Giovanna, the horseback rider
“I believe I have the best office in the world,” these are the words of Giovanna, who founded the Andalo Riding School together with her business partner Matteo in 2005. The riding facilities are located inside the Andalo Life park, with a splendid view of the Brenta Dolomites. “Among the instructors - we are all women - there is always a bit of a battle when it comes to deciding who will stay in the office to deal with the administration, and who goes out to give lessons. We all prefer to be out in the open air surrounded by the animals we love and with our view of the Croz del Re.”
Originally from the Val di Sole, Giovanna has been living on the Altopiano della Paganella for twenty years. “By now I feel at home, not least because I have fallen in love with the place. I have explored the Paganella and Brenta Dolomites on horseback and I know every corner of our local mountains.” Today Giovanna has two children, lives in Fai della Paganella, and is a grade three instructor of the Italian Federation of Equestrian Sports.
“Our routine, 365 days a year, starts early in the morning with stable duties, cleaning the horses and equipment. After that we take the horses out for a walk. Although they live outside in open paddocks, they still need some exercise every day. Even during the months of the COVID lockdown we used to take turns doing this, going up to the riding school one at a time. After the morning walk the lessons begin, followed by another hour of tidying up and cleaning. And then we are ready to start all over again in the afternoon!”
“We work with Haflinger horses, a traditional local breed: they are chestnut brown, good natured, and versatile. In summer they take guests for rides or in carriages, in the winter they pull sleighs.”
The most popular lessons are certainly the introduction to pony riding for children of 3 or older. “We take a very gradual approach, suited to the young age of the participants. I especially enjoy watching the reactions of the smallest children, before and after the lesson. These animals are completely new to them, so at first they are always a bit scared, but by the end of the lesson you see them hugging and stroking their horse, smiles all over their faces.”
“The joy of a child after riding a pony is one of the best things in the world. I see it in my own children, even though they are in the riding school every day. It's inevitable, horses are animals that give an enormous amount of love. The same is true for adults, they can hardly resist their fascination and soon fall under their spell. It is impossible not to care for them and I know this more than anyone: I can't imagine living without horses.”
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