If the grey sky and dreary weather is making you dream of sunnier climates, then perhaps now is the time to start thinking about your 2016 vacation! And what better than to combine your equestrian passion with a trip to new lands?
What are the benefits of going on a horse riding holiday?
There are many reasons for going on holidays with your horse. For some people it is about a simple change of scenery, others want to improve their equestrian skills and often it is about experiencing a completely new way of life. What you will always get on a horse riding holiday is the chance to experience a new set of scenery – with plenty of fresh air and outdoor time. You often get to view and visit places you couldn’t get to on foot or in a vehicle, which makes a horse riding holiday extra special.
Getting some time out from normal life also gives you a shift in perspective and is vital to refresh your mind and address your life balance. Taking a break will help unwind, de-stress and renew enthusiasm for life to help prevent burn out from what can often become an unbalanced lifestyle when rushing around at home.
In addition – the physical exercise when you go on holidays with your horse is great for the mind and body. Even when we ride on a daily basis – or a few times a week – a horse riding holiday challenges our fitness and helps to encourage activity and movement in a different way to our normal daily lives. With so many people leading fairly sedentary lives – sitting for long periods of time in a car or at a desk – this movement will energise and invigorate the body and help improve overall wellbeing, as well as strengthen the body.
What kind of riding holiday do you want to go on?
Depending what you want to achieve from your horse riding holiday, will alter the type of trip you wish to take. Asking yourself exactly what you would like to get out of your holiday is the first step to deciding what kind of excursion you want to make.
It may be that you want to sit back and relax to unwind from a stressful and busy life. In this case looking for a gentle riding holiday which combines good food, time for relaxation and an element of riding – perhaps just for a couple of hours a day. Some great destinations for this kind of holiday are European countries like Spain, France or Italy.
If you have always fancied embracing your inner cowboy then perhaps a ranch holiday is up your street? This is likely to take place somewhere like Montana, Colorado or Wyoming and will give you wide-open space and the chance to take part in cattle roundups and ranch life.
Or perhaps galloping alongside giraffe or zebra takes your fancy? A horseback safari is exhilarating, enlivening and exciting and while not for the inexperienced riders – offers equestrians an unforgettable experience and the most intense exploration into nature. South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana are a few of the most common places to enjoy a horseback safari and offer different styles of accommodation – from luxury to basic.
If you are looking for a true life-altering experience then a riding expedition could be what you need. Generally this is more of an adventure and exploration and isn’t for the faint hearted. Accommodation is often basic and it involves long hours in the saddle and you really have to embrace the local way of life and culture. Riding expeditions generally need to be prepared for and while you may experience a few challenges along the way – it is an immense life-changing experience that can totally change your perspective. Expeditions across Mongolia, Tibet or across the Andes are said to be spectacular.
Our top three bucket list horse riding holidays…
The Limpopo Tuli Trail in Botswana is a mobile safari, which covers 120 miles of the Mashatu Reserve and explores the banks of the legendary Limpopo River. This area is particularly famous for great herds of elephants and offers challenging but spectacular riding on beautifully schooled, quality horses. https://www.inthesaddle.com/rides/view/19_limpopotulitrail_tuli-block_botswana
Monte Velho in Portugal is a family run Lusitano Stud Farm where you get to stay in a beautiful traditional farmhouse and enjoy classical dressage tuition and/or rides out in the surrounding countryside. It is perfect for all levels of rider and offers a great escape whether you are looking to hone your riding skills or enjoy a well-earned break. http://www.farandride.com/riding-holidays/portugal/monte_velho_equo_resort/
Rocking Z Ranch in Montana is a family run ranch only 8 miles west of the Gates of Mountains which gives easy access to the famous Rocky Mountains and Montana’s wide open prairies. Known as Big Sky Country, Montana gives a true feeling of freedom and Rocking Z has options to suit all riders, as well as giving visitors the chance to help herd cattle and get an experience for real cowboy life.
Have you ever been on a horse riding holiday? We would love to know where you have been and where you dream of going on holiday with your horse. Comment below or share with us on Facebook.