Rancho Rosochacz – ride in Poland

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The Rancho

Rancho Rosochacz and the Polish Horse Whisperer

Rancho Rosochacz is a western style ranch in the forests of Poland, quite an unexpected discovery. Situated near the city of Katowice, and less than two hours drive North of Krakow, you could be forgiven for thinking you had somehow been transported US stateside.

The horses you will ride here are mainly quarter horses. The American quarter horse derives its name from its ability to outrun other horse breeds in races of a quarter of a mile or less. They are hardy, swift and sure footed. And beautiful of course.

Ranch style wooden cottages and some brand new eco houses, provide comfortable accommodation for visitors staying at the ranch. They are all super cosy and well equipped.

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Getting ready to ride

The Polish Horse Whisperer

The owner of the ranch is Marcin Musial and he runs it with his son Jakub. He is a passionate advocate of natural horsemanship although unusually, he didn’t start riding until he was an adult. He is a massive fan of the US which can be seen reflected in his choice of western style of riding, western saddles and tack, and of course, head wear. A real Polish cowboy!

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Marcin on the trail

Marcin is also a barrister of law and sometimes takes calls from his law firm while mid forest ride. He is also in the habit of riding with a speaker attached to his saddle to play country music as we walk along. Chris Stapleton is a favourite. You really do feel like you are in your own movie as you lope through the wheatfields complete with soundtrack!

The landscape surrounding the ranch is open farmland and forest. Perfect for riding. At this time of year the grasses and wheat fields are bleached blonde, and the leaves are starting to turn red and gold. We see all sorts of wildlife. Pheasant, partridges, birds of prey and lots of Roe deer. The deer bounce, startled, out of the long grass and spring away into the tree line.

Riding at the Rancho Rosochacz

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Paloma. Always happy on a horse!

I first rode Henryk, a beautiful tan horse. He has the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat upon. It was Marcin’s own saddle and this obviously created an immediate good impression on me. It made for a delightful ride loping through the forest trails, and I couldn’t take the grin off my face.

Marcin rode a fine Dun horse, Alfie, one day, and then his favourite horse Devil. Devil was one of the very first horses at the ranch and has a special place in his heart along with Paloma whom I rode on my last day.

Natural horsemanship puts the emphasis on the relationship between horse and rider. The horses are never coerced. They want to work with their rider, and they trust Marcin completely. As a result, the horses are incredibly relaxed and sweet tempered. They are kept on a loose rein, and eat grass as they please as we walk along. I had always been told to keep the horses head up away from the ground in my English way of riding. It’s a lot more hard work to do that!

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Sunset at the ranch

Marcin can ride along without a bit, bridle or even reins on his horse. He signals stop or go with whistles and hand gestures. He makes it look so easy.

The Marsial men have won many championship riding competitions, and are fervent believers in animal welfare. Their horses will never be sold on and will stay happy on the ranch for the rest of their lives.

Horses and more

Real animal lovers, the Musials have taken in a number of beautiful heavy horses which were rescued from the meat trade. They are now being rehabilitated to make good, if rather large, riding mounts. There were three in the field outside my little house. Two huge beautiful chestnuts with blonde manes and a classic dapple grey. They were obviously great friends and loved horsing around in the paddock together, a small inseparable herd.

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Friends 4 ever

Norman, a sweet black cow, is also a rescue from an alcoholic owner who was neglecting her. Despite being called Norman, she is a female cow. She seems well aware of her good fortune in finding her luxurious new home.

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Norman

Two barn cats, Katarina and Rudolph curl around your legs and are both very friendly, although both have had accidents resulting in the loss of a tail.

The dogs are adorable too. Our favourite is Ocean, the Polish sheepdog. As serious and nice natured as a dog can be. He loves to be petted and can be found rounding anything up, real or imagined, for a good part of the day. He sleeps outside and his coat is thick and fluffy at this time of year.

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Ocean the Polish sheepdog

The Polish market

One morning we visited a local market. We set off with Maya, Jakub’s girlfriend, to explore the old Jewish market in Żarki which dates back to 1556. For centuries Poles and Jews, who constituted a large part of the population here, have displayed and traded goods there together. On offer are flowers, grasses, fruit and vegetables. Giant pumpkins, mountain goat’s cheese, jams and a multitude of potato varieties, are all for sale.

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Pumpkin galore!

There are also a number of machines which shred the huge local cabbages and create great sacks of the shredded vegetable. Ideal for any coleslaw addict.  Also cabbage soup is big in Poland. The Hungarian plums were particularly dark, sweet and delicious. I bought a huge bag and munched them happily over the next couple of days.

A fine local organic white wine was also a surprising discovery for me. Made from grapes from the Jurassic region surrounding us, this lovely wine made a perfect accompaniment to our in house Polish suppers.

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Cheese and Jam at the market

Trail riding from the Rancho Rosochacz

One of the options here at the Rancho is to go on a three day point to point trail ride. The ranch is near to the Krakow – Czestochowa Upland,  a very picturesque part of southern Poland. One of the most popular attractions is the Trail of the Eagle’s Nest. The trail is over 160km long and connects a series of castles and watchtowers built on limestone hills. I would love to do this sometime. It’s on my wish list for 2022

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Riding out on the trail

With something rather magical about it, Rancho Rosochacz is both a surprising and delightful destination. For those looking for an exceptional (and very reasonably priced) horse riding holiday I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Other fabulous horse riding holidays

Riding in Mexico – Rancho Las Cascadas

3 Comments

  1. hi my name is George.. My company is hoofin-about horse riding holidays .www.hoofin-about.co.uk
    I would like to have more information of your rides . I could bring up to 17 or more all riders and adults. riding for 4 hours a day with a rest for refreshments for the horses and riders- half board -transfer to/from your nearest airport named airport..? and what is your weight limit. I have been Established from1969 need a price for my 2022 season. maybe best to ring me 0044 2476 678665 Coventry England UK thank you George

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