WAY OF SANTIAGO ON HORSEBACK
Table of Contents
CROSS THE BEST PLACES OF THE WAY OF SANTIAGO ON HORSEBACK
The road to Santiago: one of the best known and oldest pilgrimage routes in the world. It consists of 256 routes that cross Spain, Germany and France and are made up of several stages of different length and difficulty. In reality, where the Camino de Santiago begins depends only on you (obviously it would not be bad to follow one of the signposted routes ;).
But today we are not going to get bogged down in descriptions of the routes or explain the history of the road. Today we will show you that there is more than one way to do the Camino de Santiago. No, every pilgrim has to be a hiker! There are two more options: you can arrive to Santiago de Compostela by bike or on horseback. In this article we will delve into the experience of living the Camino in the company of our four-legged friend. Take the reins and let’s go to the mess!
1. BEFORE LEAVING
The first is the first. We start with the basic information you need before setting out on your adventure. Above all, remember that this is an opportunity for people who already have some experience with horses, since it includes riding for about 7/8 hours a day and also on public land. If you know how to ride, read on to learn how to prepare yourself and your horse for the trail:
• Training (includes both! rider and animal must be fit), starting a few months before departure. In training you have to take into account the luggage you are going to carry and the characteristics of the route: slopes, type of soil, time
• Plan the route well if you organize the trip alone, with your own horse. Look for information on where to sleep with a horse, where to replace feed and water for it, what is the unevenness of the route, etc.
• Vet visit
• Hardware check
• Acquire veterinary assistance insurance
• Always have the horse documentation printed
2. TIPS FOR THE WAY OF SANTIAGO ON HORSEBACK
• always wears a helmet
• meet the horse (in case it is not yours, to see if you get along etc.)
• wear a vest that gives you visibility at night
• choose a horse that is used to noise, people, cars, going through unknown places
• If you go in a group, always move in a line, for your safety and that of others
• You have to notify the Local Police of your arrival at Santiago de Compostela at least one day before arrival so that they give you permission to enter the city on horseback and explain where you have to go
• avoid hottest hours
• stay up to date with the weather forecast
• stamp your passport at each stage to obtain the Compostela (commonly known as the Compostelana)
• the stages of the horse trail should be between 15 and 40 km, depending on the difficulty of each section
• If you are going to ride the Camino de Santiago from France for more than a week, it will be necessary to take a full day of rest every 8 or 9 days, so that the horse can recover its strength (and you can stretch your legs!)
• book accommodation in advance (finding hostels that have horse stables is not that easy)
• check where you can buy horse feed along your route
• have a comfortable frame
• bring a bucket for horse water
• clothing for riding: long and comfortable pants, shoes with small heels, gloves, leggings
• first aid kit
• cleaning accessories for the horse (brushes, curette, curry)
• French Way – one of the options to get to Santiago for pilgrims is to do the Way of Santiago on horseback since it is also the accredited way that allows obtaining the Compostelana (the Compostela). One of the possible options is to the French Way. Starting from the town of O Cebreiro we will arrive in seven days at the Catedral of Santiago de Compostela. The French Way, as it is the most popular route to get to Santiago de Compostela, has the best infrastructure for pilgrims (also for those who do the Camino de Santiago on horseback)
• Via de la Plata – first of the roads of Santiago officially recognized as the Xacobeo Equestrian Itinerary (between A Mezquita and Santiago de Compostela). In this section you will easily find establishments prepared to welcome horses and places to buy feed.
• Camino Primitivo – the oldest Camino de Santiago, from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela can also be done on horseback. However, there are not so many hostels with stables there, therefore, it is advisable to do the route with one of the private agencies that will plan the entire journey for you.
• Portuguese Way -Doing the entire Camino Portugues on horseback would be, honestly, a great challenge. However, its last sections located in Galicia will be perfect for the equestrian pilgrimage. It is true that it does not have many establishments for horses, but it is worth it as it passes through more virgin places in the provinces of Galicia such as the estuaries or the Costa da Morte. It is the perfect option to disconnect and submit to nature.
You have to find the hostels that have the stables to spend the night for the horse. Here are some hostels suitable for those who do the Camino de Santiago on horseback:
• Mount of Gozo – Santiago de Compostela
• Hostel Oasis Sarria
• Shelter the Station
If you do the route with a company, one day it will cost you between €250 and €300 (it is like the price of renting the animal, which is normally expensive). In addition, the price includes accommodation in hostels that have stables for horses. But if you have your own horse, the cost will be different, depending on accommodation, horse transport, etc.
We hope that we have solved at least some doubts about how to do the Way of Santiago on horseback. Let’s say it’s not easy, but it will be a unique and unforgettable experience.