A 2KGrey Ambassador Shows Us How to Ride a Horse in Every Country
By Shannon Fox
Wanderlust is becoming an universal affliction. According to a recent survey from American Express, 88% of respondents placed travel at the top of their bucket list. 2KGrey ambassador, Yulia Frolova is living this dream. She is the blogger behind the popular Equigeo, a travel blog documenting her goal to ride a horse in every country on Earth. As of today, Yulia has ridden a horse in 31 countries. With 197 recognized countries or independent states, Yulia has already made an impressive dent in her goal. We caught up with her during a recent trip to discuss her equine adventures, travel blogging and why her 2KGrey breeches are the perfect globetrotting companions.
(Answers edited for clarity)
2KG: What made you decide to set the goal of riding a horse in every country?
YF: It all started in April 2011, when I realized that due to business trips and personal travels, I had to travel for 5 consecutive weeks to 5 different countries. Mainly, I was inspired by my father’s friend who has passion for parachute jumping in different countries, so I decided to kick start my own travel collection.
2KG: You’ve been documenting your journey on your blog, Equigeo. How has your blog helped you achieve your travel goal? Any interesting opportunities that have come from blogging?
YF: When I just started blogging, a friend of mine told me: “You are about to experience how the world will open to you as soon as you open to it and it surely did.” One of my latest experiences was taking part in Equiraduno-2016 (awesome tradition of riding horses from all over Italy and some neighboring countries to experience an audience with the pope) in Italy wouldn’t be possible without my blog, as I was invited to Italy by a fellow blogger, Martina Bocchia. And thanks to taking part in Equiraduno, I also got interviewed by the biggest Italian equestrian magazine “Cavallo” and got my 5 minutes of fame.
2KG: How did you get into horses?
YF: I loved horses for as long as I could remember, but I didn’t have a chance to start riding regularly until I moved to Dubai in my late 20s.
2KG: Do you own your own horse?
YF: Yes, a now retired OTTB named Dream. We’ve been through a lot with him, including my relocation to Bahrain, so he is a bit of a traveler, as well. Currently I also ride and compete with a PRE stallion named Romeo, although I don’t own him.
2KG: What countries have you lived in? What is your favorite country?
YF: I have lived in 5 countries in total, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, UAE and currently I live in Bahrain. Spain is my all time favorite country.
2KG: What do you do when you’re not exploring the world from the back of a horse?
YF: I work as a ground operation manager in an international express delivery company.
2KG: You recently had a daughter. How are you planning to instill her with the same love of animals, sense of wonder and independence that fuels your journey as a traveler and horsewoman?
YF: I think love of horses is already running in her blood. Ever since she was introduced to horses in the tender age of 3 weeks she gets very excited every time we take her to a barn. She giggles happily, tries to hug and climb any horse she sees. She was only 6 months old when she went on her first pony ride.
2KG: You’ve ridden horses in 31 countries so far. What has been your most memorable experience?
YF: I believe a short ride on a horse named Autobus in Northern Kurdistan, Iraq, is still the most memorable one. Partially because I didn’t expect to ride there and partially because it made me realize that no matter how bad the political and humanitarian situation of a country might be, there still will be people who cannot imagine their lives without horses.
2KG: Where’s your favorite place you’ve ridden a horse?
YF: There are lots of places I would love to come back and ride again. But this year my favorite experience was riding on the snowy hills of Armenia.
2KG: How do you arrange your trips and find horses to ride?
YF: I usually start with the simple act of Googling and then step-by-step widen my search. Sometimes my colleagues who know about my passion help me to organize a trip. Every now and then I find places over Instagram or Facebook, other times friends and networking.
2KG: Do you have a preferred human travel companion?
YF: My husband Denis, for a non-equestrian he’s rode in a lot of countries. One of the reasons I love going on a ride with him is that it’s guaranteed that I will have great pictures when it is over.
2KG: Any cultural mishaps or misunderstandings (involving horses or not)?
YF: Oh yes, plenty. Up to the level that I set my own “international riding rules”:
- Never tell anybody that you are experienced rider.
- Never assume that you learned how to ride the most effective way. What works well with polo ponies is a terrible mistake in dressage, what is fine on well-schooled Andalusian stallion will be seen as inability to manage the horse by Moroccan riders.
- It’s perfectly normal to spend some time with every new horse to tune in.
- Checking settings on your camera before every trip is an absolute MUST
2KG: Where in the world have your 2KGrey breeches been?
YF: So far my 2KGrey breeches accompanied me to Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Republic of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Italy, Vatican, and Saudi Arabia.
2KG: Why do 2KGrey’s make an ideal globetrotting companion? What makes them superior to other brands of horse riding clothing?
YF: I love the fact that I can wear my breeches when I’m not riding (so I need to pack fewer clothes). They are also so soft and stretchable that it’s just a pure pleasure to wear them.
2KG: Where are you off to next?
YF: Right now I’m in Algeria, fingers crossed I will find a ride here in the next 2 days, but chances are pretty slim as I don’t speak French or Arabic. If I cannot make it happen then Kuwait will become my #32 country, I’m going there in the middle of October.
2KG: What country are you most looking forward to visiting?
YF: Next year I plan to go to Argentina and take a 2-week polo course, I can’t wait!
2KG: Do you have any advice for others who want to explore the world from the back of a horse?
YF: First of all, don’t be afraid to travel. Yes, you will be leaving your comfort zone, that’s for sure, but you gain so much more – new friends, exciting stories, great experiences and memories. Second, remember that people are generally kind and are willing to help and third, remember methods of training and riding vary widely per country, so pretend you know nothing and learn from local riders.
Be sure to subscribe to Yulia’s blog, Equigeo, to stay up to date with her travels. Not only does Yulia share lots of beautiful photos on her blog and her Instagram (@Equi_geo), she also provides lots of information about the history of the region and the horse community. If you’d like to look as stylish on your next equestrian adventure as Yulia, be sure to shop her suitcase below for her top equestrian clothing picks!
Shop Yulia’s Suitcase: