You need a holiday. You love horse riding, and you want to do something a bit different ie: try a different style of riding, ride over open spaces instead of the arena, or sort out your schooling issues on expert horses instead of your goofy three year old.
There are so many options available -how do you decide where to go?
Obviously first up is your budget. You need to add in flights, transfers, extra gear needed as well as the actual ride holiday price.
Where would you like to visit? Of course every ride operator or agent is going to rave about whats on offer - they want your business. So do your research. Go through equestrian forums, talk to people that have traveled in the area you want to go to, check walking and cycling websites too, as that will give you an idea of what type of terrain you will be riding over. Some areas of the world can look magnificent on websites/travel sites – but are not at all suited to horse riding (fences everywhere, lots of road work etc).
It is also important to consider what type of riding you want to do when choosing a destination. If you want to ride at speed – then a mountain trail over the dolomite’s is not the right choice for you. Perhaps consider a beach ride in Spain, Sardinia or a safari in South Africa. If you like the idea of riding through a scenic area, at a mixed pace -and like to visit cultural sites: then France, Italy and Romania may be good locations.
Operator size. Remember that small is not always good. Smaller rides can sometimes be on a tight budget (especially if horses are there only source of earning a living) and you may find costs are cut so that the owners can save a $ especially in these times of economic crisis. On the flip side, these rides are often more familiar, and you may be accommodated in the owners home and be made to feel part of the family. Sometimes big rides count more on quantity rather than quality, and in the name of numbers riders will be heaped with other riders of a different level. Make sure to ask what the maximum group size is, and whether riders of different levels will be cater too (in different groups). To be stuck on a ride with someone of an inferior level all week can ruin a trip.
Ask as many questions as possible to the ride owner or the agent you are dealing with. How much riding you will do daily? What type of horses do they use? ,What qualifications do the staff have (and are they relevant for that country> ie. British Horse Society qualifications are not recognized in Italy by insurers)? Ask who will be riding the same week, and what level they are riding at.
Check who else works with the ride you are interested in joining. International rides of a good quality will have partnered up with horse riding agents or recognized travel agents. They will have checked the ride personally, and made sure the horses and instruction is up to scratch. If the website has professional, well done photos, press coverage, reviews and a good team of collaborating agents – then the ride should be a good one.
If you go direct to an operators website and find on the website photos are of a poor quality, and agents haven’t picked up the ride – make sure you do your research, and talk to others that have ridden there. If the ride is good, there should be photos that showcase that.
NB. Dont put your trust totally in Trip Advisor or similar reviews. People can and do fake these reviews. Make sure you try and talk to people who have been on the ride, who have seen the location and are trustworthy.
Tagged: beach ride in Spain, Choosing a Horse Riding Holiday, France, horses and instruction, international horse ride, Italy and Romania riding holiday, italy riding holiday, romania riding holiday, Sardinia or a safari in South Africa, spain riding holiday, where to go horse riding