Whether you are a thrill-seeking daredevil or a committed "Happy Hacker", there is sure to be a riding holiday to suit you .
The choice of country and terrain is enormous and you can opt for a blissful week of escape from the family in beautiful and unspoilt surroundings. Alternatively, make it a family treat - even if some of the clan are totally non-horsey.
The first thing to consider with any riding holiday is your true level of riding ability and stamina. A weekend-only novice will be neither safe nor happy on a mad three day gallop across Botswana. Similarly, a week trekking with beginners at walk will not appeal to experienced jockeys. The large number of riding holiday providers generally accept the following as sensible summaries of riding ability;-
Beginner: A rider with very limited experience, is unable to mount and dismount unassisted, and unable to post to the trot or canter.
Novice: A rider who has some riding experience, is able to mount and dismount unassisted, is in control of a well-behaved horse and confident for short periods of rising trot and canter.
Intermediate: A rider with all of the novice skills, has a firm seat, is comfortable at all paces and capable of riding for several hours at a time. The intermediate rider is also able to tack up a horse if required.
Experienced: A competent and regular rider who is capable of adapting to different horses in different environments. An experienced rider has soft hands and is able to control a spirited horse in open country.
Other points to consider.
Some riding trips have a weight limit which generally appears to be approximately 95 kilos (around 15 stones). In most cases you will be provided with a bigger horse and in some instances there will be a surcharge but it is always wise to contact your holiday provider as there may be a limited number of horses available for guests exceeding this weight level.
Depending on the trip, children may join the ride. Discounts may be available in some cases. It is definitely worth checking even if the kids are staunchly anti-Equestrian as many of the holiday providers can accommodate non-riding guests.
This is an absolute must for any holiday and should be an important consideration in booking your trip.
Preparing for your holiday
Once you have determined the riding experience, age and ability of the group members, you can go ahead and book your holiday. Whether you are experienced riders or not, you are still likely to be spending considerably longer than usual in the saddle on a daily basis so expect some aches and pains!
Many repeat riding holiday enthusiasts go on several short riding weekends prior to a longer holiday so that they can really get the best out of the experience on every level.
With riding holidays available in England, Scotland Wales and Ireland, we have plenty of choice on our doorsteps but there is a huge choice of trips in France, USA, and even Africa and Asia. The choice is yours....
About the Author
Helen Hobbs writes for Horse Primer
, a website offering information and advice for lovers of all things equestrian.