Saddle up

Horses are a common sight in our part of rural Mallorca, where the sport of trotting seems to be as popular as football for many people. Between Manacor – where trotting races are held at the hippodrome every Saturday – and our finca there are horses to be seen grazing contentedly in fields, and also being exercised.

It’s not uncommon to come across a horse and trotting rig in country lanes or even on main roads (although it must be said that traffic is a lot lighter on roads around here than you’d find in the English countryside). Motorists tend to be fairly respectful of riders, giving them a wide berth. It’s just as well really, as we rarely see riders wearing proper headgear, even when they’re out on the busier roads. (Two of my nieces are good horsewomen and would be horrified to see such risky riding).

No cows . . . but plenty of hats

As the weather improves, we often see people riding horses down through the valley, and up to a dozen at a time can pass our gates. Many of them wear cowboy hats rather than riding helmets, and, if they see us in the garden, will tip their hats and call out an ‘adios‘ to us.

In the summer months, in the late afternoon or early evening, a large party of riders sometimes heads down the valley and across country towards the coast. They usually return at around 3am, and the first time we experienced this, I was woken by the spooky sound of horses galloping up the tarmac lane. On an otherwise silent night, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse came to mind . . .

But what a romantic expedition it must be: cowboy hat at a jaunty angle; the promise of a beer or two at the beach bar, while the horses rest for the return journey, and a moonlit ride home through the cool of the night. Bring on the riding lessons!

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