Yovkov’s Dobrudzha is a mystical valley, where the winding roads resemble snakes, where the wheat fields grow ripe, dotted with scarlet poppies and blue cornflowers, while lonely elms keep guard over the plain”.
One’s imagination is enticed by the freedom and the infinite scope of the plain. Yovkov himself had kept the image of an even older Dobrudzha:
“Once, before the plow was introduced and before railways and ports were built, Dobrudzha was a cultivated and virgin plain. The fields were few, but the pastures were extensive and endless, not unlike the prairies in America and the steppes in Russia. The high, thick grass was moving like the waves of the sea, there weren’t any forests, but there were impassable thickets of weeds…
These distant times knew the white herds of several hundred head of cattle, well-fed, magnificent animals, distrustful and timid like game. Only these times knew the big herds of semi-wild horses, free both in summer and in winter. A very special breed: horses with long and thick manes, tangled with burdock, with tails that reached the ground, slender and flexible like snakes, dark like velvet or glowing radiantly like gold. These horses knew neither saddle not bridle. Following the melodic sound of big iron bells, they were wandering in the tall grass, lazy and quiet, but when frightened by something or chased by the groom, they ran away, fast as the wind....
Now, in some farm you can find, although rarely, one of the grooms of the old times: tough, light and dexterous man in a colorful national costume and the necessary adornments – the leather silyahlak, the bag, heavy from tassels and buttons, and a whip with a short handle but with a strap several meters long. This groom is always a fearless and fast rider; in his hands the long whip curls like a lasso and lashes like revolver shots. But this is an archaic figure, which today, in the new age, looks like a carnival mask. This man, who has always been on a horse’s back, will now go on foot and on almost every crossroad will turn around, afraid that he will be run over. Times have changed and the wild herds are in the fields no more.”
Anyone visiting Dobrudzha could at least for a while go back to these old times and feel as if flying with the wind in the infinite plain. Today, Dobrudzha’s face has changed even more – it is more modernized and urbanized than when Yovkov was writing. But to those who love horse-riding Dobrudzha can still offer vast plains and spaces. A horse ride in the plains around Dobrich will let you drift away from everyday life and give you back the sense of freedom.
Where: A horse ride in the plain can be organized:
– From Dobrich to the village of Pobeda (with the option of extending the route to Karalezka Cheshma and the village of Stefan Karadzha for trained riders)
– From Dobrich to the village of Plachi Dol and the dam
For trained riders:
– From Dobrich to the village of Odrintzi (30 km)
Additional Information: In the village of Malka Smolnitza there is a Horse-riding club called “Centaur”. In Dobrich there is a racecourse. There are equestrian centers in the resort “Albena”, the village of Balgarevo and the Ethnographic Complex “Chukurovo”. In Strazhica (next to Balchik) there is a stud called “Stefan Karadzha”. The center-racecourse there is used for organizing horse races /kushii/, mainly during August weekends. Every March, with a colorful horse race the village celebrates the Day of Saint Todor.
When: Suitable for horse-riding are the months of early spring, summer and early autumn, with the exception of periods of prolonged rains.