ON THE RIDE

Do you have any tips for taking great photos on horseback?

In short – YES! It’s only after snapping BILLIONS of images one-handed astride a horse that I’ve been able to master horse riding holiday photography. It’s undeniably hard to take focused, well-framed images when you’re riding a horse. But it’s not impossible!

Check out this article for all of our tips & tricks in nailing near-perfect images while astride your equine.

Ahem… What if I need to go to the toilet while on the ride?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there: several hours in the saddle and a few too many gulps of coffee and you find yourself silently praying that someone will shout the words ‘toilet break!’ before things get squirmy. Here is our honest guide to toilet etiquette on the trail.

The bush wee
First things first: if you need to go, you need to go. Unless you’re galloping away from a bull elephant or three minutes away from the next designated pit stop, it’s perfectly okay to call a halt! Surprisingly often, we find the majority of the riding group are thinking the exact same thing (‘I need to pee!’) so when someone speaks up and asks to stop, everyone lets out a sigh of relief. Chances are you’re not the only one who could do with a break, whether it’s to duck behind a bush or just to get some sunscreen out of a saddlebag. We all have bladders, and we all know how it feels to be busting. Don’t tie yourself in knots about stopping for a wee, and if you feel awkward about it, try laughing! It feels so much better to have a chuckle at the absurdities of life than to beat yourself up about a small and unavoidable issue.

Of course, it’s best if you can find a place with a bit of cover, but in dire circumstances, the best way to get some privacy is simply to tell the group where you will be, e.g. ‘I’m just going to walk towards that hill,’ so that all riders can politely turn away. A big jacket can also work wonders if you need to drop your pants.

To keep reading our ‘Toilet Talk’ article, click here – we also touch on differences to be aware of around the world, managing your period on a riding holiday, hygiene and health. Practical advice so you’re well informed and well prepared to avoid any embarrassing moments!

Is there any trail riding etiquette?

I’m glad you asked! There is an unspoken code among riders on the trail that will stand you in good stead on your next horse riding adventure. Whether you’re a beginner rider or just haven’t ridden out as part of a group for a while, you may not be aware of the etiquette that helps keep everyone happy and safe when blazing a trail on horseback. After years of guiding and participating in oodles of horse riding holidays myself, here’s the universal set of riding manners that I’ve picked up along the way.

  1. If someone is opening or closing a gate, walk your horse through the gate and come to a halt, leaving enough space for others to pass through behind you. Wait until the gate is closed before riding off.
  2. Never pass your lead guide, whether at a walk, trot or a canter. Your guide knows the track and their environment intimately, while you’re a visitor under their care. Also, passing other horses can lead to a race mentality among the herd.
  3. If your guide signals to stop, be quiet or point out something, follow their instructions and pass the information on to your fellow riders behind you, who may not have seen or heard.
  4. When riding single-file or along a narrow track, maintain at least a ‘one-horse gap’ between your horse and the horse in front. This gives everyone room to manoeuvre if necessary and prevents tiffs between horses.
  5. Be aware of your fellow riders and their horses. If a rider has a horse that needs to be at the front of the group to prevent it from jogging, try not to pass that horse.
  6. Horses who are a bit on the cranky side, and horses who don’t get along with each other, should be given ample space and ridden in the order recommended by the guide.
  7. Encourage your horse to stride out in the walk, rather than slipping behind to the back of the group and trotting to catch up. It’s not good for your horse’s education and will become exhausting for you, the rider.
  8. At river crossings give the horse and rider ahead of you plenty of space before entering the water yourself.  This will prevent the horses from swimming on top of each other, which can be extremely dangerous.
  9. A special rule for Africa: the quieter you are, the more likely you are to have amazing wildlife encounters. So leave the loud conversations for the campfire and you’ll be amazed at the animal experiences you’ll be privy too.

How much should I tip?

Good question! On our horse riding holidays and safaris tipping at the end of your adventure is {more often than not} customary and each ride is different from the next. With that said, we’ve put together a guideline so you don’t get flustered when working out the final amount and you can budget prior to the trip and have the cash {in the correct currency} on hand when your ride comes to an end.

And for even more peace of mind, within your Trip Prep Kit that you receive once you’ve confirmed your saddle seat, we’ll also draw your attention to the tipping guideline for your chosen ride.

Click here to read our tipping guidelines for each ride country.

What is the group size?

The group size depends on the individual ride and its popularity. The maximum group size with any ride that we recommend is 16 guests plus guides {a guide per five guests policy}. To be clear, you won’t be riding with 16 guests each day, and will instead be split into smaller sub-groups to ride, and will meet the rest of the guests for meals. Most rides have a lower maximum group size, with some offering as few as four saddle seats per departure – what a guest/guide ratio!

On each individual ride page, we specify the minimum and maximum group size for each departure.

Is the riding safe?

Yes. We road test each and every ride on a regular basis to ensure that rider safety is of the highest standard. Each ride has experienced guides and horse handlers and first aid kits are carried on every ride that we offer. We recommend that globetrotting clients wear a hard hat on the rides and they have adequate travel insurance which includes medical cover before participating on a ride. Depending on the group size, each ride will have two guides, a head guide who rides at the front of the riding group and a back up guide who rides at the tail of the group.

What type of saddle will I be riding in?

The type of saddle is dependent on the outfitter, the saddle best suited to the individual horse, and the terrain you’ll be riding through. If you prefer a specific type of saddle, a request can be made to the outfitter in advance (subject to availability).

I’m an experienced rider and don’t want to be held back by beginners.

Not a problem, we specialise in catering to experienced riders. On each ride page it will specify the level of experience required to participate in the ride. For rides that cater for all abilities, you will be divided into groups according to ability, so if you are an experienced rider you can enjoy a faster paced ride when the terrain allows, while those with less experience can go at a pace they are more comfortable with.

You can filter our horse riding holiday portfolio by ‘level of experience’. If you’re still unsure as to which rides will be best suited to your ability and interests, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

That’s what we’re here for, to find the perfect ride for YOU.