While ranching in America and horseback safaris in Africa may be among the most popular international horse riding holidays, H&H brings you a selection of emerging riding holiday destinations that are proving popular with equestrian tourists.
The country is becoming very popular, according to Emma Getliffe of Have Horses Will Travel (www.hhwtravel.co.uk, tel: 01303 862996).
“The beautiful volcanic scenery and the appeal of riding the Icelandic horse draws people there,” she says.
The company only runs holidays in the summer months when temperatures reach the mid-teens. There are 15 different itineraries and, from 2009, golf can be incorporated into trips to make it more suitable for non-horsey partners.
Adrian Dangar of Wild and Exotic (www.wildandexotic.co.uk, tel: 01439 748401) says there is a growing interest in the continent from riders.
“The area, especially Patagonia, has so much to offer,” he says.
Adrian’s company also runs rides across the Andes and in Argentina and, over the next two years, he intends to develop a holiday in Brazil.
The Andes trip combines a luxury stay in Buenos Aires with camping in remote parts of the Andes.
Just a few hours away from the UK by air or sea, Spain is increasingly popular with riders.
Equestrian Escapes (www.equestrian-escapes.com, tel: 01829 781123) has noted this trend and one of the company’s most popular holidays in 2007 was “Horses, Sun and Wine”, which was based in southern Spain and designed for riders of all levels.
The company’s Sarah Caplan says the holiday is for those “who love life as well as horses!”
Proving that you don’t have to travel far afield to enjoy great riding, more and more people are holidaying at home.
“The UK has become really popular recently,” says Sarah Caplan. “One of our most booked trips is a riding skills one in Cheshire — you can even bring your own horse.”
Dawn Williams of Equine Tourism (www.equinetourism.co.uk, tel: 01984 640668) says she gets more enquiries about the UK than anywhere else.
“There’s no doubt that England offers the best value for money,” she says.
Top tips for a great holiday
Do your research. Before booking a trip, make a shortlist of where you’d like to go and be honest with yourself about how much you want to spend. Be sure to carry out thorough research on both your destination and the holiday companies you’re considering booking with.
Alone or with friends? Many holiday companies offer trips specifically designed for single, like-minded travellers. If you intend to take non-horsey friends or family with you, check whether there are alternative activities to keep them entertained.
Be honest about your riding. Don’t exaggerate how proficient you are in the saddle. Most holidays cater to riders of all levels — you will not enjoy your trip if you feel the riding is beyond you.
Get your cover sorted. Riding holidays are not automatically covered in all insurance policies, so ensure your cover is adequate before travelling.
Travel essentials. A sun hat (to go over your riding hat), chaps, waterproofs (even in hot countries), a first-aid kit, gloves, a sheepskin seat saver, a universal sink plug and tea bags.
Read more about riding holidays, including tips from riding holiday veterans and what it feels like to go ranching in Arizona, in Horse & Hound (3 July, ’08)