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  • Winter Time Saving Tips for the Horse Owner

    Riding Holidays

    The nights are drawing in, the temperature is beginning to fall... we're heading for that time of year again! Winter can be a challenge for the most dedicated of horse owners, so we've put together a few simple winter time saving tips for the horse owner, to make the season a little more bearable.

      • If you don't have time for a full schooling session, or it's too dark or icy for roadwork, a short 20 minutes on the lunge can help your horse stay fit and will allow him to stretch his legs.

     

      • Invest in a quantity of 5 or 6 haynets. Fill them up in advance on a Sunday to save time during the week!

     

      • Develop a rota system. Get together with other horse owners on the yard and draw up a rota to turn out and bring in for each other on set days.

     

      • Keep an eye on the weather forecast and make sure you have a supply of rock salt on hand for those slippery concrete walkways.

     

      • Buy a set of overalls, available online or from most agricultural suppliers and farm stores. These can go straight over your day clothes and save you getting changed.

     

      • Buy a cheap plastic ball to place in water-troughs. This doesn't always prevent freezing if the temperatures really plummet but it can certainly help allow your horse access to drinking water.

     

      • Keep a torch and a spare set of batteries in your car for checking your horse over in the field. Wind-up or LED lanterns are also great to have on hand. Even if your yard has electric and is well lit, rural areas are notorious for power-cuts in winter... be prepared!

     

      • Mix (dry) morning feeds the night before. Buy bucket covers to keep feed, vermin and dust-free.

     

      • Purchase an economy double duvet (available in most supermarkets). They make a great, cheap, emergency stand-by (to go underneath quiltied rugs) if temperatures fall. Even though they are sheltered from the elements, stable kept horses have limited movement, so can get chilly on on icy cold night.

     

    • Consider deep-littering during the week, with a good clear out, wash and disinfect of the stable on a Saturday. This not only saves time but can keep the stable a little warmer.

     

     

    TOP TIP: BOOK A RIDING HOLIDAY!

    Whether you head off in search of winter sun, snowy trails, or perhaps take the opportunity to learn a new skill on a dressage or polo holiday, a short-break away will leave you refreshed and ready to cope with the remainder of the long, drawn-out UK winter.

    Winter Riding Holidays in Sweden

      • Embrace the snowy season with a winter riding holiday. Head north and enjoy an adventurous trail ride through winter’s eerie frozen magic. Consider Finland, Iceland or the spectacular Swedish Lapland.

     

    • Head south for some winter sun. European destinations such as Southern Spain and Portugal are generally milder and offer a brief respite from the sub-zero chill of the UK. Alternatively, South Africa has some fantastic opportunities for sunny riding, and December and January are exceptionally hot and dry in Colombia.

     

     

    Riding Holidays in Spain Beautiful trail riding in Andalucia!
    riding holidays in colombia The spectacular Coffee Triangle of Colombia.

     

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  • Riding Holidays for Singles

    Riding Holidays for Singles

    Regular independent travellers will happily tell you that you’ll find numerous 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.

    Riding Holidays for Singles

    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.

    Riding holidays in Spain Sunny canters with Horse Riding Spain!

    Horse Riding Holidays

    Spain: Horse Riding Spain is a friendly establishment, ideal for single travellers.

    France: Horse Holidays France offer trail riding and short-break riding holidays in a spectacular location, a short commute from Paris. Sociable, chatty guides will help single travellers feel very at ease.

    Canada: Montana Hill Guest Ranch is a warm, friendly guest ranch in pristine British Columbia. As riding holidays for singles go, this is a a great option! The relaxing ranch has a host of activities on offer from roping lessons to Spa treatments, and of course trail riding through breath-takingly beautiful scenery.

    If you would like any information on riding holidays for singles, please contact us.

  • Choosing a Ranch Holiday

    Choosing a ranch holidayThere 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 pointers will help you find your perfect Ranch Holiday.

    Choosing a 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.

    If you would like any further information on Western Ranch Holidays, please contact us.

    Riding Holidays

  • Horse Riding Safari Holidays - Top Tips

    Horse Riding Safari Holidays

    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.

    Horse Riding Safari Holidays - <<AFRICA>>

    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 Horse Riding Safari Holiday 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 Safari Holidays 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.

    For more information on Horse Riding Safari Holidays, please contact us.

  • What to Pack for a Riding Holiday

    Essential Packing List - What to pack for a Riding Holiday. Top Tips and Travel Advice from the experts at Ridingholidays.com.

    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.

    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.

  • 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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