great fun. The setting was absolutely beautiful and the accommodation, like her farmhouse, was authentic. Just what we had come for"
"Jenny and her team were excellent. Friendly and helpful with all aspects of the holiday, going out of the way to provide knowledge and history on the local area both during the rides and for the free time. All round excellent experience"
M & TD (Norfolk)
"As is constantly said about Rendola, it is more like coming home than staying somewhere strange... I can’t say more than that this was the ride I chose to introduce a friend to the pleasures of such holidays – and it was very successful! You could advertise it as a good ride for newcomers to "trekking" as it is not arduous. Jenny is completely reliable in looking after riders and there is a good mix of riding and sightseeing"
"I think it was an excellent holiday one which I will remember for a long time... absolutely great. Very helpful in your office. Good organization. Wonderful holiday"
"I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday and would recommend it to anyone. The horses were beautiful and the people were really friendly. I thought the itinerary was well balanced. All in all I have the riding bug now! A big thank you to Jenny and Eraldo for making my first horse riding experience so much fun!"
"Jenny gave me a horse that suited me, steady, forward going comfortable trot and canter. The 'trips' were excellent, especially the gorge village and the rose garden (not too many churches!)"
"Excellent holiday. Jenny and all the staff were very welcoming. Horses well behaved and well looked after. Food excellent also. Scenery beautiful and the additional trips were a great introduction to Tuscany – can’t praise Rendola enough"
"Thank you to Jenny and Eraldo for making my riding holiday so enjoyable. Jenny’s excellent knowledge of local history and Eraldo’s excellent riding instruction made the holiday interesting and informative. I have returned to England a better rider with the knowledge I have learned at Rendola which has benefited both me and my horse. The horses at Rendola are very well schooled so during the rides I could really appreciate the beautiful Tuscan countryside..."
Italy - Sicily
“The horses and the scenery were the top highlights for me. The horses were incredible. Extremely well-behaved, well-mannered, fit, sure-footed and safe. Perfect for the terrain. Everyone was matched perfectly to their horse. My little mare, Zelda, was keen, eager, walked out well, easily kept up with the fast paced riding and did everything I asked of her, as well as being very sweet-natured (and a great size for me). I never once felt unsafe or like she'd do anything silly. She was perfect for me! The scenery was spectacular; mountain vistas, beautiful forests, lakes, and of course the magnificent volcano. A good variety of landscapes and terrains; and the cool of the forests very welcome relief from the sun. The diversity of accommodation and evening meals were also fabulous.”
“We had a wonderful holiday - beautifully schooled horses in peak condition, and Sicily is a dream.”
“The whole trip was magical and I enjoyed every day. I don’t think I could pick at anything in particular as it was all so special. I guess the memory that I may carry was the sight of the large herd of boar thundering through the undergrowth with babies in tow. Franco provided culture, history and a knowledge of flora and fauna second to none. I think this ranks as a top ten holiday in the most memorable holidays category. Franco and Paolo are the most delightful hosts and guides. The varied beauty of Sicily is perfectly framed by the ears of one of Franco’s lovely, kind horses. I shall treasure this trip for many years to come.”
“Just wanted to let you know that we had a very successful holiday with Franco and Paulo in the Madonie. It went from good to very good as each day the guides assessed the possibilities for rides in relation to the prevailing conditions. The scenery was stunning, the accommodation and food ranged from fine to very good. Everyone in the places we stayed was assiduous about our well being. All arrangements flowed smoothly. Paulo knows the mountains unbelievably well. The horses were well mannered and Roland thinks amazingly calm, wading through metre deep snow and tackling very rough trekking paths, VERY sure footed. The guides were good company, Franco a mine of information, and although we were initially disappointed that there were only three of us on the ride we realise that it was a real benefit as we reached places perhaps a larger group would not have managed in those conditions. The two cultural mornings, Castelbuono is beautiful and hillside shepherd cheese making a revelation. And even on those occasions plenty of riding time too. This was a real adventure with plenty of time in the saddle. Thank you”
“ I had a great holiday. Weather was very good to us, although plenty of snow on the ground when we went high up, made for one very interesting and fun day,with very deep snow.
So very good calm horses, very good tack. The area we were riding in was gorgeous although not where we had originally booked due to the late snow. The guides Paulo and Franco were very friendly and helpful and good in the snow. Also very quick to change routes/ hotels so we could make the most of the week as the snow melted. Accommodation generally better than expected, only one night a bit basic - food very ,very good. Generally ate far too much!,
All in all a brilliant week and would recommend it to anyone wanting lovely horses in a beautiful part of the world with friendly guides and great food!!”
