Whether you have family members who don’t ride or you’re planning a trip with a non-riding friend, there are PLENTY of Globetrotting holidays that are just as rewarding for the non-rider as they are for the avid globetrotter. If you don’t believe us, check out this amazing testimonial from Jen and Keith Chiswell!
It can be tricky to choose a trip that caters to everyone’s interests, though, so to get you started, we suggest having a scroll through the following list of non-rider friendly holidays. It’s also good to note that for all of these rides, non-riders can join their riding compatriot each day at the lunch location, that’s if they aren’t off enjoying a day of sightseeing in the area.
The Margaret River Ride, Australia
Margaret River is one of Australia’s premiere wine regions and on this glamping holiday, you’ll go behind the scenes to discover the dreamy bushland and beaches, Indigenous culture, regional cuisine and velvety wine of this West Australian hideaway. Your hosts, Paul and Fiona, have been making equine enthusiasts grin from ear to ear for the past ten years from their property, Jesters Flat, which is also a boutique vineyard. They have a mob of horses that will accommodate everyone from nervous to experienced riders, and for non-riders, there are so many things to see and do in the area that will keep you occupied while your friend/partner is in the saddle. Rider or not, you will be blown away by the thrills, scenery, culture and food that you’ll experience every day.
Tassie Tiger Trail, Australia
This five-day, four-night ride is a phenomenal experience for anyone looking to appreciate the finer things in life while also discovering some little-known, wild corners of the world. Your guides, Jen Clingly and Jeremy Ford, are the ultimate hosts and will make you feel completely at home both on and off the horse. Oh and for the riders, there’s a string of naturally trained, barefoot and bitless endurance horses to choose from!
You can really choose your own adventure here, with the option to ride a little, a lot, or not at all, and horses to suit every ability. You’ll be put up in a boutique B&B in the heart of Deloraine, where you’ll be spoiled with local, gourmet cuisine. Non-riders are able to use Deloraine as a base to explore the area, and whether it’s a pristine beach or virgin rainforest, the scenery is unbelievably varied.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
This safari adventure will truly knock your socks off. The Okavango Delta is arguably Africa’s last unspoilt wilderness, a never-ending meadow filled with flood plains, marshes, forests, islands and more game than you can poke a stick at. Riders and non-riders will both have the opportunity to discover the Delta on four-wheel-drive safaris, in traditional dug-out canoes, from wildlife hides and on foot. Riders will get to mount up on fearless safari horses to explore an incredible variety of ecosystems, while non-riders will have photo opportunities galore as they immerse themselves in the Delta through other means. You’ll move camp regularly, staying in both open-air, above-ground tree houses and fixed safari tents, all boasting ensuites. With itineraries ranging from five to ten nights available year-round, you’ll really be able to get your fill of supreme safari horses, wildlife, unforgettable scenery and exceptional hospitality.
Maasai Mara, Kenya
The Maasai Mara is another must if you’re looking for the BEST of African safari experiences. Riders and non-riders alike will savour the chance to explore some of the continent’s best big game country as you journey from the Loita Hills into the Maasai Mara, an immense national reserve that spreads out either side of the Mara River. You’ll be hard pressed to isolate one mind-boggling, jaw-dropping moment from the next, be it looking into the eyes of a bull elephant or racing a zebra herd across the plains. The professional team of guides and spotters will take non-riders out on safari by vehicle, meeting up with the riding group for meals, picnics and sundowners. Everyone gets to enjoy game drives, night drives and guided walks, so the non-riders are still very much part of the group and will have their fair share of stories to tell, too! Accommodation is in spacious tents with comfortable camp beds and hot showers available, and departures are scheduled throughout the year.
The Sumba Ride, Indonesia
Looking for a holiday in paradise? The Sumba Ride is for you. The most phenomenal aspect of this ride is the setting: Nihi Sumba, a five star resort that was recently named Best Resort in the World for two years running! And this is exactly what makes this holiday perfect for both riders and non-riders: the horses, while absolutely wonderful, are optional. Nihi Sumba excels at catering to every interest and has so many activities on offer that many of our globetrotters opt to extend their stay after the ride so they can take full advantage of the resort’s offerings. Trust us, whether you mount up and discover the island of Sumba on horseback or stay on your own two feet, you will be spoilt for choice every waking hour of your trip. And don’t dismiss this experience as inauthentic – in fact, it’s anything but. The resort prides itself on its relationship with the local people and environment, and wherever you go, you’ll be met with smiling faces – and in some cases chased by giggling children! There are plenty of chances to absorb Sumbanese culture, which will blow you away with its colour and connectedness.
