What I loved about the Sierra Nevada

Posted on December 4, 2019

Rebecca Clarke

Becky from In The Saddle recently returned from riding in the Sierra Nevada with Dallas Love.

 

In October 2019 I flew out to Spain for the first time to join a group of riders on the Sulayr short break. This is a four night itinerary with three full days of riding in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

I’d like to tell you about the three things I loved most!

Sierra Nevada, What I loved about the Sierra Nevada, In The Saddle, In The Saddle

My lovely fellow riders on our first ride together.

1. THE HORSES

First and foremost the horses on this ride are fantastic! I met Dallas on the first afternoon and headed up to the stables. As she washed and groomed them ready for our first ride the next day, she explained all about their individual histories and personalities. It’s really wonderful when you meet someone who just loves their horses so much.

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Dallas and her no. 1 lead horse Mateo.

Most of the horses in the stable are local and have been backed by Dallas and her brother. If not then they’ve been exceptional trail/mountain horses that she has bought after seeing them at work. The ongoing schooling is done by Dallas’s team and so she knows each and every horse’s preferences and quirks.

While I was at the stables Dallas talked me through her process of choosing a horse for each rider. She will always look at the information we provide about each rider including height and weight and then during the first dinner she has an informal chat with each person to gauge what they do and don’t like. This usually enables her to match horse and rider first time. Everyone in our group loved their horse!

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Riding up above the clouds.

Your horse is your partner throughout this ride. While you are in the Sierra Nevada you are likely to be going up and down mountains, through villages, over rivers and dismounting for tricky sections. Some of the climbs are long and hard. Going downhill we normally got off and led our horse downhill.  Dallas’s horses are beautifully trained to walk directly and calmly behind you on the narrowest of sheep tracks – it’s really quite impressive.

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Sometimes there isn’t much of a path at all but the horses are like mountain goats.

2. THE SCENERY

After the horses I would say the next best thing about this ride is the scenery. Only two hours from Malaga and yet you ride through unspoilt, rural countryside. We rarely saw anyone but the odd farmer or walker whilst we were in the mountains. The villages are small with very few tourists.

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Looking down on Trevélez, the highest village in mainland Spain.

It is the mountains and so the pace isn’t fast but we did have a couple of trots and canters each day. However I would absolutely not swap the beautiful snow capped mountains, green valleys or dramatic skylines for flatter ground.

It was such an achievement when we climbed up from Trevélez to the top of the mountain behind the village. We headed uphill for around three hours before we reached the top. The horses just kept going – their stamina was so impressive.

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Climbing through the mist and fog to reach the top of the mountain.

3. DALLAS HERSELF!

One of the unique things about the Sierra Nevada rides is that you are guided by Dallas Love, who has been guiding in the Sierra Nevada mountains for 30 years.

Dallas’s family moved to the area when she was a small child and she grew up exploring the mountains on her mule. After moving to Australia for a few years in her twenties she moved back to Bubion and started her own yard. Her aim was to have horses living in as natural an environment as possible. By allowing them to live freely as a herd, I believe she has achieved this.

Sierra Nevada, What I loved about the Sierra Nevada, In The Saddle, In The Saddle

The riding is in open order and Dallas will often drop back to ride with different people.

I really enjoyed the Sulayr Short Break and hopefully I will return to do a week long itinerary.

Whether on a short break or a week long itinerary these rides offer you the opportunity to ride quality horses and see beautiful scenery in the company of one of the most experienced riding guides.

If you’d like to hear more about the Sierra Nevada rides or are ready to plan your holiday to Spain, please call Becky on 01299 272 244 or email rebecca@inthesaddle.com

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