When visiting Ecuador, horses might not be the first thing that come to your mind. But you should reconsider your planned activities and think of spending some time with these gentle animals and learn more about them and yourself.
“Horse experience is just something for girls.” ”I have never sat on a horse before. I am afraid.” ”I would just like to have a relaxed time.” – These could be arguments coming to your mind when somebody is suggesting a horse experience to you. Now is the moment to forget about all these thoughts. Let us explain to you what awaits you when you are open up to this new experience.
The Hostería Papagayo is situated on the Avenue of the Volcanoes. Only an hour drive from Quito, it is the perfect get-away for a long weekend, but also easily accessible for holiday makers who are travelling through Ecuador. It is also the home of our well-trained horses. They spend their days on green fields surrounded by some of the most impressive volcanoes of Ecuador. Regularly trained, they are some of the calmest horses you will find in the entire country. Upon arrival at Papagayo, you will experience how liberating the clear mountain air is. you will be greeted immediately by the farm animals, as the horses share their home with dogs, goats, lamas and more! here in Papagayo we believe in respect, harmony and the connection between horse and human. That is why we specialised in the introduction to horse experience. With this we differentiate a lot from most other places, which normally only offer rides through the landscape and focus little on the connection between human and horse.
In the picturesque setting, with sky scraping volcanos and lush, rich flora in the Andean environment your interactive session of horse behaviour and riding can start. With our naturally trained horses as teachers, your horizons will be heightened as you practice our unique methods and witness the true power of the horse-human connection.
This session is directed towards beginners so that they have the chance to learn and understand horses a little more before jumping on and riding one of these beautiful but powerful animals. Through a variety of on ground and in saddle activities, you will have the chance to open your mind to many new things and experiences with our naturally trained horses. The idea is to connect to the horse and build a friendship in the most natural way possible, no aggression or extreme force is needed when you are communicating with the horse in a way that they can understand.
We usually start the session by getting to know the clients knowledge of horses, no matter how basic or comprehensive that is. From there we will enter the horses paddock, where we will find our herd living freely in nature, doing as they please. In this moment we ask each client to approach every horse individually and observe them for a little, before coming back and letting us know how they got on and what they found out about each horse. From this exercise alone, just watching the horses you can learn so much about their reactions, personalities and how they are with human contact.
The second exercise is to put on the head collar and walk with the horse. It sounds very easy but becomes a challenge for most clients. In order for the horse to follow you willingly, the horse must accept you as the leader. You will learn how to ask this of the horse through your actions, body language, voice and even mindset. Horses are extremely sensitive and smart so they feel energies, and if they feel that you are unsure they will not confide in you and follow free of choice. However if you portray confident energies and are certain that you know where you’re going and do it with intention, the horse will happily follow. Once you and the horse are connected we will make it a little more difficult by bringing in obstacles such as cones or tyres, walking at different velocities and in different directions.
From there we will normally take the horses over to groom them. In this exercise you will get to know the horses body, the brushes we use for each part of the body and why it is so important to groom your horse.
Once the horses are sparkling clean and we have checked the whole body, we will demonstrate how to correctly tack up a horse. The horses will be tacked up with either a comfy bareback pad or English saddle depending on what you prefer. We always give the choice but personally prefer the bareback pads as it gives you the chance to really feel the rhythm of the horse and connect on another level. We train our horses bitless or with very soft bridles, ensuring the horse is comfortable but that you still have control. Within the paddock you will experience how it is to ride with your eyes closed, arms out or seated backwards, in order to really feel the horse experience and how it is when you put all your trust in them.
Once you feel comfortable, in control and connected with your horse we will do a short tour around the Hostería, so you can explore the beautiful nature that surrounds us.
From this experience we only hope that each client learns something new and leaves happy, but also thinking in this new, exciting way to be with horses naturally.