Italy, Sardinia - Monte Ferru - Mountain to Sea Trail
This is a trail ride over the Monte Ferru mountain formation and down to the sea - each night you leave the horses at a stop off point and return to the hotel to spend the night. The trail is designed to show you the beauty of Sardinia on horseback. Across the five riding days you will discover the variety of the island. You start at the stables, climb your way over the mountain of Monte Ferru and will finally reach the coast. The whole trail is about 150km, about 3½ hours/day and you will go into areas where tourists are not normally permitted. The horses are well trained and friendly with excellent stamina for this ride. Each night they stay in a paddock somewhere along the trail and you head back and meet them the next day. Riders are taken back to the farm after each day of riding and spend the afternoon by the pool or enjoying the gardens.
Provisional day-by-day programme
Day 1: Arrival in the afternoon. You meet the other guests and and get an overview of the week ahead before dinner is served at around 8.00 pm.
Day 2: Today you meet at the stables after breakfast for an introductory ride of about 2 hours in the surrounding area. You will see grazing sheep, typical Sardinian stonewalls, cork tree forests and get to try your first gallop. You come back to the farm in time for lunch and you can then enjoy some free time in the afternoon.
Day 3: After breakfast is the first part of the cross country ride and you climb 300 metres (980 ft) up the ‘Montiferru’ mountains. The days riding takes about three and a half hours and you leave the horses in their night pasture before you return to the farm for lunch and another relaxing afternoon.
Day 4: After breakfast, you drive back to the horses and prepare for the next part of the ride. The day’s stage is about three and a half hours riding. You pass the village of ‘San Leonardo’, which is known for its fountains and you then arrive at the Montiferru conservation park. Here you will get to see a completely new isolated landscape, full of stones and rocks – it almost looks like a moonscape. You may also see wild boar or sheep, or at least their tracks. You reach the highest point at 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) and you can see the sea in the distance – a wonderful view over Sardinia’s west coast. You then ride down to about 800 metres (2,600 ft) and prepare the horses for their night on Mount ‘Seneghe’. While the horses eat, you have a picnic in the shade of old oaks. Typical local food and wine are served.
Day 5: You are driven back to the horses and the day’s riding takes you through a large forest with a mystical atmosphere over the course of three and a half hours. The landscape and vegetation are completely different to what you find on the farm. Everything is moist and green with a lot of trees and lush foliage. You will enjoy a picnic after about two and a half hours’ riding before you then continue down and pass the Mediterranean’s Macchia and enjoy the scent of the typical Sardinian vegetation. As you come out of the forest, you will notice that the vegetation has changed to cactuses and the air is drier. After having ridden down about 750 metres, the day’s final destination is the horse paddock at Ranch Catzeddu. Lunch awaits you when you arrive back at the farm.
Day 6: Today you will be at the beach! After breakfast, you travel back to Ranch Catzeddu and prepare the horses. You will smell the sea which you can see in the distance. You ride along narrow tracks and over meadows filled with flowers and, after having ridden through a pine forest, you will finally come to the 8 kilometre (5 miles) long beach, Is Arenas. Here you can enjoy wonderful gallops along the beach, which the horses enjoy just as much as the riders. The end of the day is at ‘Is Benas’ where the horses will overnight. You will enjoy a picnic by the sea with fantastic views over the cliffs above the crystal clear sea. If you wish, you can also take a refreshing dip before you are driven back to the farm! The day’s ride is about three and a half hours.
Day 7: After breakfast, you return to the horses by the sea and saddle up for the last stage of the ride, which will be about three and a half hours long. Although you will be by the sea, the landscape will be completely different from the previous day. Today is a round-trip that takes you past a selection of highlights, such as riding through the Sinis conservation area and galloping along roads surrounded by meadows of flowers and riding up steep cliffs offering a fantastic view over the emerald green waters. You will ride through the "Stagno Sale Porcus" salt lake and if you are in luck you will see hundreds of flamingos nearby – a fantastic experience. If the lake is dry at the end of the summer, you get lovely long gallops on the lakebed.
Day 8: Breakfast and departure.