A scheme to help people going on riding holidays has been set up by the holiday company, Unicorn Trails, and the British Horse Society.

Unicorn Trails is introducing clients to special riding programmes at BHS approved riding schools to help clients improve their skills and understand what level of holiday they are good enough to go on.

Nicky Ellison, Unicorn’s officer manager in the UK, explains: “We wanted to build up a database of places that we could trust, so we could direct clients to those riding schools. Many people overestimate and sometimes underestimate their riding ability.

“The programmes are good all round. They’re helping to raise the profile of the BHS, which many people perceive as being quite distant and unapproachable, but it is actually there to help riders of all levels.

“The riding schools are benefitting from the extra business before and sometimes after the holiday. The clients are much better prepared and the holiday resorts can be advised if certain clients are not likely to be up to the holiday.

“They won’t take someone on a safari adventure in Kenya, for example, if they are not going to be able to handle a horse galloping away from a group of lions.”

The company directs clients to three types of programmes.

  • The Unicorn Starter consists of four hours of instruction and four hours of handling advice for those with little or no experience.
  • The Unicorn Trail Rider programme for riders with some experience, includes one hour of assessment, and three sessions of two hours each riding at a walk, trot or canter over gentle terrain.
  • The Unicorn Safari Adventure consists of a one-hour assessment and four sessions of two hours each riding over varied terrain at all paces, and includes instruction over small natural obstacles.

The holidays on offer vary from exploration of olive groves in Greece or ridingthrough the Andes to going on safari, or on a 250-mile trek through the Namib Desert. All the trails have been tested by Unicorn’s founder, veterinary surgeon, Wendy Hofstee.

Most riding schools charge between £80-£100 for the programmes.

For more information (tel: 01767 600606) or e-mail: info@unicorntrails.com