"Had a fantastic time thank you. Overall a 5 star experience, guides excellent, Franco an interesting, knowledgeable friendly person. The itinerary was good, challenging at times which i like. Food good, accommodation good, horses good, equipment good. In fact did not want to come home.
Would highly recommend this trip".
"The knowledge, enthusiasm and good natures of the guides - they all worked very hard all week and treated us as friends - fantastic varied countryside and plenty of chances to canter/gallop, well trained horses, food etc. etc. It is not a ride for the faint hearted, but I found it exhilarating and challenging - I felt a real sense of achievement. Due to atrocious weather one day, we had to ride 9 hours the next, but we made it with Paolo’s guidance. Wet weather gear was needed 4 days out of 6 (dramatic thunder & lightening storms) but even with that we were soaked by hailstones and rain on 2 of those days. All your advice was good!"
" This was a fabulous holiday. The scenery is always changing, and was beautiful. The horses were so well natured. They hadn’t done this trip for a year ..but it didn’t faze them. They were forward going and a pleasure to ride. The hotels were just right for the holiday. Lots of very tasty food. Franko was very eager to please and nothing was too much trouble. A perfect host. A difficult holiday to follow."
"What a great time we all had with you last week. My photos showed we laughed loads, as indeed we did. The trip was a wonderful adventure. Thank you both so much for looking after us so well. The food was fab, (loved the home cooking in the hut) the wine plentiful, the accommodation excellent, loved Gonata, and the scenery stunning. Now to my boys. I hope Totu is on the mend &enjoying his rest, please give him a big hug &apple from me, and I hope Paolo is looking after my horse Achille!! he was a star, a real pleasure to ride, thank-you for letting me ride him".
WT (W Sussex)
"Aside from Africa, this is the best riding holiday I have been on. We had a great group - all of the same riding experience. Franco could not have been more welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. We had such a laugh. One meal was 4 Italians, one with a little English and Franco who spoke English & French and Italian of course!, 3 French people and one Belgium girl who spoke English plus us pathetic English who don’t speak much of anything! We still managed to communicate and enjoy ourselves enormously. Very professionally run but relaxed. The route was so changeable with different scenery every day.
I would recommend this as a challenging ride for the intermediate to experienced rider. We were in the saddle for 6 hours a day as advertised and if you were not a regular rider you could get very tired. It was perfect for us. I loved Franco and Paulo and their helpers and would have liked to bring Franco home!"
"Horses- amazing stamina, calm and very well trained. Scenery - diverse and beautiful. Food - as a vegetarian I was very well catered for.
The Sicilian ride might be especially interesting for people with interest in natural horsemanship. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a holistic way of treating and training horses".
"Highlights of the trip - Franco and Paolo were fantastic hosts, really felt they wanted to do everything possible to give us a good time. My horse was perfect, exactly what I asked for. Food! Franco obviously worked really hard to ensure we ate well on picnics and in the evening. Paolo’s cooking demonstration - very entertaining and the best meal of the week. Paolo lighting the open fire in the hut for lunch and providing Nutella dessert sandwiches. Scenery, especially from the top of the mountain, the flowers and the wild boar sightings.
A bit more walking than I expected, thought there would be more trotting and cantering.
I would highly recommend the holiday".
"We had a brilliant time, honestly. Fabulous horses, lovely Franco, amazing scenery, delicious food. I loved it."
France - Dordogne, Lot & Gironde
“Totally exceeded my high expectations - could happily have turned around and done it all again! Every single day brought jaw dropping moments and myself and my fellow travellers wore wide grins much of the time (when we weren’t shaking our heads in disbelief). Everything was top-quality - food, horses, accommodation. Beatrice in the back up vehicle always patiently waiting for us and looking after us. The pace was relaxing with moments of exhilaration and adventure. The scenery and countryside left me speechless - so much more varied and beautiful than I had imagined and all the paths and trails made it perfect for exploring by horseback. Thanks so much for organizing this trip of a lifetime for me. Worth every cent and more. So glad I didn't try and save pennies and take the cheaper options!”
“Food, accommodation, horses, company everything was excellent. Can't wait to save my dollars for another trip. You have a wonderful service at Ride World Wide. Many thanks”.
PS (New Zealand)
“The Accommodation at Moulin de Labique was lovely as were the hosts Christine and Patrick. The food was beautiful. Michel was an excellent guide and the rides were lovely”.
SM (New Zealand)
“Quality of all aspects of the ride was really excellent. Our guide Michel was friendly, entertaining and attentive. Countryside was a visual feast and the food was plentiful and of the highest quality. Highly recommended.
Highlights: The fact that nearly all the riding was on bridle trails or in forest and wood.
