At the end of my last day in Paphos, I went horseback riding! My hack through the hills began and ended at Eagle Mountain Ranch, which is adjacent to a wildlife conservation area and a traditional Cypriot village about five miles above Paphos.
The ride included incredible views of the Paphos coastline, a couple of good canters, and a dreamlike ride back in the twilight. My mount, Blackie, was easy going and fun.
A special part of the ride was getting to know Cleo who, with his girlfriend Irene, runs the horse operation. Cleo and Irene are Cypriots who were educated as civil engineers in Manchester, England — so they are super smart and, as Cleo said, “always trying to make things work.” Their ranch provides various types of training, including equestrian gymnastics and jumping, but specializes in therapeutic riding programs for children and adults with all types of physical and emotional disabilities. Cleo described the empowerment and joy of a child who does not have the strength to walk realizing she can make a 1000 pound animal move according to her instruction.
All of the 11 horses at the ranch are rescues. Blackie’s leg had been chained to a post so that all of the skin was gone by the time Cleo and Irene found him. With time and love, he eventually became the ranch’s most trustworthy riding horse. Several of the other horses are thoroughbred refugees from the track who had been neglected and abused when Cleo and Irene adopted them. All of the horses know they are loved and they are quite shameless about asking for snacks of the sweet carob pods from the local trees!
Cleo explained that the Greek word for horse, “alogo” means “knowledge with a different way of expression.” Listening to Cleo’s stories, it seems clear he understands their expression.