Responsible tourism: Horse riding and yoga holiday in Greece
We recycle all our waste and compost all food / garden waste. We have set up a number of wormeries and are helping people to set up their own giving them a starter kit, (wormeries are totally unknown here in Greece). We have set up a number of bee hives. Water is solar heated. Our garden is grown on ‘water-wise’ principles so that it mostly survives on winter rains – saving substantial amounts of water. We have actively decided against a swimming pool for the same reason and encourage our guests to walk the 15 minutes down the hill to the sea. There is no air conditioning on our property and we rely on other methods to keep cool in the summer.
Animal welfare The horses are kept in an open range in a large olive grove, free to roam. The philosophy behind classical horse riding is that the rider must build a rapport with their horse. So an integral part of the ride is the time spent with the horse after the riding, where the horse is groomed and massaged. Whips are not used but instead subtle body and breath movements.
Deborah our instructor has over 22 years experience teaching horse riding and personally looks after all the horses. Tackle is carefully fitted and adjusted so that no undue pressure is applied to the horse’s spine and all riders have a leader who checks their balance which again is crucial for the horses well being. Riding is conducted during the cooler parts of the day with horses always being provided with shade and water during breaks.
We support local environmental groups and have started a ‘snake, tortoise and reptile rescue’ service. Animals such as snakes are safely removed from people’s houses or gardens and if injured, they are helped to return to health and safely relocated.
We buy as much as we can from within our immediate area supporting small producers - seasonal fruit and vegetables, olive oil, honey, fish caught in the village, locally produced cheese etc.
The local area relies on the olive harvest but tourism is also very important in supplementing peoples income and keeping the area vibrant. 30 years ago there were few young people living in the villages but the increase of independent and alternative tourism has brought life into once deserted villages.
Our guests eat out in our local village where the small restaurants are locally owned. Our guests and business supports local enterprise - local grocery stores, car and bike hire, local therapists etc.
We have started our own quarterly magazine with the emphasis on local information – environment, flora and fauna, health issues, pet information etc. Because communities here are scattered in many small mountain villages, the magazine is a focal point of communication bringing together local Greeks and foreign residents.
We offer free drop-in meditation classes for locals and also drop in yoga classes which we offer all year round