Responsible tourism: Horse riding vacation in Sierra Nevada Mountains, Spain
Wildlife and the environment. We are grateful to be granted permission to rider over fragile areas, community-owned land and land owned by the National Park Authority. Traveling on horseback has minimal impact on fragile environments (compared to a 4X4) and it is the reason these trails were created in the first place. We remain committed to the conservation and preservation of the wildlife and local habitats. To this end we restrict group size to ten horse-rider combinations and we often run with fewer.
Indigenous communities who live in these pristine areas are best-placed to protect them and we in turn help to empower them by paying a fair salary and purchasing provisions and accommodation directly from local residents, thus sharing the financial benefits that tourism brings and empowering local residents to conserve their environment.
The haciendas and cottages that we patronise are constructed from local materials and are solar powered. Heating is by log-burners, using timber from sustainable sources: no oil, no gas and no coal is used.
The Local Community We believe that all rides should be a joy and pleasure for our client and a source of pride and income to the host.
The income generated from this trip flows down through the local community via specific training in horsemanship, camp management and English language training. A fair wage is guaranteed for all guides, stable hands and domestic staff and this income directly benefits their families.
Horse welfare. We ensure that the horses are well fed and well treated; no harsh aides are used (no gags, no whips, no spurs) and a thorough anthelmintic regime is followed. We ensure that rider’s weight falls within limits set by the stable and where the weight-limit is exceeded, a second horse is provided, ensuring that no horse is over-worked (each one would work only half a day). We ensure horse and rider are matched at the beginning of the vacation so that neither struggles. Above all, we ensure the horses are fit for a multi-day trek.
Rider information. We provide all of our clients with a personal “Field Manual” which is a destination-specific guidebook to help each person prepare for life overseas so that a collision between cultures is avoided. This manual helps travelers engage positively and actively with the local community and learn more about them.