With riding holidays available to suit all levels of experience, ability and interest — from adventurous mountain treks and horseback safaris to training breaks and quiet country hacks — there is bound to be a riding holiday out there to suit your requirements.
But, before rushing out to book your riding holiday, it is important to do your homework and decide what you want from your break first. There are a variety of holidays to choose from, but it is vital you make sure it meets your criteria before you book to ensure an enjoyable experience.
Riding holiday top tips
1. Decide what you want to achieve from your riding holiday — are you looking to improve your riding, try a new skill or simply relax? Establishing this is important before you start your search.
2. Which country do you want to visit? Does a hot climate entice you or are you looking for a country retreat in the UK? Collect brochures from travel agents and read some reviews before booking. Remember reviews given by the place you will be staying are bound to be positive, so try looking further a field and use search engines like Google.
3. Set yourself a budget — this will give you an idea of how much you want to spend and help stop you overspending. Don’t forget to include the cost of flights, travel insurance and find out whether visas are required.
4. Getting adequate travel insurance can seem a daunting task — make sure you contact the riding centre direct and ask what insurance you require and ensure it covers the type of riding you will be doing. They may be able to put you in touch with appropriate insurance companies.
5. Communicate with the riding centre before you book. Ask them any questions that may be concerning you. What will your horse be like? What happens if you don’t like your horse? What qualification do the staff have? What is the riding regime like? How they respond will give you a good indication of how whether you will enjoy a week there.
6. Be honest about your riding ability/experience — you want to be able to enjoy your holiday on a suitable horse, otherwise you may be putting yourself in danger.
7. Pack suitable clothing for the climate you are expecting — for hot weather cotton tops are ideal to keep you cool and long sleeves will stop your arms from getting sunburnt. Jodhpurs or breeches are for more comfortable and practical than jeans in the saddle. If you are staying in the UK, always be prepared for rain! A substantial raincoat will shield you from the unpredictable British weather.
8. Most riding centres will want you to bring your own riding hat to meet their safety requirements, but it is worth ringing the centre to find out what their policies are.
9. If you aren’t a regular rider, be aware of your personal fitness — riding can be strenuous, so don’t try pushing yourself further than what your capable of. If it is something you are worried about, hitting the gym for a few sessions before you go will work wonders and make you feel more confident.
10. Many riding holidays cater for people travelling on their own, but if you wish to take your non-riding spouse and family, check the centre provides alternative activities to keep them entertained while your riding, of for yourself if you fancy a day away from the saddle.
Take a look at these riding holidays of a lifetime in pictures