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Come to Brasov County, Romania, and explore the historical region of Transylvania, a land made for riding since there is no better way to explore these endless hills, meadows, and medieval villages than on the horseback! As the leader of equestrian tourism in Romania, Equus Silvania will take you on a ride through the trail of this region which absolutely will amaze you. Ride your horse and witness the remains of this historical land!
You will be staying at Equus Silvania guesthouses on your first and last night. On the rest of the days, you will be staying with local people on the way. Please note that you are in rural Romania, and the standard and comfort is not always very high. Some overnight stays are rather basic while others are very cozy and nice. The tranquillity and slow pace of life in these villages make up for the possible discomfort. Single rooms are available upon request, except on the second night when there are only double and triple rooms available.
On this holiday, you will ride for 24 - 39 kilometers for about four up to seven hours per day (including lunch break). This ride is not suitable for beginners. Participants have to be competent at all speeds and are able to fully control a horse in the canter. Every day, you will have many canters and even gallops.
You will ride for almost 200 kilometers through the hills and medieval villages in a big loop back to Sinca Noua, the base of Equus Silvania. On the way, you see and experience some of the most rural areas Europe still has, with tens of thousands of sheep grazing the old way in the hills and an abundant birdlife, lesser spotted eagles, bee-eaters, or hoopoes just to name a few. At the same time, you will see many remains of this medieval culture with its fortified churches, some of which are 800 years old. Besides, the owners of Equus Silvania, Barbara and Christoph Promberger, run a large conservation programme in the area, which you will learn throughout our ride.
Upon arrival in Bucharest (please make sure you arrive at 16:15 the latest), you will be transferred by minibus from Bucharest to Sinca Noua. The overnight stay will be at the guesthouse of Equus Silvania. This evening, you will have a dinner and evening introduction to the ride.
After being introduced to the horses, you will leave Sinca Noua (pronounced Shinca Noah) and ride along the valleys and over the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains towards the plains of the Olt River valley. You pass the ‘Daffodils Meadow’ Nature Reserve and can experience several of the long canters before you arrive after about seven-hour ride at the destination in Mândra, where you will stay with a local family. The distance of this ride is 31 kilometers.
You will cross the Olt River at Halmeag and continue up the Felmer Valley, where you will enter into the hills of Transylvania. You ride along a beautiful ridge with marvelous views of the Fagaras Mountains and reach the goal of the day in Cobor, an old Hungarian village in the middle of the Saxon area. Today, you ride a total of seven hours and will start to experience the beauty of this ancient land.
In Cobor, your hosts run a conservation project, which includes the development of an organic farm with an emphasis on biodiversity conservation and the traditional restoration of some of the abandoned houses. You stay overnight in one of these new-old guesthouses for the next two days. The distance for today is 32 kilometers.
You will enjoy a full-day ride (six hours) around Cobor with stunning views, fast canters, and rich birdlife: you are likely to see bee-eaters, hoopoes, great grey shrikes, stonechats, or lesser spotted eagles. In the late afternoon, you are back in Cobor and can chill out in the old stables or in the cellar bar. Today, you ride for about 31 kilometers.
You will enjoy a full-day ride for about seven hours over the hills to Viscri, your destination for the next night. Viscri is probably the famous most Saxon village in Transylvania with a stunning fortified church, and the UK based Mihai Eminescu Trust (under the patronage of Prince Charles) has restored the village in its original setting. You stay in the old farmhouses, which are transformed into little guesthouses, and enjoy the traditional Saxon cuisine. In the evening, there is time to explore the village. Today, you ride for about 39 kilometers.
In the morning, you explore the fortified church in Viscri, visit the local blacksmith (who still works by hand with old bellows and a charcoal fire), and have a lunch before you go. In the afternoon, you ride over the hills to a log house on a big meadow in the forest near the village of Jibert. You will enjoy the stunning scenery and great canters all along the way. Today is a rather fast but shorter ride, for about three hours and a half. You get a great dinner and will enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Transylvanian countryside. The distance you have ridden today is 24 kilometers.
