giovedì 10 febbraio 2011

Trip Tip: What Are You Doing This Weekend?

 Studying abroad in Florence should be more than just going to school and eating your body weight in Italian food.  In the beginning you will want to go out on the weekends to the nearest city bar or club, explore the nearby museums, and test out as many Gelateria’s as possible. Once you are acquainted with the city environment, maybe it’s time to mix it up and check out the country regions.
ISTITUTO EUROPEO has an entire wall dedicated to different fliers and brochures from travel agencies trying to advertise their upcoming events. Every Saturday the company Florence for fun offers a horseback riding excursion through the beautiful country-side of Chianti which also includes a wine tasting and lunch.
You’re probably thinking, “I don’t know how to ride a horse and I rather not end up in a foreign hospital”… well that is exactly what I thought when I first saw the ad, but I signed up anyway…

A Personal Review

Prior Experience With Horses
None, not unless a merry-go-round at the state fair counts.
The People
Extremely friendly and were very laid back and confident in their horses. They didn’t give the group too much direction or tips because they thought it would be better to keep the beginners calm and let them get acquainted with the horses all on their own. We were told to “Be tranquil and show the horse whose boss”…that was it. Once we hopped on the horse, we were off!
The Ride
The horses lined up single file and all followed the main tour guide. He didn’t speak much English, so at first it was nerve-racking because we were on these HUGE animals and we were just supposed to “be tranquil”. We were guided on roads, up hills, down hills, through woods, and about an hour later we were back to the main farm. The horses walked very close to the rider ahead of them and at a slow pace (although a few times we did get up to a slight jog).
Overall Experience
The ride wasn’t dangerous at all. Sure, a few times some the horses would sneeze, stop and eat the grass, or “dump”, but overall it was an amazing experience for a person who has never ridden a horse!  The only negative aspect of the trip was experienced the next morning when I realized how many muscles horseback riders use on a daily basis.

I highly recommend this trip for anyone who is looking to take a break from the city atmosphere and experience a different kind of excursion.

For more information and details please visit

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