Toblerone, a donkey wearing a sombrero and a bottle of questionable spirits — all things you may consider classic holiday trinkets. But two ladies have brought home some much larger “souvenirs” to remember their Spanish riding holiday — a pair of Andalusian horses.
Friends of 30 years Sara Llewellyn and Sue Whitehouse, who kept their horses together for many years, had long-discussed going on a trail riding holiday.
“We always said we wanted to ride a trail and stay in different places along the way, but we never got round to it — life got in the way,” Sara told H&H.
Last year, Sue moved back closer to Sara again and they decided to “just do it” and booked a riding holiday through the Pyrenees through Venture Co for this summer.
“We didn’t go out there with the idea of buying a horse at all — I wasn’t looking for anything!” said Sara.
“After the first day we fell in love with our horses and as the week progressed we bonded with them even more.”
The horses were not for sale, but part-way through the week the pair made enquiries.
“I think [our guide] kept an eye on us to see how bonded with the horses we were,” she said.
“I texted my husband and said ‘I have fallen in love with a Spaniard’.
“Eventually I let slip that it had four legs and I think he was a bit relieved.”
During the holiday they rode across varied terrain and even swam with the horses.
“The horses were fabulous and they looked after them really well,” she said.
“Every time we stopped the horses were cared for first.
“We just had the most fantastic time — we went through the Pyrenees and were in the saddle for around eight hours a day. Sudocrem and Deep Heat were our best friends!”
On returning to the UK, the pair kept in touch with the guides and the horses’ previous owners.
Sara then made contact with one of her friends, who runs an international horse transport company, and arranged for the pair — Lucero and Llampec —to be brought to Britain.
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“We came home and told everybody that we were buying the horses and they all told us we were bonkers,” said Sara.
“The whole thing seemed to run really smoothly — I was completely amazed.”
They were given all the details of the route, the lorry, the driver and his qualifications and the horses arrived safe and well at their new Somerset home in September.
Sara said they are being carefully managed and are settling to the way of life in the UK.
The pair have started hacking them out and are hoping to enjoy some riding club activities with them.
“They are beginning to show their real characters now,” Sara added.
So is Sara glad she decided to bring her four-legged Spaniard home from her holiday?