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  • Trail Riding in Cornwall with Hallagenna Riding Holidays

    Discover picturesque Cornish scenery on a riding holiday with Hallagenna Riding and Cottage Holidays. The centre is perfectly situated in the heart of the Cornish countryside, allowing easy access to the remote and rugged wilderness of Bodmin Moor. The friendly, family run centre is operated by qualified, experienced staff and has a selection of quality horses to suit all levels of rider. For those wishing to stay at Hallagenna, recently renovated self-catering cottages are available, providing the perfect place to relax after a day in the saddle.

    Bespoke Holidays and “Learn to Ride” Weeks
    For complete beginners, novice riders and those keen to return to the saddle, the centre offers tailormade packages with a combination of expert tuition in the school and daily trekking in beautiful countryside to improve riding skills, confidence and general equine knowledge.

    Trail Riding in Cornwall
    Hallagenna has a selection of itineraries to tempt competent riders looking for day rides, short-breaks or week long holidays. Spend between 3 and 8 hours in the saddle each day on guided trails. Ride through the shady, wooded valleys of the river Camel, over open moorland with Atlantic views and along the smuggler’s routes of Poldark country. Rides combine fantastic scenery with mouth-watering refreshments, cream teas, pub lunches and local wines for an unforgettable riding holiday experience in the South West of England.

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  • Riding Holidays for Singles

    Riding Safaris in Botswana

    Regular independent travellers will delight in telling you that you’ll find numerable like-minded companions on a riding holiday. From enthusiastic thrill seekers, eager for the adrenaline rush of galloping with game in the Serengeti to sociable types, keen to explore picturesque vineyards of Tuscany - the choices are endless. From ranch holidays dedicated to groups of singles, to trail rides for all, the perfect riding holiday for singles awaits. Your first holiday as a single traveller can be daunting yet liberating; consider the following pointers to help you through the process.

    1) Cost – The dreaded phrase “Single Supplement” often deters many a lone traveller. Some rides do however offer specialist singles weeks and others may have departures with no single supplement or one or two single rooms or tents with no additional charge. Most establishments will help customers avoiding having to pay a single supplement by arranging same-sex room shares.

    2) Type of Holiday – Whether you are looking for a luxury safari, exotic beach riding or a desert camping trail, your choices are in no way limited by travelling alone. A little research is always worthwhile, as you may find some destinations cater more for family groups or couples. Whilst you would never be made to feel unwelcome, you may prefer a ride where there are likely to be a few other single riders. Solo travellers can often be a little apprehensive about the prospect of meal times alone, but on many riding holidays, sociable evening can be the highpoint of the trip, offering a chance to bond with your group and share stories.

    3) Group Size – You will have one fundamental trait in common with others in your group - you are all adventurous, keen riders. Larger group sizes will allow you to mingle with your riding companions, and make a few friends along the way. Your fellow riders may even be keen to make plans and book other riding holidays with you.

  • Choosing a Ranch Holiday

    There are establishments all over the globe offering genuine Western Riding and Ranch experiences. From Latin American Gauchos in the traditional Estancias and Fazendas of Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico to the classic cowboy ranches of Canada and the USA. Western riding is becoming increasingly popular and is available in a number of less obvious destinations such as Italy, Hungary, France and Portugal. With such a diversity of options, the following points will help you find your perfect Ranch Holiday.

    1) Riding – Are the quality of the horses important to you? Are you looking for a well-established family ranch that breeds its own stock or are you happy with a ranch that hires in horses seasonally? Are you looking for a holiday with fast paced riding, working livestock, daily trail riding, tuition, cattle drives, pack trips, team penning or arena games? Ranches fall into one of the following categories:

    Working Ranches - These are working cattle or sheep units. Your riding adventures will be determined solely by seasonal work related to the ranch livestock. Be prepared to experience these activities first hand as part of a team, from moving livestock, checking fencing, routine health management and general farm duties. These holidays are ideal if you are looking for the true “Cowboy” experience, especially for those confident in the saddle. Accommodation and facilities are often rustic but realistic.

