Miguel Mendes guides our three riding holidays in Portugal: Costa Azul, Alentejo Coast and Kingdom of the Lusitano. Pretty much all of our guides will tell you they’re working their dream job, but once you’ve ridden in Portugal, Miguel’s ever-present smile and sunny outlook make especially perfect sense.
Read on to get to know Miguel in his own words.
How long have you been running your riding business? And what was the background, history, reason for starting?
The riding business already existed when I was still working as a dressage instructor in a stable close to Lisbon. 20 years ago, in 2002, they were looking for somebody to guide the trails and oversee the day to day management of the trail riding business. I thought it was more fun to be outside all day than to be teaching in a school, so I took the opportunity. I still love doing these trail rides.
How many guest horses do you have?
We have a herd of 20 Lusitano horses and Lusitano crossbreeds.
Describe your herd of horses in four words:
Super honest, trustful horses.
What is the philosophy or ethos behind your horse riding experiences?
We want to offer a good holiday to all riders. A week where they can discover our beautiful country on horseback. All that in a relaxed atmosphere, having fun… and some wine!
What do you love most about your job?
I like meeting new people and having interesting conversations with them. And of course it’s great to be able to ride in this beautiful part of the world every single day.
What is the most challenging part?
Starting the young horses under saddle and teaching them everything they need to become good trail horses. It’s a process that takes time, but it’s totally worth it because a horse that has a good start in life will be a reliable companion for us for many years.
Why should globetrotters sign up for this ride?
If you want to see the good stuff, this is the place! Portugal is a beautiful country, and discovering the Alentejo – our area – on horseback is totally worth it. All globetrotters who want to have a super experience in our country should go for it.
A tip that every globetrotter must know before signing up for this ride:
Arrive open minded and fit. Other than that: just have fun. No need to worry, everything will be organised for you. All you have to do is relax and enjoy it!
Finish this sentence: Don’t leave home without…
A smile on your face.
What has been the most memorable or significant moment of your guiding career?
I couldn’t pick one specific moment. All the trails are memorable, because they all have different people on them. We always do our very best to create a nice atmosphere and have good fun.
Anything else you would like to add?
Come to Portugal, visit us and see it with your own eyes!
You can also meet one of Miguel’s beautiful Lusitano guest horses here.