Lassithi Trek - Crete

Lassithi Trek

4 star rating   29 September 2019

Drusilla who has been on 5 In The Saddle rides. Good, but could've been great. | The first horse I was given constantly chucked its head up an down and was very close to my face going up hill at canter. The guide said that it was because it was trained as a race horse, so didn't like not being at the front, plus it was being ridden in the wrong bit and was fighting it. The horse was quite unpleasant to ride. Why put it in this bit and in the middle then?

The next day the guide and I swapped horses. My original horse was ok at the front and with the new bit. I then rode Alex who was a sensitive horse, but I liked him. However, it was obvious that his front hoof was very sensitive to stones and he constantly limped after standing on stones, which made me feel a bit sorry for him. He also ended up having two large saddle sores after the trek.

In my opinion, Alex's back was very poor with the saddle sores. The saddle cloths were rock hard which I don't think helped and he obviously was very sensitive to stepping on stones, which was for 90% of the ride. On the subject of horses, there were two kickers in the group too which is not that sensible when they are placed near the front of the ride.

The guide was a very nice person, but sometimes there was very weak communication in terms of times and instructions.

When swimming in the sea, the riders would benefit from neck straps and riding them into the sea. When trying to mount the horse once they are already in the sea is more tricky and resulted in the guide getting stood on in a pair of sandals. Once we were in the sea we were then shouted at to only turn a particular way and people weren't aware of this. If we would've had instructions BEFORE entering the sea it wouldn't have turn out so chaotic.

The Riding

How well were you matched with the right horse for your ability?
4 star rating
How would you rate the variety of riding, pace or terrain?
4 star rating
How would you rate the overall standard of the horses, tack and stables?
4 star rating

The Accommodation

How would you rate your room(s) for comfort and facilities?
3 star rating
How would you rate the standard of the food?
3 star rating

Do you have any comments about the accommodation and food?

The accommodation was good at Velani Hotel, although the beds were very hard. Sabine put a duvet under the sheet for myself and another guest due to the hard beds.

The food was good at the hotel, however the picnics whilst riding were awful. Each day we were given a soft roll filled with fillings such as tuna and cheese and tomato. After rattling around in a saddle bag for 3 hours +, the baguettes had turned to mush by lunch stop and the majority of guests simply threw them away. The tuna was the worst as it covered the inside of the saddle bag. This point has been mentioned on other reviews, but Sabine is obviously not interested in taking this matter on board. The obvious solution would be to provide lunch boxes or different bread (more crusty), or fillings in lunch boxes. My friend an I on the last picnic day ended up making our own smaller, harder breaded rolls, from the breakfast table and putting them into empty cut off water bottles to save them. For the price paid for the holiday, this was disappointing, being only able to eat a peanut brittle for lunch and a sour apple (that even Alex wouldn't eat!). There are so many lovely apples in Greece, why pack a hard green under ripe apple?

The accommodation by the sea was poor. My friend an I were put up in an apartment a good ten minutes from the sea front hotel (which the other guests stayed). Our rooms were in the basement with no outside windows. Due to the guide's lack of communication with respect to timings and bags, and the owner of the apartment wanting to clean the rooms, we ended up walking backwards and forwards three times in the heat from our apartment to the main hotel which wasn't much fun.

Before Your Holiday

Did you have all of the information you needed to:

Plan and prepare for your holiday?
5 star rating
Feel comfortable about your transfers and what to expect?
4 star rating

Do you have any other feedback for us?

The holiday was good but could've been great. I have the feeling that Sabine doesn't really listen to guests and was not particularly friendly. Big improvements could be made very simply by thinking about the picnic lunches. The pony nuts were also given to us each day to carry in the saddle bags in cheap plastic bags which normally split. Why not have sturdy bags which can be re-used again and don't split and mix with the baguettes (which were also in flimsy bags which split)?. This makes no sense and a big waste of split bags.

When I was collected from the airport with my friend (I sat in the back and my friend in the front), Sabine had loud music on and I couldn't talk to my friend.