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.