Morocco has long held a reputation for extraordinary horses and Fez has its fair share of these. Yesterday Suzanna Clarke visited an equestrian centre on the outskirts of the city
|Head groom Bell Aziz with his favourite horse, Mezziana|
Riding through olive groves on the outskirts of Fez, on a stallion with a spring in its step has to be one of the best ways to experience the countryside.
We were following guide and head groom, Bell Aziz, mounted on his magnificent grey mare.
Aziz told us later that he had spent 26 years in the Garde Royale; the mounted division of the police, and had been twice the Moroccan show jumping champion in the 1980s.
He said he had grown up around horses all his life. He finds horses sympathetic, because, "they really like people; they want to please."
Centre Equestre Ain Amyer has 20 horses in its stables and many of them are the famed Moroccan Barb species. Developed on the North African Barbary Coast, the Barb horse is a desert breed with hardiness and stamina, renowned for its fiery temperament. However, the horses that we rode were well trained and mannered. "But they are not boring," said fellow rider, Saffron Kay.
|Saffron Kay enjoys riding through the olive groves near the Centre|
We only had a small amount of time, so our ride was limited to the nearby olive groves and some of the new housing developments mushrooming up around the outskirts of Fez. However, it is possible to go for an extended ride of several hours in the forest or deeper into the countryside. You can even take take trips from four to fifteen days, discovering aspects of other Moroccan regions which are hidden to those who choose mechanised forms of transport.
For those who would like to improve their riding technique, private classes are also available in the dressage ring at the Centre.
|Owner of the Centre Equestre Ain Amyer, Azzeddine Msefer|
The owner of Centre Equestre Ain Amyer, Azzeddine Msefer, is also the president of the National Association for Owners and Breeders of Barb and Arab Horses in Morocco. "I began this venture in 1986," he said. "My first commercial venture was a 120 kilometre guided ride from Fez to Tissa."
After your ride, you may like to dive into the refreshing and very large swimming pool at the Centre. It also offers bed and breakfast accommodation with five rooms and even a night club.
Centre Equestre Ain Amyer can be found 2.5 kilometres along Route d'Immouzer (turn right at the L'ESIG building). For more information, phone 06 61 174404 or contact -
email: email@example.com www.marocrandocheval.com