Press Release – June 11, 2012, Istanbul, Turkey ~ The popularity of horse-riding increases day by day in Turkey, where amateur riders ride horses at clubs that give service as members of Turkish Equestrian Federation or independently. Growing income levels, changing living conditions as well as rise in number of country sides have resulted in an increase of interest in horses. At least one or a few horses are kept nearly at every farm.
Horses are visible in movies, TV series or video clips. Parents nowadays make their children present of horses instead of bicycles. Almost every celebrity gets horse-riding training.
51 clubs, which are members of Turkish Equestrian Federation and are mainly based in Istanbul, offer riding lessons to amateurs. Besides Istanbul, riding clubs are also available in other cities such as Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Bursa, Samsun and Adana.
Together with the clubs offering independent horse riding training, nearly 1.000 horses and riders verified their licenses only in the past year. The majority of horses used for amateur sports such as dressage, endurance, show jumping, pony-riding and three-day competition are of European origin.
Other than for military purposes, there is a new emerging competition branch –Endurance, where the majority of the horses are of Arab origin.
The load-carrying carts still can be found in some cities of Turkey, even in many parts of Istanbul. Although the exact number of those vehicles, which are usually used for transportation of light loads over short distances, is unknown, the fact that you can see them even on the motorways proves that it is not at a level to be underestimated.
Carriages, on the other hand, are still used in many cities. Although they are usually regarded as nostalgic transport vehicles in some big cities, it is worthwhile to mention that nearly 1.500 carriages are registered only in ‘Adalar’ (Islands) district of Istanbul.
s anyone who has had the chance to ride across country will know, this equestrian sport is like none other. It offers a sense of freedom and adventure that is unmatched. Travelling on horseback over several days, and camping at night or staying with local people, long-distance riding is a complete contrast to other forms of equestrianism.
Turkey has great variety of gorgeous and dramatic landscapes, well-established local cultures, ancient archaeological and historical sites to visit, and old road networks that can be used as riding routes. The rural people will greet you with warmth and hospitality when you stop for a break in their villages, delighted that you have chosen to visit them.
For people used to riding in Europe or America, the openness of the countryside is one of Turkey’s greatest assets. Traditional farming practices mean that few areas are fenced, and you can ride for days on end without having to open a gate or negotiate barriers erected to keep you out!
Long-distance, cross-country riding in Turkey is in its infancy, but has great potential, and is in line with present trends towards more sustainable tourism.