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It was the great British wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill who once said: “When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have.” And who’s going to argue with him? Well, we are! Because while the seat is very important, you can still vastly improve the experience dramatically by altering the view – or put another way - ride somewhere nice!
And where better to take to the saddle than an island with magnificent, scenery, beaches, countryside and weather – that would be Malta, of course!
Horsey heritage is what this island was built on and you need look no further than to the famous tales of the Knights of Malta to realise that. They were not knights merely in name only. No, these boys were the ‘real deal’ with swords, trusty steeds, armour, helmets – the whole shooting match!
They might have been the European nobles of their time, but they were fighting men and would not be seen anywhere without their favourite mount, who would also be decked out in the knight’s colours and matching armour.
The Malta Knights’ long presence on the Island over many centuries led to widespread replacement of traditional bulls and donkeys used by Maltese farmers with horses for the first time since the Romans had been here with their own noble horses.
In today’s Malta you can pretend to be a noble knight, or a cowboy, or you can just go for a ride, if you join one of the many riding sessions. Armour is not required, which is a big relief in the heat but whatever you wear, you’ll find the hacking is great fun!
Thanks to the compact nature of the island and the variety of landscapes, you have a good choice of venues in which you’d like to saddle up. Sandy beaches are always a favourite for both rider and horse as you trot along the edge or in the waves of the cooling sea.
But you can also choose to head into the countryside, where luckily the horses seem to know which way to go, picking their way between small, chequered fields, where time seems to have stood still for centuries.
Malta can provide riding sessions for all levels, from beginners to expert aspiring jockeys. And there are horses suited to all standards too - from the timid and the obedient to the mischievous and the arrogant.
After all, horses are very much like people … well, apart from being much taller … and with four legs … and hooves instead of feet … oh, and bigger teeth. Actually horses, it seems, are nothing like people but they do all have their own unique personalities – or should that be ‘horsonalities’?
There are several established riding schools in both Malta and Gozo, which are relatively cheap and easy to find. All you need to do is have a quick look around on the web and find one near your accommodation, or one offering the kind of experience you’re looking for.
Address: Golden Bay, MLH 5510
Phone: +356 2157 3360
Website (Bidnija): www.bidnijahorseriding.com
Email (Bidnija): firstname.lastname@example.org
Address (Bidnija): JohnMary House, Triq il-Bdiewa, Bidnija, Mosta MST13
Phone (Bidnija): +356 2141 4010
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