Travel Articles

Ireland- Ring of Kerry Part 1

With beautiful sunny skies, our crew headed to Killarney Riding Stables right outside of the center of Killarney. There’s a reason why so many tourists flock to this part of County Kerry, it’s absolutely gorgeous. There’s also a reason why Donie O’Sullivan has been leading riders from this spot since 1968. O’Sullivan is in a great location, right outside of downtown Killarney, where there are restaurants, pubs and shopping. You can take an hour long...

Iceland- Cliff Ride

On a ride in Iceland with Ishestar, my guide Asa wanted to take me a different route on the way home, so we drove the herd of horses back towards the farm, but then split off from the rest of the group for our cliff ride. Asa’s husband rode with us. If you are afraid of heights, I do not recommend this ride. The wind was gusting really hard, as we ventured to the edge of a very high cliff to take in the milky blue waters, which run down from a higher glacier. The scenery was...

Iceland- Horse Drive

Today, we drove a herd of 50 horses to Gullfoss, a huge waterfall, in Iceland. I have to admit, since I had only just gotten to Iceland and ridden Icelandics once, I was a little nervous, as we took off at a fast tolt with 50 horses behind me and about ten other Icelandic riders yelping at the top of their lungs, as we took off from a trial and into the lava fields. Einar Bollason, who owns Ishestar recommended the ride with farmers- a traditional horse drive. In Iceland, people use...

Iceland- Learning to Ride an Icelandic Horse

To start my Iceland riding adventure, I first wanted a lesson in how exactly to get these furry Icelandic horses to tölt. Our crew headed to Ishestar, a riding ceter and tour operator right outside of Reykjavik. Ishestar has been operating for about 25 years, leading riders through the lava fields, countryside and to traditional farms in Iceland. My instructor Einar had a fun time watching me break to a trot during our learning session. I rode a horse who name means Black...

Uruguay- Eco-friendly at La Salamora

by Darley Newman I enjoy finding hidden gems when I travel and places where I can ride that make me feel like I am stepping back to a simpler, more natural time. The estancias that I visited in Uruguay, a small, rural country in South America, were some of these. At La Salamora, a family-run lodge powered entirely by wind power in the rocky, rolling grasslands of Lavalleja not too far from the resort area of Punta del Este, I have been discovering Uruguayan culture through Alicia...

Ireland- Carlingford with Ravensdale

We just ate a really great dinner at Fitzpatrick's, a true locals pub that Niall Connelly recommended, just outside of Carlingford. I had Guinness steak topped with a pastry shell with salad and potatoes gratin. Mmmm Today we ventured into the town of Carlingford, which has a large number of medieval buildings, including a town Mint and King John's Castle. The town is small enough that you can explore on foot. We walked to an old church and up to the graveyard, which held views...

Ireland- Ravensdale on the Cooley Peninsula

Today we went riding with Niall Connolly at Ravensdale Lodge, which is in the Northeastern part of Ireland on the Cooley Peninsula. Ravensdale is outside of the medieval town of Carlingford in Louth County. Niall has great facilities at Ravensdale. He has a stunning, new indoor ring and extensive cross country course, as well as multi-day trail rides into the surrounding mountains. Niall is the fourth generation to grow up on the farm at Ravensdale. I rode a wonderful horse named...

Ireland- Mount Juliet Estate

We’re exploring Mount Juliet Estate, an eighteenth century country estate, on horseback. Mount Juliet is located in County Kilkenny and has a world-class golf course, great fishing and over 1500 acres of land for riding. I felt very regal as I took a quick spin on a bicycle upon arriving at dusk. There are lots of ways to explore the estate, but I was most looking forward to my morning horse ride. Mount Juliet was founded in the 18th century by the Earl of Carrick, who named the...

Costa Rica- Farm Ride

Today was my first riding day in Costa Rica. We started at the farm and Esteban helped me pick out the horse that I would be riding. The horses here are different breed mixes. Some have more Paso Fino in them then others, meaning that they are gaited and very smooth. After trying a few horses, I settled on riding Pinata, an Appaloosa mixed with Peruvian Paso. Pinata is a wonderfully well behaved and smooth ride. We would get along very well. Esteban rode Chocolate and Monica and her...

Costa Rica- Frog Sanctuary

Today, we went to a frog farm that is not open to the public with Esteban. The owner raises rare frogs, but the neat thing is that the frogs are left to hop along in the rainforest, so if you walk quietly through, you can spot many of these neon colored frogs. We stealthily walked through the rainforest in search of these small frogs. Beside the trails, there were a lot of them. You have to look closely, but you can find these bright green and black frogs, whose skin and delicate arms...

