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Our Story


Our story

Our story

“In September 2008 I spend a horse riding weekend at Mihnea Virgolici at Cross Country Farm and at the end I remember telling him that one day I will also have a place like his’, maybe even nicer! This is how I started the idea of making a place for people to come and ride” says Ionut Popescu, the owner of “Potcoava” and the soul of this place.

Starting from this visit and from the decision taken at the time, Ionut looked for the perfect place for his idea. The place had to meet certain criteria that at first glance can give headaches: it had to be close to Bucharest, somewhere in the mountains, but on a smooth, stone-free mountain, in an area less known for tourists and not have access from DN1 or the highway.

In the next 6 months Ionut traveled weekend by weekend in different villages in Subcarpathians: he started from Transfagarasan area and reached Lepsa. Then one late night he reached Runcu.

There was nothing I could see. I stayed in a guesthouse somewhere down the valley and woke up with a very good feeling that this is the place. I took a few short walks to the left - right, I convinced myself that this is the place I was looking for and I called my brother and I said, ``Ready, I found it! We are all right. We can move on to land purchase!``

From that moment, things came very fast, in 3 weeks he had chosen the land and was going to the pre-contract phase. It is worth mentioning that at the time Ionut had no money to carry out his plan, he only had a dream: to create a place where people would come learn how to ride and enjoy the nature.

He decided to fulfill his dream and preferred to treat the lack of money as a resource he did not have yet and would identify it in the meantime. In 2010 he wrote a project for European funding, a project that was approved a year later. The construction started in 2013.

In parallel with this, Ionut was actively concerned about the question:

What horse breed to use?

For 1 year he visited various riding centers in Romania and several European countries in search of the “perfect horse”. He wanted a mountain horse, beautiful in appearance, suitable for those who are at the beginning and at the same time fast enough to please experienced riders. After seeing the Lipizzaner, Hutul horses, Romanian draft horses and a few other breeds, he decided on Haflinger, the breed that meets all the conditions he wanted: it is a mountain horse that comes from Tyrol region, has a relatively small stature (1.50 m at whiters), suitable for beginners – not to be scared when you get on such a small horse – and it has very good performances – it does not slip and walks very well on steep slopes. In addition, it has a drop of Arab blood in it which makes it fast enough if you want to run and travel to long distances.

At the end of 2015 when everything was ready – the riding center and the accommodation unit with a very generous outdoor space – “Potcoava” (trad. “horseshoe”) opened its doors.

Today Potcoava is already known among horse lovers as well as those who love to be close to nature and are curious about horses. In addition, families with children are increasingly present at the various themed camps that take place here as well as to spend an afternoon or weekend away from the hustle of the city.

What does Potcoava mean to me?

Potcoava is about living beautifully, in peace, near the forest, in the company of horses. I wish for the future that Potcoava will be a reference place for equestrian tourism, for horses treated as partners and people would come with pleasure to try this relatively new activity in Romania

Ionut Popescu

Ionut left Bucharest and moved with his wife, Silvia, and their three children here to Potcoava. So when you get to us you should know you can meet Ionut and listen to his stories. He has a lot to say!

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