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Portrait

Alpentrekker  Peter van der Gugten
My name is Peter van der Gugten 
my nickname: Alpine trekker
I am a LongRider and Guide FITE.
(Federation International de Tourisme Equestre)

Trail riding guide and instructor at the Trail Riding Academy Switzerland and have been on horseback for almost 20 years on 5 continents around the world. I have now covered around 40.000 mls in the saddle.

I started with my wife's endurance Arabian, Flash, who taught me how to ride when I was 45 years old. Every time I saddled him with a western saddle, got up and trotted off, galloped along forest and meadow trails to the next western stable, drank coffee there and went back at the same pace. 12 MLS one way and after 3 hours we were back at the stable.

Thanks to him, I mutated to a light trot, my stomach muscles relaxed during long canters and when I leaned back in the saddle, he would stop at some point. When I desperately tried to understand why he doesn't want to cross the intersection because the construction sign is 3 degrees different today than it was yesterday, I educated myself with Parelli books and videos. Later I had help from Parelli people when I didn't know how to proceed. Today I know that this was possible because I had no fear, neither for the horse nor for myself, and because I have a lot of energy, and so my horse easily submitted.
 
After 3 years with a horse, a colleague called me and asked if I wanted to ride with him from Budapest to Offenburg for the Eurocheval conference of trail riders. I agreed on the condition that my equipment came with me on a pack horse. This was  then sent home after 3 days, and so my equipment was reduced to what I could attach to my horse and my English saddle.
 
After 3 weeks I had had enough of the carriage horses that only ran when there was tension on the corner of their mouth, which caused me back pain. I flew back to Switzerland and picked up my Arabian horse and spent the last two weeks riding pain-free across Germany on a loose rein. This is where my addiction to trail riding began. The following year we decided to ride from Budapest to the Danube Delta, but when I found out - during the preparation - that the temperatures were reaching 110° F, I called and told my friend Zsolt that I would suggest a different route, namely to ride from Munich to Venice. This was the plan, but Zsolt called me a week before the trip to tell me that both of his carriage and riding horses had died of poisoning and he couldn't come. I therefore decided to ride solo from Schaffhausen to Bellinzona on the Via Sbrinz to cross the Alps. We did the 230 mls in 5 days and I found this to be completely normal. However, the trail riders I met in Bellinzona made it clear to me that (a) they didn't want to believe me, and if they did, (b) they thought I was crazy. Luckily, there was another gray horse who absolutely wanted to join up with mine, so I had no choice but to get to know the rider.
 
I spent the next 5 years traveling with her in the high mountains of Europe and when my Arabian Flash was 22, it was his last 5-week tour over 500 mls. We then bought and trained two Karabagh horses from Russia together and were on the road with them for another 5 years. Later a Kabardian from the same Caucasian Region of Russa came along. Pat and I rode stallions in Kyrgyzstan, with Mongolian ponies over 600 mls and traveled with mestizos over 1600 mls in Argentina for three months. In 2017 I organized a tour with 5 horses from Athens in Greece to Kassel in Germany for Documenta modern Art exibition. 2000 mls in 100 days across Europe. Today I am in the USA for 6 months of the year on our small ranch, with cattle, horses and chickens. In 2018/2019 we rode 3100 mls from Mexico to Canada with our Mustangs and a Criollo. In 2022 there was a continuation on the Great Divide Trail in Canada.

I now organize trips for riding friends in Canada, Argentina and Mongolia. On my personal website www.Alpentrekking.com you will find all my private tours.

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