25 May-02 June 2019
The Great Cappadocia Ride,
Something more than just a trail ride…
Once a year the major horseriding centers in Cappadocia are combining forces to offer this exciting and challenging horse event.
This unique itinerary combines a spectacular trail ride, an orienteering game, and an endurance race.
It will take place annually at the best season of the year and will showcase the most beautiful landscapes of our region.
It will be an incredible adventure for the riders, and their horses.
It will be a challenge, involving horsemanship, orienteering, and team spirit: the winner won’t be the fastest but the cleverest team.
You will ride ina small group of 6 riders, through a wild and spectacular landscape.
Nights will be spent in comfortable camps, around the fire in a traditional, warm atmosphere, surrounded by horses.
It will end with an endurance race of 40 km.
Each team will involve a maximum of 5 riders with a guide.
The team itself will be in charge of the strategy and specific routes: the guide will be there to assist at finding the way to go through any difficult passages.
What is the aim of the Great Ride?
It’s to be able to follow the smartest itinerary (using google earth), to find all the highlighted points along your chosen way, to respect riding times and speed, to win the challenges, and to prepare your horse for the final trial: the Endurance Race.
The fastest, most respectful, cleverest,and united team will win!
The first « Great Ride »took place in 2018 involving 27 riders.
For 2019, 8 teams of 6 riders are expected.
Starting at « Bird Paradise»lake in the Sultan Sazli National Park, the route crosses Cappadocia from south to north, finishing up in the fantastic Red Valley. This itinerary will let you see all the different landscapes that have made Cappadocia internationally famous.
Saturday 25 May: Arrival at Kayseri airport. Riders will be met and driven to Sultan Sazli National Park. The first night will be spent in a guest house with direct views over the wetlands of the « Bird Paradise ».
Day 1 – Sunday: First day riding
After breakfast, teams will all meet together and the rules of the trail will be explained.
You will meet your horse and start out with an hour of easy riding along the south part of the lake through a flat landscape ideal for building confidence between you and your horse, your team, and your guide.
Each team will choose their own way. You will often be able to see other riders in the far distance.
After lunch, your team will have three hours to cross some agricultural areas, then climb to the crater of Yesilisar, then either take a long ride through Akkoy lake and Keslik village, or go directly to Erdemli Valley for the first night’s camp.
After dinner, the day’s rankings will be discussed and assigned.
Night in the Erdemli Valley. Before sleeping your team will meet to decide your strategy for the next day’s adventure.
2 – Monday: Second day riding
For the second day, the last team will set out first.
You will spend about 6 hours in the saddle with many riding options.
We start this day on a stony high plateau, through fields and meadows characteristic of the high Anatolian plain (1600 m height), overlooked by the volcanic Erciyes mountain with its snowy peak.
You will have chosen your team’s route, either going around Hodul Daha, or riding downhill through the Damsa Valley; the more challenging one will earn you the maximum of points!
Camp tonight will be in the green and peaceful Karlik Valley.
Dinner around a big camp fire; rankings of the day will be discussed and assigned, and team strategies debated for the next day.
3 –Tuesday: Third day in the saddle
Now that your team has become familiar with the rules and is starting to recognize how the other teams are performing, the third day will be an exciting competition, where missing the entrance of a valley could make you lose your position.
There are many remote canyons to visit, underground villages and churches that you shouldn’t miss along the way.Keeping your eyes open will make you win lots of points!
Later in the day, the land turns into wide open, bare spaces where shepherds lead their flocks assisted by the impressive Kangal dogs. After a last canter on the steppes, you will arrive at tonight’s camp.
4 –Wednesday: Fourth day with your horse
Today you will pass through vineyards, orchards, valleys, and remote villages.
Finding your way through the labyrinth of Cappadocia will make it difficult to arrive in time at the evening camp!
Will you take one of the easiest ways, or a more challenging one?
Along the way, you will encounter a training course where your horse will have to navigate some « obstacles » (mud, gates, U-turns, slaloms) in order to score points for your team.
Tonight’s camp is in the lush Uzengi canyon, at the bottom of steep rock formations cut with troglodytic citadels for dovecotes.
5 –Thursday: Fifth riding day and the last day of the game
Arriving in the North part of the National park, you will see the most scenic and sculptural valleys of Cappadocia: the Zemi, Pigeon, Love, and White Valleys.
The day will end after a long canter across an open plateau, overlooking the maze of colorful valleys.
You will spend the night in the beautiful Rose Valley where a big camp party is awaiting all the riders.
6 – Friday: Recovery day
After an early wake up to admire the sun rise and witness the ballet of balloons taking off close by, you will take your horse for a vet-check, and be briefed with all the rules and organization of tomorrow’s 40 km endurance race.
There will be an opportunity to shop in Gorëme, to visit the open air museum, or to laze around.
The equestrian show will take place in the late afternoon.
Tonight will be spent in a hotel.
7 –Saturday: The Endurance Race
A 40 km race will be organized for all the riders.
« Belgium rules »: the speed limit is 15 km/h and the cardio rates on arrival at the finish make all the difference to your score.
Tonight will be spent in a hotel.
8 –Sunday morning: Departure
After breakfast, departure from Kayseri airport.