If you’re considering dipping your toe into the world of horse riding holidays, you may want to consider one of our entry-level rides to see if discovering new landscapes from the back of a horse is your cup of tea. Pssst: we know it will be, but you might be wondering if you’re riding fitness is up to scratch, if the horse quality is as good as we say it is and if the people on the rides are as nice and like-minded as they sound.
Rather than jumping headfirst into a 10 day riding safari across the Namibian Desert, you might want to start off with something a bit more mellow, maybe in your own country.
Our entry-level rides are perfect if you’ve been out of the saddle for a while, are a tad nervous, travelling solo, or if it’s your first horse riding holiday.
We have a lot of globetrotters who have kick-started their Globetrotting career with a ride in their home country so they can test the waters without the expense or complications of travelling overseas.
If you’re based in Australia, we have rides all around the country, from Tasmania to the Kimberley, that are a great way to explore the world of Globetrotting without going too far from home. For New Zealanders, there are entry-level holidays in both the North and the South Island. US globetrotters can enjoy vacations catering to all levels in Wyoming and Argentina (yes, it’s a different continent, but still not all that far from home!) and for those in Europe and the UK, we have entry-level rides in Ireland, Wales and Spain.
**It’s worth mentioning that when I say entry-level, it doesn’t mean these rides are only for beginners. The holidays that I’ve recommended below can cater for a range of abilities, so everyone will be able to ride at their preferred pace.
The following are my recommendations for entry-level Globetrotting rides: short and sweet, tried and tested, giving you a taste of this style of travel before you limber up for your Mongolian trek or Kenyan safari.
The Margaret River Ride
This ride is PERFECT for the rider who is either a beginner, out of practice, or nervous and wants to gain confidence and experience in a safe and fun environment. There is nothing better to kick-start your horse riding holiday adventure, or take your riding to the next level, than five consecutive days in the saddle where you can choose to ride in the morning, afternoon or both, the choice is yours! Our guides, Paul and Fiona, have been making equine enthusiasts grin from ear to ear for the past ten years with their rides run out of their Margaret River property, which is also a boutique vineyard. And let’s not forget to mention their string of 30 home-bred and educated Australian Stock Horses – you’ll fall in LOVE, just like we did!
Howqua River Ride
An easy flight to Melbourne with a two hour drive to Mansfield and you’re in the heart of Victoria’s High Country. You only need to spare five days out of your busy work schedule, but you’ll feel like you’ve been away for a month after exploring the Howqua River and Stockyard Creek on horseback. Our larger-than-life guide Michael Watson has been running riding holidays in the footsteps of ‘The Man from Snowy River’ for a couple of decades, so he knows how to make a new globetrotter feel welcome and at home on their horse. All of our feedback forms from past globetrotters mention Michael’s uncanny ability to match horse and rider perfectly. Also, the time in the saddle is no more than five hours each day, and on day three riding is optional. What’s that? Perfect, I hear you say?
Tassie Tiger Trail
With no more than six guests on each departure date, this five day, four night ride through the Tasmanian wilderness is the perfect riding holiday for a first-time globetrotter. Your hosts, Jen Clingly and Jeremy Ford, will have you smiling from arrival to departure and have a fleet of incredible endurance horses to partner you with. What I also love about this ride for those who’ve been out of the saddle for a while is that on the first afternoon you’ll be taught ground work with your horse before mounting up. It’s a great icebreaker and helps dissipate those nerves before you start riding through the pristine forests, ascending mountain tops and cantering along the beach. Also, the number of hours in the saddle is no more than six per day – this is normally four hours in the morning, a break for lunch and then two hours in the afternoon.
The Grape Horse Adventure
Jen Clingly and Jeremy Ford (from the Tassie Tiger Trail outlined above) are taking their string of elite Arabian horses across to South Australia to explore the Barossa Valley region. Gourmet food, wine and beautifully educated horses – what’s not to love? Once again, you’ll have the opportunity to sample the world of natural horsemanship and try your hand at an obstacle course with your trusty steed. This wine and culinary adventure from the back of a horse has the perfect balance of hours in the saddle, visits to local attractions, and wine time! And if you find yourself a bit saddle sore, there’s always the option to decrease your riding time day-to-day.
