Learning how to ride a horse had always been one of the top priorities on my long Wish List, and so I jumped at the opportunity to join Fun Taste Spain on their afternoon horse riding excursion. After having experienced two of their other excursions, the one day long Andalusian road trip and kayaking at Tajo del Águila, I was convinced that learning how to ride a horse in their arrangement can be nothing less than great fun.
Unlike the other two excursions which started in the morning and lasted throughout the entire day, the horse riding trip didn’t begin until the after-siesta hours. Around 5pm Juan picked us up at our usual meeting spot, near the Jerez train station, and we left the city to reach the nearby Natural Park La Suara.
After a short ride in now very familiar Fun Taste Spain van, we arrived to the Centro Hipico de la Suara (Equestrian Center), where the owners led us to already saddled and prepared horses for us to ride. They explained some basics for the beginners, and also made sure to match the calmest and most obedient horses to the absolute first-timers (such as myself), leaving the more spirited ones to the already experienced riders.
One by one, we straddled the horses assigned to us. Before heading off to the nature, we practiced near the stables, riding in circles, to get a sense of how to control the horse and ride comfortably.
We rode slowly through this natural area covered mostly by stone pine reforestation, with areas of Mediteranean scrub and wild olive trees. Eucalyptus can be found there as well, although to a lesser extent. My personal favorite, the thorny cactus, was all around, too, and we had to be careful not to go too near with the horses.
We visited the park in early May, but the days at this time of the year are already pretty hot in southern Spain, so these late afternoon hours were perfect for outdoor activities in the pleasant shades of nature.
We were all riding together, trying to learn as much as possible about the horses and horse riding skills, while also keeping up with our own casual conversations. One of the coaches who went with us to lead the way was riding alongside with me, asking about various English words and trying to learn more English in order to be able to communicate better with the tourists. He was the sweetest of them all!
The views of the sun moving towards the west with each passing minute above the olive trees and scrub were breath-taking. It was relaxing and soothing to just sit on the back of my horse, feeling its muscles shifting beneath my weight, and simply admire the horizon as we made our way back to the stables.
It was a two-hour long ride, and as they warned us in the beginning, our thighs were starting to hurt by the time we finished. Pain is a normal thing after extensive horse riding, especially for the beginners who are not used to the position. But it didn’t matter at all – in spite of the pain, we all wanted more.
Before going back to Jerez, the owners stood and talked with us for a while, and served some delicious traditional sherry wine. An absolute must-try for everyone going through the area of Jerez!
I enjoyed this horse ride to the fullest and one thing is for sure – it was not my last time. I fell in love with the feeling of a human and a horse united in movement, and now I want to learn more. Next time I get an opportunity for Workaway travel, I’ll make sure to put some interesting horse farm on my volunteering list!