Expanding the range of tourist products and services with horseback riding and therapeutic riding – Anton Vrbnjak

Expanding the range of tourist products and services with horseback riding and therapeutic riding – Anton Vrbnjak

  • Datum objave 27.09.2021

Farming on Anton Vrbnjak’s farm is done on 10 ha, where mainly wheat and corn are cultivated; they also have 5 ha of forest. They had a few horses, but their desire was to offer their daily visitors and guests who spend holidays on their farm and their local community something more. Therefore, they wanted to add to the tourist value with a subsidiary on-farm horseback riding activity. This was enabled by financial support within the LEADER measure, since they were not able to purchase all basic means for horseback riding, prepare a riding hall and long field riding paths, and much less employ a professional riding instructor who could also run riding camps for children.


The Mala Nedelja – Radoslavci Tourist Society acts as a partner in the project application in the context of the tourist products and services provided by it, the Prlekija Development Agency is the lead partner, and the Bioterme Mala Nedelja Spa, the Terme Banovci Spa, and nearby schools, nurseries and institutions are also included in the project. In addition to recreational field horseback riding, tourist carriage rides for guests and riding courses on public and forest paths are provided on the farm, stimulating local development of the rural area of the Prlekija LAG. The provision of recreational infrastructure will potentially encourage local residents and their guests, and guests from nearby spas to learn in more detail about the rich tourist products and services of the region, their cultural and culinary special features, and the quality of tourist stays in pristine nature, setting a role model for others to decide and realise entrepreneurial knowledge and proposals which are still being prepared.


Representative of the Prlekija LAG points out that the project is part of the Local Development Strategy for the Prlekija LAG; the project provides perspective to tourism development in rural areas and is also promising due to the fact that it efficiently supplements products and services provided at nearby hotels. Vrbnjak Farm has already been active in tourism, as they offered accommodation facilities, added attractive tourist horseback riding based on guests’ interest, and employed a therapeutic riding instructor, rounding off activities of the Prlekija LAG whose purpose was to improve the attractiveness of the area for tourists.


The goal of the farm is to promote and connect local businesses, focusing on tourism and new services on the farm in the form of tourist horseback riding, to improve the quality of life in the Prlekija rural area, and to enrich products and services towards spending leisure time more healthily, therapeutic riding, enriching culinary products and services, and meeting of horse and horseback riding lovers at cultural and social gatherings. The role the farm has and will have to improve the self-esteem of Prlekija residents and to implement measures for nature protection and sustainable natural resource management is not to be overlooked. The project does not need additional energy and its activities will not put a strain on the environment, but it will maintain the natural environment by arranging riding paths in it.


Activities are carried out in two stages; the first stage includes purchasing a carriage and other equestrian equipment and basic means for horseback riding, learning how to ride and preparing riding paths in the field with signposts. The second stage include preparing the land for a riding hall which will be 20 x 40 m large, employing an instructor – therapist, and organising the first meeting of equestrians and horse-pulled rides. Horseback riding and horse-pulled rides will be carried out throughout the area of the Prlekija LAG, and if necessary, the farm will be represented at cultural and other events with horse-pulled rides or horseback riding. Such a vertical connection between an investor as the provider and partners will enable the area to become alive in the tourist sense through products and services new to the area, and is part of the Local Development Strategy for the Prlekija LAG.



– Economic:

The project aims to expand the range of tourist products and services in the Prlekija area, and has both economic and social benefits. It shows a 15 per cent growth in visits to the farm, and growth in the use of services of tourist horseback riding (carriage rides and horseback riding on riding paths) and therapeutic riding, and a new job of a therapeutic riding instructor was created on the farm. Social benefits are evident too, as the farm has been connecting with local tourist service providers, nurseries and schools, and closer cooperation with nearby institutions, where physically or psychologically impaired people are treated, is planned for the future. The project realises the basic principles of the LEADER approach, i.e. collaboration, innovation and networking.

– Social:

Therapeutic riding is a healing activity that has positive effects on physical and psychosocial functions, and dynamic healing. Its purpose is to eliminate or reduce diseases and disorders, and to develop potential, self-realisation, socialisation, and humane relationship to animals and people. At the project development stage, the most frequent users of therapeutic riding are nearby schools and nurseries. This can only be done by qualified instructors with a valid licence. Therapeutic-pedagogic riding includes pedagogical, psychological, psychotherapeutic and socially-integrative effects, with the help of a trained horse, on children, adolescents and adults with the following indications: behavioural disorders, learning problems, emotional impairment, problems in the social and emotional field, etc.

– Networking value:

The project is a good example of good network cooperation between the Mala Nedelja – Radoslavci Tourist Society, the Bioterme Mala Nedelja Spa, the Terme Banovci Spa, and nearby nurseries and schools. Networking of local partnerships in Prlekija means an exchange of experience. The expansion of traditional equestrian products and services stimulated collaboration of the tourist society and nearby spas that promote the services of providers of horseback riding on riding paths and of carriage rides in the pristine nature of Prlekija in their desire to entertain their guests. Therapeutic riding connects particularly schools and nurseries, and the therapeutic riding provider.


Contact person: Anton Vrbnjak
E-mail: tk.vrbnjak@gmail.com
Phone: 00386 31 705 646
Website: www.turisticna-kmetija-vrbnjak.si
Additional info sources, links:  LAS Prlekija, Prešernova ul. 2, Ljutomer; www.las-prlekija.com

Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.