I was expecting more riding through built up areas and happily this expectation was not realized”
"This was our third trip with Michel and I doubt it will be our last! From arrival to departure everything is always faultless. The horses are well behaved, forward going but most importantly extremely well cared for. The hotels are all excellent and the food superb. One of the great joys after a morning ride is to meet up with Beatrice who provides a fabulous picnic lunch. The visits to the vineyards were, of course, fascinating. The huge amount of work that Michel and Beatrice put into this week make it a totally relaxing and enjoyable experience, (and the wine was pretty good too!)".
"I have been on many riding vacations and this was by far the very best. Michel has excellent horses – well groomed, well trained and responsive. He was very conscious of our safety while on the horses no matter what the gait or where we were. Of course, the food was excellent. We were served meals that many people only dream about. Our accommodation was also more than expected, I do not believe any of us could have sampled wine and food quite like what we did anywhere else. I believe we all agreed that we will be back for another tour with Michel. I forgot to mention how great Beatrice was in supplying us with lunch wherever we were. Thanks for a great trip. It was probably the best ride I have been on and I've been on a few".
“Thank you so much for this holiday of a lifetime. I traveled alone but felt very safe and very well looked after throughout. I will be booking again with you and recommending Ride World Wide to everyone”.
“I think this is one of the best balanced rides I have experienced – balanced in the sense of having great non-riding sightseeing events balanced with riding time balanced with great food and accommodation. It's nice to get everything! I usually prefer lots of riding time over going to see tourist things but Michel has the mix right. Being in tiny villages at the local market square for lunches was delightful and foie gras lunch at the duck farm was delicious. Everything seems effortless but I do appreciate how much thought has gone into selecting accommodation, food and wine. The horses are very well trained as trail horses and living together as a herd really shows in the way they get along on the trail. It is a pleasure to ride horses that get along together…….”
“This was the first time we had ever gone on a riding holiday and for us it was a fabulous experience. Michel is the most superb guide, wonderfully relaxed but at the same time quite obviously exceedingly competent. He looks after us and probably more importantly, his horses, superbly. To be honest, before the trip I could not have described a more perfect guide. Apart from comments above about the St Emilion hotel, which to be honest are a little picky, the hotels otherwise were great and the meals on the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights in particular were superb. Would we do it again ….in an instant HH”
“This was a super holiday, the terrain was great for riding and Michel and Colleen were lovely hosts. I would definitely like to ride with them again”.
“The ride was great. Beautiful countryside and a good variety of riding”.
“It was a fantastic holiday. The food and wine was both plentiful and excellent the hotels, all different, could not have been better. Good riding, good horses, and Michel was an excellent and friendly guide. He really tried to make the whole experience as good as possible. I would certainly recommend this ride to other people”.
“As usual with Michel and Colleen Amat it was a splendid ride. I found no difficulty at all on the ride due to my age. I did not need any “dispensation””
“The holiday was faultless. The accommodation, food and wine were superb (though the last two were over-generous!) Michel’s professionalism and attentiveness are without parallel. This is our second holiday with him and we are sure it won’t be our last”.
“As previously Michel excelled himself, the tour of the region was a comfortable mix of forest, hill and open countryside riding. The horses were responsive and felt soft throughout the week. We were spoilt by Beatrice’s picnics and the help we had each day with tacking the horses up. The accommodation Michel chose for us was excellent and the food and wide always delicious”.
“Exceeded expectations especially accommodation and food…we were royally looked after – lovely people, v friendly. Michel and Colleen could not have been more hospitable – loved every minute…good mix of day rides – ½ day rides and visits to local chateaux, towns etc. Perfect all highly recommended’’
‘’Picnic places were well chosen, we appreciated having re-arranged menus at dinner – all were good and varied, also good wines’’
“Michele deserves a gold star for his enduring patience, good will and sense of humour at all times”
“We went hoping for some great riding and never really gave the accommodation a thought, clearly Michele had, his choice of auberges and hotels was fantastic…the food was of course sublime. We loved the riding…the trail gave us different vistas and the pace of the riding gradually increased over the week which suited out level of relative inexperience very well. The horses behaved impeccably even when their riders did not!” C&A R
“This was the perfect holiday. Destination was superb as riding through the Perigord was beautiful and tranquil. The horses were responsive, willing and gentle. Michele was an attentive and informative guide with a great sense of humour and a desire to ensure we all had a great time”
‘’This is an excellent holiday and was most enjoyable in all respects. The arrangements are well planned and executed. Michel is a very friendly host and quickly puts you at your ease. The quality of the hotel accommodation was excellent with a nice blend of small country hotels and a couple of bigger ones. The food was excellent throughout the trip. The picnic lunches done by Colleen are most enjoyable and she works very hard to make sure everyone is content. The quality of the horses was excellent with no problems at all in riding them. They know their job and generally look after you on the steep inclines and drops.
