Are you looking for a unique travel experience? Something off the beaten path? Swimming with horses in Croatia may be just the thing you are looking for.
STABLES NEAR ZADAR | Riding Club Vencil
There are a number of stables throughout Croatia for riding horses in lakes, rivers, and the sea.
We happened to be spending a month in Zadar so we chose Riding Club Vencil located just outside Biograd na Moru.
The whole experience was beyond all of our expectations. We arrived at the stable which was located in the spectacular Croatian countryside. The grass was Jade green. The cerulean sky was spotted with the occasional fluffy white cloud. The sun was shining and the morning surrounded us with a steady drumbeat of nature sounds.
The owner of the riding club was quite careful with each of us to determine our level of skill and any fears we may have. In the end, they chose the perfect horse for each of us.
Then our adventure began. We eased into it with an hour long ride through the rolling hills to Lake Vrankso. The ride was mostly a slow walk for the beginners. We did have some more experienced riders in the group and they were allowed to gallop off so long as they stayed within eyesight of the guide.
SWIMMING WITH HORSES | Lake Vransko
As the sun beat down, we eased closer to our swimming spot, Lake Vransko. Summers in Croatia are hot. That day it was 38 C/100 F. We were all ready to cool off. And no creature was more ready than the horses. The lake called to us like a siren of the sea. The horses began to show their excitement. They had done this journey before and they knew that they were about to cool off. Each horse began to trot a little faster and they started talking to one another like a group of teenage girls. One horse even did a little dance of excitement. Once in the water, he began to play.
And this is the part where the ride became my favorite experience in Croatia. Here is where it gets interesting. Where it went from being a simple horse ride to a very unique experience. Sitting there atop our horses, they entered the water. The cool water hit our legs and the horse stopped for a moment to enjoy their respite from the heat. Then, as if guided by an unseen force, they moved farther out into the lake and began to swim. It felt like a cross between floating and being powered by a paddle boat.
This was our chance to bond with animals in a whole new way.
SWIMMING WITH HORSES | What To Expect
Now I have been swimming with dogs in the past, but swimming with a dog is just not the same as swimming atop a horse. A dog is, of course, smaller than a horse and a dog swims alongside you. One would never sit atop a swimming dog. And simply put, a dog is not as powerful as a horse.
I think that was the coolest feeling of the whole experience – feeling the horse’s sheer power. While you sit atop the horse as it swims you feel every one of its powerful muscles engage. It felt like you were united with the horse like some sort of centaur. I was at its mercy and had to give over to its expertise at navigating the waters.
The horses and our group played in the water for over an hour. Once we tired out, we promptly laid ourselves out on the field of grass and wildflowers to warm up and dry off. Then we enjoyed a picnic of Dalmatian food.
The entire adventure was about 4 hours round trip. Given the uniqueness of the experience as well as the picnic and photos which were included in the price, we felt that we scored quite the bargain. The entire cost was only 720 HRK or $109/€97 per person.
About Riding Club Vencil
I highly recommend swimming with horses if you get the opportunity. If you happen to be in Dalmatia, check out Riding Club Vencil. They were ever so helpful and professional.
GPS coordinates: N43.9622 ° E15.4962 °.