Gina McKnight, Author, Freelance Writer, Equestrian, Blogger, and Poet! Welcome to my international blog about horses, writers, authors, books, cowboys, equestrians, photographers, artists, poets, poems, and more horses.
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Thursday, December 1, 2016
Riding Sicily: An interview with Monica Bonaccorso
There are people who travel the world seeking
the best horseback riding vacations. With so many riding vacation spots to
choose from, deciding which trail to take requires thorough research, a keen
eye, and a little tourist knowhow. You don’t have to be an expert rider; all
you need is the desire to experience the beauty of the world on horseback.
One of the most popular horseback riding vacations
is Sicily Horse Riding (SHR) in the Catania Area, Sicily, Italy. Monica Bonaccorso, an
experienced equestrian and the marketing director for SHR, talks about scheduling
a tour, Italy’s indigenous horses, and the volcanic terrain. Monica explains, “The mission of SHR is to promote
sustainable and responsible equestrian tourism in the beautiful National Parks
of Sicily (Italy). Our intent is to revalue the soundless paths, the ancient
woodlands and the timeless scenery to create a touch of the past, that doesn't
belong to us anymore. The riders enjoy on horseback the magical atmosphere of
the unspoiled countryside of Sicily.”
GM: What is
the best way to schedule a SHR tour on horseback?
The best way to schedule a tour on horseback is first to consider your riding
ability and then decide which kind of experience do you want to make, like
volcano site, National Parks adventure, or simply a short trail to have a first
impression of the island.
Volcano site! A rugged terrain requiring athletic horses. What horses do you
Our horses are Sicilian - indigenous horses and mixed breed. We stable
horses both for trails and for show jumping.
Your horses are beautiful. Will you choose a horse for me, or will I be able to
choose a horse on my own?
Before every riding excursion and trail we ask for your riding ability, so we
can choose a suitable horse for you. But if you have preferences we will
With so many riding trails to choose, I could spend days at SHR! Describe one
of your favorite riding spots and why it is your favorite...
Well, it’s difficult to choose a favorite riding spot, because Sicily is
a varied landscape that has a breathtaking beauty of nature. The country
is well endowed by nature and the country has huge variety of historical and
anthropological treasures. I want to mention two favorites spots, one is the
Cefalù – Etna and the other one Majestic Etna. Let me explain the
– Etna, this beautiful trail is a paradise for riders and nature lovers to
discover on the back of beloved horses the variety of four Sicilian parks:
starting from the Madonie Mountain, also called the “Dolomite of Sicily” formed
by carbonate limestones up to the Nebrodi Park with dense woodland passing
through the Alcantara Valley with its spectacular basaltic stones to reach the
highest active volcano in Europe, the Mount Etna.
Etna, this is a wonderful trail for riders who wish to admire the rough nature
and the stunning landscapes in the Etna area. You will ride from north to
south (approximately 2000 a.s.l.) through woodland and lava deserts,
extinct crater and lava caves and you will enjoy the beautiful view over the
landscapes on the highest and active volcano in Europe.
Wow! Riding through ancient relics and volcanic territory sounds intriguing. When
is the best time to schedule a Sicily riding vacation?
We suggest always to make a riding vacation in Sicily from April to July and
September until November.
Traveling from the USA to Italy, I am sure the climate is variable. Packing
light, I would want to make sure I have the correct riding gear. What should I
We suggest for long trails to bring 2-3 horse trousers and shirts for every
day, perhaps a rain jacket, meanwhile for excursion comfortable shoes and long
trousers are appropriate. If you prefer also your own chaps and helmet. At
least good mood and spirit of adventure!
With a lot of tourists frequenting your riding camp, you see many different
types of riders – from novice to expert. Do you have advice for novice riders
and those who have never been on a horseback riding vacation before?
Of course, everybody can book an excursion. For novice and beginners, we have
excursion of one hour in the woodland on the slope of the volcano Etna. But if
you decide to book an excursion of three hours or more, we suggest to take
a few hours of lesson to get in confidence with the horses. Our equestrian
guides have over 30 years experience and so they can suggest the right solution
for your adventure.
Riding Sicily sounds wonderful, Monica. I hope to book a trip to ride your
amazing landscape someday soon. Thanks for telling us about your beautiful
horseback riding adventures around the volcanic slopes. As a seasoned
equestrian, what does horsemanship mean to you?
The communication, confidence, balance, and harmony between horse and