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Horse riding in beautiful Andalusia


On a glorious, pastel-coloured morning on a farm in the Sierra Norte, my friend Ann and I were introduced to our mounts for our week-long riding holiday. Originally I had been allocated Shorty but he had been ill and was not yet fit. “So,” said my hostess, “I’ll put you on Biko. He’s my five year old - gelded 6 months’ ago…” My stomach somersaulted. I don’t like riding young horses, particularly ones that were stallions only six months’ ago. I am an intermediate rider but had spent most of the past year out of the saddle while I recovered from major cancer surgery.

My anxiety was short-lived. Biko, an Andalusian, was delightful - well-mannered, careful, kind, handsome, alert, fit and strong. I fell in love with him immediately. I have never seen horses so relaxed and happy, rolling in the summer dust each evening after a cooling dip in the pond on their 26 acres of Andalusian land.

pic of Sue and Biko pic of horses relaxing
Biko, my handsome Andalusian partner and I; Our horses wander off happily.

Rural Beauty
We rode out from the farm each day, crossing dehydrated rivers, ambling down farm and old mule tracks, trotting through woodland, tiptoeing over tiny gorges, up mountain passes and along part of the Camino Santiago ­ an important pilgrim’s way. Our routes took us through the shady cork-oak forests of the Sierra Norte where we saw the prized black Iberian pigs who feast solely on acorns. And on through olive groves where sun-beaten farmers tend their crop with a spade and scythe. The Andalusian countryside was thirsty from a long hot dry summer, but nonetheless was beautiful ­ parched to gold and unbelievably peaceful.

Spirit of Andalusia has changed hands since I visited and moved to a new location. The lovely Biko is still there and I long to go back and ride him again.

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