Adventure Trail Ride: On Horseback Across Brandenburg

In Haviland, weary city dwellers can explore nature on horseback. Three hours in the saddle will fly, but in the winter nothing for frostbite.

Do you mean me? Tiaret the gray Arab Berber raises his head and lets out a soft snort as I approach him on this cold winter morning. For a moment it seemed like he wanted to turn around. I stop, and give him some time, he lowers his head curiously and takes a few steps toward me. The ice is broken. He wears the halter politely and follows me into the yard.

An old hand stream. He knows exactly what to expect. He has already carried many strangers through Haviland. Most often they come from Berlin, sometimes they are transported from far away, wanting to spend half a day or a whole day on the back. We are always getting to know each other on the pastures.

Queue in front of your room

Tiaret stays outside with his flock all year round, undisturbed by wind and weather. Its long, thick belly is covered with bumps and tangles. My attempt to detect them failed. Rider Maria already distributes saddles and bridles. I quickly clean and scrape the pieces of ice from the hooves of the castrated. Then I stand in line in front of the tack room.

Ready to separate and discourage, the gray doses for another round before the athletic part begins. Then it’s time to sit down. Sabine Zukmantel, who founded the company about 20 years ago, is officially blowing a fishing horn—we’re ready to go.

The 14 riders split into two groups, each with a leader, and left the yard. Mary is coming with us. She rode with us along the main street of the village, past cute little one-family houses and concrete blocks of apartments from the GDR era. It is authentic in Schönermark.

Dirt road and pine forests: city life moves away

The village moves more and more in the background and is finally replaced by a dirt road. It leads us to a pine forest. At a comfortable pace, there is time for conversation. He told four friends that they came from Saxony-Anhalt specifically to take a trip here together. It is true that they ride regularly and own horses too. But riding with their horses was not possible until now.

It’s time to jog. The bottom is sandy, the ground is flat and spacious – ideal for horse riding. Until the break, the road leads to a lake – picture time. The sun hides behind thick clouds. But the guide does everything to make sure the photos are still good. Then it continues.

Leads a horse in three strokes

We switch between walking and trotting, meeting people walking, watching deer from afar, and a bird of prey hovering above our heads. Again and again we move into narrow corridors. Then it’s time to run. finally. The lead horse jumps in three beats, and the other horses follow politely. The sky, the movement, the passing air – glorious.

But then, from somewhere behind, he asked to stop loudly. One of her four friends is having problems with her horse – she doesn’t want to run anymore for fear of him falling. Guide Maria breaks a sweat. Everyone should feel safe and enjoy. For the next enemy stretches, I dismounted with the reluctant rider and stood at the edge of the road.

After a good three hours in the saddle, your feet are freezing

The group must now run forward and back again. Horses are herd animals, you don’t like them when you lose part of the group. Especially if they are left alone. But the plan of waiting two works.

It was already late afternoon when we got to the farm again. We stayed on the road about three hours. My feet are so frozen and my butt hurts from the saddle, I only realize when I come down to take care of the white horse. Loosen the saddle, scrape the hooves and wipe a little fur – then the horses can go back to their pasture.

He studies wine, coffee and biscuits

Everyone is led through the gate together and released on command. Most of them are running outside full of energy. Unlike most riders, they are true long-distance experts. Half Day Walk – Warm-up for most trained riding horses. Sometimes they are out and about every day.

In the tiny house in the yard, hostess Sabine gathers the ride group by candlelight at a large table for wine, coffee, and biscuits. Some are already planning the next trip. Many guests keep coming back. The highlight of the annual event is the four-week trip through Poland. Sabine horses travel specially with a horse transport company from Schönermark to northern Poland. After all, a horse’s eyes want to see something different.

Real horse riding guides are professionals in their field

Sabine says most of the animals are imported from France. She is primarily based on the Berber, or Arabian Berber, which is a tough, light horse breed that has “a lot of toughness,” she said. Horses need this toughness because they live outside all year round, and because they are on a real flight, they have to deal with all kinds of surfaces and loads for weeks, kilometer after kilometer.

Horses are of course the focus of this sport. But trail riding also places high demands on people. Real riding guides must be professionals – able to find their way, even using a map and compass. Be able to ride well. And the ability to hold a horseshoe in place or graft a horse. For in the middle of the earth there are usually neither blacksmiths nor veterinarians on hand.

But nothing serious happened at all – neither humans nor horses, says Sabine. The combination of routine and posture with plenty of freedom of movement creates four-legged friends who are well-balanced and strong. This relaxation is transmitted to the rider. Nature does the rest. (dpa)

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