The sun was beaming down on us on one of the hottest days of our holiday and as I waited to mount my horse, a voice in my head was screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”.
I have not been on a horse, since I was 11 years old and even then, I only did it once or twice. Yet in Menorca, with the warm sea air and the cocktails flowing, I had the bright idea that 8year old Bunny and I should go horseback riding whilst we were there. I’d seen it on TripAdvisor in the “things to do in Menorca” section and thought it looked fun.
We were staying at Royal Son Bou Family Club and the helpful PR lady told us that there was actually horseback riding in Son Bou, just a fifteen minute walk away and they could book it for us. It cost €25 for myself and €22.50 for Bunny, so we booked for the very next day. At the time, €57.50 equated to around £40 give or take a few pence. This seemed like a good deal for one hour’s horse riding, considering that I’d need a fair amount of instruction prior to even getting on the horse. Son Bou Rutes a Cavall (horseback riding in Son Bou) accept adults and children, beginners and advanced riders and you can choose one hour or two. If you choose two hours, I think you actually go as far as the beach, whilst one hour sticks to the country bridle path known as Cami de Cavalls. They provide and fit helmets for you, help you on and off of the horse and show you how to use the reins, stop and steer.
Despite being a little worried about the whole thing, I was also very excited to be doing something different and also to have some bonding time with my oldest daughter.
My horse was called Furia (the word “Fury” instantly flickers across one’s mind, but her name is pronounced like [eu]PHORIA). Bunny’s horse was Furia’s daughter Nadin (pronounced Nadine). We were warned that the horses like to stop and eat the long grass, but we must steer them away, because if you allow it, the horses will just keep stopping. And if they stop, you shout the name of your horse, to get her attention.
I can’t tell you how many times I shouted FURIA over the course of the next hour and I was feeling neither fury nor euphoria… but I felt a bit silly. Bunny’s horse was beautifully behaved and led by one of the lovely staff at Rutes a Cavall. The nice German chap and his daughter also had impeccably behaved horses. I had the greedy one. And it didn’t seem to matter how many times I tried to steer Furia, she always won. She is an incredibly strong horse and she knew what she wanted. I, on the other hand, was afraid of startling her or hurting her and was probably just far far too gentle with her. Each time I tried to steer her away, she threw her head up and down manically, which led me to give in, for fear of falling off. I had been warned not to let go of the reins, but I had no idea just how far forward a horse leans to eat and how hard it would be to hold onto the reins whilst remaining upright, when I felt like I was about to be thrown over the front. Somehow though, I kept the reins and stayed on Furia.
Whilst that all sounds pretty terrifying to someone who has no real experience of horses, it was extremely fun. It was a bit of an adrenalin rush. It was also a fantastic opportunity to see some stunning views. We were riding down a bumpy country track surrounded by fields, hills and blue sky. At one point we could see the whole of Son Bou. We rode through muddy puddles, through narrow gates and Furia even took me through a bush as she wanted to scratch her back!
I saw some incredibly beautiful Menorcan countryside, I felt a real sense of adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed my hour of horse riding. Bunny loved every second too, she had none of my fear or hungry horse troubles and she didn’t want the session to end. The staff were wonderfully helpful, didn’t tell me off once and the whole experience was very relaxed. I would highly recommend Rutes a Cavall to anyone who is visiting Son Bou or horse riding in general for anyone visiting Menorca. It’s a fantastic experience, with breath-taking views.
I didn’t have the guts to take many photos, but I did take a very shaky 7 second video, from my horse, just to prove that I actually did it! You can see Bunny riding Nadin and as the camera pans around you can see a glimpse of countryside with the ocean in the distance.