Visiting Turkey for the first time and based in Armalutan, Dortnal Ranch stood out as the place to go and ride.
Feli gave us all the necessary information about getting to the ranch and arranged for us to be met off the "Dolly Bus" (dolmus) which is a great way to get to the ranch and see the local scene.
Feli is a very busy person (a former doctor who helps anyone in need) and couldn't get to meet us off the bus but a taxi had been arranged to take us to the ranch instead.
Dortnal Ranch seems to be a very well organised and run establishment. Horse welfare is at the top of the agenda and both Salih and Feli are committed to hippotherapy, a service they provide for the local community.
The ranch is in a wonderful setting - pine clad hillsides all around.
We rode late afternoon/early evening as even in late September the temperatures were still well into the thirties.
We ambled gently through the pine forests and clearings as the sun declined - the horses were hot enough without pushing them to a faster gait. Our route was limited on the day by the sudden appearance of a large number of bee hives along the forest trails (pine honey is a big thing in the area!) and Salih wouldn't risk the horses spooking at the unfamiliar objects (he'd be out the next morning getting the horses used to them).
The horses seem to be very good - but in my short experience they are not the "deadened" trekking horses found in many tourist locations and benefit from being ridden rather than being a passenger.
Anne rode Ata who was something of a gentleman. I rode (naughty) Nanu who was a little effervescent and would have loved to have had a nip at Ata! Thanks to Nikki who looks after the horses and briefed us about their characters and antics so we knew what to expect.
It was a memorable ride in the company of Salih who was friendly and informative and when we got back to the ranch, Nikki had arranged for a friend to take us all back to Marmaris by car instead of catching the dolmus - five adults and a dog in a small car! That's what Dortnal Ranch and Salih and Feli are all about - personal and friendly.
Footnote to self - take gloves next time, synthetic reins can be hard on the fingers!