This holiday probably undersells itself in a couple of respects. On the surface it looks expensive however with everything thrown in including visits to villages, chateaux, transport between drop offs, the visit to the crystal cave and the wine tasting at the vineyard, it is overall good value for money. Additionally the quality of the food was better than I expected. You could sell this holiday as a gastronomic tour on horseback without stretching the point too much! The quality of the countryside is breathtaking. The almost deserted woods, the wide sweeps of farmland, the winding hills and valleys contribute to a very relaxing, tranquil holiday. There is a fair amount of riding and you need to be a fit rider to get the best out of it.
The content of each day has been well thought out with riders being built up gradually to harder days as the holiday progresses. Most of the ride is at a walk with occasional long trots and canters. This is less of a disadvantage than you might think because the temperature is very warm and a lot of the ground does not allow for fast progress. Additionally it gives you more time to appreciate the scenery. Thankfully there is not that much road work and even that is usually on country roads with little or no traffic.’’
France - Le Bourdil Blanc
“Great horses and guide, wonderful countryside and trails. The house was lovely and the food fantastic. Jane was a charming host. Loved the ride, will return for sure.”
“I had a wonderful time - as usual! Everything was excellent!
There were only 3 in the group and that was just perfect! A fantastic time”.
“It was a wonderful holiday and Jane, who runs The Bourdil Blanc creates a wonderful, friendly relaxed atmosphere. Yet she is so organised and does everything possible to make her guests enjoy their stay. Antoine, the riding guide was superb, making the best atmosphere for the riders to enjoy themselves, yet not compromising on safety. FAB holiday. I would recommend this holiday to other riders and would like to return myself”.
"The holiday was perfect in every way"
"Thank you for another wonderful week riding at Le Bourdil Blanc.
Jane, Antoine, the horses, the food, the house, even the weather, all were fantastic. This was my third visit and not, I hope, my last. Thank you".
“Jane is the best! Absolutely loved her - what a lovely ‘character’ - great host!”
It was another excellent holiday at ‘Le Bourdil’. Non-stop laughs over the picnics and dinner, excellent horses and a really professional guide in Antoine, who was very helpful and sorted us out some new routes this year which meant we covered new ground and saw different things - BRILLIANT!
Highlights of the trip: The whole atmosphere of the holiday. Jane was brilliant as always. Its organized chaos at Le Bourdil, but everyone has such fun and the riding was terrific.
Make the rides a bit longer in length!.... I had a fantastic holiday. Two lovely horses, great company and Jane went above and beyond the call of duty in her role as hostess, making everyone feel like a treasured guest.
I was the only guest as there were no flights (volcanic eruption). In the event Jane and Antoine (guide) tailor made an excellent week for me in difficult circumstances. I missed out on the house-party atmosphere and company I expected, and there was no Bernadette to cook but that could not be helped! I still had a great week.
Jane was a friendly, informative host and provided a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere at Le Bourdil Blanc. We would love to do another holiday here. KB (London)
Le Bourdil Blanc is a most delightful manoir… a perfect setting for our party of 10. We were very impressed by the standard of cooking but occasionally disappointed by the quality of the raw materials and the wine. The ambience was superb. Antoine provided the sort of riding that we asked of him. A very calm, charming and professional horseman….overall an excellent holiday.
Great ride and beautiful house and scenery - stunning in the Autumn.
“Loved our walking tour of Bucharest but the highlight was simply being immersed in the stunning Transylvanian countryside, amazing woodland and gorgeous flowers. Sadly we didn’t see any bears! Also the Kalnoky Lodge in Miklosvar is wonderful.” VM (Wiltshire)
What in your opinion were the highlights of the trip? “The long rides and magnificent views. The charming locals and being greeted with Schnapps after a long ride! The ‘real’ feel of the villages that we went to. Prince Charles house in Zalánpatak. Everything was incredibly well organised and we loved our sightseeing trips either side of the riding.” AB (Edinburgh)
"Ride World Wide did a great job. Thanks Rosie and Nigel. You stood out above everyone and I would book with you again and again".
“Highlights were the beautiful open countryside without fences which are fantastic for riding ,the wild flowers on the slopes, the forests of broad leaf trees,the fresh bear prints and my lovely horse. The friendliness of the Countess and the effort made to give us suitable horses. The old lady at the water mill. Was an amazing and inspiring character. The feeling of going back in time seeing traditional villages and rural life. The cows coming home through the village to their little farmyards each evening.
One of the best trips I have ever done after 60 years of travelling-certainly the best riding.”
