As most of my friends will know, horse riding just isn’t really on my things to do list so when Eva from Los Caballos del Mosquin offered to take me out on a trek I didn’t jump up and down with joy. I asked if my six year old daughter Katie could come too, as she had been horse riding once before and had loved it. Eva said that would be fine, however we would have to cut the trek time down from two to one hour as this would be better for my daughter’s attention span and fitness at 6 years of age. To be honest that wasn’t a problem for me the shorter time the better! Eva then suggested going out at 8.00pm which sounded perfect to me as the sun would be going down then and the heat of the day would gradually be reducing. Eva commented that her early morning and evening treks were proving extremely popular as no one really wants to ride in the blistering heat of the day and the landscape looks beautiful at these times with clear views down to the coast.
I had been to the riding centre a few years back but hadn’t been more recently. It is easily found as it is sign posted form the road between Competa and Canillas de Albaida and is located on a gentle slope of the Sierra Almijara Mountains and has all the attractions of the nature park literally in its back yard. The mountains straddle the border of the Málaga and Granada provinces and 407 sq km of them are under official protection in the Parque Natural de Sierras Almijara, Tejeda y Alhama – which all begins on Las Caballos del Mosquin’s doorstep.
As soon as we arrived Katie rushed in to see the horses, all 12 of them, which Eva takes care of with the help from volunteers every so often. Also, in the stables were a variety of other animals, Katie walked round saying “look mummy, chickens and hens and over there is a dog and cats too... oh mummy look there is a rabbit”. She was in her element, Katie loved it. Although I don’t know much about stables and horses, the centre was well presented, the horses were immaculate and well looked after and there was a warm feel to the place. Katie was happy to run round looking at everything and seeing all the animals while I talked to Eva.
Eva explained to me about the centre which offers a variety of services not just treks and lessons which there are many, from 1 hour treks to full day treks for example to Maroma and 3 day treks, for example to Jatar. They also offer riding holidays, a livery service and also their expertise in the purchase of horses, this includes visits to breeders and privates, finding the right horse for you, helping to arrange the all-important veterinary check-up, purchase contract and all other documentation, transport, insurances, stabling and training.
Today was about experiencing a ride. Katie and myself were given hats and our horses were saddled up by Eva and we were both helped onto two beautiful horses. Instructions were given to us both with regard to how to sit and move the horses. Then off we went, straight out of the stables into the National Park, myself leading followed by Eva and Katie. Eva consistently asked Katie if she was OK and although Katie is not normally comfortable with new people, Eva had put her at ease complimenting and encouraging her along. Me, I felt totally confident, the horse knew where it was going and responded well to my instructions, I was actually enjoying myself! I looked around at the views, the sun going down over Canillas and Archez with the sea shimmering in the far distance and I thought how lucky I was to experience this. The trek was fantastic, I was on a horse left to my own thoughts, relaxed and taking in the countryside around me – why hadn’t I done this before!