Last year, when we were travelling through the Balkans, we ended up in Sarajevo, a city I wanted to visit since I was a little girl. I look back on it with the biggest smile on my face, as this beautiful place, with all its lovely people, was the perfect ending to our 5 week trip.
With the money we had left we wanted to do something different. Being a horse lover I really wanted to ride a trail in a foreign country sometime, so I started searching for a ranch.
First of all, it’s not that easy to find a good place to go horseback riding. I’ve been looking for a great place for years, but I’ve always doubted the touristic places. I want to be sure the horses are well looked after before I start supporting the ranch and their owners. Spending money somewhere really means you approve of whatever is happening there. Believe me, you want it to be okay.
That’s how I found Pegasos, an equestrian & recreation center, located on the hills of Sarajevo. It was recommended to me by users of Tripadvisor who, just like me, made sure the owners and people who worked there took care of their animals.
I found out Pegasos works with natural horsemanship. Being involved with horses all my life I have some experience in that area, and I cannot tell you enough how important it is that the training process of a horse goes as natural as possible, without forcing or abusing the animal. Pegasos really gets that and they deserve to be praised for it.
Because it all looked great I sent them an e-mail, asking a ton of questions. Within an hour I got the nicest response and we decided to go. We booked a private lesson and a trail. They were nice enough to give us directions to the place, as it isn’t really close to Sarajevo at all.
Finding the place was a whole different thing. Our cabdriver has to ask for directions several times and he couldn’t believe his eyes when he was sent to the top of the hills every time. He even recommended another place close by, but we stuck to Pegasos no matter what.
When we arrived we got a great warm welcome by the staff and they explained again what they do. It was so nice and quiet and I could see the horses had plenty of space and exercise. Another great thing about Pegasos is their way of helping others by the Riders of Hope Association. When we were there we met Senada, one of the founders of the Riders of Hope. She told us what she’s been doing there:
Riders of Hope is the first and only organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina offering Therapeutic Riding for children with special needs. The founders of this vision, Seanada Pekarić-Muratović and Maja Hadziomerovic, are both young women who survived the brutal atrocities of the war in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. Through their interactions with horses, they each found refuge and made peace with their lost childhood. Now they have partnered to share this transforming experience with other adults and children with special needs, so that they may feel the emotional and physical benefits of a therapeutic riding program, currently reserved mainly for the more developed nations.
Before we went on the trail, we met the horses, groomed and saddled them. Also we got a quick lesson on balancing, needed for climbing steep hills. I rode Dona, a gorgeous and peaceful mare. Even within the fences of the ranch I couldn’t stop smiling. My boyfriend, who had never ridden a horse before, felt comfortable enough to go with us, due to the great lesson he got.
Then it was time to go. Our tour guide made sure we took a trail that wasn’t too hard for us and the horses. Within minutes we were in the green hills of Sarajevo, passing little farmhouses where people waved at us, greeting their lovely neighbors. We could pick fruit from the trees everywhere, plums especially. I was at peace instantly.
We climbed the hills for a while, enjoying the wonderful view on the valley where Sarajevo is located. Our pace was relaxed, no need to be hasty in this environment! Unfortunately I did not bring my camera, as it is a little unpractical while riding. Therefore I took some photo’s of their website so you can get an idea of what it looked like. The feeling of being there is something you can only experience by going.
After an hour we saw the city in its full glory, just a few km under our feet. I don’t remember how long we stood there, but it was simply amazing. The horses didn’t mind it as they tried to eat as much of the bushes as they possibly could. After a moment of gazing into the valley it was time to return home.
Horseback riding on holidays has always been one of my favorite thing to do, Pegasos just exceeded all my expectations. This way I want to pay my respect to this place. I can truly say I would recommend it to anyone!