“I really enjoyed Romania. The horses were great....I got just the right horse - forward going but well behaved. The countryside was beautiful, perfect for riding with its lush wide open meadows like English parkland and lovely forests and it was fantastic to see farming methods from 60 or 70 years ago. Our guide was excellent and looked after us very well. Accommodation wise, Miklosvar was charming, both the bedrooms and bathrooms were good and the cellar/ dining room was lovely. It would have been nice to have a small bar area or similar to have an aperitif before dinner as a group. The food at Miklosvar was adequate and tasty but would have been enhanced by a few side dishes, it usually was soup, main plus some form of carbohydrate then pudding. The best food was at Little Bacon - lots of variety and Marta (our cook) enjoyed our obvious delight in her excellent cooking. The trip to the water mill which was fascinating. The night in the Kormos valley was the least impressive in spite of good bathrooms and hot showers the place had the air of having been just opened up for us and once again the food was adequate but could have done with a bit more flair. Similarly lunches were a bit dull (especially when compared to the Portuguese trip last year). All in all a very good holiday, I would recommend it and I thought it was good value.”
“Ride was great from all aspects. Food was best when we ate in the lady's dining room compared to home base but that was not so important.”
"The holiday was fantastic! I loved my horse, she was perfect for me and the riding itself was amazing. We had a good group and I thought the countryside we rode through was just the best.
Overall a great holiday and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!"
“Botond the guide was excellent company and v well informed. I think you should congratulate yourselves!”
“The Count and Anna were great hosts and made our stay very special. The horses were of a high standard and our guide went out of his way to be particularly helpful”.
“We just wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful time in Transylvania; we were looked after very well by everyone, including the rescuing and reunion with our luggage! It was lost in Frankfurt and everyone thought we were lucky to see it again after 36 hours. Edit was a very good guide and informant following the endless questions that we all asked about the places and people. Staying in their homes, dining with others and walking the streets gave us the best possible insight into their way of life in a comparatively short time. The horses (mine particularly) were just right and did their job well; the accommodation ranged from adequate to very comfortable, the best being the rooms at Mikloshova; the staff and virtually everyone we met were very friendly.
I hope that this is a sufficient summary of how much we enjoyed our trip. Thank you very much indeed for organising it. We both want to do another riding holiday next year!”
“We had an amazing time. God knows what would have happened if it had rained every day because we bought a change of clothes and there was nowhere to dry anything. Fortunately it only rained on the last afternoon. Marvellous place you must go.” CH, (Warwickshire)
“Not only was it a really enjoyable equestrian trekking type holiday but there was so much to learn about the History, the People, the Geography and life in a ‘rural’ economy. All in all a huge opportunity - Thanks to Anna Kalnoky’s enthusiasm and your research, this is a holiday to be recommended. Although the accommodation is not 5 star it is adequate. The food is good and the staff friendly and helpful.” JA (Devon)
"Beautiful riding country, open grasslands, mixed with paths though beech/oak forests. No fences, no gates. Good leader Lazlo and delightful 18 year old Anna-Kata bringing up the rear. 4 hours riding a day was enough for me and quite stiff (but bearable) after last day 5 hour ride. My 4 year old horse had an odd gait which made trotting difficult. Cantered smoothly. Anna-Kata said he was just like his father! I fell off once when I stupidly leant over to try to catch the coat that had fallen off the galloping rider ahead. Naturally the horse jinxed and off I came. No injury but glad for a hat! Must remember priority is to stay on. Accommodation fine and food excellent. 'Charlie' the manager very competent. Would recommend the trip to anyone who can ride"
"What an amazing holiday we had....faultless. I have sent my evaluation form in the post today. I hope it conveys the incredible experience that I had...and I think you will hear the same from the whole group. We were blessed with great weather of course. But every aspect was superb. The people, the horses, the food, the organisation, landscape, flowers, birds.....And I survived, as the least good rider in an experienced group. Thank goodness I took a bulging packet of Nurofen with me. Many many thanks"
"Wonderful privilege to visit a very special place. I hope we outsiders do not change it too much. Some of our group seemed to expect more sophistication than was practical. I disagreed very much’’.
BG (Co.Down, N. Ireland)
"Our guide Botty (BOTI) was incredibly well informed about the history and culture of the area. I was given a fantastic horse to ride, so thank you Anna for that. It would have been good on very hot days to have set out earlier in the day, but I appreciate the difficulties of moving large group of horses and riders!
