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Horse riding holiday in Bulgaria

Here is a first-hand account of a horse riding holiday in the Rila mountains in Bulgaria in the Autumn.

Horse riding in the Rila mountains is a very personal experience. The family that organises it is not a large commercial, smoothly oiled, slick corporation. Things go wrong and plans have to be made, but how exciting it was to make them.

It is obviously off season as most things were closed. Our hotel was deserted (only two other people in it), no staff around and in fact the cook had even gone away. It was spooky. Very glad we were sharing a room. It seemed that even the hot water was having a holiday but it, along with the chef, came back the next morning and we were able to have a hot shower along with a hearty breakfast.

We had walked into town the previous afternoon and been to the stables, met the horses, dogs and other members of the team so we were ready to saddle up and hit the trail after breakfast which we did.

It was exciting as neither of us had been to Bulgaria and we didn’t know what to expect. Our first day though was a bit tame as mostly followed tracks and well-trodden trails but a campfire lunch along with a little of the local spirit (perhaps a little more than a little) raised our spirits and we set off again with renewed energy. We were treated to spectacular views and lots of interesting facts and historical information from Helen who is a font of knowledge.

We were beginning to get a complex when, after greeting us and telling us to ask if there was anything we needed, our host at the next hotel disappeared never to be seen again by us. What is it about us and being left alone? We are not Greta Garbo….

Next morning Oggie, Helen and Vasco arrived with typical Bulgarian breakfast and we made Mountain tea from herbs that Oggie had and saved the left overs for the dog…. Yes, we can manage without help!

We had beautiful weather for our first two days, the horses were great and the countryside amazingly diverse and interesting, animals, crops, farmers and shepherds, it was all new to us. We are cowgirls, used to cows and cowboys after all.

Our stay at the mountaintop hostel was a first for both of us. No student trips around, backpacking and staying 10 to a room had been experience by us. However, it was good, even very good. The couple who run it were really helpful and cooked us fresh, hot and tasty food after which we fell into a clean, warm bed as it had been a long day horse riding.

Next morning we had been abandoned yet again!!! This time by two of the horses who had started down the mountain without us. They trotted back followed by the roundup truck and we saddled up and were off again. Another good day although the weather deteriorated later on. We had a lovely lunch in a restaurant in a small village while the horses waited patiently outside. We stopped at a fish farm and tried to catch our dinner with no success, even the fish deserted us. It was very late by the time we got to the hotel and even later when we went to dinner but it was a lovely traditional restaurant, crowded with local people and very friendly.

The good weather deserted us on the last day but in a way I was glad. Helen had insisted that I bring my rain slicker even though the forecast was fine. I was not happy as it weighs 3kg and it meant I couldn’t buy many gifts to take back as my suitcase was almost at its 20kg!

As we dressed to go to the horses and I snuggled into my slicker, buttoned up to the neck, comfy elastic cuffs on the sleeves and a vent in the back big enough to take the largest horse and saddle I knew that no rain or cold was going to bother me, and it didn’t. Thank you Helen.

More testimonials of holidays organised by JMB Active.

Tags: horse riding in the Rila mountains in Bulgaria, horse riding in the mountains, horse riding in Bulgaria, holiday Bulgaria, horse riding holiday, travel to Bulgaria, autumn in Bulgaria,

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