    Dude Ranches – Horse riding is the predominant feature at these ranches. You’ll experience a variety of Western riding and outdoor activities. These are ideal for family holidays, where tuition and guidance is available for all ages and abilities. Some Dude ranches offer the fantastic opportunity to take a horse pack trip into the wilderness for an overnight camping adventure.

    Ranch Resorts – Whist Western riding will always be available at ranch resorts, guests will also have access to an array of other diverse leisure and sporting activities. These tend to be larger ranches, with a range of accommodation from family suites and bunk houses, to luxury cabins. They may have additional onsite spa facilities, such as swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, massages and beauty treatments. These ranches are again ideal for family groups, especially where some guests are non-riding.

    2) Location - The location of the ranch determines the terrain; consider the riding environment that appeals to you, when choosing a ranch holiday. Do you long to venture on horseback over fragrant meadows, lope amongst the cacti in arid desert, trek into vast prairies or traverse snow-capped mountain trails?

    3) Dates - Your final consideration should be the time of year you choose to holiday. Popular Ranches tend to be booked up well in advance, so plan ahead. Typically if you are looking at a US based holiday, the ranches in the northern states (and cooler climates) are busiest in the summer months, while the southern ranches offer warm weather riding in the winter months.

  • Choosing a Riding Safari

    Horseback Safaris have long been considered the ultimate riding holiday experience. Viewing game from the saddle gives you a unique vantage point, with a natural camouflage and a sense of being at one with nature. As you sit in quiet anticipation, your horse will attune to its surroundings, alert to any movement or sound of approaching game. A riding safari allows access through dense bush and across waterways into areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. Safari exists wherever there is wildlife, but the classic destination is undoubtedly Africa; Botswana, South Africa, and Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and more. A wealth of adventure awaits.

    Experienced Riders – If you are a confident rider, fit and secure in the saddle at all paces, you will find there really is nothing more exhilarating than seeing the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo) from the saddle in the African Bush! Do you want to canter alongside elegant giraffe in the Okavango Delta, ride deep into the incredible Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana or gallop amongst the great wildebeest migration on the plains of Kenya? Advanced riders will relish in challenging expeditions into the harsh, unchartered but breath-taking terrain of Namibia. From tented camps to luxurious lodges, the riding safari opportunities are endless

    Beginner, Intermediate Riders and Mixed Level Groups – There are still plenty of destinations throughout Eastern and Southern Africa, for those not so confident in the saddle. Private reserves such as those in South Africa's Waterberg, or the classic opulent ranches and lodges of stunning Kenya, beautiful Tanzania or adventurous Botswana are ideal for family groups. Optional daily riding is perfect for occasional riders and children, where trail rides into the bush can be tailored to suit mixed levels and abilities. There are usually opportunities for additional cultural visits, and a range of activities from spa treatments and stargazing to wine-tasting and leisure activities. Non-riders can often share in the safari experience, travelling on vehicle drives and walks, meeting up each evening for sociable suppers and stories around the campfire.

    In short, before deciding on the perfect Riding Safari destination, consider:

    1) Riding Experience and Fitness – Don’t over-estimate your level of fitness, endurance or ability in the saddle. Take a little time to prepare physically, to get the maximum out of your riding adventure.

    2) Budget – Costs of Riding Safaris can vary dramatically. If your budget can stretch to it, consider two riding safaris back to back in different locations. For example, your game viewing and riding experience can differ considerably between the Delta and Salt Pans of Botswana, and the South African bush.

    3) Travelling Companions – Are you holidaying as a single, couple, group of family?

    4) Dates – Check out seasonal changes in riding terrain and game viewing opportunities. From rising water levels in the Delta, to iconic migrations; no two seasons are the same on an African Safari.

    5) Aspirations – Take some time to research destinations and wildlife experiences to tailor your perfect “once in a life time” riding holiday.

  • What to Pack for a Riding Holiday

    The exact items recommended for your Riding Holiday will naturally depend on your destination. Regardless of whether you are going on a safari in Kenya, or a winter ride in Finland, the key factors to remember are comfort and safety.

    Essential Packing List

    1) Riding Helmet/Hat 

     riding hat

    It is highly recommended that you take a properly fitting riding hat that meets current EU/British Standards with you on your holiday. Some destinations have hats available for riders to borrow, but this should always be confirmed prior to departure, and remember the fit and quality can't always be guaranteed. If you are riding in a hot climate, a lighter-weight helmet with vented sides is ideal.