An additional element that could be thought about would be to hear Hungarian/Romanian/Gypsy music. If not possible ‘live’ then at least some CD’s perhaps at Miklosvar. I thoroughly enjoyed the additional ‘extras’ such as seeing Mr Cheekys’ travelling bee hives and looking around the house at Zalanpatak. Attention to detail was superb! Always a white tablecloth, cold drinks and a cup of tea and cake at the end of each days ride! Fresh flowers in our rooms, comfortable beds and utterly charming guides and hosts.
I will be highly recommending this trip to friends and already want to return!
Thank you Nigel for your help arranging it. The advice was good and I felt confident from the outset that my riding was up to standard after taking your advice. MARVELLOUS!!"
“Horses a bit unruly at the start - first ride out of the year, but when they calmed down it was great. Lovely to be out in unspoilt countryside, charming hosts and our guide and Chandor (who looked after the horses) were excellent, such good company. Interesting to stay in people’s houses - and Miklosvar was fabulous. Great trip”. SH
‘’Highlights of the trip: Riding in wide open countryside with silence apart from nature. Plenty of opportunity to canter and gallop’’
JW (Bath) 2/4/11
"We simply adored this whole holiday, one of our best. Romanian scenery and way of life was wonderful. Charlie the guide for the Kalnoky family could not have been more charming, informative or eager to please. Excellent English too!
We loved Prince Charles’ property at Kalanpatak and Gabor was a marvelous host and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of wild flowers and birds. I can honestly say that we would love to go again at some point". Mr & Mrs N (Hereford)
"Just to say that we had a totally amazing time on our Romanian trip, and loved every second! Horses were tip-top, organization brilliant, and we so enjoyed riding in such an unspoilt part of the world. We're already talking about our next sortie, and one of us will call you at some point to discuss options for next year. Will be hard to beat this one, though!"
“Background information and assistance before the trip was excellent. Small details such as the details of Brasov train station were particularly appreciated. Staff told us some groups had struggled more than us with the riding. It is not a beginners ride, so the fact our group was all composed of good riders increased our enjoyment. Both Anna and Edith were excellent guides in all respects (took the ride on different days). Meals were as described in the brochure, but always filling and of excellent quality. Village accommodation with private families also excellent.
Highlights of the trip: Amazing countryside, good horses and well planned / executed ride. Caring hosts and staff with very personal service.
Excellent trip and service from RWW. Your organization was clearly better than some others on the trip who had traveled with other operators (eg: inappropriate transfers). We look forward to taking another trip with you in the future".
This was one of the best riding holidays I have been on. A perfect combination – great horses, fabulous riding country and really comfortable accommodation with extremely hospitable hosts. I would really like to come back but in the Autumn and preferably a different route – maybe up to the mountains.
Bea, Lazlo & Charlie did an excellent job as did all the other staff behind the scenes. Thank you RWW for everything.
Another fantastic holiday – the best yet! TMS (Hants)
“I had a fabulous time, wonderful host and absolutely fantastic gorgeous horses (I will be dreaming about them)!. Please pass on my heartfelt thanks to Eric for all his efforts. In a world when you only get a few precious horsey days (with too much work) they are so important. Days to treasure. The weather was unfortunately a bit unstable so we unfortunately weren't able to carry out the full itinerary but Eric made sure we made the best of it.” LL (Wiltshire)
“I thought the horses were beautifully behaved. One or two lovely mansions to stay in. Tremendous storm on Tuesday, which soaked us all. The horses did not even flinch once throughout the thunder and lightning all around”.
“Stunning scenery and lack of mass tourist development made this a truly wonderful area to visit. In a bizarre way the awful storms and rain we encountered over 3 days made us appreciate the sunny days even more. Special thanks and commendations to Eric and Hattie who had to change arrangements for the weather and then decided one day to take us sightseeing rather than endure another day in the rain. We had a great day in the mountains and saw a really special orthodox church that Eric had to search very hard to find the key holder”.
“We were unlucky with the weather but otherwise this was a very enjoyable ride. The riding is trail riding i.e. quite slow due to the terrain. But this is compensated by lovely views of the spectacular coastline - the Pelion peninsula is quite a special place, quite unspoilt with lush vegetation. Nice horses and Eric and Hattie made us very welcome, as did all the hotels and restaurants. The Greek food was also excellent - lots of local produce especially good vegetables and salads. All in all an excellent value relaxing holiday (thunderstorms excepted)”.
"Eric was very flexible which meant that when it was very hot we could do an afternoon ride from 5 or 6 pm for a couple of hours and also have lessons in the morning and rest during the day.
We both enjoyed ourselves and found Eric and his wife Olga very patient and helpful. He is very knowledgeable and we are inspired to return. Having everything included (ie: accommodation and meals) was excellent. I loved the location and our apartment. We will definitely return".
