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Posted on March 8, 2019
Claire visited Rhodes in October 2018 and writes here about her time riding in the south of the island.
I had the most amazing time on the South Rhodes Trail. I left behind the grey, dreary skies of England and jetted off to lovely sunshine and 27°C. If the weather isn’t enough to tempt you, here’s five reasons why you should book a riding holiday to Rhodes.
The ranch has a small but carefully selected herd, chosen for their temperaments and sure-footedness on the trail. The horses are trained by natural horsemanship methods and as a result are pretty calm. I fell in love with the horse I was matched with, a very pretty 8 year old Arab x Andulcian called Al-risha. Elpida our host told me she was very fast, sensitive and full of energy. I found this to be the case and I couldn’t be happier. She was the equivalent of a Duracell bunny meaning that she never got tired and had a brilliant attitude even after 5.5 hours on the trail. I was tempted to squeeze her into my suitcase.
As well as Al-risha, there’s Geisha, Al-risha’s sister, her brother Takhi, their mum Maisie an Andulsian pony, Apollian, a paint x mountain pony and Soi an Appaloosa x draft. Not to forget Bob Dylan the Haflinger who stayed at the ranch during our trail. Because of the small number of horses and limited accommodation available, this trail takes a maximum of just five guests. The small group size was really nice as it meant that it was easy to get to know the other group members better.
The riding really exceeds expectations. Before my trip, I wasn’t aware of Rhodes other than it was a package holiday destination so I was really surprised to find that on the South Rhodes Trail, you are off the beaten track and unlikely to see another human for days. We rode through olive groves, along ancient donkey tracks, visited medieval churches and monasteries.
We were lucky that the weather was warm enough to swim in the sea and had fun canters on the beach. This is not an overly fast ride due to the terrain but we had lots of trots and canters where possible.
The island is steeped in history and on this holiday you get a real insight to Greek culture. Your host and guide Elpida is passionate about both and is very knowledgeable about the different sites you visit along the way. The ranch is situated not far from Thari monastery that dates back to the Byzantine period.
You also visit Asklipio, a very interesting medieval town complete with castle and one of the most fascinating churches in Rhodes due to it’s beautiful wall paintings that adorn the inside. These are just a few of the attractions that you visit on the trail.
Elpida and Taki are incredible hosts. Elpida is passionate about her horses, the history of the island and having a good time. She is full of fun, enthusiasm and is always smiling. Taki her husband, works behind the scenes ensuring everything runs smoothly. Taki will often join you for meals too and is also a very entertaining host.
Imagine tables groaning with the weight of the amount of dishes on top of them and you might get close to what we experienced every dinner time. Taki is Greek and each evening he would order a vast array of different dishes for us to sample. It was amazing. Everything was freshly cooked and presented beautifully. Moussaka, dolmades, tzatziki, spanakopita, pastitsio and Greek salad to name some of the local delicacies that we tried.
The warm welcome we experienced from the staff at each taverna along the trail, was second to none. One night we were serenaded and even invited to a village party.
I really would recommend a holiday to Rhodes for fun riding, fantastic hosts and an cultural insight into this interesting island. The trails run from March to June and then start again in September to November.