Distract yourself from mud-encrusted turnout rugs, frozen water buckets and schools too frosty to ride on with these epic, summery, luxury horse riding holidays…
Game for anything
If you don’t think ‘camping’ and ‘luxury’ are two words that can ever go together, then you clearly haven’t been on this eight-night Masai Mara safari (pictured above). You’ll never have seen tents like them before, with luxury Egyptian cotton sheets, hot water bottles, beautiful tables with mirrors and sinks, handmade soaps, and tea and coffee delivered to your bedside table every morning. Plus, there’s a fully stocked bar, amuse bouche before dinner and three-course meals all freshly prepared. That’s before we’ve even started on the riding — your wonderful and knowledgeable guide Gordie will lead you across open plains, past big game including zebras and elephants, on sure-footed steeds. Riding quality, well-schooled horses with beautifully fitted English leather tack (they even have custom made numnahs to ensure their comfort), you’ll be in equestrian heaven.
Cost: From £6,120 per person
Ride on, cowboy!
Set on what was once a billionaire’s playground, at Montana’s Ranch At Rock Creek, exclusivity ‘reins’ at this five star ranch. A cross between a country manor and wilderness retreat, the 6,600 acre property near Phillipsburg is a major draw for celebrities, with past guests including Lee Ann Rimes, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwen Stefani. The undulating alpine meadows, sage brush hillsides and slow weaving trails are just begging to be enjoyed on horseback, and you can work on your western skills in the arena with lessons in barrel racing, pole bending and roping. Afterwards, the Granite Spa will banish any saddle sores. Sleep in the Deluxe Trapper Tent, half wood cabin and half ‘safari style’ canvas — and after feasting on gourmet western fare in the Granite Lodge, you can cosy up around the wood burning stove and listen to the relaxing sounds of the rippling stream.
Cost: From £4,605 per person
Travel to the Singeta Grumi Reserve, Tanzania in June or September and you’ll join an exclusive club of travellers lucky enough to witness the epic migration of two million wildebeest, as well as big cat sightings, elephants, giraffes and monkeys. You can choose a lodge-based safari or intimate tented accommodation — all holidays are tailor-made exclusively for small groups of two or more, and either way, you can be assured of old-fashioned opulence. The riding is relaxed with the opportunity for some fast canters. Seriously – what’s not to love?
Cost: From £5,009 per person
If you’ve ever read Jilly Cooper’s Polo (and if you haven’t, you really should) then you’ll have dreamed of playing polo in an Argentine estancia yourself. So why not make that dream a reality? Los Potreros was voted one of the top 100 hotels in the world in Sunday Times Travel Magazine in 2010, so a luxury and stylish stay is assured — with great local wine, of course. Spend two to three hours learning how to stick and ball, with a mini-tournament at the end of the week, and your afternoons relaxing, swimming or sightseeing. Now all we need is our very own Angel…
Cost: From £2,295 per person
Ride, spa and wine — could there be any words that go together better than those? (Just adding ‘cake’ at the end would make it truly perfect!) Not only that, but you’ll be staying in a castle, in Tuscany — this holiday really does have it all. With four days of riding, you can choose between lessons and hacking round beautiful trails once used by Italian outlaws — whatever suits you. Afterwards, relax in the pool or just soak in the sun and stunning scenery. Breakfast and dinner are included, as is a trip to the local natural spa and winery — and there’s even the option of a two hour Italian cookery lesson. Fabulous!
Cost: From £850 per person