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Galloping Globetrotters – Top 7 Unforgettable Horse Riding Vacations Around the World
No one knows when the first human decided to mount a horse. But we do
know that evidence of horseback riding dates back 5,000 years ago, as early as 3,000 BCE. Since then, humans have shared an indescribable relationship with horses. For thousands of years, mighty equestrian steeds carried their riders across nations through adventures and escapades.
Though we no longer use horses as our primary destination, humans still have an indescribable relationship with these majestic creatures. Perhaps that’s why, when on a horse, you’ll discover a peace you’ve never known. Maybe we simply want to connect with our ancestors. Or, perhaps, it connects with a part of ourselves we’ve forgotten.
Whether you seek a break from the modern world or want to connect with nature’s joys, you’ll discover that and more on a horseback riding vacation. But where will your journey take you? We have a few suggestions in mind…
Vera & Jean-Christophe from Europe, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
1. The Argentine Gaucho Experience: Exploring Patagonia on Horseback
On the sweeping plains of the papas grasslands, the rugged gaucho roams. Gauchos carry a rich legacy intrinsic to Argentian culture. They fought against the Spanish colonial regime and developed rich estates in pastoral Argentina. Those estates now serve as a launching point for your next horseback adventure.
Horseback riding destinations vary widely in Argentina. Will you tour the ocean from your stead? Will you discover untamed prairies?
- Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina: Twelve days of riding at Centro Hípico Fin Del Mundo offers beach views in some of Argentina’s most iconic landscapes.
- Mendoza Province, Argentina: Explore the sweeping views of the Andes by horseback with Trekking Travel.
- Traslasierra Valley, Cordoba, Argentina: Ride where nomads of Argentina once galloped on a journey through Cordoba.
Image by istolethetv via flickr
2. Canter Through the Wilds of Mongolia: Riding with Nomads
The Mongols conquered much of Asia on the back of horses. Genghis Khan once roamed these wild steppes. And now, you can too.
Traditional Mongolian horse culture is steeped in reverence for horses. Mongolian horses still serve as transportation even today. So strong are the ties to horses in Mongolia that the Mongolian way of raising horses is shared orally – seldom are the tools of horsemanship written down.
- Zavkhan, Mongolia: Explore untouched steppes in Central Mongolia with Zavkhan Trekking.
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Two hours from the capital of Mongolia, await misty hills, horseback trails, and yurts courtesy of Dream Adventure Mongolia.
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Twisting rivers and silvery lakes await at iTour Mongolia.
Image by Caz and Craig Makepeace via flickr
3. Saddle Up in the American Wild West: Ranch Vacations in the United States
Cowboy culture permeates America’s Western States. Discover the wilderness of the U.S. and give the life of a cowboy a try! From Wyoming to Kansas and everywhere between, ranching and rodeo remain deeply interwoven in Western life. Visitors can try working ranches to live like a cowboy for a few days or try leisurely Dude Ranches for beautiful tours of wild countryside.
- Jackson, Wyoming: The Grand Tetons beckon – enjoy a chuckwagon dinner and ride through the stunning Wyoming countryside at the Darwin Ranch.
- Dallas, Texas: Live your cowboy dream at one of Texas’s oldest dude ranches – The Austin Ranch provides chili cookouts, trail rides, and more.
- Tucson, Arizona: The wilds of Arizona call to you. Discover desert trails and stunning sunsets at Tanque Verde Ranch.
Image by Roberto Serrini via flickr
4. Canter Along the Emerald Isle: Horse Riding in Ireland
The emerald hills of Ireland call to your inner dreamer. Here, misty moors and dazzling lakes await the gallant rider. The Irish have ridden horses since the prehistoric days – such steeds carried countless warriors, leaders, farmers, and priests on the winding roads of the Emerald Isle.
- County Clare, Ireland: Tour the countryside’s scenic greens and step into 15th Century Ireland at Castlefergus Equestrian.
- County Antrim, Ireland: Trot through the region where ‘Game of Thrones’ was filmed! Ballylagan Tours offers stunning trips through the woodlands of Ireland.
Image by Dominic Alves via flickr
5. Discover the Magic of Andalusia: Horse Riding in Southern Spain
The enchanting Andalusian horse of Spain is a beloved breed throughout the equestrian world. It hails from an ancient history of horseback riders dating back to 30,000 BCE, in the diverse beauty of Andalusia, where the Mediterranean meets mountains and marshlands.
- Cadiz, Spain: Gorgeous beaches and the Playa Mangueta await you in El Palmar de Vejer.
- El Rocio, Spain: Emerald grasslands and brilliant rivers call to riders visiting Rutas a Caballo.
- Ronda, Spain: Beginners and experts will love the easy rides alongside Caballos y Vino – wine-tasting included.
Image by Boundless Southern Africa via flickr
6. Trekking the Maasai Mara on Horseback: Unforgettable Safaris in Kenya
Safari the traditional way – on horseback, with expert advice and wisdom from experienced guides. The domestic horse first came to Africa in Ancient Egypt, around 1600 BCE. Today, horses play a key role in the nomadic farming life of African farmers. Upon horseback, you can watch the Great Migration of Africa’s zebra, wildebeest, and herd animals trek to the Serengeti.
- Oloololo, Kenya: Find luxury among horse trails and spa trips at Kilima Camp.
- Mara, Kenya: Camp, sleep, and safari at Lerai Safari Camp.
- Laikipia, Kenya: Immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of African wildlife as you embark on an exhilarating horseback journey through Laikipia’s stunning landscapes and expansive conservancies.
Image by Ed Dunens via flickr
7. Galloping Through the Land Down Under: Horse Riding in Australia’s Outback
Discover wine country, rugged outback, and sandy beaches by horseback in the great land under. Australia’s first horse arrived in 1788 with the English but has since become essential to farming life in Australia. You may come across the unique Brumby horse of Australia – a wild creature descended from the lost and escaped horses of European settlers.
