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Donnerstag, 31.

Juli 2014


Nummer 174

Trail Riding in Spain is addictive

For years a PNP Journalist has been occasionally going horseback riding Then she chanced the adventure of riding holidays in the Castile
250 Kilometers in
the saddle, 6 days of
hour-long riding.
The stress of the
daily routine is
getting lost by the
clacking of hooves.
By Karin Seidl
She has everything, you
could think of. Caroline
Countess of Saurma is able to
afford the classiest horse at
home in Switzerland as well
as in Bavaria where she is living half of the time. However the lady of the international High Society prefers to fly
to Spain once a month. The
Andalusian horse, she fell in
love with four years ago, is
standing in Covarrubia nearly 200 kilometers northern
of Madrid. She says: Horseback riding is nowhere as
beautiful as here. Well the
Countess could be right.
What did I get into? It has
been years since I sat in the
saddle regularly. And now a
six daylong outdoor ride on a
foreign horse is waiting for
me. At the airport of Madrid I
get to know my fellow travelers. All eight, two Swiss and
six English are very experienced with horses. They are riders, riding at least once a
week for decades now. The
Briton Chris Gingell is doing
the tour with the Spanish travelling guide Jos Manuel
Barrenada Gonzlez for the
fifth time now. This time he
convinced two friends to join
him. Debbie Brentons resistance has been small as it his
her second time and she already had been infected by
the Covarrubias-Virus.

The trip is creating

Repeat Offenders
Nicky Crosbie claims not
to be a good rider as she is not
counting her weekly rides at
the English National Park
Dartmoor. Pure British understatement as it turns out.
She also said she was a
nurse but in fact she is in
the head of cancer research.
Ron Medland and his wife
Linda have their own horses
as well as Michael Bates. The
Swiss Brigitte and Peter
Schmid have to think a while
until they know the quantity

Riding where other people go for a hike: riding holydays in Spain make it possible. When you made the ride through the mountains the view over the Atlantic Ocean
rewards the riders.
of riding tours they have been
on. They count between 15 to
20 riding vacations to Argentina, Portugal, Rumania,
France etc.

year old horse trader and route leader is making fun of me

by asking over and over again
Karin, do you want to ride
this tomorrow?

Brigitte is immediately encouraging me as I begin to get

a bit pale around my nose.
You can do it. You are going
to be fine! Chris gave me a
pat on the back. For him there was something more important. So, Karin, do you
drink? Within a few minutes
I realize that at least I will fall
out of the saddle laughing.

Jenerosa, a 13-year old

Spanish mixture female horse, is the first one I spontaneously come up close to totally relaxed. Her calmness
emanates. I pet her chin, she
closes her eyes and puts her
head on my shoulder. Cute.
Karin, that is yours, Jos uttered. Yes, mine. For a whole

It hardly takes Jos Manuel

Barrenada Gonzlez longer
than a few minutes to know
who will sit on which of his
horses. The same night he appoints us to his horse stable at
the outskirts of the medieval
town Covarrubias. Jos starts
to show us his gorgeous horses. One horse after another
is brought out of its stable by
his coworker Cesar. They
prance along us, snuffle and
dont stand still. Black,
brown and white Andalusian
horses with long curly manes.
Insanely beautiful, but getting me on them? Not for all
the money in this world.
Chris already whispered to
Jos that I prefer the more
clam ones. And now the 58-

Jenerosa carries me safely

for 250 kilometers through
Canyons, up and down boulders and mountains, trots
through pine-tree forests,
over green grassland, steps
carefully into creeks and gallops with me in the end twice
through the beginning of the
river Arlanza because it is so
enjoyable. Generally: Joss
command to galope controlado (controlled gallop) are
becoming my two favorite
Spanish words. Day by day I
am feeling more secure, day
by day more relaxed. Karin,
how are you feeling?, Ron
asks from time to time. Good
Very good. On average we
manage to ride 30 kilometers
a day, sometimes more and

You dont have to ride through the river Arlanza to reach the stable of Jos Manuel Barrenada
Gonzales. But you can just because it is fun. By the way: riding is mostly mens business in Spain.

sometimes less.
The hours in the saddle, at
times five or six, are just flying
by. For lunch Joss coworkers Cesar and Cipri are serving warm meals with wine
and coffee on white tablecloths. The heat, the good food
and the long rides are making
us drowsy. In the shadow of
the trees we are stretching
our limbs and looking into
the sky. The horses graze next
to us. Thinking? About
what? The head is clear.