"We had a fantastic time with the horses, Eric and his family. The riding covered a great variety of terrain from beach, olive groves, woodlands to the tracks through open land. No day was the same and we had a fantastic insight into Greek life far away from the ‘normal’ tourist resorts. I did fall off (much to my embarrassment) but ‘that’s life - there are few horses that would not jump when loose pack ponies run at them suddenly - still pulling the thorns from my backside and only my pride hurt. I can’t recommend this riding adventure highly enough in this beautiful location".
I think we’d forgotten how different Eric’s horses and style of riding were from our usual riding stable horses. Once he’d given us the necessary refresher, we had a splendid time. He was, as always, very helpful and thoughtful – as was his whole family. As ever beautiful rides – but not quite warm enough this time for swimming.
This was one of the best of all the rides I’ve done. The horses were so beautifully looked after and trained. Eric is an amazing man and he managed the whole week beautifully with people of different levels of riding ability and ages.
It exceeded our expectations. We were very happy with the riding. It was the perfect family holiday and we were very grateful to Eric for making our stay so relaxed and comfortable. The itinerary was very flexible and took into account our varying abilities and enthusiasm.
“Another good holiday. Very relaxing, lovely swimming. Eric chose lunch and dinner well and knew so much about the area and his horses”
“The only problem is the journey there and back but there’s not much you can do about that!
‘’[We] had a wonderful holiday. It was so well organized and was so peaceful. The views and flowers were spectacular, horses were great and were well behaved and in excellent condition. Altogether a first class holiday and we both highly recommend it’’
‘’A beautiful spot – not luxurious but clean, ‘nice’ - just what was needed. My girls and I very much enjoyed the holiday and the riding and also enjoyed the company of Eric’s family who added a lot for all of us’’
‘’Our holiday was perfect. Eric / George looked us extremely well. He was most considerate to our needs….We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you Ride World Wide - we will be back for another trip!’’
‘’The trip was first class. The guide could not have been better or done more for us. We enjoyed everything. Pace of rides and length - well judged to our abilities to give variety and interest. Scenery beautiful and just the right scale for riding. Accommodation comfortable and friendly. Food - delicious. Highly recommended!’’
Mr & Mrs G
Highlights? “The views, the incredible wild flower meadows, the smell of herbs as we cantered through these fields, the obedience and gentleness of the horses, the cooling river crossings, the 'off the beaten track' experiences such as round the outer walls of the church fortress on foot through shoulder high weeds and to find the tunnel which lead to the river at Dmanisi, staying with Laela and Charlie (the Pekinese!), the wine which came in unlabelled plastic bottles with red lids, seemingly to have right of way down public roads over the motorised vehicles, the kindness of Levan's wife (Eno) and daughter (Nino) who joined us for dinner and looked after us while we were in Tbilisi, meals in courses, the amazing tomatoes which we had at every meal, picking mulberries off the trees, snoozing in the shade under the trees each lunchtime.”
“The scenery and countryside and then of course the monasteries. The cook Shalwa was excellent and Atia, one of the lads, delightful. ”
"Overall I can easily say that this was a holiday of a lifetime and I cannot be more complimentary of how Levan executed the trip. His support staff, Giallo, Avto, Bekka and Shalwa were all outstanding. Nothing was a problem. The food on all occasions was excellent under the circumstances as was all their company. Camp sites each night were set up and taken down with no fuss and life just happened in a beautiful Georgian rhythm. We many very funny nights under the stars and the introduction to the Georgian custom of toasting was magic……
Levans’s family were fantastic (Ina and his daughter Anna) and could not be more accommodating. The quality of the horses was outstanding with not one of them missing a beat over all 8 days in all conditions – really impressive as the going was very tough on occasions and required quiet and patient animals. Cannot recommend the ride enough.
I think for the women folk it would have been good to know that on the first night that we stayed with a local family that the loo situation was really quite awkward. Levan did warn us to be fair to him, but it was really grotty!! For the men who could use the bushes with discretion it was passable, this was not an option for the ladies. Suggestion – take a camp loo seat which would make life a lot more palatable for some.
Don’t change the magic – it was strong fast riding which was exactly what I wanted and got it in bucket loads!! Toning it down to cater for less experienced riders would be a mistake in my opinion".
