Extendable stirrups, water bottles and padded breeches — H&H's Aimi Clark spent four days riding in glorious Hungarian countryside, but with a little foresight she could have been better prepared. Here are her top six things to consider before jetting off on a holiday in the saddle
1. Be able to mount from the floor
If your everyday riding involves using a mounting block, you need to get practising from the floor. My ride dismounted at every water stop to give the horses a short break, and sometimes there aren’t any handy banks around to help remount. By the fourth day, my aching body tricked my brain into thinking that my horse Akarot, a 16.2hh Hungarian Warmblood, was a giant. One savvy member of my group took an extendable stirrup with them – genius.
2. Take a water bottle
Riding becomes surprisingly hard work when you’re thirsty, so a reusable bottle you can attach to the saddle is a must. Water stops were frequent, but being able to take regular small sips keeps thirst at bay and makes temperatures in the high twenties easier to cope with.
3. Wear padded breeches
Trust me, saddle sores are not fun. Take a few pairs of breeches and make sure your boots or gaiters are tried and tested for long periods in the saddle.
4. Take your own hat
Hats aren’t always given as standard in other countries, and your own is more comfortable anyway. So make room for yours in your luggage — it also offers some protection from the sun.
5. Protect yourself
While on the topic, don’t forget to pack sun cream — and a lightweight rain coat means you’re prepared for any weather. Until the day I arrived, Hungary was wet but warm, becoming very hot for the duration of my holiday. You don’t want to be that nuisance rider asking to borrow sun cream and sunburnt faces aren’t a good look. Light, long-sleeved tops are worth packing too, as arms scratched by branches aren’t pretty either.
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6. Be prepared to fall in love
Four days riding Akarot led to a tearful farewell but what an adventure we had to reflect on. These horses become your best friend, so take plenty of pictures to look back at.