Today is your last day, but there are again plenty of canters over the hills and through the forests. Eventually, you arrive in the Olt Valley, have a beautiful ride along the ridge through ancient oak pastures, and descend from there through the forests towards Halmeag, where your ride ends. Here, you enjoy a barbecue, and a bus takes you back to Equus Silvania in Sinca Noua and also your horses get a transport back home. You will enjoy a surprise dinner in the evening. Today, you ride for about 34 kilometers.
After the last breakfast, the minibus takes you back to Bucharest for your flights.
The horses are Shagya Arabs, Arabs, Kisberi, Gidran, Hungarian half-breeds. Horses are very lively, fast, and forward going, but with breaks.
You will explore the fortified church in Viscri and visit the local blacksmith.
Right in the middle of Romania, only 50 kilometers west of Brasov, lays Sinca Noua (New Shinca), a picturesque village between the Persani Mountains in the Northeast and the Fagaras Mountains in the West. The Sinca River flows from Poiana Marului via Sinca Noua into the River Olt, which reaches the Danube after its journey through the Carpathian Mountains.
The first inhabitants of Sinca Noua moved to the area in 1,762 from Sinca Veche (Old Shinca), some 10 kilometers further North. It was about 80 families who were hiding in the deep forests of the Sinca valley to escape from forced Catholicism and military service in Maria Theresia's army. They settled near an old orthodox wooden chapel that was built in 1572 and is still a very important site for the community.
Today, Sinca Noua is inhabited by 1,800 people, the majority being of Romanian ethnic. Their main occupation still is agriculture and livestock breeding, but in the recent past, people often leave for a few months a year to work abroad. People in Sinca Noua are very friendly people who are still deeply rooted in their traditions. Especially in winter, during Christmas Eve and Saint John's Day (January 7th), this becomes obvious: the whole village, young and old, participates to the festivities of the two-week long "Turco". Also, weddings are still celebrated the old way by the people in Sinca Noua - for three days and three nights with little breaks.
Sinca Noua gains its picturesque quality with sheep, goats, horses, cows, and water buffaloes jamming their way through the main road every morning and evening to the communal pastures outside the village. In the beautiful surroundings, you can also easily find tracks of wolf, bear, lynx, wild boar, or red deer, and with a little luck, you might even see one of them.
The word "Transilvania" originates from the Latin language and was used by the Romans for the land beyond the vast Carpathian forests. Over the centuries, the land-use around the villages was characterized by arable farming in the valley bottoms, small plots of hey meadows, and large pastures, allowing for a high degree of biodiversity in the cultivated landscape.
During communism, the land was nationalized and the small-scale farming gave way to large cooperatives. After the revolution, the cooperatives were dissolved again and the land was restituted to the former owners, but the agricultural production almost completely collapsed. Since then, most of this land is used as pastures by shepherds that often do not even live in this region and unfortunately overgraze the pastures or destroy the old oaks and fruit trees. Despite intensive governmental support for these rural areas, the social and economic decline of the region could not yet be averted.
Equus Silvania uses mainly locally produced food in their kitchen. People in Sinca Noua generally do not use pesticides or artificial fertilizers, and the livestock is still kept the old way, that is, outside on the pastures. Their own vegetable garden delivers fresh onions, salad, zucchini, etc. Other food such as milk, potatoes, lamb, and veal is bought from the farmers in the neighborhood. Pork, chicken, turkey, all cold cuts, and eggs are from their own production. Equus Silvania is getting particularly famous for their home-made hams, sausages, and bacon.
Please book your flight to arrive at Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Equus Silvania will pick you up from the airport.
From Bucharest to Sinca Noua is three hours' drive by bus. Please make sure you do not arrive later than 4.15 p.m. in Bucharest and do not leave earlier than 2 p.m. on the following Saturday.
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