I thought the mountains would be cold. That even in summer, the sun would shine across the snow drifts, and the people would be wearing puffy jackets and long trousers throughout the season. I was right – sort of. Yes, the actual tops of the mountains are a bit chill. But in the valleys the sun shines at full strength and outdoor activities are de rigeur.
While my (crazy) companions set about donning their thermals and packing their thermos to scale ten peaks in two days (like I said, crazy), I set about basking in the evening rays on the balcony, planning a weekend of summer sports on the valley floor.
The mountains are ripe for hiking in the summer season, but it was a different kind of trek I had in mind. Gina’s Reitschule in Pontresina is conveniently located by the station, perfect for walking from the village or rolling in from a nearby town. Gina runs riding treks for all levels, with three hour sessions including tacking up the horses, riding out, then untacking on return.
It’s a big time investment, but also a good way to get to know your steed and feel a bit more familiar with Gina and her team. Half of the group was made up of pony club-style summer girls, but rather than detracting, it just means there are more hands on deck to help out if you can’t remember which way the saddle goes. And if you don’t even know what the saddle looks like, it’s not a problem either, someone will always help.
The actual ride went through the woods between Pontresina and Starzersee, a dappled evening of warm shade and light breezes, gentle trots and the occasional canter. All levels of rider are catered for, with Gina leading the less-experienced on walks and the odd trot, and the others heading off to canter a slightly longer route. We returned at 8pm, still light and warm enough for the short walk home and a long, relaxing balcony lounge to stretch out those aching legs.