“You and your horse. His strength and beauty. Your knowledge and patience and determination and understanding and love. That’s what fuses the two of you onto this marvelous partnership that makes you wonder, ‘What can heaven offer any better than what I have here on earth?’ “ Monica Dickens
Horses evolved as a symbol of power in societies, but horses have been the best friend of humans for thousands of years if you go back beyond civilizations. From transporting goods and people to winning wars, horses have shaped history, altered its course, and have been constant companions, silently exerting their might and power, the reason why you cannot help falling in love with this gentle giant.
The most important way in which horses were rescued by today humans, is the activity of riding in the countryside and in open spaces, because it is a massive practice and it doesn’t pollute nature. Therefore, humans and horses go together, but no longer with the need to arrive somewhere, but in a relaxed and contemplative way, which can only be appreciated from a horse’s back. So in this way, horses provide an essential service to humans again. Besides, they no longer need to compete with the development of modernity, and this practice, which rescues the horse one more time and puts it back in a central position, is Horseback Riding Tours or Equestrian Tourism, an activity that allows the most experts to exercise their skills as riders. But also newbies can, with a little instruction, learn to ride and enjoy nature and landscapes, something that takes us away from city rush and stress.
The untouched nature in Macedonia, the green mountains, the warm sun, the vegetables and fruits that grow under our climate and the hospitability of the people makes this country an ideal destination for interesting adventures. Today’s story is exactly about the adventures with horses and our local hero is Khalil Xhemaili.
Khalil raises about 50 horses on his farm, and the world trend of horse riding encourages him to start organizing tours in the western part of the country. According to him, it would be a great pity for people not to see and not to feel and enjoy the beauty of Western Macedonia and also the beautiful nature of Shara Mountain. These are the reasons why he decided to start training some of the horses in his farm, aiming to develop the Equestrian Tourism, and to organize various tours for domestic and foreign tourists.
His horse riding center is called “Horse Riding 1st of May” and the guys from the team can often be found in the vicinity of the church of Popova Sapka, the sheepfold of Shipkovica, the locality Jelak, the sheepfold “1st of May” of Celipashina, Lesnica, Bogovinsko Lake and other localities that the tourists will be interested in seeing.
In addition to the tours, Khalil says that the training they provide for horse riding is very important too. Anyone who decides to join their tours will have a short training beforehand, as well as equipment such as a helmet and riding boots. On the long tours, such as the tour to the sheepfold “1st of May”, the tourists will also enjoy a free lunch.
The tours are organized by four young and experienced boys who have spent their whole lives with horses. The horses they own are quite calm and they are of a breed that originates from this area. According to Khalil, they are well trained to move on all the paths that are part of their offer, which will allow tourists to experience the beauties of Macedonia from a different perspective.