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Writer: Yavuz İşçen
July 2007

History on horseback
There is no need to describe how important horses were in the old Turkish societies in the days when an oath use to be made on a man's horse, women and gun. In particular, horses were valued by old nomadic Turkish societies because of their life style. In those times, herds of horses were kept in open air barns in the winter and left to roam free in the summer. Horse farming and the importance of horses in social life turned this animal into an intrinsic part of Turkish culture. It is possible to see the traces of this culture everywhere from old Turkish sayings to folk poems. This culture is formed by the grooming required in feeding a horse, taking care of it, its saddle and snaffle equipment. In today's modern city life, horses don't have much function apart from sports purposes such as racing.
It is true to say that the relationship between horses and men is as old as the history of humanity itself. It is believed that the horse is among the first domesticated species after animals like dogs and goats. The Centaurs described in Greek Mythology are among the beautiful examples of the value given to horses and the integration between horses and human beings.

What do we know of horses?
When examined, it can be seen that horses have a very special biology. They are herbivorous but not ruminants, with very strong muscles. Comparing body mass, a horse's heart is very large, which enables its body to provide more oxygen for its muscles making it very strong and fast.
Another important characteristic of this sensitive and responsive animal is that he can learn very fast and never forgets what he learned. He can easily find his way home, which can be attributed to a special orientation mechanism particular to some animals. Once he gets acquainted with his owner, he easily remembers which roads the owner uses, where to go fast, slow down or stop. This high learning capacity creates a warm relationship with his owner. He understands his owner's fondness and replies it. You establish a long term friendship once you get to know a horse.

Stud farms and horse safari
The Horse safari is an alternative type of tourism actively promoted by the Ministry of Tourism. Horse safari, best described as a trip to nature on horseback, has been very popular in our country in the recent years as an alternative outdoor activity.
In Turkey, riding is mainly confined to a sports activity carried out in riding clubs. However, in recent years, many new riding farms have been established where, after a brief riding lesson, the participants can go on a horse safari. These farms, where riding lovers can enjoy reasonable prices, have been providing their services to both local and international tourists throughout Turkey. With its fantastic natural environment, Cappadocia is a unique choice for horse safari.

Horse safari in Cappadocia
There are eight stud farms in Cappadocia. You don't have to own a horse or even be a good rider to be able to join a horse safari, you simply go and visit one of the stud farms. Many new learners can start a safari after taking just couple of hours of lessons from these stud farms where they are mostly offered good natured horses. Although the safari horses are mostly chosen among Anatolia’s native breeds there are some from other breeds as well. Horse safari is a group activity consisting of five to fifteen participants with an experienced guide who knows the region very well. During these trips the horses don't gallop but walk in a group. Although the tours are generally arranged for couple of hours or a day, experienced riders can find more intensive treks that last up to seven days, spending the nights at hotels or camping sites.

Note: This article has been published in Peribacası Cappadocia Culture and Publicity Magazine, July 2007 issue. It is under protection of the copyrights of the magazine. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by electronic, mechanical or other means without prior permission from the owner.


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