Above us the vultures

are circling
We smell lavender, absinthe wormwood and cedar. Tiny little black butterflies are
dancing around the horses
ears. Bees are buzzing in the
acacias and making the only
noise. Above us the vultures
are circling. Sometimes there
are 20 of them. They are sitting in karstic caves and starring at the riders. It reminds
me of an Italian-western movie. And indeed: we are getting to the hill which the movie The Good, The Bad and
the Ugly by Sergio Leones
had made famous. The graveyard was there, where the
three master shooters, the
blonde (Clint Eastwood), Tuco (Eli Wallach) and Sentenza (Lee Van Cleef) had a nervracking showdown.
Our showdown was still
three days ahead. We have
passed vineyards, durmast
oak forests and grazing land.
From Rutruerto it goes to
Contreras over a spectacular
hill we are riding down to the
cloister Santo Domingo de
los Silos. It is one of the most
beautiful ones in Spain. The
nature park Cann del Ro
Lobos is laying ahead of us.
The wolves canyon is 32 kilometers long and we are riding half of it. The way to
Quintanar de la Sierra passes

Good to know
 Arrival: Schedules flights
of Lufthansa or the Spanish
airline Iberia are flying several times daily to Madrid. At
the airport the Pegasus riding-tourists get picked up by
their guide at the international meeting point between
Terminal 1 and Terminal 2

(Sala 1 and Sala 2, ground

floor). The connected bus
ride takes two hours to Covarrubias.
 Where to book: The Swiss
travel agency Pegasus Riding
Holidays with their domicile
in Allschwill close to Basel

offered this trip. You can find

information on the internet
at and
at You get
very friendly information on
the phone from the rider Jessica Kiefer at the number +41
61 303 31 03.

 Where to sleep: Hotel Nuevo Arlanza, Covarubias,

three stars, very nice, a lot of
atmosphere, lovingly renovated, double bedroom for 93
euros. Other accommodations were for example the Hotel Tres Coronas de Silos at

medieval gravesites which

were carved into the rock.
The holes have the shape of
the dead bodies. Whole families were berried next to each
other, father, mother, children and babies.

But I never have been bored, he said. Of the six routes

he is offering, it is the most diversified one, impressing
with its spectacular nature,
medieval often lonesome villages and good hotels.

Jos has ridden an uncountable amount of times along

this Ruta Del Cid in Castile.

For 14 years now the Spanish is guiding tourists on

horseback through his home

country. Actually he had studied medicine until his passion for horses got him. He was
35 years old when he got on a
horse for the first time. The
attempt was nearly deadly.
Nevertheless, I liked it. So
he went and bought his first
horse. Moro, a black stallion,
back then just two years old,
is still with him.
He has 125 horses by now
split up into three stables.
Among them is a stallion
which was nominated as one
of the best 10 horses in Spain.
He has no fear of any horse,
only respect. We can feel
his experience at every turn.
Brigitte (53) and Peter (63),
the most-traveled of the
group, certify him with an
outstanding intuition for horse and rider. Jos is a very
good guide. That can not always be taken for granted,
Brigitte says. Also his horses
are well trained and experienced on those routes. Peter
is delighted after the six days
how safely and fast his Bandolero ran down the rockiest
ways without struggling at all.
For the two Swiss it is obvious: They will return. Just
as Debbie, Nicky and Chris.
And myself. Our common
target: the Ruta de Santander.
When we would pass the
mountains of northern Spain
we would be rewarded by the
view over the Atlantic Ocean
complemented with a long
gallop at the beach.
Caroline Countess of Saurma probably is right: riding is
not as beautiful anywhere else as here.
Karin Seidl was
invited by Pegasus Riding Travels.