Costa Rica- Hot Air Balloon

Today, Esteban, who besides being a great rider and guide for his riding company, also is a balloon pilot, took us out for a hot air balloon ride. I have never been up in a hot air balloon and it was really cool. I felt like we were floating as we rose up over the pineapple fields and lush green environment and headed for the rainforest. Though it is the dry season, to me everything is still really green here. You can get pretty close to the tree tops as you float over the rainforest....

Costa Rica- Tree Climbing

Today, Catalina, Esteban’s sister, and a guide took me out tree climbing as a part of my horse tour of Costa Rica. We hiked into the rainforest to this giant Fichus tree named Abraham, so named because he watches over the entire forest. I would be climbing up 120 feet (think a 10-12 story building) to a large platform that would take me into the forest canopy. Climbing up was like climbing the rope in gym class, but harder, as I weigh a lot more than I did then and don’t...

Costa Rica- Day One

We’re riding throughout Costa Rica with Centaura, a horseback riding adventure travel company run by Monica and Esteban, a Costa Rican husband and wife team. Centaura’s horses are very nice. They are well trained, responsive and riders can have their pick based on what they want to experience on their adventures. Centaura specializes in custom riding vacations and offers other adventure activities as well. This means, I’ll not only be riding at the base of Arenal...

Jordan- Jerash

In the historic Roman city of Jerash in Northern Jordan, I toured the city on foot and watched the RACE, Roman Army and Chariot Experience. It’s the NASCAR of over 2000 years ago, a Roman chariot reenactment race in the well-restored city of Jerash. I sat along with the audience, listening to the trumpets announce the performance. The RACE show is open to the public and features forty-five legionaries in full amour demonstrating drill and battle tactics, gladiator fights and...

Jordan- Dead Sea

After riding through Petra and the Wadi Rum Desert with the Bedouin, I was ready to relax and take a dip, rather float, in the famous Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. The Dead Sea is known for its healing properties. People gather along the shore to slather its mud on their bodies, float, wash off the mud and repeat-- if you can stand it. It's obvious that the Dead Sea is salty.  Its high salt and mineral content allow you to float, but I found that it did sting my skin a...

Jordan- Petra

Today, we ventured out early to explore Petra by camel and foot. We stayed literally right across the street from the entrance, so we could just walk over and through the entrance gates in the morning- very convenient and there was a big breakfast buffet. I am a breakfast eater, so I was happy. We also left early, so that we could see the façade of the Treasury when the light hits it in the morning. Petra is an amazing ancient city. Walking through the siq, the mile long long...

North Carolina- Downtown Asheville & Rock Climbing

Today, I took a break from the saddle to explore downtown Asheville's arts, restaurants and shopping and spend the afternoon rock climbing at Chimney Rock Park. No, I have never gone rock climbing before, and yes, I am still in one piece. It was a lot of fun and certainly a challenge. Asheville is a nice mix of urban culture in a small area. Asheville is pretty small, so I was excited to explore on foot. I thought that I would start out doing the urban trail, which is about a...

Spain- Beach Riding

Today Fernando of Epona took us to ride through Donana National Park on the Southern Coast of Spain. I have ridden in Donana before, but the park too big to cover in one day. On my ride with Fernando, we went to a different part of the park. Our entire crew had to ride to film here, as we were riding through an area of high dunes, inaccessible by any vehicles. We rode to a deserted beach. In the distance, I could see resorts and development, but where we were able to ride, there was...

Turkey- Kiliclar Valley, Cappadocia

The scenery changed on our ride through Kiliclar Valley on our way to the Red and Rose Valleys (Gulludere and Kizilcukur) in Cappadocia, Turkey. Here there are white ice cream cone formations and narrow passageways between the white domed rocks. Our horses took the sometimes challenging rocky terrain with stride, much more surefooted than I would have been on these trails. The lookout point over the Red and Rose Valleys wowed me, and Ahmet said it was one of his favorite spots as...

Turkey- Guzelyurt

Güzelyurt is a part of Turkey, which has not been totally discovered by tourists, allowing travelers who do make it here to see Turks living a traditional lifestyle. We’re riding here with Ahmet Diler of Kirkit Voyage, who grew up in Cappadocia and seems to know everyone in the area, making me feel a bit like a local on my travels here. Ahmet’s stables in Guzelyurt are right on the edge of the village. We arrived the night before to pick our horses for the next...

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