5 weeks in the heart of Andalusia by Sarah
Here I am in the heart of Andalusia in the Las Alpujarras which is part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Here I am undertaking a working holiday at Caballo Blanco (White Horse) Horse Riding and Trekking Centre. I am currently on my third week with two weeks to follow.
Taking a leap of faith I have left my homeland to go out and experience something completely different. Before flying here I had never flown before let alone seen an airport. I have stepped right out of my comfort
zone and aimed towards my high expectations of myself.
The first few days were a challenge as I suffered from altitude sickness and being jet-lagged however I overcame it and have settled in really well.
We tend to stick to what we know and what we are comfortable with. Here I haven’t been able to do that. In doing so it has strengthened me as an individual and I feel I’ve grown in my understanding of equines and life in general. It has been a rewarding experience to present.
Here I have had to adapt to very basic living. I have no internet for communication, power maybe 2 hours or less a day, no running hot water in our kitchen, and we have a shower with a breeze to give you some
Our toilet is in the open that overlooks a beautiful view so as you’re out doing your business you can take in the gorgeous scenery and the starry nights.
I sleep in a little room which I share. Our room is basic, with no power so we rely on our torches. We are lucky to have a gas heater though as the mornings and nights here are very cold. It will soon be really cold during the day as it is winter here. I have been lucky to have had really nice days so far.
My program here involves working 5 hours and 2 hours of lessons or trekking each day. I get two days off a week. Most of the other workers are apart of the program helpex so theirs is sightly different. I am lucky to work with a lovely bunch of people. In particular my dear friend Kate, who really looks out for me. Our stable manager, Emma is really nice, and I enjoy working with her too. I haven’t really go to met the owner, Sarah, however she is apparently amazing with horses, and I hope to be soon working one of the most troubled horses with her on her return.
I feel so blessed to have such an incredible opportunity too work with stunning horses in an beautiful environment. They have Andalusians, Appaloosas, Arabs, a Hungerian Warm-blood, Percheron cross Andalusian just to name a few breeds. I have been very lucky to be able to ride a vast majority of their horses, all with different personalities, and are at different stages. My favourites include a 17.2 hh Appaloosa Mare, and Jalao, a 5 year old bay Andalusian Gelding.
In my lessons so far I am working towards deepening my seat. To do this, I have been doing no stirrup work. I am re-training my legs to stretch down more so I can use my legs to create impulsion. I am also striving to ride smoother transitions from walk to trot to canter, and halt to trot and halt to canter. It has been both mentally and physically challenging however I am determined to develop as a rider as well as grown in my understanding.
Trekking out is absolutely sensational. Taking in the gorgeous scenery of the mountains, farms, and pretty villages is breath-taking. Words can’t begin to describe the beauty of this place. We climb up and down the steep terrain with our steady, sure footed horses. They have to put a lot of trust in us, us likewise.
Here we feed three times a day, with a selection of horses being fed four. This is due to the terrain they live in. Here they have no access to green grass, so it is important that they are fed small amounts regularly. They live in electric paddocks, and or are tethered or stabled.
The conditions maybe basic however they are comfortable and the horses are well cared for.
On my days off, I tend to walk to town, and reconnect with my family through wi-fi, look at shops and explore.
The town I usually go too is Lanjaron, known as a spa town. It is famous for its water. The water is really sweet and has special qualities. On one of my days off, a fellow work mate and I went and explored a sea-side town called Salobrena. It was gorgeous. We went to the top of the town where we explored an ancient castle. We also had lunch at a restaurant on the beach before I practised my navigating skills going a long coastal way back to the stables. It was great to see a different part of Spain and be again entranced by its beauty.
I am making the most of this amazing opportunity, and I warmly thank you for the support and helping make this journey possible. I feel as though I will be coming back to you as confident, developed young lady.