Whether you own a horse or just enjoy being around these magnificent animals, horse holidays are a great option for anyone, including families with children, couples or even as an individual.
There are many different options in riding holidays all across the United Kingdom. In fact, if you wish to travel abroad, there are these types of holidays available in most of the world. Of course, depending on where you travel the riding style will be different, but with experienced guides and quiet, well-trained horses you can easily master the adjustments between different riding styles, or even look for a location that offers the tack and riding options you prefer.
Before booking your holiday, there are several things you will want to check and verify. As there are typically no refunds offered after booking these types of holidays you will want to ensure you know more than just the basics about the riding holiday you select.
Travel To and From
Depending on where you are located in relation to the riding holiday, you may choose to drive, travel by train, or perhaps take a flight. If you are not arriving in your own vehicle, check with the farm or the ride organiser and ask if there is a shuttle or if taxi service is available. Keep in mind, a taxi can be costly, particularly if the ride location is more remote.
Ask also about the return trip to the train or airport. If you are staying as a guest and bringing your own vehicle, make sure there is parking on location and that you are aware if there is an additional cost for this option.
Level of Rider Experience
The best riding holiday operators will have a good understanding and ability to match horses with riders. Depending on the ride you take, children under a certain age and ability level may not be allowed on the ride for liability and safety reasons.
If you are traveling with children, or with inexperienced riders, be sure to share this information with the individual you are booking the holiday with. When going through a travel agency, you may still wish to contact the riding holiday farm or stable and discuss any specific issues of concern.
Another important consideration is the amount of time you are comfortable riding per day. Some holidays offer short day rides of 3 to 4 hours, while others may be full day rides where you are in the saddle for 6 to 8 hours. This does take conditioning to build up to, and the full day rides are not a good option for occasional riders of those who are only used to riding for an hour or so at a time.
Lodgings and Riding Options
Many of the top riding holidays are a true step away from life in the city. However, they do offer a range of different types of accommodations. Some are actual trail rides, where your holiday will be spent traveling a set route, allowing you to see different scenery every day.
On these rides accommodation at the end of each day can be very different. It may include tenting or staying in guesthouses that are maintained by the tour company. Meals will be provided at each stop, often with a top selection of gourmet and local delicacies.
Other types of riding holidays may include day rides from a central location. This is the preferred option for those who want to enjoy a luxury accommodation each night. Many of these holidays offer different rides and allow guests to choose the ride for any given day.
References and Feedback
Before choosing any riding holiday based on a website or information provided by the tour company, take the time to review the tour service, farm or organization on the various travel websites.
Look for positive feedback from past guests offering high star ratings. Be very cautious about low ratings, particularly where people were concerned about the health and well-being of the horses, the experience and assistance of the guides, or the lack of quality accommodations and provisions when on the holiday.
Taking a riding holiday is a wonderful experience and one that is sure to be memorable. If this is your first riding holiday, consider a weekend or a few days before booking a week or more, and plan to take some time to build up to being on horseback for a few to several hours a day to avoid being stiff and sore after day one.