Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Land of Beautiful Horses

When Persia ruled Turkey, this area was famous for its horses; in fact, we've been told that the name Cappedocia means the land of beautiful horses. It's only appropriate then that Goreme has a "horse whisperer" --- and that Leon would want to meet him.

His name is Ekrem Ilhan. The local stories say that he goes to Mt. Erciyes and captures wild horses from a herd of over 400 roaming there. He gentles them with kind words, "carrots and cucumbers". I expected him to be an old man. While I was at the Dark Church, Jim and Leon went to seek him out. He turned out to be a 30-something man with long, black hair. When Leon asked him about his horses, he responded that his horses' rides were so smooth, "you could drink a cup of tea while riding horseback" (which is how Leon describes his own horses, almost verbatim). Leon exclaimed, "You've got gaited horses!" Leon proceeded to entertain him by tying a knot in a belt and a rope using only one hand. The horse whisperer invited Leon for a private ride, because "it would be an honor to ride with someone who actually knows horses."

Jim told me later than Leon was dragging when they entered the corral because (like mad dogs and Englishmen) we had been out in the noon-day sun, but that, "Leon skipped all the way back to hotel."

1 comment:

  1. Do you have contact information for Ekrem. I'll be in Turkey the middle of September and would like to go horseback riding. Thanks