In this day and age, time is precious and holidays are like gold dust. Especially if you only have a couple of weeks a year away from your desk, you want to choose the very best holiday to invest your time and money in. It’s a no-brainer for me: if you love to ride, you’ll love to explore different regions, cultures, and faraway lands from the back of a horse.
We have a portfolio of over fifty rides, and this list continues to grow. I can certainly understand that you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer choice, and trying to working out which ride would best suit your ability, budget and expectations! So, to help you out, I’ve put together this list of considerations to help you find your perfect horse riding holiday.
*P.S. we also have a nifty pop quiz that you can take to discover your ideal ride!
What’s your riding ability?
First things first: your riding ability will dictate which rides are available to you and which aren’t. You can read about our riding ability levels and work out where you fit here. And on our horse riding holidays page, you can filter all of our holidays by ‘level of experience’, which is a big help.
If you’re in the middle, as an intermediate rider, you still have a huge choice available to you, and will likely come back a more confident and skilled rider. Think The Camargue Ride in France, The Sumba Ride in Indonesia, the Glenorchy Back Country Ride in New Zealand, the Maasai Mara in Kenya, Montana in the USA, Andalusia in Spain, the Whistler Wilderness Ride and Chilko Lake Ride in BC, Canada, and many more.
If you’re a beginner rider, as long as you’re saddle fit, able to rise to the trot and willing to try cantering, up for grabs are the Khovsgol and Arhangay Rides in Mongolia, the Sierras Chicas in Argentina, the Castle & Estate Ride in Ireland, Dressage in Spain, the USA’s Big Horn Cattle Drive, Montana and Wyoming rides, the Thirlestane Castle Ride in Scotland and most of our Australian rides, including the Cradle to Coast Ride, The Margaret River Ride, Craig’s Hut & High Country and more.
**For experienced riders reading this, you might be thinking, ‘I’d prefer not to have beginner riders on the same ride as me, as I would like to trot and canter.’ Rest assured, our guides will split the group if more experienced riders wish to pick up the pace.
How much time do you have?
If you’ve only got a week including travelling time, why not cut back on the transit hours and discover a new part of your home country? If you’re based in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Portugal, France or Spain, you’ll find a varied and exciting selection of horse riding holidays in your own backyard.
If you’ve got more than seven days up your sleeve, consider an overseas riding destination. Make sure you block out two weeks plus to squeeze in a seven or 10 day ride and travelling time either side. Try to give yourself one or two nights in the country before the ride begins so you have time to recover from jet lag before starting your holiday in earnest. This is also valuable time to get a feel for the place you’re visiting. We’re always happy to help arrange your accommodation, transport and any other travel requirements either side of your ride, as well.
What time of year are you looking at travelling?
This is a big factor. Some of our rides are only available for a couple of months each year, and it also depends on whether you’re choosing to travel in the northern or southern hemisphere.
Here is a breakdown of the rides that are available year-round: Okavango Delta, Botswana, Maasai Mara, Kenya, The Sumba Ride, Indonesia, Sierras Chicas, Argentina, Castle & Estate Ride, Ireland, Dressage in Spain, Helena, Montana and Shell, Wyoming.
If you have some flexibility as to the time of year that you take your holiday, why not choose your ideal ride and book your time off to suit? Or, if you have a definite time of year in which you can travel, take advantage of that certainty and book your trip well ahead – you’ll save money by reserving flights and accommodation early, and you’ll have something to look forward to in the meantime! Year-round, you’ll find a number of phenomenal holidays on offer all over the world.
What’s your budget?
How much do you want to spend on your holiday? We strive to offer a range of rides to suit every budget – no one should be out-priced from a riding holiday if at all avoidable. You won’t find our riding holidays cheaper anywhere else, and that’s a promise.
Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana are our premium, blue chip riding destinations, and deservedly so. They offer the X-factor that no other destination can – getting up close and personal encounters with wild game – while being enveloped in white glove safari luxury. On the other side of the spectrum is Mongolia. If you have a good sense of adventure, are happy to erect your own tent and eat hearty camp food, and appreciate the fact that itineraries don’t always go according to plan, this holiday is a winner. Our rides in Portugal, Catalonia, Morocco and South America are also very cost effective. Most of our Aussie and New Zealand rides fall around the $3,000 (AUD/NZD) mark, which is very good value for the level of riding, the accommodation, and the fantastic horses and guides.
What sort of riding tickles your fancy?
Do you love the idea of discovering new landscapes and travelling to a new destination every day or two, or would you prefer the comfort of a centre-based ride where you can really settle in and focus on the on- and off-the-horse pleasures? Would you like to improve your equitation, dressage, jumping or natural horsemanship, or would you rather be put to work rounding up cattle? Maybe you want to spend your days cantering along sandy beaches, or perhaps you’d even like to come with us on an exploratory ride!
Think about the sort of riding and travel that really sets your soul on fire. This is YOUR holiday – make it unforgettable! There’s a handy filter on our horse riding holidays page that lets you sort through our entire portfolio by the type/s of ride you’re interested in.
Rustic versus luxury?
If you’re the kind of rider who loves a gin & tonic handed to you after a day in the saddle while your horse is whisked away to be untacked, you’ll prefer our higher-end rides such as those in Australia’s Kimberley region, Kenya, Botswana, Ireland, Sumba and Spain. On these holidays, you won’t lift a finger from start to finish.
Or if you’re comfortable with a swag underneath a canopy of stars, or setting up a tent at the end of a day’s riding, then you’ll love our more rustic rides such as the Big Horn Cattle Drive in the US, Khovsgol & Arhangay Rides in Mongolia, The Sahara Ride in Morocco and the Wilderness Expedition in Iceland.
Whatever tickles your fancy, be it luxury, simplicity or something in between, you’ll find plenty of appealing rides.
Right! I think I’ve covered everything to consider when choosing your perfect ride. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
And don’t forget to take our pop quiz – another fantastic way to find the best horse riding holiday for you!