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  • Top Ten Riding Holiday Tips

    Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

    With so many riding holidays to choose from, a little bit of pre-planning and research will help you get the most from your riding holiday experience! Follow our Top Ten Riding Holiday tips for a perfect vacation on horseback.

    1) Be Honest – Never over-estimate your riding ability or fitness level. Be completely honest with yourself and your hosts and guides. Get as saddle fit as possible before your holiday.

    2) Aims – Before you book, decide what you want to get out of your holiday. Are you looking for a cultural extravaganza, an arduous trek or a relaxing retreat?

    3) Travel Insurance - Ensure you have adequate travel insurance prior to booking your holiday. This should cover all the sporting and non-sporting activities you intend to participate in, and repatriation in event of any accident or injury. Declare any pre-existing conditions and read the small print carefully, regarding wearing hats/body protectors.

    4) Health and Safety – No sport is without risk. Always make sure that the riding holiday establishment or organisers adhere to health and safety best practice and hold adequate insurance. Are the guides experienced? Are the instructors qualified? And are you satisfied with the welfare and conditions of the horses?

    5) Luggage – Check any guidelines regarding bag-size and weight limits to avoid hefty excess charges at the airport. Some rides in remote areas rely on small charter planes to transfer you to your final destination; you may need soft-sided luggage in this circumstance. It is always a good idea to pack riding clothes and any essential medication into your hand-luggage. If the worst does happen, and your checked bags are delayed, this will not impact on your riding holiday as you won’t lose any days in the saddle. Follow our Pack List for some great tips.

    6) Research – Read as much information as possible on your chosen riding holiday and country. Check out any reviews available online, and if anything is unclear ask the riding centre.

    7) Guides – Respect your riding guides. They should be familiar with the horses, routes and terrain and will have a wealth of information and facts about the local geography and culture of the area. If you have any queries, questions or problems on route; speak up.

    8) Diet – Always check with your hosts prior to booking if you require a specific diet. For example, some countries may struggle to provide you with a wide range of menu choices if you are on a gluten free diet, are a strict vegan or vegetarian, or have a severe nut allergy.

    2) Pain Relief – Always pack a good supply of your regular anti-inflammatory pain medication. Even if you are a fit, regular rider, expect some aching joints and muscles after spending long days in an unfamiliar saddle.

    10) Have Fun! – Each riding destination will offer a different experience. Relax, observe and enjoy your surroundings. This is not a competition, it’s a holiday.

  • Choosing a Riding Holiday

    Riding in Botswana

    Whether you’re a complete beginner keen to try out a new hobby or an experienced equestrian seeking a thrilling adventure, a Riding Holiday is a fantastic way to explore new countries and cultures. We have put together a few pointers to help inspire you to do a little research and choose the perfect holiday.

    1) Riding Experience – never over-estimate your ability in the saddle when choosing a riding holiday. There are rides operating all over the globe to suit all levels. Most rides have guidelines to help you.
    • A beginner is a rider who has limited experience.
    • A novice rider can trot and canter for short distances and can mount and dismount unaided.
    • An intermediate, is confident and in control at all paces. They have a confident secure seat but perhaps do not ride regularly.
    • A strong intermediate rides regularly and is capable of spending 4-6hrs a day in the saddle.
    • An advanced rider can happily spend long days in the saddle, riding at all paces. They will have soft hands, a good seat and be capable of riding younger or more spirited horses.

    2) Budget – It is a good idea to decide on a budget before you begin looking at destinations. There are holidays to suit every bank balance, but if you are travelling on very limited funds, you may need to forego on that luxury African Safari. Alternatively, create your own saving plan for that “once in a life-time” exotic holiday adventure.

    3) Type of Ride – Are you desperate to gallop with game on safari or do you prefer relaxing hacks through tranquil countryside? Do you want a challenging holiday that tests your endurance in the desert, or a Western Ranch stay, learning cowboy skills? What are your riding aspirations and goals? What do you want to get out of your holiday? Rides can be centre-based, or point to point trail rides, or occasionally a combination of both.

    4) Accommodation – Are you happy roughing it on a camping pack-trip in Mongolia or are you looking for palatial lodgings, with first class facilities? Opulent desert camps, quiet guesthouses or luxury spas – how important are your dwellings?

    5) Weather – Are you a fair weather rider or are you happy in all climates and conditions? Check out average weather and temperatures of locations and choose a suitable season to travel to avoid extremes.

    6) Health – If your general health is a concern, it’s a good idea to check with a medical professional prior to booking. Some rides require a high level of fitness, they may be at altitude or ask you to lead your horse over difficult terrain. Often rides are in remote areas where medical facilities are limited. You may also need to have inoculations for entry to some countries or take anti-Malaria medications. Occasionally, depending on the destination, it may be difficult to guarantee specific dietary requirements.

    7) Culture and Cuisine – Are you keen to immerse yourself in local cultures, explore ancient archaeological sites, monasteries or castles, mingle with local communities and attend local festivals and fairs. If these are important elements to you, check out the ride itineraries and routes, to see what opportunities exist.

    8) Groups or Singles – Riding holidays are often geared specifically for certain travellers. Whether you are a lone rider, part of a large group of riding friends, a couple, or family, the perfect holiday awaits. A little research before you book, can dramatically improve your holiday experience.

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