Pond Jumpers: Spain

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Horseback Riding in Donje Ogorje

Posted on March 26, 2010 at 11:34pm Madrid / 5:34pm Cincinnati by Kelly Larbes

head shot of kelly

Two weekends ago we joined a group of nine other expats (from Canada, Mexico, France, Russia, South Africa, United States, and Croatia) and headed out of Split for a horseback riding excursion. We drove 45 minutes to what felt like the middle of nowhere in the hills behind Split to a horse farm with over 70 horses. Ivica, the owner, and several other farm hands were there to greet us. Ivica was an animated character full of great stories. He talked loudly with his whole body and elaborate arm gestures. He told us about his summer journeys to Plitvice Lakes where he spends a week with tourists riding through Croatia visiting the famous waterfalls. He said he hates that he has to be so nice to people because usually he only likes about two people in a group of ten. Most of us chuckled, while he insisted seriously it wasn’t funny. He once had a lady change her horse eight times in one week because she wasn’t connecting with the horse either physically or psychologically. This got us laughing even more. He told us to stop; it wasn’t funny. But it was.

Ivica was expecting our group’s arrival for a short one hour ride. We assumed the horses would be ready. However, this is Croatia -they weren’t ready. The horses were all still far out in the fields, kicking around in the mud. We waited over two hours for our one hour ride, which added to the humor of the day. Luckily it was a picture perfect day: sunny clear blue skies spotted with a few white poofy clouds and good conversations with interesting company. Our friend, Elisa, organized the excursion and we knew about half of the people. The time passed quickly as we got to know everyone.

We were also “lucky” enough to see one of Ivica’s stud horses mate with a mare owned by another farm in the area. It was a bit awkward to watch. There were even small children watching, though I think it was the adults who were blushing. The courting process was short, but at least they introduced the horses to each other first.

Horses meeting before they mate !?!Saddling up the horses

Our trail horses were eventually brought in, cleaned up, and saddled up, and we were on our way. Most people in our group were beginners. For some it was their first time on a horse, so some people were escorted on a lead rope by one of the farm hands. Jay and I chose to ride alone and just followed the pack. The scenery was lovely with snowcapped mountains as our backdrop. We road along a small road, through fields, past stone houses, and through a forest. Our pace was always a slow walk. I wish we had trotted or cantered and sometimes I felt like just taking off, but I was really just happy to be on a horse.

Jay and Kelly on horsesStone houses along the trail

I love horseback riding. I wish I went more often and had more knowledge about it. There is something so comforting to me about being up on a horse. For a year in high school I worked as a farm hand at a local farm 10 minutes from my home. There were about 30 horses in three large barns. Five belonged the farm owner and her teenage daughter and the rest were individually boarded. I fed all the horses, led them out to pasture or brought them back in, and mucked the stalls of the owner’s horses (and sometimes my family was nice enough to come along and help). The best perk of the job was that I got to ride for free sometimes. My heart was so sad a few years ago when the farm was sold to developers for Home-A-Rama; it was covered in concrete and McMansions. I hope that horseback riding finds a regular place again at some point in my life.

Click here to view more of our photos from our horseback riding tour.

10 Reader Comments to “Horseback Riding in Donje Ogorje”

  1. Alison on March 28, 2010 at 3:39pm Split / 9:39am Cincinnati

    This looks like a fantastic trip! What a great way to explore the countryside!

  2. Pat on March 28, 2010 at 6:47pm Split / 12:47pm Cincinnati

    Looks like a good time. I’m glad you guys are doing well and having fun in the process.

  3. Streetracer on March 31, 2010 at 7:36pm Split / 1:36pm Cincinnati

    Guys listen.

    Wednesday, 5:30 pm, Hajduk vs. Dinamo at Poljud-Stadium Split.

    If you dont go there, Jay and Kelly, I am going to knock you out ^^
    I want it all: A long description of your Football-Day, a Video how you cheer in Stadium. I want you to throw some torches – just like the “Torcida” and I want it too see it as a film! I want proof.

