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The Way of Saint James on horseback

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Following the Way of Saint James on horseback is a fantastic experience, where you can be in touch with nature and discover amazing scenery all along the way. It’s an unusual and highly recommended way to do the Camino, but it does require detailed planning to ensure you are comfortable and your horse is well cared for.

Some preliminary steps

- Plan your route, paying special attention to accommodation with stabling, places where your horse can drink and feed, and any steep slopes along the way. The French Way, the Primitive Way and the Portuguese Way are the most popular routes for pilgrims on horseback.- The horse must be physically prepared and have previous training on similar routes.- A visit to the vet is essential before starting the route, as well as taking out veterinary insurance and managing all the necessary documentation. It’s a good idea to learn some veterinary first aid and blacksmithing.- There are several companies that organise horse riding routes, providing the horses themselves and taking care of everything necessary. If you don’t have any experience of long journeys on horseback, this may be your best option.

The Way of Saint James on horseback

During the route

- You must always have all the horse’s documents with you. - Check the weather forecast daily and adapt the route if the day is going to be extremely rainy or hot. - Especially if you are taking the Way of Saint James in summer, avoid riding at the hottest part of the day. - Plan fairly short stages with scheduled stops for the horse to eat and drink. - If you are riding with others, always go in single file. - You must notify the Local Police (call 092) when you arrive in Santiago de Compostela so they can tell you the times and routes for taking your horse into the city and to the cathedral. The Local Police will also give you a permit to enter the Plaza del Obradoiro square and stop briefly in front of the Cathedral with the horse.

Girls on horseback

Getting the Compostela

The Compostela is the accreditation pilgrims receive when they complete St James’ Way, including those travelling on horseback. You must meet the following requirements: - Having travelled at least 100 kilometres on horseback to Santiago de Compostela. - Getting your pilgrim passport stamped at each stage. You can get the passport from the International Pilgrim Reception Office, pilgrim hostels, and associations of Friends of the Way of Saint James in several different countries. 

Old sign to the Way of Saint James