Mum, Dad and I just spent a morning trekking with Horseriding El Chorro and the experience has left us speechless.
My Mum and Dad are both in their late seventies and have never ridden or been around horses before. Whilst Dad was enthusiastic about giving it a go, Mum was very nervous and I am amazed that she got as far as the stables, let alone joined the ride with us. Partly this was down to how brilliantly Marc dealt with us when we arrived. He was friendly, relaxed and reassuring whilst at the same time being encouraging but firm enough with Mum in such way that she didn’t give in to her fear too much.
He welcomed us and led the ride, and his confidence transferred itself to us – we all felt like we were in safe hands with both Marc and the horses he had chosen for us. We got the impression that had we been more experienced and confident, the horses and the ride would have been very different. It was amazing how the horses seemed to adapt themselves to our needs.
Marc and Ali, who run Horseriding El Chorro, cater for different levels of riding experience really well. They keep riding groups small and adapt each ride to the needs of the individuals in the group. So, experienced riders can challenge themselves and complete beginners can feel safe and get a confidence-boosting introduction that leaves them wanting to ride again. Whether it's just one person or a small group of you, rides are limited to the group or people that book together - you don't get put with people you don't know. This limits group sizes and also makes the experience more personal and special.
What Horseriding El Chorro also offers, which is unique to them, is a photo and video package of your ride at no extra cost. We found this invaluable as it enabled us to share our experience with friends and family when we got home. It has also helped us keep the memory alive.
The ride itself was amazing. For anyone who knows El Chorro, it goes without saying that the views and surrounding landscape are extraordinarily beautiful, but there was something about seeing everything from horseback that added an extra dimension to the experience.
The horses walked us through various terrains: gentle forest trails with the smell of pine and thyme following us through the shade and breeze; wider tracks leading through the village and past houses and camp-sites; and grassy, stony tracks leading up onto ridges and opening out onto panoramic views under clear blue skies. All the time, the sound of birds accompanying the rhythmic clipping of hooves. It was all very peaceful and therapeutic. The only other people we saw were a couple of walkers coming downhill as we were heading upwards.
Although we didn’t do any of the galloping that I know more confident and experienced riders get to do, we did have some moments of excitement, like the horses scrambling up over rocky bits of track and up onto narrow ridges, and the scramble back down again. I did feel a little bit like a cowboy in a Western movie occasionally. You don’t get to do this type of riding in the UK in this type of terrain when you are a novice!
Being offered cold beers at the end of our trek was the icing on the cake and went down very well.
What I particularly like about Marc and Ali’s set up here is the flexibility they offer. Whether you’re a terrified beginner or an experienced rider, they’ll support and encourage you appropriately. Marc’s experience and the good nature and confidence of the horses leaves you feeling in very safe hands.
I can honestly say that Mum, Dad and I left Horseriding El Chorro feeling like we had just had the most memorable adventure in the most spectacular scenery with the most encouraging and supportive guide. We also loved our horses, Inca, Carter and Pilgrim, and will remember them and the ride for a long time to come.
Because of the personalised experience you get with Marc and Ali, they are very popular and rides get booked up quickly in advance. When planning your ride, you need to book ahead as last minute requests can result in disappointment - something both Marc and Ali want to avoid.