Choosing the Right Horse Riding Vacation for You
Are you looking for a day trip on horseback or a camping adventure? How much do you want to spend on a trip? Consider the following factors before booking your trip:
- Skill Level: Have you ridden before? Do you need training?
- Budget: Can you afford to travel out of the country? How about a few hours away?
- Preferences: Do you want a day trip or a week-long campout? Do you want a hotel or lodge nearby?
- Tips to Find the Best Tour Providers: Always check reviews and experiences. Previous clients who loved a trip will be sure to share that info – the same for those who had a bad experience. Additionally, check out how many years of experience a company has in providing tours, training horses, and trail navigation.
Safety Tips for Horse Riding Vacations
- Pack the Right Gear: Pack smartly. You’ll want riding boots, comfortable clothes, outer layers, and a sunhat at minimum for a horseback ride. Sunscreen, bug spray, and other protective essentials can help keep your ride more comfortable.
- Treat Horses Properly: Always respect your steed. Never approach a horse from behind – they may kick. Instead, approach a horse slowly, with your hands gently extended forward. Speak softly, and stay calm around your horse.
- Prepare for Emergencies: Emergencies do happen on the trail. Horses can get injured, and so can riders. Pack a first aid kit, duct tape for broken tack, and a map of the surrounding area at minimum to prepare for emergencies on your trip.
Image by Thomson Al Fresco via flickr
Responsible and Sustainable Horse Riding Vacations
It’s not uncommon for horseback riding to involve unsustainable or cruel practices. Seek out groups using responsible tourism practices that focus on local communities and horse welfare.
Packing Essentials for Your Horse Riding Vacation
Not sure what to bring for your horse riding vacation? Here’s a good start:
- Clothing: Riding pants, riding helmets, sturdy pants (jeans, riding pants,) and long-sleeved shirts.
- Footwear: Riding boots with heels.
- Horse Care: Most tours will provide all the gear you need for your ride. But you can pack a first aid kit, fly spray, and a horse first aid kit to prepare for your ride.
Image by Andrew Pescod via flickr
Travel Insurance and Medical Considerations
Accidents and illnesses do happen on vacations. It’s important to always keep your insurance card and health information on you. If you travel out of the country, ensure you purchase quality travel insurance – international doctors don’t usually accept out-of-country insurance.
Additionally, ensure that you are fully vaccinated by the standards of the country you’re visiting. You don’t want to catch any foreign illnesses while traveling.
Visa Requirements and Travel Restrictions
If you plan to travel out of the country, you will likely need a visa. Additionally, you may have to follow travel regulations – such as vaccine requirements or quarantine time periods. Research travel regulations in your chosen destination to prepare accordingly.
Horse Riding Vacation Testimonials
Riders discover true relaxation, adventure, and mental wellness on horseback. Riders have discovered stability, while others find stress relief and inner strength
Many riders have spoken of how horseback riding has changed their lives. Morgan Freeman, Pierce Brosnan, Kacey Musgraves, and William Shatner have all spoken of how horses have bettered their lives.
Alternative Horse Riding Experiences
There’s more to horse riding than trail rides through rugged terrain. Therapeutic horse riding vacations offer a chance for riders with disabilities or mental health issues to enjoy the calm and wonder of horseback riding. If you’re looking for a challenging experience, you can seek out a competitive equestrian vacation featuring polo, racing, or other activities.
The world of horseback riding is wild and unique. Across the world, hundreds, if not thousands, ranches and stables offer a glimpse into a life intertwined with mighty equestrian creatures. The thrill of a horseback riding adventure awaits from Ireland to Australia, across oceans to deserts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
• What is the ideal duration for a horse riding vacation?
Well, it depends. Riders with more experience or willing to rough it for a few days may enjoy a longer vacation (a week or so,) while less experienced riders may be better suited for a day trip or shorter vacation.
• How physically demanding are these vacations?
The physicality of horseback riding varies based on the type of trails, terrain, and experience you’re looking for. Verify the kind of experience you’re looking for with the ranch provider.
• Can children participate in horse riding vacations?
Yes, many ranches welcome children on their trails. Check with the tour agency before booking a family trip.
• Are there options for riders with disabilities?
Yes! Therapeutic horseback tours often provide inclusive riddles for individuals with disabilities.
• What can I expect in terms of accommodations and meals?
Accommodations and meals vary drastically between ranches and stables. You may find fare as simple as chili to luxurious wine packages offered on trail rides. Accommodations may vary from tents and yurts to lodges and cabins. Usually, the price point of horse riding vacations varies based on the kinds of foods and accommodations available.
- Equitrekking: https://www.equitrekking.com Equitrekking is an Emmy Award-winning TV show that features horse riding vacations and destinations around the world. Their website provides a wealth of information on various horse riding vacations and experiences.
- Horse & Hound: https://www.horseandhound.co.uk Horse & Hound is a well-established equestrian magazine and online resource that covers a range of topics, including horse riding vacations, training, and horse care.
- Lonely Planet: https://www.lonelyplanet.com As a leading travel resource, Lonely Planet offers valuable information on various destinations and experiences, including horse riding vacations around the world.
- The Horse: https://thehorse.com The Horse is an online magazine that focuses on equine health, care, and management. It provides in-depth information on various aspects of horse riding and care, which can be valuable for readers planning a horse riding vacation.
- Tripadvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.com Tripadvisor is a popular travel platform that provides reviews and recommendations for various travel experiences, including horse riding vacations. Linking to relevant horse riding vacation reviews on Tripadvisor can help readers make informed decisions about their choice of destination.