A year ago around this time, I started getting to know my home of choice, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, from quite another angle. In a double sense. I, being a person always busy with a number of different activities, tasks, and passions (too long to list here), was suddenly struck by a pandemic (you may have heard of it), that obliged me to stay in my small studio apartment for the entire day. I know, I know, everyone had the same fate; but that was little consolation in that situation, and at some point, after another exciting day in my living room, I was so depressed that I realized I couldn’t wait and sit out the situation but that I instead needed to find new things that I actually could do. So I decided to revive the biggest passion of my childhood and teenage years and find a way to go horse-riding again. After some networking on social media and a good amount of luck, I found an estate where I would give some riding lessons in exchange for ‘using’ the horses and being able to ride myself. By the way, these old, restored estates and manors in the countryside around Rostock are real gems – diverse, unique and always worth a visit.
What came with my discovery of the estate was the realization that MV is the best place on earth for trail riding. Little did I know during my three prior years here in Rostock what I had been missing out on! In other places in Germany, specifically in the western states, there are strict regulations on where and when you can ride; usually there are a few defined, rather boring bridle paths. Around Rostock, however, the possibilities are endless. People in the countryside know each other, and estates have special agreements with farmers and foresters that tractor tracks can be used to ride on the fields. It’s a whole new experience if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of nowhere amid pure nature. Being there – with no other people, just you and your horse – creates a very special feeling of liberation, power and calmness. You feel a soft breeze around your ears, that blurs the subtle sounds of the nature, and that makes the grasses and bushes around you dance in a rhythmic way. You feel the mass of muscles tensing up under you each time there is a little rustle in the shrubbery caused by a group of deer or a fox on an evening tour. You become not only one with your horse but also with nature; the other animals usually don’t perceive the horse as an intruder, and thus continue to pursue their activities in all serenity while you let all these different sensation, emotions and impressions sink in. Eventually, you see the sun becoming hazy in the distance and slowly sinking deeper on the vast horizon which reminds you that you have once again forgotten the time on the ride.
Not being confined by predetermined lanes makes this sort of experience possible and discovering the area from this new angle made me fall in love again with the Rostock region. A true rider’s dream.