    Honestyl guys. You gotta prepare for it.
    Fast, its gonna be a Sell-Out. Jay buy the tickets. buy it baby – buy it ~~~~~

    yours sincerly

    streetracer :)

  4. Kelly Larbes on March 31, 2010 at 8:16pm Split / 2:16pm Cincinnati

    Alison and Pat – Thank you for reading and sharing.

    Streetracer – You are crazy ;). Will you be at the Hajduk vs. Dinamo game Wednesday? Do you know when tickets go on sale? We do plan on attending the game and chanting our hearts out, but I don’t think we will be throwing any torches. Plus, our video camera recently broke (see recent twiiter feed on the right column – I’m bitter about it.), so photos will have to do.

    See this entry (http://www.pondjumperscroatia.com/2009/06/09/hajduk-split-vs-dinamo-zagreb-croatia-cup-final-at-poljud-stadium/) for our first Hajduk vs. Dinamo experience with video.

  5. Streetracer on April 1, 2010 at 1:00am Split / 7:00pm Cincinnati

    Just short, because i got some business to do (LOL).

    Ticket-Sale starts today right now:
    *Fan-Shop ar Marmontova-Street
    *At Entrance of the Poljud-Stadium

    Make sure you sit “in the near” of Torcida. Just like the last time :)

    *istok (East-Side) 70 or 80 Kunas
    *zapad (West-Side) 90 or 110 Kunas.

    I think last time you sat on Istok, and more to the Torcida direction.

    Buy the torches in a “shop for boats” and put one or two under your skirt Kelly. They won´t control you, because you are a woman. YES ^____^

    And doont tell me you wont throw some torches.
    Don´t you have a digital camera for photos, which can also make short clips? Make sure you got enough capacity to save the film.

    LOL More crazy comments later :)

    No, i will not attend the game, because i am currently not in croatia.

    yours sincerly

    streetracer :)

  6. Streetracer on April 3, 2010 at 8:40pm Split / 2:40pm Cincinnati

    Dont tell me you havent bought the tickets yet Kelly!

  7. Streetracer on April 6, 2010 at 5:33pm Split / 11:33am Cincinnati

    tommorow lovely Kell, tommorow is the game ^______^

  8. Jay Larbes on April 8, 2010 at 8:31pm Split / 2:31pm Cincinnati

    Streetracer – thanks for all of your comments, we enjoy receiving them! Sorry we have been slow in responding – shame on us. We did make it to the match yesterday! Sat in the istok side. I’d love to sit in the north section sometime, but I think I want someone with me who knows what’s going on and can guide us out of harm’s way if necessary :).

    The match was great fun and a great win for Split! I just hope they don’t blow it in the finals…

    I couldn’t get Kelly to sneak in any torches to the game, as much as I tried — she did take lots of photos, we’ll get them posted soon.

  9. Streetracer on April 15, 2010 at 6:52pm Split / 12:52pm Cincinnati

    Hi Guys,

    Wow, I saw the pictures. Great Atmosphere and very much “Fire” going on (even the “real fire version” omg) – ha ha xD
    I think that even on this Saturday is the final round of the croatian cup in Split? Is this right, I am not sure LOL.

    We will think about the torches to snek them in another Time :)

    MMhh, great!
    You made a Trip to Dubrovnik. That is one of my favorite citys in Croatia – great.
    With the big Cruise – fantastic :-)

    yours sincerly Streetracer :)

    PS: Hajduk need to win the croatian cup, so they can participat in the qualification of the “European League”. And these games (at the end of the qualification rounds) are the most biggest in Split.
    Torches, Bombs, Fire, Smoke and weapons :) Yeah. I am looking forward to it.
    I think Split needs as an alternativ a minimum 4th Place in the croatian League, then they are also qualified for the Europe League Qualification. But it is close at the top of the croatian League :)

    We “read us” the next time

    Have a nice evening in Split :)

  10. Dina on May 28, 2010 at 10:43am Split / 4:43am Cincinnati

    Hi there! I’m glad you enjoyed your ride, and hope you find time to explore more of what Croatia has to offer in horses and countryside :) If you’re up for it, feel free to contact me and I’d be glad to share what I know! In the meanwhile, take a look at the blog I made, about a barn close by to where you were, “Alamo” http://riding-alamo.blogspot.com.

    Cheers!

    Dina