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Leaving from the ranch between Urgup and Ortahisar in the heart of the national park, the progressive trail will take you on a tour around Cappadocia. From the peasants' Cappadocia of the south to the most beautiful valleys of the north, a succession of fantastic rock formations, lush canyons, high plateaux, steppe-like landscape, as well as along with vineyards and orchards, the trail will compose a surprisingly varied route. This trail is for fit, active, and autonomous riders. The circuit includes difficult passages where you will be asked to get off your horse and lead it but sometimes up steep paths. The effort will be rewarded by stunning views but a good physical condition is essential. Experience a tradition and comfort of this guesthouse formula!
Airport transfer included: Kayseri Erkilet Airport
Airport transfer included: NevÅŸehir Kapadokya Airport
You will spend your seven nights in a double / twin room with en-suite toilets and shower in comfortable guesthouses typical of the local architecture (stone houses, cave houses, and ottoman or Greek style). There will be three different guesthouses during the week in Cappadocia’s prettiest villages. Often, you will spend two nights in the same guesthouse. Most guesthouses offer internet access and a laundry service. There is a single room supplement (only if unwilling to share).
The number of participants is minimum two and maximum nine riders for one local guide (speaking English). Groups are often international.
The riding level is confirmed and strong intermediate. Riders must be able to tack up and mount their horse unassisted and be confident on rough terrain and during group canters on forward-going horses.
The riding will run for six days, five to six hours on the back of the horse each day, and 35 kilometers per day on average on varied terrain. The pace will be walking with canters every day, but sometimes long canter (15 minutes).
Riders must be in good physical condition to take part in the progressive trail. The circuit will include difficult ways where riders will be asked to dismount and lead their horse, sometimes up steep paths.
The maximum weight is strictly limited to 90 kilograms. Riders over 90 kilograms will not be allowed on horseback.
Riders are expected to tack up / untack their horse, water it (at the fountain), and help feed it in the evening.
You must have a competent riding level to take part in this trails. The one-week trail is not suitable for novices or low intermediate riders. The horses are forward-going and you must be able to stay in control during group canters. Before coming to Turkey, please go for a few rides outdoor and exercise yourself in order to avoid muscular pain or irritations during the trail.
On the progressive trail, a good physical condition is essential as you will be asked to get off your horse several times a day to walk and sometimes up steep paths. If you suffer from the heat, please avoid the hottest weeks of the year from mid-July to end of August. Kapadokya Ranch values the horses and is extremely attentive to riders' weight. All riders are systematically weighed on arrival. Riders over 90 kilograms will not be accepted on horseback.
Kapadokya Ranch is owned and managed by French-born Nicolas Guillo. Nicolas decided to make Cappadocia his home over nine years ago and has been organizing horseriding trails since then. He speaks English and Turkish.
The stable is composed of forward-going Anatolian, Arab, and cross-Arab mares who will surprise you with their robustness and their agility. They are small (1,50 meters on average - the ideal size for trailing on tortuous paths). Responsive, well-balanced, and respectful of the rider, they are also extremely sure-footed.
Horses are assigned according to riding levels and riders' preferences but the size and the weight of the rider are also important criteria. Please don't look for boxes or a manège: when they are not on the trail, the horses are grazing in the fields around the farm. The riding equipment includes hackamores and McClellan light trailing saddles. These are fitted with two saddle-bags for you to carry the picnic and personal belongings for the day.
You will arrive at Erkilet International Airport (ASR). Then, you will be met by your chauffeur and transferred in 50 minutes to your guesthouse in Urgup where you will have dinner with your guide.
You will be driven to the ranch in the morning to meet your horse and get acquainted with the riding equipment. You will have time to try your horse on a training course going around the farm. The trail will begin with one hour of riding through lush vegetation and along the stream of the Uzengi Canyon. Very quickly, the first long canter will bring you to Avlak Mountain with a magnificent encompassing view of Cappadocia.
The rocky hills could provide the perfect background to a Western movie. Cantering on this high plateau will bring you to the lunch. Olives, hummus, vegetables, “walnut-chicken”, different cheese, black bread, traditional yogurt dish, and Turkish black tea will be served on a table in the earth of a green tiny canyon surrounded by the horses grazing around you.
Then, you will spend the afternoon riding through a huge valley where the ghost village of Karain takes place. A few more canters will make you arrive in Akköy Village and you will tie the horse just under the accommodation and enjoy a drink looking at them. The terrasse of the accommodation has a 180-degree view of the valley while the paddock of the horses is in front of the accommodation at 100 meters.
You will start this day by cantering through a field of the high Anatolian plateau (1600-meter hight): barley, wheat, oat, and beans field. You will dismount for 20 minutes of a steep single trail down to Lake Damsa. Villagers will cook lunch for you on the woodfire. The afternoon will be expenses of bare hills surrounding the lake. In case of hot weather, you can swim in the lac with your horse). You will canter along tracks of soft red clay leading you to the village of Ayvali through a hidden canyon and stop at your guest house.
Again, the paddock is next to the accommodation and you will enjoy a drink looking at the horses rolling in the sand. Then, you will ride into the village from the hills to reach your guesthouse. Your horses will spend the night in the nearby garden. In the evening, you may stroll among Mustafapasa’s old stone houses, its Ottoman madrasa, and its painted church. At the foot of troglodytic citadels of dovecotes carved out the abrupt rock walls. Your first long canter will be the ascension.
