So you fancy going on one the wide range of riding holidays available abroad or in the UK. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide where to go?
The first step to enjoying a successful riding holiday is deciding what you want from your break. Do you want to learn, relax or try something different? Do you want to experience a different sort of climate or lifestyle, or mix riding with another pursuit or accommodate non-riders in your travel group? Once you have decided on your aims the search can begin.
Top tips for riding holidays
- There is a wide variety of riding holidays available — from intensive competition training to safaris on horseback and gentle pub rides for beginners — so there is going to be something available to suit you.
- Work out your budget. How much money are you prepared to spend in total? Remember to include the cost of flights, transfers, travel insurance and any visas you may require.
- What part of the world would you like to visit? Collect brochures specialising in that area and ask your travel agent or tour operator if they have reviews of the holidays you are interested in. Reviews on specific destinations can also be found online through search engines such as Google. Remember that reviews given to you by travel agents, tour operators or the place where you will be staying or riding will be biased.
- Try to contact the holiday/riding centre direct. Ask how much riding you will do, what the horses are like, whether the regime for riding is flexible or to a strict timetable, what will happen if you don’t like a horse you are allocated, what qualifications the staff have (particularly important for instructional holidays), when meals are served, if will you be expected to help with stable management and so on. You are the customer and the proprietor should be more than happy to answer your questions.
- If you are holidaying in Britain and plan to take your own horse with you, ask what the extra costs will be involved. Find out if you have to take your own bedding or food with you or if you have to muck out, water, hay and feed while you are there.
- Check that your horse, tack and trailer are covered by your insurance policy while you are away from home or if your travel insurance covers you for riding. Although it is possible to get rider insurance in Britain, you may not be covered while abroad.
- When using a travel agent, make sure that it is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), which regulates travel agencies in Britain.
- If travelling abroad, make sure your passport is up to date — and remember to take it with you.
Happy riding holidays . . .