Written on: 30/07/2014 by Angelica104 (1 review written)
I needed to get riding fit for my annual visit to Jordan to do the 6 day Wadi Rum desert trail ride. After 30 years of horse owning in the UK, I am now without my own horse and I had given up on finding anywhere to ride that met my standards of good horses, good riding and good welfare, until I remembered seeing signs for Snowdonia Riding Stables on my travels in God’s own beautiful country, the mountains of North Wales. I booked a half day ride. We were a mixed group of experienced and beginners, various ages, and the two ride leaders did a great job of giving everyone a good riding experience – safety was paramount and thanks to tactful guidance from the advisor the beginners even improved during just one afternoon. Experienced riders got some good canters and weren’t at all hampered by the beginners, as can happen on some group rides.
I am used to riding responsive Arabs who don’t need much encouragement either to go fast or slow down, and I was very pleased with the horse I rode, nothing like a typical “riding school horse”, he reminded me of my own horse and gave me a responsive, comfortable ride, and on top of everything he was a really lovely person! The next week I rode him on the full day ride and he opened up even more up on the mountain, an absolute pleasure to ride all day.
For me it’s a 5 hour round trip to ride here; I could hack out closer to home but I want safe, quality horses and more than that I will not compromise on the horses’ well-being. It is clear from the behaviour of the horses and their relationships with the staff that the horses are treated as individuals, loved and well cared for, for example all the staff know the different characters of the horses, and everyone has to get on at the mounting block which is good practice to avoid strain to the horse’s back (and damage to the saddle too). Out on the ride one of the leaders rode a young, sensitive ex-racehorse mare, managing all the gates expertly and riding with great tact and sympathy, giving the mare a good learning experience that will develop her confidence. On the next ride, the ride leader rode a lovely green mare who just had a problem going past one “novelty object!” on the ride – rather than “boot” the mare past, as many riders would have done (not setting up good learning for the next scary object!) the ride leader was happy for one of the other horses to go in front so that her mare could follow.
There’s a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere on the yard and out on the rides, even though it’s no mean feat leading a group of strangers on horseback out into the remote Welsh mountains! I will definitely be a regular here from now on to build up some riding fitness, so I won’t have to “wing it” once a year in the desert any more! Highly recommended to anyone who just wants to enjoy the beautiful scenery on horseback or if you want some more challenging mountain riding on a quality horse who is also very nice to talk to!
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