Eastern Europe has become an extremely fashionable place for horse riding holidays in recent years. The former Soviet bloc countries such as Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Montenegro and Hungary are fast adapting to capitalism and joining our consumer led world. However particularly in the countryside many places still retain an almost medieval way of working the land and a very distinct culture. This startling contrast makes Eastern Europe one of the most fascinating places to visit at the moment. Many of these countries have now joined the European Union and are easily accessible by a host of low cost airlines and for over ten years Unicorn Trails has been building a portfolio of horse riding holidays across Eastern Europe.
Of interest to horse riders is the horse culture that still exists throughout these countries. They rely on horses to do regular work and even for transport in rural areas. Consequently almost everyone has some knowledge of horses, much like the UK 100 years ago. The countryside is also very horse friendly, with minimal fences, fields crossed with tracks and paths suitable for horses and an acceptance of horses as means of transport. It’s no problem then to find a pub that has a place to tie your horse, or a B&B with stables or a field. Horses also provide a handy conversation topic with locals. Talk of a nice sized horse that is a “good doer” or a good farrier is as common as a shopping or DVD conversation in England.
On the cultural side there are two aspects to Eastern European countries. One is the post Soviet culture. Behind the iron curtain there was the world of communism and collective farms. The legacies are still clearly visible today and a hot topic of conversation locally. In addition many countries are now rediscovering national identities long suppressed by Soviet culture and reveling in expressing themselves. National dress, food and traditions are more strongly supported than ever and a horse riding holiday with Unicorn Trails shows you the best traditions.
Post Soviet cultures did not have many consumer items and goods and their economies were not as monetized as ours. As a result, goods and services tend to cost a lot less out there and holidays still offer excellent value for money. This era of cheap travel in Eastern Europe won’t last forever. Hundreds of thousands of young Eastern Europeans come to Western Europe to seek well-paid jobs that offer good money by their standards. Most send their money home and after a few years go back, buy or build a nice house and start their own businesses, raising standards and prices in the process.
So the mutual fascination leads to a two way exchange. The increasing numbers of Eastern Europeans coming to the UK not only work hard and earn money to improve their lives back home, they also take back with them a taste for UK culture – music, clothes and consumer lifestyles. While all this accelerates the rate of economic development in these countries, it also heralds the decline of the traditional lifestyles and dilutes cultural differences and increases costs. Given this, it makes sense to visit these fascinating places now while they are still very different, easily accessible and low cost.
Unicorn Trails offer a thoughtfully selected range of holidays for riders of all abilities across Eastern Europe. With veterinary approval of all rides you are sure not only of a fun holiday but also that your horses are in good condition and your money goes directly to local people. So make this year the time to ride in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Hungary or Poland with Unicorn Trails and find out what all the fuss is about.
For more information and to book:
Webpage: Eastern Europe
Telephone: 01767 600606 (UK); 1-437-371-2822 (Canada); 1-888-420-0964 (USA); +46 (0)8-58176336 (Scandinavia)