As a mother to three young globetrotters (Finn, 6, Birdie, 4, and the newest arrival, Poppy) I’m literally chomping at the bit to bundle up our wanderlust-filled family and take them on their first horse riding holiday. Our girls haven’t had a choice: from a young age, they’ve been plonked on my reliable and dependable polo ponies or our two beautiful little ponies, Charlie Bubbles and Minty Magic. I believe horse riding is a life skill that needs to be learned, like swimming, and is part of our working life as globetrotters. As I’m sure you’ll agree, horses can teach us so much from a young age – persistence, patience, courage, responsibility – and give us the freedom to explore nature’s spoils. I’m all about my girls enjoying their riding, rather than weekly lessons in an arena (don’t get me wrong, this has its place). Generally on a weekend, we pack saddle bags and head out on our local trails that are teeming with nature, wilderness and silence. Birdie is still pony-led on her horse Charlie Bubbles, while Finn can ride independently on her trustworthy mount Minty Magic. We’re always shadowed by our beautiful rescue dog, Clifford, A.K.A. Cliffy. These mini-globetrotting adventures make me smile and are the perfect training ground for globetrotting adventures to come. The girls will sing nonsense songs, we’ll pick wildflowers and adorn the horse’s bridles with them, and then we’ll stop by a nearby creek to eat our saddle-bag packed delights while sharing them with the ponies. I LOVE this type of riding and believe it’s the best foundation for riding and to set the girls up for a life-long love affair with globetrotting.
Granted, not every family has access to a team of trustworthy horses, riding trails on their doorstep and the transport to move horses. We’re in a very enviable position and we don’t take this for granted. But you can replicate this beautiful riding experience for your family, with a bit of budgeting in mind. We have a selection of globetrotting rides that will suit the entire family, no matter the riding ability. We have suitable family-friendly rides from Australia to Mongolia depending on your budget, time and cultural needs. So whether it’s your entire family or a mother/daughter or father/son trip, below is a list of family friendly horse riding holidays including age limits and suitability.
Craig’s Hut & High Country Ride
With a minimum age of 10 and at under $3000 AUD, this is a fun and affordable riding experience for the entire family. If you have a son, daughter or partner who is a total beginner and you’re an experienced rider, this six-day ride is the perfect solution. Make sure you get your kids to watch ‘The Man from Snowy River’ prior to swinging their leg over their stock horse, so they can appreciate the enigma of Banjo Patterson’s tale when on the ride. Yes – they may laugh at how outdated the cinematography is, but it’s important to know the story of Jim Craig, to give this ride context.
What I also love about this ride is that it’s camping based, so every night your kids will spend starry nights around a campfire and enjoy the novelty of sleeping in a swag. For me, I believe this is a great, grounding experience for children who are out of touch with the bush. Not to mention the quality family time and lifetime memories that you’ll create on a riding holiday like this, riding side-by-side and discovering new landscapes.
Tassie Tiger Trail
This five-day, four-night ride is a phenomenal ride experience for any fun-loving, intrepid family looking for a memorable holiday. Recently we welcomed the McLachlan family, known as Team Macca, on our Tassie Tiger Trail, and gee did they have a blast – exhibit A: the image at the top of this article! Our guides Jen and Jeremy and their string of naturally trained Arabian horses took the family of six on riding trails that they’ll be talking about for decades to come. Again, this ride is the perfect fit for varying riding abilities and also for non-riders wanting to tag along.
Guests stay in a boutique B&B in the heart of Deloraine and each day you ride in a new location. Whether it’s a pristine beachscape or virgin rainforest, the scenery is changeable daily. And finally, this is what mother, Erin McLachlan, thought of their Tassie Tiger Trail experience:
“Jen and Jeremy are wholesome, good people. They both have spades of integrity and were great educators. Jeremy has a relaxed, fun manner and easily passed on so much knowledge to the kids. Jen took care of all of us- easily adapting the itinerary to our young family.”
We can offer custom, private departures on our Tassie Tiger Trail accepting riders as young as eight.