The Rainbow Beach, Bush & Cattle Ride
If you love the idea of working cattle on a sturdy Quarter Horse and getting down and dirty in the yards, then this ride is for you. The five day ride itinerary is based at guide and host Andrew McCarthy’s cattle property, which skirts Mount Goomboorian, east of Gympie in the south-east corner of Queensland (three hours’ drive from Brisbane). For two days you’ll ride this patch of paradise, slipping into the day-to-day runnings of a small-scale cattle property. This is a hands-on experience where you’ll get an authentic glimpse into everyday life as a grazier. After this comes a glorious day at the seaside where you’ll get to canter along the sand and swim bareback in the ocean, before the final two days see you learn the thrilling sport of campdrafting. You’ll benefit from one-on-one tutelage from not just Andrew but also Rod Cotter, campdrafting legend! These two patient and expert horsemen can teach everyone from beginners to experienced riders. SO if you’ve always wanted to run away to the bush and be a jillaroo or jackaroo, head to Mount Goomboorian!
Craig’s Hut & High Country Ride
If you’re going to call yourself a globetrotter, riding through Victoria’s High Country where the snow gums weep, Craig’s Hut stands timeless and the mountains change their mood on an hourly basis is a MUST. This ride is perfectly put-together as an entry-level riding experience. Firstly, you’ve got superb mountain horses that scoot up and down the tracks without putting a hoof wrong, you’ve got a team of expert guides that will make sure your experience is five-star, and you can choose the pace you’re comfortable with. On top of all of that, you’ll spend your nights at iconic bush camps where you and your riding companions get to huddle around the campfire sharing a cool ale and chowing down on superb gourmet fare before sneaking back to your tent and bedding down in your swag.
The Special Edition Kimberley Ride
The perfect combination of dirt-under-your-fingernails authenticity and bespoke luxury, this ride is the ULTIMATE way to discover Australia’s mysterious and enchanting Kimberley region in style. For the first two nights you’ll be glamping in serene campsites while the daylight hours see you exploring the wilderness from the back of a station-bred horse. Then you’ll spend your next two nights indulging in the endless delights of the famous El Questro Station, with a full suite of activities to choose from and a private, luxuriously appointed room to enjoy on your own or with a special someone. The five day itinerary has four riding days, with three to six hours in the saddle depending on the day and your preferences. This makes it a great holiday for beginners, and leaves plenty of time to take a boat cruise down the river gorge, swim in the thermal springs, or just relax in the beautiful surrounds of the homestead.
The Shoalhaven Ride
Now this is a holiday that pulls out all the stops. If you’re an intermediate to advanced rider looking for a first-time horse riding tour that will leave your belly as happy as your heart, look no further. Situated in The Shoalhaven region of New South Wales (just over two hours’ drive from Sydney), this ride is a taste of heaven on earth. The Shoalhaven produces some of the country’s best food and wine and has gained a bit of a cult following for its sublime blend of untouched wilderness, picture-perfect beaches and idyllic farmland. Whether you choose the three day or the five day itinerary, your intimate group of four guests will be shown the very best of the region’s cuisine, vino and natural beauty from astride a gorgeous Arabian horse. This is your host Tiffany’s calling in life and she and her team will do their utmost to give you every possible cause for delight.
Glenorchy Back Country Ride
If you’ve always longed to ride a horse across the land of the long white cloud, you can’t go wrong with this holiday in New Zealand’s South Island. For five days you’ll journey across emerald green fields, glacial rivers and ancient beech forests that you might just recognise from a famous film franchise or two. The horses in this herd make loyal devotees of their riders – we’re often told tales of attempts made to squeeze them into suitcases! Rest assured you’ll be well cared for by your surefooted steed, as well as the all-star guides, who will give you as much support as you need to feel comfortable both on and off the horse. You’ll spend two nights in tents and two nights in lodge accommodation, which is a great combination if you’re still getting used to the idea of camping.
Twin Coast Adventure
Presenting an entirely different side of New Zealand, this ride in the gorgeous Bay of Islands region of the North Island is perfect for first-time globetrotters thanks to the hosts, Ken and Jane Dromgool. These two are some of New Zealand’s top horsemanship clinicians and have decades of experience teaching riders of all ages and abilities. And although you’ll be exploring new landscapes every day (think butter yellow beaches, native Kaui forests and rolling green fields) you only have to move camp once thanks to Ken and Jane’s ideally situated farm and beachside properties. Comfortable twin share cabins, regional cuisine and a half-day of local sightseeing complement your time in the saddle to make this a well-rounded, quintessentially Kiwi holiday.