    2) Riding Footwear


    riding boots

    Once again, safe and comfortable footwear is very important on your check list. Short ankle length riding boots are ideal and can be combined with half-chaps if required. Whether you are galloping through Botswanan Delta or trekking through Transylvania, short boots are usually considered more comfortable. They are lighter and easier to pack, and dry out faster if they get wet. There are several makes of footwear on the market that are dual purpose riding/hiking boots. These are fantastic, especially if you are likely to spend time out of the saddle, walking in rough terrain.

    3) Riding Trousers

    riding trousers

    A couple of pairs of riding trousers, jeans or jodhpurs are a must on your list. Ideally take your usual, well-worn riding attire, and combine with half-chaps to help prevent any uncomfortable chaffing. Jeans are great for Western Riding but the thicker inside leg seams can cause problems if you are not familiar with riding in them. Comfort over fashion!

    4) Important Extras


    riding equipment

    Sun Protection: Regardless of climate, take a suitable factor sun-screen or sunblock and a good quality UV lip balm and sunglasses. You will be very exposed to the elements.
    Riding Gloves: Even hardened riding hands can become sore after hours of riding. You will be using unfamiliar tack which may cause blistering and your hands may become cold and wet. They also aid grip.
    Camera: You will no doubt have many new experiences to capture on film. Don't forget your charger but remember, you may not have access to electricity, so a spare set of batteries is a must!
    Binoculars: Particularly if you are on safari!
    Toiletries: Check what is provided before you travel. A small pack or wetwipes or similar are an ideal addition.
    Insect Repellent: Dependent on destination.
    Torch: If you are on a tented safari or a mobile trail ride, a torch is a great add-on.
    Drinking Container: If your ride doesn't provide you with one, remember to pack a water bottle.
    Medical Kit: This will vary according to destination but a small kit containing any prescription medication, plus antiseptic wipes, plasters, ibuprofen & antihistamines (if advisable) and rehydration sachets plus other medication such as Anti-Malaria tablets as recommended.

    Addition items may be required depending on the type of holiday you have chosen. From waterproofs and camping equipment to lightweight safari clothes and swimwear, your hosts will usually be more than happy to advise you of what you should take.

  • How to Get Fit for a Riding Holiday

    Riding in the Okavango Delta

    Horse riding is a sport that can be enjoyed at any level, from complete beginner to experienced rider. Unless you spend a considerable amount of time in the saddle, either on your own horses or as a professional rider, it is sensible to do a little pre-holiday preparation, in order to get the maximum pleasure out of your riding holiday experience, with the minimum level of discomfort.

    1) Select an Suitable Holiday
    If you only ride a couple of times a year and have limited time to prepare, an endurance trek across Namibia or the Gobi Desert, may not be for you. If you are uncomfortable in the saddle, your level of enjoyment and appreciation of your surroundings will be diminished. If you aren’t a regular rider or this is your first riding holiday, it may be sensible to choose a Centre-Based Holiday, where it is possible to have a non-riding day if necessary.

    2) Spend Time in the Saddle
    A couple of months before your departure, try to increase the time you spend riding. If you are a weekend leisure rider, simply adding a mid-week or longer weekend hack, can make a great difference to your level of fitness. Increase the length of time you trot or canter for, gradually each session, ideally until you can comfortably trot for 7 – 10 minutes, whilst maintaining a good position in the saddle and a light contact on the reins. An experienced instructor should be able to suggest a suitable riding plan

    3) Exercise
    Vary your exercise regime with sessions in the gym, as well as additional cardio-work, such as hill-walking, cycling, swimming or running. Your aim is to increase both your overall stamina and flexibility. Pilates is fantastic for building and strengthening those core muscles, which are so integral to horse-riding.

    4) Anti-Inflammatories
    Even regular experienced riders can get sore muscles after spending 4 – 6 hours in the saddle daily. It is advisable to pack a suitable over-the counter pain-relief medication such as Ibuprofen, or perhaps a herbal supplement or muscle rub such as comfrey. Always seek medical advice if you are unsure of which medication to take.

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