Horse riding in Monteverde, Costa Rica


Horse riding in Monteverde prompts Kia to rethink a few things at home in the UK

I was dubious about horse riding in Monteverde. I had been told that we wouldn’t be given helmets and that the local guides couldn’t speak English. The latter I could deal with, but the former was a problem.

I’ve caused myself a fair amount of damage by not wearing a helmet in the past. After falling off a horse in 2017, I promised myself to never ride without one. Still, I was keen to go riding in Costa Rica, so went to the stables to see for myself.

As it turned out, the local company was equipped thoroughly and our guide spoke excellent English. In fact, the service was so professional that when two members of our booking were late, we were told to leave without them; they would be assigned to another guide.

Atlas & Boots Horse riding in Monteverde

Peter and I set off, joined by two fellow guests from our National Geographic Expedition to Costa Rica and our local guide.

It was reassuring that all four riders had roughly the same ability. I’ve been on excursions where I was the strongest rider and, conversely, the weakest by far. In Monteverde, we had all ridden before and were comfortable with horses, but no one felt outpaced. It set a comfortable tone for our two-hour ride.

The second thing I noted was the sheer variety of scenery. After my last ride (through the lunar-like landscape of Swakop in Namibia), it was refreshing to ride through so much greenery: velvet hills with sweeping views, dense woods that stirred with life and open plains dappled with sun.

In some stretches, we were allowed to trot. My horse, Malibu, even broke into a canter. It reminded me why I love riding – the scenery, the thrill and the open-road freedom – but also how much I am yet to learn.

Confidence, technique and etiquette don’t matter too much on a two-hour ride, but are essential for multi-day outings likes the ones I’d like to try.

In the meantime, I settled into my saddle. We meandered through woodland, spotting birds and coatis, and emerged into a meadow. A rainbow soared overhead almost as if it were planted there. Naturally, we paused for photos.

Atlas & Boots Somewhere under the rainbow

A lazy dusk drifted closer as we rode past fields of elegant trees, their silhouettes pressed against a blazing sky. We wound our way across postcard-hills and then stopped to watch the sunset, our horses seemingly as engrossed as us.

As our afternoon of horse riding in Monteverde drew to a close, I knew that a seed had been planted. I remembered how strongly I wanted to learn to ride: to canter confidently, to be more fluid and controlled, to spot trouble and quickly correct it and to ultimately ride alone.

Autor: Kia
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