What’s that you say? You love active horse riding holidays, but you don’t just want to ride? Gasp! No problem, we’ve sourced a bunch of fabulous holidays for you with fantastic health and fitness options on the side – and you still get your riding fix. The question is, which one to book first…
1. Yoga in North America
Imagine doing your sun salutation overlooking Wyoming’s stunning Platte River Valley and Sierra Madre mountains, then saddling up on a sure-footed quarter horse, and heading off into the upper reaches of the Cowboy State’s back country…Bliss, eh? At the 30,000 acre Brush Creek Ranch & Spa, you can choose from various styles of yoga, the certified instructors having taught at some of the world’s best luxury yoga resorts. If you want to take your health to the next level, book a one-to-one fitness session with a personal trainer. Six nights with Ranch Rider cost from £3,294pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities (riding, geo-caching, mountain biking and zip-lining), premium drinks and beverages (including alcohol), taxes and gratuities. Seasonal departures 24 May– 5 Oct. Call Ranch Rider (01509 618 811 or visit ranchrider.com to book.
2. Golf in Tuscany
If you ride and your partner plays golf – or you fancy doing a ride/golf holiday yourself – check out the Italian package offered by Far and Ride. Stay in the grounds of a beautiful 17th Century fairytale palace in leafy Tuscany, famous for its olive groves and enchanting mediaeval hilltop villages, which you can explore on horseback during the day, before returning to the castle for amazing food. The golfing package includes six rounds of golf on the nearby course, suitable for both beginners and experienced golfers. They also have an array of great mountain bikes, including electric ones, and the castle’s owner, Count Antonio, can also guide people as he is a keen cyclist. You can fish and snorkel in nearby Lake Bolsena, Europe’s largest volcanic lake, actually home to the carp fishing world championships.
Prices for the rider/golfer break start at £698 for a week’s half board, including six half days trail riding or two-three hour private lessons, and six golfing days for one. Check out www.farandride.com
3. Spa break in Cheshire
For real R&R (riding and relaxation), take a trip to Cheshire. Organised through Equestrian Escapes, you’ll stay at a four-star spa hotel set amongst the rolling Cheshire hills – great hacking country. You can choose between a lesson and a hack during each of your three days, then unwind in the pool, gym or sauna, or treat yourself to one of the luxurious treatments including facials, massage and hot stone therapy. All levels of ability are catered for, and experienced riders have the option of a farm ride with jumps.
Prices start at £300 for two nights B&B including three rides and one treatment; for non-horsey types who just want to chill in the spa, it’s £175 for two nights B&B. Visit www.equestrian-escapes.com for more info.
4. Surfing in Portugal
Portugal is a great year-round destination with some of the best beaches in the world – perfect for surfing and, of course, galloping across on a horse! The Oitavos is an ultra-modern luxury Portugese getaway on the Lisbon coast offering everything from three-day horse-riding breaks (which include a lesson, a beach ride, and two spa treatments) to surfing packages where you can learn to surf in the Atlantic Ocean, or brush up existing skills, with professional surfer Ruben Gonzales. With a great Turkish spa and loads of complementary fitness classes on offer to guests, this place is a health nut’s dream.
Run by Health & Fitness Travel, with prices starting at £910pp, visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com
5. Zip-lining in Morocco
For a North African adventure, explore Morocco on horseback, riding out each day from a stunning eco-hotel perched high in the Atlas Mountains. You’ll see people, villages and a way of life that’s remained unchanged for centuries – like stepping back in time. Back at the hotel, you can relax by the pool – or try one of the many activities on offer including archery, mountain biking, and their fantastic high rope and zip-lining facility. Warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted. (But then again, if you’re on this trip, then you’re probably not lacking in courage.) The riding is for all abilities, but would probably suit more confident riders.
Run by In The Saddle, prices start at £441 for 4 nights, with 4 hours riding per day. Check out www.inthesaddle.com