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La Sierra Horse Riding

 

 

High above the white stucco mountain town of Valle de Bravo, two and a half hours west of Mexico City, lies Finca Enyhe. The hacienda, with its impressive façade and shady verandas set around a peaceful courtyard, has been lovingly renovated by its owners Lucia and Pepe Schravesande, two of Mexico’s most talented horse people.

 

It is from this setting, with its manicured lawns, thoughtfully decorated bedrooms and glistening pool, that the couple runs their riding holiday: Calbagatas La Sierra. The ride itself covers 210 kilometres of some of the most picturesque riding country in the region. Visitors pass through mountainous forests of endemic oak and more than 100 species of pine.

 

From the Finca at 6,000 feet (1,800 metres) above sea level, the ride gently climbs during the course of the week to 10,000 feet (about 3,000 metres), with an average of six hours a day spent in the saddle and many mountaintop viewpoints affording jaw-dropping panoramas. Each day brings special highlights. On day one it’s reaching the tiny village of Los Saucos and being greeted by the school children laughing and giggling, crowding around Pepe for sweets and satsumas. Another day, it’s filling flour tortillas with hot sausage, cheese and guacamole and retreating to a spot on Lookout Rock, an amazing viewpoint with views of the majestic volcano at Toluca.

 

Each evening, the horses are stabled at stalls Pepe has built or rented along the way, while the riders are transported back to the five-star luxury of the Finca by minibus or, on one day, a boat across Lake Valle de Bravo. As well as shady forests and mountain lookouts, the ride passes through villages, past hillside smallholdings and through cultivated valleys.

 

Rather than simply admiring a view of rural life in Mexico-the young girl sitting among a herd of goats, the man ploughing with oxen, the men picking gladioli for the market, children leading donkeys laden with firewood through the forest—this adventure allows the rider to melt into the landscape and become part of the picture.

 

A charming Mexican couple, Lucia and Pepe are dedicated to taking care of their guests, their staff, the Finca and their precious horses. But much more than this, they are committed to promoting tourism within Mexico in a way that helps to protect their natural environment. A library of books about Mexico’s history and the area’s flora and fauna can be found at the Finca, and the three-course meals of traditional Mexican fare are always accompanied by thought-provoking and educational conversation.



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