"The horses were amazingly fit and never tired despite long canters. I do not class myself as a very ‘confident rider’ but I felt safe as the horses were so well behaved and trained allowing me to enjoy riding really fast over beautiful terrain. I don’t imagine there are many places in the world that it is possible to ride at this pace over such wild country for long periods. The route was perfect - really varied countryside, no cars, no fences and the chance to gallop through streams, forest and fields all in 20 mins! An action packed trip that really improves your riding as you are tested by riding on all different terrains. The hospitality of the guesthouses were very nice as were the guides and there was a really nice mix of culture and horses. A very well planned trip with outstanding horses"
"Levan and his family made us feel very welcome and Levan was a wonderful guide who could not do enough to ensure our trip was amazing. The back-up team were great, as were the horses, the scenery, the route, the beautiful camping spots, the mixture of hours in the saddle and time to explore the historical buildings and areas. The riding was challenging due to its pace and the terrain (very fast riding through forests with undulations, sharp bends, branches to dodge, the odd surprise ditch to leap over at speed (!)) and many many VERY long canters, up and down hills, across difficult terrains, so be riding fit and prepared! And the camping is quite basic, so again, as long as you are prepared. Overall a fabulous experience in an amazing country. I would recommend it for sure".
"The Georgia ride was a wonderful, challenging experience. The terrain is at times trackless and very steep, but Levan knows the countryside like the back of his hand and is a very fine guide and companion. We also had lots of opportunities for long canters along ancient roadways and across open fields. The horses were very well mannered and responsive. It's certainly true that this isn't a ride for people who insist on luxury, but Levan's crew was great, the camps were comfortable, and the food good, if simple. If you like to camp and don't mind fairly basic accommodations when you're not camping this is a chance to have a fine adventure, see some beautiful countryside, and experience an ancient culture in a part of the world that not many people visit".
"What a beautiful ride - a landscape out of time. One highlight was the sweetness with which the couple at the Ivanovka guest house provided us with a HOT shower! Anthony and I dubbed Levan “the Bandit Chief” he has that presence, charm and devilry. I noted also that the younger generation keep up the tradition of the wild Caucasian horsemen.
In Poladauri we were briefly accompanied by a splendidly naughty child riding flat out bareback on his pony, his skill and balance were a joy to watch. At a couple of camps we were greeted by charming friendly dogs. At the camp above Pitareti there was a beautiful grey stallion wandering around - rather worrying, but no harm came to any of the horses, but one mare may well produce a strikingly lovely foal next summer. My Akhal Teke cross horse Almad was the horse of romance - silver dun, fearless and extremely fast, he was moody in the mornings but after the first gallop cheered up no end. I loved him".
A&F G (Glos)
"A great holiday. The horses were fantastic - responsive and forward going. Scenery was breathtaking and terrain varied enough to maintain rider interest".
Nigel thank you for recommending Georgia, a wonderful country, great food and hospitality. Levan and Ina were fantastic hosts, the horses were amazing carrying us over all sorts of terrain, sometimes at speed, all polite and genuine. Best to keep an open mind on the daily schedule - an exciting ride and great experience.
The ride was a great adventure and the riding was really good and exciting. The guide did not usually say when the pace was going to change or if we had to jump. I was fine with this but others may be a bit concerned by suddenly jumping large ditches or setting off at a gallop. A holiday to be recommended. The people in Georgia are very hospitable and the countryside and views wonderful.
"It was a fantastic ride, an amazing experience and adventure. We all knew there would be teething problems as it was their first trip and they took aboard our comments. A lovely group of people and horses. They went out of their way to look after us in Tbilisi"
"What a great ride! The team in Georgia were lovely people so it felt like I was being met and showed around by friends rather than hosts or reps! The terrain and weather conditions certainly made the riding a challenge at times but this made it all the more of an adventure. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this ride – although having done it I wouldn’t say it was for novices..."
"We had a wonderful time – the support team were terrific, the routes and venues amazing. The last accommodation needs better washing facilities…. all in all the trip met, even exceeded, my expectations. Thank you for a great time – we hope to do another route in Georgia, such a beautiful country. No fences!"
H & FC (Surrey)
"The holiday was lovely – Levan and his two guides were extremely helpful and tried to accommodate everyone as best they could. Lovely holiday, lovely people. Lovely hospitality (Levan’s new cook provided excellent food). I would be very happy to recommend this holiday to anyone – they do need to have a sense of adventure though"
‘’The scenery was stunning. My horse had masses of energy (almost too much!). Ina (Levan’s wife) was lovely and gave us a good day in Tbilisi. The food on the ride was good (food at guesthouses fairly poor!). Very much enjoyed myself. Thanks ’’ JS (ride date 16/5/06)
"Don't know what to say other than the holiday was right up there with the best we've had over the last 40 odd years. Not a single aspect that we didn't thoroughly enjoy. Where to start.
The horses; lovely, handsome, beautiful soft mouths, easy rides whether at trot, fast canters or flat out gallops.
The Food; excellent always. Less said about the drink (or rather my consumption of it ) the better!"
‘The horse I rode was perfectly suited to me and was thrilling to ride - perfectly eager and wonderfully well schooled."