The Kimberley Ride
Even though it’s a little trickier to access, it’s worth considering The Kimberley Ride as your next family-riding destination. With a minimum riding age of twelve, families who make the pilgrimage to this dreamtime landscape won’t be disappointed. Some of our departure dates fall within the school holidays in May, June and July, the ideal time to escape winter (if you live in the southern hemisphere!) and head bush. Our guides, Christian and Laura Hayes (who run the Craig’s Hut & High Country Ride), are pros at running a world-class riding experience. As a family you’ll love discovering the red dirt, station horses and campfire evenings together. The Kimberley Ride will colour your family memories for decades to come.
Margaret River Ride, Australia
The Margaret River Ride is on the top of my list of family-friendly riding experiences, with an age limit of twelve. If you have children in their teens you literally can’t go wrong with this riding holiday. Your hosts, Paul and Fiona, have been making equine enthusiasts grin from ear to ear for the past ten years with their morning and afternoon rides out of their Margaret River property, which is also a boutique vineyard. With that said, they have a mob of horses that will accommodate everyone from nervous riders to experienced riders. Paul and Fiona are all about having fun, and the globetrotters who have completed this ride never want to leave the beautiful property, and more importantly their horse, behind.
As a family, you’ll enjoy never-ending beach canters, trying your hand at polo-crosse and mounted games, riding along secluded bush tracks and wide-open, wheat-coloured pastures alive with native wildlife including large mobs of kangaroos, emus and red-tailed black cockatoos.
Glenorchy Back Country, New Zealand
If the land of the long white cloud has always been on your bucket list then you can’t go wrong with our Glenorchy Back Country Ride in the South Island of New Zealand. If your kids are avid cinephiles, they’ll get a kick out of riding through emerald green landscapes and ancient beech forests that were the backdrop to blockbuster films like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But to be honest, this ride is so much more than movie scenes. It’s so popular with our globetrotters that it sells out on reputation alone. Keep in mind, there is an age limit of twelve and the ride is only available to intermediate to experienced riders. If you have a son or daughter who is handy in the saddle, you’ll love that this ride is a point-to-point ride, where you ride to a new destination each day.
It’s a five-day, four night itinerary and is extremely good value – sitting under $3000 NZD for five days of blissful riding.
I can’t wait to visit Mongolia with my tribe! Ever since riding across the steppe over five years ago, Steven and I have made a pledge to return with our girls. We have to wait until our youngest turns eight before we can complete this ride. As a family, you have the option of choosing between a 13-day or 19-day riding itinerary with the ride season from June to July, which fits in perfectly with school holidays. It’s the culture shock that excites me: you’ll see how the Mongols live, staying in smoky gers, galloping across the steppe, and being spectators at a rural Naadam Festival.
The Mongols are the most hospitable, warm and welcoming people I’ve ever met. They’ll invite you into their ger with arms wide open, which is why this ride is so special.
The ride isn’t for the faint-hearted and involves training prior to departure, not so much for the kids but for the adults who aren’t saddle fit. It’s suitable for beginner to experienced riders, as long as you’re fit, happy to rough it and have a good sense of humour. It’s also very reasonably priced, with the 13-day ride under $2800 USD per person.
If you’re looking for a riding experience that will expand your children’s perception of the world– then this is the ride for you.
Giddy up, globetrotters! America is an easy family holiday destination that doesn’t involve too much thinking. I firmly believe that a ranch riding experience has to be #1 on your to-do list if you’re traveling to the States. It’s a rite of passage to swing your leg over a cow horse in the prairie lands of Wyoming and chase after some cattle – don’t you think? This family-run cattle ranch near Cody in Wyoming has a minimum age of eight, and caters for all experience levels. #winning!
Rest assured, it’s not a dude ranch where you’ll be riding nose to tail on a dead-to-the-leg quarter horse. The riding groups are small and intimate, with no more than four or five guests per wrangler. This is a huge plus and they have a range of different landscapes to explore, from blood-red canyons to pancake-flat prairies to cattle work.
Oh, and if you have a husband or child who is a non-rider, there are plenty of non-rider activities to keep them happy, such as trap-shooting, kayaking, hiking, 4WD-ing, fly-fishing – the list goes on.
We fell in love with this ranch when we road-tested this ride and believe it’s the perfect family riding locale.
So there you have it, globetrotters: my all-time favourite family-friendly rides. I’m positive that at least one of them will be the perfect fit for your family! If you’d like to discuss any of these rides with me further, don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch very soon.