Here at Globetrotting, we believe that to get the most out of a horse riding holiday, you NEED to devote at least three days to the experience. Think about it: between getting to the ride base, settling in, and packing up on the last day, any less than three days would seriously cut into your precious riding time. AND you’d just be getting into that blissful holiday mindset by the time you had to depart!
That being said, we know that time is at a premium in this modern world, and ANY opportunity to escape on the back of a horse needs to be grabbed with both hands. So here are five rides that you can squeeze into the smallest of breaks when you just really need to saddle up and go.
Castle & Estate Ride, Ireland
This luxurious getaway set in a drop-dead gorgeous Irish estate is available year-round on request, with custom itineraries available to suit every rider’s ability, interests and timeframe. With over 300 jumps to ping over as you fly across 1,000 acres of manicured lawns, forests and fields, it’s a cross country lover’s dream. And the indoor arenas, world class instructors and huge variety of horses mean it’s a dreamy place to ride whether you’re a cross country veteran or a novice rider. Off the horse, you’ll be treated like royalty, with a HUGE variety of non-riding activities on offer (this trip is also perfect for non-riding partners). You’ll be staying at the castle’s Lodge, where the staff wait on your beck and call and the lavish Irish breakfasts and gourmet dinners will have you loosening your belt before you can say Guinness. Three-night stays are available, and if you have a little more time to spare, you can book for up to seven nights.
Dressage in Spain
Dressage, Andalusian horses and the epicentre of Spanish horse culture: what more could you ask for? A customisable schedule, perhaps? Three itineraries to choose from? A magnificent performance by the stallions of The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art? No worries, this ride has all that and more! From your hotel in Carmona, one of the traditional white villages of southern Spain, you’ll head to the equestrian centre each day to mount a highly-attuned Spanish horse for either a dressage lesson, High School training or a trail ride through the picturesque countryside. There’s plenty of time to immerse yourself in your surroundings, too, with countless cultural experiences woven into the itinerary and the history-steeped, vibrant streets of Carmona just begging for exploration of an evening. The equestrian centre is open year-round and the Train and Trail Ride can be anywhere from three to seven nights long.
Whether this ride forms part of your Japanese holiday or you extend a layover in order to experience it, you will be SO glad you did. Leaving the cities far behind, you will discover a whole new side of Japan, and there is no better way to do so than with Tanaka san and his team of naturally trained endurance horses. While the four-night Cherry Blossom Ride only occurs once each year, custom departures of three or four nights are available on request. The other wonderful thing about this vacation is that there are only two to four guests on each departure, so it’s an intimate experience – very in-keeping with Japanese culture. Tanaka san is the perfect guide, bridging the gap between the tourist experience and real Japan to show you facets of village life that will intrigue and inspire. And let’s not forget the scenery, which will blow you away no matter what time of year you visit!
Hay Triangle, Wales
When we road-tested our rides in Wales, we were taken utterly by surprise by the absolute perfection of this small nation as a riding destination. The scenery evokes a time of dragons, goblins and knights, the people are some of the warmest and most hospitable on the planet, and the horses are absolute superstars. The Hay Triangle is the shortest itinerary in our portfolio at two nights long, although we recommend arriving at the farm where the ride is based the night before, so you can get straight into the fun stuff on day one! It’s likely to be the most fun you’ll ever have in three days, with plucky Welsh Cobs carrying you across fantastic landscapes, authentic Welsh culture oozing out of every stone wall and every cheery pub door, and freedom-filled gallops aplenty. If you’re travelling to Europe or the UK for another Globetrotting ride – or any reason at all, really – this is the perfect way to bookend your trip and squeeze every drop out of your time away.
Sierras Chicas, Argentina
This estancia-based ride is set in Argentina’s majestic Sierras Chicas mountain range, where you’ll witness Argentinian life at its horse-loving, cattle-working, food-obsessed best. Your hosts will do their utmost to make you feel at home on their estancia, and with 6,500 acres to explore – not to mention the neighbouring villages and mountains – you’ll be spoilt for choice every day. Swinging your leg over a traditional sheepskin saddle (SO comfy), you’ll watch from between your horse’s ears as your gaucho guide reveals the landscapes and traditions of the Sierras Chicas. As well as infinite trail riding possibilities, there’s the opportunity to try your hand at cattle work, polo and the gaucho game ‘sortja’ – and plenty of off-the-horse activities, too. The estancia is open to guests for almost the entire year, and itineraries start at three nights long.