Horse-riding is not necessarily a very common activity in Sibiu or even in Romania. There are people who are passionate about horses and horse-riding, there are some well known stud farms, but sometimes people are reluctant to try this sport.
In the recent years, there are more and more guesthouses that also have a small horse farm and can offer horse-riding to guests, people mentality start to change and this activity attracts new clients.
At the beginning of June this year, we made our first horse-riding trip and I have to say it was a nice experience, even for beginners like us, and that we plan to do it again in the future.
As we were a larger group of friends, we chose to go to the Ghiocelul Guesthouse, 40 Km from Sibiu, on the Avrig Valley. They offer horse-riding lessons, horse-riding guided tours, horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides around the area of the guesthouse. The farm is located on the banks of the Avrig River and next to the forests at the foot of the Făgăraș Mountains. It’s also on the way to the Bârcaciu and Suru Chalets.
I have to say that I had no experience with horses whatsoever and I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but after I managed to get up on the saddle all my fears disappeared. The horses are very gentle and accustomed to people, so I had no issues in controlling the one I rode.
Because we were all beginners, we booked an one-hour tour. The instructor was riding in front of us and we were all following him. We went in groups of five plus the instructor and he took us across the river, going up to the woods and back. When the horses were walking, you just needed to guide them using the bridle and sometimes giving them just a short kick with your heels.
When we stopped, then the fun part started, because instinctively the horse goes down for the grass or some leaves to eat and you have to put more effort into controlling it. Some of us had some issues with this as the horse stopped listening to the rider and continued eating leaves. The instructor told us that they are well feed at the farm and not to allow them to eat while we are riding. I did that by keeping the bridle short, so that the horse knows that I will not allow it to reach the grass.
In the end everything went well and everybody enjoyed the trip, even the ones who were hesitating at the beginning. When we returned to the farm, we needed to cross again the river, which is not deep, but it’s approximate 10 meters wide, and the horses were thirsty after the trip and they were stretching for the water. Again some riders lost the control of their horses and they stopped in the middle of the river. If this happens, you have to pull the bridle and kick the horse with your heels.
The prices are not that high and the experience is very nice. I would recommend it to anyone who loves nature, animals and a bit of adventure. The guided horse-riding trips are 50 lei / hour / person, the carriage / sleigh rides are 100 lei / hour and the riding lessons are 100 lei / hour / person. The Ghiocelul Guesthouse also offers accommodation and a full plan of meals if you opt for a longer stay in the area.
What else to do if you’re around the Avrig Valley: