We have really been enjoying riding the new river routes this summer.  It has added a lot of interest to the rides, with slightly more challenging terrain to navigate, narrow paths, low trees, it is a really fun ride for the more experienced riding guests. The horses seem to love exploring the new trails and nothing phases them.

Did you know that if you are on holiday with us between the end of November and the end of April you could have a day on the slopes? Just an easy 1 1/2 hour drive away, the Sierra Nevada ski resort is a fantastic day out. With runs suitable for beginners to experienced and great facilities for snow boarders , it is a fun day out for all the family.

The resort is over 3000 metres high, meaning that the snow is great even late in the season. Our snow record has been one of the best in Europe over the last few years, with the addition of snow canons to keep the pistes topped up to perfection.
You can even see the Mediterranean and the mountains of Morocco from the amazing Laguna side of the mountain, such a stunning view.
If you ski in the spring it can be beautifully warm, you could ski in a t shirt, in fact on the last weekend of the season they have a day where you get a free lift pass if you ski in a swimsuit :)

The prices are great too, with a lift pass averaging at around 40 euros, depending on the season and equipment hire is great value too. Another bonus is that the prices for food and drink are hardly more than the usual Spanish prices and best of all, if you avoid weekends and peak holiday weeks, you can almost have the pistes to yourself.

You could be riding or walking in the mountains in hot sunshine or enjoy a day at the beach one day and be skiing the next , and what better end to a tiring day skiing than to come back here for a lovely hot Jacuzzi- how great is that?

We have a very exciting new route for riding and walking, following the river from the Los Cien Caños water pipes all the way to the village and beyond.  It is a new initiative created by the Junta de Andalucia, to provide a clear and marked walkway that goes all the way to Malaga!   We can enjoy our local part of the route, with a beautiful scenic trail for guests to use to walk to the village  (it takes an hour) or the water pipes and for us to ride the horses along , opening up new routes , joining old routes, giving us lots of possibilities for even more interesting rides. At the end of the route  to the village is a restaurant which is perfect for stopping for a drink with the horses before carrying on home through the mountains

If you have had a chance to read about the horses, you may have read ‘Capri’s story’.
As explained in her story , she was the start of our bitless and barefoot journey and thanks to her, we have changed the lives of the rescue horses we have taken on over the years and of course our horses born here have never had a bit in their mouth or shoes on their feet, or felt a whip on their skin.
When guests first ride with us , we take time at the start to explain how we ride, with loose reins (a smile in the rein), relaxed, with only the lightest touch. Less really is more, and our horses will work happily for you with the slightest encouragement – if you try to bully them by kicking or pulling they will not understand and may be confused.
Guests often comment that our horses are so calm and don’t react to situations that may have made their own horse run across a field. I explain that when you have loose reins and are relaxed, the horse is also relaxed, meaning that if you see something up ahead that you think might make your horse nervous, and maybe you tense up, with traditianal tight reins and bit, your nervousness is transmitted to the horse down the rein, but with loose ,relaxed reins this doesnt happen.
Sometimes guests are a bit sceptical but once they have tried it they often want to start riding bitless at home.
There is an ever growing following now for bitless riding, all over the world, and it is great that we can offer riders who are already on the bitless journey , the chance to enjoy a holiday without going against their principles. If you do ride with a bit at home though, don’t worry, it is really easy to adjust your riding style while you are here and enjoy some happy hacking :) .
You can even try riding in just a neck rope (cordeo) , we are happy to show you how.


6 months on

It has been nearly 6 months since the sad death of our beloved Caña. I finally feel stong enough to write about her, though I will never forget her.

Caña came to us in January 2016 along with another horse, Sierra. They had both been working at another trekking centre over the mountains from us and needed a new home. The trekking business was downsizing.

Unfortunately, Caña arrived with what we were told by her previous owners, and assumed ourselves, was thrush. It turned out to be much worse and when we removed her shoes we found the full extent of the problem. All four of Cañas feet were badly infected with canker (a disease that is next to impossible to treat and a poor prognosis for success). Her feet and heels were bleeding and oozing white puss.

Incredibly she wasn’t showing any lameness but her feet were so bad and so painful to the touch. We can only assume that as it affected all 4 feet, she couldn’t show lameness as she couldn’t limp!

We immediately called the vet and so began months of treatment. Soaking all four feet daily in special solutions, as the months went on, a new mixture of treatments were tried and tested. The transition to barefoot helped a lot but it was a constant battle to keep the infection at bay.

Caña’s feet when she arrived…


Helping Caña to enjoy people…

When we first took Caña on, her previous owners described her as ‘not a cuddly horse’. This was a huge under statement. Caña was so sad and shut down, she literally shuddered if you even put a finger lightly on her. With the aid of a clicker and treats we set to work to help her accept human touch more readily. After a lot of time and patience, we were gradually able to catch her, tack her up, ask her to lower her head for her bridle (relaxed) and be mounted at the mounting block without rushing off, all at liberty.

We started to ride her once her feet had started to heal; the vet assured us that movement would help her recovery. When she came to us she was neck reined with a bit. At the grand old age of 24 we transitioned her overnight to bitless with 2 reins and she was amazing! I loved riding her.

With all the months of positive reinforcement, she really responded to my voice. Though she had a huge, long stride (she was a very tall horse), I only had to say ‘stand’ for her to stop and wait for the other horses to catch up.


Caña’s last day ……

20 minutes into a lovely ride on a beautiful sunny September day last year, the dreaded event took place. Our lovely Caña was kicked in the leg by our old mare Capri, breaking it badly. It all happened so suddenly, one minute we were walking along, chatting and enjoying our ride, then suddenly Caña was rearing in pain. Luckily our fantastic vets came very quickly and poor Caña was put to sleep very peacefully in the olive grove where the accident happened.
After all the months working with her, we had a strong bond and I really loved her. I miss her gentleness and beauty, she was a very special horse. I console myself that her feet would never have been 100% – canker has a habit of never quite going away, and she has been spared having to tolerate the constant treatment for the rest of her life. She died when her health was at it’s peak of improvement, after a very happy summer of going on picnic rides and being loved by everyone.

She did not have to struggle through another winter, which I know would have taken it’s toll on her feet especially as she was inclined to get mud fever. Despite knowing this, I will never stop missing her.

R.I.P. our beautiful Caña.