In the morning, you will have a quick start with a canter which will bring you to visit the underground village of Golgoli. Your sure-footed horses will take you off the beaten tracks along a scenic path through rock formations, vineyard, and orchards surrounded by table-mountains. Tieing horses in front of the restaurant, you will have lunch in the center of the old Greek village of Mustafapasa.
After lunch, there will be a leisure time in the village or nap on the sofa. Thereafter, you will climb a scenic plateau where you will have the opportunity to gallop your horse again. Short riding will be held in the afternoon that will make you arrive to your guesthouse in Ayvali for your last night in the village.
Leaving the guesthouse on horseback, you can enjoy a varied scenery of narrow tracks, small canyons, farmed land, and the wide-open spaces of Subasi where shepherds lead their flock. You will sneak your way along the lush, narrow canyon of a remote village, before galloping on large sandy tracks. You will visit a second and different type of underground village, “Kirkule”. Then, you will enjoy a long canter through vineyards and orchards and over rolling hills of white tuffa to reach the fairy chimneys of Gümüslü valley and then, more fun riding will await you in the narrow corridors and arches of the canyon of Tahtali.
You will ride uphill to reach the lunch of one of the best restaurant: “Babayan Evi”. The restaurant has very good and healthy local food. From this picturesque village, you will start ascending the ‘twin hills' of Cappadocia to reach a panoramic viewpoint encompassing northern Cappadocia and the towering rock fortress of Uchisar. As you will ride towards the village, you can admire the multicolored rock formations of the famous Pigeon Valley and Uchisar’s picturesque fairy chimneys. You will reach your panoramic guesthouse on horseback and enjoy a drink on the terrace. You may spend the rest of the day exploring Uchisar.
You may enjoy an optional hot-air balloon flight in the early morning: travel with the wind over Cappadocia's magical landscape at sunrise (paid directly at the balloon company). You will sneak your way through the rock tunnels, arches, and small woods of the spectacular 4-kilometer-long canyon called the Green Valley. You will make a detour through the famous Love Valley and its gigantic phallic rock formations, then into the Sword Valley and Red Valley.
With its citadels of red, pink and more rock, and its beautiful troglodytic churches, this is Cappadocia's most spectacular ensemble of geological formations. A cave cafe located in an ancient monastery will welcome you for lunch. In the afternoon, you will keep exploring the Red and Rose Valleys and then ride out into the fields surrounded by the rocky hills of north Cappadocia. The winding paths of the Shepherd’s valley will take you back to your guesthouse in Uchisar in time to admire north Cappadocia in the sunset light.
You will enter another beautiful canyon called the White Valley after the color of its rock. You will ride through stone labyrinths and lush vegetation and pass the impressive fairy chimneys of yet another Love Valley. Crossing the picturesque village of Çavuşin, you will dismount for a short walk to reach the plateau of boz daha and then you will canter on the crest overlooking Red Valley on one side and Devrent Valley on the and its strangely shaped fairy chimneys on the other side.
You will enjoy the more long canters through the maze of woody, sandy paths of the valley of Urgup before reaching the valley of Pancarlik and its multicolored rock formations, gardens, and orchards. You will return to the ranch in the afternoon. After tea on the terrace, you will have an option to be driven to the hammam in Ürgüp for a relaxing steam bath and massage (free 4x4 transfer). Then, you will have a short transfer back to your guesthouse and farewell dinner.
After breakfast, you will depart to Erkilet International Airport (ASR) or Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV) for your flight to Istanbul.
Note: Please keep in mind that the description above is an example of a trail that is often done but for reason like weather cast or safety reason, the guide can chose to change the itinerary of the trail at the last moment. Also, you will have a full moon ride on April 30, May 29, and September 25, 2018.
This horse riding trail will take place in Turkey. Turkey has been a secular republic ever since Ataturk came to power in the late 20s. Islam, as it is observed by the very large majority of Turkish people, is moderate and tolerant towards foreign visitors. You cannot eat pork in Turkey. However, the Turks love their raki and you won't have any difficulty finding other alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine. Turkey remains quite traditional and in the most rural areas such as Cappadocia, few women have jobs outside the home or participate in public life. Family in Turkey is sacred and so is hospitality. Wherever you'll go, you can be sure that you will be welcomed with friendliness and dedication even though average living conditions remain modest.
Cappadocia is a 40-square-kilometer wide, giant meringue formed between two and ten million years ago by a couple of hallucinatory volcanoes on the Anatolian plateau. While cooling, the warm ashes turned into layers of ‘tufa’ of varied colors and density. Water, wind, and man have eroded and carved the soft rock, giving birth to a wonderland of deep canyons and fantastically shaped rock formations that are simply unique in the world. From prehistoric times, civilizations have flourished here, and the Hittites, Persians, early and Byzantine Christians, Mongols, Greeks, and Ottomans have left abundant evidence of their passage. Cappadocia is unique, and, as such, is listed World Heritage by UNESCO.
Meals will be served on full board basis (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Vegetarian meals are available on request. Turkish and continental breakfast will be served at the guesthouses. Lunch breaks will be at the village restaurants. On Monday, villagers’ lunch will be on wood fire. Meanwhile, dinners will be taken at the guesthouses. Water, tea, and coffee will also be included. However, Cappadocia wine, beer, and other drinks are available and payable locally.
Please book your flight to arrive at Erkilet International Airport (ASR) or Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Kapadokya Ranch will pick you up from the airport.
The transfer is all day long and a shuttle bus is available for each flight. From the airport, you will be picked up by a shuttle minibus. Then, inside the national park of Cappadocia, the logistic to transfer the luggage will be done by 4x4-wd.
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