If you plan to ride in Germany when on a weekend or a vacation (and you don’t live in Germany), be ready to take a part in a sequel to Mission Impossible. There is a chance that you’ll succeed, but it’s very-very-very slim. Trust me, I’ve been through it. Four times.
A country which has the highest number of horses in Europe, breeds 9 completely unique horse breeds, and has riders which are famous for regularly standing on the Olympic podium, unfortunately doesn’t have much to offer an equestrian tourist. It’s not just my bad luck. Check Unicorn Trails and In the Saddles offers in Europe. Germany is not on the list.
So after I tried contacting schools and stables, hotels that advertised riding activities and friends, and friends’ friends, and asked my Instagram followers… After all this hustle, on my 4th visit I found the place for my 23rd international ride and only because I have an amazing colleague who is into international endurance competitions.
I’m so glad I made this trip to Munich and finally met Andrea, my German colleague and facebook friend. And I’m glad she introduced me to her two amazing horses: Sati – an 11-year-old fine Arabian
and Hurdy Gurdy, a 26-year-old endurance veteran.
Andrea let me choose which horse to ride, and I decided on Hurdy. First of all, I’d never ridden a 26-year-old horse before (btw, he is in great shape. Andrea retired him from competitions only 3 years ago), and secondly, because he is a trotter and a tolter.
Like any former racing champion, Hurdy can’t stand seeing other horses running in front of him. He immediately flattens his ears, switches to top gear :-) and tries to overtake the competitor (I guess you cannot easily erase 20+ years of competition experience).
We rode quite a long way South because Andrea wanted me to have a picture with the Alps in the background.
It was a beautiful 3-hour ride through the Bavarian countryside, while admiring the amazing nature and talking about work and, of course, horses.
Thanks a million, Andrea, and I wish you and your horses all the best!
P.S. If you would like to ride in Germany, take my advice – try the smaller stables in the North, where 3 out of 10 will have contact details other than a phone number (unfortunately, I don’t speak German, so calling is not an option); and 3 out of 10 you send messages to will reply that yes, you can book either a lesson or a trail ride.