This ride is as intimate as it gets, with a maximum of three guests accepted per departure date! As a result, the itinerary can be customised to perfectly suit your needs, interests and riding level. If you’re travelling with a non-rider, you’ll be able to do your own thing during riding hours before reconnecting for sumptuous meals and cultural experiences in the cute-as-a-button village of Kobuchizawa. This village provides the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area, where you’ll find some wonderful galleries, walking trails and more. Your guide, Tanaka san, will be happy to advise you on things to do and see in the area. The culture in this part of Japan is absolutely off the charts, and you’ll be able to drink it all in while also immersing yourself in the incredible scenery surrounding Kobuchizawa. For the horse riders, you’ll be mounted on naturally trained endurance horses and have endless bridle paths to choose from each day. The Cherry Blossom Ride departs in April, but custom departures are also available on request.
We have three holidays in Portugal – Costa Azul, Alentejo Coast and Kingdom of the Lusitano – and they are ALL perfect for non-riders. Portugal is a place where time seems to slow down – there is never any hurry and pleasure has become a fine art, from the regional cuisine to the dreamy scenery to the local music to the relaxation-inducing country guesthouses. Equestrians will be drooling over the Lusitano horses on this ride, which are noble, powerful, intelligent and willing, with elevated yet comfortable gaits. And non-riders will savour the chance to dig deep into Portuguese culture, which is vibrant and cosmopolitan thanks to the nation’s seafaring history. These point-to-point rides see you traverse some of Portugal’s most naturally blessed scenery, from cork forests to beaches to farmland to tiny villages. And with an average of 4-6 riding hours per day, there’s plenty of time for riders and non-riders to catch up and share the journey.
Dressage Ride, Spain
This is the ultimate trip for couples or groups of friends who are all keen to indulge in Spanish culture, but not all keen to swing a leg over a horse. You’ll be staying in the beautiful hilltop town of Carmona in Andalusia, where culture seeps out of every doorway and twilight brings the sound of strumming guitars and clinking glasses as the locals mingle in the innumerable tapas bars. Situated amongst absolutely breathtaking scenery, Carmona also boasts a number of palaces and majestic Mudéjar churches, so non-riders will never be short of things to do! As for the riders, you’ll learn to dance to the rhythm of the revered Andalusian horse under the guidance of world class instructors, with three different programmes to choose from so you can find the perfect balance of dressage, trail riding and maybe even High School dressage training. The itinerary also boasts some amazing non-riding activities, including a trip to Jerez to watch Spanish stallions strut their stuff at the Real Escuela (The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art!), and a road trip to nearby Seville to experience a Flamenco show.
This ride combines the best of both worlds in terms of trail riding and cultural immersion, centreing around the town of Coín, one of the famed ‘White Villages’ of Andalusia. If you have your own car, it’s also perfect for non-riders, with endless quiet country roads leading to a fascinating collection of historical, cultural, artistic, geographical and epicurean delights. Each day you’ll ride (or drive) out to explore new landscapes and settlements, returning to your beautiful accommodation in a converted 300-year-old marble mill in time to stroll out and mix with the locals in Coín of an evening. With around four hours of riding scheduled each day, there are also plenty of off-the-horse activities on offer, including a walking tapas tour in the city of Málaga, a private Flamenco show, a presentation of Spanish High School horsemanship, and an exploration of the famed walking trail, El Caminito Del Rey (‘The Walk of Kings’).
Castle & Estate Ride, Ireland
The Castle & Estate Ride is the perfect fit for non-riders, as well as for groups with varying riding abilities. Whether you want to nail some riding basics in an arena, race your horse across a cross country course or kayak around the lake, you’ll be one happy camper by the time you retire the castle lodge of an evening. And yes, it’s a real castle – awash with history, set on a 1,000 acre estate, and maintained by a team of staff who will attend to your every need. One of the great things about this holiday for riding and non-riding couples and groups is that there are only three hours of riding each day (with the option to book more at an additional cost), meaning that you’ll have plenty of time to spend together. Whether you have a go at clay target shooting or fishing, enjoy a horse and carriage ride, take a stroll around the spectacular estate, take a ride in a hot air balloon or relax at the on-site spa, you’ll never be short of things to do, and the stories that come of this holiday will be told for years to come. Custom departures from three to seven or more days long are available year-round.
