We are a couple of “urbanites”, Mercè and Joan, with diverse professional background, who at the maturity of our life decided to pursue our dream.
Even though our passion for horses begins many years ago, it wasn’t until about 13 years ago that our professional and family obligations let us participate in our first big adventure on horseback: el Camí dels bons homes (Route of the Chatars) from Espinalbet (Berga) to Montsegur (France). At that time, led by the guide of an Equestrian at Prullans named “4 Legs,” with a group of riders from the “Friends of Horses Cassa de la Selva”, we were pioneers in making this route on horseback. This route stated a turning point in our lives and our relationships with regard to friends, nature and horses.
Over the following years, other many trips followed through the Pyrenees. We keep a special memory for the two horses we ride those days (we had not horses on our own, and Mateu always rented us these same two horses): Buri and Baba. They were strong, confident and diligent horses, used to high mountains, who never failed in complicated situations.
At one point we thought of having our own horses. But we did not want them to be locked in stables, especially since these animals are the symbol of honesty and freedom, of the connection between people and nature. We wanted them to be free, grazing in open field. Therefore, their breed had to be adapted to high mountains, to cold and inclement weather such as the one in Saldes, at the valley of the Pedraforca.
After two years of gathering information, reading everything that fell into our hands, traveling, weighing options, pros and cons, we pitch upon the Pyrenean horses Meren breed, now present only in northern Catalonia. It has been 8 years now that Jour and Haras became a part of our family, with which we have done the lasts journeys and “randonees“. Information and characteristics of this breed and its environmental contribution are described in the “our animals” headland.
Of course we wanted to have our horses in the wild, but that was a complicated choice… since horses eat 365 days a year, and the grass at our place only grows from April to September. Imagine what that represented by two “urbanites” like us.
From the very first moment, our Saldes neighbors gave us full support. Many of them, former farmers, had lands that were grazed time ago, and at that moment abandoned. These Saldes people lended us their lands so that our horses could pasture there. In exchange, our horses would clear up the understory…all we had to was the electric fence… Imagine two “urbanites” like us, going up and down with wires, insulators, hammering… Well today we have become experts in such matters.
The year 2010 was “Compostelano Holy Year “. Two years before that, we started thinking about starting our personal adventure: the “Camino de Santiago”, done by horse. . , starting it from the most emblematic place in our country, MONTSERRAT. This was the germ for us starting the challenge as solo riders. The preparation of the different stages, photos, problems and its solutions is related at the “Camino de Santiago” headland.
Finally, about a year ago, in the wake of a newspaper article about the mare’s milk properties, our interest was aroused both in a professional sense (Mercè is pharmaceutical, with clinical specialty), as well as related to our passion for everything about the horses world. So we came in touch with the non-profit association “eQuaid reserch“, created by Joaquim “Juti” Gusi.
This association aims to promote the mare milk production, as well as the biochemical, microbiological and clinical studies, with the goal of documenting its remarkable properties. We have joined this association and its project. With other professionals, and as far as we can, we pretend to contribute with our knowledge and expertise.
Finally, we just want to mention “our project“, which we started years ago in a sportive manner, has now turned in a significant environmental task by restoring and maintaining the pasture, the open spaces and the forests cleaning. It will take now a scientific-experimental side. We have the goal of helping, trying that our daily activities reach a real value and usefulness to our people and our country.
M.M.O. and J.C.
Merens del Pedraforca
(This is a non professional translation, so we are sorry if something is not fully understandable)