This working ranch offers something new every day, from trying your hand at cattle work to taking a riding lesson to discovering some of Wyoming’s most spectacular scenery – all from the back of a nifty, fit and responsive Quarter Horse. With 100 horses to choose from and over 650,000 acres of ranch land stretching away in every direction, this ride is a dream come true if you’re looking for an authentic yet flexible ranch experience. And if you fancy some time out of the saddle, there’s fly fishing, trap shooting, 4×4 tours, archery, bicycles, canoes, a hot top and a dinosaur dig site to keep you occupied! Choose from a four, six or 13-night stay, with departures throughout spring, summer and autumn.
Sierras Chicas, Argentina
If South America is on your riding bucket list, this estancia-based ride in Argentina is exactly what you’re looking for! It’s set on a beautiful 6,500 acre working cattle and stud farm in the Sierras Chicas mountain range, an area so staggeringly beautiful that you may never want to leave. Because it’s estancia-based, both the itinerary and the riding hours are flexible, so you can really customise your experience. Day to day, you could be visiting the nearby one-teacher school, packing a picnic to enjoy outside the local Dominican church, riding up into the mountains, playing polo or trying your hand at ‘sortija’, the gauchos’ horseback game. We even have an itinerary called ‘learn to play polo’ for those who want to immerse themselves in a new sport and explore the Sierras Chicas in equal measure. Estancia stays are available year-round, and polo weeks are scheduled every couple of months.
Castle & Estate Ride, Ireland
This holiday in beautiful County Monaghan is the ultimate luxury ride, especially if you love (or want to try) jumping. Not only do you get to live it up in a castle and its 1,000 acre grounds, you also get to hone your equestrian skills with a tailored combination of lessons, trail rides and cross country! Between the indoor arena, showjumping courses and 300+ cross country obstacles, there is plenty of variation on offer for your three-hour daily riding schedule, and you certainly don’t have to jump if you don’t want to. The instructors and guides are amazing and we guarantee that whether you’re a novice rider or an experienced eventer, you will leave a more confident and skilled rider. There is the option to increase your riding hours at an additional cost if you wish, but for entry-level globetrotters, three hours a day for either three or five days tends to be just right. Oh, and custom itineraries of up to seven days can be arranged on request.
Dressage in Andalusia, Spain
We’ve teamed up with our amazing outfitters in Andalusia, Spain, to offer three itineraries designed to suit the needs and desires of every rider, all based out of a 16th century Hacienda in one of Andalusia’s famous white villages. For beginner riders, we recommend the Train & Trail itinerary, which sees you riding majestic Andalusian horses both in the arena and along scenic trails. No matter your level of riding or your (un)familiarity with dressage, the world-class instructors and schoolmaster horses will have you performing like a natural in no time. Then when you get the urge for some fresh mountain air, you’ll hit the trail and gain confidence outside of the arena, riding with a small group and expert guides. Choose between three, four and six night itineraries all year round.
Black Mountain Explorer, Wales
This week-long holiday is the perfect immersion program to get you feeling confident with horses, whether you’re new to riding or just haven’t ridden in a long time. Our ride partners in Wales love giving their guests a hands-on experience, so you’ll be catching, grooming and saddling your Welsh Cob each day before exploring the fairytale scenery of eastern Wales from between a pair of pricked ears. You’ll also be able to choose whether to develop a bond with one horse throughout your stay or try riding different horses, knowing you’re in safe hands. Because you’ll be staying at your hosts’ farm (in a 17th century Welsh longhouse, no less!), the itinerary is very flexible and can be optimised to suit your riding ability, interests and preferences. Off the horse, you’ll discover the best of Wales’s rich culture and history, from alehouses to market villages, with guides who know the country and its stories like the back of their hand.
The Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland
On this holiday, you’ll spend a week living in a 16th century castle, riding out across the spectacular Scottish Borders by day and indulging in the many delights of the castle by night. Thirlestane Castle has been the home of the Maitland family for over four centuries, and Edward and Sarah Maitland-Carew will do their utmost to make it feel like your home, too. From grandiose feasts in the state dining room to croquet games on the lawn, you really will feel like royalty. As for the riding, you’ll explore picture-perfect farmland, windswept moors, moss-covered forests and unspoilt beaches. Your guide, Susy, will split the group according to ability, so you don’t need to worry about biting off more than you can chew. Plus, there’s plenty of flexibility to choose whether to go for a ride, relax at the castle or take your hire car and explore the Borders.
So there’s our pick, globetrotters: the best entry-level horse riding holidays. If you’d like to chat with us further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!