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Mareike Schüneman - Guide & Instructor at Hipica Formentor

A German horse expert & professional cellist

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| Ana Hernández, Mallorca Editor | Published
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Born in Germany and trained as a professional cellist, Mareike landed in Mallorca by chance around a year ago. After six weeks working at Hipica Formentor, she returned to Germany only to discover that she had left her heart on the island. That's when she decided to come back and continue exploring Mallorca on horseback.

Mareike has been working as a guide and instructor at Hipica Formentor for about a year now. This horse riding company is located near Sa Pobla, at the foot of the Tramuntana mountains. Offering a natural approach to horse care and riding, their barehoofed and bitless horses can take you around the gorgeous Mallorcan countryside in an experience that you'll never forget.

From Germany to Mallorca

What brought you to Mallorca? 
I was a professional musician playing cello in an orchestra in Koblenz (western Germany) but I had always wanted to travel more and learn another language. I was feeling a bit restless so I decided to take a year off and fulfill these two ambitions. I’ve always loved horses so I trained as a riding guide and booked myself into some working holidays in Spanish-speaking countries. I did an intensive Spanish course in León (in central Spain) and set off to Mallorca for six weeks last August, which was to be followed by a long trip to Argentina.  

However, Mallorca won my heart and so did Hipica Formentor! It’s the most peaceful way of life that I have ever lived. I love the way Lorenzo, the owner, looks after the horses and I live in the midst of nature next to the horses, with views of the most beautiful mountains. Although the farmhouse where I live is simple, I have everything I need. 

Why did you decide to stay in Mallorca?
I decided to stay but not straight away. I made friends here and settled in during my six-week stay. I had a leaving party before I went back to Germany to give a concert, which had been arranged for a long time before. Lorenzo and I stayed in touch and we soon realised that he and the horses missed me as much as I missed them. So I cancelled the trip to Argentina and came back to Mallorca. As soon as I arrived back here, I knew it was the right decision. I’ve been here ever since, apart from going to Germany to collect my car and visit friends and family. 

What makes Mallorca such a special place to be?
The landscape is fantastic: mountains, beaches and fields full of grains, fruits and vegetables with golden sandstone buildings in between. And best of all: the light! The skies are beautiful whatever the weather and the light changes throughout the days and seasons.

Working with horses on the island

What's your job at Hipica Formentor?
I help to look after the horses and I lead shorter rides out into the countryside on a daily basis. I also guide regular tapas rides, an all-day ride into the Tramuntana Mountains and our three-day mountain trail.

Do you enjoy your work?
I love it! I love being outdoors in the beautiful Mallorcan countryside. It looks different every day – even when I’m following the same route, the trees, the plants and the colours change all the time. I really like meeting people from different places and enabling them to have fun and sometimes to challenge themselves. I have to be adaptable to different people’s needs and instill confidence in everyone. We have all sorts of clients, from experienced riders right through to beginners and children. Some people are a bit nervous and need to be put at ease. I’ve got to know myself better through having this responsibility and it’s made me a stronger person.

Are there things you don’t like about it? 
Well, I do get a bit tired sometimes, especially guiding the mountain ride. That can be a long day and, when we reach the top, the clients are collected in a minibus and driven back to the stables. I have to wait with the horses for the lorry to come and collect us, so I guess I’m always the last one home! It’s the kind of tiredness that gives you a great night’s sleep, though.

Do you have a favourite ride?
Yes, I do. The third day of the three-day trail is quite magical. We follow all sorts of terrain, from the high mountains with views of the sea, into enchanted forests and then into the green lowland areas on the banks of a torrent. We end up in the ancient town of Pollença, by the Roman bridge. It’s a very atmospheric and beautiful ride.

What do you do when you're not working? 
I play my cello. I like to keep practicing and I still have a great love of music.    

Top tips for our readers

Where would you go for culture on the island?
I like concerts and opera. Palma is great for both of these but there are also festivals in every town across the island. In August, there is a classical music festival in Pollença and a Jazz festival in Sa Pobla. Last year, I visited the wine festival in Binissalem and it was fantastic. Mallorca has a great way of celebrating its cultural traditions in a contemporary way that includes all age groups.

Can you recommend a place for a coffee or a meal?
For me, any good old-fashioned bar in Mallorca does the job. They all serve great coffee and many of them do a very good “menu del dia”. 

What’s your top insider tip for visitors to Mallorca?
See it through my eyes and come for a ride!

More inspiration...

Hipica Formentor offer a whole host of tours and horse riding lessons for all ages and abilities from their stables in Sa Pobla. You can choose between the 90-minute excursion on the edge of the Albufera Natural Park, a four-hour horse riding and tapas trek, a full-day excursion in the Tramuntana Mountains and their star adventure, a three-day trip around the Serra de Tramuntana on horseback. They also have special introductory rides for children. The perfect way to explore the real Mallorca!