The Scottish Borders Ride, Scotland
If you’re a no-holds-barred Globetrotting thrill-seeker, this is a ride to set your heart ablaze. Set in the gobsmackingly beautiful Scottish Borders region, the seven-day itinerary is centred around the oldest horse riding festival in the world, the Common Ridings. Almost as electrifying for the spectators as they are for the riders, the Common Ridings involve up to 300 horses and riders galloping across the hills and pastures of the borderlands in commemoration of a time when local men risked their lives to protect their communities from invasion. Whether you join in from the sidelines or on horseback, you’ll find yourself totally immersed in the spirit of the Borders. As well as the Common Rides, riders will traverse picture-perfect Scottish landscapes, and non-riders will have a smorgasbord of activities in the Border region to choose from. Your accommodation, Windlestraw House, is a magnificent, bespoke-yet-homely Edwardian manor. The owners, John and Sylvia, will charm you with their Scottish knowledge and hospitality. And there’s plenty of free time, so riders and non-riders will be able to spend time together exploring the local sights, as well as donning a kilt to participate in the Highland Games!
The Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland
For a Scottish vacation that flows at a gentler pace, look no further than The Thirlestane Castle Ride. Set in the same magnificent region as the Scottish Borders Ride, it brings the Borders to the fore in every possible way. Susy McIntosh and her team of fit, responsive horses are the stars of the show on both of our Scottish rides, and on this itinerary they’ll take you on day after day of glorious rides through the countryside. From sandy beaches to idyllic farmland to whisper-quiet forests, the scenery will blow your mind. AND let’s not forget your accommodation: 500-year-old Thirlestane Castle, where the history seeps out of every time-smoothed stone. The five-star apartments in the South Wing boast spectacular views, private kitchens and sitting rooms, and classic yet contemporary furnishings. Set within a sprawling estate, there is no shortage of activities on offer here to ensure non-riders have a holiday just as memorable as that of their riding companions. Like the Scottish Borders Ride, this trip allows for plenty of opportunities to explore the Borders at your own pace, and cultural experiences by the bucketload!
Black Mountain Explorer, Wales
Whether you make this ride a holiday in and of itself or work it into your UK travel plans, the Black Mountain Explorer will show you a side of Wales that few visitors get to experience. It’s also ideal for non-riders, as the farm at which you’ll be based is the perfect starting point for a variety of walking and cycling trails, and the non-rider rate is just £440. Your hosts are more than happy to offer recommendations and assistance regarding non-riding itineraries. What’s especially great for riders is that once you’re matched to one of the farm’s Welsh Cobs, you’ll catch, groom, tack and untack that horse for the rest of your time together, allowing you to form a strong bond both in the saddle and on the ground. Riders will spend between three and four hours in the saddle each day, with other activities such as explorations of picturesque Welsh villages and expeditions to the local pub for a meal and a pint being shared by all guests during the remaining hours. Oh, and being centre-based, the itinerary is flexible, meaning you can choose where and how long you ride each day.
Shell, Wyoming, USA
This ranch-based vacation has to be #1 on your bucket list if you’re travelling to the States. This family-run cattle ranch lets you choose your own adventure, with each day’s itinerary dreamed up with your wrangler during cocktail hour the night before to ensure that your interests and desires are catered for. For non-riders, there are plenty of activities to keep them happy, such as trap shooting, kayaking, hiking, four wheel driving, fly fishing – the list goes on.
Rest assured, this is not a dude ranch where you’ll ride nose to tail on a dead-to-the-leg trail horse. The horses are top quality and the groups are small and intimate, with no more than four or five guests per wrangler. There’s also a phenomenal range of landscapes to explore, from blood-red canyons to pancake-flat prairies to the dusty cattle yards. And let’s not forget the ranch itself – you’ll have your own fully serviced log cabin, the opportunity to soak in the hot tub, and gourmet meals prepared with fresh ingredients from the ranch’s garden, served in the dining room overlooking the spectacular countryside.