Thursday, June 14, 2018

Riding in Spain, Ranch Siesta los Rubios

Whenever I travel abroad I usually go riding at least once during the trip. I love riding in different countries and with different cultures and some of my best memories are definitely from cantering down the streets and beaches in Bayahibe (The Dominican Republic) or heading out in the desert of Dubai

Finding a good place to ride always requires a bit of googling and might also include some luck.
The best way to find your way around in a new country however is usually through someone local and this time we were very lucky because one of our friends who studied at the RYT 200 yoga teacher training with us happens to live in Marbella. So when Janina Tainio asked us to join her to Ranch Siesta Los Rubios for a few hours hack (that in a very Spanish way ended up taking more than three hours) we were of course more than excited to head to the ranch situated between Estepona and San Pedro de Alcantara (I mean just listen to these names. Who would say no to riding in places like this). 

On a Tuesday afternoon we headed off with Janina, Auli, and Aulis two daughters. My daughter Ella went to stay with her friends for the day and night since she is not at all as into riding as the rest of us. When we were hacking in the amazing Spanish countryside Ella was enjoying her time out in the sea and in the swimming pool on a Unicorn floatie instead. 

The drive to Ranch Siesta Los Rubios took only around 30 minutes from where we were situated in Marbella. The Ranch is run by an English woman named Caroline Grahm, her fantastic mother and amazing children. The Ranch is small but extremely cozy and as soon as you enter the area you can feel the good energy surrounding you. Caroline welcomed us warmly to her yard and after watching a jumping lesson together with Caroline we headed of to get our horses (most of them were already tacked up and ready outside the barn.

All the girls. Peppi. Auli, Janina and Wilma. 

The yoga teachers / horse enthusiasts getting together.

Normally during the summer time the horses are ridden early mornings and late afternoon / evenings. Due to the unusually cold summer this year however we were able to head out for the hack at 2 pm already. The weather was perfect for horseback riding. The sun was shining slightly but the air was very fresh and the wind kept all the flies away from the horses. This was a very important thing especially for the little 4-year old mare that I was riding since her tail had been cut off almost completely in her previous home and she used her hind legs to kick off the flies from under her belly. 

We took of through some beautiful landscape and after walking a few miles on a road with a little traffic we came to the most amazing place where hills met water and citrus trees bloomed followed by the prettiest roses. When Caroline told us that the horses are used to traffic and even big trucks but her horse (that had only been ridden for 2 months) and mine (that had only been ridden for 4 months) could still react to the trucks swishing by I could already see myself heading off full speed in another direction or jumping straight off the road or under the truck. Her horses reactions were however quite different from what I am used to with Thor. This cutest little mare took a few small spurts in the beginning of the hack but after that she had really no reaction to anything other than the flies that irritated her if we stopped for a while. Her concentration was mostly on trying to find some bush to eat on the way and keeping herself close to the other horses. Even when cantering she was completely relaxed, lifted the canter nicely and stayed very kindly as the last one of the group. Caroline said that she had even had beginners on this 4-year old horse. 

The hack was fantastic and I felt so at home just smelling the horses and being around likeminded people. What I however liked the most about the place was definitely the way that the horses were treated and trained. Carolines manner with the young horses was so beautiful and you could really feel that every situation was a training situation for her. And as this once again proved there really are no difficult horses. Only difficult situations or wrongly trained foundations. 

I also absolutely fell in love with this little mare. An absolutely adorable horse with a great temperament and so kind and gentle. So totally different from the handsome Swede that was waiting for me at home. 

Time for a sip of the purest water. 

Luckily I was travelling when Thor had an accident- My best friend Tiina took care of the wounds in his legs and seeing them now they still look pretty bad but I think I would have been devastated if I would have been around seeing them fresh and open. I am just so very very grateful that nothing worse happened to either one of them and so happy that the wounds have healed very well. You never know what the next moment in life brings in front of you and I am just so thankful that I get to spend my life around all these fantastic people and the majestic animal called a horse. Tomorrow morning I will head out with Thor for a long hack and just give him all the time he needs. 

The 4 year old mare that I was riding. 

And the little pony that was saved from the slaughterhouse because he ran off to the stable next door where Caroline was visiting the veterinarian and decided to take him home with here. 

Do you have any favourite destination where you have been riding? Any place that you would recommend visiting. 

Ok, hello Carpet? How cute am I. Maybe a bit hot with this coat.:) 

If you are interested in riding holidays in Spain, Janina Tainio is more than happy to help you. You can find her contact information here. More about Ranch Siesta los Rubios can be found here. 

Janina and Ranch owner Caroline. 

PS. Unfortunately I do not have many pictures from the hack. I really had nowhere to put my phone this time and I took Janina's advice and enjoyed the ride from the horseback rather than through the lens of my camera. So all the pictures that are taken from the hack are taken by Caroline.

PSS. Many horses in Spain are rescue horses. That is also why many of Caroline's horses are mares because there are more mares going to slaughter and being saved by amazing people such as Caroline. Wish I could have my own yard with Ella, Jack and Thor someday. We would take every horse possible to that yard. It would be such a dream come true. 

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